Saturday, October 27, 2007
It seems dealers in the U.S. have been told they are not allowed to sell cars to Canadians. Prices in the U.S. are currently about 20% lower although the Canadian dollar is above the American dollar.
An action like this takes years to get through the system. That's not going to auto makers to reduces prices in Canada any time soon. However, if Canadians held off buying new cars for a few months to allow for a build up of inventory, you would see prices tumble very quickly. I know I'm waiting.
This isn't the first time a New Jersey students has been suspended for depictions of weapons. Four kindergarten boys were suspended in 2000 for playing cops and robbers, even though they were using their fingers as guns.
It makes sense to have a zero-tolerance policy for guns, but when you start having zero tolerance policies on imagination and expression, you're crossing the line. Why can't kids be allowed to act like kids?
There was an article on the Leaf board of directors complete with photo that suggested that fans boo the owners of the team not the players.
There was an article on the confidential financial files of the organization. It included a story about how after Mats Sundin collected his 500th NHL goal last season, the nylon mesh used in the goal net was removed and shipped to a factory where workers cut it into 2,000 pieces to sell off as souvenirs.
There was also an article that suggested that the team could only get better if there was a second NHL franchise in the region to force the Leafs to compete for fans and revenue.
There was an article on why the Leafs are going after John Tavares. Why of course it's another cynical, MLSE revenue-generating scheme.
And finally there was an article suggesting that the Leafs were underspending on hockey operations (includes scouting) which is why they are not competitive.
Not bad for one week.
Friday, October 26, 2007
Two photos, taken Wednesday from space by rival companies, show the site near the Euphrates River to have been wiped clean since August, when imagery showed a tall square building there measuring about 150 feet on a side.
OK. She might have gone a little too far, I just wonder how many twisted guys will be writing her in prison wanting to know when she gets out.
Toronto Police have arrested two suspected burglars who they say were outfitted with all the gear worthy of a scene out of "Mission Impossible" and who allegedly broke into fast food restaurants across Toronto and the GTA from inside a cardboard box.
These guys were really busy boys. They were arrested on September 1, after allegedly breaking into a Taco Bell on Markham Road, in Scarborough. Investigators say the sophisticated team has targeted 200 locations in Toronto, Peel, York Region and as far away as Kitchener since November of last year.
Their surreptitious methods were reflected in the clothing - they wore all black, had on balaclavas and ear pieces to communicate with one another. They also had police scanners, so they could escape as soon as they heard police were on to them. They removed a glass pane in the front of each restaurant realizing that often alarm systems are hooked up to a door frame, but not the actual window.
The box, which was about one metre square, was open on one end, so the robbers could actually work on removing the glass while inside the box. He noted that the accused have a background in “glass removal.
Police allege that about $250,000 was stolen, mostly cash. Gordon Michael Edwards, 27, and Jason Richard Phillips, 25, both of Toronto, face more than 300 charges, including break and enter, disguise with intent and prowl by night. Police also charged Donna Hofscheier, 23, described as one of the accused’s partner, with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence and break and enter.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
When Paul Kelly was being introduced as the new executive director of the NHL Players' Association Eric Lindros in the room listening closely. The Big E put in countless hours over the last few months in helping the players' union turn the page and hire its new leader. He was a member of the five-player search committee for the executive director and also a key cog on the constitutional review committee that helped reshape the union from top to bottom.
Now Lindros would dearly love to play another year. After all he is only 34. But all those injuries have taken their toll. His first seven seasons were of superstar caliber. But the last six have been ravaged by injury and controversy.
He will likely announce his retirement at some point. The new NHLPA constitution will have a newly created ombudsman position and Lindros is the favourite to get that job.
New Democrats: 14%
Bloc Quebecois: 8%
It has been Prime Minister Harper's mission since the 2006 election to win a majority in Parliament. Although he has been able to govern with a minority, most governments feel it is too much work and effort without that majority. Too often you have to share the spot light with one of the opposition parties or make compromises. I may be wrong but in Harper's case there may also be ego at work.
However, all parties are well aware that the electorate see no reason to go to the polls again so soon. There are no pressing issues where the government requires a new mandate from voters. In fact, the Conservative government delivered on their thin election platform in the first 12 months and can't seem to find a wedge issue to latch on to. So what we have is a Parliamentary game of chicken. The Prime Minister daring the opposition to defeat the government on a confidence motion so that they can be blamed for the election he so badly wants. The Liberals who need more time to rebuild their party are in no rush to go to the polls.
So score one at last for Stéphane Dion. What he has done by refusing to bring down the government on the throne speech is restore some sanity to the increasingly frivolous way we talk about politics.
