Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Grewal Tapes May Show More

According to a new CTV article the Grewal tapes, which have still not been fully released by the Conservatives, may in fact show two important things. First, that Martin himself was ready to offer talk to Grewal about defecting to the Liberal party and second, that he was in fact offered a government position to take affect two weeks after the vote.

These revelations come not from the Conservatives themselves, but from CTV News' Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife who apparently has seen the full transcripts, which are expected to be released very soon (even possibly later today). Shortly after the transcripts are made public the Conservatives are expected to turn the tapes over to the RCMP to help launch their criminal investigation into the case.

According to the article, federal ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro is expected to launch an investigation into all the possible Liberal offers but if you have any knowledge of the federal ethics commissioners past work you will realize that means next to nothing. Since the commissioner is appointed by and only reports to the Prime Minister himself, somehow he has never managed to find any significant conflicts of interest in this Liberal government and I don't see him starting now.

There's a bit more talk about the tapes over at Captain's Quarters.

The transcripts have been released and as expected they show pretty clear attempts by the Liberals to bribe Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal and his wife. They even get to the point of discussing how long they may have to wait (as little as 2 to 4 weeks) before giving the Grewal's their bonuses to avoid people making the connections with the switch. As anyone with any knowledge of Canadian politics knows, the general population has very short term memories; a fact the Liberals play on continuously to stay in power.

One of the more interesting aspects of the tapes is that it while it shows pretty strongly that the Grewal's were offered Parliamentary Secretary or Cabinet positions to abstain or switch sides, they also strongly imply that several other defectors over the years have done so with similar offers.

Check out Captain Ed's post for more details, links and discussion.
On a related note, check out Captain Ed's story on the first guilty plea for Adscam related offenses. Hopefully this will be just the beginning.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Some more good news from Iraq

Just saw this Washington Post article over at Captain's Quarters: Zarqawi Followers Clash With Local Sunnis.

In what can only be described as a win-win for the US military and the current US administration, the article describes the gunfights that occurred in and around the town of Husaybah, a predominately Sunni area of Iraq. The big difference in this story is that the Americans were not actually involved in the fights, but instead had the position of interested spectator.

The fighting was actually between a local Sunni tribe, the Sulaiman, and the forces of the terrorist leader, Zarqawi. It's actually a bit funny to read how both sides tried to keep their fire away from the Americans so as not to draw them into the battle. The Sunnis, so that they could defend their honor themselves, and Zarqawi's men, so they could stand a chance to survive.

In the icing on the cake, the article also mentions how the Sunnis were also willing to notify the Americans of the locations of other terrorists hideouts so that they could bomb them off the map.

It's a perfect illustration of what the Americans want in the region, a local military ready to defend their country but also willing to accept outside help when necessary.

Don't expect to be seeing this story brought up too much in the near future as it's actually a pretty positive story about how the war against the terrorists in Iraq is going. Unless some unreliable, unnamed source comes forward to say what atrocities the American were performing while watching the battle from afar. You know, like torturing a suspect by giving them a Big Mac Meal but only offering Diet Coke instead of regular.

Stem Cell Debate

I was basically just hoping to take it easy this fine Sunday evening, but after watching a little news I just felt the need to write a little something about the whole stem cell debates going on in the States.

No matter which side of the embryonic stem cells research debate you come down on you have to admit that the PR from the pro research side, not necessarily from the researchers themselves but definitely with their help, is very well organized. If you listen to all the hype, President Bush is single handedly stopping science from curing everything from diabetes to cancer to heart disease. I just hate the politicizing of this issue from people who have little or no understanding of what this actually means. For far too many this issue just represents the newest most popular bandwagon to jump onto.

Let me state outright that I do not oppose the idea of embryonic stem cell research. In this case I just happen to agree with President Bush's policy that the US Federal government should not be in the business of funding unproven (yeah I said it) scientific research methods, with very strong moral underpinnings. For most cases where spending is entirely optional, and a large portion of the population opposes the expenditure for whatever reason, then if at all possible the federal government should stay out of it. That's what private firms are for. The people that want to spend their money towards that purpose are free to do so, why should those that oppose be forced to pay part of the bill.

Here are just some of the facts about stem cell research in the United States to keep in mind.
  1. There are approximately 22 embryonic stem cell lines that are ok'd for federal funding.
  2. The federal government research programs are just that, federal research programs. No one is stopping the firms, who will of course reap all the financial benefits from any 'cures' developed, from spending their own money in this field.
  3. There is no federal agency stopping research facilities from petitioning each state government to provide public funding with fewer restrictions, as California has already done.
  4. It is allowable for labs to both use the federally approved cell lines as well as non-approved lines as long as they keep the costs for each line of research separated. While not the easiest thing to do, it does allow for the option to receive federal monies while still working on new cell lines.
  5. As of today, no concrete treatments have been created using embryonic stem cells while the less favored adult stem cells (of which there is no cell line restrictions) have been used for several real world treatments; most notably for diabetes.
The basics fact is that while scientists and politicians love to state that embryonic stem cells are the cure all of the coming century, the only real proof of a stem cells ability to create functioning organs or treat disease has come from the adult stem cell research. A fact most advocates for embryonic research seem just to happy to ignore. And while Bush does place restrictions on embryonic cell research, that only applies to federally funded labs. Another fact many on the pro-research side like to leave out.

Once again, since it is not stated enough: as long as they are not in violation of other US laws (ex. the US ban on human cloning) there is nothing restricting private firms from paying for their own embryonic stem cell research without these US Federal government restrictions.

I was just sick and tired of hearing all the claims this last week as Congress prepares to send a bill to the White House expanding the US's federal research programs. The President has already stated he will veto any bill opening up the way for the creation of new embryo lines on the grounds that they open up a slippery slope that, among other things, could lead to the creation of embryos purely for research sake.

Another group that is little talked about are the many scientist that have actually come out to say that stem cells derived from embryos may be too difficult to work with for the same reason so many see such potential in them, their ability to duplicate any type of cell. Whereas adult stem cells are limited in which types of cells they can reproduce, thereby making it easier to cause them to become those types of cells.

Just take the example of a windmill. If you could harness the 100+ MPH winds of a tornado and reproduce one at will, it may turn out to be a very cost effective solution to the worlds energy problems. But, as most would agree, that's near impossible. Instead, most researchers look at the fact that it's easier to harness a known directional wind rather than a tornado, and design their windmills to take advantage of that. Translated to the world of stem cells, embryonic cells are like the tornado, massive potential but due to a lack of means to control the outcome, of limited use. Adult stem cells on the other hand, are that nice northernly wind. While not as sexy as working in a tornado, ultimately of more benefit. Sure things may change in the future and we may learn to control tornados., but is it truly the federal governments jobs to blaze that trail. I think they have a lot of other things that have a much better ROI that they can spend taxpayers money on.

Of course, that's just my opinion.
Some links of interest:

Sunday Morning TV

Just a quick comment on the state of Sunday morning television:

There is some seriously bad acting on TV Sunday mornings. From two bit series, most of which only lasted a season or two in their prime, to the political hacks on the talk shows. It's a sad sad time for television when VIP is the best show on.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Season finales

That time of year has come when all good things (and a lot of not so good things) go the way of repeats. Seems like every time I caught a show in the last couple weeks it was their finale episode.

So here's a breakdown of how things ended this season and/or my general thoughts on each series I watch or have at least seen the finale for:
  • 24: Have to rank this 'day' as 4th out of the 4 so far. Will still watch next season though. Just have to see what new mean faces Jack comes up with when threatening to torture someone. I don't know about you but I could swear I could see Bruce Banner walking a few feet ahead of Jack at the end. And it wasn't in the credits but did anyone else hear the "Lonely Man Theme" at the end. No? Guess it was just me then.

