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February, 2010:

Giant iceberg breaks of the Antarctic shelf!

Maxime Bernier reported missing!

PMO claims that there is no link between the two!

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End of week miscellany

Budget next Thursday. I wonder if anyone on the Opposition side will munch on a Jos Louis while Flaherty delivers it?

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I hate this time of the year. It’s not really winter nor spring. More like sprinter. Of course the city is trying to save few bucks on snowplowing and sidewalk snow removal, so the warm temps combined with the wet snow has made for quicksand like conditions… nice bit of cardio getting to the bus though.

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Again, Max Bernier. Gotta love him. But what has amazed me the most is this statement by Jim Prentice:

While Bernier was applauded in the right-wing blogosphere, Prentice was left to distance himself, and the prime minister, from what they know are politically explosive claims. Said Prentice: “The views Maxime has put forward are his personal views. They are not the government’s views. I don’t specifically share them.”

Huh!? But, but, Mr. Prentice. He is in your caucus. He was a member of Cabinet. And the PMO has a stranglehold on the message, doesn’t it? Please. Of course they are the government’s views. Those types of views that Harper et al have done a very good job disguising. And now you have a loose cannon… what are ya gonna do about it, eh?

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The OC Transpo debate going on in XUPs hood makes for great reading. A bus driver plopped himself into the discussion this week, defending against many of the accusations that have been levelled against  OC Transpo in the blog and elsewhere).  This is akin to dropping Alex Ovechkin into a den of Canadian hockey players; he never had a chance. Some of his or her points have some validity, such as the need for public pressure to bring about change to our inefficient transit system. But the bottom line is that by and large, service sucks and many riders are tired of paying rate increase after rate increase for a crappy product.

Yet once in a blue moon, something shines through that fog of driver rudeness and route inefficiency.

I was taking the 86 yesterday when, on Russell Road, one of the passengers forgot to ring the bell in time and the bus cruised by his stop. This younger guy wasn’t familiar with the route and went to the front to ask the driver to let him off at the next stop, about 400 metres further. To which the driver said that the passenger should just stay on the bus as the 86 looped back just a little ways further. Now, it was a crappy sprinter day – cold and very wet – the passenger would have been soaked to the bone in those 400 metres. The driver could have simply stopped at the next stop and let the passenger walk a considerably longer distance without saying a word; but instead he thought of the passenger as something more than a nuisance.

Nice. And yeah, I did let OC Transpo know about it. And I also noted that this was a guy, not a cute co-ed.

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The Canadian women kicked some Yankee ass last night and won the hockey gold! Congrats ladies! It is indeed the fairer sex that is carrying the weight for our Olympic team. Now, you buncha professional, overpaid louts of men… I hope you learned something… now go out and kick some Slovakian ass tonight and some of the American/Finnish variety on Sunday!

UPDATE ON THIS FINAL POINT:

I don’t believe it. The Canuck girls decided to go out on the ice after everyone had left and have a little celebration.. with some beer, champagne and cigars. And someone took a photo of this. And one of the girls is 18 and a WHOLE MONTH away from legally drinking in B.C.!

BIG FREAKING DEAL!

Can ANY parent out there tell me that they are offended by this? They just on a gold medal for frick sake! So what if the kid was just shy of 19! It’s this blind and strict adherence to “rules” like these that make me wonder how the human race has survived this long! What are we? A world of hall monitors?

And the IOC is going to investigate… sigh…

Steve Keogh, a spokesman for the COC, said the organization had not provided the alcohol or initiated the party.

“In terms of the actual celebration, it’s not exactly something uncommon in Canada,” he said. “If these athletes were of legal age, then it’s not something that’s against the law. We can understand there’s a lot of sensitivity around celebrations.

Don’t worry girls, 99.999% of the country was out on the ice with you in spirit!

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So Bernier is a climate change denier? No big surprise there…

This article flew a little under the radar, but in it, ReformCon Minister Maxime Bernier states that the cautious approach to climate change has been exactly what Canadians have needed since:

the debate on the scientific basis of climate, stifled for years by political correctness, finally broke out openly in the media

and that:

De très sérieux scientifiques croient toutefois qu’on sous-estime l’influence du soleil et d’autres facteurs qui n’ont rien à voir avec le CO2 dans l’étude des changements climatiques.

which, translated, says – more or less that there are some very serious scientists who think that the influence of the sun and other factors that have nothing to do with CO2 are underestimated  in climate change studies.

Good thing they are serious scientists…

Over at bloggingtories.ca, M. Bernier is being hailed as a hero! As the second coming of Jim Prentice! As a brave soul who is breaking away from the Mamby-pambyness of the Harperites and saying it like it is!

