Saturday, October 11, 2008

Latest Canadian election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections (Oct 10), the Conservative continue to slide. Between Oct 3rd and Oct 8th, they have fallen behind in 11 ridings. Even the Liberals and NDP have slipped a bit in the last few days. However, the Bloc have held strong. Current projections are:

Conservatives at 128 seats (-2) on 34.8% support
Liberals at 91 seats (-1) on 25.3% support
NDP at 34 seats (-1) on 19.1% support
Bloc at 53 seats (+4) on 9.6% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 10.2% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

Mazel Tov on your Bat Mitzvah,,, umm Lourdes?

Oy Gevalt! The meshuggenah shiksa Madonna singing in front of the burning cross, writing books about her crotch and naming her daughter Lourdes is a Jew?!Now I hear that the shiksa daughter Lourdes just had a Bat Mitzvah at the Kabbalah Center in Midtown Manhattan!

But Madonna (and her husband, director Guy Ritchie) is a Kabbalist — a sect of Judaism (read: cult) that studies the Kabbalah, the book of Jewish mysticism that tells you how to create life, make a golem, and bake a really good noodle kugel (hopefully without the apples, blech!)

Though, to be fair Madonna seems quite serious about it, sees rabbis, visits Israel and even writes songs about her newfound faith. Does that make her a Jew? That's probably for her to determine and, tellingly, she seems to carefully avoid describing herself that way. Kind of like saying you sleep with men, but you're not gay cause you're worried about the stigma that comes with the classification.

John Tavares Report

John Tavares scored twice to lead the Oshawa Generals to a 6-2 victory over the Erie Otters on Friday night in the Ontario Hockey League.

With the two goals, Tavares moved into second all time on the Generals' scoring list, behind only Marc Savard. Tavares leads the OHL in scoring with 11 goals and 18 points.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hugh Hefner is the role model for dirty old men

Reports are out that The Hef is transitioning from girlfriends Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson and Bridget Marquardt to....

19 year old twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon. This can't be legal.

Japanese games shows are insane

Rachel Ray enjoys stroking ...corn cob?

AIG: Corporate Welfare Bums

Simply amazing. I feel sorry for my American friends when I hear that AIG had a $450,000 retreat to celebrate their $84 billion government buy-in. Then on top of that they were planning on having another one. And the U.S. government is giving them more money. You know, since the American taxpayers, essentially own the company now, isn’t it time that they went down there and started making business decisions? Seriously, head on over and sit in on a board meeting. Their worker’s comp office is at 70 Pine Street in New York, on the 36th floor, I think. I’m sure they’ll tell you where you can find someone in charge.

Thoughts on the final week of the election campaign

The final week of the campaign has ended and aside from some last minute campaign to shore up support all that is left is the actual vote on Tuesday. Here are my final thoughts on the campaign.

  • The Liberals and NDP have been successful at convincing a large number of voters that Canada is undergoing a financial crisis (as evidenced by the volatility of the stock markets) and the Conservatives are as asleep at the switch. This type of scare tactic is not that dissimilar to the Republican campaign to smear Obama as cavorting with terrorists. As a result the Conservatives no longer have any chance of winning a majority although they will win the election.
  • I’m disappointed with the Liberal and NDP characterization but that’s politics. The Prime Minister has been bang on in his description of the financial situation in Canada. Our institutions are secure and the government has been intervening where appropriate. However, Canadians are accustomed to government intervention so that the Conservatives’ lack of initiative on this front has created uneasiness for voters.
  • The Conservatives literally shot themselves in the foot with their handling of the arts and cultural spending cuts. After pouring billions into Quebec prior to the election, they lost the province over an insignificant amount of money. Again, misreading that province’s need to protect their culture.

  • I was underwhelmed by the Conservative platform announcement this week and I imagine so are many Canadians. With the Americans already in a recession, it is pretty much a given that Canada will experience some type of recession but the platform was short on policy initiatives that would be considered to mitigate the effects.

