Banana Counting Monkey

Friday, February 01, 2002:

Another Masterful PR stroke from the Monarchy

The Saudis are taking their
PR show on the road, with typical results.

BCM // 12:53 PM


Haven of Flourescent Idiocy: Canadian Nominee

Hairy Tarantula Gaming and Comic shop.

Read the "Declaration of Holy War". This pains me, because I like the store itself. Good prices and good stock. This........ is simply stupid, deserving of a beating with the Good Books.

Credit to Samizdata for the title.

BCM // 12:46 PM


Quote o' the Day

"Of course, I am an egotist. Where do you get if you aren't?"

-Winston Churchill

BCM // 12:30 PM


Maybe they're just awed by the Bounty of Capitalism

It seems that the protesters in New York are behaving. No Black Bloc throwing rocks, no smashing Starbucks and McDonalds' windows.

I'm suprised. I won't say that I'm impressed, because I don't think that simple adherence to the commonly expected rules of behaviour is something that they should be rewarded for. The restraint they are showing now is the same restraint that is expected of any of us walking down the street on any given day.

Of course, this is not to say that the protestors are not causing damage. Many New York stores are
suffering because customers are staying away. The protesters are always on about "Corporate accountability" and Corporate social responsibility. Would it be too much to ask that the protestors adopt a similar approach to their activities, adopting responsibility for the societal effect of their protest? If they want to protest, shouldn't they give something back to the society that makes their demonstration possible? Kind of like how businesses are supposed to give back to the society that makes their operation possible?

Again, I'm dreaming.

After all, everyone knows that upscale stores only have independently wealthy capitalists working behind the counter. No good working class people here! To have a business address in the more expensive areas of New York guarantees that you are doing well! Businesses never fail in the rich areas of New York, so losing a few days business won't have any real consequences for the businesses. Really!

"About 1,000 union workers and other protesters marched on a Fifth Avenue Gap store, walking past a string of opulent shops to demonstrate against the globalization of industry.

"The global economy does not work for the working people," AFL-CIO President John Sweeney told attendees at a working families forum before the demonstration. "This is why we are here — to challenge Enron economics here and abroad.""

Who the hell does he think he's fooling? The global economy works to the stage where the 1000 workers who followed him on parade could afford to take time off work to come to his protest. How many workers 200 years ago could have afforded to ditch work for a day or two? How many farmers 300 years ago could leave their farms unattended for two or three weeks a year while they went on vacation?

His followers could afford to travel and stay in New York. They can afford to pay the union dues he charges them for the privilege of working in a closed union shop. They can afford the taxes charged by two or three levels of government, and after that they can still afford to eat, clothe themselves and buy teevees and cars.

The global economy works just fine, Mr. Sweeny. It's your ideas that don't and that have been holding back the entire world from the freedom and prosperity it could achieve.

BCM // 10:41 AM


The Rumsfield Doctrine

•Use all elements of national power, including law enforcement and covert military operations.
•Set up networks that allow all battlefield elements, such as commandos on the ground and pilots in the air, to communicate contemporaneously during a battle.
•Let allies announce how they are helping the United States.
•Do not let coalition-member countries veto U.S. war strategy. "Wars can benefit from coalitions of the willing but they should not be fought by committee," he said.
•Take the war to the enemy before, not after, it attacks the United States.
•Rule out nothing, including the use of ground forces.
•Inject American special-operations forces as soon as possible into a conflict. In Afghanistan, Green Berets helped turn the tide of battle by designating pro-Taliban military targets for pilots.
•Tell the American people the truth.

The Washington Times.

BCM // 9:19 AM


"Burn Ewok! Burn!"

Lots of Star Trek commentary over on
Samizdata in the last day or so. More today, with some cool links included. One in particular pointed out by Natalie Solent was Ken Layne's take on the issue.

"Anyway, the only real-life space program I'm interested in is the one where I get a wookie co-pilot, piles of guns with no stupid "stun" settings, and a fast ship set up to smuggle wine past those UN/EU killjoys. I guess that would lean toward Rand Simberg's plan for privatized space travel. "

Yup. That pretty much sums up my feeling about it. Why the hell would you want to live in a mini united nations wearing lycra when you could hot rod around the galaxy in your own ship with a converted Mauser on your hip?

"I also want to blow up that planet of Furbies who ruined the third Star Wars movie ... before PETA gets over there. The PETA ship will come out of hyperspace and find nothing but pelts floating around. "

Reminds me of a gamer I knew in university, her catchphrase was "Burn Ewok! Burn!"

