Saturday, September 22, 2007

Train Wreck or Drama Queen?...I can't decide.

Tony Barretto, a former bodyguard of Britney Spears has done a media interview. Basically, Britney has mental problems, doesn't like taking care of her kids, has problems with booze and drugs, likes getting naked, farts a lot and talks in a made-up language like in the movie Nell. Whenever the kids would cry she would pawn them off to her assistant, nanny or bodyguard. She would call the doctor all the time if she couldn't make the kids stop crying. She barely took care of them. Brit gets up at around 2 in the afternoon.
Click here to read the article.

Neo-Cons Should Support MMP

Since the election campaign began in Ontario, with its associated referendum on our electoral system, I've been waiting for Andrew Coyne's column on the matter. He did not disappoint this morning under the headline "Why conservatives should support proportional representation", though he has renamed it The conservative case for electoral reform on his blog. In the column he outlines the precise reasons why conservatives should be voting in favour of MMP.

...Canadian politics -- viciously partisan, yet unspeakably trivial; much ado about nothing much. McGuintoryism, in short....But what if there were a system in which no votes were wasted, where vote-splitting ceased to be an issue? There is such a system, and it’s called proportional representation, of which the proposal before Ontarians is a variant. Not only the Greens, but other parties -- libertarian, social-conservative, or other -- might then have a fighting chance. The spectrum of acceptable ideas for debate would noticeably broaden....So conservatives, genuine conservatives, have a choice. Hold onto the current system, and hope for a Harris-style change of government every fifty years or so. Or take a chance on something new, and start changing minds today.

2nd Man Charged with York Rapes

A second man has been arrested in connection with two York University sexual assaults that occurred in early September.

Police they received information within the past 24 hours that lead them to the most recent arrest. Justin David Connort, 25, appeared in court Saturday on 11 charges including:
- five counts of break and enter
- two counts of sexual assault
- two counts of gang sexual assault
- two counts of forcible confinement

Care for some Darth Vader Blues

History of TTC Subway

Click on the subway map to see a history of the Toronto subway system. It's pretty cool.

Friday, September 21, 2007

OMG! Marcia Brady had a lesbian affair!

Maureen McCormick who play Marcia Brady on TV (and who I and millions of other guys had a crush on) is coming out with a book where she will reveal she had sex with TV sister Jan (Eve Plumb). While Maureen is not a lesbian, she reveals there were some sexual hijinks going on behind the scenes. It's bizarre because she played such a virginal character on the show.

This is just too disturbing for me. I have this image in my head that won't go away of Marcia and Jan getting it on in some backlot trailer.

I wonder if Cindy ever joined in?

M.I.T. Student Arrested with Fake Bomb at Logan Airport

A 19 year old female M.I.T. student was arrested at gunpoint after entering Boston's Logan International Airport with what authorities claim was "a fake bomb" strapped to her chest, according to wire reports. I thought you had to be smart to get in M.I.T.

The device is said to have been some kind of computer circuit board with Play-Doh and wires attached, strapped over her black hoodie. Link to AP report on her arrest.

The young woman is identified as Star Simpson, shown in the image above left, and she is a sophomore from Hawaii. Here is her MIT website, here's her homepage, .

Law enforcement spokesperson at press conference -- "She said it was a piece of art, and wanted to stand out on career day. I'm not sure why she had the Play Doh on her hands. She couldn't explain that.... there were wires attached to a battery that actually lit up".

She's being charged with "posession of a hoax device" and disorderly conduct. But on the plus side, she's not dead.

Why Not Fund Faith-Based Schools?

A number of years ago I wasn't supportive of a policy to fund faith-based schools but as I gave it more thought I decided why not?

I beginning to wonder if the public that opposes faith based school funding really understands what would happen under such a policy? These schools/school boards could approach the Ministry of Education and if they met all the requirements under the Education Act (teacher certification, facilities, curriculum, etc.) would essentially be brought into the public school system. The policy would be inclusive rather than exclusive. Yes, there may be more parents that might choose to send their children to one of these schools but then why would it matter. However, these schools would likely have to curtail the religious portion of their curriculum just as the Catholic schools have had to.

