Banana Counting Monkey

Friday, March 22, 2002:


Reaching for Sixty-Three-And-One-Whole-Freaking-half!

$0.6344 USD, up 0.0005, 1010am quote

BCM // 8:30 AM


The "Wacky" Flat Tax

Russia is embracing the free market in one of the best ways possible:
the Flat Tax.

Guess what? It works.

Moreover, the Russian flat tax has proven a smashing success since it took effect in January 2001. Russia's economy grew by more than 5% last year while most other nations were mired in recession. Even the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development called Russia's flat tax system a "key accomplishment," a stunning admission since the Paris-based bureaucracy is infamous for complaining about the "unfairness" of nations using low tax rates to lure jobs and capital from high-tax nations.

It also is interesting to note that Russian tax revenues are skyrocketing even though the tax rate now is now far below the 30% top rate of the old system. According to preliminary figures, inflation-adjusted tax revenues climbed by 28% last year. This proves the class-warfare artists in Washington completely wrong when they argue that tax revenues would fall and the rich would get a big tax cut if America adopted such a system. The Russian experience confirms — again — that tax revenues rise under a flat tax.

The left is confronted with a choice, more tax revenues for the government through a lower flat tax or a progressive tax regime. The left chooses making the rich pay, punishing them for their success over more funding available for their programs. here is the motive of the left laid out bare, hurting the rich is more important than helping the poor.

BCM // 7:00 AM


Quote of the Day

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Dorothy Nevill

I always had a problem with that last bit.....

BCM // 6:54 AM


Why Bush is my President, part II

I may be a Canadian, but....

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) -
Cuban President Fidel Castro (news - web sites) abruptly walked out of a major U.N. aid summit in Mexico Thursday, and a senior Cuban official said President Bush (news - web sites) had a hand in his sudden departure.
"I beg you all to excuse me since I am not able to continue in your company due to a special situation created by my participation in this summit and I am obliged to return immediately to my country," Castro said.

Ricardo Alarcon, the president of Cuba's national assembly, refused to give a detailed explanation of why Castro left but said Bush had made it clear he does not want to meet Castro.

"It is his problem and it is up to his psychiatrist to help him deal with it," Alarcon said scathingly.


It's a good day to be a right-wing bastard.

BCM // 5:46 AM


Thursday, March 21, 2002:

For Those In the US

Do you think your taxes are high? Check out the
sort of burden Canadians have.

This is why I want to move to the US. Imagine, I want to actually retain what I earn.

BCM // 1:59 PM


1960s: Police With Dogs Deployed To Prevent Speech
2000s: Police With Dogs Deployed To Allow Speech

David Horowitz reports on his
latest speaking engagement at the University of Michigan.

There were also twelve armed police with dogs in attendance who had been assigned to keep things in order and protect me from physical harm. Welcome to the American university campus, circa 2002.
I also learned that out of a faculty of perhaps 2,000 professors, there is not a single professor available to sponsor the conservative students’ newspaper (The Michigan Review) and club. This does not mean there are no conservatives on the faculty at Michigan, a taxpayer-funded school in a state with a Republican governor; my hosts actually thought there might be as many as six, albeit four in the engineering department. What it does mean is that conservatives are such an endangered species on the Michigan faculty that they are afraid to let anyone know that they are conservative lest their lives be made miserable by leftists who masquerade as liberals. (I was told by one conservative professor at a previous school I had spoken at, that because he had “made the mistake” of letting his views be known he had not been given a raise in 15 years, and by another -- a scientist -- that he was punished in petty (or not so petty) ways as for example by denying him lab space he needed for his work.

BCM // 11:01 AM


Were That I had Posted This Two Days Ago

Amygdala, rejected campaign slogans for the US parties.

One of which I couldn't resist importing for Canada, and backdating a week.

REFORM PARTY: Next time, a sane candidate; we promise.

Actually, I'm quite pleased with Stephen Harper being elected the new leader of the Canadian Alliance. I will now be taking bets for when the Macleans' magazine comes out with it's version of its "How Scary?" cover they did for Stockwell Day.

BCM // 7:40 AM


Heeeerreee Googlebot... Heeeeree Googlebot....

Let's drive Lilek's latest
Screed on Michael Moore right to the top of the Blogdex. This deserves to be just as famous as his Olive Garden screed.

If you haven't read it, Go Thou and do so now. Far too good to excerpt in any way whatsoever.

So, I will excerpt from the Bleat instead. Yet another reason why Lileks rules..

