Saturday, September 29, 2007
I'm sure Dave was devastated to hear that Paris will never go on his show again. She wanted to talk about clothing line, fragrance and her movie. Sure, thats what everyone tuned in to hear about.
During the interview, an audience member screamed, “I love you Paris!” which lead Letterman to say: “Is that somebody you met in prison?” She can laugh but only at someone else's expense.
This is not a true depiction of MMP or New Zealand politics. Fringe parties are a good thing because they introduce some freshness to our political system. Lets face it, the Liberal and Conservative agendas are 95% similar. You could just toss a coin. Now the Green Party, for example, has some good ideas but a lot of bad ones too. A ruling party would be committing political suicide by adopting unpopular policies. Just look what is happening to the Conservative because of their position on faith-based school funding. In New Zealand, two major parties continue to control the agenda and are not being held hostage to the smaller parties. This is also the case in Germany.
Italy and Israel have gone totally to proportional representation with no riding representatives. This model badly weakens the major parties. Because if these systems had riding elections, the major parties would win the bulk of them leaving only a small number of seats in parliament to be selected from party lists.
MMP is a balance of "first past the post" and proportional representation. It better reflects the fabric of our community without watering down parliament to the point where no one can effectively rule.
Colorado: Jose is French for backup?
Minnesota: Wake me up when Lemaire finds some offense.
Vancouver: Well there's Luongo and then there's....?
Calgary: When will Mount Keenan erupt?
Edmonton: Glory years available on Betamax.
San Jose: No backbone, no Cup.
Anaheim: Don't open till Xmas Day, Teemu, Niedermayer.
Dallas: Play for the shootout.
Los Angeles: JS Aubin, need I say more?
Phoenix: Wayne Gretzky and Mickey Mouse together again.
Detroit: Running up score on stiffs.
St. Louis: Best of a bad lot.
Nashville Moving vans packed for KC.
Columbus: Try 7 years out of the playoffs.
Chicago: Wirtz is gone, but same result.
Buffalo: No Drury, no Briere, no problem.
Ottawa: My favourite choke team.
Boston: Just revoke the franchise.
Montreal: "Heart-and-soul" Samsonov gone.
Toronto: Gilmour and Clarke late camp invitees.
Pittsburgh Penguins: This year's Sabres.
New York Rangers: Expensive FAs never worked before.
Philadelphia Flyers: Only when Hatcher "the Anchor" is cut loose.
New Jersey Devils: Team built for a Sutter.
New York Islanders: Still begging for players.
Carolina: Was Stanley Cup a dream?
Washington: Where is the defense?
Atlanta: Basillie's next target?
Tampa Bay: Who needs goaltending? Not Tortorella.
Florida: Ominous sign: the rats have left.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Top quality Canadian pot is selling for $3,500 a pound in the United States, compared with C$2,400 in domestic markets. When you factor in all the risk and transportation, that (higher export price) is not a big deal any more.
A study in 2004 estimated the street value of British Columbia's annual marijuana crop at more than C$7 billion, which would make it one of the western Canadian province's largest industries.
Canadians have the highest rate of marijuana use in the industrialized world, according to a United Nation's study released in July.
That explains a lot doesn't it?
Here’s an interesting stat to chew on — 1.5% of voters will determine the outcome of the Ontario election. Since the government is decided by a series of one-on-one riding battles, whether we have a Liberal or Conservative government, minority or majority (all four remain possibilities) it will be determined by 5% of voters in the closest 30% of the ridings (i.e. 5% of 30% is 1.5%).
In the other ridings the margin of difference is so large that small shifts in voters have no real impact. For some voters, that creates the impression that their vote doesn't matter. Unlike perhaps the contest between Conservative David Shiner and Liberal David Zimmer in Willowdale where they both will be trying to get out the vote since that contest will be very close.
However under MMP, every vote counts. Even in ridings where the winner takes 70% of the popular vote. Because under MMP, you get two ballots - one for a riding represent and another for party representatives. So if the Green Party gets 9% of the vote in your riding and a similar proportion accross the province, they will receive 3 seats in the Legislature even if they don't win any riding.
Under MMP, voters would choose "local" MPPs in the traditional way in 90 newly created, larger ridings instead of the existing 107 constituencies. With their vote for the party of their choice on the second part of the ballot, they would also select an additional 39 MPPs from lists of candidates compiled by the parties.
