Saturday, October 06, 2007

Psychics circling around the Madeleine case

This is so sad that there are no adequate words to describe it:

Kate and Gerry McCann are taking seriously information passed to them by psychics in the hunt for their daughter Madeleine, it has been revealed. Members of the McCann family are in direct contact with a number of psychics and other mediums. They have had more than 1,000 separate contacts from psychics since she disappeared on 3 May from an apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal.

Just stop to think here for a moment. "More than 1,000 separate contacts" from psychics... And yet Madeleine remains missing. Why is that? If these psychics have gotten more than a thousand messages from beyond, then why hasn't the girl been found already? Or to put it this way, how can anyone be so fucking desperately stupid to allow these cold-hearted, blood-sucking vultures to waste precious time and resources in this way? The useless meddling of "psychics" is a dangerous distraction, and anyone who has the nerve to claim to be one of these scam artists should be charged with criminal activities.

Source: "McCanns 'treating seriously' psychics' claims of what happened to Madeleine," Daily Mail, October 1, 2007

Love it when the Yankees get bugged


Jessica Wishes Canada a Happy Thanksgiving!

Weeds Starts in Canada on October 10!

Weeds is on Showcase on Wednesday nights at 10 pm EST.

NY Yankees on the Road

When the New York Yankees check into hotels on the road, stars like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez register under phony names so not to be bothered by groupies, autograph seekers, and assorted lunatics. Below is an invoice listing all the players' alias.

OPP Catch Motorcyclist Doing 200 Km/hr

This Thanksgiving is full of firsts. It's the first one in a long time that it's ever been this warm, it's the first time in 30 years the dollar has ever been this high, sparking many to head to the U.S. and it's the first time in history police in Ontario have been given the power to seize your car on the spot if you're caught going 50 kilometres an hour or more over the speed limit.

The OPP have already flexed those new legislative muscles, taking down more than 150 drivers caught defying the new rules that were implemented last Sunday. They were out in force again Friday, taking part in the nationwide Operation Impact, designed to cut down on the carnage that traditionally rides the roads on the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Among those caught in the net: a motorcyclist allegedly going more than 200 kilometres an hour on the northbound 400. Cops tried to pull him over but he did it for them, winding up on the curb as he attempted to avoid one of the cruisers.

Our Electoral System is Flawed

In the 1987 Ontario election, the Liberals received 47.3% of the popular vote but won 73% of seats which translated into a stranglehold control of the Legislature.

In the 1990, the NDP received 37.6% of votes cast but won 57% of ridings for a clear majority in the Legislature.

In 1995, the electorate swung to another party with the Conservatives winning 63% of seats but taking only 44.8% of the popular vote.

We never see parties with over 50% of the voters' support but they are able to govern as if they do. This is the flaw of the first past the post system. In a hypothetical world, if the Liberals were to get exactly 38% of the votes in every riding, while the Conservatives and NDP get exactly 32% and 30% respectively, you would have 107 Liberals in the Legislature and no other parties.

Of course, proportional representation is also flawed. Since no party ever receives a majority of votes, it would be expected you would never get a majority government. In fact, Italy and Israel have proportional representation and never get majority governments and have up to a dozen parties with seats in the elected assemblies.

MMP represents a blended system and avoids flaws of the first past the post and proportional representation systems. In the proposed system for Ontario, 70% of seats will be filled using the first past the post system. The winner of each of the 90 proposed ridings will get seats. The remaining 30% (39 seats) will be filled by the proportion of votes each party receives. You will still get majority governments but obviously fewer.

So if you tried to covert the 1987, 1990 and 1995 election results into the MMP system the 1987 Liberals would drop from 95 seats to 84 (still a majority), the 1990 NDP would drop from 74 seats to 64 (a minority) and the 1995 Conservatives would drop from 82 seats to 76 (still a majority).

And the representatives from the party lists will also be selected democratically. The four largest parties in Ontario (Liberal, PC, NDP, Green) — accounting for 98.6% of the votes in 2003 — have all officially committed to holding democratic nominations for list candidates under the recommended MMP system. That would represent all the potential seats in the Legislature since a party requires 3% of the popular vote to get a seat

Updated Ontario Seat Projections: Liberal Lead Grows

The latest projections from DemocraticSPACE have the Liberals increasing their lead, solidifying their majority position. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are now projected at 64 seats (10 more than is needed for a majority) based on average support of 42.8%, John Tory’s Progressive Conservatives with 31 seats and 33.1% support, and Howard Hampton’s NDP with 12 seats and 16.9% support. Frank de Jong’s Green Party is projected at 5.5% support and no seats, and all others at 1.7%. Tory's announcement on 1 Oct regarding a free vote on faith-based school funding does not seem to have had much impact on polling yet.