I’d have to call in A Professional. (Visions of Jean Reno at the door with a briefcase containing a disassembled wrench.) To be specific, a plumber.

Ah yes, "Victor. ....... nettouyer" (yes, I undoubtably have the spelling wrong, wrong, wrong. sue me, i hated french class.) That was one of the coolest moments in film I've ever seen. Harvey Keitel's attempt at playing the cleaner in the awful US remake of La Femme Nikita (Point of No Return) couldn't touch Reno. The movie it led to, The Professional was a classic in its own right. As a whole, it wasn't really that good, but the number of incredibly cool moments in the film defies belief.

Why is this man not nationally sydnicated yet?

BCM // 6:46 AM



$0.6324 USD, Down 0.0008, 714 quote.

Michael Walker, in today's Financial Post, starts a
two part series on how to "save" the dollar. He asserts that it is up to individual Canadians to save the dollar, not for international currency traders to recognize the value of the dollar. He is very good in detailing the causes of why our currency is suffering, but I disagree that it is up to individual Canadians to save the currency. The only way it will be saved is if the government gets the hell out of the way and stops hamstringing the creation of wealth in this country.

Talking up the New York financial markets has little effect because the main holder group are actually resident in Canada. The main group to convince that the loonie is undervalued is the vast group of Canadians who have been shifting their holdings to U.S. dollar assets. And, as economist Dale Orr recently pointed out, it isn't where we are now that matters -- it's what people expect to happen in the future that matters. Evidently potential holders simply don't believe that, comparatively speaking, Canadian assets are the best bet.

Sorry Michael, I live here and I can see the trends that you mentioned as the cause of the dollar's decline getting worse, not better. I am one of those Canadians who has been shifting my assets to USD whenever possible. If the Canadian dollar is truly undervalued by the markets, that's just dandy. I wouldn't buy a stock I thought was undervalued now but due to decline in the long term. I don't want to speculate with the money I worked hard for. I am going to invest, not make bets on short term currency movements.

To get the value of the loonie to stop dropping, we must convince more asset owners to be holders of Canadian assets.

Michael has the causality reversed here. Convincing people to hold the dollar is a result of the dollar's value, not the cause of it in the long term. Yes, supply and demand is the basic law of economics that dictates that the more people want a commodity, the more the price rises. However, if the value is not there in the long term, the customers will stop coming back and the value falls anyway. It just takes longer. An advertising campaign can increase demand for a product, but if the customer's needs aren't met by the product, the ad campaign isn't going to have a long term effect.

Admittedly I am being quick off the mark here, not waiting for the second half of the series. the thesis that Michael is seting up is going to require a lot of evidence to persuade me.

BCM // 6:22 AM


Wednesday, March 20, 2002:

Steven Den Beste For Vice President 2004


Steven's posts on
Third World Aid, peacemaking and the state of the world are all excellent, and I would love to hear 1/10 as much sense coming out of the government on a regular basis.

Imagine, instead of a veep who claims he invented the internet, one who can use the internet and discuss it more than knowledgably. Imagine a veep who would say publicly;

You got your French Fries, which are soaked in grease, and your French Toast, which is soaked in eggs, and your French Cooperation, which is soaked in sanctimony.

DenBeste 2008!

BCM // 1:32 PM


Mikey Doesn't Like It

On the Corner,
a reader wrote in to forward the response Michael Moore had to his email expressing his disgust at MM's antics.

MICHAEL MOORE, GENTLEMAN OF THE PEOPLE: A Corner reader took offense at Michael Moore's nasty behavior, as reported in yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune, and wrote Moore to complain about it, calling himself a "former fan." Former Fan forwarded me the e-mail he received from Moore (, reproduced here verbatim (except for the profanity):

"dear former fan, glad you are former! 'casue i don't need any fans who would believe that scummy anti-union paper! that pr--k who wrote that column is best friends with the guy who was married to my sister and abandonned her and the two kids there in san diego. so f--k him, f--k you. everything he wrote was a lie, and i plan on taking action. mike"

What's that? An email address for Mike? Hmmm.

BCM // 12:47 PM


NOW's Fair-Haired Boy

Apparently quite a bit on
money started flowing to NOW back when the decision came down that paula Jones could sue Clinton while he was still in office. To the amount of $700,000.

Well, now we know the price for NOW's silence in attempted rape.

BCM // 12:39 PM


Cuba's Spies

Cuba is not just a harmless little nation with a harmless little dictator.
John J. Miller recaps several recent incidents.

