What an awesome movie! I went to see The Brotherhood of the Wolf" last night. It was so fantastic that I'm going to see it again tonight. One of the newspaper ad blurbs called it "a seventeenth century matrix" and I have to agree. It has that level of action and interest. There's intrigue, romance, horror and action all wrapped up into one great looking two and a half hour package. I am going to be raving about this movie for the next week or so. I will be dragooning my friends into seeing it. Better than a dozen Hollywood movies of the last year. Super!
Yes, there are many cliche action movie/hero bits, but they are so well done you don't care.
Did I mention that it's an awesome movie? It's a really, really really awesome movie!
You know Ivan, when I was a young fellow, bored and irritable on a long drive, my Mother would urge me to use my imagination. I think that's good advice, Ivan and I offer it to you. Imagine what you could do if you initiated some change instead of complaining about the lack of change. Imagine taking a principled stand for something you value instead of complaining that nobody is giving you your marching orders. Imagine yourself, as a member of the government, acting in the interest of the country rather than the interest of your political party. Can you picture it, Ivan?
A Liberal taking a principled stand? initiating change? Acting in the interest of the country? Actually, I'm afraid I sure as hell can't imagine it.
"During the Clinton administration, Enron was a corporate supporter for those who demanded international energy controls to reduce so-called global warming. From 1994 to 1996, the Enron Foundation contributed $990,000 to the Nature Conservancy. The Conservancy's "Climate Change" project promotes global-warming theories, a key component of the Kyoto Protocol. Indeed, one internal Enron memo — circulated immediately after the 1997 Kyoto meeting — shows the company believed that the treaty could provide it with a financial windfall. According to the memo, which was first reported by the Washington Post, the Kyoto treaty "would do more to promote Enron's business than will almost any other regulatory initiative outside of restructuring the energy and natural-gas industries in Europe and the United States."
Last June, President Bush refused to sign the treaty, saying it "is, in many ways, unrealistic" and that "it's not sound public policy." Despite pressure from green groups, the administration pulled out of last fall's meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco, on the treaty's implementation."
So Enron donated just short of a million dollars to Nature Conservancy. Exactly how much again did Enron contribute to Bush's election campaign? Nowhere near as much
I expect to see an investigation soon about how Enron tried to use its connections in the NGO world to secure a bailout and NGO intervention. After all, if Bush is supposed to have been tarred by Enron's contributions to his campaign, then the enviro groups are tarred, feathered and burned.
""Chairman Arafat must...choose, once and for all the option of peace over violence," testified Secretary of State Colin Powell before Congress on Tuesday. If you had a dollar for every time an American official from the President on down, has said this over the last eight years, you could fund the Pentagon."
The reference to how "democratic" theft is supposed to make it more palatable is quite relevant. This is the democracy that leftists desire. Many of them don't consider Canada or the US democratic in the least because the majority cannot simply take or impose what it wants. What the majority is supposed to want of course always seems to be in perfect accord with their beliefs. Strange, that.
The foreign terrorist threat in the United States is one of the most important issues we face.... We now face distinct possibilities of mass civilian murder the likes of which have not been seen World War II.
He'd certainly be someone they would want to talk to and get insights from.
Damian Penny wrote to remind me that the incident with Shiela Copps was later found to have been much exaggerated in the media. (I'm sure he must have had to wash his hands after writing that email. Defending a Liberal in the interest of accuracy must have been tough.) It would appear that the comparison wasn't as valid as I'd made out. I apologize to my readers for the error.
No apology to Sheila Copps though. Not until she gives me and every other Canadian the apologies we deserve for several of the things she's done over the last few years. Like resigning for breaking the promise to axe the GST. Then standing for the byelection caused by her resignation. She won easily. The rest of Canada may hate her, but her constituents seem to appreciate that she can bring home the bacon.
