Saturday, September 20, 2008
NHL teams don't have cheerleaders but more and more are higher hot girls to scrape the loose snow off the ice when there are stoppages in the game. Pittsburgh has the Chicago has the Ice Crew (the best in the NHL), Penguin Patrol, Carolina as the Storm Patrol, Ottawa has the Power Patrol, Boston has the Ice Girls, the Islanders have the Ice Girls, Atlanta has the Blue Crew,...and on and on. Twenty teams now including Los Angeles that just had auditions for their Ice Crew. The Leafs just have some lame mascot Carlton (above).
As you can see from below those L.A. auditions were grueling.
- Conservatives are definitely in striking distance of a majority. Demicratic Space has them 5 seats away. Despite the fact that in the first two weeks of the campaign the Conservatives have had a number of missteps. There was the Ritz affair where the Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz had made tasteless pun on the listeriosis outbreak. No big deal.
- Two B.C. NDP candidates, Kirk Tousaw and Dana Larsen, have dropped off the ballot because of online videos showing them smoking pot. The NDP have got to stop recruiting candidates from the Marijuana Party.
- Stephen Harper is still trying to sell himself as warm and cuddly. Give it up already.
- Meanwhile Stephane Dion is such a dull campaigner that Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff have had to jump to plug the party. The Liberals are at risk of bleeding votes to the NDP and Green Party partly because of Dion's lack of charisma.
- Oh and talk about a sudden change in tactic. Since the Liberals announced the Green Shift in June, Dion has been plugging it non-stop. It has been obvious that he has intended to win an election using environmental policy. But most Canadians don't understand his plan. Suddenly yesterday he informs the public that it's not a major part of his election platform. Frankly he should have been campaining all along on the economy.
- The Green Party is floating around 10% of the popular vote but no where near winning a seat. The Bloc Québécois are supported by less than 9% of the voters but will win about 40 seats. Of course they only run candidates in Quebec where they are supported by over 30% of voters. Too bad we don't have proportional representation in Canada.
Were it not for the real 9mm being fired and the chanting, would this make the cut as a bona fide terrorist training camp video?
Some people having been thinking that this mostly just a group of teenage boys pretending to be freedom fighters in the middle of January. But in this case it may be something more sinister and represent a key piece of evidence in the Toronto 18 trials (which is now down to 11).
I must say, it feels rather unsettling to think that the entire world is seeing Toronto as a terrorism-spawning city today.
Last year, melamine got into the pet food supply and killed a bunch of animals. Well, now it’s worked its way into the milk powder supply, which means as many as 10,000 Chinese babies may have had some poisoned baby formula. Two brothers named Geng were arrested for it; apparently their milk station was rejected multiple times by Sanlu Group, so they purposely diluted their milk supply with water and added melamine to make the protein level appear higher than it actually was. The Sanlu Group may have known about this as far back as March. None of the poisoned milk powder made it to North America, but I have to ask again: how many babies, children, and pets will Chinese companies be allowed to poison before we stop relying on them to make our goods?
Thursday, September 18, 2008
No GM in baseball has held his job longer than JP Ricciardi without making the playoffs. But still Ricciardi continues to hang on to his job. And we all hear the rumours that he will back for an 8th year. We can always hope that the speculation is untrue but I wouldn't bet on it.
It sure looked like he was on his way out until a two week span of great baseball once again seems have over ridden 6 months of mediocre baseball. How does he do it?
In fact Richard Griffin is reporting that JP Ricciardi will be back for another year as the Jays' General Manager.
"Sometime later on this homestand, the Jays will make official the news that Cito Gaston is returning as manager for 2009 and beyond," he says. And in so doing, the Jays are acknowledging that Ricciardi will be at the helm again, because "If the Jays were going to replace Ricciardi, as had been under serious consideration, they would have waited until the new guy was in place [to make Gaston's return official]."
The only thing that can save us is if Paul Godfrey steps down as Blue Jay president. If that happens, the new guy might (hopefully) decide to go with someone else. There are rumours that John Tory might be hired to be president. I don't buy it. At the recent Conservative retreat, John Tory was adamant that we was staying on as leader and was looking for an MPP to step aside so he could run;
According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections, the Conservatives are edging even closer to majority government territory (which requires 155 seats). Conservative gains are at the expense of the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois. Current projections are:
Conservatives at 150 seats (+9) on 38.9% support
Liberals at 86 seats (-3) on 25.5% support
NDP at 30 seats (0) on 16.9% support
Bloc at 40 seats (-2) on 8.0% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 9.7% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support
In most years there is no real competition for spots on the roster. All but one or two spots are spoken for well before training camp starts. To be honest, if a team had more openings than that, you have to question how competitive they will be. Since the Leafs are in transition, there may be a few more spots open but not as many as you would think.