Some of the Wasp [a Cuban spy ring in Miami] Network's deeds were relatively modest, such as making hostile phone calls to Miami Herald editors in the name of anti-Castro groups; the point was to create tension between the press and certain Cuban-American leaders. Other actions, however, were monstrous. Two members, René González (code name: Castor) and Juan Pablo Roque (code name: German), succeeded in joining Brothers to the Rescue, an organization that flies private planes over the Florida Straits in search of people fleeing Cuba in rickety rafts. Once inside the group, they obtained closely held flight schedules, which they passed along to Wasp Network leader Gerardo Hernandez. He transmitted these to Havana in early 1996. Cuba then sent back an order: "Under no circumstances should agents German or Castor fly with BTTR or another organization on days 24, 25, 26, and 27." They didn't — and on February 24, 1996, three planes piloted by the Brothers departed on one of their humanitarian missions. There's been some dispute over whether they actually entered Cuban airspace, but none over the fundamental fact of what happened that day: A Cuban MiG jet destroyed two of the planes, killing four people. A week after the shootdown, Cuban intelligence sent its Miami agents a congratulatory message through a numbers station: "We have dealt the Miami Right a hard blow, in which your role has been decisive." They called their murderous effort "Operation Scorpion."

Should be essential reading for everyone in Canada and the US.

BCM // 11:48 AM


Campus Nonsense

There is now a clearinghouse for stories about the leftist stupidity going on in american universities,
Campus Nonsense.

Looks great. I know I'll be checking up regularly. One post from Brandeis University caught my eye.

The latest outrage is a current student referendum to stop selling Kraft products, basically because Kraft is owned by Philip Morris, which produces cigarettes. Among the arguments used to draw
support for this vote is the argument that students should vote to ban Kraft because Philip Morris donates to the Republican Party. When I questioned the senator who wrote this, he admitted it was propganda and then called me and my co-editor "Nazis." As I'm sure you all know, there's some brilliant Liberal thought on campuses these days.

Sorry, but on every campus I've ever been on, the leftists tend to be the biggest smokers around. I guess this would be a classic example of cutting off the nose to spite the face. Or, just an example of the willful inability to think.

BCM // 11:00 AM


Cuban Literacy

Jeff Jacoby
continues his series on Cuba.

''THERE ARE NO banned books in Cuba,'' Fidel Castro declared in February 1998, ''only those which we have no money to buy.''

Of course, books are banned in Cuba; just try to locate one that criticizes Castro. Bookstores and public libraries here carry works exalting Marxism, but you won't find ''The Gulag Archipelago'' or ''Darkness at Noon'' on their shelves.

So when Ramon Humberto Colas, a psychologist in Las Tunas, heard Castro's words, he and his wife Berta Mexidor decided to put them to the test. They designated the 800 or so books in their home as a library and invited friends and neighbors to borrow them for free. And so was born the first of Cuba's independent libraries - independent of state control, of censorship, and of any ideology save the conviction that it is no crime to read a book.

The men and women who run these humble libraries risk government retaliation; several have been threatened, interrogated, raided by the police - or worse. Colas and Mexidor were evicted from their home, denounced in the (state-owned) press, and repeatedly arrested. Their books were confiscated. They were fired from their jobs. Their daughter was expelled from school. Government persecution eventually drove them from Cuba, but the seed they planted bore fruit. Today there are more than 100 independent libraries in homes across the country, each one a little island of intellectual freedom.

[...] when I ask which books are the most popular, she doesn't hesitate: ''`Animal Farm' and `Nineteen Eighty-four.''' It does not come as a surprise that readers in this hemisphere's only totalitarian outpost hunger for the greatest antitotalitarian novels ever written.
On my first day in Havana, I visited Oscar Espinosa Chepe, an economist who lost his job at the National Bank of Cuba - and whose wife was fired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - when he began calling publicly for economic reform. Bluff and good-natured, he describes himself as a former true believer who gradually came to realize the truth about Castro.

''He turned out to be someone who did everything for his own power,'' Espinosa says. ''Life in Cuba is a mixture of Stalinism and `caudillismo''' - rule by a caudillo, a Latin dictator - ''and there are no parties, no opposition, no elections, no choices.''