I wonder if there is some concern that a radical religious sect would be able to access pubic funds. I can't really see how that would happen if they are subject to the provisions in the Education Act. I wonder if there is some underlying racial stereotyping going on. That the province would be giving money to Muslim school who are teaching children to hate the West.

Arson Suspected in Scarborough Fire

A five-alarm fire at a wrecking yard in Toronto's east end caused commuter chaos yesterday, disrupting trafffic for miles and halting service on a number of GO train routes. The jury is still out on the toxicity of the plumes of black smoke that blanketed Scarborough, although intuitively it seems like a fire composed of burning metal, plastic, rubber and various industrial solvents isn't the kind of thing you'd want to toast marshmallows over.

Toronto police and the fire marshal last night were investigating reports the inferno may have been deliberately set. Witnesses reported seeing a man fleeing the scene about the time the sky began to fill with smoke. Police confirmed they're also probing reports from area residents who said they saw someone hurl a Molotov cocktail onto the property.

The Toronto fire department dispatched 25 trucks and 125 firefighters after the blaze broke out among 300 discarded tires and 90 cars. No one was injured.

Sigh...Summer is Over

Ex-Student Charged with York University Rapes

Daniel Katsnelson, 25, of Thornhill, appeared in court yesterday morning to face 11 charges, including sexual assault, gang sexual assault, two counts of forcible confinement and break and enter. He surrendered to police with his lawyer late on Wednesday night.

Police were able to hone in on Mr. Katsnelson after poring through hundreds of hours of footage from closed-circuit security cameras that cover the York University campus. The other suspect is at large and known to the police.

Katsnelson became aware on Wednesday that police were looking for him in the attacks and surrendered to police accompanied by his lawyer, Peter Dotsikas.

Katsnelson works in the insurance business and tried to launch an after-school sports program for kids three years ago. Katsnelson also starred in an independent short film in 2005 entitled Elise, where he plays Trey, a wealthy young filmmaker who falls in love with a poor waitress.

Ontario Election Issues: Environment

Environment is a motherhood issue. Everyone agrees we need to protect the environment. But how many leaders and parties really walk the talk. In Canada, the public tends to accept global warming as fact rather than a theory. Really this debate seems to only rage on in the U.S. The global reality is that as long as growing economies in India and China keep polluting, money we pour into protecting out planet will have minimal impact. However, there is a lot that can be done to protect the Ontario environment - our lakes, air, natural resources.

The Liberals promised to close down coal-burning electricity plants during the last campaign but delayed any closure because we haven't replaced that electricity generating capacity. However, they are working toward this goal, it will just take longer, like 2014 instead of 2007. They have set targets for reducing green house gas emissions that won't be met. However, they do promise to introduce a law requiring polluting companies to reduce emissions. They will eliminate inefficient light bulbs which is merely optics. They also plan to introduce a pesticide ban similar to bans that exist in a number of GTA municipalities. To be be honest the Liberal plan is a patchwork of initiatives that don't add up to much but allow you to say you have a green agenda.

Tory promises to focus on everything. “John Tory will tackle all aspects of the environmental challenge,” his platform promises. Smog, greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, clean water, greenspace conservation, and on and on — all will be better under Tory. And he’ll do it mostly by fiddling with taxes. It's all very non-specific though. There’s scarcely a promise without a loophole. On residential electricity use, for instance, The Conservative platform also has an extremely misleading section clearly meant to scare Ontarians into thinking the province will shortly run out of electricity. The Tory platform calls closing Ontario’s coal-fired power plants, including the biggest emitter of carbon-dioxide in the country at the Nanticoke Generating Station on Lake Erie, “an unrealistic promise” made by Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals, though it’s a process that’s already underway. The Conservatives will fast-track construction of nuclear plants and in the interim install scrubber on coal-fired plants. Thy also have targets for reducing greenhouse emissions.

The NDP will introduce a Right-to-Know law that would force manufacturers to label consumer products with known or suspected toxins and force plants to disclose the contents of emissions. They would close Nanticoke coal plant by 2011 and invest in green energy instead of nuclear. As well they would provide incentives such as grants and loans to retrofit homes to make them more energy efficient.