  • There has been a lot of talk about strategic voting, mostly from the Liberal who would be the primary beneficiary. Strategic voting would be a disaster for the Green Party which has been trying hard to share the stage with the major political parties. They have no chance of winning a seat but if they can at least push their popular vote up above 10% they can make a case that our election process is broken. If on October 14th they slip back to 5% then they would have made no progress.
  • I have been very surprised that health care has not been an issue in the election. The issue has been front and centre in the past few elections but since our health care problems have never been addressed, I thought that this issue would re-emerge during the campaign. But this campaign has gone in a different direction.
  • I’m non-partisan and generally do not endorse parties. I’ve personally been disappointed with the leaders and intend to vote based on my assessment of the candidates in my riding.
  • When looking at the performance of the Prime Minister I would have to say that he handled most files well. He is a man of considerable intellect but I have serious concerns about his emotional intelligence. This weakness keeps getting him in trouble (eg., his handling of opponents to arts and culture spending cuts).
  • On the other hand, Stephane Dion is a decent person with good intentions and considerable intellect. But he truly is a weak leader. His party selected him as party leader almost by accident. I cannot see how he would succeed as Prime Minister.
  • I have never been able to find anything I really liked about Jack Layton. I just find him to be overly theatrical. I also have serious concerns regarding a number of his party’s positions on issues.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

One Hit Wonder

Blue Suede - Hooked on a Feeling (1974)

Leaf Nation poised to jump on band wagon

After a summer of negative reports, pessimistic messages from Leaf management and a mediocre preseason, Leaf fans were quite down. So what do the Leafs do in the season opener - only beat the Stanley Cup champions.

So does this mean the experts were wrong? Not necessarily. But that won't stop Leaf Nation from crowing on sports call in shows for the next few days. But lets face it. An 82 game schedule is a great equalizer. The Leafs started the preseason schedule with a big win against the Sabres and then followed that with several stinkers.

This team has got a lot of enthusiasm, energy and speed. Any team that tries to sneak away with 2 points will get burned. That's the way it works in the NHL, even bottom feeders will steal a win if you're not on top of your game. I've already heard from a couple of loyal fans already giving me the "I told you so." So Leaf Nation enjoy yourself these next few days. Montreal is coming to town on Saturday.

Duty Calls

Latest Canadian election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections (Oct 8), the Conservative continue to slide. Between Oct 3rd and Oct 8th, they have fallen behind in 11 ridings. The Liberals have picked up 1o of those ridings with the NDP leading in 1. The Green Party has gained 1.4% in the popular vote but still not even close to winning a seat. The only ridings where they are running second in polling is Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound (Ontario), Guelph (Ontario), and Central Nova (May's riding). Current projections are:

Conservatives at 130 seats (-5) on 33.8% support
Liberals at 92 seats (+5) on 26.2% support
NDP at 35 seats (0) on 19.4% support
Bloc at 49 seats (0) on 9.6% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 10.1% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

John Tavares Report

Oshawa lost 5-2 last night to the Belleville Bulls and Tavares who held off the scoresheet. He still leads the OHL with 9 goals and 16 points in 8 games.

Close election races in the GTA

There are a number of extremely close races in the GTA. However, based current polling these and other close races will not likely determine the outcome of the election. The Conservatives are too far off from a majority and not at risk of being overtaken by the Liberals. As well the Liberals are not at risk of losing status as the major Opposition party.

Belinda Stronach won this riding in 2004 and 2006 first as a Conservative and then as a Liberal. Not surprising this is a close race. Stronach's 2006 Conservative opponent Lois Brown is running again. The polling suggests she is running neck and neck with Liberal Tim Jones.

Oak Ridges-Markham
Liberal incumbent Lui Temelkovski won both in 2004 and 2006 but the race appears much closer. He has a slight lead over Paul Calandra.

Conservative incumbent Colin Carrie is used to close races. In 2004 he beat NDP Sid Ryan by less than 500 votes. They squared off again in 2006 and the margin was about 2500 votes. This time the NDP candidate is Mike Shields and it will be close again.

Many of the Mississauga races will be close. Liberal incumbent Paul Szabo has a small lead over Hugh Arrison.

This race is more interesting because it involves Wajid Khan who crossed the House to join the Conservatives about a year ago. As a Liberal he enjoyed healthy margins of victory. This time he finds himself behind Liberal candidate Bonnie Crombie but its too close to call a winner right now,

Brampton West
There is no incumbent in this riding although its been Liberal the last 2 elections. Liberal Andrew Kania has a slight lead over Conservative Kyle Seeback.

This race features another House crosser - Liberal Garth Turner. He took this seat for the Conservatives back in 2006 in a pretty close race. He leads Conservative candidate Lisa Raitt in what will be another nail-biter.

