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May, 2010:

I’m not sure that this should be part of my learning plan at work…

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Rand Paul gets whupped

I love to watch rightwing, libertarian nutbars like Rand Paul get whupped and end up looking like a fool at the hands of a good interviewer.

This guy is running for the GOP Senate nomination in Kentucky.

Thanks to Jason Lamarche for putting this on his Facebook profile.

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World Cup and K’naan… I dig this

GO ENGLAND!

1966 = 2010… this is where my Man. Utd. bias goes away…

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The trend toward pro-Harpo comments is worrying this little lefty…

Lately, I have noticed a troubling trend in the comments on stories that cover political issues on the CBC website.

Take today’s article, for instance on how the ReformCons have built a nearly 10 point lead over the Grits according to the latest (and evil – according to the Cons) EKOS poll.

Rightly or wrongly, there has always been a perception that CBC readers were a little or a lot to the left on the political spectrum. Indeed, this is exactly what the DeceptiCons propaganda machine has been churning out in the wake of that whole Frank Graves (non) controversy.

So, I have gotten used to seeing commentators leaning to the left – condemning Harpy for this or that… and these types of anti-government comments have been given the “thumbs-up” by those who bother to register their agreement or dislike of that particular comment…but this is changing.

More and more I have been noticing that the pro-Con thumbs up are outnumbering the thumbs-down.

Take this for instance:

The widening gap between Conservative and Liberal support shown in this graph is a direct result of Canadians realizing one party actually has a direction and a plan, and the other is a complete mess.

So whether you agree with the Conservatives or not, I’d rather vote for a right wing Conservative, or a left wing NDP / Green party that actually has a purpose of one sort or another, than a flip-flopping middleman joke party that borrows ideas from the left and right and calls them their own.

Sitting on the fence and being useless – the Liberal Party of Canada

Or this:
I see many disgruntled Liberals on this board who rather than face the fact that they made a mistake will try everything in their power to discredit others who have a realistic vision for Canada.

The party in power has done a very good job in pulling the country out of the recent slump much to the displeasure of the Liberals who would sooner see the country sink under their leadership than to support a government that has done very well on the world wide economic level.

193 agree and 121 disagree.
The same is happening over at the G&M, for instance, take this anti-robot comment:
Time for Canadians to awaken to the Theo-Con INCOMPETENTS at our door…TIME TO SINK OR SWIM!!…the sooner we can go to the polls to rid ourselves of our present SAY ANYTHING DO NOTHING CON GOVERNMENT the better…ELECTION NOW!!…Canada and Canadians can no longer afford their INCOMPETENCE on every file,every issue…their(CON)attack on rights and agencies built up over the 50 years…

ANYTHING
BUT
THE
CONS…!!

This is at 358 against and 223 for…
The Grits better start looking at what is going wrong here. The Harperites have been flopping around from mini-scandal to mini-scandal. Abortion rights are back in the news. There are questions about the Cons’ connections to right-wingnut evangelicals.. and STILL Iggy cannot make any hay?
Scary news for we on the left… Why won’t the Libs and Dippers face reality and see that we are in for many, many years of right-wing, dogmatic rule if they don’t put their differences aside and unite under one banner???!!!

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Someone is having fun with headlines at the MotherCorp…

Ottawa to pull plug on toilet-rebate program

Hee-hee.

A popular program that gave Ottawa homeowners a chance to replace their toilets with more water-efficient models may be going down the drain.

The Ottawa city council planning and environment committee is meeting next Tuesday to discuss changes to the city’s water efficiency plan, including terminating the toilet-rebate program.

The city issued nearly 5,000 rebates last year of up to $75 per homeowner to install the water-efficient toilets, at a total cost of $330,000.

