Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kathleen Parker says Palin should go

A conservative columnist who welcomed Sarah Palin's entry in national politics says she's proved to be a dud and should step aside as John McCain's running mate.

Kathleen Parker, writing in National Review Online, says her "cringe reflex is exhausted" after watching the Alaska governor stumble through TV interviews and it's become clear to her that Palin is out of her league.

If at one time women were considered heretical for swimming upstream against feminist orthodoxy, they now face condemnation for swimming downstream — away from Sarah Palin.

To express reservations about her qualifications to be vice president — and possibly president — is to risk being labeled anti-woman.

Or, as I am guilty of charging her early critics, supporting only a certain kind of woman.

Some of the passionately feminist critics of Palin who attacked her personally deserved some of the backlash they received. But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick — what a difference a financial crisis makes — and a more complicated picture has emerged.

As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.

Yes, she recently met and turned several heads of state as the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York. She was gracious, charming and disarming. Men swooned. Pakistan’s president wanted to hug her. (Perhaps Osama bin Laden is dying to meet her?)

And, yes, she has common sense, something we value. And she’s had executive experience as a mayor and a governor, though of relatively small constituencies (about 6,000 and 680,000, respectively).

Finally, Palin’s narrative is fun, inspiring and all-American in that frontier way we seem to admire. When Palin first emerged as John McCain’s running mate, I confess I was delighted. She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.

Palin didn’t make a mess cracking the glass ceiling. She simply glided through it.

It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Palin filibusters. She repeats words, filling space with deadwood. Cut the verbiage and there’s not much content there. Here’s but one example of many from her interview with Hannity: “Well, there is a danger in allowing some obsessive partisanship to get into the issue that we’re talking about today. And that’s something that John McCain, too, his track record, proving that he can work both sides of the aisle, he can surpass the partisanship that must be surpassed to deal with an issue like this.”

When Couric pointed to polls showing that the financial crisis had boosted Obama’s numbers, Palin blustered wordily: “I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?”

If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself.

If Palin were a man, we’d all be guffawing, just as we do every time Joe Biden tickles the back of his throat with his toes. But because she’s a woman — and the first ever on a Republican presidential ticket — we are reluctant to say what is painfully true.

What to do?

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

One of my favourite actors, Paul Newman passed away yesterday at the age of 83 at his home in Westport, CT. His spokesperson said he had died after a battle with cancer.

Where will the Toronto Maple Leafs finish in the East this season?

Well the poll is closed and blog readers have spoken. A third of readers believe that the Maple Leafs will make the playoffs this season. Though I have to suspect a healthy number of these people are playing with us. Or they may just be delusional because 15% of voters picked them to finish first overall. Hey what can I say.

I consider the bottom 3 spots to be potential lottery picks for the right to draft John Tavares (who has 5 goals and 4 assists in his first 3 game with Oshawa this season). The worst 5 teams get a shot at Tavares and I expect 3 to come from the East. Well, over 50% of blog readers picked the Leafs to finish in the bottom 3.

Here are the results:

1st - 15.0%
2nd - 3.8%
3rd - 1.2%
4th - 2.5%
5th - 0%
6th - 0%
7th - 8.8%
8th - 3.8%
9th - 2.5%
10th - 3.8%
11th - 5.0%
12th - 3.8%
13th - 16.2%
14th - 7.5%
15th - 28.8%

