A great man once said, "Politics is inherently stupid." That great man was me.

Friday, March 30, 2007

It's Friday, so I Must be Disgusted

I don't know who I'm angry at more: the justice system or the idiots who hurt this kid.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Danny Williams...

Is starting to get on my nerves. And I'm a Newfoundlander.

As much as these actions grind my gears, I'm more unhappy with the Federal government for breaking its promise to my province. With the situation as it stands, it's getting very hard for me to deny that this budget (politically successful as it is) sold off Newfoundland and Labrador for votes in Quebec.

Of course it's understandable that Newfoundland and Labrador doesn't show up on the Federal radar. With only 7 seats in the House of Commons (and only three of those Conservative), what chance do we have of making our concerns heard? No matter what party forms the government, it's always the same - "Shag 'em, they've only got seven seats."

It's also understandable that such little funding was allocated for Newfoundland. How else would the government afford shovelling three billion dollars at Quebec?

I'm both a Conservative and a Newfoundlander, and this is putting me in an awful position in terms of whom I'm supposed to support here.


Satellite Evidence Proves Iran Is Lying About Sailors

UPDATE: Iran says it will release the female sailor, 26 year old Faye Turney, either today or tomorrow. Is Iran starting to feel the heat?

Iran has changed its story in regards to where it kidnapped 15 British sailors, after satellite and GPS evidence has proven that the sailors were operating in Iraqi waters and were, in fact, illegally detained. Iran initially provided co-ordinates for the siezure that were within Iraqi waters, but has now provided the British government with new co-ordinates for the site of the siezure, which it says happened within Iranian waters.

Which one is it, Iran? Better get your story straight.

Personally, I'm hoping the UK comes down hard on Iran, Lord Palmerston style.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Ah, Activism!

I think Jarrett just summed up my whole student experience with MUNSU during my university career.

"Activism? I’ll tell you where you can put your activism. Imagine for a moment that you paid hundreds of dollars to support, oh, I dunno, a society dedicated to extolling the virtues of George W. Bush. And don’t question it, because I’m doing it in the collective interest.

Now you know how I feel."

MUNSU - We Are Part of the Student (Bowel) Movement!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"...A document that would have made past NDP leaders proud."

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion of rejecting the budget before even reading it, and suggested it was a document that would have made past NDP leaders proud."
Is that quote supposed to be inspiring? Because I'm feeling decidedly less than inspired. Thankfully those aren't his exact words, but....

(h/t National Newswatch)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Taliban Support on the Rise?

Much can be said about this.

I find it quite hard to believe that 27% of Afghans support the Taliban. First off, its important to note that this survey was of Afghan men and not of the general population. I would expect that Afghan women would have a somewhat negative view of their former oppressors, a factor which would clearly influence the Taliban's 'approval rating,' as this poll attempted to gauge. The flawed methodology used in this report alone makes me very distrustful of this poll's conclusions.

Of course, the media are already reporting that it's the general population that this poll has surveyed, which is incorrect. There's a lot to be said for gross negligence on the part of the MSM here, but then again most of them aren't very wise when it comes to statistics or science.

That being said, the recommendations made by this report make some sense, even if some of them (i.e. avoiding civilian casualties as much as possible) are quite obviously already being followed. Channeling the poppy crop into legitimate pharmaceutical uses as opposed to straight-out erdatication of the crop is an interesting idea, but whether or not it is possible or a practical idea remains to be seen. However, poverty amongst the Afghan population will only lead to anger and desperation - things the Taliban need in order to thrive. Hopefully, our troops will prevent that from ever happening.

EDIT: This post from Daimnation! in August of last year may sow some doubt about the intentions of the Senlis council, which authored the report. The Senlis Council has also been criticized in the past for violating the Afghan constitution by "tacitly encouraging poppy growth."

The Canadian military has also been critical of the think tank in the past:

"It's fine for this think-tank to come up with these conclusions. However, our people on the ground see things otherwise," O'Connor told CBC Newsworld.

Speaking from the Canadian base in Kandahar, Canadian Forces Lt.-Col. Ian Hope dismissed the report as anti-American and being driven by a "political agenda."

The report mistakenly suggests Canada's mission is being driven by the wishes of a foreign country, he said.

"If we're responsible to anybody, it's the Afghan government," said Hope. (source)

Does the Senlis Council have an alterior motive?


"Airline Moves Dead Body to First Class"

Maybe I should fake a cardiac arrest the next time I fly.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

'Anti-war' protesters, and some good news.