Also on Samizdata, Alex Knapp of Heretical Ideas details why Star Trek Kirk Style was pro- freedom.

"Let's talk about real Star Trek. I'm talking about the NCC-1701, which cruised around the cosmos not only exploring new worlds, but finding new tyrannies - and crushing them. Is your world controlled by an over-intelligent super-computer? No problem--Kirk and co. will destroy it. Been trapped in a never-ending cycle of war because you fight by computer instead of the real way? Kirk and co. takes care of it. Are Klingon's arming your rival clan's? Not to worry--Kirk will give you guns, too, so you can protect your families. Benign interventionism, favoring democracy."

Isn't it amazing how much that sounds like the program that Bush has laid out for the US? " finding new tyrannies - and crushing them", "Benign interventionism, favoring democracy." Go read the whole thing.

And yes, I do link to the "Star Trek is totalitarian" stuff because it gets a rise out of the other GMC members. If any of you monkeys want to rebut their arguments, go for it. I'll post it. or just get yer own blog.

BCM // 8:22 AM


What Plane of Reality is Journalism?


On January 28, a Palestinian rampaged in stolen cars for 3 hours, driving over police, soldiers and pedestrians, before finally being shot. This headline appeared on an Associated Press story, in the Times of London: "PALESTINIAN SHOT DEAD IN TEL AVIV "


BCM // 6:53 AM


Canadian Dollar

Overnight: $0.6288 USD, down $0.0022 from yesterday's close.

BCM // 6:15 AM


The Quebec Neverendum Explained.

Canadians haven't heard much from the separatists lately. It would seem that the Federal Government's adoption of "Plan B" (Non-Appeasement) has paid dividends.

Still, this
cartoon explanation of the Quebec saga is far too good not to pass on. It is about a dozen strips long, so use of the navigation tool under the comic is needed.

For as long as I can remeber, one of the reasons cited for the weakness of the Canadian dollar over the last twenty five years was the risk of Quebec separation. Given that the threat has been effectively laid to rest (for the moment?), shouldn't we have recovered some of that loss? Shouldn't the dollar become stronger as a result?

I think that the reduced risk has already been taken into account in the dollar's price. The decline caused by other factors has swamped any improvement. If Quebec separation had never left the national agenda, the dollar would have fallen further than it has already. If Separation does become a hot issue again, watch for your loonies to get even skinnier.

Which would be the trigger for the Monkey Circle to adopt "Plan C".

BCM // 5:53 AM


Thursday, January 31, 2002:

The Illuminati Moves in Mysterious Ways

By general acclamation amongst the anarchic Samizdata Team, your site 'Banana Counting Monkey' has received the dubious honour of a permanent link on our blogsite.


The Samizdata Team

Montgomery Burns voice and fingers steepled> "Excellent."

BCM // 5:30 PM


Hey Heather, why can't I get this book from Indigo?

After Bernie Goldberg's book, Bias, has been out in the U.S. for about two months, it
still can't be obtained through Canada's biggest bookseller, Indigo/Chapters.

Could there be any possibility that CEO Heather Reisman's hubby Gerald Schwartz being a prominent Liberal bagman has anything to do with it?

Okay, I'm being unreasonable. It's probably just that the book is in such heavy demand in the U.S that they can't spare any to send north of the border. I'll go back to watching for Black Helicopters now.

On the other hand, Dave Schifflet of NRO has an article on the difficulty right-leaning authors have getting into publication in the US.

BCM // 5:02 PM


Chilling at the Waldorf-Astoria

Ron Dreher of
NRO takes a walk through Manhattan. Apparently many New Yorkers wish to show the Anti-Globalizing Idiotarians what New York was like for tourists Before Guliani (B.G).

BCM // 4:54 PM


The Tome

Bjorn Lomberg, author of
The Skeptical Environmentalist has his own website as well.

I've picked the book up, and it is definitely a tome. It has that nice heavy feel to it. Fine paper, good sized. Footnoted out the wazzoo. Imagine that, an author who not only provides his sources to the extent that they take up a quarter of the book, but wants you to check his work. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, because as previously mentioned, I should be studying.

This Tome would make an excellent Tool of Learnin' for the Monkey Cause to use on Idiotarians, a.k.a Anti-Darwinians/Darwin Donors (as they are known to the Monkey Circle)

BCM // 4:44 PM


I am so glad I never had Blogger in University

I have an exam booked for next thursday evening. The deadline for re-scheduling it was last thursday, which was ironically the day I signed up for blogger.