Thoughts on the 3rd week of the election campaign

  • Two parties have made some gains in the past week. NDP has made gains in British Columbia at the expense of the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois have gained at the expense of the Conservatives.
  • Although some pundits are predicting a majority, I'm not so sure. Though if the Liberals continue to bleed votes then it may still happen over the next two weeks. Some of the Conservative gains have been offset in Quebec. Much now depends on how the Liberals manage to do in Ontario.
  • The Bloc surge is Quebec is related to Stephen Harper knocking people who attend arts and cultural events in defense of Conservative spending cuts. Quebeckers value these programs.
  • Stephane Dion still isn’t connecting with Canadians. He started week three with his $40 billion, chicken-in-every-pot platform and was largely ignored.
  • Jack Layton isn’t making much headway either. He seems only focused on knocking the Liberals out of second place. His platform is a blur.
  • The most fun, in the coming week, will be watching Elizabeth May. She’s smart, she’s fearless and has nothing to lose in the leaders’ debates.
  • The Stephen Harper wearing a cardigan sweater and holding a kitten that we saw at the start of the campaign is slowly disappearing. He has been replaced with the more familiar Harper who wants to crack down hard on teenage offenders, who sneers at people who attends arts events, who lets a Tory candidate blame crime on immigrants.
  • Another candidate was dumped this week. The Liberals have dropped a Winnipeg candidate Lesley Hughes who wrote about allegations that Israeli businesses had advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Hughes wrote in a March 2003 edition of a newsletter published by a committee of the Winnipeg Presbytery of the United Church of Canada that U.S., German, Russian and Israeli intelligence officials knew about the attacks in advance. Hey, it's a Conservative riding anyway.

TTC fails passengers duing subway shutdowns.

Last Thursday an electrical cable came down onto the track at Eglinton station on the Yonge Street line, shorting out signals and shutting down the subway line between Bloor and Lawrence stations. Yonge Street quickly filled with enormous crowds of stranded passengers, trying to get aboard one of the 45 shuttle buses laid on for the emergency. The crowds squeezed out vehicle traffic on the busy thoroughfare, limiting drivers to only one lane due to the number of people and cars in the vicinity. Some commuters reported their 45 minute trip home took 3 hours.

I cannot understand why the TTC always insists on shoving thousands and thousands of subway riders onto buses. They have 2 North-South lines. Wouldn't it be better to direct commuters to the University line when Yonge is shutdown in particular when it involves long shutdowns like the one on Thursday. The line wasn't re-opened until Friday morning. When I'm caught in subway delays, I will wait it out if it is expected to be relatively short and not head out to the shuttle buses. If it's a long term closure, I walk over to the University line and take a bus across back to Yonge Street at a station beyond the shutdown. Why doesn't the TTC direct its riders to do the same?

Blue Jays can't afford to get in a bidding war for Burnett

What can you say about the season A.J. Burnett just put in. He finished the 2008 season with 18-10 record and established career highs in almost every single pitching category. He set a career high with 18 wins, appeared in with 35 games while starting 34 games, pitched 221 1/3 innings, and led the American league with 231 strikeouts.

As a free agent this fall he will be hotly pursued by numerous teams with lots of money spend. But as much as the Blue Jays can't afford to lose him, they also can't afford to compete with the Yankees, Dodgers and Mets. They have some significant gaps in their lineup and to compete in the AL East they need to be filled. Lets face it the Jays like most teams work with a limited budget while the Yankees and Red Sox work under the principle that "the sky is the limit". Despite the injuries they still have a solid pitching staff though not nearly as good if it was healthy and included Burnett.

Burnett has been rather diplomatic and said all the right things. He has said on numerous occasions that he likes the team. But he has never said that he would like to stay so I'm guessing he could like other teams as much if the compensation was also to his liking. But you can tell from his demeanor that he has enjoyed the year and enjoys playing for Cito Gaston. In fact Cito did a classy thing in A.J.'s last start. Cito pulled Burnett at the start of the 9th inning so he could walk out to the mound one more time to get an ovation from the fans and they obliged by showering him with applause. The media reported today that the Jays have made a very nice offer to extend his contract. He obviously would make more if he left for free agency so he has some decisions to make.

But there are other concerns regarding Burnett. Until the second half of this season Burnett has been a .500 pitcher. Going into this season he was a career 69-66. Burnett is essentially a two-pitch pitcher, relying on the combination fastball and curveball. If he can't get his curveball over the plate for strikes, he often is forced to rely on his fastball which hitters will eventually get around on. And since his "Tommy John" surgery, he has lost some velocity on his fastball.