"David M. Walker is the General Comptroller of the GAO and is suing Vice President Dick Cheney to get notes, minutes, and tons of other information from Cheney's energy policy meetings last year. Did you know that Henry Waxman and John Dingall first demanded that Walker get this information on April 19 of last year -- months before Enron was even an issue? Did you know that David Walker was appointed to the GAO by the Clinton administration? Did you know that before Clinton moved him to the GAO in 1998, Walker held the job of "Global Managing Director of Human Capital Services Practice" at Arthur Andersen, Enron's auditor and financial advisor? Did you know that Walker still served on the board of Arthur Andersen until last month? Have you ever heard any media outlet mention any possible legitimate reasons for Enron's failure, e.g., the sudden drop in energy prices in California last year or Enron's loss of a $3 billion power plant in India (a deal which was carefully orchestrated by the Clinton administration in Enron's favor)? Have you heard any comparisons to Pacific Gas & Electric going bankrupt a full eight months before Enron? No? Neither have I. I wonder why? "
Some of the questions are very valid. Others fairly easily answered. PG&E didn't have the same kind of accounting irregularities that Enron had. Everyone also knew that PG&E was in trouble, where Enron suddenly folded like a house of cards.
Now, the Democrat on the GAO having been a Director of Arthur Andersen. That's interesting. So is the role of the India project. I would very much like to see some more reporting on these issues. I've seen the reports of how the Clinton administration got Enron the India deal, and the donations that made their way to the Dems. I'd be very interested in finding out how much the India deal might have been responsible for their failure, if at all.
I only wish that Neal would link his specifics so we can check them.
From an interview on Al-Jazeera with Abdallah Bin Matruk Al-Haddal, a Saudi preacher from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia
"...There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden waged Jihad against the infidels, against the aggressor and the oppressor. America does not want Islamic principles [to exist] on the face of this planet. It does not want the full implementation of Islam's values and principles... It does not want there to be a free Islamic economy."
"...America doesn't want to have any competitors. She wants to be all alone in this world. Osama bin Laden's demands are the demands of his nation. The nation who gave rise to Osama bin Laden is a strong and great nation. It is the nation of the future. Before bin Laden, it gave rise to Salah Al-Din An-Ayyubi [Salladin]."
"...Osama bin Laden [caused] the West to think and read a lot about Islam. Books on Islam disappeared from the market; everybody wants to read about the kind of Islam that does not accept oppression..."
"Like all other Muslims, bin Laden wanted to apply the Shari'a fully with its values, principles, economics, media, and education. Even in sports there should be Shari' sport."
"I don't believe that the attack on America [on September 11th] was perpetrated by bin Laden or the Muslims. I think differently. I believe it was a scheme. What is happening now is a continuation of an ancient attack. It is a continuation of the Jewish deception and the Jewish-Zionist wickedness which infiltrates the U.S.... I am surprised that the Christian U.S. allows the 'brothers of apes and pigs' meaning the Jews] to corrupt it. [The Jews] have murdered the prophets and the messengers. [The Jews] are the most despicable people who walked the land and are the worms of the entire world. They are all evil. And why? Because they are deceiving and plotting aggressors..."
Just curious: why hasn't Israel done their utmost to acquire a few missile submarines? Wouldn't it make sense to have a few to ensure that Israel's nuclear capability isn't overwhelmed by a suprise attack?
Of course, maybe they have tried. I don't think there are many countries who would sell them one. Even the U.S. would be very leery of the idea.
If CNN reports the nasty Israelis blowing up Palestinian factories, remember this report. When the civillian machine lathes were donated to the PA, I seriously doubt that production of missiles what was intended.
The description for Argentina in this article. The author calls for an authoritarian government for Argentina. I don't agree on general principles. I still don't understand exactly how people conclude that everything will be better, if we just take away the people's freedom. (Just for a little while, mind you!)
I'd say that the production of this movie was part of a conspiracy to discredit the stock market. "Coincidentally" announced just as the Enron hearings are continuing. But, I'm not Ted Rall. This is just Hollywood as usual. They've never needed a conspiracy in place to bash capitalism. Just business as usual.
Let me guess, the evil capitalists of the stock market are responsible for whatever bad happens in the movie. All they want to do is to set up a new form of exploiting the workers! Can someone please make a movie about Marx writing the Communist Manifesto in a similar vien?
So, after the exam last night, I went over to the World's Biggest Bookstore and picked up a new hardcover novel, a sequel to a book I've re-read twice. $40 cdn for a hardcover. Damm. Thankfully the discount card and a few coupons reduced that to a managable $28. I already have a pile of books to read at home, but any David Weber novel automatically goes to the top of the list. It's been that way ever since reading his novel On Basilisk Station, the book which introduces the character of Honor Harrington. I once saw a fan website with the title "Why I go on death rides with Honor Harrington". That guy got it exactly right. (Interestingly enough, I see that the link I inserted for Basilisk station now contains the entire book online. Fantastic!) I have seen many people read that first book. I've always advised them that once they get withing forty pages of the end of the book, don't make plans. I know this is self-indulgent, but I'm going to post the cover blurb. Because I love this book. Read the first, and it's virtually guaranteed you'll be reading the next eight.
