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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Garth Turner in The Star

...on being turfed from the Conservative caucus. Oh yeah, that will be an unbiased telling of events. Maybe next Paul Martin can write a piece telling us all about how great of a PM Chretien was.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

At Best, It's a Case of "What the Hell Were You Thinking?!!"

...after all, what could possibly be wrong with the term 'negro-queen?'

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We Get Linked to by the New York Times

Neat.

(Click the picture to enlarge, or follow the link here)
Original Posting here.

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Interestingly enough:

The MP from the riding of Halton who was turfed from caucus by the current Conservative government over his repeated inability to do his part in maintaining in an effective communications strategy (in government phraseology, that generally means 'get with the program and shut your pie-hole, bub') is now the primary communications advisor for the Official Leader of the Opposition.

In other, unrelated news, said leader and said communications advisor are about to spend the summer attempting to sell Canadians a complex proposal for a new federal carbon tax at a time when gas prices across the country are hovering around $1.30/Litre with about a quarter of that price already comprising various federal taxes.

In further, completely unrelated news, said leader of the official opposition recently received a dismal 10% approval rating from Canadians.

Again, all unrelated, of course.

*(Names have been omitted to protect the incompetent)

So in other words...

...As I've been saying all along, this had, pretty much, absolutely nothing to do with Ian Brodie.

Brodie gives an off-the-cuff (and off-the-record) remark about Clinton and NAFTA. A CTV reporter takes interest, speaks with Ambassador David Wilson, gets everything jumbled up, and ends up focusing on Obama's counterfeit NAFTA posturing instead. A report is then released to that effect, supposedly 'damaging' the Obama campaign because they've been caught in a lie.

And we also know that while all this was going on, the AP managed to obtain a diplomatic memo regarding Obama economic advisor Austan Goolsbee's contact with Canadian officials detailing that Obama was pontificating re: NAFTA for political posturing only. While it can certainly be argued that diplomatic leaks by govt's are bad form and can create embarrassing international incidents, you just can't pretend that the press doesn't have its eyes and ears in government departments. The press has its sources and moles and that's just how it is - no one should be surprised by that.

Obama's Campaign getting caught in a lie therefore has nothing to do with Ian Brodie at all, but everything to do with investigative journalism. The primary goal of every investigative journalist is to get the facts behind the story - if Obama's campaign was damaged, it was because reporters focused on the disconnect between what he was saying and what he really thinks, and cleverly managed to find out that he wasn't telling the truth.

Of course, all of this didn't stop the opposition from demanding Brodie's head on a platter, even though they knew he had nothing to do with the whole faux-fiasco from the start. But hold on - having been been proven dead-wrong in their initial round of blind of finger-pointing, the opposition has now decided throw a little more mud in the hope that it will opportunistically stick:


"NDP Leader Jack Layton said the report is another “black eye” for Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier, who has been gaffe-prone for months.


Layton said Bernier should be fired.....The New Democrat also said he’s not surprised that Brodie and Wilson were cleared.

'This was a report prepared by employees of Mr. Harper, about employees of Mr. Harper that concluded that nothing could be found that could be pinned on the employees of Mr. Harper in any definitive or final sense.'"

Mr. Layton makes this last statement in spite of the facts:


"...Harper called for an investigation in March after the so-called NAFTA-gate incident led to charges that Canada had interfered in the democratic process in the U.S.

He asked Kevin Lynch, the top federal public servant, to handle the probe but Lynch turned it over to a private Ottawa company, BMCI Investigations and Security Ltd."

Any individual even remotely following this story from the beginning could see it had nothing to do with Brodie and everything to do with the media and gov't bureaucracy (That's right, Navdeep).

Now - can we please stop having our time wasted by the endless reporting of one non-scandal after the next?

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Obama T-Shirt

Today in Respirology, our prof was wearing a t-shirt that had a crazy blue dragon drawing on it saying "I ♥ Obama."

What?

I think whoever made that shirt takes interesting medication.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Taking it further.

Saw this over at Kate's, and thought I might be able to shed a little more light on the topic, or at least generate some further thought. I suggest you go read the whole post to get a full idea of it's point, but the gist seems to be summed up here:


Back to insects, it couldn't be that the area being studied has a lack of that insect's food, or a plethora of predators. No. It must be pollution!

Proxies can be a good initial indicator, but why not use positive measurements? It would be better to monitor the pollution level directly. That way, you know the type and severity of the pollution without relying on proxies.