Perhaps this year he has finally matured into a complete pitcher. But there are other factors to consider. In 10 seasons he has had 30 or more starts just 3 times. Although he gets a lot of strikeouts, he also gives up a lot of walks and runs. Far too many for a pitcher who might become one of the highest paid in the game. And he has been injured far too many times in 10 seasons. This was his only healthy year in the seasons with the Jays. Considering he hit a career high in innings pitched this season, will that be followed by a season interrupted with injuries again? And lets not overlook the how much the Jays' bullpen contributed to his 18 wins. Burnett didn't have one single complete this season so he had to rely on the bullpen. This year's bullpen was the best in the majors and in those 18 wins, the bullpen just gave up 2 earned runs.

So it would be great to see Burnett pitching along side Halladay again next season for a dynamite 1-2 punch. But it wouldn't be prudent to overpay for his services. Because unlike the Yankees, the Jays can't spend their way out of mistakes.

Letterman dumps on McCain a 2nd night

To be honest I don't blame McCain for cancelling. It's not very good optics to be going on Late Night to joke around with Letterman with the economy in a crisis. Dave get over it.

Chris Rock on Palin, bin Laden and Obama

Busy busy busy


Google to operate data centes from ships

A Google patent application filed two years ago but published this fall is getting some new attention because it's just too interesting to ignore. The patent is for putting data centers on ships at sea and harvesting the energy in waves for power. The “water-based data centres” would use wave energy to power and cool their computers, reducing Google’s costs.

The biggest benefit for the company, though, could come from changed legal and tax status because t
he company is considering deploying the supercomputers necessary to operate its internet search engines on barges anchored up to seven miles (11km) offshore.

The supercomputers housed in the data centres, which can be the size of football or soccer fields, use massive amounts of electricity to ensure they do not overheat. As a result the internet is not very green.

Data centres consumed 1 per cent of the world’s electricity in 2005. By 2020 the carbon footprint of the computers that run the internet will be larger than that of air travel, a recent study by McKinsey, a consultancy firm, and the Uptime Institute, a think tank, predicted.

Friday, September 26, 2008

John Tavares Report

John Tavares had two goals and an assist, all in the third period, as Oshawa fought back for a 6-4 win over Niagara in the Generals' OHL home opener Friday.

Goals by Tavares and Robert Kousal brought the Generals back from a 4-2 deficit and Kory Nagy scored the winner short-handed with 8:44 remaining.

Tavares added the clincher into an empty net, his fifth goal and ninth point in three games this season. Tavares has now been involved in 9 out of 13 goals scored by the Generals this season.

So Jessica Alba now admits she is hispanic

Wait, so now Jessica Alba is a Latina? She should make up her mind on that one. Because I remember last year when she vehemently wasn’t, and now she’s “What America looks like” and “excited for my baby to be brown.”

Washington Mutual is no more

I think Washington Mutual is the largest bank failure in history. What happened? Well, there was a run in the last 10 days that resulted in customers withdrawing about $16.7 billion of their deposits, and Washington Mutual can no longer operate. JP Morgan has already snapped it up, so if you have a WaMu account it should be okay, but your stock is probably worthless.

If you look at the Great Depression there is a historical analogy here. Ten days for a bank to fail is scary. I wonder if the next one will take as long.

Latest Canadian election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections (Sept 23), not much has changed. The Conservatives appear to still be short of a majority government (which requires 155 seats). The strength of the Bloc Quebecois seem to be the only thing keeping the Conservatives from that majority. Current projections are:

Conservatives at 144 seats (-1) on 37.5% support
Liberals at 83 seats (-2) on 24.7% support
NDP at 31 seats (0) on 18.1% support
Bloc at 48 seats (+3) on 8.8% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 9.9% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

John Tavares Report

On Thursday the Oshawa Generals won in overtime over the Niagara IceDogs. Their first win of the season. The offence was led once again by John Tavares, who scored his third goal of the season and also had an assist

Man sues doctors for penis amputation (ouch!)