Although Cliff Fletcher suggested there is only 1 forward who could be considered a top 6 forward (Antropov), out of the 36 forwards in camp, 17 have NHL experience. One rookie, Nikolai Kulemin is guaranteed a spot. He wasn’t even asked to attend the rookie camp. Now out of the 17 with NHL experience, 4 forwards have very limited experience and several will have to start the season on the Marlies – Grabovski, Ondrus, Newbury and Tlusty. So unless a veteran or two get moved or demoted, other rookies such as Darryl Boyce, Robbie Earl, and John Mitchell don’t really stand much of a chance.
So possible forward lines are:
Ponikarovsky – Antropov – Blake
Hagman – Steen - Kulemin
Bell – Stajan – Mayers
Hollweg – Moore – Devereaux
Spares – Tlusty, Grabovksi
There are 8 defensemen with NHL experience and only room for 6 players plus a spare. Two rookies have a shot but Schenn is more than likely to return for another year of Junior hockey where he will be able to log a lot more ice time. The other rookie is 28-year old Swedish defenseman Jonas Frogren. If one of the two makes the starting roster then 2 other players will either be moved or demoted. Contracts dictate that Kaberle, Kubina and Finger have spots locked up. Colaiacovo will make the team if he can stay healthy until October. I also think that Stralman is a lock on a spot based how rapidly he has progressed. That leaves the rookies competing with White, Van Ryn, and Kronwall for 2 spots at best. Ian White will need to have a strong camp because Fletcher’s comments about him have not been encouraging. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a Panther jersey in the near future.
So possible defense combinations are:
Kaberle – Kubina
Finger – Stralman
Colaiacovo – Van Ryn
The goaltending is set. Toskala will be playing the bulk of games with Joseph as the backup. In fact the Marlies are set as well with Pogge as the #1 goalie and James Reimer as the back up.
Anyone who thinks you can succeed with this lineup is looking at the world with “blue and white” glasses. The Leafs have not begun to rebuild yet. They are still in the tearing down stage. Some of these players have been brought in to fill uniforms and tease the crowds filling the platinum seats. We can expect another waive of trades for draft picks and prospects in the winter and this time “no movement” contracts will not be a factor.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
So when I read about AIG being bailed out by American taxpayers to the tune of $85 billion dollars I can't help but feel a little smug. Yes who needs government regulating the markets? Isn't it better to write big checks when corporate America fucks up?
It just so happens I work for in the government regulatory area and I know that we are serious about monitoring the financial health of our financial institutions.
Officials in an Israeli city have come up with an innovative way of tracking dog owners who allow their pets to foul the streets - DNA analysis.
Authorities in Petah Tikva, near Tel Aviv, are setting up a special DNA database of local dogs.
They will use the data to match dogs' droppings to owners - and punish those who do not clean up after their pets.
While those who keep the streets clear will be rewarded, owners who fail to scoop the poop could face fines.
1. Kyle Turris (Phoenix)
Turis is a centre who was drafted 3rd overall in 2007. Anyone who saw him play at the World Junior Championships will know this kid can skate. He is being compared to Joe Sakic and will be competing for the Calder Cup. He will be given a shot at 2nd or 3rd line centre.
2. Steve Stamkos (Tampa Bay)
Everyone has been waiting to see this kid play in the NHL after going first overall in the 2008 draft. He is a great skater but needs to work on his strength in order to be competitive at the NHL level. However, Tampa Bay has a lot of veteran wingers who can be matched with him and can help his development.
3. Kyle Okposo (NY Islanders)
This is the franchise player the Islanders have been waiting for and since Mike Millbury is no longer around, it’s unlikely he will be traded away. The right winger was drafted 7th overall in 2006. He played in 9 games for the Islanders and recorded 5 points but more importantly he looked really looked terrific. He will score if he lands on a line with Mike Comrie or Doug Weight.
4. Ville Leino (Detroit)
To me, the coup of the offseason was the free agent signing of Leino who is a left winger out of Finland. He is turning 25 so old for a rookie but he was a big scorer in Finland and will easily fit into the Detroit lineup. He may even play in one of the top two lines. While everyone was chasing after Fabian Brunnstrom who may turn out to be over-hyped, the Red Wings quietly signed Leino who I think is a better prospect.