It should be noted that proxy indicators are only a start; chemical testing and other methods of determining pollution through technology are both time-consuming and expensive, while spending a few hours quantifying the absence of ecologically significant marker species is cheap and can tell us whether more tests are warranted. Those subsequent tests will determine what further actions can or need to be taken. Tests cost money and they can't just be done willy nilly. The scientific method is (or should be) thorough, and doesn't (or shouldn't) make assumptions or leap to conclusions outright. A natural cause for the absence of marker species might exist, but that would be determined through further testing.

It seems to me that the introduction of the idea of 'marker species' is an appropriate 'starter' concept to be taught to younger children in school, and kudos to John for encouraging his son to think critically by exploring the concept further.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama

Barack Obama is many things, but he's certainly not stupid. He knows that there is a huge appetite for change in the United States, and he knows that if he wants to sit in the oval office he has to ride it as long as he can. Towards that end, his campaign has largely been lofty concepts, rather than solid ideas or policy.

Ask any Democrat (or liberal Canadian) what Obama stands for. You'll hear nothing but two simple words: hope and change. But beyond that, what does he have to offer? He's already stated that believes in the failed policy of negotiation with the West's sworn enemies, a policy that was proven absolutely useless under the Clinton administration. Remember the handshake between Arafat and Rabin? Both are long dead and gone, and radical groups like Hamas and Hezbollah that have sworn to destroy Israel are stronger than ever. North Korea is still a global pariah with it's finger on the trigger.

In fact, the only thing that has been shown to work with America's enemies is a dose of the carrot with a strong helping of the stick. When President Bush declared "you're either with us or you're against us," Libya and Pakistan got the message and started to behave. Saddam Hussein was finally dealt with, and efforts to build a nation in Iraq are finally ongoing with signs of success, though much work still remains to be done. Clearly, you have to show the bully that you can hit back. Any schoolyard kid knows that.

Back to Obama. More than anything, I think he's naive about many things (the previous example included). But I don't think his bleatings of "hope and change," and "changing the way Washington works," are a product of his naivety. He knows (or should) after four years in the Senate that you can't change the way Washington works - and if he doesn't, he's an idiot. But he's very cunningly decided that the average American doesn't know that. He knows that they are hungry for a fresh direction and bored and tired of the war in Iraq. So, he's wisely decided to exploit that. Hope and Change - you want it, you'll get it. It makes for a good campaign slogan - after all, it worked for Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington. For Americans nostalgic for the imagined peace of the 1990's, it sells well.

But this isn't a Hollywood movie - it's real life, and there are no end credits where everything is settled and all the loose ends are tied up. If Obama becomes president, all will not be well again. America will still have it's enemies, enemies that have hated it long before George W. Bush came on the scene (to think terrorists hate the USA because of Bush is a fallacy. They were planning the 9/11 attacks during the Clinton years, to make up for not destroying the World Trade Center the first time [also under Clinton]). Anti-Americanism existed long before Bush, and I should know - America and Americans used to get my goat as a child, before I started critically evaluating things for myself.

The only change we'll see under Obama is that the president of the United States will be unprepared and unwilling to confront it's enemies and that will spell disaster for the western world.

Obama can deliver speech after speech about changing the way Washington works, but anyone who seriously believes that is nothing more than a simpleton. He is a politician, and in order to survive you have to play the game. It's as simple as that. For those of you who still disagree, please turn your attention to Exhibit A:




Of course she never got an answer - he didn't have one. It's classic Obama, and classic politician. Stick to the script. Hope and Change. Don't answer questions. Shake hands. Remember to smile!

He'll try to ride this campaign strategy all the way to the White House, but don't kid yourself - Obama, like all of the others before him, will be no different.

Remember to Smile.

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Bell Mobility Just Lost a Customer.

Thanks Bell - You've just lost my business!

I was on the phone today with Bell Mobility over some outrageous and ridiculous charges that managed to appear on my cell phone bill. The low-level support guy I talked to was nice enough, and tried to help me as much as he could (after he pitched me a bunch of plans I didn't want or need, of course). However, his supervisors refused to budge when he explained the situation, even though the billing was clearly in error. At this point I asked to speak to them and was told that they would choose not to speak to me simply because, as I was told, 'they're only going to tell you the same thing'. Standard fare, of course, to get rid of a customer and a problem, but I persisted. The customer service agent came back twice telling me that they were refusing to speak to me, and each time I demanded to speak with them, as was my right as a customer. Finally, he came back a third time telling me that they refused to talk to me.