He had said no election on the throne speech, because that would be rank silliness of the highest order that would sink public confidence in our politics even lower. For one thing, defeating a government on its throne speech has never been done in Canada, mainly because throne speeches are ceremonial events with no importance in substance. It’s just a government’s statement of philosophical direction. So the Liberals decided to abstain on the the throne speech vote which allowed it to pass without having to support it.
But this isn't over yet. The Conservatives will find other creative ways to manufacture a defeat of the government because the polls (see top of this post) suggest a majority is a possibility.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
And, the burden of carrying his underachieving club is once again likely to cause a flame-out in the late stages of the season, as it did a year ago. Mats is almost 37 years old. He's playing like a 27-year-old right now, but the lack of offensive support other than Antropov will turn him into a 57-year-old by February. A healthy Wellwood and Tucker would help but their return is not likely anytime soon.
Incidently, there is a rumour going around that the Leafs have been talking to Atlanta about trading for Marion Hossa in exchange for Kaberle and Raycroft. I have no way of knowing whether there is any truth to this rumour but the deal makes some sense. Leafs have an excess of offensive defensemen, no heir apparent for Sundin and 2 starting goalies (although some might argue 2 back up goalies). Hossa becomes a free agent at the end of the year and Atlanta may not be able to sign him. As well, the only offensive defenseman in their line up is Zhitnik who is 35 and slowing down. Their #1 goalie Lehtonen is out with a groin injury.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
On an average home purchase in Toronto of $400,000, the land transfer tax portion of your closing costs just jumped from $4,500 to $9,000. The Mayor says the city has no choice because of program downloading by the Harris provincial government 10 years ago. In other words, higher taxes but no new or improved services. The downside to the land transfer tax is that it impacts only 5% of it's residents (home buyers make up about 5% of the city's residents in any given year).
However, as a Thornhill resident, I am safe from the new tax unless I move back into Toronto. This is only going to make home ownership even more attractive in the 905 region (York, Durham, Peel, and Halton).
Hey, I like tall willowy ladies! And I'm 5'6"
Monday, October 22, 2007
As part of a stunt, 111 men of all shapes and sizes shopped shirtless in the Abercrombie and Fitch store on 5th Avenue in New York. The store uses shirtless models for promotions and has pictures all over the store of men without shirts. But the store doesn't like shirtless customers.
Watch the video below and read a full description of the stunt.
Lets see how that works out.
EDIT: I'VE ALREADY BEEN PERSUADED TO GO BACK TO THE PREVIOUS FREE-FOR-ALL. HEY LIFE IS TOO SHORT.
The 900-foot building will be located at the southeast corner of Bay and Adelaide streets according to the building's website.
When completed in 2010, the five-star tower will boast 261 guest hotel suites and 118 residential condos.
I understand that Guergis, MP for Simcoe-Grey and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Secretary of State for Sport, was spotted wearing an engagement ring in the House of Commons while I was away last week.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
That should be good for tourism.
Just over a week ago Ontario voters rejected the idea of publicly funding religious schools by voting against John Tory's Conservative Party. On Monday this week, the Swedish government expressed their view on this issue when it presented a series of proposals banning both public and independent schools "from introducing religious elements into their classes except during religion lessons."
In other words, religious beliefs can no longer be taught as true in Swedish schools (but pupils can still learn about religions, of course). Here's what Swedish Education Minister Jan Björklund had to say on the subject:
He said religion could still be studied at school as a separate subject but other classes could in no way be influenced by religious convictions. For example, the origin of human life would have to be explained from a scientific point of view and not a religious one, he said. The Swedish government also plans to allocate additional funds to carry out controls on schools, sometimes unannounced.
Bjoerklund said the initiative would help improve transparency about the financing of these schools. He cited the case of an independent Muslim school that had received financial aid from a fundamentalist Islamic organisation in Saudi Arabia.
And in Sweden, of all places (the land of multiculturalism, tolerance, and political correctness).
Toronto has allowed the most shots on goal per game of any team in the league so far — this after finishing seventh in the category last season. And the one thing that hasn't changed is the team save percentage, which after dipping to a god-awful .888 last year is down to .884. (Los Angeles is the bottom feeder at .862).
Toronto's been bad at even strength (21 goals against, better than only the Kings), and on the penalty kill (13 goals against, better than only Atlanta). They've been shorthanded a league-high 61 times, and the power play's firing at just 11.1 per cent.
The real wonder, come to think of it, is just how this team has managed to get eight points out of its first nine games. Well, that and the fact Nik Antropov leads the league in plus-minus.
At least they've got Atlanta on Tuesday.
Not sure how much longer Paul Maurice will last.