"INTRODUCING HONOR HARRINGTON
Having made him look a fool, she's been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.
Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship's humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.
The aborigines of the system's only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.
Parliament isn't sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called "Republic" of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn't work to police the entire star system.
But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They've made her mad."
Anyway, after that I went for a nice cold beer or two and went home. Today, I have the great feeling of not carrying around that bunch of textbooks. Regrettably, I have the duty to myself to call up Oliver and order some new review books to prep for the next exam I'm going to take.
I love that quote! I wish I'd had the opportunity to say that. You can tell that if this man wasn't practicing saying it to himself before he went to talk to the media, he was saying it to himself the rest of the day. It just sounds cool.
I find it interesting how the "Third Way" originally arose out of a desire to avoid socialism in West Germany after WW2. My thought is that the adoption of the "Third Way" by the Labour party in Britian and much of the mixed economy world is a simple adoption of one capitalist principle, and it isn't the free market. The Third Way is an example in "rebranding", just as in advertising consumer goods. Change the name of the product in order to get away from the negative associations of the previous name. Then vigourously promote the old product as something entirely new.
The "Third Way" is still socialism. The aim is still government control of the economy and redistribution of wealth from those according to their means to those according to their needs. The difference is that socialism learned from the fascists that ownership isn't the truly important thing, control is the important thing.
As long as a government can threaten any industry with new regulation and taxes, it has a lever by which to obtain the control it desires. The "Third Way" is simply a socialist acknowledgement that capitalists do a much better job of production and service than nationalized industries do. Why not maintain the same goals, but keep the good horses?
"According to this conservative critique of capitalism, the unfettered free market was a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it had produced enormous wealth and raised the standard of living for millions of Western citizens. ( Read that scentence again.)
On the other hand, it had polluted and defaced the natural world, depleted precious resources, and undermined traditional society.
(And we all know there was no mining that took place before capitalism. No trees were ever cut. No fish were ever caught. Undermining traditional society? Was "l'etat, c'est moi." a society that many would prefer to live in?)
It had subverted natural social hierarchies, destroyed communities, weakened the traditional family, subverted religious faith and patriotism, and rendered rewarding work and real property ownership the privilege of only a privileged few.
(What is a natural social hierarchy? Who decides this? "Subverted...patriotism". News to me. Does the U.S., the most capitalistic society in the world, seem to suffer from lack of patriotism?)
In its stead, it had substituted excessive labor specialization, dehumanizing work, subsistence wages, crass materialism, social atomism, personal alienation, the excessive concentration of wealth, unhealthy factory production, and the proletarianization of society.
Why is materialism always referred to as "crass"? Is any material desire beyond your basic needs (and who decides what basic needs are?) somehow unworthy? Is wealth more concentrated today than in the age of feudalism? Did the average peasant have any savings? Was working in the fields, breaking your back over a plow humanizing work?
The second sentence of the first paragraph is the important thing to remember here. "(capitalism) had produced enormous wealth and raised the standard of living for millions of Western citizens." Why yes, we have material abundance, longer lives, individual rights and personal property and a vastly better life than under what came before. By the standard of the critique, however, we'd be better off moving to adopt the developing world's lifestyle instead of the other way around.
(Okay, I admit I'm using the article's own summation of the conservative critique as a straw man here. I just damm well wanted to pound on the anti-capitalist argument for a while. is anyone going to deny me that enjoyment?)
The bigger the government, the more lobbying and corruption you will see. More regulation only produces more opportunity for loopholes and more lobbying. The more power the government acquires, the more companies will find it necessary to contribute to the parties to be left alone.
It's a protection racket. If you're aware that your competitor is going to get a grant from the government, it becomes your interest to get one as well to maintain even footing. If a competing industry has persuaded politicians that your industry should be handicapped in order to "make things fair/give them a chance", it becomes your interest to contribute.
When someone holds the power to destroy your livelyhood through regulatory and legislative fiat, it is a perfectly rational decision to attempt to secure influence. Even more so when you are aware that that fiat may be used for entirely political reasons that consider the consequences to you an irrelevant externality.
