Saturday, September 29, 2007

Paris to Letterman: "I don't want to talk about that [prison]"

...Dave responds, "This is all I want to talk about".

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.

Mike Comrie and Hilary Duff Still Going Strong

...considering he gave her a new $100,000 Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV.

Didn't think the Islanders were paying him that much. Though they were begging free agents to sign with them.

Navy to Redesign Swastika Barracks

The U.S. Navy will spend as much as $600,000 to modify a 40-year-old barracks complex near San Diego that resembles a swastika from the air, a gaffe that went largely unnoticed before satellite images became easily accessible on the Internet.

The Navy realized it early on but decided against changing the building at the time because it wasn't obvious from the ground. Aerial photos made available on such services as Google Earth in recent years have since revealed the buildings' shape to a wide audience.

Under MMP Will Fringe Parties Control the Legislature?

Ian Urquhart in the Toronto Star suggests that like the Greens (environmentalists), the Freedom Party (for abolition of income and property taxes and introduction of two-tier medicare), and the Family Coalition Party (pro-life and anti-gay marriage) could meet the 3%threshold needed to get seats in the Legislature and control the agenda. He sites New Zealand as an example where there are eight different parties in its parliament, including a Maori party, which opposes more Asian immigration.

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.

Heidi says...Happy Weekend!

My NHL Quickie Previews

Northwest Division
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.

Pacific Division
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.

Central Division
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.

Northeast Division
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.

Atlantic Division
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.

Southeast Division
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.

Hotel Chevalier

Experience the genius that is Wes Anderson with his short film Hotel Chevalier. The film, which is a prelude to The Darjeeling Limited, is being offered for free on iTunes. Natalie Portman reveals some very nice assets.

My 25,000th Hit

Canada, eh? had its 25,000th hit today. The visitor was logged on to the Nippising Parry Sound Catholic District School Board in North Bay, Ontario. I'm sure it was a student doing research on the MMP and not searching for Britney crotch shots.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update on Toronto's Smallest House

Back in April I did a post on Toronto's smallest house which was on the market at the time. The house is at 128 Day Avenue in the Dufferin and Rogers area and is only 300 square feet. At the time it was listed at $139,000.

Toronto contractor Aurthur Weeden built the home in 1912 on a narrow strip of land that the city forgot to turn into a proper driveway. The lot is just 7.5 feet wide and 113 feet deep.

The home was purchased in April by David Blois who renovated and recently listed it for sale for $189,800. The seller is holding back on offers until today, Friday September 28th to generate a bidding war. It will likely go well above asking. Now that is what the Toronto real estate market is like. Totally nuts.

Strong Canadian dollar said hurting pot exports

All sectors of the Canadian export market are being effected by the weak U.S. dollar - even the illegal marijuana sector.

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?

Man Loses 83 lb. on Baked Bean Diet

A 133 kg (292 lbs) Englishman claims he lost 38 kg (83 lbs) in six months by eating a diet of baked beans.

James Skeates ate two cans of baked beans for lunch each day, straight from the can. Mr Skeates says the high fibre diet helped him to reach his target weight of 95 kg (209 lbs).

Now that's just plain gross. Wait till Jenny Craig hears about this.

I wonder if Beaches is on TV tonight?

1.5% of Voters Will Decide Next Ontario Election

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.

Updated Ontario Seat Projection

The latest projections from DemocraticSPACE have the Liberals edging up, gaining 3 seats. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are now projected at 59 seats (5 more than is needed for a majority) based on average support of 40.9%, John Tory’s Progressive Conservatives with 36 seats and 34.0% support, and Howard Hampton’s NDP with 12 seats and 15.8% support. Frank de Jong’s Green Party is projected at 7.9% support and no seats, and all others at 1.4%.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Childrens do learn"

President Bush has done it again.

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."

Another Reason the NHL is in Trouble

Minnesota defenseman Sean Hill is not permitted to play in the preseason as part of his 20-game regular-season suspension (19 left) for testing positive for steroids.

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.

Most Bikinis Ever

To qualify for a Guinness world record, somebody got 1,010 bikini-clad women together on a beach in Australia. Does that strike you as being difficult at all? I mean, women in bikinis! Where else are they going to be?

Bear Cubs are Cute

CRA Looking for Tax Evaders on eBay

Canadians who sell a lot of stuff on eBay best beware – the taxman is watching.

The Canada Revenue Agency has won a Federal Court order requiring eBay Canada Ltd. to turn over the names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of all high-volume sellers on the popular website. The CRA wants to find out whether those individuals or companies are reporting the income they made from online sales in 2004 and 2005.

Canadians spend about $5-billion online each year and eBay is by far the largest electronic marketplace, accounting for about a quarter of the total sales. The site was visited by nearly 11 million Canadians in August, according to company figures.

Google Taking Pics in Toronto for Street View

A camera-mounted Google car was spotted driving down Yonge Street yesterday, presumably taking pictures of Toronto for its controversial Street View application.