But seriously, this is a program that is costing a fair coin for the City but giving precious little in return.
But why are you saying that, Trashy? Isn’t water being saved, thus being good for the environment, saving money and putting less strain on water treatment infrastructure???
While there are some water savings to be realised through the use of low-flow toilets, the pecuniary cost savings simply aren’t there. Water is cheap. So cheap that many cities don’t bother to install water usage and instead residents pay a flat fee regardless of how much is used. And of course, if residents are paying diddly-squat for their agua what incentive is there to conserve? Lots of folks may have collected their 75 bucks from the City for a new toilet and I applaud them… they certainly didn’t do it for the cost-savings, so there must have been some passing acknowledgement that water conservation was something they believed in… right?
In that case, I would argue that they would have installed a low-flow toilet, rebate or no rebate.
The Vancouver Sun wrote an editorial on this subject yesterday noting that:

We need to value and conserve water; Pricing water service at closer to its true cost would help pay for infrastructure and reduce waste.Canadians pay far less for water than people in most other developed countries. It’s no coincidence that our per person water use is also among the highest in the world, rivalled only by the United States. With little financial incentive to conserve, we over-consume, and our over-consumption threatens water security, ecosystems and the sustainability of our water infrastructure.

Conservation-oriented water pricing is a rate structure adopted by a water service provider where the costs of providing services are recovered; individual customers are metered and pay for the volume of water they use. A crucial element requires the per unit price charged to individuals is sufficient to affect their decisions and behaviour, thereby encouraging conservation and efficiency.
A solution is to begin charging individuals and businesses what water really is worth, based on the volume they use. However, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. According to the most recent Environment Canada data (2006), over one-third of Canadian homes still do not have a water meter and the implementation of metering varies considerably from province to province. Surprisingly, only 32.6 per cent of houses are metered in B.C., 16.5 per cent in Quebec, and less than one per cent in Newfoundland, something that would be unthinkable in other basic utility services such as energy, natural gas or telephone.

The point being that unless homes and businesses start to pay something close to the really value of their water, there is very little incentive – other than for a social “good” – to really conserve or for manufacturers to churn out more “water friendly” wash machines and dishwashers.

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Oh, and the following picture may be disturbing for some. It is a graphic shot of a bear that was shot outside a restaurant somewhere in the US of A…

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Rabid bats and my Hab-hate…

ROTFL!

http://tsn.ca/columnists/dave_hodge/?id=321752

Dave read this on TSN this afternoon.

Columnists

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TSN’s Dave Hodge sounds off on all the hockey issues of the day in Hodgemail. Write in to answer Dave’s weekly question and watch the NHL on TSN on Sunday afternoon to see if he reads your response.

With the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the record books, Heritage and Official Languages Minister James Moore caused a little bit of debate earlier this month when he wrote, “The Canucks are Canada’s team in these playoffs,” in a tweet.

What someone forgot to tell him was the Montreal Canadiens – along with the Canucks – were also alive and well in the postseason grind.

Well, there’s no debate over Canada’s team now.

With stunning seven-game victories over the President’s Trophy-winning Washington Captials and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins (and the Canucks eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks) the bleu, blanc et rouge are the toast of the nation – with Canadiens fans from Montreal to St. John’s to Victoria singing, ‘Ole, ole, ole…” together in unison.

Hey, are you singing too?

Are you putting away that Leaf jersey for the summer and putting your hands together for Les Glorieux?

Are you taking the Senators licence plate cover off your car and flying a Canadiens flag?

Are you taking a break from the Taylor vs. Tyler debate in Edmonton to cheer for P.K. Subban?

With that all said, here’s Dave’s question to you: “If you weren’t a Habs fan before, are you now?”