These "list" MPPs would be elected based on their parties' popular vote, to top up a party's tally of "local" MPPs and more accurately reflect results across the province. The Legislature would be expanded to 129 MPPs to accommodate the changes.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
The misspeaker in chief was promoting his No Child Left Behind educational testing program in New York City, with first lady Laura Bush, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his side.
Referring to a new National Assessment of Educational Progress, Bush said, "As yesterday's positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured." You won't find that gaffe in the White House transcript, though; the Washington Post reports that it's been corrected to "children."
However, the NHL has permitted Islanders forward Chris Simon to play despite having five games left on his 25-game suspension for swinging his stick at Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg's head in March.
Mark Bell pleaded guilty to drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident and will serve jail time. He was give a 15-game suspension. He cannot play in preseason games.
In Hill's case no other player was harmed although, in addition to breaking the rules, he tarnished the reputation of the game. In Bell's case, the courts have dealt with his criminal activity. Simon viciously injured a player and may have further tarnished the reputation of the game. Simon is a risk to other players on the ice.
So where is the logic? Well, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an e-mail to the Star Tribune, "Terms of suspensions are case specific. Sean Hill's does not allow him to play."
Thanks for clarifying that Bill.
The service, which gives a clear street level view of a number of cities has raised some privacy problems in the seven American cities it has currently mapped. Taking thousands of pics at street level has generated some intrusive pictures of people peeing and walking out of porn shops.
In response to Canadian privacy laws, Google says that they are willing to blur recognizable faces and licence plates on their Canadian Street View service to comply with Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act that states companies must get consent to use personal information (which can include our recognizable image). Privacy laws are stricter in Canada than in the United States so the service will likely have to have some blurry Torontonians walking around (and may need to go further in Quebec where privacy laws are apparently even stricter).
While there is no set release date for the Toronto version of Google Street View, they are currently mapping Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, and Quebec City. Google has had some issues with privacy in the past, but their agreement to blur us out sound like a good idea and will allow a less embarrassing departure from Zanzibar during your lunch break.
O.J. Simpson - 17 (35%)
Donald Trump - 7 (14%)
Paris Hilton - 12 (25%)
Brangelina - 4 (8%)
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"She said I was wearing too low a top, which people found offensive," Simpson said. "`I was highly embarrassed – humiliated, absolutely humiliated. I feel like I've been discriminated against for having big breasts....You don't see women with too small boobs being criticised, do you?"
Street View is a new feature on Google's map service which depicts thousands of street-level images of major American cities. Not only does the feature show users the addresses they are searching for, but it also provides a view much more like the one they would see when travelling to the location.
A number of new websites that allow users to post embarrassing photographs they find using the application have already sprouted up since the application first became available in May.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Today, we’ve lost faith that government can do good. So today, we give less. So it should come as no surprise that we get less. It is within this climate that the best progressive politicians can do is a defensive promise not to raise taxes. Forget about selling the virtues of public investment, heavens no — just promise you won’t raise taxes! But it’s hardly a level playing field when conservatives can and do offer the much more attractive (and vote-rich) option of cash-back rebates. Even the NDP has started playing this game — they too are offering their targeted voters (”working families”) tax cuts in exchange for their votes (but unlike conservatives, whose goal is to quite literally reduce the size of government, the NDP will shift these taxes to the rich and corporations).
Lost in the taxes debate, however, is the old adage that says “there is no free lunch”. Indeed, the past 25 years has taught us that conservatives, despite the rhetoric, rarely spend less; they merely tax less. Instead, they borrow. Ontario is in no position to provide cash-back rebates in exchange for your vote. We carry a debt of $143 billion — $11,200 for every man, woman and child in the province.
Click here for summary of health care, environment, education and cities issues.
McGuinty continues to be criticized for breaking his promise regarding tax increases. Still he maintains that the will keep the Ontario Health Premium Tax because we need it to maintain health care services. However, there is a commitment to eliminate the capital tax by 2010. Minimum wage is to rise to $10.25 by 2010 and the Liberals will add statutory holiday (Family Day) in February.
The Conservatives will phase out the Ontario Health Premium Tax and the capital tax..They will find $1.5 billion in savings within the government which can only mean program cuts. Every Conservative government promises to eliminate government wasted but they never seem to locate any. Likely, because the only way to make the government more efficient would be to invest in infrastructure and technology. Tory would move 10% of government offices outside of Toronto.