How much studying do you think I am getting done?

I am here at the office, two and a half hours after the end of the workday. I am reading the web, editing my previous posts. The feverish need is upon me to write and post at least a few more times. Especially the posts that I've been intending to do but not gotten around to.

BCM // 4:32 PM


Canadian Dollar: Close at $0.6310 USD, up 0.0015 over yesterday's close.

BCM // 2:23 PM


The Dangerous trend in the Earth's Climate

"Weather's new uncertainties. Meeting last year in Bonn, West Germany, 21 scientists of many disciplines agreed unanimously that the cooling trend "can be ignored only at the risk of great suffering and mass starvation.""

-National Geographic, July 1975 issue, Vol 148. No 1, p23

Though I should note, they did get the population projection about right: 6.5 billion in 2000.

BCM // 2:20 PM


Quote of the Day

"The worst exploitation say professors, "labour" leaders and politicians is effected by big business. They fail to realize that the characteristic mark of big business is mass production for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses. Under capitalism, the workers themselves, directly or indirectly, are the main consumers of all those things that the factories are turning out.


"Nobody is needy in the market economy because of the fact that some people are rich. The riches of the rich are not the cause of poverty of anybody. The process that makes some people rich is, on the contrary, the corollary of the process that involves many peoples' want satisfaction. The entreprenuers the capitalists and the technologies prosper as far as they succeed in best supplying the consumers."

-Ludwig Von Mises
"The Anti Capitalistic Mentality" Chapter 2

BCM // 1:45 PM


The Natural Villians

Tom Borroughes of
Samizdata brings up an interesting point.

"British television: the subtle propaganda of the relentless socialist meta-context

Here's a poser for today - Have any fellow bloggers come across an example on a television drama programme in the UK which has ever portrayed a businessman or woman in straightforwardly good light, with no qualifications, ifs or buts? I haven't. Check out the average British soap shown mid-evening to see what I am getting at. It is pure negativity towards any activity remotely creative or positive. And of course we soak it up because when coming home from a hard day at the office, factory or wherever, our mental faculties are at their least sharp.

The same challenge applies to American or Canadian TV. Monty Burns comes immediately to mind as the stereotypical businessman. If any other group were portrayed so consistenly in such a negative fashion, there would be protest groups putting pressure on the advertisers. Can't the advertisers put pressure on themselves to get some respect?

Samizdata Headline of the Day

"Star Trek: more stories about Lycra Totalitarianism"

Reference the previous bit: The Ferengi, anyone?

BCM // 1:14 PM


The Coalition to Ignore Reality

Well, at least the protesters of are being honest about it. (Not really, maybe they were hacked?)

February 28th 2002
Time 6:00 pm
Title Communal Howling at the Moon
New York, New Jersey
Topic / Issue Fascism & Imperialism
Sponsor The Coalition to Ignore Reality

The Coalition to Ignore Reality calls on all sentient beings to join hands, paws, and other appendages in symbolic resistance to the wealth creation in the developing world while safely living the good life in the First World. We call for immediate suspension of the laws of mathematics to allow people of mediocrity, inability and foolishness to earn as much as all those who did their homework while the rest of us listened to forgettable music and masturbated late into the afternoon.

Via King Reynolds of Instapundit.

BCM // 1:08 PM


The Only Time I will Ever Suggest A Tax

I hate pennies.

Every day, I end up with a half dozen of the little buggers in my pocket. They typically get dumped in a cup on my dresser in an ever increasing pile. I could buy the little clamshell containers or the paper ones to hold the things and take them to the bank, but the idea of spending $2 just to package $5 is a bit silly.

I really wouldn't mind if all transactions were just rounded up to the nearest nickel. $1.67 becomes $1.70, $12.34 is $12.35 and so forth. Make it a tax and send all of those pennies to Ottawa. Take the penny out of circulation. Pennies cost more to make than they're worth anyway.

Now, as to what Ottawa would do with those pennies I'd probably find something to object to.

BCM // 12:56 PM


Mugabe's Media Gets It Right

From the BBC;

"The official Zimbabwe media says Wednesday's decision not to suspend it from the Commonwealth was a humiliating defeat for the "mighty British empire". "

That's probably the most truth they've been allowed to print in a while. The whole effort to scold Mugable and perhaps put sanctions on him and maybe freeze his foreign assets was ridiculous. Mugabe doesn't care about the sanctions, as he isn't the one who is going to feel their brunt. He's already demonstrated that the condition of his people doesn't matter to him. Given a choice of retaining power or his foreign bank accounts he isn't going to have to think very long about it.