5. Drew Doughty (Los Angeles)
If Doughty sticks with the Kings, he could end up with the Calder. The 2nd overall pick in the 2008 draft was the most talented defenseman in a draft deep in defensemen. He is physically big and mature which means he could jump up to the NHL as an 18 year old. He anchored Canada’s Junior team at the World Championships earlier this year.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Conservatives at 145 seats (+4) on 36.9% support
Liberals at 89 seats (-8) on 26.6% support
NDP at 30 seats (0) on 17.2% support
Bloc at 42 seats (+4) on 8.1% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 10.1% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support
Last Sunday, news came that Canada—sensible, quiet, some would even say boring Canada—will hold an election on Oct. 14, its third in four years. Those outside the country may wonder what the problem is; in Canada, after all, health care is free, the dollar is strong, same-sex marriage is legal, and the government had the good sense to stay out of Iraq. You might think of Canada as the un-America, where the only debate ought to be whether to spend the country's growing oil wealth on faster snowmobiles, bigger hockey rinks, or Anne Murray box sets.
But beneath the calm exterior, Canada's political system is in turmoil. Since 2004, a succession of unstable minority governments has led to a constant campaign frenzy, brutalizing Canada's once-broad political consensus and producing a series of policies at odds with the country's socially liberal, fiscally conservative identity. Canada is quietly becoming a political basket case, and this latest election may make things even worse.
Just scan the headlines. In June, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that Canada—for years the only G8 country to post regular budget surpluses—was likely to fall into deficit this year, thanks to a reckless cut to the national sales tax. In February, the government proposed denying funding to films and TV shows whose content it deemed "not in the public interest," sparking cries of censorship from a sector that has historically received public support. In 2007, a member of the governing Conservative Party proposed a bill that would reopen the debate over abortion, a topic that governments both liberal and conservative have avoided for decades.
But nowhere is the rift between the old and new Canada more apparent than with regards to the environment. Canada was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the fight against climate change, and as recently as 2005 it was the Canadian environment minister who helped broker an agreement to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012. Then last December, at a U.N. conference in Bali to negotiate a successor to Kyoto, Canada executed a neat 180-degree turn, trying to block an agreement that set a target for future cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions. Of the 190 countries at the conference, only Russia supported Canada's position.
Left-leaning Canadians blame the country's predicament on the current Conservative government, which was first elected two years ago. They're right, to a point. The Conservative Party, formed five years ago in a merger of the country's two right-wing parties, is Canada's first experience with an anti-government, socially conservative party in the mold of Reagan-Bush Republicans. Its leader, Stephen Harper, who is now the prime minister, once called Canada "a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term."
Italians and Israelis may have learned how to function under minority governments, but Canadians are still working on it. If the current election ends in a third consecutive minority government, the polarization of Canadian politics will continue, and with it the brutal, zero-sum politicking that has left the country in convulsions.
If the last week is any indication, that polarization is only getting worse. On Sunday morning, Prime Minister Harper began the race by predicting "a very nasty kind of personal-attack campaign." Two days later, his party briefly released an ad that showed a bird defecating on the leader of the Liberal Party. So much for Canadians being nice.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
A woman who goes by the name “Natalie Dylan” plans to sell her virginity on the Internet to pay for school. It seems anything is for sale these days. And, yes it seems the sellers have absolutely no dignity anymore. This isn't an isolated case and in fact I posted a similar story last year about a British girl selling her virginity to pay for school.
But Natalie Dylan is hoping to earn $1 million which makes you wonder what grad school is she planning to attend? She has reportedly received a $250,000 offer on Sept. 10.
Dylan hopes to net up to $1 million from the auction, which is taking place in Nevada at the infamous Moonlight Bunny Ranch, a legalized brothel (eBay turned her down). The auction will be conducted online at bunnyranch.com, and the deal will be consummated at the Bunny Ranch, where Dylan’s sister already works.
Dylan says she has no moral issues with auctioning off her virginity. "I don't have a moral dilemma with it," she says. "We live in a capitalist society. Why shouldn't I be allowed to capitalize on my virginity? I understand some people may condemn me, but this is empowering. I'm using what I have to better myself."
As one blogger commented: Didn't "Natalie" learn anything in women's studies?!