The whole Campaign finance reform issue is a classic feedback loop. What's the answer to political contributions? more regulations and regulators. When new ways are (quickly) found to get around the rules, more rules are called for. If an industry is viewed as having too much influence in the government, they need to be regulated further. The more they are regulated, the more it becomes necessary for the industry to make friends in government.
Do the reform advocates really believe that if there are "enough" rules that the companies will decide"well, we're not wanted here." "We'll go back to running our business, follow these rules, and ignore the possibility that these people can pass new rules on us at any time." Would this be rational for a company, after having more government rules and regulations imposed on it?
It all goes back to the axiom, "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely". The more power you grant the government, the more corruption there will be.
Jonah Goldberg on the Anti-Globalization protesters. "These kids think they are the future when, in fact, they're stuck in the past. Their solutions — stopping sweatshops, stopping technological advancements in agriculture, stopping the spread of the free market — are the solutions of the reactionary.
Former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo rightly complained in 1999 that anti-globalization forces were trying "to save the people of developing countries from development." He was right to be angry. I know "sophisticated" people don't say this, but economic advancement is the single greatest remedy for what ails the planet. Rich countries are healthier, environmentally cleaner, safer and more respectful of human rights. Wealth even breeds democracy. As George Mason University political scientist Francis Fukuyama writes, "There is not a single historical instance of a democratic country reverting to authoritarianism" once a society has achieved a per capita purchasing power of $6,000 (in 1992 dollars). "Spain, Portugal, Greece, Taiwan and South Korea," writes Mr. Fukuyama, "all made their transitions to democracy at or near this magical figure."
Jonah hits upon one of the greatest problems of capitalism and freedom these days. We can advertise any type of shoe, burger or drink with incredible skill and finesse, but we don't promote capitalism. There's always been this reluctance to stand up for the best system of governance and economics the world has seen.
Why don't we stand up and say that economic advancement is the best hope for the world?
Capitalists have abdicated the debate on how the world will best advance to the left for the last century. As a result, the public discourse is almost exclusively dominated by the left in their terms. Capitalists feel the need to justify their profits in terms of "the greater social good", where that term has been exclusively defined as wealth redistribution and bigger government.
If you allow your opponents to dictate the terms of the debate, you will lose.
Capitalism has the evidence in its favour, has had for years. Socialist mixed economies around the world have experienced slower growth in living standards, if not outright penury if they started as undeveloped countries. The most capitalist nation in the world, the U.S., has provided the highest standard of living to the greatest number of people in its population and continues to power ahead to even higher standards of living. The full command economies of the communist world were abject failures, except at exterminating their own people and exporting weapons.
If the current differences in growth between the U.S. and the mixed economies of the world continue, we are going to be facing a future in which the poor of the U.S. will have incomes greater than the middle class in the mixed economies of the world.
There have been some recent efforts to defend capitalism and promote its virtues, specifically the Walk For Capitalism. There haven't been anywhere near enough. One of the reasons I started this blog was that I wanted to be heard and promote the argument that capitalism is the best system humanity has generated in history. It is not a coincidence that with the evolution of capitalism in the last few centuries that we have seen such an amazing leap forward in human progress. Capitalism is the mechanism that has unleashed the fantastic potential of human creativity and effort.
The alternatives of communism and the mixed economy have been attempted. Communism buchered its own citizens and kept them in penury. It sheltered an elite and eternally promised the people that paradise was five years away. The mixed socialist economy only survives as a parasite on the capitalist system by dragging down the vast majority of those who live under it. Both of these systems are derivatives of the monarchy. All power ultimately resides in the state, all ultimately belongs to the state and can be demanded at the state's whim.
If we really want less influence politics, then we have to take away the reason it came into exisitence. Reduce the power of the state, not increase it. Humanity's future prosperity and freedom is not going to be created by a government. They may be defended by a government once they are established, but neither freedom or prosperity stem from government writ and control.
Now let's get busy. We have the evidence on our side. Let's work on getting the evidence recognized. The sooner it is, the sooner the rest of the world will be able to join us.
"Nayef said the oil-rich kingdown bears no responsibility for the actions of the hijackers.
"This is the truth ... and I defy anyone to prove it," he added."