The Green Party naturally has the most ambitious environmental agenda starting with elimination of coal-fired plants by 2009. They would plan "walkable" communities that are connected by public transit. They would implement a water conservation plan and amend the Clean Water Act to add new fines and allow for planning by municipalities. What I really like is the proposal to introduce California-style mandatory emission standards for vehicles by 2013. When they have to the auto companies will comply to emission standards and California is already benefiting from the tougher standards.

Click here for summary of health care and education issues.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

O.J. Simpson's Last Fan

Take a look at the guy behind O.J.'s lawyers in the OJ 07 shirt. Great facial expressions. Also how can you expect anybody to take the lawyer seriously with "OJ 07" behind him. He's probably a plant for a TV show but he is priceless.

Britney Parody

Happy Birthday me!

Pentagon's New Strategy

Curse of the Bambino?

The Red Sox sure did make the Blue Jays look good this week by meekly allowing the .500 Jays to sweep them. This was only the Jays' second sweep this season underscoring their inconsistent play all season.

Back in 1978 the Red Sox had a 14.5 game lead over the Yankees in July only to finish the season tied. The two teams played a one-game playoff to decide the pennant which was won by New York. This year the Red Sox actually had another 14.5 game lead over the Yankees only it was back in May. New York now only trails by 1.5 games with a weekend series against the Blue Jay spoilers.

The big difference this year is the existence of a wild card team which is likely the scenario for Boston. Only a total collapse would leave them out of the playoffs. But then maybe there is a curse.

Canadain Buck = U.S. Buck!!

No longer can are currency be sneered at like it was Monopoly money. For the first time since 1976 (when I was a grad student in Philadelphia), the Canadian dollar reached parity with the U.S. dollar this morning. In fact I remember paying my tuition and thinking I was getting a break with our dollar being worth more.

The loonie has been risen considerably since bottoming out below 62 cents (U.S.) in early 2002.

It has risen about five cents since the beginning of the month and about 15 cents in the past year.

Firefighters use forklift to move 900-lb man

Firefighters cut a hole in the side of a house and used a forklift to extricate a 900-pound man from his second-floor bedroom after a visiting nurse became worried about his health.

Rescue workers were called in Tuesday by the nurse, who determined the 33-year-old man needed medical help, Fire Chief Tom Cochran said.

Cochran said the man had not left his home since 2003.

The man's brother, who lives with him, said he suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that creates a chronic hunger feeling that can lead to overeating and life-threatening obesity.

Rescue workers brought in a forklift, high enough to raise a platform to a hole cut into the wall of the house. They covered the man with a blue tarp to shield him from onlookers and slid the platform onto a flatbed truck for a trip to Sparrow Hospital.

Another Ontario Poll

An Ipsos Reid poll shows

Liberals at 40%
Conservatives at 37%
NDP at 16%
Greens at 6%

This poll is more consistent with previous polling and suggests that none of the parties have seen their popularity rise or fall by more than two percentage points since May. Unlike the Harris-Decima poll, this one suggest the Green Party at traditional levels and that we will see a minority on October 10.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Latest Ontario Poll

Ontario's Liberals managed to hang on to the lead they had going into the provincial election as the issue of faith-based education dogged their rival Conservatives through the first week of the campaign, a new Harris-Decima poll released today suggests.

Liberals at 41 per cent

Conservatives at 32 per cent

New Democrats at 14 per cent

Greens at 12 per cent

I'm surprised at the continued strength of the Green Party which might improve after the Leaders' Debate tomorrow. For the first time the public will have a face to go with the party. The Liberals are still in striking distance of a majority especially if the Greens continue to show strongly. The faith-based school funding issue seems to be hurting the Conservatives. I wonder if Tory will finally backtrack on this issue. It will be hard to do so since he continues to state this is a matter of fairness. He will come off as having no principles.

Cruise Film Gets German OK

Germany appears to like Tom Cruise after all. Earlier this year, the government barred the U.S. actor from filming at a sensitive historical site apparently because of his membership in the Church of Scientology, which the German government considers a cult. But now officials have changed their minds. Cruise's film company is making a movie tentatively titled Valkyrie, about a German officer who tried to assassinate Hitler. The film can now include several scenes shot at the so-called "Bendler Block," a building complex in central Berlin where the officer was executed.

The decision coincides with a general warming in public opinion toward the film project and toward the American star in Germany. But some critics are still not happy.