It's interesting to compare the UK's approach to Mugabe and the US' approach to Afghanistan. The UK's approach has been a typical display of the diplomacy of the pre September era. The UK has bought its concerns to an international body (the Commonwealth) with the intent of obtaining multilateral agreement and taking diplomatic action. This is the same course that bought us the continued violence in the Balkans for most of the '90s. Expressions of concern, requests for sanctions and requesting the expulsion of the offending country from world bodies aren't going to do any good whatsoever. It seems that the UK has determined that if these measures worked against South Africa in the 80s then they're bound to work against another African state.

Imagine the US had followed the world's demands and submitted its plan to attack the Taleban and Al-Queda to the UN for approval. The US forms a coalition for the military action it intends to take and gives each partner an equal share of the decision making authority. Had this happened, the odds are the Taleban would still be ruling Kabul and Bin Laden would be plotting his next attack.

If the UK well and truly objects to what Mugabe is doing, it doesn't need the permission of the other Commonwealth members to throw the book at him. The UK can impose sanctions, seize his assets within their reach and bring pressure on other individual countries as necessary. The 90's dream of united multilateral action being able to solve problems isn't dead yet, but the recent US action in Afghanistan shows how effective unilateral action can be.

BCM // 11:50 AM


Why I love Microsoft, Part 2

Some of the things Microsoft has done for me: Hotmail, the ease of Internet Explorer and Windows (I don't use it hard enough to run into the problems people complain about) and
Mechwarrior 3 and 4.

What has AOL done for me? Given me more CD-shaped coasters than I know what to do with, installed an icon on my desktop for "FREE AOL Sign up!" when I loaded a game from a "classic" computer game package. No matter how I've tried, the icon just won't die. I consider this to be a form of graffitti.

BCM // 6:57 AM


Dizzying Heights

Canadian Dollar this morning at $0.6313, up $0.0018.

Resource monkey has suggested that I have been silent on the dollar for the last few days because it has been going up. No, I've been silent because I'm trying to find a link to something Mr. Martin said on monday. I want to be able to link to it so I can take it apart. My opinion on the Loonie hasn't changed. I don't believe that the current rally will be permanent and have been busy changing spare Cdn for real money.

What we are seeing at the moment is the effect of the Liberals talking up the dollar. Like any good advertising campaign, if the message is on target, there will be results. When the customers find over the long term that their purchase is not performing the way they expected, the buying wil stop.

BCM // 6:20 AM


Wednesday, January 30, 2002:

Canadian Salariman

I went out with the guys from the office tonight, and as such am roaring drunk as I post this. This is one of those expected rituals that 0ne should show up for in order to keep the game going in the office. It was interesting. I learned things about various people who weren't there that I wouldn't have otherwise. That there was cold Rickard's Red on offer was only a side benefit to the event. Of the original group of twelve, most left at various times until there was the final few of us left.

Oh, and the bill.

Amazing how the cash everyone else leaves never seems to be quite sufficient to the task. We had a stash of $170 built up, and predictably, the bill was over $300. Plus tip.

Well, at least no karaoke was involved.

BCM // 8:57 PM


Blogging so far

Gawd, it's fun. And highly addictive.

Mind you, I find that editing is something I have to pay more attention to. I just plucked a "not" out of the earlier article on monopolies that completely contradicted what I was saying.

A tomorrow will be a full week. I feel I've made a good start. Hopefully I manage to keep putting forth a point of view that keeps people coming back for more. The stats counter is fascinating. I'd say more right jow, but my next post will shed more light on why i don't want to say more.

BCM // 8:50 PM


World Economic Forum Countdown: Wedensday

"It would be nice if these people showed some sensitivity and did this somewhere else: maybe Afghanistan. Get 'em outta here, we're still bringing out body parts."

As I understand it, the protesters blame capitalism for keeping the developing world in poverty. So, if that is so, then logically, removing capitalism should mean that the people of the developing world would achieve a better standard of living.

Fortunately, there is such a paradise! Come on down North Korea!

The banishment of the evil capitalists has bought plenty and freedom to the masses of North Korea! Fortunately there are unbiased and truthful sources of information to counter the distortions and lies spread by the Imperialist Americans!