Read that last sentence carefully. The Saudis really don't know which side they're on, do they? Hell, I defy anyone to prove the the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had no responsibility for the attacks on September 11th.
"PARIS (Reuters) - Leading intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy will travel to Afghanistan shortly on behalf of the French government to evaluate the needs and expectations of the Afghan population, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.
The dashing philosopher has traveled to the region several times in the past in support of the late Afghan anti-Taliban commander Ahmad Shah Masood, assassinated shortly before the September 11 attacks on the United States. "
We would prefer that the Reuters news service use the less emotive term "bloviating windbag".
We would also ask that you cover an angle to the story that was not mentioned. Clearly the assassins who killed Masood were after Levy. The pen is mightier than the sword according to the latest EU foreign policy, making Levy a military target of note. Levy's assasination would have represented a coup for Al-Queda. Obviously the assassins killed Masood out of frustration at so narrowly missing their target.
Sue-Ann Levy, the journalist writing the commentary is my idea of an ideal commentator. She has not stopped hammering the same points home for a few years now. Her integrity and success can be measured by the number of Toronto politicians who refuse to speak to her. As a Toronto resident, I'm very grateful to her for her continued efforts, as futile as they may sometimes seem.
So let's see if we have this straight: 10-year budget projections that suit Krugman's partisan purposes are "agreed fact," while those that don't are "no more than a guess."
Ken Layne also has assembled a list of the articles that the kidnapped WSJ journalist Daniel Pearl wrote over the last few years. Interesting articles in of themselves, but Layne's conclusion is even more interesting.
"It's time to forget Hotmailed nonsense about some Pakistanis For The Death Of Wall Street Journal CIA Goons nonsense and realize that Daniel Pearl has been writing damning stories from the Muslim world for seven years. He has written about bin Laden, Iran's fundamentalist government, the movement to topple Saddam and the various pipelines of money to the terrorists.
He was set up. And he was targeted because of his history of covering the most criminal states of the Middle East and Central Asia. "
"But in February 1998, things finally came to a head. On a flight home to Houston, Jackson Lee became enraged when flight attendants failed to produce the seafood special she liked. "Don't you know who I am?" she reportedly thundered. "I'm Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. Where is my seafood meal? I know it was ordered!"
UPDATE: oh Gawd, I hadn't noticed until I read it again. They're both named Sheila. People accuse the right of having conspiracies? This can't be chance......
BCM // 11:23 AM
I've been on Israel's side for a number of years now, and I've been questioned on it more than a few times. "But if you were a Palestinian living in the refugee camps, would you still think the same way about Israel?" Of course I wouldn't. What would the odds be I would know anything of freedom or democracy? My education and socialization would be completely different. I'd probably be humming a catchy pop tune I heard called "I Hate Israel" which has been a hit all throught the Middle East. I would have been raised to think that blowing myself up was a perfectly logical and commendable thing to do.
When Jim Jones exhorts his followers to suicide, it's a horrific tragedy. When "militants" teach children to become suicide bombers to kill themselves and others, the international community understands. It was an understandable act of frustration with the peace process and Israeli intransigence.
My decision to support Israel has followed Hanson's argument for years. If I have to choose between supporting a flawed democracy with a free press, rights for women and free markets against a nihilistic dictatorship, the choice is very easy.
Steven DenBeste administers another well thought out slapdown to the voices decrying "American Cutural Imperialism".
"The fundamental flaw with the leftist argument about cultural imperialism is that they assume that Western culture (and in particular American culture) is spreading through force and coercion. The people of the world take our ideas and our culture only because we are shoving it down their throats, and if only we'd stop doing that, our culture would stop spreading and the cultural diversity of the world would be preserved in all its glory.
Does this attitude sound familliar?
Only it's not like that. If there are McDonald's restaurants in Paris, it's because the people of Paris like eating there. No-one goes out on the streets of Paris and forces people into the nearest McDonald's at gunpoint. If no-one wanted to eat there, the restaurants would close.
If people in Cairo wear Levis, if people in Kuala Lumpur wear Nikes, if people in Kabul watch Schwarzenegger movies, if people in Bangalore watch Baywatch, if people in Kinshasa listen to rock music, it's because they like it.
We don't have to actively spread our culture to the world; it is seductive. Cultural competition is darwinian; and one culture can replace another quite easily. It happens because of a billion individual choices by a billion people, not as the acts of a few. We don't have to actively spread our culture, because it is spreading on its own. And so are our political ideals.