  • Alias: Really, zombies? Come on now, zombies! Why do I even bother.

  • Lost: Nice explosion (the first one). Saw it coming, but nice timing none the less. Like every other episode, if you catch the last 5 minutes you're good to go. Best line of the series so far, Hurley to Jack, "You have some Arzt on you".

  • Smallville: Fortress of Solitude anyone? Learn to fly already!

  • NCIS: Bam!! I did NOT see that coming! Wow!

  • CSI: Good episode but the QT angle was blown out of proportion. Except for a few stylistic choices, that seemed out of place for the most part, and an interesting dream sequence it looked like every other episode to me. Still the best of the CSIs.

  • American Idol: Only saw 5 minutes of this show all season. The girl won. Hope that didn't ruin it for ya.

  • Cold Case: Liked John Billingsley but as it went on it became a bit to textbook serial killer for me.

  • CSI: Miami: This about covers it.

  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: PVR only recorded the first half! Now that's just annoying. Was forced to watch a "How'd they do that" episode just to see the finished product.

  • Joey: Who didn't see that coming a mile away. It's more believable than her ending up with Michael though.

  • Law and Order: Felt a bit wishy washy on this one but then again McCoy's been getting on my nerves lately and I can't really say why.

  • Crossing Jordan: Biggest surprise? I guess it was the fact that I didn't know Miguel Ferrer was a Clooney. I just don't see the resemblance. Other than that, it's nice to see Winkler on TV playing a pretty good part. I hope he sticks around a bit next season.

  • Without a Trace: After the previous episode anything not involving LaPaglia in an obvious old man suit is a welcome change.

  • The O.C.: Season ends with Marissa in trouble again. Big surprise there.

  • Numb3rs: Don't they have software for a lot of this stuff. Good show, but sometimes they really need to reach to get Charlie involved.

  • Las Vegas: A lot happening in this episode, maybe too much. Should be an interesting remodeling job coming up next season. One question, can't the producers afford better CGI?

  • House: IMO, probably the best new series this year. Like the give and take between House and Wards character during the last 2 episodes. On a side note, I always find it interesting that Fox's hit show is made by NBC. Just putting that out there.

  • ER: Like the whole porch collapse story line but the Carter leaving felt a bit anti-climactic.

  • Desperate Housewives: Yes I watch it. Not religiously, but enough. Anyways, get rid of Zach already. Sorry to see Steven Culp go, if he is truly gone. I must say, I find the guy's stories more interesting than the 'housewives'. Overall, a pretty good episode with a lot happening.

  • CSI: New York: A very uneven series in my opinion that does better when it focuses on Sinise. So based on that, this episode ended up in the "+" column in my books.

  • Medium: It was nice to see Capt. Push back, if only for this episode and probably the season 2 premiere. The good news is because of the nature of the show, no matter what happens they can bring him back for future episodes.
  • Enterprise: Just like Dark Angel, when I finally get into a series they cancel it. I think without the whole "Time Wars" story line from a couple seasons back, they may have been able to keep the audiences attention. The time thing has been way over done in the Trek universe. Has Voyager taught us nothing people. With all that in mind, I thought the ending was pretty well done, and I liked the tie in to Next Generation.
Oddly enough, I generally don't watch as much TV as this list implies. With the magic of my PVR I can generally watch an entire 60 minute episode in 35 minutes. Less for the wordy shows like O.C. and Smallville.

So I guess with all these gone to reruns I'll have to wait till July for SG-1 and Atlantis to start up. Till then I guess there's always Family Guy and occasionally American Dad. I'm still trying to figure out if I like AD though. It doesn't seem to have the same kick as Family Guy.

(can't believe it, only 2 spelling errors detected by Blogger spell check. Not counting proper names and abbreviations. Oddly enough, I made three in these few sentences but caught them by eye.)

Just helping out my Sister

This is a sort of follow up to my happy birthday wish to my sister a couple weeks ago. I told her about my online 'Happy Birthday" but I intentionally didn't tell her my site name. With a little searching I know she's come close to finding her way here so I decided to make a more recent post that would help her be sure she found the right place.

BTW, for anyone interested, I finally sent her gift yesterday and she still has no idea what it is.

I did forget to put in the card I had picked out though.

Who'd of thunk it

Imagine, a "liberal", left leaning, political party and their supporters getting in trouble for illegal campaign contributions? And this one's actually south of the 49th parallel.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for this story. I can't say why exactly, but it just brought a smile to my face.

British Academics see the light

Finally some good news to follow up to my previous post on the subject of the AUT ban of Israeli Universities; the ban has been lifted. It seems that the more level headed academics have prevailed but somehow in this statement on the AUT site they manage to make it look like the original boycott was not a mistake but merely an acceptable policy that has since evolved to a policy of cooperation.

But don't worry, The Palestinian Union of University Teachers and Employees (see the Jerusalem Post article linked above) still seem to be ok with the idea of a boycott. They even go so far as to condemn a Palestinian Professor for speaking out against the original AUT ban.

Thanks to LGF for the update.

PMO drawn into Adscam

Yesterday, for the first time, a direct link has been made between the sponsorship scandal and the Prime Minister's Office. Gaetano Manganiello, currently on leave from his job as press office manager for the PMO admitted in sworn testimony that in 1998 and 1999, while working at the offices of the Quebec branch of the Liberal party, at least part of his salary had been paid by one of the Adscam contractors, PluriDesign Canada Inc. What is more, he pointed out that at least two more people working for the Liberal party at the time, also received part of their salary from the same firm. In addition to their salaries, he admitted that for a period of 8 months he drove a van provided by Groupaction, another Adscam firm, for Liberal party activities, and once he moved on, he handed the keys to his successor.

True to form, the Liberals are trying to spin this as proof of their honesty. The PMO even went so far as to put out a statement saying:
"We're proud of the honesty and directness Mr. Manganiello showed. . . . Hopefully, Canadians will see his appearance as evidence that this Prime Minister and this PMO are wholly committed to seeing the commission's work discharged successfully."
As Captain Ed points out at Captain's Quarters, there was nothing preventing the PMO or the Liberal party from coming out and admitting these payments and favors prior to this. It's like looking to be rewarded for admitting you stole a cookie from the cookie jar when your mother finds the crumbs on your shirt.

Sadly, for a lot of Liberal supporters, the main focus of this story will be the statement from the PMO and how it shows that Martin is fully behind the investigation, not the fact that people working directly for him have received illegal payments from firms given millions of the publics money by his party.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

You have to read this one for yourself

This story gives 'kiddie porn' a whole new meaning.

I think Ms. Malkin sums up my thoughts about this quite well. Don't forget to follow link in her second last paragraph for another example of what is deemed acceptable in schools these days.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Triumph of Bureaucracy over Brains

This is what happens when people make hasty decisions about sex.

In a recent audit by New York's Comptroller office, it was discovered that at least 198 convicted sex offenders have been receiving Viagra through the governments Medicaid program. Apparently this is all fallout from a 1998 decision that the US federal program should cover the little blue pill. And since this is a federal program, the problem is most likely a issue accross the entire United States.

I don't necessarily have a real problem with the idea of people on Medicaid receiving this type of medication, but I'm wondering just how they'll fix this loophole. The doctor's prescribing it have no way of knowing who is a convicted sex offender or not and I'm guessing the offenders themselves aren't volunteering this info.

Of course, not all experts see this as a bad thing. Dr. Fred Berlin, of Johns Hopkins, believes that viagra can actually help convicted offenders who are currently in healthy relationships. Screw viagra, I just want some of what he's taking. Sex offenders have some of the highest recidivism rates of any crime. Do you really want to help 'arm' them just so you can help the 1 in 100 that may have actually reformed himself. As Sen. Chuck Schumer put it, giving a convicted sex offender Viagra is like issuing a convicted murderer an assault rifle.