In Germany, where the government provides assistance to organized religions, a 1995 court ruling determined that Scientology was a cult "masquerading as a religion to make money.

The Miracle of the Bush Economy

...or how I plan to become the new Herbert Hoover.

A total of 243,947 foreclosure filings were reported in August in the U.S., up 115 percent from 113,300 in the same month a year ago and up 36% from the previous month. There were 179,599 foreclosure filings reported in July.

What is the Referendum Question?

Many voters may still not be aware that there is a referendum (the first in 80 years) on the ballot at the next provincial election on October 10. The referendum is to determine whether the province’s electoral system needs an overhaul.

Under the current electoral system, each voter in the province’s 107 ridings gets one vote to choose a local representative in the provincial legislature. The political party that wins the most ridings forms the government.

Under the proposed mixed-member proportional (MMP) system, each voter would mark two ballot boxes, one for a local representative and one for a political party.

The legislature would expand to include 129 members from 107, but the number of ridings would be reduced to 90. The other 39 representatives would be so-called “list members,” who would be distributed among the political parties so the balance of power in the legislature is roughly equal to the vote totals for each party.

I personally like it because it would end the trend of political parties forming a majority government after winning only a fraction of the total popular vote. It also means that if you are a Green Party supporter your vote will count because although they will not win any riding, they will get enough of the popular vote to get some seats. To me that is more democratic.

However, some people think this system is less democratic. Their concern is that voters don't decide who gets on the party lists which will fill 39 seats in the Legislature. But the lists will be made public so if you don't like who is on the Liberal's list that might be another reason not to vote for the party. In fact you could vote for the Liberal candidate in your riding but not for the party.

This is not a unique system. It has been tried elsewhere and has been successful in reducing the power of traditional governing parties (like the Liberals in Canada) and empowering smaller parties.

So here is the Question:

"Which electoral system should Ontario use to elect members to the provincial legislature?"

Option 1: The existing electoral system(First-Past-the-Post).

Option 2: The alternate electoral system proposed by the Citizens Assembly (Mixed Member Proportional).

Curb Your Enthusiasm, Season 6

After a 21-month wait, I'm pleased to report Larry David has recovered his biting edgy style. Season 5 was disappointing. It was funny but lacked the cynicism and edginess that I love about Larry David.

The overarching plotline of this season has Larry and Cheryl taking in the Blacks, an African-American family who lost their home in Hurricane Edna (his typically misfired greeting to the Blacks: ''That's like if my last name was Jew''). The Black matriarch is played by the versatile Vivica A. Fox. But my favourite is loud, foul-mouthed Susie who is the wife of Larry David's manager, Jeff.

I watched episode 2 last night and it was wonderful. The show blasted people who don't return dry cleaning mix-ups, and guests who leave evidence of self-pleasure on their hosts' bedspreads. Curb is at its sharpest when Larry tries to articulate his particular secret codes of conduct, actually making a case for why it's acceptable to steal a few bouquets from an overflowing memorial but rude to donate money anonymously.

Murder Trial is Being Treated to Some Incredible Stories

Former Toronto police Const. Richard Wills of Richmond Hill is certainly entertaining as well as one pathetic human being. The story he has put together as a defense to murder charges is both incredible and sickening.

He has been charged with the murder of his mistress Linda Mariani, who vanished on Feb. 15, 2002. Prosecutors say Wills got angry with Mariani when she wouldn't leave her husband after he and his wife, Joanne, separated, and he hit her with a baseball bat, then choked her with a skipping rope before hiding his crime behind a fake wall in his basement. In fact the body was found 4 months after Mariani disappeared sealed in a garbage bin with caulking and duct tape along with the skipping rope and baseball bat. Oh yes, police found the body with the rope still wrapped around her neck.

But wait Wills can explain away all this damning evidence. The two loved each other dearly and had a love pact that carried on after their deaths. You see Linda Mariani had carelessly fallen down a flight of stairs while reaching for a Valentines Day gift and died when she hit her head. He claims Mariani wanted to be with him through eternity, her "life partner" and death partner too; not be interred in a plot alongside the husband. So his plan was to sneak the body up to his cottage property, thereby honouring their pact.