Interestingly, two Liberal Cabinet ministers, Harinder Takhar and Mike Colle, who had run into problems in the past year seem to have comfortable leads in their ridings which I suppose reflects the popularity of their party.

Projections are based on a weighted average of the last five polls conducted by leading pollsters, including the two latest polls from Harris-Decima and Ipsos-Reid. Poll data is calibrated regionally and adjusted for individual candidates, providing the most accurate predictive model available. Current projections are based on 3,305 surveys conducted between 25 Sept and 4 Oct and have a margin of error of +/- 1.70%.

Still Guilty, Still Gay

Friday, October 05, 2007

MMP will be Rejected Next Week

My recent poll is totally unreliable. But this one is likely more predictive.

A SES-Research-Sun Media poll suggests Ontarians are set to reject MMP electoral system and an opportunity to change how they choose their legislators.

Almost half of decided voters surveyed by SES for Sun Media, 47 per cent, say they intend to vote against MMP, compared to 26 per cent who support change. The survey of 500 Ontarians suggests five per cent of voters won't vote at all in the referendum, and 22 per cent are undecided how they'll vote.

LeBron James Backs Yankees over Cleveland

LeBron James announced to millions during his recent appearance on "Saturday Night Live" his intention to root against his hometown Indians this week in the American League Division Series.

Man, he wasn't kidding.

In a move that provides quite the dilemma for Cleveland fans, James not only sported enemy gear to Thursday's Game 1 against the Yankees at Jacobs Field, but he even playfully taunted fans by doffing his Yankees cap and raising it in front of a camera during a TV interview. The crowd chanted "Take off the cap!"

Now that's just wrong. And the Yankees of all teams.

Cleveland Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller said he was going to a Cavaliers game and sit right by their bench, wearing a Detroit Pistons cap.

Human Nature

Sundin Ties Record, Toskala Plays Well, Leafs Still Lose

After 22 games going back to last season, Mats Sundin finally tied Darryl Sittler's record for most goals by a Maple Leaf. Vesa Toskala took over in net and played well. But the Leafs still lost even though they outshot the Senators 43-29.

These 2 games against the Senators were very frustrating to watch because the Leafs played well enough to win but mistakes and sloppy play cost them both games. You don't get away with that against teams like Ottawa.

Well does that mean they will do better against weaker teams? Not necessarily. You can shoot yourself in the foot any time, any place. Missed assignments in front of your own net will cost you goals on any night. Ever team has at least one sniper that will feed off defensive lapses. The Leaf powerplay which should be a strength has been bad.

But the worst part of their game has been bad penalties. Twice last night the Leafs took a penalty less than 10 seconds into a powerplay of their own, thus robbing themselves of a chance to get back into the game. They took 3 consecutive penalties at the end of the game that eliminated any chance of winning and handed the Senators' excellent powerplay enough opportunities to finally score the game winner.

Naked Streets in Toronto

Here's a wild idea to improve on pedestrian safety: eliminate all traffic and road signs, making the streets a free-for-all thereby "appealing to the human ability to collectively solve problems".

In places where the unusual concept has been tried, like the Netherlands, it has led to a significant decrease in traffic mishaps and pedestrian injuries. The concept is called naked streets - I guess because the street is stripped on traffic control elements. Supposedly this scares drivers so much they slow down and move carefully to avoid hitting anyone.

I just can't imagine Yonge Street with no traffic lights but would love to watch the traffic camera videos.

Marion Jones Finally Admits to Cheating

Marion Jones admitted using steroids before the 2000 Olympics in a recent letter to close family and friends, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Jones, who won five medals in Sydney, said she took "the clear" for two years, beginning in 1999, and that she got it from former coach Trevor Graham, who told her it was flaxseed oil, the newspaper reported. "The clear" is a performance-enhancing drug linked to BALCO, the lab at the center of a federal steroids investigation. Until now, Jones had steadfastly denied she ever took any kind of performance-enhancing drugs.

According to the Post, Jones, who won five medals in Sydney, plans to plead guilty tomorrow to lying to federal agents about her performance-enhancing drug use. In December 2004, she sued BALCO founder Victor Conte, contending he falsely accused her of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Those cheater sure come up with some wild stories. Flaxseed oil indeed! I still remember the nauseating coverage of Jones' medal wins by the American media while everyone around who was mixed up with drugs. She will likely lose her medals but not the millions she made on endorsements.

American Activists Denied Entry Into Canada

On the news the other day. A good example how 9/11 has also changed things at the Canadian borders. A couple of peace activists who were arrested in the U.S. while protesting the Iraq war were denied entry to Canada. Years ago they would have been welcomed with open arms.