This is why you ask for local rather than general anesthesia. A Kemtucky man and his wife said two doctors amputated the man's penis without his consent, and have filed a lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Philip Seaton went to have a circumcision last October. Seaton said when he woke up from the procedure, he realized his penis had been amputated. Was one of the surgeons Lorena Bobbitt?

Seaton has suffered mental anguish, pain, and has lost the enjoyment of life, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in Shelby County court last week against Dr. John Patterson, who performed the procedure, Dr. Oliver James, who administered anesthesia, and Commonwealth Urology, PSC.

The lawsuit states that Patterson received consent to perform a circumcision and only a circumcision, and that Seaton did not consent to his penis being removed.

Kevin George, the plaintiff's attorney, said Patterson amputated the organ after finding cancer, but he only had consent to remove the foreskin. Talk about going way to far!

Sarah Palin's interviews are only getting better

Brother can you spare 700 billion?

Sign of the time on Wall Street

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hank Steinbrenner is a jerk

Now that George Steinbrenner's health has been declining, the reins to the Yankees are in the hands of his son Hank. Frankly, he's a bigger jerk than his dad.

The Yankees aren't going to the playoffs this year, and Hank doesn't think it's fair! You see this season, plenty of people in the media are pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs. Hank points out that the NL West division is weak. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn't be in the playoff. This is by no means a knock on Torre.

Yeah sure Hank. What is fair? The Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball at $209,081,579. That's higher than the payrolls of Pittsburgh, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Florida combined. Is that fair?

The payroll will be even higher next season because Hank has already declared that the Yankees are going on a shopping spree during the off season. Maybe he can buy his way out of the AL East.

Mysterious hot dogs cause evacuation of Phillies game

The cops blew up some hot dogs at Citizens Bank Park in Phladelphia yesterday. Seriously! There were three suspicious packages found outside the stadium shortly before last night's Phillies game which the bomb squad decided to detonate, but they turned out to be full of the same hot dogs the Phanatic (the Phillies' mascot) uses to shoot into the crowd. Nobody seems to know how they ended up outside the stadium.

Joe Biden is a little mixed up on his history

Quick revision. Franklin Roosevelt was sworn in as President of the United States on March 4, 1933. The stock market crashed on October 29, 1929. The President at the time was Herbert Hoover. Also ... if the President went on television in 1929, that would be quite something considering that there wasn't actually people watching anything until the early 40's.

Why old Jews should vote for Obama

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

and check out

Too much free time...

What can you say about a guy who builds a replica of Yankee Stadium out of lego. Arrested development?


My love affair with running is over

My love affair with running goes back over 40 years. Yes I’m that old. As a child I never walked anywhere. I would rather run. My heroes back then were Canadian Olympians Harry Jerome, Bruce Kidd and Bill Crothers (pictured below). I loved to run so much I tired running every distance from 400 metres to a marathon. I even ran the hurdles; teaching myself to perfect the 3 step between hurdles.

I followed Bill Crothers into the 800 metres and through high school got to compete with a number of future Olympians – Paul and John Craig, Brad Maxwell. Though I was never in the same class as these guys but I just couldn't stay off the track. At the age of 14 I fractured an ankle and was running in a track meet just 4 weeks after having the cast removed.

I was ideally built for shorter races but as I got older I gravitated to the longer races. I first tried a marathon at the age of 19 with bad shoes and inadequate trained. I hurt for 2 weeks but I stubbornly finished and in good time. But I wasn’t built for long distances and as I got older the injuries mounted. During the last 5 years I must have spent more time recovering from injuries than actually running. But I stubbornly continued.

Two weeks ago I underwent arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus so that I could return once again to running. This week at my follow up appointment the surgeon gave me the bad news. The scope showed that I had worn out some of the cartilage in my knee. Running was just out of the question.