This man is going to get crucified by much of the Canadian media over the next few days. If you agree with him, drop him an email of support. His email is Gallaway.R@parl.gc.ca.
"I don't mind CBC radio. I have no problem with that. It's pretty low-cost. But the television is sopping off about $750-million ... some say $1-billion a year and the viewership is like chemical traces," he said.
However, others on the heritage committee say the CBC remains of vital national importance.
Mr. Gallaway plans to introduce a motion asking the government to "take measures to ensure that the television services provided by the CBC become self-financing and are no longer dependent on parliamentary appropriations, in order to facilitate the long-term viability of the CBC."
No, living standards haven't been going up in much of the world. Technology hasn't wiped out many of the diseases we suffered from a hundred years ago. No food supplies haven't grown many times over in the last century. No, the world is not more free than it was even twenty five years ago. No you and your colleagues weren't obsessing about global cooling twenty five years ago.
I would be much more impressed if he had instead given this as a speech on Al-Jazeera, or broadcast to the Palestinian people. In. Arabic.
Let's sample Arafat's op-ed.
"There are those who claim that I am not a partner in peace. In response, I say Israel's peace partner is, and always has been, the Palestinian people. "
Notice he leaves himself out of his reply? The Palestinian people may be, but he sure as hell isn't. This is the man who started the age of terrorist airplance hijackings.
"The Palestinians have a vision of peace: it is a peace based on the complete end of the occupation and a return to Israel's 1967 borders, the sharing of all Jerusalem as one open city and as the capital of two states, Palestine and Israel. It is a warm peace between two equals enjoying mutually beneficial economic and social cooperation. "
Barak offered Arafat 95% of the territories called for by the U.N. and half of Jerusalem in 1999. Arafat walked out of the negotiations without making any counteroffer.
A month and a half later, the Intifada started after Sharon had a walk around the Temple Mount. The visit had been cleared with the Palestinian religious authority who administers the Mount. PA officials have since admitted that the Intefada had already been planned and that Sharon's walk was just the excuse they'd looked for.
"Israeli government practices of settlement construction, home demolitions, political assassinations, closures and shameful silence in the face of Israeli settler violence and other daily humiliations are clearly not aimed at calming the situation.
And the daily efforts of Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah and Fatah are aimed at calming the situation?
"In 1988, the Palestine National Council adopted a historic resolution calling for the implementation of applicable United Nations resolutions, particularly, Resolutions 242 and 338. The Palestinians recognized Israel's right to exist on 78 percent of historical Palestine with the understanding that we would be allowed to live in freedom on the remaining 22 percent, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967."
What is missing here is the acknowledgement of the PA's plan declared in 1974 to accept whatever piece of land in Palestine they could, and to use it as a forward base to annihilate Israel.
"But first, let me be very clear. I condemn the attacks carried out by terrorist groups against Israeli civilians. These groups do not represent the Palestinian people or their legitimate aspirations for freedom. They are terrorist organizations, and I am determined to put an end to their activities."
.....In a New Year's Resolution kinda way, right?
"The personal attacks on me currently in vogue......."
"Yasir Arafat was elected president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996 and is also chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization."
When is the next election scheduled? What is the specific length of your term, Mr. President?
A week and a half ago, I was watching CNBC at work. There was a clip of Arafat talking to his supporters in the West Bank. He was in full speech mode as the voice over at the beginning and end told me about his meeting and house arrest in his compound. Some of Arafat's speech came through. I don't understand many words in Arabic, but there is one that I know.
As he was saying this, he was pumping his arm back and forth, pointing his finger at the audience. I tried to find a news report last week that quoted him on this, but I couldn't find one. Why is it that what this man says in Arabic so rarely gets translated?
*Could there be something exciting happening in Canada?
*Agricultural Vampires... they are everywhere!
*Eat vegetables, die
*We're from Different Planets (on Guantanamo prisoners)
My personal response to the first? No, nothing interesting is happening. Individual provinces occasionally vote in "less government parties", but federally nothing changes. Those of us who do not agree with the current state of affairs are starting to find our voices, perhaps.
Ever so strangely, the provinces seem to elect these "less government" parties right after having out-and-out socialist government. Detailing the mess they created would take..far...too.....long. and involve far too much risk to my blood pressure.