The arrests landed Benjamin and fellow activist Ann Wright's names in an FBI-run database, the National Crime Information Center, which Canada also relies on to screen visitors.

When the two women visited the country in August, they were told they would have to apply for "criminal rehabilitation" and pay $200 if they wanted to visit again. But they never did.

On Wednesday, Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, and Wright, a retired Army colonel, walked into Canada at Niagara Falls to test whether they really would be denied entry because of their anti-war-related arrests. And they were.

Benjamin said she and Wright, who resigned as a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Mongolia in 2003, planned to protest at the Canadian embassy in Washington on Thursday and to ask the FBI to remove the protest charges from the NCIC database.The protesters believe the inclusion of activists' names in the database is a form of political intimidation of people opposed to Bush administration policies.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Picture of Hayden Panettiere's Box

Some thoughts...

Why do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front?

Why do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke?

Why are banks doors unlocked but their pens chained to the counters?

Why do we leave expensive cars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage?

Why do drive-thru ATM machines have Braille lettering?

Maid may have known her killer

Evidence recovered from the scene of Mississauga's latest murder inside one of the largest mansions in a wealthy neighbourhood suggests that 27-year-old housekeeper Jocelyn Dulnuan knew her killer.

Investigative sources indicated yesterday that, while forensics specialists with Peel Regional Police will be combing the Doulton Place home for clues over the next several days, evidence found so far is leading detectives to believe the Filipino-born Dulnuan knew the person who attacked her.

"(The evidence) has led us in a certain direction, but there is still a lot of other things in the home that need to processed and that could very easily change the direction of this investigation," one well-placed source said. The source also indicated valuables were taken from a safe in the home.

Toronto Maple Leaf Poll

Enough with politics!

I've got a Toronto Maple Leaf poll running in the next week for the diehard Leaf fans and haters. You know who you are.

Check it out in the sidebar.

Poll Results

Here are the results of the Ontario election polls I've posted.

On the question on how do you plan to vote in the referendum?
Support current system 6 (15%)
Support MMP 29 (72%)
Don't have enough info so I will not vote 2 (5%)
What referendum? 3 (7%)

I was quite surprised by the high number of people supporting MMP. But this is not a random poll and not at all representative of Ontarians. There is a lot of info on this blog regarding MMP and it appears people responding to the poll know more about MMP then the typical voter. Afterall only 12% indicated they didn't know about it or had enough info. The referendum is binding on the government if 60% of voters support it as well as 64 out of 107 ridings. Folks, it's not going to happen.

What are the most important issues to you in the Ontario election? (multiple answers accepted)?
Private health care 9 (33%)
Taxes 8 (29%)
Public transit 8 (29%)
Faith-based schools 6 (22%)
Environment 8 (29%)
Youth violence 3 (11%)
Other issues 5 (18%)

The responses were all over the map partly because respondents didn't necessarily provide multiple responses. How else can you explain huge issues like private health care and taxes only registering with 33% and 29% of respondents. It's interesting how faith-based schools was rated as an important issue by 22% voters when it really affects so few. I believe media focus brought attention to an unimportant issue and indirectly influenced the outcome of this election.

How do you predict the Ontario election will turn out?
Liberal majority 11 (33%)
Liberal minority 14 (42%)
Conservative majority 3 (9%)
Conservative minority 2 (6%)
Don't care 3 (9%)

My poll appeared a week ago before broader polling suggested a Liberal majority. In fact most of those indicating a Liberal majority appeared in the last 2 days. There are still some diehard Conservatives who won't give up the dream. Folks, its over!

Conservatives May be Shut Out in Toronto

Recent polling by riding suggests that the Conservatives may not win any ridings in Toronto. I'm not aware of any polls being released following Monday's announcement by John Tory that his government would put the issue of funding for faith-based schools to a free vote.

Currently the Liberals stand to take 17 ridings in Toronto and the NDP would get the remaining 5. Looking at the remainder of the GTA, the Conservative are doing better in Durham where they may take 4 ridings with the Liberals taking the remaining 1. In York, the Conservatives and Liberals will likely split the 6 ridings. In Peel-Halton it looks like the Liberal are leading in 7 ridings and the Conservatives in only 4.

Of course if the Conservatives are shut out in Toronto, it means John Tory will not have a seat in the Legislature. He is putting forward a brave face when he told reporters this morning that he will stay on as leader regardless of the outcome of next Wednesday’s Ontario election.

The only question remaining is whether the Conservatives can shift back some of the moment that the Liberals have gained following Monday's announcement and cut into some of the potential Liberal majority.