I should have expected it but I was still caught by surprise. I thought I could run into my 70s or even longer but I guess not. Friends have suggested alternative activities – biking, swimming, walking, etc. They are all good cardio workouts but they can never replace running for me. If I enjoyed those other activities I would have already been doing them.

The “runners high” was always so addictive. But for me it was the whole experience, out on the open road where all you had to think about was the sound of your shoes hitting the ground, your breathing and your heart pounding in your chest. I used to love to race not to beat the clock or the other runners. I loved the experience of pushing yourself to your physical limit. As you went into your final kick at the end of the race, you switched from aerobic to anaerobic, your lungs working as hard as they could and as you crossed the finish line your muscles about to crash from lack of oxygen. Whether you won the race or were in the back of the pack, the experience was always the same.

And now it will never be the same.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PETA wants Ben & Jerry's to use breast milk

The people in PETA are bigger idiots than I thought.
PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman in a letter sent to Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, co-founders of Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream suggested thata their ice cream should be made from breast milk.. In the letter, Reiman said the idea is based on plans by a restaurant in Switzerland that is set to unveil a menu that includes food made with at least 75 percent breast milk.

Reiman says cows only produce milk right before and after pregnancy, so they are forcibly impregnated every nine months.

Ben & Jerry's spokeswoman Liz Brenna says that while the company applauds PETA's novel approach to bring attention to this issue, the company believes a human mother's milk is best used for her child.

Letterman a little annoyed at John McCain for cancelling on him

Sarah Palin is part Jewish...not that there is anything wrong with that

Her maternal grandfather, Schmuel Sheigam, was a Lithuanian Jew, born in 1912 in Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, 91.2 miles west of Vilnius. The Sheigam family immigrated to America, via Hamburg, Germany in 1915 because of WWI. The grandmother was a Jewess named Gower.

Read more here.

Palin Syrah

An organic wine from Chile has oenophiles in San Francisco turning up their noses. But there’s nothing wrong with the wine. It’s the name that bothers them: Palin Syrah.

What's bailout in Russian, Comrade?


How did arts spending become an election issue?

We've got economic problems, doctor shortages, violent crime in our large cities and concerns about the quality of our air and water. So what issue dominated the election campaign? Spending on the arts.

It all started with Prime Minister Stephen Harper defending a recent $45 million cuts to arts and culture funding by the Conservative government. In response to criticism over the funding cuts, the Prime Minister, in his typical insensitive approach, suggested that "ordinary people" don't care about arts funding. This started a firestorm as opposition parties and arts groups jumped all over him.

It certainly was a dumb thing to say because even "ordinary people" watch Hockey Night in Canada on the publicly-funded CBC, attend street festivals and country fairs, visit museums, go to Caribana, and watch Canadian films. It reflects an attitude where if its not important to the Prime Minister then it can't be important.

The federal budget is over $200 billion and the public is debating a $45 million spending cut. That's .02% of the annual federal budget.

This touchdown celebration is just plain embarrassing

American taxpayers going deeper into debt

The proposed bailout of the U.S. financial system will transfer debt to each citizen, that's every man, woman and child, to the tune of about $2,500. Considering the U.S. national debt is already $9.8 trillion, a family of four would be responsible $139,000 in debt.

That is incredible. I thought the Canadian national debt was worrisome but the same family of four in Canada would only be responsible for about $53,000 in debt.

Hope no one calls in that debt any time soon.

The Ben Johnson scandal: 20 year later

I remember the race vividly even today. It’s not like your memories of major world events like the moon landing, the 9/11 attacks or the Kennedy assassinations. More like major sporting events like the Canada – Russia hockey summit of 1972 or the last Maple Leaf Stanley Cup win (yes I remember that far back).

Twenty years ago today I remember sitting in front of my TV. It was 11:30 pm Toronto time waiting for the start of the 100 metre finals at the Seoul Olympics. My wife was actually awake too because it was a Friday night. The hype in Canada was incredible. The 100 metre race is the premier event at the Olympics and a Canadian was the favourite. Ben Johnson’s main opponent was American Carl Lewis and it was obvious the two did not like each other.