Lots of good stuff over there today, including a reader's opinion of why cats are like Europeans.
"At home this weekend ruminating on European criticism of us, which seems to be picking up, I decided that our cat is a European. He is taken care of, cradle to grave. He gets all he can eat, including treats. He gets a warm house. He gets petted. We clean up his messes, especially that cat box. He even gets free health insurance, in the form of trips to the Vet paid by us--not that he appreciates it. He just meows for what he wants. And to get all these things, all he had to do was give up his claws and his balls. Yes, a good European."
I've been watching the pumps for the last few months. I've seen the price per litre jump up and down like crazy. One day I see the price at 52.3 cents/litre, two days later at 60 cents. Three days later it's 51.1 cents. Those crazy monopolists are trying to confuse the public!
There's been a ten cent band of gas prices for the last couple of months, swinging up and down regularly. This is not the way a monopoly is supposed to operate. A monopoly looks for stable, high prices when it has the market cornered. So why aren't we seeing this? Why the volatility if those evil monopolists are really in control?
Remember that the taxes on the gas also make up half of the price of the gas. The retailer is only receiving about 25-30 cents per litre to cover all of the costs of the gas, refining, transport, retailing, salaries, etc. This volatility is quite likely murder on them.
Also, we get charged GST on the price at the pump. We are getting tax charged on top of the exisitng taxes built into the price. I'd say that double taxation is unfair, but that would be a little redundant given the level of taxes in Canada.
"Federal Transport Minister David Collenette owes the Toronto Star big time. We told more than 2.2 million readers on Saturday that Collenette is in their corner, fighting for them, advocating on their behalf."
Well, nothing like disinterested, objective reporting, is there?
I can't say I blame him. What are they going to do to him if he doesn't? Villify him? Drag his reputation through the mud? Call him names? He knows quite well that the only thing on the politicians' minds is to bash him as much as possible in order to demonstrate their own purity. "No, taking campaign contributions from Enron didn't affect my judgement, no siree! I'm on the side of the angels here, I'm down hard on this corporate crook!"
Yes, Ken Lay has obviously been very responsible in the Enron bankruptcy. If his actions are criminal, prosecute him. If he is responsible for your being ruined, sue him. Asking him to show up in front of these hearings which have the essential goal of crucifying him is similar to the HUAC hearings held during the McCarthy era. I have little pity and less respect for this man, but I don't blame him in the least for deciding not to attend his own public execution.
Oh yeah, while we're on the subject of the entertainment industry, did Alec Baldwin ever leave the US? I remember he was promising to leave the US if Bush won the election. It's hard to tell, it's not like he's worked much in the last few years.......
Even if they do though, how much of a punishment will they get under our Youth Justice System?
Excuse me, but when I was a teen, I damm well knew the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. I knew that if I did something like hanging a dog, it wasn't a joke or a "tragic mistake on the way to growing up". It was amazing to me at that time that I could kill a person and get a maximum of three years incarceration and have my record erased when I reached 18.
How long will it be before some twit starts asking if this is different to what the US is going to do in Guantanamo?
No Mr. Minister, Toronto does not have a funding problem, it has a spending problem.
Toronto increases its budget for almost every item each year and is incapable of saying no to special interest groups. The City keeps putting off selling surplus real estate assets which it doesn't need. There is little enough oversight and control that a consulting contract was recently revealed to have ballooned to double the initial amount and it took a year for people to notice. It took three years for them to eliminate limo rides for Councilors when it was revealed they were costing $80 a ride. The City spends more on homeless shelters than it does on garbage pickup and maintenance. The city has $1.1 billion of debt on the books and is raising property taxes by 4.8% this year.
When a person goes around running up the Visa without regard to how much it is going to cost, we say the person is a spendaholic, not that they have a funding problem. When the Harris Gov't created the Megacity out of the various cities of the Toronto region a few years ago it was supposed to reduce costs. Several severe restrictions were put on the Megacity gov't to ensure it couldn't run out of control. For example, new taxes on business were prohibited. Loans were put in place and funding caps set. unfortunately, for these restrictions to work, the assumption is that the Councilors were going to be rational and live within their means. Big mistake. The approach seems to be very much "apres moi, le deluge."
Why should I surf the net looking for things to blog when I can just look at the front page of the Star every day? It's too easy. Every day this week there's been something in their headlines to write about, but as I say, it's too easy!