Hillary Clinton declared: “I didn’t want a woman to be president, I wanted to be president.”
Obama beats in McCain in:
California (+17.4) — 55 EV
New York (+16.0) — 31 EV
Illinois (+21.7) — 21 EV
Pennsylvania (+4.7) — 21 EV
Michigan (+2.8) — 17 EV
New Jersey (+8.7) — 15 EV
Massachusetts (+12.6) — 12 EV
Washington (+9.7) — 11 EV
Minnesota (+7.0) — 10 EV
Wisconsin (+5.3) — 10 EV
Maryland (+11.4) — 10 EV
Colorado (+1.0) — 9 EV
Connecticut (+18.6) — 7 EV
Oregon (+7.0) — 7 EV
Iowa (+9.0) — 7 EV
New Mexico (+4.3) — 5 EV
New Hampshire (+0.3) — 4 EV
Maine (+15.0) — 4 EV
Rhode Island (+24.3) — 4 EV
Hawaii (-) — 4 EV
Vermont (-) — 3 EV
Delaware (-) — 3 EV
D.C. (-) — 3 EV
TOTAL — Barack Obama 273 EV
McCain beats in Obama in:
Source: Democratic Space
Texas (+10.8) — 34 EV
Florida (+3.0) — 27 EV
Ohio (+1.3) — 20 EV
North Carolina (+7.4) — 15 EV
Georgia (+6.3) — 15 EV
Virginia (+0.7) — 13 EV
Indiana (+4.7) — 11 EV
Missouri (+7.0) — 11 EV
Tennessee (+18.7) — 11 EV
Arizona (+11.7) — 10 EV
Louisiana (+16.7) — 9 EV
Alabama (+21.6) — 9 EV
Kentucky (+16.0) — 8 EV
South Carolina (+9.4) — 8 EV
Oklahoma (+26.4) — 7 EV
Mississippi (+11.7) — 6 EV
Kansas (+16.0) — 6 EV
Arkansas (+16.3) — 6 EV
Nevada (+1.0) — 5 EV
Utah (+27.3) — 5 EV
Nebraska (+18.7) — 5 EV
West Virginia (+13.0) — 5 EV
Idaho (+14.5) — 4 EV
Montana (+9.0) — 3 EV
Wyoming (+23.0) — 3 EV
North Dakota (+1.0) — 3 EV
South Dakota (+8.8) — 3 EV
Alaska (+11.7) — 3 EV
TOTAL – John McCain 265 EV
Thornhill may not turn out to be much of a race. Afterall Liberal Susan Kadis won the elections in 2006 and 2008 by margins of approximately 10,000 votes. Conservatives are going with former journalist Peter Kent who is likely the Tories’ highest profile candidate in the Toronto area.
A member of the Green Party for over three years, candidate Norbert Koehl won the nomination contest over the previous election’s Green Party candidate to earn his first spot on the ballot, while NDP candidate and president of the Thornhill NDP riding association, Simon Strlchik gets his second chance to represent Thornhill in Ottawa.In the past 2 elections the NDP received about 7% of the votes and the Green Party only 3%.
The riding has one of the highest average family incomes in the country at over $100,000 and close to 50% of the riding is Jewish. In the past Jewish voters in the riding have affected the outcome in elections. The 2007 Ontario election saw the Conservative go down to defeat over the issue of public funding for private religious schools. However in Thornhill Conservative Peter Shurman beat the incumbent, Mario Racco as a result of the school funding issue. So you will see lots of pandering to Jewish voters during the campaign.
With the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah three weeks away, greeting cards from the prime minister began arriving this week, bringing with them the same sort of questions that accompanied last year’s mailout. However, there was some displeasure from the community on the choice of the election date. It falls on the Jewish holiday, Sukkot. Meanwhile Susan Kadis had introduced Bill C-547 in the spring which if passed would create a Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. Around the same time Harper’s Jewish New Years cards were arriving at home in the riding, so were cards from Kadis asking whether residents supported Bill C-547.
Susan Kadis has been an elected representative in Thornhill since 1988 when she was elected as a school trustee. She moved on to Vaughan council in 1997 and Parliament in 2004. Peter Kent ran for the Conservatives in 2004 in the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s where he lost to Liberal Carolyn Bennett by 13,000 votes. There has been some grumbling about Kent’s residency. He had bought an historic home in Markham 2 years ago but he didn’t actually move in until the past August after some lengthy renovations.