When the starting gun went off, Johnson just exploded out of the blocks and jumped into a healthy lead and continued to pull away. He finished in just 9.79 seconds which smashed his own world record of 9.83. The win was front page news across the country. In the world of sports Canada was good at hockey and figure skating but that was pretty much it until Ben Johnson. I remember experiencing that euphoria although it didn’t last long.

On Monday morning it all came to an end when it was announced that Johnson had tested positive of a steroid Stanazolol. He was disqualified and stripped of his gold medal. Later he was stripped of his world records and lost millions in endorsements. He literally went from being a sports icon to a national disgrace overnight. The newspapers now covered the story with up to 8 pages of coverages. There was a government inquiry led by Justice Charles Dubin which made a series of recommendations that included some of the toughest drug testing requirements in the world. Johnson was made to look like a moron and his coach Charles Francis was cast as the real villain. Ben Johnson was the first high profile athlete to get nailed for doping and he paid a very heavy price for that notoriety.

I think the public perception was that only weightlifters and wrestlers benefited from steroids but in the aftermath it was obvious that many athletes could. That naiveté continued in other sports until the Roger Clemens story broke. I totally lost interest in the Olympics after that. I realized most countries tend to protect their star athletes and are not serious about flushing out cheaters. How can I be sure that any medalist at the Olympics is clean? Is Usain Bolt clean? Is Michael Phelps? You just don’t know for sure. So I crossed over to the world of cynics – for ever.

Gennifer Moss still loves to get naked

The last we had heard from Gennifer Moss was that she planned to march topless on July 4. But nudity for Gen is just a way of life. She also loves to bike and rollerblade in the buff.

Over the past week or so, Portland police have received a flurry of 911 calls Gennifer Moss, aka Earth Friend Gen about Gennifer Moss, aka Earth Friend Gen, an organic-food-loving, enlightenment-espousing "yellow earth warrior." (not sure what that is.)

So, it seems, are the people who see her glide by, sometimes fully nude, brown hair flying. When police caught up with Moss -- after a call, oddly enough, from a group of construction workers -- the late-afternoon crowd booed them. Which makes you wonder - what red-blooded American construction worker would call 911 because of a nude women? Because she was blading without a helmet?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Woman with long name banned from boarding plane

A Swedish woman said she was refused entry onto a budget jet in England because her name was too long to fit on a boarding pass.

Ulrika Ortegren-Karjenmaki said she was attempting to board a Ryanair jet at Stansted Airport with her daughter when she was told she would not be able to board because her name was too long to fit on the boarding pass and the dots over certain letters in her name invalidated the ticket.

Ortegren-Karjenmaki said she had to pay $256 for a flight the next day, only to be faced with the same problem. However, she said this time an alternative pass was issued and she was allowed to board the plane.

Latest Canadian election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections, the Conservatives have slipped back a little but still within striking distance of a majority government (which requires 155 seats). Conservative losses turned into Bloc Quebecois gains. Current projections are:

Conservatives at 145 seats (-5) on 37.6% support
Liberals at 85 seats (-1) on 25.2% support
NDP at 31 seats (+1) on 18.3% support
Bloc at 45 seats (+5) on 8.2% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 9.7% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

Happy Birthday to the Boss

Forget the Wall Street meltdown, what about those Idaho cheerleaders?

The bailout on Wall Street is going to happen to lets move on the the next crisis. Less than a month into the football season, the Idaho Vandals are undergoing another makeover after spectators complained that cheerleaders’ uniforms were flashing a little more than school spirit.

After the football team dumped the school logo from the buttocks of their new pants, the university got complaints that new two-piece cheerleader uniforms were too skimpy. The outfits that drew controversy, halter tops and short black skirts with white trim.

What football fan in their right mind would complain about cheerleading uniforms being too skimpy?

Is the U.S. moving towards a socialist economy?