Here's the AP story, courtesy of MSNBC.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Too much information!

Watching CSI: Miami, when in the period of 5 minutes I hear two of the best examples of CSI over-explanation syndrome I've heard in a long time. It infects almost every character on a CSI show at some point or another but rarely hits this close together, in seperate conversations.

Tonight's outbreaks include:
  • a listing of the side affects of radiation poisoning
  • a detailing of what LED stands for and how one works
  • any question asked by Horatio Cane
On a side note, what does the rest of the police force do when there isn't a CSI there to tell them what to do and who to question? And what the hell is a CSI doing defusing a 'dirty' bomb!

Super Tuesday

Just when you thought it was over comes a by-election in Labrador which has to ability to throw a monkey wrench into the entire mess that is Canadian politics. The election is to fill the seat left vacant when Liberal MP Lawrence O'Brien died last year December. Even though it's been a Liberal riding for decades, this year the Conservatives are pushing hard to try and win this seat, and through it, a possible tie breaking vote in the House of Commons. I have a bit of a personal stake in this one since it's my hometown riding (born and raised) and my parents and brother (along with the rest of his brood) still live there.

Since this is already being discussed over at Captain Quarters in several posts, I figured I'd save myself some time and copy over a comment I posted there earlier.

I'd say this is probably the best chance the Conservatives will have at taking the riding. Letto (the Conservative candidate) is from Lab City (my hometown and the largest population base) and is well liked there.

Russell (the Lib), is from Goose Bay (only other large pop center in Labrador) but has either personally, or through his party, managed to tick off a lot of people.

First there are the natives (spread all along the coast), by opposing the land claims deal that has taken forever to finalize. It already passed in the Province and all it needs is federal approval to become law. My Brother, who is teaching in a predominately native community, has said they are more likely to burn Russell in effigy than vote for him.

Then there's the gun registry issue. Everyone in Labrador has a shotgun or rifle or three in the house and were uniformly PO'd at the gun registry. With the Conservatives already on record for wanting it scrapped and the Liberals for keeping it going, it's looking like another weight tied to Russell's feet.

And finally, there is the Wabush airport (other side of the lake from Lab City). The Libs want to privatize it while the Conservatives want to keep it in federal hands. It's a small non-profitable airport that provides about 20k people with their only air access. Not the most attractive purchase for prospective buyers. If it goes private and service declines, as is normally expected, there will be blood in the streets. I can tell you from personal experience that people there don't like their airport messed with. Even under Federal control the airport is not the best, privately owned, it would be a disaster.

Just last Christmas I had to spend 3 days, including Christmas Day, in an airport in Sept Isles, Quebec (about the same population as your local Wal-Mart) waiting for the Wabush crew to clean the runway of ice. Finally the Iron Ore Company and the Union put a train on for us, an 8 hour trip, which they got a volunteer crew to drive in on Christmas night. If the airport goes private, I can see this happening a lot. It's expensive to keep runways clear in an area where -40C is considered good skiing weather and high school only closes if it drops below -78C.

This page has a little more on the actual candidates.

This is probably the last, best chance to take control away from the Liberal/NDP block. With this extra seat, all the opposition need to take down the government is 1 independent to side with them (and they already have that). Although Harper has stated he will not make a move to take down the government until after the summer break, if they win this seat, as soon as parliament is back in session after the break then he can call for a non-confidence motion.

Here's hoping.

All hope is gone as the Liberal Candidate once again won the Labrador seat. Just look at Fubar's comment in this thread at Captain's Quarters. I Guess 40+ years of voting Liberal is just not something that's easily shaken.

So we'll have to wait for the promised election call after the Gomery report. Although if the pattern of previous Liberal promises holds true Martin will find some excuse not to have an election or more likely, they'll reach into the old Liberal playbook and find a way to close the Gomery Inquiry before it finishes, thereby at least appearing to keep his promise. No report, no election.

Another Poll bites the dust

If you've ever wondered just what goes into an Ipsos poll just check out check out Matthew J. Franck's article over at National Review Online.

I couldn't agree more with his title, "And This Tells Us What, Exactly?".

Here's a sample question from the latest AP/Ipsos poll discussed in the article:
As you may know, the president nominates federal judges, but the appointments must be approved by the U.S. Senate. Do you think the Senate should:
  • Give the president's judicial nominees the benefit of the doubt and approve them without a lot of scrutiny: 18%
  • Take an assertive role in examining each nominee: 78%
  • Not sure: 4%
Franck has a link to the rest of the poll results and evaluates it's worth in his article here.

Found via Patterico's Pontifications.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Team America: Uncensored

Finally saw the 'sex scene' from the uncensored Team America and I can say that the only thing missing was Cartman's Mom.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, go rent it now. Just don't, under any circumstances, let any kids see it. If you thought Matt and Trey went wild with the South Park movie, you haven't seen anything yet.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

If you can't beat them, just make stuff up!

Another long one here but after reading this post over at Power Line I just had to get this off my chest.

Just another example of how the left is 'reaching out' to the religious communities which so heavily favored President Bush. In typical liberal fashion, instead of trying to open lines of communication they have instead decided to attack. Their chosen method of attack is the tried and true 'strawman' approach; in this case trying to paint evangelical Christians as anti-environment. I know, I didn't see that one coming either.

In their warped version of Christianity, there are many believers who think that since Jesus is coming back so soon we do not need to take care of the environment. They even go so far as to claim Former Interior Secretary James Watts told the US Congress
"that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ"
A pretty damning statement indeed, especially if it had ever been said. As Watts himself writes:
"I never said it. Never believed it. Never even thought it. I know no Christian who believes or preaches such error."
A fact that even Bill Moyers (of PBS fame(?)), the person who made the original claim, had to admit in an apology letter. But as any good liberal knows, you never let a good argument end when the facts come out. Barbara R. Rossing of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and a member of the National Council of Churches, in her book "The Rapture Exposed" goes on to make claims that the idea is not only isolated to Watts, but is also the basis for a growing movement within the right-wing evangelical Christian camp. She also uses a Watts quote to prove her point but at least in her case, the quote does exist. As she points out:
When he was asked about preserving the environment for future generations, Watt told his Senate confirmation hearing, 'I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.' Watt's 'use it or lose it' view of the world's resources is a perspective shared by the Rapture proponents."
Once again, very damning but also a perfect example of a 'Mooreism'. Hey, if the man himself can used distorted and heavily edited clips and quotes to make a critically acclaimed 'documentary' why can't she use the same method to help sell a few books. For those interested in the truth, here is the same quote, with the full text included:
"I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns; whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations."
Notice any difference? Ms. Rossing obviously did or she would have included the entire quote in her book.

To add to the story, the National Council of Churches, possibly with a little help from Ms. Rossing, went so far as to put out a formal statement against the throngs of anti-environmental evangelicals. As in the other cases, when asked to back up their claims, they were unable to name even one Pastor or a single time where such a belief was being put forward. Their source for the statement, Bill Moyers.

Overall a shining example of how the left often tries to create something out of nothing. Start with an outright lie, add a few selectively edited quotes and of course the essential generic public statement and there you have it, a political hatchet job. Their only mistake in this case was to use the wrong source for the original lie. Unlike so many other misquoted public figures, Mr. Watts was more than willing to challenge the veracity of Bill Moyers' claims which resulted in an apology.

For Mr. Watts full reply to this whole ordeal check out his Washington Post article here: The Religious Left's Lies.