Here are some of the reactions:

My Friend Maxime Bernier is a… – “The reaction from the chicken littles has been of course hysteria. Keep up the good work Maxime. One day you will be HM PM.”

Thank you Maxime Bernier for being the first politician to have the courage to publicly acknowledge what we all have been aware of for the last several months – that the so-called ’settled science’  is unraveling and the alarmists’ hysteria is a crock as Lorrie Goldstein points out today – Mad Max makes sense.

Yikes! They are all a-twitter! NeoCons are excited! Look out!!!! Madness will ensue!

But seriously, this is a problems for this guy:

Harper relies on strict and unwavering adherence to the message. And Max has broken this sacrament. He may have a real internal problem on his hands and the opposition parties will undoubtedly point to this in the coming months.

Of course, the distancing has begun:

Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice’s office was quick to distance itself from Bernier’s letter.

Prentice’s spokesman, Frédéric Baril, told CBC News that Bernier’s opinions are his own and are not at all in line with those of the environment ministers or the Conservative government

It will be amusing to see how this plays out… hee-hee…

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The power of the institutions of democracy

I thought I’d share few thoughts about the latest polling results released yesterday by Nanos Research – a firm that I consider to be second to none in Canadian political public opinion research.

Respondents were read a list of the “institutions of democracy” and asked to rate the degree of power that each of them had. The results were not all that surprising with the PMO being rated as the institution pointed to having too much power.

Not surprising because I am quite certain that respondents were hearing “PM” instead of the PMO as a whole.

But what I did find surprising were the choices that were read to the respondents:

The PMO, The House of Commons, The Federal Cabinet, The Senate, The Supreme Court, The Federal Civil Service

Institutions two through four are undoubtedly institutions of our Canadian democracy. Their existence is enshrined in the Constitution. Canadians know them and trust them to be the prime decision makers at the federal level.

But the PMO and the Public Service?I don’t really consider them to be “institutions of our democracy”. They are very important components of it – but not institutions in the Constitutional sense.

I wonder why Nanos included them? I can only suspect that the reason for doing so was to gauge the feeling about the relative power of the PMO and the PS to the HoC, Supreme Court, etc. It is true that there has been a lot of (justifiable) media attention about the amount of power that is wielded by the PMO. And in the past there have been questions about how much power should be granted to the PS.

In any case, the results are interesting and pretty much confirm what Canadians have thought about Harper and his autocratic rule – too much power for Harpy and not enough in the House. And Cauncks are pretty sure of themselves as only 8.7% of respondents indicated that they were unsure about the appropriateness of the degree of power used by the PMO – the lowest rate of “unsureness”  among all of the listed institutions.

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Those crazy Americans are at it yet again!

Yo. I’m willing to wager that if you read this blog at all, you are at the very least adequately intelligent and coherent to know that there are some people on this planet whose mere inhalations of air should be considered as theft. They should not be allowed to draw down any of the natural or produced capital that nature or we humans have provided.

Bob Marshall is one of these people.

The Drive-by Times reports that this wing-nut believes that:

women who have a first abortion are more likely to have children with disabilities. He described it as “nature doing its vengeance on subsequent children…”

But wait! There’s more! Here is what he has to say about rape:

Your origins should not be held against you [referring to the victim’s unborn child]. The woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman.

And birth control:

We’re against the IUD and pills, too. They don’t prevent ovulation and conception, they prevent implantation, which is abortion.

Late Monday, his office released a formal apology.

But I wonder how many Canadians hold these type of views… more than a few, I wager.

State and religion… they should never, ever be mixed! Even if the cause seems to be worthy on the outside, zealots always, ALWAYS have an ulterior motive!

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Holy shit! It’s as cold as Harper’s soul here!

Yah, I know that this Tim Horton’s ad that has been airing recently has caused many a teary eye to be exposed, but really… what is that poor woman thinking…

She comes from a place where ice is found in drinks and snow is something they see only on TV when reception isn’t so great. And the hubby hands her a coffee and says “welcome to Canada” then leads the family out into a typical November day – snow, cold, wind and misery – and says:

Welcome home!

Sheee-it! If I was that chick, I’d be all “WTF were you thinking! We had a choice between Australia and HERE. And you chose HERE???? You’re one f***in’ sadistic SOB and I’m not looking at you or talking to you until you get me outta this hell hole!”