Another one-time true believer, Martha Beatriz Roque, was a professor of statistics at the University of Havana who fell out of favor for praising glasnost and perestroika. In 1997, she and three other dissidents released a report criticizing Cuban communism and urging a peaceful transition to democracy. For that offense, they were arrested on charges of spreading ''enemy propaganda,'' and convicted in a one-day show trial that was closed to the public. Roque and two of the others spent nearly three years in prison; the fourth, Vladimiro Roca, is still there.

Roque has been detained by the police 17 times; her home has been broken into and searched; she assumes her phone is tapped and her visitors spied on.'

I have a sneaking suspicion that Michael Moore's books aren't banned.

BCM // 10:23 AM


Bully Governments

Diane Francis extends the rule of law from civil society to the international scene. We're not talking international courts in the Hague, however.

The so-called Bush Doctrine is a welcome advance in global history.

In essence, the doctrine dictates that the United States and allies reserve the right to invade any country that is exporting terrorism, or harboring it.

Naturally the French, and their usual sympathizers in Ottawa, disdain such tough unilateralism. But their attitudes are just thinly disguised anti-Americanism.

And they are simply not logical.

That's because the new geopolitical order -- as defined by President George Bush -- is merely the global version of what goes on in a civilized society every day.

In Canada, for instance, families are free to go about their business unless they harm one another or act out against other members of society.

If a person starts shooting up his neighbourhood, he will find his home surrounded within minutes by police in bullet-proof vests who intend to kill him unless he surrenders. He will discover that his rights have been suspended until he surrenders his weapon. Eventually, his home will be invaded by cops, searched for evidence or victims, and his liberty will be summarily lost until a court acquits him or grants him bail. If he has dependents, his children will be taken from him and put into foster care until courts can decide whether he can ever have custody of them again.

BCM // 10:10 AM


All They Need Is A Flash Gordon Death Ray

BCM // 10:02 AM


Batshit Conspiracy Theories

The apes of the Great Monkey Cause have been discussing some of the conspiracy theories out there. Specifically, the idea that
the Boeing which crashed into the pentagon was actually shot down by F-16s and that the damage to the Pentagon was caused by a truck bomb.

The Kong supplies the [Font: paranoid] REAL TRUTH about what happened. [/font:paranoid]

[Curioius George], you are completely and inexcusably wrong. The airplane was infact shot down by a UFO piloted by "greys", who did so on behalf of their allies in the CIA. In return the CIA provided the "greys" with 103 human captive for fiendish experiments. These copsirators within the CIA or course, organized and orchestrated the entire Sept. 11 tragedy as an excuse to slaughter our gentle and peace loving muslim brothers in Afganistan, to advance the evil corporatist plot to extimate all non-white, non-fascist, non-western peoples.

BCM // 8:31 AM


Cube Root Of Ennui Bored.

BCM // 8:22 AM


Paradise Lost

Remember my comments the other day about how Alberta looked like a really good place to move, having lower taxes and a sane provincial gov't?

Well, the dream is over,
Alberta's budget raises taxes.

Okay, it's not really that bad. Comparitively they're still way ahead of (lower than) the rest of the country.

While individual Albertans will pay more in taxes, corporations and small businesses will enjoy an $81-million tax cut. That's down sharply from the $275 million originally planned, thanks to a budget shaped by a massive drop in resource revenues.

"These are challenging times," Finance Minister Patricia Nelson said Tuesday in her budget speech.

"A time when great optimism for the future is bounded by the shock of Sept. 11, the reality of lower oil and gas prices and uncertain markets. Alberta is not immune. We are once again facing forces that are simply beyond our control."

The budget boosts health-care premiums by 30 per cent, a move that will cost families $240 more a year. British Columbia is the only other province that charges health premiums.

Smokers who were paying about $6.50 for 25 cigarettes will now have to pay an additional $2.25 in tax on each pack, making Alberta's tobacco taxes among the highest in Canada. The province hopes the price shock will cut consumption by 17 to 25 per cent.
(Oh no they don't.)
Hey Emily! Move to Alberta! That should help you keep to quitting!

The cost of a dozen beers from a major brewery, about $17.20 now, will go up 40 cents next month, but the tax on a case from Alberta-based brewers will drop by $1.60.

Tax goes up by 45 cents on a standard-sized bottle of wine and 60 cents on spirits.

Lifting a freeze on school property tax will cost property owners $45 million. The amount individual homeowners will pay will vary by community.

Albertans will pay 20 per cent more when they register their vehicles, file court documents and pay traffic fines.

The tax and fee increases are the first Albertans have faced in seven years. They almost match the government's projected $724-million surplus.