BCM // 1:41 PM


Submit George to the "White Out" Test

Samizdata linked to Libertarian Carla Howell's campaign for Governor of Massachusetts. One of the ideas I found very interesting from her declaration of candidacy was "The White-Out Test".

"What's the 'White-Out' Test?

Get an issue of the Boston Globe, the Herald News, or another Massachusetts daily newspaper. Find an article about each of the Republican or Democrat candidates for Governor. Find a proposal or program advocated by each candidate. Clip them out.

Take a bottle of 'White-Out' and blot out each candidate's name. And 'white-out' the word "Democrat" or "Republican" -- if it's even mentioned.

Take these political proposals or programs and put them in front of 10 people chosen at random. Ask each person to correctly match the candidate for Governor with his or her proposal or program.

They won't be able to do it.

Why do these candidates fail the 'White-Out' Test?

Because their positions, proposals, and programs blur and blend into the same Big Government mush."

As I first read Bush's State of the Union Address last night, this test came to mind. On the political and economic issues discussed in the speech (except for the war), the speech fails the test utterly. Much of it could have been written by the Democrats.

One final observation on the speech and then I'll stop.

"We will prevail in the war, and we will defeat this recession."

I would have preferred this: "We will prevail in the war, and you will defeat this recession."

Why? because it would have put things in appropriate order. The Government exists to first and foremost to defend the people. The people themselves will be the ones who will determine the fate of the economy. The government has no place in this process. Changing that one word would have sent an amazingly different message.

BCM // 12:42 PM


One Very Important Word

"My call tonight is for every American to commit at least two years — 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime — to the service of your neighbors and your nation."

I note that GWB didn't use the word "volunteer".

Let's just cut that down a bit.

"two years — 4,000 hours over the rest of your lifetime — to the service of your neighbors and your nation."

Amazing how much that sounds like a court sentence.

Freedom to do as one pleases, to pursue one's own ends as the end in itself is what made the US great. I'm not going to claim that this is the first step in a military dictatorship or the beginning of the end of american freedom. The US had the draft before and survived. But it is a step in the wrong direction.

BCM // 12:22 PM


Well Said

I hope Americans remember this quote over the next few years.

"...our budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term so long as Congress restrains spending and acts in a fiscally responsible way."

It would appear that George W. Bush learned from Ronald Reagan's experience in the 80s.

BCM // 11:48 AM


Another Evil Monopolist Bought to Heel! Hallelujah!

A U.S. District Judge has declared
God to be a monopolist.

From The Onion, via Rand Simberg of Transterrestrial Musings.

On a more serious note, the idea that unregulated capitalism always leads to monopolies is one of the most persistent ideas of our time. It's also an idea with very little evidence to support it. If one looks around, most of the monopolies that exist owe their status to government mandate and legislation. Hydro companies, telephone utilities and Air Canada are good examples.

Ever since the economists of the Ninteenth Century pronounced monopoly as the logical outcome of free markets, their opinion has acted as an excuse to control markets. How many examples of unregulated markets have turned into harmful monopolies? Hell, how many unregulated markets have there been? If Marx was wrong about communism and socialism, perhaps he just might have been wrong about monopoly? Gee, it's not as if he would have wanted to portray capitalism as being bad, right?

Most Canadians I know subscribe to the monopolistic view of capitalism and believe that there should be regulation and gov't control in "important" sectors of the economy. Deregulation of companies like Bell or utilities is an idea that meets extreme skepticism.

Well, does anyone really want to go back to what long-distance phone rates were like when Bell had a CRTC imposed monopoly on the service?

I'm all in favour of deregulating the utilities and other gov't monopolies, under certain conditions, that is, no conditions. If deregulation ends up requiring the company to operate under even more rules than they did before, then it isn't really deregulation. California for example, where the power companies signed themselves into long term contracts on what they could charge their customers. They made windfall profits when energy prices were dirt cheap because of the minimum prices they got from consumers which were far above their cost. When energy prices rose above the caps they'd agreed to, then the California energy crisis began.

Regulation is a either or choice, sort of like being on the subway. You're safe on the platform or you're going places in the train. If you try to keep one foot on the platform and one on the train, things are going to get messy.

BCM // 9:28 AM


Mandatory Daily Post on the Loonie

Canadian Dollar: $0.6305 USD, up 0.003 overnight above yesterday's close.