Or something like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Land of the Ice and Snow… but man, if I was from a tropic clime…

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No Harper Zone post – Food I couldn’t live without

Since I quit smoking 6 years ago, my taste buds have regenerated to a certain degree. I have a better appreciation of the subtleties of many foods and drink. Red wine is more fruity. Sour foods are more tangy and spicy foods are more likely to burn my

But that doesn’t explain some of my choices of foods I could not live without.

They are not in any particular order and some may change from day to day or week to week.

  • Planter’s dry roasted peanuts with a glass of Clamato juice. There is something about this combo that is salty, juicy and rich all at once…. A great night-time snack in front of the tube.
  • Triscuits – the original ones and not one of those low-salt or rosemary flavoured imitations. Great memories of my undergrad years when, after a night at the pub and without enough $$’s to order a pizza, I would put cheese on top of the Triscuit and try to melt it with my Bic lighter… yummmmm… butane, Triscuit and cheese…mmmm…
  • Pizza. Real pizza. Preferably with a thick crust, tons of cheese and covered with salami, mushrooms, green olives and just a few anchovies… a nice, fatty round hard attack waiting to happen
  • Speaking of heart attacks – poutine has top be one of the most decadent foods out there! But is has to be real poutine with real cheese curds! Not the stuff you get at a fast food restaurant or in my building’s cafeteria! Once, during a biz trip to Victoria, B.C., a colleague and I made the mistake of ordering poutine with BLUE cheese instead of real cheese curds. We both almost threw up.
  • Beef. Any cut. But especially a nice thick tenderloin. Rare. And with a baked potato and sour cream on the side.
  • Breaded chicken. Especially Shake and Bake. Quick and easy to make and leftovers are a great lunch the next day.
  • A fresh tomato sandwich. On white bread with mayo and lots of freshly ground pepper. What a summer treat! I remember my Mom making these when I was a kid and I still love ‘em.
  • Dan dan noodles. Had these for the first time when I was in China. The restaurant at the hotel where we held our meetings had especially yummy ones… made fresh in front of you with your choice of broth and some ground pork on top!
  • Butter chicken – my fave Indian dish. Gimme a fresh naan, a plate full of the butteries, and I’m happy for the day!
  • Speaking of chicken – hot wings in front of a football game, accompanied by a good ale, is Nirvana!
  • Hooka – this is a baked sausage that I used to help my Hungarian-born grandma make. You start with a pig’s head chopped in two. Boil that for a few hour till everything falls off, add some liver, then some rice… then feed it all into sheep intestines until you have this really thick sausage that you put into the oven. It’s hard to find, but the sausage place in the Market has it from time to time.
  • OK –OK – OK… I’d better throw in a vegetable beside potatoes… hmmm… that would be onions! Especially pickled ones! They go especially well with my famous pickled eggs!

So, what from above appeals to you or disgusts you? Are you gonna call my doctor and tell him that he had better talk some sense into me?

There, a whole post and not one mention of ol’ dead eyes… I’m proud.

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Harperites now eligible for pensions!

Almost all the remaining MPs from the old Reform Party — including Stephen Harper — stand to collect over $100,000 a year in pension benefits once they retire.

Let’s see how committed they are to their own agenda. So, if the Harperites scale back PS pensions, will they refuse to accept their own benefits as they once promised? Ha!

Numbers crunched by the Taxpayers Federation lobby group show that Prime Minister Harper is in line to collect $150,244 a year if he were to retire at the end of this year, while Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl could collect more than $155,000.

In case you’re wondering, that’s a HELLUVA lot more than I will be entitled to when I retire around 2022.

I would love to be a fly on the wall at a ConCaucus meeting where they are discussing how to dance around this one!

Of course, expect the right-wing nutjobs to blame the whole thing on the liberal-controlled media.

Or aliens. They like to blame the aliens too.

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“Our strong leader”?

Ya gotta be kidding me.

The ReformCons are following what many other authoritarian regimes have done in the past – use sport to whip up patriotism and take credit for the athlete’s successes.

But then, what else are we to expect?

But “Our strong leader”? Has Ms. Greene signed on not only as the Olympic ambassador but as a Harperite minion as well?

Ms. Greene Raine compares the athletes to “our strong leader,” Mr. Harper, who is in a competition of his own: “With our strong leader Canada will continue to compete with the world’s best,” she says. And Mr. Duffy, who also refers to his colleague as “my Olympic champion,” goes on to say, “We Conservatives are champions in our own right.”

Shameful.

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For comic relief….

I have set up two posts on this site in the past 4 hours and both have been deleted… figgers.

Those ReformCons aren’t, uh, well, let’s call a spade a spade…. anywhere intelligent enough to engage in some semblance of a debate.

But if you want some comic relief – by all means, give ’em a look-see….

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