Just saw this puzzle over at Ace of Spades.

Here are the rules (as copied from Ace):

  • The father can not stay with any of the daughters without their mother's presence
  • The mother can not stay with any of the sons without their father's presence
  • The thief (striped shirt) can not stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there
  • Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft

To start click on the big blue circle on the right.

To move the people click on them. To move the raft click on the pole on the opposite side of the river.

The only hint I'll drop is, it is possible.
I just have to say, interesting choice for animations on the artists part.

Don't hurt yourself.

Day by Day

It's the first day of a long weekend so in honor of that I've decided to add a little color to the site by adding a link to the daily version of "Day by Day". From now on, if all works properly, it should become a permanent resident at the top of my main page.

For those not familiar with Chris Muir's work, "Day by Day" is a free web comic that pokes a little fun at politics and the mainstream media, with a very evident, and self professed, right wing bias.

If you're interested in some other free web comics I'd suggest Penny Arcade and Red Vs Blue. Penny is a hilarious look at the video game world while Red vs Blue is an free online video series based on the Halo game engine. Both definitely worth a look.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

What does it take?

What the hell does it take in this country (I'm talking about Canada for those of you new to this site or just not paying attention) to get MPs to put partisan politics aside and take a stand on the issues?

If you haven't seen the latest news out of Parliament, the Opposition's attempt to force the collapse of the minority Liberal Government through a vote of non-confidence has failed with the Speaker of the House being forced to break a tie (while not a formal guideline, tradition calls for the Speaker's vote to support the Government).

Honestly, how can any ethical person vote in favor of keeping the current government in power. While NDP MPs have some reasoning behind their vote, as the Liberals added a 4.6 billion dollar addon to their budget to buy their votes, even that shouldn't excuse the act of looking the other way to Liberal corruption. Here just some of the more recent examples of Liberal management of Canada over the last 11 years:
  • Fact: A 2 million dollar self reliant gun registry has now cost upwards of 1 BILLION dollars* with little or nothing to show. Estimates place the final total as high as 2 Billion dollars.
  • Fact: Another accounting error within the Human Resources Ministry lost track of another 2 Billion dollars with little or no paper trail.
  • Fact: Since taking office 11 years ago, several billion dollars has been funneled away in special funds which under Liberal order, the Auditor General has no authority over and are not required to make their records public.
And now finally when we have Adscam**, a situation where several Liberal party members are facing actual criminal charges, the straw that should break the camels back, we still cannot get them removed from power.

Several excuses were used to explain why certain people voted for the Government (I think the votes against the Liberals are obvious) but I'd like to just focus on the 3 most used.

1)The most bizarre was Belinda Stronach's claim that she switched to the Liberals because she thought they were the best choice to bring 'fiscal responsibility" to the government. (Read above for some examples of the Liberal definition of 'fiscal responsibility'.) I guess she also hasn't noticed the 24+ Billion dollars in promises they've made in the past 4 weeks alone in a blatantly obvious attempt to buy support to keep in power. Or did her decision have more to do with the fact a rookie politician, with less than a year in office, who as long ago as Monday was a member of the opposition is now the Minister of Human Resources, a senior Cabinet position? That couldn't be it.

2)"They should do their jobs and just pass the budget". This is usually put forward by either political novices or Liberals attempting to make themselves look good. In fact the budget, even if passed will most likely never be implemented. Since last years budget has not even made it past the Senate yet, the odds of this budget getting final approval before Martin's already promised election (at the end of the Gomery Commission investigating Adscam) would require a political miracle. Even so, the budget they passed was designed more for vote buying than for any actual thought toward building a better Canada.

3)The third one is the most popular one I've heard to date: "the majority of the electorate doesn't want an election." Since only about 60% of registered voters will even bother to show up in a regularly scheduled election, it's pretty easy to see that Canadians as a whole are pretty apathetic about democracy in general. I'm pretty sure that a similar number, or even more, would say they would not try to interrupt an armed robbery in progress either, but if the police tried to use a similar line of thought as above to shirk their jobs, I'm pretty damned sure those same people would be very upset. Just imagine the chief of police saying we would try to stop the robbers but "the majority of the electorate doesn't want to stop thieves". In this case the thieves are standing right in front of us but the 'police' are using just that logic to let them go on their way and even going so far as to hold the door for them on the way out of the bank.

It is every MPs job to hold the government responsible if they abuse the publics trust. There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the Liberals have passed the point of abuse long ago.

* For a little insight into what these numbers mean, 1 billion is approximately 0.7% of the total expenditures of the Canadian government. Compared to the us that same 0.7% would equate to approximately 16.5 billion dollars. So in just a few short years, they have publicly lost what would equate to over 82.5 billion dollars (in American government spending) and no one knows what has been lost behind the scenes.

**Adscam is the name given to the latest Liberal scandal in which several high level Liberals as well as several Liberal friendly companies have been under investigation (with several charges actually filed) for illegally accepting/paying out millions in government monies for little or no work. Much of this money was allegedly paid directly to the Quebec wing of the Liberal party, of which the current PM is a member, to help pay off debts as well as for campaign workers, in violation of Elections Canada regulations.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Going once. Going twice. SOLD to Mr. Martin.

In what can only be called the mother of all spending sprees, Paul Martin and the Liberals continue to spend all the tax payer money they have over collected over the years in one of the most obvious attempts to hold onto power. I believe the current tally is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 Billion by now but I haven't been privy to all their back room deals making.

Their latest acquisition, sitting Conservative MP Belinda Stronach. As of this morning, her official title is Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. To do this all she had to do was sell out her party and her electorate and cross the floor to join the Liberal party. She apparently didn't even have the class to talk to her riding association or party about her decision except to tell Mr. Harper just prior to making the very public move in the House of Commons.

Of course the new position and pay increase has nothing to do with it; she truly believes a party who has, in the past few months, shown a complete and utter disregard for the law of the land as well as the public trust deserves to remain in power. The fact that the Liberal leadership happens to believe a former opponent, who has spent less than a year in public office and less than a day as an official party member should be given a ministerial position is just coincidence. Oh, and so is the fact that the same person who voted last week, as an opposition member, to disband the government and have an election is now, as a party member, opposing such an action. Another coincidence is this all occurred just 2 days prior to the only non-confidence vote the Liberals are apparently willing to recognize.

Now a cynical person may put forth the idea that since their attempt to schedule a vote when an opposition MP would be in the hospital and another was seriously ill (another coincidence they claim although you can check here for some additional insight into that tactic) was cut off at the knees by their allies call for fairness (and agreeing to have an equal number of their MP's abstain from the vote), this was the only thing left for them to do. Simply buy a vote in the house.

Just a week or so ago several opposition MP's said they were offered similar deals involving Ambassadorships or Senate positions. The Liberals of course denied ever doing this (see story here). Many left leaning political blogs even called this whole thing a ploy by the Conservatives and in normal Liberaleeze election type language accused them of using "American style tactics to discredit the Liberals"*. (An election hasn't even been officially called yet and already the left are trying to smear the Conservatives by associating them with Americans, although I personally fail to see how it is a smear). I wonder exactly how many times a Liberal has to be found to be doing exactly what it is he has been accused of before their defenders actually catch on.

As for Stronach, there was a reason she lost at her attempt to become the Conservative party leader just a little over a year ago. She had no political record and the only professional record she had to run on was the fact that she managed her father's corporation. A father who many said was still closely involved with the day to day decision making. Essentially she was untried and her only position of power came with a very big safety net. I didn't support her then, as a leadership candidate, and I can see no reason to believe her few short months in office have made her the best person to be made a Minister.

If that is the type of MP she chooses to be, she has obviously moved to the right side of the floor. All I can say is good riddance to bad rubbish!