BCM // 9:19 AM


EverCrack: Adventures in Capitalistic Fantasy

Home Monkey forwarded
this story to me regarding his second plane of existence, Everquest. Apparently the players of this online game are generating their own economy with already has a Per-Capita GDP just behind that of Russia!

I am still going to stay the Holy Hell away from playing this game. I know myself well enough to be aware of the danger to everything I hope to achieve with my time. Of course, any temptation that EverQuest poses pales to the danger posed by their new product, Star Wars Galaxies. (I tried to post the link, but loading the site repeatedly killed my computer. Perhaps the world is attempting to tell me something. It's for the best, really.)

BCM // 5:38 AM


All Hail the Stonecutters!

Over the last few days, the shadowy forces behind
Samizdata have been practicing full, plain and true disclosure by posting their photos on the web.

I'm afraid the "Sinister Illuminati" factor of Samizdata may have been permanantly lost.

BCM // 5:26 AM


Site of the Day

After mentioning the new Conan movie yesterday, and given the state of the Canadian Military, today's recommendation goes to the
Academy of Medieval Martial Arts in Toronto.

I've considered signing up for it, except for their meeting time, Sunday mornings 930am to noon. As a friend of mine said when I mentioned it to her, "That's crazy talk!"

BCM // 5:21 AM


Tuesday, January 29, 2002:

Get Ready For a Busy Day in the Blogsphere....

I'm halfway through reading Bush's
State of the Nation speech. It's going to be rushhour in the blogsphere tomorrow, and heavy traffic the rest of the week.

I have no doubt that as I write this, Ted Rall, Oliver Stone and Edward Said are furiously preparing their next missives for the blogsphere's tender attentions.

BCM // 8:23 PM


Can I Put "WSJ Canadian Contributor" on my resume?

Last week
The Best Of The Web Feature from The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal asked for suggestions on the next big litigation craze in the US. I sent in a suggestion, which was published in Monday's Opinion Journal.

Robin Brown: I suggest we sue "Big Earth," for all of the debilitating effects of gravity. First, there are the thousands of injuries each year caused by gravity. Second, there are the long-term effects of gravity, such as wrinkles, sagging stomachs and inactivity forced upon people by the force of gravity.

For decades, "keeping the people down" has been synonymous with oppression, but people have never understood the truth they spoke. The earth and its irrational insistence on gravity (which it could at least attempt to mitigate by divesting itself of large amounts of nonessential mass, I mean what does the earth need so much rock in the core for, anyway?) have caused untold suffering to people around the world and hampered progress and equality. Think what we could achieve without gravity to hold us back! We could all fly and would be free to perform athletically as we should! If gravity is to be continued, at the very least the earth should pay reparations to the rest of us.

I'm convinced I have a case. I expect to be in front of the Supreme Court of Canada within weeks.

BCM // 3:19 PM


The Walkerton Report

I've just been going over the summary of the
Walkerton report. I've heard from many places that the Harris government bears a large part of the responsibility for the tragedy. After taking a look, I don't agree.

Would seven people have died if the Kobel brothers had put chlorine in the water as was required by their jobs?

That omission was the start of the tragedy. If they had done their job, there would not have been the deaths that followed. One of the summary points of the report is wrong in my opinion. It states;

"The provincial government's budget reductions made it less likely that the MOE (Ministry of the Environment) would have identified both the need for continuous monitors at Well 5 and the improper operating practices of the Walkerton PUC." (p5)

The report goes on to note that the Walkerton PUC had routinely falsified reports on chlorine residuals for twenty years(p7). Even with the budget that the MOE had before the Harris gov't came to power they had failed to identify any problems over the previous sixteen years. On what grounds is it reasonable to conclude that the MOE would have been more effective between 1996 and 2000 without budget restraints than they had been for the previous sixteen years?

BCM // 3:00 PM


My Order of Canada Nominee

There's a Canadian who has worked ceaselessly on behalf of Canada in the last ten years. He's done a lot of good for our military and by extension, the nation. Because he has done so by often embarrasing the government and the military brass, he will never receive the Order as he deserves. However, as an individual, I can still nominate him.

For his service to the nation, I nominate Scott Taylor of
Esprit De Corps magazine for the Order of Canada.

BCM // 2:39 PM


World Economic Forum Countdown

This coming weekend, the
World Economic Forum will be held in New York. The usual gang of looters will be showing up to protest and demand the fulfillment of their limitless demands.