The days of laisez-faire economics have come to an end in the U.S. Good bye capitalism and hello socialism.

When George Bush replaced the privately owned mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae with government bureaucrats to prevent their collapse, it was admission that government can’t always stand by and allow the markets to correct themselves. The liabilities of the two institutions have been added to the federal government debt.

Then came the effective nationalization of American International Group (AIG). The proposal to spend over $500 billion in taxpayers’ money to buy up the worst of the sub-prime mortgages oozes socialism. The poor record of regulating the banks and markets by the Bush administration has forced Bush to act in a manner in which he has been ideologically opposed to for 8 years. Yes who need red tape?

The irony continues to unfold. Investment banking giants Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have actually opted for great regulatory oversight in order to access more capital. They have begun to accept bank deposits which bring them under banking regulations that requires much small leverage rates.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Maple Leafs' Coke Zero Fan First Game

I was at tonight's Maple Leaf exhibition game which was unique in several ways. For one Coke picked up the tickets for the game which were free to almost 20,000 lucky fans. This was one of the most enthusiastic crowds I have ever seen at a Leaf. They could teach the suits something about how to behave (or misbehave) at sporting events.

The Leaf organization truly bent over backwards to reward their loyal fans. There were dozens of giveaways including one lucky guy several rows in front of me that won seasons tickets to the Leafs. Even the lame t-shirt toss was enhanced. Instead of Carlton the Bear mascot tossing the t-shirts, each corner of the rink had players not dressed for the game (Steen, Toskala, etc) doing the tossing. It was a lot of fun. At the start of the game when a camera panned the Leaf bench, I barely recognized a face.

As for the game. Well it was a sloppy high scoring exhibition game that was definitely entertaining. Any other exhibition I have attended had just painful to watch so it was a treat and surprise. Maybe it had to do with the fact that many regulars were out of the lineup and those dressed are hungry to play. Not dressed were Toskala, Kaberle, Kubina, Ponikarovsky, Antropov, Frogren, Steen, Mayers and Stralman.

I can tell you that a 4th line made up of Devereaux, Moore and Hollweg may be pretty effective. Devereaux and Moore's speed kept the Sabres busy while Hollweg hit everything in sight. Coloaiacovo looked sharp and used both the speed and physical game. Bell was also very physical and was crashing the Sabre net all night. Jason Blake did a good job killing penalties (and the Leafs took plenty of them tonight) which I don't recall him doing at all last season. I thought Fingers looked very steady. Van Ryan looked rusty but did a good job on the powerplay. Of the rookies, I thought John Mitchell was the most effective. Luke Schenn had a lot of ice time but seemed tentative. I barely noticed Kulemin when he was out there. Justin Pogge played the 2nd and 3rd period. He was solid in the 2nd but shaky in the 3rd. Tlusty was all over the ice and out of position as usual. The good news was there was a lot of speed out there and physical play.

The Leafs won 7-4 but I wouldn't expect offensive outbursts like this too often during the regular season. The Sabre goaltending and defense was AWOL all night. I listened to Andy Frost's show on 640 after the game. The Leaf fans calling in were giddy with excitement. Typical Leaf fans, many believe the team has already turned to corner and have a shot at a playoff spot. They may not have too many nights like this during the season so they might as well enjoy it.

Today was the Autumn Equinox

The autumn equinox or the first day of fall came to pass today at 11:44 am Eastern Daylight Time. As the sun crosses the equator, everyone around the world will experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night. So get ready for those long winter nights.