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

“To convert from the Leafs to the Habs would be heresy. After all, we Leaf fans get the ladies because they know we’re loyal.” Josh – New Brunswick

“I’m a hardcore Flames’ fan, but I’ve extended by love to all NHL teams that wear red home jerseys with a big “C” on them.”  Ryan – Lethbridge, AB

“I don’t like this argument that Canadian fans have to cheer for Canadian teams. What’s wrong with cheering for Canadian players?” Trevor – Alberta

“I would prefer to have my eyes gouged by rabid bats soaked in fermented vinegar than cheer for Montreal. Any enemy of the Habs is a friend of mine.” John – Ottawa

“I guess I’ll join the bandwagon. I can’t afford to pay to see the Leafs lose, so I’ll cheer for a team with heart, passion and a long history of success.” James – Toronto

And Dave’s Reply To All:

Another Torontonian explained to me that the reason he’s not hoping for the Canadians should not be misunderstood. He just thinks Philadelphia’s story is the more uplifting of the two. So he wants me to believe that he’s cheering for Philly without actually cheering against Montreal.
“How very diplomatic”, I said to this lifetime Leafs fan, “but you hate Philadelphia.”
Ah, he said, “but not as much as I hate Montreal.”
I believe it’s all in fun, except for the rabid bats.

Habs suck!

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U.S. christian fundamentalists happy as hell about Harpy… and the anti-CBC rants go on and on…

The Harperite social conservatives are crowing with glee over the Con’s refusal to recognize that access to inexpensive and safe abortions are key factors in maternal health. And so is the American anti-choice lobby.

“Under President Bush, we had the Mexico City policy, which prohibited exporting abortion. As you know, with President (Barack) Obama, he repealed that policy,” Janet Morana, founder of a pro-life group called Silent No More, told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday morning.

“And so we’re very pleased to see that Canada is taking that pro-life stance, meaning they’re not going to export dollars overseas for abortion.”

Stevo must be grinning from ear to ear with the news that the U.S. christian fundamentalists are in his corner!

Despite this, support for the DeceptiCons is staying rather stable according to the new EKOS poll.

What I can’t figger is WHO THE HELL ARE THESE PEEPS??? I mean, who are those idiots are are saying to the pollsters that they would actually VOTE for Harper or one of his robot minions! I just don’t “get” that!

In other news, Cons are saying that the big bad ol’ MotherCorp is waging what they call a “faith war” against the ReformCons.

In a memo to supporters, the backroom operatives note that this is just the next step in the CBC’s “ongoing campaign against the Conservative Party.” At issue is a story about the rise of the right-wing religious groups and their connections to the Stephen Harper’s government that ran on The National last night.

The piece – which, as Tories armed with stopwatches note, ran “a full eight minutes in length” – was inspired by the release of a new book, The Armageddon Factor by journalist Marci McDonald, in which she investigates the right-wing religious movement in Canada and its ties to Stephen Harper and his government.

*Snicker* – “backroom operatives” I love that term. I wonder what they look like?

Yeah. Something like that, I would imagine. ‘Cept he needs to be wearing a crucifix and holding a stopwatch…

Anyhow, isn’t the CBC just stating the painfully obvious?

Of course the Reformatories are in bed with the religious right! Fundamentalists believe that an old guy with a beard lives in the clouds – ready to judge and smite all of we infidels! And really, does anyone with an IQ over 100 think that most of the Con caucus has the elementary intelligence to understand that believing in such things is about as legitimate as believing in leprechauns?

Of course not.

Stop the anti-CBC rants, Cons… outside of your wacko base of support in the west, you’re not going to gain much support because, well, most folks LIKE the CBC!

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Non-Con MPs are being treated like mushrooms…

…kept in the dark and fed crap.

According to the Budget watchdog Kevin Page, the ReformCons are not providing non-Con MPs with enough information with which make informed decisions.

When it is finally released, budget watchdog Kevin Page’s costing of one of the Conservative crime bills will suffer the same problem as his probes into First Nations schools and the war in Afghanistan — no hard data from the government.

MPs too can’t get data on stimulus spending, the impact of departmental freezes or the financial impact of legislation and other things.

“There has been a deterioration in the level of transparency over time that’s not good,” said Page. “It’s not like it happened all of sudden. It’s been a steady drift since the 1990s as we lost more and more, but we’re now living in difficult time when we need transparency.”

