Saturday, December 09, 2006

Thanks Mom

Girls Gone Wild: Baghdad

Fox News Finds Replacements for OJ Special

Fox dropped its deal to broadcast an interview with O. J. Simpson and to publish a book in which he describes how he would have murdered his former wife and her friend.... If He Did It.
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Now Fox News Corp. can move forward on other projects:

"If I Cooked The Intel On Iraq, This Is How I Did It," by George W. Bush, Richard Cheney and George Tenet

"If I Broke The Army, This Is How I Did It," by Donald Rumsfeld

"If I Broke The Cover Of A CIA Operative, This Is How I Did It," by Karl Rove, Scooter Libby and Dick Cheney (with a special afterword by Richard Armitage)

"If I Admitted That The Invasion Of Iraq Was 'A Disaster,' This Is How I Did It," by Tony Blair

"If I Went AWOL During My National Guard Service Without Getting Caught, This Is How I Did It," by George W. Bush

What's Wrong at Hydro One

Tom Parkinson resigned as chief executive officer after being slammed by Ontario's auditor general this week for putting $45,000 in business expenses on his secretary's corporate credit card, then approving her claim himself. The company was also criticized for poor spending controls that, among other things, saw managers approve $127 million in corporate credit-card expenses without sufficient receipts and purchase orders balloon into the millions. The previous CEO, Eleanor Clithroe was fired in 2002 for her lavish spending habits and is currently suing Hydro One for wrongful dismissal.

Two disgraced executives tells me something is rotten with the taxpayer-owned utility. There appears to be a culture at Hydro One which is inconsistent with the businesses operating in the public sector. I think the government needs to look at more than just finding a new CEO. Some better accountability would definitely be in order.

Something for a Saturday morning

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fart Grounds Plane

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of fart. The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches. The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal the smell coming from her butt . She had an unspecified medical condition. Now that woman has problems and it's not just with gas!

Bottle Deposits Don't Make 'Cents'

The big thinkers in the Pink Palace (the Ontario Legislature) have come up with this great idea where the liquor stores will collect deposits on wine and liquor bottles (10 or 20 cents) which will be returned to consumers when the bottles are returned. The want to improve recycling because 96% of beer bottle (they already have a 10 cent deposit) are returned which is well below the proportion of liquor and wine bottles that end up in blue boxes.

Makes sense? Well not for me. For one thing the bottles will not be returned to the point of purchase - the liquor store, but rather to beer stores. Now I can't speak for my fellow wine drinkers but I never go to beer stores. It makes no sense for me to run at the end of the month with my 5 empty wine bottles to collect my $1 while I burn $3 in gas. I might as well just continue to drop them in my blue box. Besides, its not like the returned bottles are going to be reused like beer bottles. They will get recycled just like the bottles that go into my blue box. So why aren't the bottles collected by the liquor stores? Well in Ontario, beer stores are jointly owned by 3 major beer producers, Molsons, Labatts and Sleemans. Liquor stores are owned by the province. The province doesn't want spend the money to create a bottle collection system. So it will pay the beer manufacturers to collect the bottles for them. So the government will pay beer stores to collect bottles that I'm already providing for recycling to make sure they get recycled? I'm not getting this.

This is a some hasty pulled together plan that does little for the environment. If the government was serious about the environment, it would be looking at reusing bottles - just like my neighbourhood winemakers. I just know there will be entrepreneurs driving up and down streets on garbage day pulling liquor and wine bottles out of blue boxes for the deposits. They are welcome to my bottles.

Scarlett Has Another Wardrobe Malfunction

Monday, December 04, 2006

What the....

I guess the guy painting the lines on the road doesn't move roadkill either.

Dennis Prager

I attended a lecture by Dennis Prager about 20 years ago following the release of his book Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism. I also bought and read the book. I really didn't followed his career much after that though I was aware that he wrote for Townhall, a Conservative blog. However, the recent blowup in the news involving Prager got me interested. Prager has been accused of Christian ethnocentrism as a result of comments he made in a Town Hall article in which he asserts that all congressmen should swear their oath of office on the Bible regardless of their religious affiliation. According to Prager, senators incapable of taking an oath on the Bible should not serve in the Congress. I understand that Prager's opinion is in contradiction with Article VI of the American constitution, which states that no elected representative may be subjected to a religious test when taking office. Prager claimed that Rep.-elect Keith Ellinson, the first Muslim elected to Congress, had "announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran." Now Members of Congress do not actually use the Bible - or any other religious text - during official swearing-in ceremonies. The use of the Bible occurs at "ceremonial" swearing-in for photo ops.