At this point I was both angry and incredulous and pointed out that, as a paying customer, it was incredible that a customer service representative would have the gall to refuse to speak to me. That's like going to the bank and a having a teller refuse to carry out a request for a withdrawal. I immediately demanded to speak with his supervisor no matter what they had to think or say, only to get the run-around by being told they were 'unable to speak with me'. I asked whether they were unable to or just plain refused to, and was informed they were either 'busy with other customers or in meetings' (yeah, right).

Of course I was offered to receive a call-back within the next 24-48 hours (joy) but only at their discretion. I can guarantee you, I will never receive that call. In any case, I took down names and employee numbers and will be contacting the Better Business Bureau, at least on the principle of making the complaint.

This is the third major unsatisfactory dealing I have had with Bell over their cell-phone billing or customer service and it's basically the straw that has broken the camel's back for me. I have previously had Bell customer service reps lie to me outright over the phone.

The ironic thing about all of this is that I decided to go with Bell (even though it cost more) because I believed the customer service would be superior. It now appears that I was completely wrong in making that assumption. When my contract runs out I'll be signing up with another provider (probably Telus, whom I am told by relatives provides pretty decent customer service). I would strongly advise anyone considering signing up for a Bell Mobility plan to save yourself the trouble and choose another provider. I, as a consumer, will no longer be choosing to do business with them.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mass Trans-it

In celebration of spokesman(woman?) for the 'trans-health lobby group' Susan Gapka's proclamation that Pierre Poilievre is "transphobic," (thus adding another ridiculous catchphrase to our Canadian politically correct lexicon), I've compiled a list of things that, believe it or not, Poilievre is afraid of because of their "trans"-association:

  • Donuts and other baked goods (all those trans fats!)
  • Traveling on the trans-Canada Highway.
  • Optimus Prime (but not Megatron)
  • Trans-Atlantic flights.
  • Trans-substantiation
  • Trance Music, but just because the word "sounds so similar."
Hopefully Pierre will contact his therapist and get help for his transphobia. I hear they have excellent desensitization therapy these days! 

Maybe he'll trans-form?

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Why Journalists Should Never Be Trusted To Report On Science

The Daily Express features a report on how a new 'wonder-gel' will eliminate MRSA for good - but doesn't even seem to know what MRSA is:


"BRITISH scientists last night claimed to be on the brink of finding a cure for the deadly superbug MRSA. They say the “amazing” new drug could be ready to stop the spread of the killer virus in just three years.


The revolutionary compound, codename XF-73, is easily applied in a gel to the nostrils. It succeeds where traditional antibiotics fail because it kills the virus outright – rather than merely trying to contain it – by attacking the membrane and preventing it from mutating."

MRSA IS NOT A VIRUS.
Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus are bacteria that are especially resistant to what we have to throw at them in regards to antibiotics. 

To add to their ignorance, the Daily Express claims that antibiotics work against viruses - they don't! It's ignorance like this that leads to the misuse of antibiotics that has caused an epidemic of so-called 'superbugs.' The latter paragraph that I've quoted cements my opinion that whoever wrote this doesn't even have a clue as to how antibiotics work - period.

Journalists trying to understand science. How cute!

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Kangaroo Cull Brings Out Protesters; No one Surprised

Friday, May 16, 2008

No Charges to Be Laid In Cadman Probe

Surprise! 


The RCMP have ended their probe into the Chuck Cadman affair and say no charges will be laid.The Mounties were looking into politically explosive allegations that the federal Conservatives offered Mr. Cadman a life insurance policy in exchange for his support on a key vote in Parliament in 2005.

Yet another non-scandal put to bed.

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The Taliban: Never send a Man to Do A Boy's Job

CTV is reporting that the bomber who attacked Canadian troops this morning was a ten year old boy, and that the Taliban detonated the bomb remotely from a safe distance away. 

These are the people we are fighting against. Whenever someone tries to tell you that the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is wrong, you remind them of this.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Pass The Buck

Right, Ontario Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Michael Bryant?


TORONTO — Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant is calling on the federal government to live up to its responsibilities to aboriginal Canadians by setting a deadline to resolve the long-simmering standoff between native and non-native protesters in Caledonia.“The Harper government needs to get on with it and stop hesitating,” Mr. Bryant told reporters this morning.“They need to set a deadline. I'm not going to do their job.” 

He's not going to do his either, apparently.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Here's a Good One...

...to illustrate the changing financial situations of Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario, courtesy of the Halifax Herald:




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