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.

Poll Results

I asked my loyal readers "Who is the person you least want to hear about in the news?" So here are the results:

Britney Spears - 15 (31%)
O.J. Simpson - 17 (35%)
Donald Trump - 7 (14%)
Paris Hilton - 12 (25%)
Brangelina - 4 (8%)

Of course, all of these people are in the news far too much. I was a little surprised to see Simpson at the top of the list. The murder rap he was able to walk away from still has some resonance combined with his other legal problems, the book, the civil suit, etc. He gets too much media attention but some of it is newsworthy. Britney is an incredible public spectacle. Like a car wreck that you can't seem to divert your eyes from. Brad and Angelina is just the hot Hollywood couple - the flavour of the week. They will disappear over time. Trump is rich and loves the attention so he will always be visible.

For me Paris Hilton is a puzzle. If she were to disappear from the scene I wouldn't miss her. She is boring, annoying and dumb. But I would like to hear from the readers out there.

Maple Leafs Might be Really Bad This Season

I found it very painful following the Leafs this fall. Usually in training camp there are some developments that give you some optimism going into the season. Something to make you think that this season they can do something special. I just don't have that feeling this year. The Leafs made few changes in the off season other than trade 3 high draft picks for a goalie and sign a free agent scorer. But these moves may not be enough to address last year's weaknesses.

I think the Leafs led the NHL in games lost to injuries last season. This season looks to be a repeat so far, Wellwood had to get surgery, Colaiacovo is not healthy (he rarely is) and Bell is suspended. Let's hope this is it for a while.

The forwards as a group are adequate. I'm puzzled by the Blake signing. Sundin has never had a big scorer on his line so why now. Their big weakness at forward is at centre. Sundin is 36 and has a bad hip. Wellwood has a wonky groin and they did not resign Peca. The Leafs needed to sign an eventual replacement for Sundin because none exists in the organization. So the Leafs may start the season with Kilger as their 2nd line centre. The Leafs offense was 8th overall last season which is pretty good. But to generate offense their powerplay needs to be better than decent. Without Wellwood that is not likely going to be the case.

I think everyone would agree the defense is greatly over-rated and hugely overpaid. The most expensive defense in the NHL is porous. None of the defense are overpowering in the defensive end of the rink. Most are weak on one-one, in particular McCabe since he can no longer utilize his can-opener move. Kaberle stands out because of his skating and puckhandling but he too is easily knocked off the puck on the forecheck. Too many offensive defensemen and not enough defensive ones.
If you have a great goalie then you can often get by with less than stellar defense. However, the Leafs do not have Cujo at his prime or anyone else like that. We all know what Raycroft can do. Toskala has looked shaky in exhibition games. Now these games don't count but his play hasn't exactly been inspiring. I know he is better than Raycroft but he is still unproven at the age of 30.

Special teams make or break you in the NHL. The powerplay will be weaker without Wellwood but it still has Kaberle and McCabe at the point. Tucker and Blake will be dangerous down low. The penalty killing was awful last year and with no Peca I don't see it being any better.

So if you're thinking the 41 year drought will end this year...not likely. Philadelphia and Florida will be stronger this year and push for playoff spots. Tampa Bay upgraded goaltending and Montreal as well. So I just don't see how the Leafs will slip in this year. So perhaps it will be the end of the line for John Ferguson finally.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another Request to Cover Up

This is yet another case of a woman being asked to cover up so not to offend other customers but its not Southwest Airlines this time.

Helen Simpson was wearing a low-cut, black evening dress in a New Zealand casino when a woman staff member told her to cover up or leave.

"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?"

Maybe she is right, large breasted women do have it tough. Maybe it's time that society starts paying attention to them. Perhaps she's correct in calling for widespread criticism of small-breasted women. Shame on them.

And when you want to make the case that you suffered cleavage-related embarrassment in front of a small group of people, it's always best to release the a photo to the newspapers for the whole world to see.

No Nude Climbing on Everest

Attention climbers: Please keep your clothes on while climbing Mount Everest.

Nepal's mountaineering authorities are calling for a ban on nudity and attempts to set obscene records on the world's highest mountain. This is in response to a Nepali climber who last year claimed the world's highest display of nudity when he disrobed for several minutes while standing on the 29,035-foot summit with the temperature about 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Is the proposed ban an attempt to protect climbers from doing silly stunts. Of course not! The people who live on the foot hill of Everest worship the mountain as a god and mountaineering authorities have asked the government to ban disrespectful stunts on Everest.

Google Street View to Comply With Canada's Privacy Laws

Google says the company is working on a version of its controversial Street View application that will adhere to Canada's privacy laws, a move that could pave the way for a new, albeit blurry, way of navigating through Canadian cities. The service will look different in Canada than it does in the United States.

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.