Okay, that bears repeating. No tax increases in seven years. How many other places in the world can say that?

"This a measure we don't take lightly," said Nelson, who noted the government hasn't increased personal income taxes and doesn't have a sales tax.

"We simply cannot shield Albertans from the combined impact of higher costs and lower revenues."

While projecting 2.5 per cent economic growth in Alberta, the government has overhauled its bold plan announced last year to cut corporate and business taxes by $1 billion by 2005. The new target for the cut is $600 million.

The corporate tax rate of 13.5 per cent will drop by a half a percentage point this year instead of the two percentage points previously planned. The small business tax rate drops to 4.5 per cent from five per cent. It was supposed to drop to four per cent.

Small businesses will see their exemption rate rise by $50,000 to $350,000. It was originally planned to go up by $100,000.

Nelson blamed volatile oil and natural gas revenues for her tough budget.

Last year the government boosted spending by more than 22 per cent and hired more than 1,000 staff based on projected energy revenues of $7.5 billion.
That was a mistake.
With energy revenues this year pegged at $3.7 billion, the government has cut overall spending by eight per cent and eliminated 300 jobs.

"Albertans understand how volatile the province's revenues can be. They know that when energy prices go up, they can just as easily come crashing down," she said.

The government's budget projections are based on an oil price of $20 US per barrel and a natural gas price of $3 per thousand cubic feet. The benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude was trading this week in the $25 US range.

Every dollar change in the price of oil nets the province $108 million. Every 10-cent change in the natural gas price is worth $163 million.

Despite the overall spending cuts, the Health Department will receive an extra $468 million to ensure the medicare system keeps pace with Alberta's growing population.

Education will benefit from a $208-million increase, including $45 million saved during the recent teachers' strike. School boards can spend the money as they see fit.

The government studied a proposal to raise welfare rates but decided against it even though such benefits haven't been increased in a decade.

Infrastructure projects such as roads, schools and hospitals worth $631 million have been delayed until the economy improves. The $50-million community lottery grant program has been eliminated.

Wheee! Responsible government!!!!

I like what they've done overall. Where taxes increased, they fall on those who actually use the services instead of taxing everyone whether they use the services or not. I am still considering moving to Alberta.

BCM // 7:26 AM


Quote Of The Day

Never discourage anyone...who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

Plato (427 AD - 347 AD)

BCM // 7:25 AM


Oh Stop It, You're Killing Me!

TD Bank President proposes
new forum to study new means of competitiveness.

But, to help spur the private sector, Mr. Baillie said in a speech the bank will set up a forum, to be chaired by Bob Rae, the former Ontario premier, that will solicit ideas on innovation and competitiveness from a wide range of social, labour and business groups.

Bob Rae, former socialist premier of Ontario. The man who bought Ontario the $10 billion budget deficit, massive unemployment and expanded welfare benefits and five years of socialist lunacy. Charile, WTF are you thinking? You've had some good ideas, but this is just crazy. The best possible interpretation I can put on it is that you just want to get all of the usual suspects ("wide range of social, labour and business groups") in a committee room and lock the door then throw away the key.

Otherwise, everything else you say is on the right track.

Canadian companies have relied for too long on low wages, cost-cutting and a low-value dollar to be competitive and must become more innovative in their management and in the products and services they offer, Charles Baillie, TD Bank Financial Group chairman and chief executive, said yesterday.
"We have to come up with ideas to out-compete others in the world rather than just relying on a deteriorating dollar, because if we do, we'll lose our best people and they are the ones that start companies and make companies grow," Mr. Baillie said.
Mr. Baillie said the low dollar has been harmful to productivity -- the efficient use of labour, equipment and capital -- and has hurt the ability of companies to compete.

"The more you rely on devaluation, the less competitive you have to be and the less early you have to get up in the morning and the more time you can spend on the golf course. So I think it [the low dollar] has hurt quite a bit," Mr. Baillie said.

He believes Canada should follow through on the goal he set a year ago of having a standard of living equal to or better than that in the U.S. within 15 years.
In another initiative, Mr. Baillie said the economics team of the bank will undertake a full study of Canada's cities to identify ways that all levels of government and the private sector can make Canadian cities world class.

"Despite the fact these centres attract job-generating business clusters and create much of the wealth of the country, they are shamefully under-funded," he said.