Back in April when the Anti-Capitalists were demonstrating (rioting) at the Quebec City Summit, I couldn't believe the basic premise of their activities: "vandalism is not violence". Breaking windows, burning, graffitti and looting were simply legitimate methods of political protest.

I wonder, if Anti- abortionists bombed an abortion clinic while it was closed for the night, would that be considered a legitimate political protest by the Anti Capitalists? After all, a clinic is just a building filled with equipment. It's just private property, right?

If a person were to throw a rock through Naomi Klein's window while yelling a denounciation of her politics, would she say "hmm, I think this person has a legitimate issue with what I am doing to the world"? Would she pick up the phone instead and scream for the police? The former is what her followers claim to expect of the world leaders they attempt to intimidate.

I'm very interested to see if the cultural changes that have occured post-september affect the reaction to their protests. Perhaps the residents of New York will not be pushed around in the same fashion that other cities have been at previous protests.

BCM // 1:51 PM


"America's abundance was created not by public sacrifices to "the common good," but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America's industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance -- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way."

(Ayn Rand)

BCM // 12:28 PM


"...In the daaaays of Hiiiiigh Ad-vent-ure."

Break out the kettle drums!
Conan 3 is on the way!

BCM // 9:17 AM


Modern Day Magi

Megan McArdle (whose birthday is today) via Tim Blair, we get the link to the Chronicles of George, a litany of tech Helpdesk horror stories. Megan's blog relates her own experiences as a Help desk tech. Worth reading.

I have nothing but respect for the people of the help desk, as you might have guessed by the title of this post. They make the magic box work. You are never going to see here the kind of posts that Steven DenBeste makes on a regular basis about technical specs of different computers and programs. I know not, and I know I know not.

BCM // 7:38 AM


Jim Davis returns from his Accountant's Office

Garfield cartoon pretty much sums up the incentives in a mixed economy like Canada's.

BCM // 7:25 AM


Back to being Capital "C" Cranky

Going to sleep last night was very difficult. Ideas for different things to post here kept running through my head at 100kph. This makes very sleep difficult. Bad sleep makes me cranky again.

Thankfully there is coffee. A nice large steaming "Royal Blend" from the Second Cup gives me the will to live once again.

When I was growing up, any major intersection in Toronto had a gas station. We've moved beyond that now: today there isn't always a gas station, but there is always a coffee shop. From Starbucks to Second Cup to our beloved Tim Hortons, Canada runs on Coffee. We must move to safeguard our national interest from our vulnerability to having our caffine cut off.

BCM // 6:36 AM


"No, no! It's Wingardium LevioSA!"

Canadian Dollar at $0.63 USD, up $0.0083 overnight.

Now taking bets on when the Gov't decides that everything is alright again and they can go back to claiming that a low dollar is good for us.

I'm just curious, has the Gov't actually set a specific goal of where they want to get the Loonie trading? Have they put a timeframe on the goal?

BCM // 6:14 AM


Today on "Crocodile Hunter": The Rarest Animal: The Funny Economist

Since I graduated with an economics degree, I feel quite all right calling down fire on my position. Here's a
collection of economist jokes to soothe you while you digest the folies of my fellows who work for alphabet soup organizations like the IMF.

BCM // 6:00 AM


GST Story

Back in 1990, I was a teenager working in a Canadian Tire store. When the New Year rolled around, Brian Mulroney's value added tax, the GST came into effect, replacing the old Manufacturer's Sales Tax. The old MST was about 13% and had been levied on Canadian manufacturers, leaving imports untaxed. The MST was also a hidden tax, included in the sticker price. The new GST was supposed to be a better tax, as it was to be charged on both Canadian and imported goods and it was to be visible- charged on top of the sticker price so you'd know how much you paid.

When the transition came, we had to go around the store and find the products that were previously subject to the MST and re-price them to remove the MST component. Charging both the MST and the GST on those products would have not been fair. So, by the end of the first two weeks of January, goods that had been $2.99 were now priced at $2.64, plus 7% GST, $9.99 became $8.84 plus 7% GST and so forth. The imports prices remained unchanged but now had GST added at checkout.

Two weeks after that, we were instructed to go around the store again. $2.64 plus GST became $2.99 plus GST, $8.84 plus GST became $9.99 plus GST.