Detroit Radio Station Pulls Britney Suicide Contest

Radio stations love edgy stunts and the publicity, but WKQI-FM in Detroit, clearly crossed the line when its DJ Big Boy announced a "Britney Suicide Watch" contest Tuesday night. The DJ offered $1,000 to the person who correctly picked the date of Britney's death.

After swift and negative reaction, the station pulled the Web page for the Britney stunt by mid-morning Wednesday and aired an apology.

The irony of the stupid stunt was that one of the morning DJs has been a vocal supporter of suicide prevention and is emceeing an "Out of the Darkness" walk on the weekend. He was very critical of the stunt and station management.

Beware of the Butt-Grabber

CityNews is reporting that police are warning female residents in the area bounded by Yonge/401/Bayview/York Mills that there is a predator out there.

A number of women report being approached by a man who strikes up a conversation with them. Once they're distracted and appear to think he's no real danger, he strikes - grabbing their buttocks before running off.

While the suspect hasn't seriously hurt anyone, his apparent sick fetish is still assault - and cops are anxious to warn you of his presence so you can be ready until they catch him.

What me worry?

Here is Britney without a care in the world. So what if she has lost custody of her kids because she has been labeled an unfit mother. Sure, she is constantly being photographed drunk, stoned and flashing her private parts. And granted she keeps crashing her cars and forgetting to get a drivers license.

But her fans love her!! Gimme More is #3 on the Billboard charts after just 4 weeks. Does life get any better than that?

Raycroft and Maurice Lay an Egg

Well game one of the new season looked so much like last season for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Andrew Raycroft was decent but not spectacular. In other words not good enough to win. In the new NHL where every lineup has a mix of good and mediocre players, you need great goaltending to win. Certainly the first line of Sundin, Blake and Antropov did their part.

But what was Raycroft doing in the net in the season opener? Didn't the Leafs trade 3 draft picks for a #1 goalie and give him a contract extension of $8 million? Well coach Paul Maurice has already shown a lack of confidence in newcomer Vesa Toskala and put him on the bench last night. Although Raycroft was not outstanding in preseason, he was better than the shaky Toskala. But when the team makes a big commitment to a player like Toskala, you have to stick with him - at least for the start of the season.

So I'm sure Toskala will get the start tonight. But Maurice's plan to have some competition in net may only lead to a lack of confidence for both goalies. What if Toskala doesn't play well tonight? Does Maurice start Justin Pogge on Saturday?

Below is a video tribute to the Battle of Ontario which resumes in Ottawa tonight.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Just Like in "Cool Hand Luke"

It was just like Paul Newman's fictional character in prison in the 1967 film "Cool Hand Luke."

Police were serving an old warrant, when the discovered stolen meters at Cambridge man's apartment. Thomas Gannon of Cambridge had cut the heads off 123 parking meters over the course of a year, emptying them of quarters and leaving them around his apartment like so much dirty laundry.

MMP Candidates Will be Chosen Democratically

Opponents to MMP desperately hang on to the argument that the system will be less democratic because representatives chosen from party lists will be appointed candidates, party hacks, etc. That's not going to happen!

The four largest parties in Ontario (Liberal, PC, NDP, Green) — accounting for 98.6% of the votes in 2003 — have all officially committed to holding democratic nominations for list candidates under the recommended MMP system. That would represent all the potential seats in the Legislature since a party requires 3% of the popular vote to get a seat.

The Liberals and Conservatives have been very quiet about this. They raise the potential regarding abuse because they don't like the MMP but at the same time confirm that they will develop a democratic and fair process.

List candidates will have to do exactly what local candidates do now (and will continue to do under MMP) — rally support in their area, get their supporters to vote at the nomination meeting to secure the nomination, then face the general voters, who choose their preferences, rewarding effective individuals and parties, and punishing ineffective ones.

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 MMP system, each voter would mark two ballot boxes, one for a local riding 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.

Murder in a Mississauga Mansion

Filipino-born housekeeper Jocelyn Dulnuan has been identified as the woman slain inside a mammoth Mississauga mansion.

The 27-year-old woman was found dead on Monday in her living quarters in the basement of the ornate two-storey home on Doulton Place, near Mississauga Rd. and Dundas St. W.

Dulnuan entered Canada on a work permit last year and held several previous jobs in the Greater Toronto Area. She had worked for the Chanchlani family on Doulton Place for the past two months.

Police are saying that the location was targeted for a specific reason but would not say why. It appears that there was property taken from the residence and that the killers might have targeted Dulnuan, the mansion, or both.

It sounds like something out of an Agatha Christie mystery novel - a maid from across the world comes to a huge mansion and goes to work for a wealthy family, only to wind up murdered inside the spacious multi-million dollar home.

