Saturday, October 11, 2008
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
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 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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
Toskala 30 ---avg. age 27.8
Van Ryn 28
Toskala 31 ---avg. age 26.5
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.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
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.
Monday, October 06, 2008
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
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
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.
- 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.
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
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.