A big hat tip to Captain's Quarters for the original story. Oddly enough, for all the latest on Canadian politics and Gomery info this is probably one of, if not the, best places on the web to look.

* That same blog, Canuck Attitude, also has an interesting post with 3 questions. Just to help him out of his Liberal fog I figured I post the answers here:

1) Since the Liberals, in their infinite wisdom, saw fit to put an end to 'Opposition Days', the normal time that the opposition parties could have put forward a normal non-confidence motion, the Conservatives had to use whatever means legally available to them to try to display the loss of confidence in the reigning government. With the exception of Liberals, a resolution put forward "to recommend that the government resign" is seen as a vote of non-confidence. Even the NDP thought so and therefore voted against it as their previous deal demanded.

2) They were attempting to work within the system to force preemptive changes to Liberal bills. This affect can clearly be seen in the budget that has several Conservative inspired portions. Until the Liberals began adding everything they could find to it, the Conservatives were originally not going to oppose the budget.

3) See David Frum's post here. Remember, this is based on Warren Kinsella's own words. A Liberal, not just Frum's.


I always wondered why so many people on the American left felt such a kinship with France.

This Telegraph story explains it all.

It's nice to know that while we, as nations, will always have our differences, their are some things which are universal.

(Hat tip to LGF for the original link)

Update: Changed the reference "Left" to "American Left" as it was originally suppose to read.


I just had to comment on the writing staff at 24 where the idea of 'beating
a dead horse' does not appear to be going out of style anytime soon.

Exactly how many times do you have to lose key data or suspects in transport
before you consider doubling up on the security detail. Why is it that
every time they go in to retrieve said data/suspect they send the fewest
possible number of agents. I'm sure there are a few cops just sitting
around a donut shop somewhere with nothing to do.

I don't know about you, but after that happens the first time I'd be
considering either taking more agents with me or waiting for backup to
arrive before attempting to move. Of the 24 hours of the show, at least 15
are spent running in circles as vital data is destroyed or important
suspects are killed or escape. The writing is starting to approach soap
opera levels for repetitiveness.

And another note on sloppy writing. The whole premise for this years 24 was
poor from the get go. From the "one ring to rule them all" idea with the
nuclear power plants (unlike Canada, I believe each US nuclear power plant
has it's own design and would be very difficult to centrally control), to
the nuclear 'football' having all the arming codes and locations for every
warhead in the US arsenal. From what I've read, the 'football' contains the
codes the President needs to authorize a nuclear attack, not the actual
arming codes (in addition to several instruction manuals on various
subjects). If it did in fact have the actual arming codes I would hope it
had more security measures than a simple combination lock; at least a little
encryption of the codes.

While I enjoy watching Jack find new ways to torture a suspect as much as
the next guy, that is another device that needs to be less used. It's
starting to get a bit monotonous.

That all being said, I do like the way they brought back Palmer and
regardless of all it's faults I'll definitely be watching the final 2 hours.
I'm just hoping they spend more than 24 hours writing next years script.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Civility in politics

Despite Layton's dealing with the devil to try and get the NDP version of the budget passed, it's stories like this that show there is still some sign of fairness in politics. In a sign of political class which has been seriously missing from Canadian politics as of late (personally I think the last 11 years), Jack Layton (leader of the NDP party for those who don't know Canadian politics) has suggested that due to the timing of the budget vote, which coincides with at least one Conservative MP's cancer treatment, that they adopt a process of vote 'pairing'. This would essentially cancel out a vote on the yeah side for every nay that cannot attend, and vice versa.

While this happens on a less formal level almost every election (I have often heard people decide in advance to cancel out each others votes and go grab a pint instead) this is the first time I've seen this happen in on the parliamentary level, especially where the results could topple the current government.

The fact that it was Layton to propose this is not all that surprising. I have always thought of the NDP as the nations conscience and have even told friends to vote NDP (only if they were left leaning to begin with and I could not convince them to vote conservative) because even though I think they would make a terrible ruling party, you can honestly say that they believe in their positions. In that regard only, they are much more like the Conservative party then their Liberal brethren.

While I wouldn't trust a Liberal to tell me what their favorite TV show without an opinion poll, the NDP truly do have the well being of the nation's poor and unfortunate in mind. Personally I just think they are too idealistic to actually accomplish anything without first destroying the economy and therefore making all but the wealthiest people members of the poor and unfortunate.

Double standards

Guess it's time for another Adscam inspired posting. This one deals more with the public perception than the actual events of the Gomery commission. It's mostly driven by all the recent polling that shows that a large group of Canadians still don't want an election (what exactly does it take?) and that the Liberals still have a great deal of support (although it finally seems to be dropping).

I still can't believe the apathy that seems to be affecting the general voting populace around here. Even though they provide no evidence to support their views, the overwhelming response I get when the topic of corruption in politics comes up is "they're all the same". This just drives me crazy. The only way the Liberals will be able to get themselves back into power is to convince the voters that the other parties would have done the same if they were in power and it appears their plan is working.

What kind of odd difference in standards do we have between liberals and conservatives (in the more general sense of the words) in this continent. If one conservative says something that people disagree with then all conservatives are painted as evil, racist, homophobic, etc.. even though they may be condemned by their own party and maybe even kicked out. Either way the controversy manages to stay contained to the conservative side of the spectrum. On the other hand, if a liberal says something that people find offensive, they rarely face any type of condemnation from the left (unless they do something which directly atacks another liberal) and if they do get in trouble, the fallout usually hits all politicians.

This doesn't just stand for political leaders either, but media personalities too. How can Rhandi Rhodes, on two occasions, play the sound of gunshots after talking about ways to get rid of President Bush and another radio host call Secretary Rice "Aunt Jemima" and former Secretary Powell "Uncle Tom" and both still have their jobs today. Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold went so far as to call the latter statements 'regrettable'. Apparently, using some of the most demeaning, racist terms around is just 'regrettable' when uttered by a liberal radio host.

Now compare that to Bob Lonsberry. A Conservative radio host who, when commenting on a recent zoo escape and tieing it into the local government, said this "Headline: Orangutan escapes at zoo, runs for county executive. Fascinating stuff." on air. The mayor who he was indirectly referring to happens to be African American so therefore his comments were considered racist by the reactionary left. Days later, with pressure from the NAACP and local protestors Lonsberry was fired.

How is it that the Lonsberry case is deemed racist and worth firing (we have all seen commercials depicting monkeys in an office setting to indicate poor leadership) while outright calling prominent public officials "Aunt Jemima" and "Uncle Tom" is seen as simply 'regrettable'. If that is not a double standard, I don't know what is.

Maybe it's just because the public, on a whole, expects so much less from liberals in terms of civility? That's about the only defense I can think of for this type of double standard.

Congrats to the London Knights

Just following up on my earlier Go 67's Go post. It looks like game two was the beginning and the end of the 67's run for the OHL championship. Last night, in the 5th game of the best of 7 series, the London Knights took the title with a 6-2 win over the 67's.

Oh well, the 67's did better in the series than anyone predicted so here's hoping they can clear their heads and focus on next weeks Memorial Cup tournament* (the overall Canadian Hockey League championship).

Congrats to the Knights and the 67's for playing a great series.

* Due to the fact that London is the host city and already had a guaranteed entry the 67's got the OHL slot in the tournament.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fun with Blogger

I may be playing around a little with my template's code this weekend so don't be surprised if things look different or aren't working properly for the next few days.
If you have any ideas or see something you like, drop off a comment. (My main concerns right now are shortening posts on the main page and making it easier to find old posts.)

... or I might just watch a weeks worth of PVR'd shows and not touch the code.