This is not new to the Cons, but they have made a bad situation even worse with their religious fervour for secrecy and the centralization of decision making.

The public service used to be the research and evaluation powerhouse for policymakers, but that has changed. The first blow came when the Mulroney government disbanded the Economic Council of Canada. In the 1990s, long- and medium-term policy research took a hit when the Chrétien Liberals hollowed out departmental evaluation and internal audit shops to help wipe out the deficit without cutting services. Then, as one long-time bureaucrat said, “came the Conservatives with their mania for secrecy and they cut off access.”

And this isn’t going to change anytime soon, I reckon…

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Why not a coalition?

Coalitions? say it ain’t so!

What’s that you say? They ARE legal in the U.K. and there WAS one (though ultimately a failed one) in the ’70s?

And since we in Canada have the same system of government AND whose legal system is descended from British Common Law (and the French Civil Code – but not in Constitutional matters), does that mean that a coalition would be OK here too?

I wonder if the political right in Britain will raise as much of a hue and cry over it as the Harperites did here?

On another front, please read this great piece by John Ibbitson that was published in yesterday’s Globe.

The lancet – one of the world’s preeminent medical journals – has come down hard on the ReformCon decision to refuse to fund abortion services in Third World countries.

Critics fear the Conservatives, if they were to get a majority, would move to limit abortion rights in Canada. The Prime Minister’s actions give credence to those fears.

The Lancet urged that Canada’s stand “should be challenged by the G8” and that they should create together “a final maternal health plan that is based on sound scientific evidence and not prejudice.” Yes.

The Conservatives seem chronically unable to earn the trust of 40-per-cent-plus of voters who would give them their majority government. There is always another agenda, there is always game-playing and in consequence the government never seems sincere, it never seems able to convince people that it wants to do what’s right.

Damn right. If the Cons are given a majority, you can bet your bottom doallar that harper will have to pay back the religious conservative zealots from the west who have been the base of the

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End of da week miscellany

This is a day early once again as the 2 youngest sub-units and I head to my hometown tomorrow morning. The RLG is off to NYC for the weekend, so why not get outta Dodge too!

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Gulf oil spill – let’s hope this works.

In the meantime, I have been watching the right-wing coverage of the disaster and there be a lot of hootin’ it up in those quarters because they see the BP spill as a slam against Obama… hell, blame him for the U.S.A. losing the gold medal hockey game against Canada while you’re at it, eh?

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., writing for the Huffington Post, has a different spin on this. Turns out this whole debacle may have been avoided – or minimized, if not due to Bush and Cheney cozying up with Big Oil…

Here is a key quote:

The absence of an acoustical regulator — a remotely triggered dead man’s switch that might have closed off BP’s gushing pipe at its sea floor wellhead when the manual switch failed (the fire and explosion on the drilling platform may have prevented the dying workers from pushing the button) — was directly attributable to industry pandering by the Bush team.

…between January and March of 2001, incoming Vice President Dick Cheney conducted secret meetings with over 100 oil industry officials allowing them to draft a wish list of industry demands to be implemented by the oil friendly administration. Cheney also used that time to re-staff the Minerals Management Service with oil industry toadies including a cabal of his Wyoming carbon cronies. In 2003, newly reconstituted Minerals Management Service genuflected to the oil cartel by recommending the removal of the proposed requirement for acoustic switches. The Minerals Management Service’s 2003 study concluded that “acoustic systems are not recommended because they tend to be very costly.”The acoustic trigger costs about $500,000. Estimated costs of the oil spill to Gulf Coast residents are now upward of $14 billion to gulf state communities. Bush’s 2005 energy bill officially dropped the requirement for the acoustic switch off devices explaining that the industry’s existing practices are “failsafe.”

So there you go… the Bush and Cheney administration just keeps on giving and giving…

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Brits go to the polls today!

In what has to be one of the most interesting races anywhere in a long, long time, the British will vote in Parliamentary elections today. A minority government is almost certain due to the rise of the Liberal-Democrats from a wanna-be party to a major player – largely due to its charismatic and young leader, Nick Clegg.