Parkdale-High Park
This appears to be the closest race in the GTA and features two high profile candidates. The incumbent is Peggy Nash who lost the seat to the Liberals in 2004 and won in 2006. This time she is up against Liberal Gerrard Kennedy who represented the riding in the Ontario Legislature and was a provincial cabinet minister. Hard to say who is leading but it might be Nash though safe to say its a draw right now.

Liberal incumbent Maria Minna has held this seat since 1993 but has always faced a strong NDP candidate. This time its a rematch from 2006 with former provincial cabinet minister Marilyn Churley. Right now the edge goes to Churley but not by much.

More rat problems in Chinatown restaurants

Anyone has been down to Chinatown has to realize they have a rat and mouse problem. Tons of restaurants and fruit and vegetable business mean lots of food for rodents. Earlier in a year a restaurant was shut down temporarily when a passerby spotted rats in the window. Well it happened again this week. This time at the Happy Seven Restaurant on Spadina. Ironically, the rat is leisurely dining next the the City of Toronto health inspection notice.

New candidate for Father of the Year

A 10-year-old boy was driving up to 90 mph when he crashed a van carrying two adults who had been drinking and taking pills and two other children, Tennessee sheriff's deputies said.

Inside the crashed van, police said one of the passengers, 38-year-old Paula Elaine Evans, was trying to swallow as many pills as she could. A man, 43-year-old Randy Lewis, who was wearing a shirt that read "Buy This Dad a Beer," told police he had drank at least 15 beers. The sheriff's office said Lewis acknowledged drinking liquor besides the beers.

The young driver lost control on Sunday of the speeding van, which rolled, coming to rest on its top. Everyone in the van was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The children were related to the adults, but authorities did not specify how.

Lewis was charged with seven violations, including third offense DUI and felony reckless endangerment. People can be charged with DUI in Tennessee if they own the vehicle, even if they are not driving. Evans faces charges that include aggravated child abuse or neglect.

The three children — the driver, another 10-year-old and a six-year-old — were placed in state care.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

So are the Maple Leafs getting younger?

When Cliff Fletcher took over as manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he vowed the team would look drastically different by the fall and it would be younger. Certainly a lot of changes have taken place with the departure of Belak, Kilger, Gill, Pohl, Raycroft, Wellwood, Tucker and mostly likely Sundin. But are the Leafs younger?

I worked out the average age of the Leafs on the day Fletcher took over in January and compared it to what the season opening roster. So in January the team average age was 27.8. And today it is 26.5. There is no doubt it is getting younger. Now if Fletcher continues to jettison veterans as the season progresses, the average age could continue to drop.

January roster
Sundin 36
Antropov 27
Ponikarovksy 27
Blake 34
Wellwood 24
Tucker 32
Stajan 24
Steen 23
Devereaux 29
Moore 27
Belak 31
Bell 27
Kilger 31
Tlusty 19
Pohl 28
Kaberle 29
Kubina 30
McCabe 32
Colaiacovo 24
White 23
Stralman 21
Gill 32
Raycroft 27
Toskala 30 ---avg. age 27.8

Current roster
Antropov 28
Ponikarovksy 28
Mayer 33
Kulemin 22
Stajan 24
Steen 24
Hogwell 25
Moore 27
Hagman 28
Van Ryn 28
Grabovski 24
Tlusty 20
Mitchell 23
Kaberle 30
Kubina 31
Finger 27
Frogren 28
Colaiacovo 25
White 24
Stralman 21
Schenn 18
Joseph 41
Toskala 31 ---avg. age 26.5

Dad says he was asleep during sex

A Manitoba man is suing the mother of his child, claiming he shouldn't have to pay child support because he was asleep when she had sex with him.

In a statement of claim filed in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench last week, the man from Tyndall, Man., claims he was visiting the woman from Selkirk in late 2006 when he fell asleep.

The man alleges he woke up and found the woman was having sexual intercourse with him. he man says when he "demanded that she cease and desist" she complied. But about nine months later the woman gave birth to a child that he agrees is his.

OK. Some people would think this is a brilliant defense. I was asleep during sex so how can I be held accountable. Well, he story falls apart at the point he wakes up. What court is going to believe that he demanded that she stop. He might as well claim he was raped.