15-Year Old Hanged by Taliban

Taliban militants hanged a teenager in southern Afghanistan because he had U.S. money in his pocket, and they stuffed five $1 bills in his mouth as a warning to others not to use dollars, police said Monday. Taliban militants elsewhere killed eight police.

The 15-year-old boy was hanged from a tree on Sunday in Helmand, the most violent province in the country and the world's No. 1 poppy-growing region.

Dollars are commonly used in Afghanistan alongside the afghani, the local currency, although the U.S. currency is more commonly seen in larger cities where international organizations are found.

Militants often justify their attacks and executions as a response to U.S. meddling in Afghan affairs.

We will now hear from our expert witness...umm never mind

Dr. Arkady Katsnelson appeared as an expert witness for the defence in the first-degree murder trial of Richard Wills. Wills was 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.

Katsnelson is the defence expert witness, representing a big chunk of the case Wills' lawyer is trying to make – that Mariani was not bashed across the head with a baseball bat or strangled with a skipping rope.

He was explaining the odd markings on Linda Mariani's neck, allegedly evidence of the skipping rope that had been wound about her throat. Helpfully using a pointer, Katsnelson drew the jury's attention to a trio of lesions, vivid red on the slide that was being shown. "In my opinion, it is some kind of artificial marks. It is not marks from a skipping rope.''

Artificial markings, all right. They were strokes drawn onto the slide by an earlier police witness, indicating triple "furrows'' in what remained of Mariani's skin. The "expert witness" had mistaken red highlighter for wounds. And the little arrows pointing to the strokes, these Katsnelson couldn't explain at all, describing them as "shovels'' in the flesh. Further: "This is not consistent with strangulation because the marks are so short.''

The prosecutor rose to his feet to announce that, "He's opining about lines that were put there by another witness. It's highlighter! It's not a furrow, it's not blood.''

An embarrassed Katsnelson tried to recover with. "Sorry, I did not know it's red highlighter.''

Talk about a case going from bad to worse.

Toronto Maple Leafs Home Opener Tonight

This is the start of the 41st season since the Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup. Most seasons I have some reason to be optimistic and look forward to the start of hockey. Not this season. Maybe it's because of other things going on in my life; work, home, etc. But honestly I don't see any potential in this year's Leafs.

In the era of the salary cap every team has wholes in their lineup. Top ranked teams have had to let good players leave to keep within the salary cap. Buffalo desperately wanted to keep Briere and Drury. The Devils did not want to lose Rafalski nor did the Senators want to have Chara walk away. The Leafs have spent heavily on defense ($20 million) and goaltending ($6 million) but they haven't spent wisely. And with a salary cap that is suicide for hockey teams.

The Leafs defense have some excellent skaters who if partnered with strong defensive players would look great. But their blueline is all the same type of players which produces a very porous defense that can score goals.

The Leafs traded 3 draft picks for a goalie (Tokasla) but he has played so poorly in preseason that he was unable to wrestle away the first string job from a goalie (Raycroft) who was almost booed out of town last season. In addition, the Leafs were allegedly forced to take Mark Bell along with Toskala who was a overpaid bust in San Jose.

Since the end of the lockout, the Leafs have continued to trade away young players and draft picks to shore up wholes in their lineup although they realize that young, cheap players are the key to managing under a salary cap.

They have one star player, Mats Sundin who is slowing down at age 36 and operating with a chronic hip. In fact, he did not score in the final 20 games of last season. After goaltending, their biggest weakness is penalty killing which was not addressed at all during the off season.

So if Sundin can still carry the team, if the defense can learn to play defense, if Toskala turns out to be a solid starting goalie, if Blake can score 30 goals, if injury prone players like Tucker, Antropov, Wellwood and Colaiacovo can stay healthy, if young players like Steen and Stajan can become front line players. Sigh, there are just too many "ifs".

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Another Ontario Seat Projection

The latest projections from DemocraticSPACE have the Liberals solidified their position in majority territory. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are now projected at 63 seats (9 more than is needed for a majority) based on average support of 42.0%, John Tory’s Progressive Conservatives with 32 seats and 33.4% support, and Howard Hampton’s NDP with 12 seats and 17.0% support. Frank de Jong’s Green Party is projected at 6.0% support and no seats, and all others at 1.7%. These numbers do not reflect the impact of John Tory’s decision to back off funding for religious schools.

The results from the 2003 election were Liberals at 46.4%, Conservatives at 34.6%, NDP at 14.7% and Green at 4.3%.

If staff in the TV show "The Office" were to sue

Julie Elgar, a labor and employment attorney in Atlanta, Georgia has an interesting blog based on the TV show, The Office. The blog is called “That’s What She Said” which is Michael Scott’s trademark punch line.