Okay, I disagree with last bit. "World Class" is a phrase that if banned permanently from Canada would do more to restrain business and government stupidity than almost any other measure. You want to get government assistance or get public support, chant that your project will make the city, the province or country "world class" and that without it, it's hicksville. Toronto is reeeeaaaalllllllyyyy bad for this.

BCM // 7:20 AM


The Great White North Hope (and pray)

Canadian Dollar $0.6330 USD, up 0.0021, 802 am quote.

Last week our Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Manley was interviewed by Bloomberg and there was a bit of controversy about what he actually said. So,
here's the transcript.

Why [is] the dollar low?

... It's fundamentally a productivity issue and I worry that too many Canadian firms are profiting mightily from a 62 cent dollar who would be hard pressed to compete at an 80 cent dollar, for example, which is roughly in purchasing power parity terms where the dollar should be.

This was taken as saying that Canadian firms need a low dollar, so therefore the gov't favours a weak dollar. His next statement is to declare that the Gov't has no official policy on where the dollar should be. Really? I could believe that.

Mr. Manley displays more common sense than I've ever seen from a Liberal.

How are companies now going to make those investments you're talking about? Is it contingent on the government to somehow help them? How do you make sure that investments happen? Is it up to you, is it up to them?

It's not up to us. The private sector has got to make the investments. And the ones that will be here, that will come out of the slowdown and do well on the recovery, are the ones that allocated their resources to be prepared to be ahead of the curve. The ones that cut their capacity to innovate are going to be the ones that are going to be slow.

They'll either fail or become acquisition targets or they'll just enter the land of the living dead, you know, and carry on.

I'm not worried, they probably made him Deputy PM in order to break him of that bad habit.

BCM // 7:04 AM


Tuesday, March 19, 2002:

I'm Bored

It's one of those days. I'd bored with work today. Batshit bored. Gnawing on the furniture for a moment's distraction and amusement bored. Tempted to take up smoking just for an excuse to take breaks every twenty minutes bored. Square root of ennui bored.

BCM // 12:38 PM


Darwin Works

For a prime example of how not to use a blog, check this
story of a girl who goes out on a date with a guy and finds that he's a webloggers, and gains some insight to exactly what he was thinking while on their date.

Via Megan McArdle.

BCM // 11:03 AM


Quote Of The Day

An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.

H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

BCM // 8:14 AM


Voices of The Rational

From the Middle East, as compiled by Memri's reform project and related in
the Weekly Standard.

From an interview with the dean of Shari'a and Law at Qatar University, Abd al-Hamid Al-Ansari, published in the Qatari daily Al-Raya on January 6, 2002:

"Our situation must change; there must be more democratic, social, and economic openness, more respect for human, women's, and minorities' rights. The American people does not respect anyone who doesn't respect its own people . . . The world is changing rapidly, and we must not be mere spectators.

"We must understand that Islam is not the object of conspiracies by anyone. We must free ourselves of [our] complex of hatred and hostility. We must not remain trapped in theories of global conspiracies in our relations with the West and the U.S. . . . Why doesn't the Arab community [in the U.S.] act, instead of disseminating exaggerations about the capabilities of the Zionist lobby? . . . We must know how to speak to the American mentality and convey what we want.

"Yet before all this, we must free ourselves of the hatred and hostility that rule our newspapers and flow through our television channels, ignited by the pulpits of our mosques . . ."

From The U.S. and the Complexities of the Arab Mind, by former Libyan prime minister Abd Al-Hamid
Al-Bakkoush, writing in the London daily Al-Hayat, February 12, 2002:

"It is the Arab policy that sowed strife amongst Arab countries. It was Iraq's invasion of Kuwait that created the need for direct American protection.

"This is the Arab political reality that began the day some leaders instilled within us the intoxication of victory, and the fantasies of brotherhood with the U.S.S.R. and of leadership of the nonaligned states bloc.

"We should not have joined the anti-American groups when we excel at nothing. Confronting the U.S. when we do not have the means for confrontation cannot be called wise. We must rid ourselves, as much as possible, from our [present] political thought, from our fanaticism . . ."

From a letter to the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, published on December 21, 2001, under the headline "Our Culture of Demagogy Has Engendered bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri, and Their Ilk." The writer is Dr. Sahr Muhammad Hatem of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:

"Instead of acknowledging our blunders in giving our sons a proper Islamic education, we sought out the wrongs of the Americans and of globalization to justify our children's crimes . . . Instead of offering political pretexts to justify the terror operations, wouldn't it have been better for us to be honest and to participate, with the other peoples of the world, in defending humanity from this peril, of which we are the first victim?"