This comes two weeks after Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said Street View images appeared to have been collected largely without the consent of the people who appear in them, which would be in violation of Canada's privacy laws. It has already launched in seven U.S. cities but not yet in Canada.

The tool has been controversial because the street-level views often include images of people, and some individuals have been captured in potentially embarrassing situations: from walking out of an adult-video store to urinating in public.

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

Ontario Election Issues: Economy

Taxes. They’ve been the trump card for conservatives for the last 25 years. Their message? You should keep more of the money you earn. It’s a simple and highly effective message to which progressive politicians have no answer. After all, who doesn’t want lower taxes?

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?

After 16 hours, he's still going strong

Is Posh a member of the Gestapo?

Ontario Seat Projection

It's Crazy Hot Out There

I just checked and the outside temperature right now in Toronto is 32C (90F) and just shatters the record for September 25, which was 28.3C (82F) back in 1958.
UPDATE: Hit 33F (91C) at 4 pm. I thought it was supposed to be Fall.

Ahmadinejad: No Homosexuals in Iran

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.

The True Darth Vadar - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."

“You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

"In a December 2005 state television broadcast, you described the Holocaust as the fabricated legend" . "One year later, you held a two-day conference of Holocaust deniers."

"For the illiterate and ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda". "The truth is the Holocaust is the most documented atrocity in human history.… Will you cease this outrage?"

Pimp My Baby Ride

She Better Marry You After That

A Boston woman was doing the Sunday crossword in the Boston Globe Magazine with her boyfriend when she started to notice something funny. The puzzle was titled "Popping the Question" and a lot of the clues had something to do with marriage. For instance, 22 across was "macrame artist's proposal?" The answer was "Lets Tie the Knot." Other clues were the names of her sister and her best friend. But when she got to 111 across (generic proposal - her name is Jen, her boyfriend is Aric, Jen-Aric, get it?) Aric got down on his knee and proposed. The answer by the way, was "will you marry me?"A few months ago Aric had contacted the magazine to see if they could create a special puzzle for him, and the husband and wife team that writes the puzzles agreed.

Click on puzzle to enlargen.

Yankee Rookie Hazing Goes Oz

The Yankees got creative with their rookie hazing this year, forcing their rookies to dress up as characters from the Wizard of Oz. Joba Chamberlain is dressed as the Lion, Ian Kennedy as Dorothy, Shelley Duncan as the Scarecrow and Phil Hughes as the Tin Man.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Oops, Police Car Goes Missing

Halton Police are looking for the thief who took something that belonged to them. Someone made off with one of their unmarked vehicles in Hamilton overnight. The great car caper wasn't discovered until Monday morning.

The four-door, grey 2004 Buick Century with license plate AVYS 120 contained a Halton Police-issued 40-calibre Beretta pistol and some ammunition, a canister of pepper spray, a pair of handcuffs, a bullet-proof vest, a police radio and five black T-shirts with Halton Police markings.

If you see it, let some red-faced officers know at (905) 825-4747.

Faith-Based Schools in BC

Clearly the most contentious Ontario election issue has been the conservative proposal to publicly fund faith-based schools. Everyone is talking about it. But funding for religious and other independent schools has been the standard in B.C. for three decades.

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.

Ontario Election Issues: Cities

Downloading programs to municipalties by the Harris government has created a host of problems for cities, in particular Toronto. Everyone has ideas on how to address, crime, poverty, transit and urban sprall. We are seeing the problems with underfunding, road and bridge collapses, traffic congestion, rising pubic transit fares.

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.

Spelling 101

Bad grammar and spelling is ruining our society. Instead of warning drivers this sign offered them the opportunity to take the plates, setting construction back days and costing taxpayers millions.

Latest Celebrity Accessory - African/Asian Babies

Can someone explain this phenomenon?

Latest MMP Poll

A recent poll conducted by Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail and CTV shows that nearly half of Ontarians say they know nothing about a proposal to change the way the province elects its politicians, but those who do know about it are likely to support it.

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.


Where is the logic?

Jewish Community is Not United on Faith-Based School Funding

I took it for granted that the Toronto Jewish community was united on the issue of public funding of faith-based schools. That was silly of me. Although UJA Federation of Greater Toronto has been very vocal in its support, the Jewish community is never in total agreement on any issue.

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.

Ontario Seat Projection

Possible Liberal majority according to Greg Morrow at democraticSPACE. And this with only 40% of the popular vote. Wonder what the seat split would be under MMP.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Boss Turned 58 Today

Marcia and Jan Brady

...sharing some intimdate moments. Read more here.

Marcel Marceau, 1923- 2007

One of the world's greatest performers has died today. Marcel Marceau, the world's most famous mime was a French Jew, Marceau escaped deportation during World War II – unlike his father, who died at Auschwitz – and worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children.
Marceau was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, France. His father Charles, a kosher butcher who sang baritone, introduced his son to the world of music and theatre at an early age. The boy adored the silent film stars of the era: Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx brothers.