As of right now it's about 50/50

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Jackson's Junction

Followed the link from Michelle Malkin's site to Jackson's Junction and found this little gem.

It is probably the most honest reaction I have ever had the pleasure of seeing to the over the top bitching of politicians. Congrats to Neil Cavuto on this one.

Anyway, the reason Michelle was linking to Jackson's Junction to begin with was because of this reply to Rep. John Conyers pitiful attempt to stir the Ohio election scandal pot again.

While Dirty Harry does a good job ripping apart all of the Congressman's straw man arguments (for about the thousandth time since the election) my own personal reply would be to ask Rep. Conyers to please refer to Neil's video two posts prior. But I guess Harry just has a little more patience that me.

Just browsing the site a little more and found this post with some great pics.


Funnyfox is a new site launched by Mozilla Europe to help advertise FireFox.

The 3 little videos they have on there are only about 20 seconds each and a bit odd but you may have to take my word for it since it appears that their servers have been Slashdotted.

A little something out of 'left' field (pardon the pun)

For some reason I can't remember, the subject of PETA and GreenPeace came up the other day while going out to lunch so, for me, it seems like perfect timing for Michelle Malkin to point out this group for their new Anti-PETA campaign. For those of you who still hold these groups up as shining examples of honest activists, you may want to stop reading now. For the rest of you who are able to think for yourselves, continue on.

My biggest beefs (again, pardon the pun) with extremist groups like PETA and GreenPeace is the outright hypocrisy they both exhibit. It's one thing to stand up for something you believe in, but it's something else entirely to sacrifice your beliefs to try and prove a point. The whole 'ends justify the means' thing doesn't fly with me when you try to present your group as driven by moral outrage.

Let's look at PETA first. While I've never like PETA that much, mostly due to their insane advertising campaigns, the Penn and Teller: Bullshit episode from a couple years back help push me over the edge. While they claim that any use of animals by humans (and not just testing but guide dogs and pets too) is unnatural and should be stopped there own Vice President takes insulin derived from dogs. Her response, which can be found on several web site, was this:
"I don't see myself as a hypocrite. I need my life to fight for the rights of animals."
This is also the group who supports protests outside of Humane Society clinics that put animals down while itself killing over 10,000 animals between 1998 and 2003 (See PetaKillsAnimals.com). They have a lower adoption rate (14% in 2003) than almost every other animal group out there while there percentage of euthanized animals continues to climb (reach 85.9% of animals taken in in 2003). For comparison, the nearby Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66% of the animals it took in and even they were lower than some other local shelters.

Then there's the whole supporting extremist animal rights terrorist groups thing. Apparently according to the PETA philosophy it's ok to fire bomb a research lab and put the lives of the workers and emergency personnel in danger, not to mention the people that may be saved by the work being done there as long as an animal is involved.

While I would prefer a non animal related testing system if possible, if it can save human lives to inject a serum into a rat in a lab then I'll have to side with the humans. There are lines that should not be crossed and I believe government regulations are doing a good job in making sure labs follow them.

Some info on most of the above can be found here but you can do a simple Google search to find more examples.

And then there was GreenPeace. My problems with them hail back to their anti-seal hunt days. Being a Newfie myself (although from a mining town with no access to any seals although I did get a pair of seal skinned boots when I was a kid) their attack on our provincial seal hunt made things a bit more personal. There widespread use of both a 1964 film portraying a live skinning and a 1978 film showing a sealer killing a pup, as tools to show the horror of the hunt managed to turn a lot of people off of seal fur and meat.

The problem with both of these films is that they were both staged for the cameras. The sealer in the 1964 film admitted in court to having been paid by the film crew to perform the grisly act and in the case of the 1978 film, the sealer in question (who's authenticity is in question since no one can seem to identify him) is actually shot from several angles (by a single crew mind you) and can apparently be seen waiting for a signal from the film crew to begin his torment of the mother seal.

Besides the video "proof" they also have several photos showing heroic rescues by both GreenPeace co-founder, Paul Watson, and film actress Brigitte Bardot. Once again, this proof is highly contested. In the case of the Bardot pictures, they have been confirmed as having been taken in a studio in southern France and NOT an ice flow off the coast of Newfoundland as GreenPeace had claimed. As for the Watson photos, the actions of the seal (or inaction as the case may be) leads many to believe that the pup in question was actually a stuffed animal.

While the seal hunt disinformation campaign may have cost some people their livelyhoods, my other big problem with GreenPeace has probably cost several thousands of people their lives. Here in North America, we eat genetically modified foods everyday. Usually it's the type things like tomatoes engineered to grow in colder climates, or crops that are more resistant or attractive to certain pests. In developing countries however, campaigns from groups such as GreenPeace have caused relative uninformed governments to reject offers of aid from foreign companies/governments that have developed things like rice that contains many times the nutrients of regular types while also requiring a small fraction of the water to grow. These types of crops should be a Godsend for countries encountering famines, but thanks to the efforts of groups such as GreenPeace, they often sit in warehouses instead.

They like to use scare tactics about how the foods in question are totally untested while ignoring the fact that in the US, GM foods are tested by both the Food and Drug Administration and Center for Disease Control; that's more than most other foods can say. Even barring that, GM foods are essentially a high tech way to continue doing what farmers have done for millennia, selective breed two plants to create a third with the positive characteristics of both, they're just more efficient at it nowadays. Here is a good site for the pros and cons of GM foods.

Essentially my complete and utter hatred for these type of groups, and PETA and GreenPeace in particular comes down to the extremism and the hypocrisy. Once you show yourself willing to break your own rules to try and make the other side look bad then you have to do a lot of work to regain that trust. In an honest organization, if this type of thing happened you would see and major house cleaning occur and a PR campaign to clear the air. These types of organizations, on the other hand, have no problem allowing this false information to stay in the public eye and in fact may often still refer to it (although maybe leaving out some of the original erroneous details) if it suits their needs.

Kind of reminds me of two left leaning political parties here in North America in that regards (I knew I could pull politics into this somehow).

For more info on GreenPeace try here.
For more info on PETA try here.

Trusting the foxes to guard the hen house

Another interesting post over at small dead animals.

It seems the Liberals just know no end to their greed and now they've gotten to the point where they're not even trying to hide it. Their latest power grab is to create a super slush fund from the yearly budget surplus. It is from this proposed slush fund that the Libs, if they manage to stay in power, plan on paying out all their promises to the NDP.

The legislation in question, which is connected to the budget so will hopefully be defeated when the time comes, calls for a system in which the yearly surpluses, after the first 2 billion is used for the deficit, is left in an open fund to be used at the discretion of the cabinet with no parliamentary oversight. Just for some perspective on this, last years surplus was 9.1 billion dollars which under this legislation would have netted the Liberals 7.1 billion to do with as they please.

If nothing else points to the fact that it's time to remove these clowns from power, it has to be this idea that after 11 years of uncontrolled spending and fiscal mismanagement (adscam, HR boondoggle, billion dollar gun registry, etc..) that they should now be handed the keys to the vault with absolutely no review by the House of Commons. Finance Minister Goodale even had the gall to claim that this was continuing in the Liberals "fiscally responsible manner" of spending. You can cut the arrogance with a knife.

Don't let the doorknob hit you .....

To paraphrase the old saying; Liberals are like fish, after 3 days they start to smell. In the case of the Liberals, that day occurred on November 7th, 1993. It's only taken just over 11 years for most people to actually acknowledge the odor. Sometimes us Canadians are just too polite for our own good.

On a related note, even if yesterday's vote hadn't come out 153 to 150 for the motion to request the Government resign, this quote from Conservative MP Monte Solberg during Monday's session in the House is a sure indicator they definitely don't have the opposition's respect; while responding to Finance Minister, Ralph Goodale:
"Well, Mr Speaker, isn't that cute. Somebody thinks he's still relevant."