Unfortunately, these couragoes people are likely viewed in their countries in the same manner we view Fisk, Rall and Chomsky.

BCM // 7:56 AM


Movie Reviews

Ice Age: Hilarious, from beginning to end. You've got a lot of the usual buddy-buddy dilemma stuff you'd expect, but it's well done. Go see it. The Dodos alone are worth the price of admission. Scrat is worth more. (The little guy trying to hide the acorn)

Where Does it stand?: Better than: Antz. Equal to: Toy Story, Shrek.

Resident Evil also pretty much waht you'd expect. Special effects, fake blood, any excuse to show as much of Milla Jovovich's skin as possible. This movie isn't going to win any Oscars, but it's fun. My main complaints are that the characters lost their heavy weapons far too soon. Walking dead zombies have no reason to hide the automatic weapons of dead commandos. The ending of the movie might as well be subtitled "we want to make a sequel really, really, badly." I will now put in the basic spoiler, so stop reading if you don't want to know. Great, Milla lives (big suprise), and ends up in the middle of a town where the zombies have run amuck. Crashed cars, dead bodies and chaos. Camera pulls out from Milla loading a shotgun. Only one thing could have happened that would have been utterly perfect.

A dark haired, scarred stranger walks up the street, rifle over the shoulder, metal gauntlet in place of a right hand.

Name's Ash...... Housewares."

Better Than: Final Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons, Wing Commander. Not as good as: Mortal Kombat

BCM // 7:01 AM



Canbuck $0.6320 USD, up 0.0015, 707am quote

Why any day now we'll be at our purchasing power parity of $0.80USD! Any day now.

BCM // 5:53 AM


Google Search Of The Day

"Sex with Banana"

Sorry Charlie.

BCM // 5:51 AM


Monday, March 18, 2002:

Ontario To Get New Premier

David Curtan discusses
Ontario's choices on NRO, particularly profiling Jim Flaherty.

"We don't often look to Canada for inspiring leadership. But Jim Flaherty — the finance minister of Ontario, its largest and wealthiest province — is poised to make his constituency a model of smaller government and respect for individual freedom.

Flaherty is running to succeed premier Mike Harris at the helm of Ontario's governing Progressive Conservative party in the party's leadership election on March 23. His full-bodied, conservative platform of tax cuts, privatization, and school choice has set the agenda for the contest, and won him important momentum against party-brass candidate and early front-runner Ernie Eves. Eves is a former Harris finance minister who left politics last year for a lucrative position with Credit Suisse First Boston.

My prediction? Eves in a walk. This is not my own endorsment, but my prediction of what is going to happen to a party that has become so afraid of its own shadow that it seems to believe what the Toronto Star says about it. (Tories BadEvil! Dalton McGuinty Liberal Good!)

The Tories have had a hard fight over their two terms. At every turn the media, the unions and local government have been digging in their heels trying to destroy any attempt at reform. Strikes, ad campaigns and outright sabotage. Still, the Tories did something unthinkable: they kept their promises. Ontario taxes went down (any gain was, unfortunately, eaten up by Federal increases), the welfare rolls were cuts and a lot of needed reform was done. By no means were the reforms perfect, but they were better than keeping the status quo. Unemployment fell dramatically, and the Ontario economy revived.

For me, the Common Sense Revolution was a proving ground for free market ideas. I was undecided about welfare, whether it was ultimately a good program or widely abused. I was doing my economics degree at the time, so I decided to do my thesis on welfare reform in Ontario. The NDP (socialists) and Liberals had repeatedly raised the rates over the eight years before the Tories came to power, and then the Tories made their cuts. I could examine the effect of changing the welfare rates on the welfare rolls in periods of increasing and decreasing rates. When I crunched the numbers, the inevitable result, no matter what other factors were used was that the welfare rates were the single biggest predictor of how many people would enroll. Not the unemployment rate, not the economy, not population growth or any other factor. This may seem obvious, but it was very much under debate at the time. One thing that suprised me was the utter lack of any other research into the welfare rates by other economists.