Following each episode, Julie provides a personal estimate that a company might incur if the antics of the folks at Dunder Mifflin appeared in a real lawsuit.

During the season premiere, Michael Scott hits Meredith (one of his staff) with his car and breaks her hip. Julie suggests the litigation value is approximately $450,000 (depends on how much Meredith’s medical bills are). Also she notes that managers should refrain from calling a staff meeting for the express purpose of inquiring about their employees’ religious beliefs (which occurred in one scene last week).

Open Letter from Stephen Harper

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We have accomplished much in those 21 months. Before Canada's new government came to power parents who had children enrolled in hockey didn't receive a tax deduction. Canada's new government heard the cry and we answered the call. If your kid is in hockey you can now deduct a dollar thirty a day from your income tax. If you don't have a kid in hockey you are probably gay or lesbian.

I now believe the time has now come for the Conservative Party of Canada to reveal 5 new priorities for Canada.

1. Aboriginal issues – Canada's new government recognizes that Canada's aboriginal peoples have legitimate land claims that should be dealt with in a timely manner. To this end we promise that we will increase the number of attack ads featuring Stephane Dion by 50 percent in the next three months. In the words of great Canadian actor Joe Two Rivers – me like-em Stephen Harper.

2. The Environment – This was always a priority of Canada's new government but a government employee, a bureaucrat, accidentally spilled white-out on our platform and as a result the word "environment" was lost. This bureaucrat is an incompetent. This was not our fault this was the public services fault. We care about the environment so much we fired a slew of people in the department of the environment and are running a new Stephane Dion attack during the season finale of Canada's next top fashion Model.

3. Northern Sovereignty – The future is in Canada's north. In an effort to ensure that resources in Northern Canada are developed in a responsible way Canada's new government has instructed the department of finance to audit Julie Van Duesen and Mike Duffy's tax returns for the last 11 years. The Mike Duffy's of this world will not stop progress in the North. This must and will stop.

4. Open and Accountable government. Yes the catch phrase open and accountable will not go away. We are prepared to use it every day and every night. To ensure an even more open government communications director Sandra Buckler will now assume her new position as head of the RCMP and Canada's spy agency CSIS. Also we will cut funding to more museums.

5. This fifth priority is a secret. Any suggestion that we couldn't come up with a fifth priority is scurrilous and unfounded. Any individual, group, media outlet, political party or church group who suggests we have run out of ideas supports the Taliban.

Yours truly,
Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada

from Rick Mercer - new season of Mercer Report starts tonight.

Check out Ontario Wines in 2 Years

Ontario wine producers are harvesting their best crop in 25 years right now. The hot dry weather has provided excellent quality grapes and no mildew which can reduce yields.

Unlike many other food crops, which crave fertile soil and water, grape vines need poor, well-drained dirt and scant rain to yield great wine. Barren conditions trigger sugar concentration in the berries. Too much water and vines will instead devote energy to an exuberant leaf canopy, giving the resulting wines a poor flavour.

Niagara growers could use the break. They haven't had a good crop in 5 years and 2001 (ladybugs), 2003 (cold) and 2005 (cold) were terrible years. So keep youir eyes open for 2007 Ontario wines over the next few years.

Beauties With Big Brains

Website has listed top ten beauties who allegedly have brains. Evidence relates to attending university as opposed to accomplishments, awards, academic acheivements, etc.

Number 1 is Elizabeth Shue because she attended Wellesley College and Harvard University. She withdrew from school to pursue her acting career but went back and finished fifteen years later, graduating from Harvard with a degree in government. She certainly qualifies as a beauty.

Based on interviews I've seen, I would lean towards Jody Foster.

Thornhill Riding Candidates

I attended an all candidates meeting in the Thornhill riding last night. A crowd of over 200 showed up not including all the campaign workers and supporters. Liberal incumbent Mario Racco is married to Vaughan city councillor Sandra Yeung Racco. I strongly dislike politicians who move on and use their spouses to hang onto their previous elected office. In 2003, he narrowly beat out Conservative Tina Molinari (by only 796 votes). The riding is the third wealthiest in the province and is 36.6% Jewish and 21.4% Catholic. Consequently, the religious school funding issue is a major issue here although there is no consensus among the Thornhill Jewish community.

Tory candidate Peter Shurman called foul, complaining to Elections Ontario about the election returning officer who is the executive assistant of the Liberal candidate's wife. She was promptly replaced. The funding of faith-based schools has become a make or break issue in this riding.