The Solberg quote comes by way of small dead animals' Quote of the Week.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Happy Birthday Sis

Not that she's likely to ever read this post, I figured I should do my little part to immortalize my sister's 40th birthday.

It's also my sad attempt to do something to help make up for the fact that I haven't yet sent, or in all honesty bought, her gift yet. Normally that would be a bad thing, but in this case I like to think of it as my own personal homage to my sister rather than an oversite (not to mention* a complete lack of disposable cash at the moment).

In keeping with the spirit (and the fact my sister-in-law usually does the birthday remembering and she is out of town), my brother has decided to also take part in my little 'delaying of the gift'. A family that delays together, stays together.

Luv you Z.

P.S. While I'm here I may as well say happy birthday to my old friend Mike. The fact they share a birthday is the main reason I can remember either one.

* I always had a problem with that saying "not to mention". To use it you have to mention what it is you don't want to mention. But I'm writing this in a hurry and I couldn't think of anything else to type.

Who Links to Me

This site is pretty self explanatory. None the less, it's a pretty interesting service.

Just click right here to see Who Links to Me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Still man's best friend

Saw this story about another heroic act by a dog in the paper this morning and just couldn't help but think "what would my neighbor's cat do in that situation?".

Not that I have anything against cats per se (in fact it's not unusual for Jake or Free Loader, two of the local felines, to come on into my place for a little drink and to play with the ferrets) but you just don't hear a lot of stories of cats saving abandoned infants. Just saying is all.

Not that my ferrets would be much more help. Weiser would most likely climb into the bag the baby was found in and go to sleep while Miller would just stop long enough to steal her socks (if she had any).

Update: changed the link from the Edmonton Sun to Yahoo! News since, as happens quite often with Canoe.ca links, the Edmonton Sun story disappeared.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Go 67's Go

For those of you who aren't keeping up on the comings and goings of the Ontario Hockey League, the Ottawa 67's performed the 'miracle' of beating the London Knights, in their own rink last night with a score of 6 to 3. This marks only the second time this year that the Knights, the leagues #1 team at the end of the regular season, were beaten at home.

Next up, game 3 of the OHL finals back here in Ottawa where Ottawa is 8-0 in the playoffs so far.

Here's some of the more details of the beating the Knights took at the hand of the 67's thanks to the London Free Press:
London Free Press: Sports Section - Home advantage iced

P.S. Rat, so much for your prediction for a London sweep (and that from a 67's fan no less).

AUT ban on Israel continues but maybe not for long

Some more news about the AUT ban on interaction with Israeli universities. For those not familiar with the AUT they are the Association of University Teachers, Britain's largest Union for higher education professionals with approximately 48,700 members (according to their site). Not too long ago they proposed and accepted a formal ban on any interaction with any Israeli university (including their professors) that does not denounce the Israeli governments treatment of the Palestinians.

Why you ask did thy single out Israel of all places, well maybe this (a picture of Sue Blackwell, one of the main supporters for the boycott) can shed some light on it for you.

Anyways, the ban has been passed but even with it in place not everything is looking good for those who supported it in the first place. Little Green Footballs has links to two stories that show the problems you get when large organizations allow someone's personal vendettas create policy.

The first is this story about one of the root causes for the call to boycott the University of Haifa. The AUT claimed that it was at least partially due to the unfair treatment of a student who wrote and a professor who favorably graded a paper detailing the first hand accounts of a massacre against unarmed Palestinians. As it turns out, this was not the case. The problem with the students report, and the professors dogged defense of it, had more to do with the fact that much of the paper was not based on the first hand accounts (which there are audio tapes of) but in fact was apparently greatly embellished, and according to the student, by the professor's request. After being permitted to resubmit his paper for review by 5 separate (and anonymous) examiners, now rewritten to reflect what had actually been told to him, his amazing 97% turned into a failing grade.

The second story is a bit more reaffirming in that it talks about professor Gregory Gutin of the University of London who instead of attending by the AUT boycott, has instead decided to attend a conference at the university of Haifa. Even more telling is that his trip to the conference has fully approved by the head of department of computer science at the Royal Holloway.

Gutin told the Jerusalem Post that his visit:
“should show that not every member of AUT is going to accept the boycott.”
adding that the boycott is
"an expression of anti-Semitism," and "It has little to do with human rights, because otherwise they'd call for boycott of most universities in the world, including British ones for the war in Iraq. It says much more about some British academics rather than Israeli ones."

"They are very keen to condemn the only democratic country in the Middle East, and are happy to accept anything from the rest of the Middle East. The organizers of the boycott are not true scholars free from prejudice and are not objective,"

At least it's good to know that some of them still get it.

Some more good news is that it appears some more of the AUT members who think more like Gutin and less like Sue Blackwell have put a motion in place to reverse the boycott. According to Ms. Blackwell's info pages (you can follow the link above as I don't feel like directly linking to her):
So, apparently the thing to do when you lose the vote is to get a Special Council called to reverse the decision. If we all did that, where would AUT be? Jon Pike and co. have got 25 members of Council to sign up for their call, with the result that a Special Council has been called for 26th May, in London. Deadline for motions is 18th May. All supporters of the Palestinian call for boycott are urged to get themselves delegated to this important meeting - despite the fact that AUT time and resources could be better spent in our humble opinion.
It's called the democratic process Ms. Blackwell. If you have the votes, you get to make the rules. And if you pass a blatantly anti-Semitic motion few were expecting to actually pass don't be surprised if it causes people to wake up and take action. Good luck on the 26th Mr. Pike.
Update: Look like Mr. Pike's motion was successful. See my follow up post here.

Weird Science

Now this is something I was not expecting to see. Apparently, some Canadian scientists have gotten together and made a short documentary on a topic that everyone has heard about but few truly understand, the Kyoto Protocol.

Now anyone living in Canada for the past few years knows that Kyoto is the only way to save the world from complete and utter destruction, or so the Liberals tell us, but what's interesting about this documentary is that it's created by scientists who oppose Kyoto. Yes I said it, oppose Kyoto. To make the story even more interesting is that they have a list of other scientists who also disagree with Kyoto, some 17,500 of them. Yes, that's a 1, a 7 and a 5 followed by two 0's.

This appears to be related to a petition that's been around for a little while called The Heidelberg Appeal, which goes so far as to even state there is no scientific evidence to support the idea that the current global warming trends can be attributed to man. And they have over 4,000 signatures from scientists from around the world on that one.

The only problem getting this documentary on the air appears to be the fact that instead of using government grants or subsidies for this project, the scientists in question had the gall to use their own money, time and resources. That'll learn 'em.

Check out the full Canada Free Press article here.

(Hat tip to LGF for the original link)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

List of Accomplishments in Iraq

Saw this the other day (sorry I can't remember where I got the link from) and just figured it would be nice to show exactly what is being accomplished over in Iraq.

So here is the USAID's page on what they are doing over in Iraq right now.

You just don't here about this stuff often enough, in my opinion.

Zombie Survival Test

Saw this test by way of Hamstermotor and just had to take it.

Here are my results:
Official Survivor
Congratulations! You scored 78%!

Whether through ferocity or quickness, you made it out. You made the
right choice most of the time, but you probably screwed up somewhere.
Nobody's perfect, at least you're alive.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 76% on survivalpoints

Link: The Zombie Scenario Survivor Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid

Oddly enough this marks the first image I've posted and it's not even mine. It's part of the actual results html. (I did resize it though to take up less space so I at least feel like I did something.)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Kingdom of Heaven

Even though I voted for 'Crash', the rest of the attending members of the Friday Morning Movie Club voted in favor of 'Kingdom of Heaven' so that's what we went and saw yesterday. As I expected it was pretty light on historical accuracy and did a fine job as portraying Christians as bloodthirsty savages and the Muslims as a noble peace loving people. For more details on the PC'ing of KoH check out Zombietime or Beautiful Atrocities posts on the matter.