Obama has enough electoral votes to win presidency

Here's the latest national electoral map published in The Ticket courtesy of Karl Rove & Co.
New state polls -- 39 in all -- conducted in the first three days of this month show the Democratic ticket of Obama/Biden continuing to lead Republican McCain/Palin and, indeed, over the weekend acquiring just enough hypothetical electoral votes to win the presidency.
For the first time since mid-July, Obama has more than the necessary 270 electoral votes (273) with the movement from the toss-up captegory into his column of Minnesota and New Hampshire.
Rove's analysis indicates that Obama will carry every state won by John Kerry in 2004 with the addition of New Mexico, Iowa and Colorado. Colorado is surprising since it is considered one of the more conservative states. In addition, Obama is slightly ahead in Florida and Indiana although they are still considered toss-ups.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thornhill Candidates Meeting

I attended a Candidates’ Meeting at Thornhill Secondary School on October 6, 2008. All four candidates attended – Susan Kakis (Liberal), Peter Kent (Conservative), Norbert Koehl (Green), and Simon Strelchik (NDP).

The format of the evening consisted of a brief introduction by each candidate, the opportunity for each candidate to ask a question of another candidate, and finally the candidates taking questions from voters.

Susan Kadis is the incumbent and has been an MP since 2004. Prior to federal politics she was a Vaughan councillor and school trustee. I’ve never had interaction with her but I understand she does pretty good constituency work.

Peter Kent, a former TV journalist, is the star candidate who has been parachuted into the riding. Though as he noted, he had moved into a heritage home in Thornhill over the summer. The home was purchased 2 years ago and has undergone considerable renovations since then. Kent ran against Carolyn Bennett in St.Paul’s back in 2006 and lost by 15,000 votes. The race is much closer in Thornhill.

Simon Strelchik is a community activist and a veteran of several municipal and federal campaigns. But he is barely 20 years old and frankly I am a little put off when a candidate that young runs for Parliament. Norbert Koehl is a local businessman who manages a commercial bakery in Toronto.

Each candidate pretty much stuck to their party’s platform which means all you need to do was go in the Internet and to get their position on issues. Therefore, I’m not going to bother reviewing their responses to questions and instead provide some general impressions.

Much of Strelchik’s responses were read from prepared notes. He sounded like a real ideologue except when he spoke without his notes. When he spoke without notes he actually had real passion to his voice instead of a theatrical tone. He seems very bright though on a question regarding equalization, he appeared not to understand the issue. After his response, the moderator repeated the question for all the candidates.

Koehl really connected with the audience. He is a soft spoken and thoughtful man who seemed to have a good grasp of the issues. He has the least amount of political experience which means he attempted to answer all questions directed at him. I quite liked him.

I did not care Kent. He avoided answering quite a number of questions and some responses were totally inappropriate. On a question regarding help for low income seniors who may not benefit from tax cuts (because their incomes are so low), he offered – income splitting! On the question regarding equalization, he used it to attack Premier McGuinty. I could only interpret his response to say that he would not be going to Ottawa to fight to protect the interests of Ontarian but only to help Peter Kent. When he had the opportunity to ask Koehl a question, he opened with some comment about how Elizabeth May was running as a Liberal because there is no Liberal candidate in Central Nova. What relevance that has in Thornhill escapes me.

Kadis seemed to switch back and forth between political rhetoric and meaningful information. She took ample opportunities to attack the Conservative government but she was that as skilled at going on the attack. Her strength was when she got to talk about key local issues – pollution, mass transit, infrastructure.

Kadis won in 2004 and 2006 by about 10,000 votes. However, this time around the contest will be very close race between the Liberal and Conservative candidates.



Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart

Monday, October 06, 2008

Latest Canadian election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections (Oct 5), now reflect the 2 debates last week and they confirm that the Conservatives were likely the big losers. Now these lower numbers could also be as a result of the weakening economy. The Green Party support fell a full percentage point but since they were already projected to win 0 seats, the drop in support isn't relevant. Current projections are:

Conservatives at 135 seats (-6) on 35.4% support
Liberals at 87 seats (+5) on 25.4% support
NDP at 35 seats (+1) on 19.6% support
Bloc at 49 seats (+2) on 9.9% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 8.7% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

John Tavares Report

Oshawa star John Tavares scored twice, including an empty-net goal, as the Generals downed the Peterborough Petes 5-2 on Saturday night. The Generals then defeated the Kingston Frontenacs 5-3 Sunday night. John Tavares scored the winning goal in the first minute of the third period and added two assists to extend his OHL scoring lead with 16 points in seven games.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Leaf season looks bleak

Only 2 wins in 9 exhibition games. Not since the days of Harold Ballard have the Maple Leaf prospects looks so poor going into a new season. Most fans indicated that they would accept a couple of bad years if the team could turn this thing around and be competitive. Still it's difficult to watch nonetheless.