So he never called 911 and hid the body so she could be buried on a beach. Wills knew that he would be a "prime suspect" in the disappearance of his mistress, so he began a cover-up that included shifting suspicion to the missing woman's husband. He had to divert attention away from himself until he could move her body.

The man is a total scum. And to think he was a police officer.

Watch Out for the Nigerian Puppy Scam

A Mississagua woman is red-faced and out $500. She admits to having been swindled in a scam that had her sending cash to Nigeria so that they could transport a "free puppy" to her.

It sounds like this is a new spin on the Nigerian letter scam.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Moving on from the by-elections, here is the latest poll

It is one thing to point out the gap in polling support for political parties is within the margin of error, it is quite another to spin this as deadlocked. But this is Canadian Press and it is Decima poll.

Conservatives: 32%
Liberals: 29%
New Democrats: 17%
Greens: 14%
Bloc Quebecois: 5%

Greens: 14%, Bloc Quebecois: 5% kind of makes you think this poll may not hold out at election time.

I am willing to put money on parties internal polls having the Conservatives and Liberals significantly higher than this, the BQ at almost twice as much and the Greens at half of the above.

The Reason O.J. Went Commando...

...the bastards stole his beloved J Edgar Hoover photograph.

Today's best O.J. line, from Eugene Robinson: "If the stuff belonged to the Juice, you must let him loose."

Bell Cellular's Insenstitive Holocaust Ad

Bell Canada has apologized after a punk-rock reference to the Holocaust appeared on billboard advertisements for its cellphones.

The ads for Bell Canada's Solo discount service showed a young woman decked out in flashy punk rock attire, with a button that reads "Belsen was a gas" - the controversial title of a song by the Sex Pistols, and a reference to Nazi Germany's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Bell officials approved the ads after examining sample images that were smaller than the final billboards. The button inscription could only be read when the ads were blown up to their full size.

The billboards appeared in mass-transit systems in Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as in Toronto, which has a large Jewish community and many Holocaust survivors.

Bear Gets into a Car

Lesson to be learned. Don't leave food in your car when in the wilderness and leave it unlocked. These people only had a small amount of damage. In the pics below you will see slightly more "serious" bear damage. From Firestarter5

Iran's Nuclear Secrets Revealed!

Scientists at Iran's Bushehr Nuclear "Power Plant" say they are already seeing the fruits of nuclear research. "We have just developed a camel with two butts, and our intelligence services tell us the Zionists are years away from any such accomplishment."
"With our Revolutionary Guard Corps riding beasts such as these their enemies will not know what to do. 'Oh, which way do we shoot? We don't know! We can't tell which way their camels are going!' Ha! We will back them into the sea with our camels of no direction!"

I feel like I'm writing for the National Enquirer.

Alicia Silverstone does a nude PETA ad

Alicia Silverstone appears nude in a new PETA ad promoting vegetarianism. Very impressive!!!
CLICK HERE to check it out!

Want to know how to get on the news and YouTube?

Well one way is to act like such a total jerk that you get yourself arrested. Like this guy here.

Hilarious video of some moron getting harrassed by the police. He wanted to ask John Kerry a question but instead went on a 2 minute rant about how Kerry won the election and should have contested the results. After being asked to stop once, they just shut his mike off and then University of Florida Police escorted him out. The kid freaked out because he wanted to make a spectacle of himself and he got his wish.

I love O.J.'s new room

Ontario Election Issues: Health Care

Health care is the single most significant issue in Ontario despite the fact that the leaders spend a lot of time talking about education. The population is aging and we will need more doctors, hospital beds, long-term care beds and community-based services. But the government can't keep up with current demands.

The Liberals are at a disadvantage because they have to campaign on achievements in portfolio where you can never fully fulfill demand for services. They have made some progress on wait times but not as much as would have been expected since they also introduced a health "premium". They promise improvements in their second term. Even less progress has been made regarding the doctor shortage. Family and general practitioners are closing practices at younger and younger ages due to stress and burn out. I think only about 15% are accepting new patients which leaves over 1 million Ontarians without a family doctor. They promise to fund new medical school spaces and accredit foreign trained doctors to address the shortage. They have shut down attempts by the private sector to introduce for-profit health care in the province. These moves are largely window dressing since there is an abundance of private health care services available in Ontario. Eye exams, chiropractic and physiotherapy services have been delisted. Incentives have been provided to doctors who work in group practices but the model has not really caught on. They will also hire 9,000 more nurses, meet q goal to have 70% of nurses working full-time, and guarantee jobs for new nursing grads.