...is a beautiful picture. I'd love to see something similar with a Canadian Flag. (h/t Malkin)

Also, Darcey and Muddy did some great work the other day as well! And to round it out, Sunday's Telegram covered this weekend's sad-sack anti-war protest in St. John's. As you can see in the picture, it was 'widely attended'.

Despite the efforts of the vocal few, the silent majority are making themselves heard; at work this evening I was pleased to look up and see a man wearing a red 'support our troops' hoodie. I threw him a thumbs-up and a big smile, and went over to have a little chat with him. Turns out he works at a local Wal-mart, and the entire staff there ordered them to show their support. He told me that I could order one through the base down in Pleasantville, so I think I might be making a trip down there sometime this week. I can't wait to wear it at MUN and watch the moonbats' heads spin! That man and his shirt made my day today.

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Reporting As It Should Be - Taliban Brutality, Uncensored

His name is Ali Ahmed and may his face haunt Afghanistan...I'm not sure how old he is, nine or 10 maybe, his cheeks streaked with dirt and tears, his voice pleading for help. His older brother lies on the side of the road a few metres away, as Ali frantically searches for his younger sister...Ali clutched at the hands of police and journalists, with words that were demanding and hysterical. "I know my brother's dead," he cried, "what about the others?"...At one point he covered his face with a shawl and implored the people around him to help. "Why are you looking at me," he screamed. "Bring a bed or something to put my brother on."

Another suicide bomber sent by the Taliban. Two more Afghan lives destroyed.

My first impression of this article was that the writer (Paul Workman) was a "grief-chaser." My opinion changed quickly, believe you me. More articles on the Taliban's brutality like this one are needed, so the Canadian public understands what our brave men and women in uniform are facing in Afghanistan and why we're there in the first place - to save innocent lives.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Conservative MP Norm Doyle Retiring

After a 24 year long undefeated career in politics, St. John's East MP Norm Doyle has announced that he will be retiring and will not run in the next federal election. Mr. Doyle, 61, spent 14 years of his career in politics at the provincial level as a PC MHA for the district of Harbour main-Bell Island and ten years federally as an MP for St. John's East. He is an undefeated political veteran, with eight straight wins under his belt. Though he retired from provincial politics in 1993, he returned in 1997 to win federally in the riding of St. John's East (a seat he has held since then). Norm has held many roles, provincially and federally, both as a Conservative and Progressive Conservative. He was the Progressive Conservative Party Caucus Chair from 1997 until the party merger in 2004, when he became Caucus Chair for the Conservative party. He also served as the Conservative Party whip and the PC party deputy whip. Provincially, he served as minister of Municipal Affairs, Labour, and Transport.

I know Norm personally, and I would like to wish him and his wife Belle the best of luck in the future. Anyone who knows Norm knows that he is one of the most kind, humble and hard-working people you could ever hope to meet. It has been my pleasure to work with him on a number of his fund-raisers and electoral campaigns; The last two in particular were often very exciting and always quite educational. I am sure Danté will have quite a bit more to say on this, but I would just like to say that the citizens of St. John's East are losing a great MP and a wonderful representative. Best of Luck, Norm.

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Light Blogging for a bit

Blogging will be a little lighter for the next week or so on my part; It's crunch time at the university and I have no fewer than three major papers, a presentation, and two significant midterms coming up next week. I am sure Danté will be more than able to pick up the slack. Best of luck 'til then!

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gushue's Ahead...

Hopefully this will be another gold for Canada's greatest curler!

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

30, 000+ visits.

Sometime in the last hour or so, this humble little site (un)officially passed 30, 000 visits, with just over 41, 000 page views. We've come a long way since the first posts arrived on stream in August 2005 (it seems like it was yesterday), and hopefully we'll be around for quite a while longer. Danté and I would like to thank the regular readers and commentors (you know who you are - yes, you!) as well as our friends on the left and right sides of the Canadian blogosphere. We'd also like to extend our gratitude towards those who have been more than kind in linking to us from their sites.

(and to everyone in general for putting up with our crazy antics. Boy oh boy!)

Here's to 30, 000, and looking forward to plenty more!

Peter and Kate have said it well.

Peter and Kate have said it well.

Which is why you haven't heard much of anything from me about McClelland's comments (not to mention the fact that most of you have said pretty much said all that can be said about them by now). People on blogs say lots of stupid things, and quite often too (surprise!). Not to insult the whole dipper community, but one of their bloggers saying something outrageous and radical (and maybe a bit vulgar) is not really that surprising. It's not even out of the ordinary. You can find worse on rabble on any given day of the week (I refuse to provide a link on principle).