Polls point to a high level of support for Clegg’s party but it is fairly even across several ridings – having the effect of giving them only 70-90 seats despite a percentage of voter support. But this would make the Liberal-Democrats the kingmakers after the dust settles on Friday.

This should be fun!

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World-wide economic shitstorm – deuxième partie

Still in Europe – this whole Greek thing has got me a little worried. Four countries in the Euro zone are on the edge of financial collapse. While Greece is the first to ask for and receive handouts from it neighbours, many think that Ireland, Portugal and Spain aren’t far behind.

So while bail them out at all? Well, what might start in Greece may well spill over into the other 4 countries and beyond… and Germany cannot afford to bail out all of the rest of Europe.

Slapped in the face by this ugly scenario, the Europeans decided to throw everything they and the I.M.F. had at bailing out Greece.   The program as announced has only a small chance of preventing eventual Greek bankruptcy, but it may still slow or avert a dangerous spiral downward — and enormous collateral damage — in the rest of Europe.

A small chance, yes. But there is a chance that the funds will slow down the Greek death spiral and allow other exposed countries to make some fiscal policy adjustments that will at least delay if not avoid their own Greek scenario.

But… a few of us were discussing last night how your average German must feel about all of this…

Let’s see, I have to work until I’m 67 at a reduced pension to pay off the debts incurred by my government to pay down the debts incurred by the Greeks… so the average Greek can retire at 57 with full pension benefits… hmmm… something doesn’t seem right with this picture.

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Organized crime? Really???

Finally, the Harperites are once again playing on the fear factor that has tended to garner them mucho votes and is reintroducing  a draconian Bill called the Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act.

Touted to fight organized crime and make the streets oh-so much safer for seniors, soccer Moms and kids (have any of the Cons ever watched Weeds?), the Bill imposes mandatory jail sentences for offenders…. starting with those surly and vicious mobsters who grow SIX freaking plants!!!!!

Apparently, the Mom and Pop who grow a bit of weed in the outside shed or the college kid in his flat are now considered by the ReformCons on the same scale as the Hell’s Angels and inner city Drug Lords!

Are they kidding me? Mandatory means that the judge will NOT have any leeway and that Grandpa, Bob Jr., and anyone else who likes the odd toke without having to buy it off the street will AUTOMATICALLY go to the joint (forgive the pun)!

Whether or not you are for decriminalization of weed, a sane and rational human being surely must see that growing a half-dozen plants is does NOT mean that you should be lumped in – from a legal perspective – with organized crime!

Will the Opposition band together to stop this? I suspect the Dippers and the Bloquistes will… but the Grits… I dunno.

Proposed New Mandatory Sentences for Serious Drug Offences
Schedule II drugs (cannabis and marijuana)

OFFENCE MANDATORY PENALTY NOTES
w/
AggravatingFactors- List A1
w/
Aggravating Factor – List B2
w/
Health and Safety Factors3
Trafficking 1 YEAR 2 YEARS n/a Offence would have to involve more than 3 kg of cannabis marijuana or cannabis resin
Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking 1 YEAR 2 YEARS n/a Offence would have to involve more than 3 kg of cannabis marijuana or cannabis resin
Importing
Exporting
1 YEAR n/a n/a n/a Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking
Possession for the Purpose of Exporting 1 YEAR n/a n/a n/a Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking
Production –
6 – 200 plants
6 MOS n/a n/a 9 MOS Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking.
Maximum penalty will be increased to 14 years imprisonment
Production –
201 – 500 plants
1 YEAR n/a n/a 18 MOS Maximum penalty will be increased to 14 years imprisonment
Production – more than 500 plants 2 YEARS n/a n/a 3 YEARS Maximum penalty will be increased to 14 years imprisonment
Production –
oil or resin
1 YEAR n/a n/a 18 MOS Offence is committed for the purpose of trafficking

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