John Tory says he will spend $8.5 billion more than the Liberals (after 4 years) on health care. Just where that money will come from is not clear. It never is. A John Tory government would open the door to innovative partnerships, provided that services are paid for by OHIP, meet provincial standards and do not allow queue jumping or patients paying from their own pockets." That is code for private delivered services. The Conservatives plan to eliminate the health premium. The Conservatives promise to introduce a "comprehensive, long-term physician recruitment strategy to reverse the trend of doctors fleeing" the province by plugging in an additional $400 million in new annual investments by 2011-2012. But will Canadian doctors in the U.S. come home?

The NDP would establish a minimum standard of care for seniors, hire more health care workers to care for seniors and increase funding for seniors’ services. As expected the NDP are opposed to any privatization and would ensure that no one profit from health dollars. Let's face it that is an absurd position. Doctors make a nice living from the profits made running their offices. So does Shoppers Drug Mart, private labs, etc.

The Green Party states that Ontario’s current approach to medical care is unsustainable and can’t be fixed simply by spending more tax dollars. Instead of being a health care system, it is actually a sick care system that focuses on treating illness rather than trying to prevent it. The Green Party will improve the efficiency of health care spending by diverting more resources into health promotion and into disease and accident prevention. Safe drinking water and clean air must be viewed as basic rights, and good nutrition, exercise and strong social supports should be treated as essential to our well-being. That is a difficult agenda to fulfill as their is a lot of vested interest is the existing system. More prevention will likely increase health care spending in the short term and not see results until years down the road.

Click here for summary of education and environment issues.

Monday, September 17, 2007

By-elections are a disaster for the Liberals

The outcome of the three Quebec byelections – called by Harper while he left four other vacant federal seats unfilled elsewhere in the country – played out almost as well as the Tory prime minister could have hoped.

Conservative candidate Denis Lebel, the popular mayor of Roberval, dethroned the Bloc Quebecois candidate in Roberval-Lac-St-Jean for the first time since the general election of 1988.

The Bloc maintained its long-held seat in St-Hyacinthe-Bagot, holding off a strong Tory challenge that relegated the Liberal candidate to single-digit support.

And in Outremont – a century old bastion of Montreal Liberalism – Liberal Leader Stephane Dion saw his hand-picked star candidate soundly trounced by the NDP's Thomas Mulcair, a former Quebec environment minister.

This may be a sign to the Prime Minister that a federal election might be winnable for the Conservatives.

O.J. Simpson's Posse Also Arrested

The key to the O.J. caper could be Walter Alexander, who was arrested and charged with two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, one count of conspiracy to commit robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of burglary with a deadly weapon.The attorney for Walter Alexander, says the D.A. has told him he's got a week to think about deal cutting.

Las Vegas Metro Police have arrested a third suspect in the O.J. Simpson investigation. 53-year-old Clarence Stewart turned himself in to cops at his lawyer's office, reports the Associated Press. Thomas is accused of being one of the gun-toting men in Simpson's posse when the group allegedly broke into a Vegas hotel room and stole a bunch of sports memorabilia last Thursday. Cops say Stewart has turned over some of the missing goods, including autographed footballs.

Which way to Larry Craig's Bathroom Stall?

The bathroom stall where Larry Craig tried to get some action has now become a tourist attraction...

The Royal Zino Shoeshine shop owner's grandson, Royal Zino, said it has been hectic.
"People have been going inside, taking pictures of the stall, taking pictures outside the bathroom door — man, it's been crazy," he said.
On their way to Guatemala, Jon and Sally Westby of Minneapolis made a visit.
"We had to just stop and check out the bathroom," Sally said. "In fact, it's Jon's second time — he was here last week already."

Let's see how long it takes before the airport starts charging people admittance.

Source: "Travelers ask to see Craig bathroom," AP, September 16, 2007

1/3 of men don't wash hands in restroom

One-third of men didn't bother to wash after using the bathroom, compared with 12 percent of women, said the researchers who spy on people in public restrooms. They reported their latest findings Monday at a meeting of infectious disease scientists.