Most of the veterans and "star players" are gone. But so are the overpaid and soft players. What is left is a collection of marginal talent and role players. The future isn't here yet which makes it exceptionally bleak. You wonder how many of the younger players will still be here in 3 years. Even the 1984-85 team which finished last in the league on paper had more talent than this team. That team had Rick Vaive, John Anderson and Bill Derlago - all of whom scored at least 30 goals that year. I don't see any Leaf getting 30 this season. But the 1984-85 team had no defense other than Borje Salming and no goaltending. The reverse of the 2008-09 team.

The 1984-85 team had a 21 year old Jim Benning, 20 year old Gary Nylund, and a 18 year old Al Iafrate. All were ruined by playing on terrible teams. Let's hope Luke Schenn doesn't get caught in the same meat grinder.

Thoughts on the 4th week of the election campaign

  • Every day the papers have big headlines on how one party is losing support or how another has made big gains. A lot of bullshit frankly. Since we do not have proportional representation but a first out of the post system, national polling doesn't mean too much. Just look at the Bloc with 9% of the vote and likely to win 50 seats and the Greens with 10% of the vote and no seats. Only polling at the riding level matters.
  • As always, the debates were a big yawn for me. A lot of scripted theatrics and little spontaneity. I thought Elizabeth May injected a little energy into the affair. Layton was just so over the top.
  • There isn't much Stephane Dion can do to save his job now. He is unlikely to win as many seats as the Liberal had in 2006 and I'm not sure that would be enough. The knives are out just lurking in the shadows.
  • Certainly the split vote on the centre and left will ensure a Conservative victory and could turn into a majority in a future election. I think the sluggish economy is the only thing keeping the Conservatives from that majority this time around. Harper picked the fall for an election because the economy will only get worse in 2009.

Latest Canadian election projections

According to the latest DemocraticSPACE projections (Oct 3), the 2 debates this week were all about theatrics and showmanship and nothing to do about real discussion on national issues, That being said there was not much shifting in support. Yes Stephen Harper got beat up a bit in the French debate and the Bloc gained some as a result. And Stephane Dion, as expected, had difficulty in the English debate that may have stalled the little momentum he had, With only 8 days remaining these number aren't going to change too much unless a lot of the close races shift to one particular party. Current projections are:

Conservatives at 141 seats (-1) on 36.2% support
Liberals at 82 seats (0) on 24.2% support
NDP at 34 seats (-1) on 19.0% support
Bloc at 49 seats (+2) on 9.2% support
Greens with no seats (0) and 9.7% support
Others with 2 seats (0) and 1.0% support

David Letterman on Sarah Palin

One Hit Wonder

R. Dean Taylor - Indiana Wants Me (1971)

Kate Winslet is 33 today

Kate is one of my favourite actors. Not only is she talented and beautiful but she totally non-Hollywood.

Biden v. Palin debate on SNL

Fashion Disaster

Julia Stiles must have dressed in the dark.

Maple Leaf fans things could be worse...

You could be a Cub fan. When the Dodgers swept the Cubs in post season it made an even 100 years since the Cubs have won a championship. This season the Cubs had the best record in the National League and second best in the majors but come playoff time - the didn't win a single game. Cub fans come from the North side of Chicago and have suffered for generations.

In game 4 of the 1945 World Series, the Curse of Billy Goat was allegedly laid upon the Cubs when P.K. Wrigley ejected Billy Sianis, who had come to game 4 with two box seat tickets, one for him and one for his goat. They paraded around for a few innings, but Wrigley demanded the goat leave the park due to its unpleasant odor. Upon his ejection, Mr. Sianis uttered, "the Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more." The Cubs lost game 4, lost the 1945 World Series, and have not been back since. It has also been said by many that Sianis put a "curse" on the Cubs, apparently preventing the team from making it back to (but not actually winning) the World Series. After losing the 1945 World Series, the Cubs finished with winning seasons the next two years, but those teams did not enter post-season play.

So for Maple Leaf fans who have been waiting 41 years for a championship, it could be worse - 59 years worse.

Monica Bellucci is over 40 and still incredible

Italian actress and model Monica Bellucci either turned 4o or 44 this past week (no one is sure which) but either way she has to be one of the most incredibly gorgeous women on this planet over the age of 40.