The press that Flaherty is getting for his ideas right now is quite comparable to the press Mike Harris got when he became leader of the Tories while in Opposition. He's essentially protrayed as a barbarian. My prognostication for the future: Eves wins the leadership. The next provincial election will elect Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal party who will run promising to keep everything of the CSR that has already passed. Once in office they will open the chequebook for the public sector and start raising taxes in their second year. This will speed up the transfer of wealth and population to Alberta. Toronto grew into Canada's economic hub at the expense of Montreal when Quebec elected the seperatist Parti Quebecois in the 70s. Alberta is going to do the same thing to Toronto now, due to a better business climate and competent government. I doubt Ontario can keep the title of wealthiest province, the public sector in Ontario is too entrenched to be reformed.

I've considered moving out to Alberta. The draws for me are the lower taxes: lower provincial income taxes, no provincial sales tax (Ontario has an 8% sales tax), lower property prices and sane government. The factors giving me pause are the weather and leaving both friends and family behind. People keep telling me that the cold in Alberta isn't that bad, that it's a "dry cold", and that minus twenty or thirty in Alberta isn't as bad as minus five in Toronto because of Toronto's dampness. I still don't buy it. I'd also miss the multicultural nature of Toronto. I want my Salsa clubs, dammit!

A while ago, Resource Monkey and I were calculating the effect of the differences in taxes and some of the living costs. we came out with the result that moving to Alberta would be equivalent to receiving a 20% gross increase in pay. When you compound that out for a few years, the difference in your living standard becomes very substantial very quickly. (Yet another reason that Alberta as a whole is going to outpaceThe Rest Of Canada economically and in standard of living)

Of course, if I can find a way to get into the states, Alberta would be purely academic. I'm working on the courses that hopefully will allow me to get in.

BCM // 1:34 PM


See "Machiavellian"

in the
dictionary listed besides "Limp Bizkit", as related by one Sean Bonner. (on Give War A Chance)

Some of you may have heard about the Limp Bizkit guitarist search. Basically, the band has been "touring" the country visiting Guitar Center stores, holding auditions for a new guitarist to replace the one who left the band.

The deal is this. From 7:00 to 11:00 AM you can sign up for a slot to try out that day. The tryouts are from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. During this time, they take you into a room to play your stuff. At the end of that time, you leave. They call three to ten people at 5:30 to come back to the place and play in front of Limp Bizkit. Out of those people, one is selected to return at 9:00 to jam with the band, and anyone who participated is invited to watch -- a free concert, basically.

From there, the operation is a wonderful little bait and switch. Worth reading every little bit.

Wow. I wonder how often this sort of thing happens? This is the kind of crap that gives the free market a bad name. Oh, and Limp Bizkit's reworking of the Mission Impossible theme sucked. (petty spite category)

BCM // 1:27 PM


Canadian Buck

$0.6304 USD, Down 0.0010 USD, 1009am quote.

Settling into an average of 63 cents USD.

BCM // 9:06 AM


5000! Howdy-Hoo!

At 941am EST, BCMonkey hit 5000 hits. Thanks to whoever was surfing in from the UK at that time! Yet another landmark in my diabolical plot to Take Over The World (or just the parts I like). [Hereby refered to as the TOTheW plan]

BCM // 7:52 AM


Another Successful Test

WASHINGTON — The United States has claimed its third straight success in a missile defense flight test.

The U.S. Defense Department said the successful test took place on late Friday when a ground-based interceptor missile destroyed a dummy warhead over the Pacific Ocean. The kill vehicle destroyed the missile 30 minutes after the target was launched from a U.S. Air Force base in California.

So far, the Pentagon achieved four intercepts over the last six tests as part of the Ground-based Midcourse Missile Defense system. A Defense Department statement called the latest intercept "a major step in our aggressive developmental test program."

Officials said the $100 million test included the operation of such subsystems as early warning sensors, X-band ground radars and computerized command centers. The test also included three balloon decoys, two more than in previous tests.

"We will continue to pursue this testing regime to achieve a layered approach to missile defense, using different architectures to deter the growing threat of ballistic missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction," a Pentagon statement said.

The Pentagon plans to launch 19 flight tests as part of the U.S. missile defense effort. Each test is planned to be more realistic than the previous one.

BCM // 6:53 AM



...and unintentionally revealing. Also filed under the subtitle of "Ironic Justice"

PETA officials collide with deer

There's plenty of laughter and a little sadness in the hunting community over an incident involving a deer that collided with an automobile driven by two animal rights campaigners who belong to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The folks who worship at the altar of animals now want to sue a New Jersey game department over the incident, claiming it's the state's fault that it happened.

No, this is not an April Fool's joke — April is still weeks away. Besides, our newspaper frowns on such things. This is the real deal.

BCM // 6:35 AM


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