Two years ago, the last time the survey was done, only one-quarter of men didn't wash, compared with 10 percent of women.

Ummm, guys you need to step up to the sink!

Emmy Fashions: The Good, Bad and Ugly



Impact of the Rising Canadian Dollar on the NHL

In the January 2004 (the midpoint of the pre-lockout season), the Canadian dollar was worth about $0.78 U.S. today it's $0.97 which is a remarkable 24% increase. During that same period the NHL salary cap went from $39 million to $44 million and now up to $50.3 million which is a 29% rise. Since there are 6 Canadian teams the collect revenue in Canadian dollars, what impact does the dollar rise have on the salary cap? Probably lots.

It is a good assumption to make that the cap would not have risen to $50.3 million without the increased value of the Canadian dollar since league revenue is reported in U.S. dollars. So struggling U.S. based teams are having to pay higher player salaries to stay competitive without necessarily seeing an increase in revenue. It is likely that there is a fair amount of price elasticity when it comes to ticket sales so if teams increase ticket prices to meet the higher salary demands it will eventually impact on future sales. At some point in the future (when the Canadian dollar stops increasing or possibly falls) revenues could fall which will create a dilemma for players because it will require a drop in the salary cap. Teams with a lot of long-term contracts will be really be squeezed.

There is another possible impact which will likely appear this season. Canadian-based players have actually be taking a pay cut as the dollar rises. Since Darcy Tucker lives full time in Toronto but gets paid in U.S. dollars, his buying power has been falling. This will likely become more evident to players should the Canadian dollar rise above the American. The CBA prevents agents from negotiating contracts in Canadian dollars so will Canadian teams be a less desirable destination?

Ontario Election Issues: Education

The hot issue in this election appears to be education based on the first week of the campaign. That might change over the next few weeks but it is the one issue where the Liberals and Conservatives differ. In fact, their platforms are about 95% identical.

Dalton McGuinty wants us to think he is the Education Premier much like Bill Davis once was. Over the past 4 years the Liberals have spent a lot of money on Education to bring labour peace, reduce class sizes and address many of the problems created by the two previous Conservative governments. Teachers and parents appear to be happy and the teacher unions are backing the Liberals. Things are better but there are still many issues that need to be addressed. Rigid policies around class size have created many split classes in our schools which are disliked by both parents and teachers. Class size has always been an overblown issue but has a lot of political appeal. McGuinty has been very vocal regarding his opposition to funding faith-based schools but he also comes off as a little hypocritical since his family has benefited from public funding of Catholic schools.

Progressive Conservatives:
John Tory almost appears to be hanging his hat on one issue -funding faith-based schools. That is a shame because he the rest of his platform likely has good voter appeal but has been overshadowed by this issue. Tory sees this issue as one about fairness. Most faith-based schools are already publicly-funded (Catholics) he would like to bring in the rest into the public school system. The majority of voters are opposed and its difficult to say how that will affect who they vote for. I don't see this as taking $500,000,000 out of the public school system but rather expanding the public system and making it more inclusive. In addition, other provinces have already moved forward on this issue so Ontario would be able to learn from their experience.

Howard Hampton has been critical of Liberal and Conservative failure to properly fund schools and has promised that a NDP government would annually review the school funding formula. Hampton has accused Premier Dalton McGuinty of breaking his 2003 pledge to establish a standing committee on education to conduct annual reviews of the funding formula. Hampton’s promise would cost $400 million and help cover the cost of textbooks, supplies, more educational assistants, sports and other school programs that some parents are chipping in to cover. An NDP government would also provide a grant of an average of $125 per pupil to help students at risk, either with learning or behavioural difficulties. It is is not included in the $400 million program and NDP officials could not immediately provide a total cost. As well, the NDP is promising a university tuition freeze.

Education is society’s great equalizer. The Green Party advocates a move toward a single, publicly funded school system that offers all children the same opportunity to learn together, in English or French, in an inclusive and supportive environment. Eliminating the duplication and inefficiencies in the current school model will allow us to direct resources where they are needed most: in the classroom. They call for tomorrow’s adults to develop all the tools they need to succeed and prosper, along with core values of tolerance and understanding. Abolition of funding for all faith-based schools, including Catholic. Restoration of school boards' power to levy taxes, up to 5 per cent of their budgets. Abolition of standardized testing and the College of Teachers (the disciplinary body for the profession).