The meeting began with a York University prof providing a good description of MMP and how it will impact on the different parties, majority governments, etc. He seemed to point to more positives than negatives regarding the proposed system. I'm not sure everyone in the audience got it. The format allowed each candidate with an opening address and then they would respond to written questions from the audience. It was not a debate which avoids candidates talking over each other and addressing each other rather than the voters.

Mario Racco (Liberals) was surprisingly inarticulate for a seasoned politician and his strengths are not obviously displayed in this type of setting. He is still very much a Vaughan municipal politician which would explain his backbencher status. For example he was critical of Shurman not living in the riding which may be more relevant as a local politician. And lets not forget how frequently boundaries change in York Region. His response to question was poor and his answer to a question on the school funding formula drew hecklers from a rather polite audience. He kept to his party platform when asked how he would vote on MMP suggested people decide on their own. It was obvious he was relying on the government announcement that it would help fund a subway extension as an example on how the Liberals has remembered Thornhill voters.

Peter Shurman (Progressive Conservative) was quite articulate compared to Racco. After all, he is a former broadcaster. He wants to enter politics partly because John Tory has inspired him. He complained that the Liberals distorted the religious school funding issue and made it into a wedge issue. Then added that it was now no longer relevant since it would be put to a free vote. One elder man shouted out he was disgusted with the Conservative position and for the first time in 50 years would not be voting for them. He got a free ride from the audience because no one took him to task for the Harris-Eves years. I sent in a question about Walkerton that was never asked. He strongly opposed MMP and pointed to Israel where there are 32 parties and no majorities. I was annoyed but this response because Israel does not have MMP but rather a pure proportional representative system. Also only about 10 to 12 parties pass the threshold for seats in their parliament. Interestingly, the response from the audience was that they liked minority governments.

Sandra Parrot (NDP) spoke about the NDP theme of supporting seniors, children, parents, and working people. She strongly advocated preserving both the public health care system and the public school system. She talked about freezing property taxes and fixing the school funding formula. She was opposed to faith-based funding and obviously in favour of MMP because her party has the most to gain from electoral reforms.

Lloyd Helferty (Green) is an advocate for good community design, smart growth, energy conservation and re-naturalization of our towns and cities. The priority should not be to build a subway. It should be to encourage local jobs and a local, sustainable economy that doesn't rely on people commuting into Toronto. His message was that the rapid deterioration of our ecosphere, ever increasing global population, the general loss of biodiversity, pollution, climate change and the weakening of our physical connections to community could very likely lead to a chaotic situation wherein some of the most cherished facets of our society could start to break down. The Green Party stands for sustainability. He also stated there should be no funding for Catholic or other religious schools.

Lindsay King (Freedom Party) is a silly old man who seemed to be mocking the process (though maybe not intentionally). He stated that “voting for the Freedom Party is freedom from political perversion". You have to tolerate candidates like this in a democracy. He was opposed to funding faith-based schools.

Malcolm Kojokaro (Independent) is your typical independent candidate who advocated for breaking the monopoly held by the major parties and more accountability. He has never been interested in politics and is only running now in order to fix the system. He strongly urged voters to support MMP. He was opposed to funding faith-based schools and asked voters not to vote based on one issue.

Nathan Kidd (Family Coalition Party) was a no-show.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Fatah/Hamas gay sex scandal

When the Gaza Strip became Hamastan, the bearded ones didn't waste any time digging up as much dirt as they could possibly find to discredit Fatah. So what did they come up with? Apparently, the best they could do was to present some documents and films showing that the Fatah thugs are really a bunch of sissy boys (corruption, torture and other unimportant things like that naturally pale in comparison to the horrible crime of homosexuality, at least in the Arab world):

Shortly after the Islamist movement wrested control of the Strip, Hamas officials began talking about "embarrassing" and "damning" documents and films that were seized inside Palestinian Authority security headquarters formerly controlled by Fatah.

According to the officials, the Fatah men had been spying on several senior PA officials, some of whom were caught on tape having homosexual intercourse.

A DVD distributed among a limited number of Hamas representatives features a former PA official having sex with another man. The disc, according to a Palestinian journalist in Gaza City, is being sold on the black market for NIS 20.

Hamas says the PA's Preventive Security Force played a major role in collecting the evidence against the senior PA officials. In some cases, Hamas said, the documents and tapes were used to extort large sums of money from the PA officials.

According to one document, entitled "A Large Number of Homosexuals," a number of wealthy and influential figures in the Gaza Strip had formed a "gang" for practicing homosexual intercourse.

"Some of them were summoned for questioning and they admitted to having sexual intercourse with boys and adult males," the document, dated May 12, 2005, stated.