Honestly, Robert probably enjoys all the attention - his blog traffic will likely skyrocket from this. I get the feeling a lot of this gleeful stone-throwing has more to do with revenge for his trolling and just general blogging boredom than with actual outrage over what he said. Take a moment to be honest with yourself; you expect that sort of thing from individuals of his persuasion.

Our biggest outrage right now should be over bloggers getting a bad rap in the MSM over these comments, not the fact that he actually said them. Yes, we can all agree that they were stupid.
What was even stupider was insulting Kinsella in the same paragraph; he has a national column and he doesn't take kindly to being insulted.

So, Can we all stop talking about it now?

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And Now it Has Gone Mainstream.

Warren Kinsella has written an article about for the National Post which I think everyone should go and read.

Upon reflection, I bet Robert will really regret making anti-semitic comments and insulting a national newspaper columnist in the same paragraph.

also recent: Who is Anthony Doob?


We Asked: "Who is Anthony Doob?"

...why didn't Jennifer Ditchburn and the Canadian Press do the same?

If you read my previous posting, you probably got a little miffed at the lack of objectivity in Jennifer Ditchburn's article about the Tory criminal justice platform. The first paragraphs seemed to mock the Tory's political message, and were quickly followed by quotes from a Liberal attorney and a U of T criminologist, Anthony Doob, who had the following to say:

"Doob contends there is little evidence to support Conservative claims that proposals such as mandatory prison sentences for gun crimes or getting rid of house arrest for serious offenders has any positive effect on the crime rate - which is actually on a long-term downward trend."

...Doob says the problem is that it is far easier to explain to the public that you're going to come up with a series of tougher laws, than to describe a long-term, workable strategy for actually reducing crime.

"I look at this and I see one party that's absolutely clear on its position on crime - and they're almost always wrong - and the other two national parties are afraid to come out with strong, coherent policies."
Doob is saying that the Tories don't have a plan to reduce crime, that they are too lazy to come up with one, and that their strategy will never work. Doob then says that the Conservatives will almost always be wrong on crime, but that the Liberals and NDP would probably be absolutely right, if they'd just come out with a policy!

Ditchburn made no attempt to interview law enforcement officials/judges who might give an opposing opinion for her readers to ponder.

I had hoped that everyone could read the article for themselves to pick out the lack of objectivity and I suppose most did, but I ended up fisking the article anyways for a reader in the comments who didn't quite see it the same way that I did. I was thinking about how journalists can often create bias through errors of omission, through what they don't write rather than through what they do. Failing to tell the whole story or to present an opposing point of view can often create an editorial bias in supposedly objective articles, whether done intentionally or not.

In criticizing Ditchburn's choice of interviewee, I thought that it wasn't fair to simply label an individual like Anthony Doob as a 'left-wing socialist with a hate-on for the Tories' simply because he teaches/researches at U of T. So I had to either find out if Doob did have a possible political motivation for his words, or leave him out of my argument altogether.

It just so turns out that Anthony Doob would have a possible political reason for claiming the Tory criminal justice platform would never work (and the those platforms from the parties to the left and centre-left would). Anthony Doob donated to his local NDP candidate in the last general federal election. Indeed, Mel Watkins, the Candidate for Beaches-East York received a $500 donation from one Anthony Doob. I'm no expert, but a 500 dollar contribution is hardly indicative of someone who doesn't have strong ties to a party or an ideology.

I checked it out. It took me less than five minutes to do so (and only a little bit longer because the electoral contribution search function doesn't seem to work that well with Firefox). So the question is, if I could fine this out in such a short period of time, Why didn't Jennifer Ditchburn bother trying, or if she did, why wasn't there full disclosure in her article? It would seem to me that when your articles are going to be read by millions of Canadians who assume they are getting an objective opinion, you should make sure that their assumptions will end up being correct.

Again, If this grinds your gears, call/write the Canadian Press and complain. You might get someone on the other end disagreeing with you, but you at least made your reservations about the quality and objectivity of the writing known.

--Updated-- I contacted the CP about the story, I'll post a response if I get one.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More unbiased reporting from Jennifer Ditchburn

Is it just me, or does every 'objective' article written by Jennifer Ditchburn seem to have a smug hint of condescension smoldering beneath the surface for the Tories? Take a look at this gem. Every word of it reeks of barely-concealed contempt. And gee, she interviewed a Liberal Attorney and a criminologist from...U of T! No biased opinions liable to be found from either of those two. Perhaps Ms. Ditchburn was too busy to interview any victims rights groups, law enforcement officials, etc.?