Internet Kills Man

I am not making this up!

A man in southern China appears to have died of exhaustion after a three-day Internet gaming binge, state media said Monday.

The 30-year-old man fainted at a cybercafe in the city of Guangzhou on Saturday afternoon after he ha been playing games online for three days, the Beijing News reported.

Paramedics tried to revive him but failed and he was declared dead at the cafe, it said. The paper said that he may have died from exhaustion brought on by too many hours on the Internet.

You think you can steal my shit?

This is interesting item. When O.J. Simpson lead his gang of armed gunmen into that hotel room last week to get back his junk, there was a recording of the incident. O.J. can be heard on the audiotape repeatedly saying "mother fuckers, you think you can steal my shit and sell it?"

Among the items in question was the suit O.J. was wearing in court the day he was acquitted of killing Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman.

This is just too ironic even for me. He gets off of the crime of the century but could end up doing time for some petty theft and gun charge. Too bad Johnny Cochran is dead.

Cereal-eating driver causes 3-car collision

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it's definitely not this important.

Witnesses said a driver who lost control along a Highway 401 on-ramp in London, Ontario recently was eating cereal when the vehicle careened through a grass median and jumped into 100 kilometre-an-hour traffic, causing a three-vehicle crash.

"Thank goodness he didn't come across a tractor-trailer. We've had enough of those lately," said Const. Phil Miziolek of the OPP highway safety division. "That's just luck of the draw. There's a bit of a lull in the traffic (at this time of day)." Though the collision included two other vehicles, no one was seriously hurt, Miziolek said.

Punishment That Fits the Crime

Violaters of the city of Fort Lupton's noise ordinance were in for a big surprise this past Friday. The city's judge sentenced citizens who have been busted for being too loud to 1 hour of listening to unpopular or unusual music. In a courtroom with mostly young adult offenders, Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" played loudly on a boombox.

During the full hour of punishment, they were not allowed to chew gum, eat, drink, read or even sleep. Most violators found the first few minutes funny. As time wore on with Karen Carpenter, Barry Manilow and Barney songs, they weren't laughing anymore.

Judge Paul Sacco carries out the punishment about four times per year. He said he believes the sentence fits the crime.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Does a political party with 3% public support deserve a seat?

The Liberals and Conservatives say no because under the MMP system it will come out of their share of seats.

Now Sheila Copps' idea of electoral reform is laughable to the extreme.

...France, for example, two votes are held to achieve a consensus. The first round eliminates all but the two major candidates. The second, a week later, is a runoff between the contenders, guaranteeing an outcome with majority public support.

Of course Ms Copps supports this, remember she was a key benificiary of the current system that gave her party 51.5% of the seats with 38.5% of the popular vote. Could there be a better system for the Liberals to turn 38.5% of first ballot support (if we adopted the French system) into seat count of about 75% under the two vote system.

A big Shona Tova from Madonna

Madonna celebrated the Jewish New Year in Jerusalem with Israeli President Shimon Peres. The two exchanged gifts. She gave him her "Sex Book" and he gave her a copy of the Old Testament.

OK, she really him a book called "The Book of Splendor" which I think is about Kaballah (a form of esoteric Jewish mysticism). Madonna is quoted as saying she is an ambassador for Judaism.

God help us!

O.J. Simpson got busted

There was no car chase in a white Bronco but O.J. Simpson was arrested at the Palm's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for allegedly robbing a memorabilia collector with a gun last week. He will be charged with a total of six counts of robbery, assault, burglary and conspiracy. Yesterday, an accomplice that was apparently with O.J. at the time of the robbery was arrested.

O.J. is being accused of showing up to a sports memorabilia collector's hotel room at the Palace Station Casino under the guise that he was interested in buying stuff. O.J. instead robbed the guy at gunpoint with help from two other people.

O.J. claims the items were his. O.J. is still in the slammer tonight.

What is wrong with this guy? Does he think he can get away with murder? Oh yeah, he did.


It's still September, but while a few days remain in the summer of 2007, you'd never know it walking around the streets of Toronto.