Global warming doesn't affect the arrival of fall since fall isn't really determined by weather but by the path of the sum. Global warming just makes fall warmer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mug Shot of the Week

Gun Violence: An issue everyone in Toronto is talking about

  • Police were called to the intersection of Dundas and Centre streets around 4am Sunday, when someone reported hearing gunshots.
  • A wounded man ran to the closest help he could find after being shot in the east end Saturday night. Reports suggest the shots were fired just after 10pm near Kennedy and Ellesmere.
  • A man was shot when partying turned into violence outside a Mississauga nightclub just after 2:30am Saturday.Toronto Police are investigating yet another shooting in the GTA - the fourth one this week. EMS personnel confirm a man was shot in the face in the Keele and Sheppard Ave. area. It happened just before 5pm Friday.
  • A man was rushed to hospital after being shot in the groin at Jane and Driftwood around 10pm on Friday.
  • On Tuesday 16-year-old was struck by a bullet at Bendale Business and Technical Institute on Midland Ave. The patient later become the suspect, after being charged in an apparent robbery attempt. He's recovering in hospital from his wounds.
  • Also on Tuesday, a man was gunned down in Malton after he got out of his car. Paramprit Dhinsa was found lying beside his SUV. Hours later, an 18-year-old later identified as William "Junior" Appiah was shot and killed on a basketball court near Jane and Finch.

Here we are in the middle of an election campaign and the victims of shootings keep piling up. Politicians point fingers at each other and taking no accountability. And they drag out the same tired solutions that have never worked in the past.

We have a gun registry in Canada but it's the unregistered guns that are killing people. Which makes you wonder if the Liberal created registry has provided any benefits. The Conservatives are dead set against gun control, have waived licence fees for gun owners and offered an amnesty program. But they've never managed to dismantle the registry because all other parties in the minority Parliament oppose it.

Liberal leader Stéphane Dion has said that military assault weapons should be removed from our streets. He promised a $45-million "gun violence and crime prevention" fund to support community programs aimed at engaging youth at risk with such things as skills development.

Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty have been lobbying Ottawa to ban handguns in cities. NDP leader Jack Layton has spoken in favour of a ban.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, who released a "get tough on crime" TV ad this week, has argued handguns are effectively banned because their ownership is restricted to target shooters and collectors. The Conservative candidate running against Liberal Bob Rae in downtown Toronto abruptly quit the campaign because of comments in his blog, where he allegedly promotes carrying concealed weapons as a way to fight violent crime. His party distances itself from his online views.

The Greens have said they would "phase out" handguns and automatic weapons.

But if handguns were banned, would it have a substantial effect on reducing gun violence in the GTA? It's just too easy to smuggle handguns over the border. American guns are flooding into Canada. Chicago banned hand guns in 1981 but police seized 10,000 guns a year. Prohibition is useless. More funding for policing hasn't worked. These are complex problems that need comprehensive solutions not knee-jerk reactions.

Mill Murray is 58 today

What's with all the nudity?

  • There are pictures floating around on the Internet of Sharon Smith (sounds like an alias) the Conservative candidate for B.C.'s Skeena-Bulkley Valley. She is the mayor of Houston, B.C., who had pictures takn five years ago of her wearing nothing more than a smile and her mayor's robes. Yes the pictures are still available.
  • Then there is attorney Scott Robert Erwin, who accepted client payment in the form of nude dancing. Would you believe that's not cool with the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission? Erwin has been suspended from practicing law for 15 months. Hey lawyers can be expensive.
  • Illinois police arrested a woman for bartending nude. Sheriff's deputies were doing a routine check at the Cabin Tavern in Delhi one afternoon this weekand found the only employee in the buff.
  • Nude fishing and swimming is set to be allowed along the 45-kilometre New Zealand coastline from Otaki to Paekakariki under its council's 2008 beach bylaw, just so long as it's not rude or offensive.
  • A 40-year-old man walking his dog in the nude was Tasered by police in Tallahassee when he refused to follow an officer's commands. Hey he might have been confused and thought the commands were directed at his dog.
  • An angry Deltona Florida father whacked his teenage daughter's boyfriend with a metal pipe after finding the boy naked in his daughter's room. Authorities say the father, 45, didn't even know his daughter had a boyfriend or that the youngster had been sneaking into the home for more than a year.
  • Finally, there is the butcher in New Zealand who works in the buff. No jokes please about sausages. See below.