"Some of them had individual sex, while others preferred group sex. Some of them paid money for sex, while others performed sexual intercourse with males in front of their wives."
The sex allegedly took place in hotels, clinics and private homes - in some cases with a picture of Yasser Arafat hanging overhead.

The document described the homosexuals as a "very dangerous group" and warned that the phenomenon might spread to other parts of the Gaza Strip, adding that rival political factions could exploit the case to defame Fatah and "create chaos and confusion."

Source: Khaled Abu Toameh, "Fatah-Hamas mired in tawdry accusations," The Jerusalem Post, September 27, 2007

Popular Diets Ranked by Healthiness

In an analysis of eight popular diets, researchers found that the Ornish plan, the Weight Watchers High-Carbohydrate diet, and the New Glucose Revolution plan came out on top in terms of nutritional quality and potential effects on heart health.

What the plans all had in common were high amounts of fruits, vegetables and fiber, and low amounts of artery-clogging types of fat, researchers found.

At the bottom of the list came the high-protein, low-carbohydrate Atkins plan, mainly because of its more liberal attitude toward red meat, saturated fat and trans fats, and low amounts of fruit and fiber.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Scarlett, is it true you do baby-sitting?

Britney, how bad of a mom do you have to be to lose your kids to this guy?

Tory Abandons Promise to Fund Faith-Based Schools

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory is promising a free vote in the legislature on his proposal to publicly fund faith-based private schools. This is the best that Tory can do to stop the sudden shift in support from the Conservatives over the last 10 days of the campaign.

He cannot outright abandon his commitment since he has repeatedly said over the last few weeks that he was a man of principles and would not drop the promise just because it was unpopular. However, since there is resistance in his own party, a free vote is essentially the same as dropping the proposal. Should the Conservatives be elected, they would find a convenient time to introduce a bill that would be killed and then move on.

Obviously, Tory has made a critical error in this election. Instead of forcing the Liberals to run on their spotty record, he introduced a policy that has very little public support. Only 55,000 children attend faith-based schools in Ontario. His opponents used this error in judgement to shift focus onto the Conservatives and this single, insignificant issue. Polling has shown a significant erosion in Conservative support over the last week. Even in Tory's riding there has been a big shift and he is now at risk of not winning a seat.

So Tory is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Folks, this is how elections are won and lost.

Name the Actress

Broke out with the other pop princesses (Britney and Christina) with a Billboard hit in 1999.

Had a reality TV show on MTV in 2003.

Won 3 Teen Choice Awards in 2004 and a People's Choice award in 2005.

Moved into films in 2005 and debut in a film that grossed over $100 million.

From here things didn't quite go so good. Her second film was a bomb.

Embarrassed herself on stage by forgetting lyrics to a song.

Her third film was to have been released in July but a decision was made to go directly to DVD. Then it was decided to instead sell it on the home shopping network.

The answer is here.

Nuit Blanche

Toronto held it's second overnight arts festival on Saturday from 7 pm to 7 am the following morning. There were 145 participating galleries, museums, neighbourhoods, parks, shops, warehouses, stables, and radio channels. The subway operated all night because you couldn't possibly get around by car. It was a zoo of pedestrians, cars, chartered buses and cyclists. Galleries and bars were beyond capacity, the crowds were 20 people deep and line-ups around the block. In just the second year, the organizers will challenged in the future to address their success and the huge crowds.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

In God We Trust

Thank you fellow bloggers

It takes time to build an audience. Eleven months to be precise. October 28 will be my first anniversary. I think I need to do something special.

Game of the Week: Broncos vs. Colts

Drowsy Chaperone

I saw the Toronto production of The Drowsy Chaperone last night and if the tour company happens to stop at a city near you, I recommend getting tickets. It is the funniest musical I've ever seen or as the ads state "a musical within a comedy".

The script is incredibly clever and original. Bob Martin plays Man in Chair, a lonely musical theatre enthusiast, whose cherished possession is a rare cast recording of the faux 1928 musical The Drowsy Chaperone. As he plays the album and begins to tell the story of the show, it comes to life in his apartment, complete with its motley cast of gangsters, a butler, a playboy, an actress, an aviatrix, a Latin lover and, of course, the titular drowsy chaperone. While the show gloriously plays out around him, Man in Chair periodically pauses the action to comment on the hammy performances, explain the silly plot and dish about the actors who starred in the original production. It’s both a legitimate musical and a loving satire of one.

The show had its origins in Toronto where it appeared at the Toronto Fringe Festival in 1999 before moving onto the mainstage. In 2006 the show finally made it to Broadway and I think won 5 Tony Awards.

New Ontario Seat Projection

The Liberals are widening their lead. The Liberals are holding a slim majority with 60 seats projected(6 more than is needed for a majority).