The fact is, both groups from around that era were not necessarily the nicest groups of people to deal with on a campaign. Both the Muslims and the Christians often performed wholesale slaughter when conquering new lands and in fact that was Saladin's original plan for Jerusalem when he forced their surrender. While the Christian slaughter is referred to a few times (and I have no problem with that as it did occur and should not be whitewashed), I don't remember one occasion where a similar Muslim act is mentioned. Even at the final surrender, Saladin is all smiles and is very gracious in victory (he even goes so far as to upright an overturned cross when he enters one of the palaces in the city). Here is a more accurate account of what transpired after the fall.

I'm just getting a little tired of all the anti-crusade historical re-writing out there. How many times do Christians have to say we're sorry for something that happened a thousand years ago. Sure bad things happened, which is often the case when people get involved, but the fact is the Crusades, while not the prettiest time in Church history, were a direct response to centuries of unchecked Muslim aggression against sovereign Christian states. The entire map of the region from Northern Africa, through much of the Middle East to Eastern Europe, now mostly Muslim countries, at one time were almost entirely Christian (including Palestine, Syria and Egypt). The Crusades were not a land grab or search for wealth (as KoH portrays them, although, once again once people were involved that was bound to happen), they were an attempt by the Church to both stop the Muslim push toward western Europe as well as an attempt to regain the 'Holy Lands' that were taken from them. Thomas F. Madden has a pretty good write up on the real reasons behind the crusades over at Crisis magazine.

The main problem is more of a PR issue. The Muslim acts of violently conquering countries and forcing their religion on other's were never grouped together under a single name (although they were technically part of the ongoing jihad against other religions) so they appear, in a layman's historical perspective as a series of isolated events. The Christian response, on the other hand have been given the collective title of 'The Crusades'. This makes it much easier to group together a couple centuries worth of religious based violence into what seems like one event, thereby making it seems that much worse.

Just had to get that off my chest and I figured here was as good a place as any to do it.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Words to live by

Just saw this collection of interesting quotes about peace and war on Neo-Neocon by way of Flopping Aces through a trackback from Captain's Quarters.

I think that's all the links I followed to get there =)

I love the small of election in the morning

You can always tell when a Canadian election is in the air. Conservative MP's try to point out the lack of accomplishments over the past 12+ years of Liberal reign, Liberal MP's travel the country offering money to every group who they think can muster up 5+ votes, NDP MP's do whatever they can to get under both groups skin and now finally the true indicator of an upcoming election, Liberal Ministers calling the Conservative party racist and inferring they are all KKK members.

The reason for Immigration Minister Volpe's shocking revelations? A couple Conservative members were photographed with a poster (seen here) making fun of the current Liberal problems with Adscam by comparing them to the Sopranos TV show. So of course, in a Liberal Minister's mind, 2 Conservatives holding a picture that depicts 8 rich white guys is somehow indicative of their Klan memberships.

Oddly enough, it seems hard to find too many online references to Volpe's outburst (I guess Liberal Minister's wild accusations are just not newsworthy anymore) but I have managed to find one from The Ottawa Sun here. Here's a excerpt with Volpe's statements:
The Opposition party is made up of racists, Volpe said yesterday, calling members recognizable "notwithstanding that they don't have their cowl and their cape."

"The Klan looks like it's still very much alive," Volpe added.

Volpe made the comments in response to a magazine graphic in which Liberals are depicted as The Liberanos, a mocking reference to The Sopranos. Conservative MPs Lee Richardson and Werner Schmidt were photographed this week pointing to the graphic from the Western Standard magazine.
Volpe's punishment for unfounded accusations of racism against the Conservative party, sadly, probably 4-5 more years as an MP (hopefully sitting in the opposition side if all goes well).

Every time the Liberals get into trouble they begin their smear campaign of their opponents. You will rarely here a Liberal campaign on the issues except to talk about the "hidden agenda" that those evil Conservatives have. The sad part is that too many of the public buy into their misdirection and are made so afraid of the "Devil they don't know" that they continue to vote in the "Devil they do".

But they do love their racism references. Just ask the Mayor of Prince George, BC.

Found this after writing up my post: a little more on this story over at Small Dead Animals.

Not sure whether to laugh or cry

As I do every morning when I get to work, I sit down with my Booster Juice (in this case "Mean Mocha") and get the day started by reading The Ottawa Sun. Even in my still half asleep state I could not help but do a double take when reading just the 4th story of the paper. It's not a big story, a Jack Russell terrier was stolen while a local minister and his son ran into a shop. But what caught my eye was this statement:
"On the advice of police, they are not publicizing her name (the dog's) because it could help the dog-nappers"
I have seen many stories of pets being stolen and it's always a sad event but this is possibly the first where the name is not released "On the advice of police". I never really thought about it before but it does make sense. If you start calling a dog by his/her name then they are more likely to begin accepting you as their owner. (Miller, one of my ferrets, on the other hand will ignore you no matter what you call him.)

Well that was all well and good but then I read down a little further and saw this quote (since it has already been published in the local paper I don't think reprinting it here will hurt):
""Losing Nikki is like losing a family member" Rev. Oosterman said"
That's right, only 4 paragraphs after stating the name will not be released so as not to help the criminal(s) the reporter writes it out as clear as day. There is not indication the name "Nikki" is just a placeholder type name like "Jane Doe". It just appears to be a direct quote from the poor Reverend.

I'm really hope this was just a honest mistake by a rookie reporter (they are covering a dog-napping after all but of course in Ottawa that still ranks a page 5 story, with picture) and not some sad attempt to impress someone with the fact they got a quote. Or maybe the quotation marks are just missing around the name Nikki and it was meant to be a placeholder. Either way, I think that there is a reporter and an editor walking around town today with a little egg on their faces, and rightfully so.

Here's hoping the dog-nappers in question have a change of heart and return poor "Nikki" to the Oostermans.

Update: Nikki (and that was her name) has been returned safely to her family.

I was just browsing through old posts and figured in case anyone else wanders by I wouldn't leave them hanging. =)

Do not press

Whatever you do, do not go to this site.

Curse you Malkin!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Bias in the media still going strong

Well in this case it's may be less the actual media's bias that is showing but more the bias in the people providing the access to the media. This story over at Right March (by way of LGF) shows how Google is using their position as the worlds #1 search engine to help push (or at least nudge) their political viewpoint.

Google has been accused of left leaning bias before, but mostly due to their odd selections for who does and does not qualify for their News service. In this case, Right March has taken a direct attack ad against Senator Tom Delay from a Democratic group and simply substituted Democratic Senator Nancy Pelosi's name instead. Google's response was to say they do not allow attack ads so the Anti-Pelosi ad was rejected.

Now this could have been a mistake, and maybe the Anti-Delay ad somehow got through their screening process, but when 98% of your organizations political donations go to one party, or their related groups, and an ad that goes against your own policies just happens to target a leader of the other party, it doesn't take much to connect the dots.

That being said, Google is not a government agency so is free to donate money to or accept ad revenues from whoever they see fit. My problem with them is the same as my problem with most of the mainstream media outlets; their inability to observe or at least admit, their own bias and how it is affecting their product(s).

While you should read the full article, Right March's overuse of underlining non-hyperlinked words may make finding the important links hard so here are the links to both the original anti-Delay ad and their proposed Anti-Pelosi one:
Who Links Here