Methinks she should get a blog/Opinion Column at the Toronto Star, and just have it all out in the open. I've read her articles for some time and this is the first time I've been seriously motivated to write a post about it. If the article bugs you, call/write the Canadian Press and complain. You might get someone on the other end disagreeing with you, but you at least made your reservations about the quality and objectivity of the writing known.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

By the way...

...gee, what a surprise! Who did CTV expect it's Canadian audience to pick? China?

Hmmm....something's missing...

...I wonder what it could be? Perhaps objectivity? But more to the point, I'm sure many of you have wandered over to CTV by now and seen this wonderful little gem of a story. Apparently, according to a BBC poll that examined global attitudes towards various countries, Canada tops the list in a world popularity poll. Now, I won't delve into refutations and rebuttals of those who would claim we have' sullied' our image in international affairs due to recent stands on certain issues. However, I would like to make a few comments on the results of this poll.

"...Israel had the worst rating with only 17 per cent sharing a positive view of the country and 56 per cent with a negative rating. For Iran, 18 per cent were positive and 54 per cent negative."

It seems appropriate to seriously call into question the line of reasoning employed by those who would equate an islamofascist, terrorist state that is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons with a secular, democratic one which requires a strong military in order to continue to exist. Yes, Israel has nuclear weapons too (allegedly), but then again Israel has never threatened the complete and utter nuclear annihilation of any of its Islamic neighbors, despite their opposition to Israel's very existence (Oh, and then there's that whole 'democracy and freedom' thing that they have going on: it sort of gives them an edge over dictatorial autocrats when it comes to who I trust with nuclear capabilities). The moral equivocating that must be going on in these people's minds is astounding. Robert 'f**k the Jews' McLelland would be proud.

"...The United States had the third highest negative rating with 51 per cent citing the country as negative and 30 per cent positive. North Korea had a slightly better rating than the U.S. -- 48 per cent negative and 19 per cent positive."

Again, what more is really there to say? An oppressive nation run by a small-minded dictator who is bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening world peace is viewed as equivalent to the nation which has upheld the world's right to freedom and democracy for most of the last century. Thankfully, the US is viewed slightly more positively (30 percent compared to 19 percent), but still equally as negatively as North Korea.

To seriously compare the two countries side by side and not see a clear difference in their global contributions is simply ridiculous. Have we really forgotten the price of freedom in this world, so much so that we now equate the sinister and oppressive with those who would try their best (and admittedly sometimes fail) to protect freedom and democracy for all peoples of the globe? It seems that even gross human rights violators such as China get a passing bill in this poll.

Steven Kull, director of the University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes (who administered this poll along with pollster GlobeScan) had this to say:

"..Countries that relate to the world primarily through soft power, like France and Japan and the EU in general, tend to be viewed positively," he told the Associated Press."

Have you ever thought about how children like their parents better when they are given free rein to do the sorts of things that they really shouldn't do? 'Cool' parents might pride themselves on how they get along great with their kids because they don't hold them accountable for their actions. But as any good parent knows, to raise your child to be mature, responsible, and capable of getting along with others, you need to punish them when they act inappropriately. Otherwise, they grow up to be spoiled brats who throw temper tantrums when they don't get what they want (Or, you know, maybe try to enrich uranium instead).

If you're one of those types who would balk at this paternalistic view, then think of the analogy as being between a concerned friend and their troubled pal; the result is the same. If you don't tell your friend to pack off when they treat you poorly, you've given then license to treat you as a doormat indefinitely. Unfortunately, it seems that those polled seemed to be more concerned with minding their own business and not rocking the boat than with doing what is right.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Sunday Morning Afstan Report

Two NATO soldiers have been reported killed in southern Afghanistan, and another attack on a U.S. convoy in eastern Afghanistan left at least 16 Afghan civilians dead.

The Department of Defense says they aren't Canadian, but nonetheless say a prayer for the families of these soldiers, or keep them in your thoughts if you aren't religious. It is only through the terrible sacrifice of the brave members of the armed forces of the west that we enjoy the freedom we take for granted.


Muslim Women Rights Group Ponders Human Rights Case

I don't have a position on this particular case. On the one hand, I don't think allowing the hijab to be worn during a soccer match is that big a deal, but on the other hand FIFA has made its ruling on the matter.

I do think however, that this group's time would be better spent fighting for the rights of Muslim women in the middle east (or perhaps against the notion of the hijab in the first place). You'll pardon my cultural intolerance when I say that I think its a little archaic to force women to cover themselves up because it's 'sinful' otherwise. If that's the case, force men to wear the hijab.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

There are 30 Million Reasons...