Replacing a hidden tax with a visible tax was Brian Mulroney's biggest mistake. If he'd made it a hidden tax, most Canadians wouldn't even know what the GST was, just like they hadn't known what the MST was. Politically it was a mistake. In other ways it was a very good idea- if the Liberals had a death wish, all they'd have to do would be to raise the GST. Making the tax visible makes it very hard for the Gov't to raise the tax. After all, the art of taxation is plucking as many feathers from the goose as possible with the least amount of hissing. (I don't recall who I'm quoting- I'll credit when I find out)

BCM // 5:50 AM


Monday, January 28, 2002:

A Big Non-Cranky "Thank You!"

....To Daimian Penny of
Daimnation! for linking to me! Of course, in a nation where people say "thank you" to ATMs and to elevators that open for them, I feel the need to find something more sincere than plain old thank you. I'm a bit stumped.

Welcome to anyone coming over from Daimnation! It's a pleasure to have you visit!

BCM // 3:54 PM


Root Causes

According to the
Freedom House, Saudi Arabia is one of the least free countries in the world, along with North Korea and Iraq.

Just because the Princes of the House of Saud don't lounge around in fatigues or pose with an AK-47 does not make them worthy of being our friends.

Apparently, the majority of the detainees at Guantanamo are Saudis. Just curious, how much of Europe's oil comes from Saudi Arabia? Might wanting to please the Saudis have anything to do with their loud protestations over the detainments in Cuba? Not to mention that U.S. civilian and military merchandise exports to the country in 2000 were reported to have totaled $6.23 billion. Might Europe hope to pick up some of that business if there is a rift between the US and the House of Saud?

Nahhhh. I'm dreaming.

BCM // 2:33 PM



"Wingardium Leviosar!"
Canadian Dollar closes at $0.6217 USD, up $0.001.

BCM // 2:03 PM


Infamy at Last

Last week,I wrote to Lawrence Garvin, who runs the blog
What Fresh Hell..... about a comment one of his readers, Rick Glasel had made that he'd posted about the Canadian dollar. I wrote in to disagree, and my email has been published. Gracias! This is, of course, only the first step in my nefarious scheme to dominate the world. Actually, not the whole thing, just the good parts.

What Fresh Hell.... is official Canadian content. Keep a record of your visits for when the CRTC starts requiring CanCon for your websurfing.

BCM // 2:01 PM


Democracy: A CIA plot.

In any discussion where I defend the U.S, the discussion on the other side tends to go one direction and one place in about sixty seconds, Central America in the 80's. Specifically, Nicaragua. So, what has happened since then?

Democracy. Even when given a chance to return to Ortega and Sandanista rule,
the nicaraguans rejected them. By a percentage that would commonly be called a landslide.

"The swearing-in took place in Nicaragua's National Baseball Stadium. About 15,000 people sat for hours under a scorching sun and 90-degree heat to pay tribute to democracy. Ninety-three percent of eligible Nicaraguans had voted in the elections; Bolaños had beaten Ortega by 14 points. On this day, the people were there to inaugurate a new president and celebrate the triumph over Sandinista left-wing totalitarianism and the corruption of past governments.

"As the 11-member U.S. delegation was announced, the crowd erupted into cheers and chants of 'U.S.A.' Some people waved American flags."

Via Tim Blair, Australian wunderblogger. There's so much good stuff on his site today. In particular, the way he inserts himself into transcrips of media reports. Check it out.

BCM // 9:50 AM


Remember Shidane Arone

As pointed out by
Damian Penny, John Godfrey, a Liberal MP is concerned about what Canadian forces in Afghanistan would do with any captured Taliban/ Al- Queda fighters. According to Godfrey, we should hand any prisoners over to the local Afghan government rather than over to the Americans, given the concerns about the US treatment of detainees in Cuba.


Perhaps the Americans should demand any prisoners we take from us on grounds of our brutal treatment of Somali prisoners back in the early 90's? Torture and murder should be of far greater concern to the international community than shaving detainees and providing them with food, medical attention and the Koran.

BCM // 8:08 AM



The opening title of the
Mechwarrior 4 soundtrack seems to be a perfect fit for an opening theme Tom's Star Trek campaign. If you want a copy, don't even bother trying Indigo/chapters. Amazon all the way. Speaking of which, check these other prices for stuff there like Tome and Blood for D+D, or the Star Wars sourcebook: Dark Side or even the core rulebook. Can you feel the seductive power of your credit cards? Hmmm. credit cards are definitely of the Dark Side: quicker, easier, more seductive. Plus, they always extract a greater price in the long run.

BCM // 6:17 AM


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