I really am disturbed by Prager's position. I did not realize he was such a narrow minded neoconservative (but should have realized that since he does write for Townhall). He is a director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum which I consider to be a symbol of the potential of intolerance and discrimination. It really bothers me to see Jews who are intolerant. How can we expect non-Jews to behave in a moral and righteous fashion if we are incapable. I really don't care that he is a neo-con but there are members of the Jewish community who need to take a good look into the mirror.

Beijing gets 'one dog policy'

First China introduced the "one child policy" to curb population growth. Now Beijing has a "one dog policy" to curb rabies. Not only that but large dogs are completely banned in Beijing. As it turns out rabies has become the biggest killer among infectious diseases in the country over the past five months. But what's next? The "one meal a day policy" to curb obesity?


Fox caught a lot of flak recently when it almost published O.J. Simpson's new book "If I Did It" and almost aired a television interview with the acquitted killer. Their Chairman, Rupert Murdoch, wisely chose morality over money in this case. Almost as creepy is this bit by Chris Rock from 1997. He just about predicted O.J.'s book title but in this case Chris's spoof involved a video.

It's just bad communication

Flu season is coming


Reality TV for political science grads

Comedian Rick Mercer is going to be hosting a one-hour special in which former prime ministers (Brian Mulroney, John Turner, Kim Campbell and Joe Clark) will grill five finalists before a live audience on March 18. The ex-leaders and members of the audience will then have an equal vote to pick the winner. I didn't realize it, but the show first appeared last year and created buzz when one of the contestants almost lost it and wanted to walk off stage. "The Next Great Prime Minister" is based on a nationwide competition started in 1995 by Belinda Stronach's dad, Frank, and his company Magna International, is one of the show's sponsors. Maybe he created the show to help Belinda become prime minister.

The winner of "The Next Great Prime Minister" will receive a $44,000 cash prize and paid internships in corporate and government organizations. Last year's winner, Deirdra McCracken, is working on her master's degree in political science at the University of Laval, where her thesis will look at how journalists cover public opinion polls.

Changing of the Guard at Liberal HQ

Clearly at this weekend's Liberal Leadership Convention, the establishment candidates lost and the Liberal youth were the winners. We all know that the Liberal establishment has been split for some many years between the Chretien and Martin camps. This split continued through to the leadership race with one side supporting Michael Ignatieff and the other backing Bob Rae. But the non-establishment candidates had no problem joining forces which means the party is in control of members interested in policy development and party renewal. The fact that Gerard Kennedy was able to deliver his delegates guaranteed a victory for Stephane Dion and a significant role in caucus. Also prominant was Justin Trudeau who supported Kennedy and moved to Dion with Kennedy. I expect Trudeau to run for Parliament in the next election.

So how will the Liberals do under Dion? It's hard to tell right now but I see him as an interim leader with Kennedy taking over some time in the future. Let's face it, Dion is not too popular in Quebec because of his strong federalist views and his involvement in the Clarity Act. His poor English will not go over that well in the rest of Canada. He was ineffective as an Environment Minister although he is clearly a green politician. I hope the reason for his weak performance was that he was prevented from implementing a green agenda by Martin's PMO.
The Conservatives have already developed their attack on Dion as a former Minister in the corrupt Chretien government and a failed Environment Minister. Still an election campaign focused on the environment may resonate with the electorate based on the strength of the Green Party in the recent London by-election.

Dion is a decent, sincere man of integrity and conviction, a respected academic, author of a number books on political science, a former Minister untainted by scandal, a staunch defender of federalism and an ardent proponent of what he refers to as the “three pillar” approach – social justice, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability. So what happens to the rest? He did as well as can be expected for a new Liberal but I'm not so sure if Rae will contest a seat in Parliament now. Ignatieff who has been vocal about his desire for public service will now have to show that he means it. Will he be happy as an Opposition critic? Kennedy will definitely be seeking a federal seat in the House and will continue to build a political organization.