Hampton announced he would raise minimum wage to $10 immediately after getting elected. The corporate tax rate would rise to 14.5% with exemptions for small businesses, There would be a new tax bracket for incomes above $150,000 (2% above current rate).They would cap industry hydro rates and get major industrial users to enter engergy efficiency agreements. And everyone's favourite - roll back MPP salary increases.
The Greens would shfit taxes from labour and businesses to resources and energy and in the process, create green jobs in sustainable industries. They would also phase out the Ontario Health premium Tax and raise the personal tax exemption. The Green party would estblish 3 new statutory holidays....Feeling better alread yet?
In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country. We don't have that like in your country. ... In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this.
Two unidentified gay teenagers were publicly executed in Iran in May for the crime of homosexuality. According to the London Times, the youths were executed in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad, in north-east Iran.
Monday, September 24, 2007
B.C. governments have long held that such funding is in keeping with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The rules are simple: Schools may not teach racial or ethnic superiority, religious intolerance or violence and they must deliver the B.C. curriculum if they want funding.
Of the 360 independent schools in B.C., only 19 have passed up on public funding, while 13 aren't eligible because they cater mainly to international students.
It can work in Ontario.
Click here for summary of health care, environment and education issues.
The Liberals have spent much of the past 4 years crying about insufficient transfer payments while ignoring the same complaints from the cities. In this campaign they have promised to hire at least 1,000 more police and expand the Guns and Gangs Task Force. They have also committed to spend $60 billion over 10 years on infrastructure such as public transit, roads, water systems and recreational facilities.
The Conservatives would dedicate gas and fuel tax revenue to transportation and transit systems within 5 years. Committing tax revenue to specific programs always has broad appeal but is not a wise approach. Over time other program can become a greater priority but the government will have less flexibility to address them if significant portions of tax revenue are spoken for already. The Conservatives would also introduce a 5% cap on property tax assessment increases. They plan to expand GO Transit and build public transit beyond the GTA.
The NDP would freeze property tax assessments and transit fares. They would also relieve municipalities of $3.6 billion in transit, court, social service and health costs by 2015. A NDP government would fast-track public transit expansion including new investments in light rail and GO Transit.
The Greens would have a moratorium on increases in the assessment market value of all residential properties and freeze urban boundaries around all municipalities. Construction would only be allowed on land already zoned as urban. They would move the GTA region boundaries inward to prevent urban sprawl. In addition, 75% of money for new highway construction would be diverted to public transit until 2012.
These awareness levels are on par with what was happening a month before B.C.'s referendum failed in May, 2005. Throughout the B.C. campaign, awareness levels changed little and support for the new system remained relatively constant among decided voters. When it came to casting their ballot, people who were undecided voted against the move, the Strategic Counsel report said.
Given the B.C. experience, the report says, it is "unlikely" the Ontario referendum will pass, the report said. To become law, the referendum must be approved by 60 per cent of all votes cast across the province, along with at least half the votes in a minimum of 64 ridings.
For information on the referendum go here, here, here, here, here, and here.
So while in many synagogues accross the GTA, rabbis were politicizing their High HolyDays sermons and urging congregants to support the Conservative party at the Ontario elections next month, a few were advising the opposite.
Rabbi Ed Elkin has been the spiritual leader of the First Narayever Congregation in downtown Toronto since 2000 participated in a Globe and Mail panel recently. He noted that by and large, the organized Jewish community has lined up behind the proposal to fund faith-based schools, and they have rested this support primarily on the issue of fairness. However, there are definitely individuals within the Jewish community who ardently oppose public funding for faith-based schools. They do so primarily out of concern about the wellbeing of the public school system, a philosophy that says that school is an important venue for Jewish kids to mix with kids of other religions and cultures. This appears to be the sentiments of may liberal Jews. They want to see their children mix with other cultures.
Rabbi Elkin also suggested that some faith schools would reject public funding. Perhaps legislation would be introduced so that schools which "enthusiastically vilify and abuse" identifiable groups such as homosexuals or others would simply not be eligible to come under the public system. Some schools would presumably not want to make this "bargain" and would therefore decline public funding to remain independent, as they are under the current system.