That Stéphane Dion seems to be the only one smiling in this banner image from the Liberal Party of Canada Website. Has The Mole tm struck again? Or perhaps these people mistakenly showed up to the convention centre expecting a thin, lilting chanteuse instead of a thin, wilting leader of the opposition.

(Granted, both seem to have very strong connections to sinking ships so I can see how it might be kind-of hard to tell the difference.)

Friday, March 02, 2007

On Comment Moderation

EDIT: as a science student, I must clarify that I'm speaking from anecdotal evidence. No, I haven't conducted a study to prove what I'm saying. Nor do I believe that it is necessary.

Yes, bloggers from both the left and right censor comments - what I'm trying to say is that I find Conservative bloggers are far more lenient when it comes to their comments policy (from my own personal experience). I've tried to leave sympathy messages on certain liberal blogs when certain tragic things have happened, only to find out that I've been banned from commenting for some more or less coherent and rational thing that I've said (as you may have guessed, I'm no troll).

Both conservative and liberal bloggers will moderate their comments, I simply find that liberal bloggers do it more often.

I know I've discussed this before, but a post at Halls of Macadamia sparked my interest in it again.

The reason so many left-wing blogs have comment-moderation turned on comes down to a matter of fundamental political beliefs. Left-wingers believe in the principal of control. Everything and everyone must be controlled and must act in the proper, liberal-approved fashion. People can't be trusted to act properly on their own. Conservatives, on the other hand, strongly believe in personal freedom.

It's for this reason that I don't moderate comments on my blog. Hell, the more people get annoyed or upset at something someone says in the comments, the livelier the debates become and the more attention and traffic it attracts. I've only ever deleted one comment, and that was because it held the most foul racist slur I've ever seen. The only people I've ever banned are spammers. Contrast that with Rabble's excessively liberal use of the ban-hammer for those with opposing political views.

For the left, it's simple: the way to win is to shout down your opponents and restrict their ability to spread their message. Why else do you think SOW never sent a dime to REAL Women, while groups like LEAF got a glut of funding?

Conservatives trust on the truth of their message to win the day. Liberals trust in not letting the other guy speak at all.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

I've got polls, boy have I got polls, yessir!


From the CBC

Tories widening lead over Liberals: poll

Last Updated: Thursday, March 1, 2007 | 3:06 PM ET

A new poll suggests Stephen Harper's Conservatives are surging ahead of the Liberals, even in the crucial province of Ontario, where Liberals have long held an advantage.

The Decima Research poll released Thursday showed the Conservatives held 36 per cent support nationally, which is similar to the Tories' numbers when they gained power just over a year ago.

The Liberals' support fell to 27 per cent, well below the mid-30s the party held shortly after electing Stéphane Dion leader in December.

In Ontario, the Tories also surged to 40 per cent support this week, compared to 32 per cent for the Liberals, 15 per cent for the NDP and 13 per cent for the Green Party.

The survey of just over 1,000 Canadians was conducted between Feb. 22 and Feb. 26, with a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The numbers suggest the prime minister and his party are succeeding in convincing women, urban and Ontario voters that the Tories are a moderate rather than hard-right government, Decima CEO Bruce Anderson said.

Greens gaining, Bloc flagging

The poll also suggested the Green Party continues to show momentum across Canada, with 13 per cent support nationally, tied with the NDP for the first time in Decima's polling, the agency said.

The poll recorded 35 per cent support for the Bloc Québécois in Quebec, down significantly from its numbers in the run-up to the last election, when the Bloc was regularly closer to 50 per cent support in its home province, Decima said.

"It seems more the case that they can find little to rally anti-Ottawa emotion with," Anderson said Thursday in a release. "And so those voters in Quebec who are nationalist but not separatist feel free to consider their other options, which now decidedly include the Green Party."

The Liberals followed the Bloc in Quebec with 23 per cent, with the Green Party at 13 per cent, and the NDP with seven per cent.

In an average of the last three weekly polls, the Conservatives have 33 per cent, the Liberals 30 per cent, the NDP 14 per cent, the Bloc nine per cent and the Greens 11 per cent.


Danny Williams Nuke Announcement

I think that this is pretty funny.


Thursday Photo Fun

The caption describes it as "Ugly fish falls down on earth from moon," but it's no moon fish. It's actually the Ocean Sunfish, Mola mola. And they're really quite amazing creatures: