Saturday, November 29, 2008

Jews are never safe

The terrible assault on the Nariman House in Mumbai is just another example of how Jews are always being targeted. Certainly there were others targeted but the Jews are always singled out. Nariman House is one of some 3,000 centres run by the Hasidic Jewish group, Chabad Lubavitch, in 73 countries. Any Jewish people who happened to be in Mumbai knew it was the place to go to find kosher food and a warm and comfortable environment to nurture Judaism. It was not unusal for up to 30 visitors in an evening.

There is nothing political abut Chabad Lubavitch. Nariman House was a place of worship. But it is a perfect example of the dilemma for Jews in the Diaspora. You are never totally safe. And it is why support for the state of Israel is so important. Yes I know I'm sounding like I'm about to start an Israeli bond drive. But Israel was created in response to the Holocaust where European Jews were being liquidated and there was no safe refuge for those trying to escape.

In Mumbai some more Jews were martyred this week. Only because they were Jewish.

Who is to blame for the Parliamentary crisis? Likely Guy Giorno

Canadians are in for a week of intrigue as the political parties on Ottawa strategize on motions, procedural rules and coalitions. So who is to blame for this mess? Well I think it's Guy Giorno who is Stephen Harper's new Chief of Staff. Giorno held a similar role in the Mike Harris government in Ontario in the 1990s. That government never hestitated to strike out at political opponents and interest groups that didn't agree with the Conservative policies (poverty advocates, unions, etc.).

Partisan politics can only work when you have a majority government. In a minority government you need the cooperation of Parliament to remain in power. The Prime Minister has accused the opposition parties of trying to take power, not earn it and of trying to reverse the results of the election. That is not accurate based on Parliamentary traditions. The results of the election were inconclusive in that no party won a majority of seats. Tradition has it that the Governor General asks the party with the largest number of seats to try to form a government. However, it that government fails to have the confidence (support) of Parliament, then she can ask another party to form a government. If the second party is unable to gain the support of Parliament then most likely another election is called. In 1925 a minority Liberal government was also defeated and instead of calling a new election, the opposition Conservatives were asked to try to form a government.

Harper and Giorno's attempt to grab power by undermining the opposition parties has rebounded in their faces. Because they failed to govern responsibly the country may be subjected to a shaky coalition that is in no way prepared to govern with the economy in turmoil.

Thank you Mr. Giorno.

Mug Shot of the Week

Yeah that's quite the look.

Wal-Mart Employee Killed in Black Friday Stampede

This morning, shoppers apparently broke down the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart, and, in the process, trampled a Wal-Mart greeter to death around 5 a.m. Police say the store was a "mob scene" and that the worker was a temporary, part-time employee. One witness said that other Wal-Mart employees (some of whom were crying) asked shoppers to leave but they kept shopping.

A Wal-Mart employee said that, "He was bum-rushed by 200 people. They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

Four other people--including a pregnant woman who was knocked to the floor--were taken to the hospital.

Shoppers are sick savages. Just check out Boxing Day in Canada.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Who are you yelling at?


Randy Newman turned 65 today

...this song is for Sarah.

Is this the end of the road for Stephen Harper?

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government couldn’t be more stupid or reckless. Barring a compromise, the minority Conservatives could be toppled in a confidence vote on Monday night, opening the way to a change of government or a snap election, less than two months after the Oct. 14 vote.

For those who haven’t been following things in Ottawa that closely, the Conservative government announced in its economic update that it will end funding to political parties. The federal program provides each party with $1.95 for each vote it received in the most recent election. The total program costs $30 million annually.

The proposed change also impacts on the Conservatives but not to the same extent as the opposition parties. The federal funding covers only 1/3 of their budget with the rest coming from fundraising. But for the Liberals and NDP, the federal funds account for 2/3 of their revenue. The Liberals have about $10 million in debts coming out of the election and need the $6 million that it would get from the program to stay solvent.

Stephen Harper is once again showing how mean-spirited he can be. He is using the economic downturn to bludgeon the opposition. The opposition parties will have no choice but to introduce a non-confidence motion this week. Since we just had an election 6 weeks ago, the Governor-General is not likely to call another one. Instead she will likely ask one of the opposition parties to try to form a government. In fact, the opposition parties have already begun discussions on creating a coalition.

The dilemma for the Prime Minister is that even if he backs down on the proposed funding cut, he has awoken his opponents and to a certain extent empowered them. They may still proceed with a non-confidence vote to push aside the Conservatives. Their rationale will be the lack of economic stimulus in this week’s economic update which will likely resonate with voters. If this does play out in the government’s defeat, it will be the end of Harper’s political career. It will also be viewed as a bigger blunder than the reckless defeat of Joe Clark’s government in 1980.

Oh my! Germany faces Santa shortage

Germany is running out of qualified Santa Clauses and needs to recruit and train them fast, a leading job agency says.

Germans are trying to shut out the financial crisis by taking comfort in traditional festivities, and there is an acute shortage of Santas to entertain children at shopping centers, Christmas markets and private parties.

"Being Santa is not an easy job," Jens Wittenberger, in charge of Santa Claus recruitment at the Jobcafe Munich, told Reuters Monday. "To be honest, not many people have what it takes to be a good Father Christmas."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crowd cheers fans having sex in Metrodome bathroom

Last week's Hawkeye football game against the Minnesota Gophers marked a huge win for the University of Iowa, but it was the action off the field that's making headlines.

Police said two Iowans were caught having sex inside a men's bathroom stall at the Metrodome.

University of Minnesota police were tipped off when they noticed a group of about 15 people cheering on the couple.

Lois Feldman, 38, of Carroll, and Ross Walsh, 26, of Linden, were both cited for indecent conduct.

Feldman was released to her husband and Walsh was released to his girlfriend.

Feldman, a mother of three, was fired from an assisted living center, where she had been an administrator. She was so drunk on wine that she doesn't remember anything about the incident. She has claimed that Walsh is a complete stranger.

Looking back at Toronto Maple Leaf GMs

Well Brian Burke is set to become the 10th General Manager since the Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup. So who do you think was the best GM and the worst GM during that period?

Jim Gregory 1969 - 1979
Record: 334 - 324 -130 (.508)
Highlights: One of the first GMs to bring over Europeans (Borje Salming, Inge Hammerstrom). Built a core of Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald, Errol Thompson, Borje Salming, Ian Turnbull, Mike Palmateer. Leafs upset the New York Islanders in the quarter-finals of the 1978 playoffs.
Lowlights: Had to deal with Harold Ballard and shoestring budgets. Firing and rehiring of Roger Neilson. Let Dave Keon go to WHA.

Punch Imlach 1979 - 1981
Record: 63-77-20 (.450)
Highlights: Acquired Rick Vaive and Bill Derlago for Tiger Williams and Jerry Butler.
Lowlights: Started the dismantling of Leafs by trading Lanny McDonald. Drafted Craig Muni, Bob McGill, Jim Benning. Brought a fat Carl Brewer out of retirement. Lost job while recuperating from a heart attack.

Gerry McNamara 1981 - 1988
Record: 166 - 302 - 67 (.355)
Highlights: As a scout discovered Borje Salming. Drafted Wendel Clark.
Lowlights: Traded Darryl Sittler for Rich Costello, Ken Strong and 2nd round pick. Claimed to have brain damage in a law suit from a car accident while managing Leafs. GM during Gardens pedophile era.

Gord Stellick 1988 - 1989
Record: 28 - 46 - 6 (.378)
Highlights: Quit because of too much interference from Harold Ballard.
Lowlights: Russ Courtnall for John Kordic trade.

Floyd Smith 1989 - 1991
Record: 61 - 84 - 5 (.421)
Highlights: Harold Ballard passed away. Drafted Felix Potvin. Traded for Peter Zezel and Bob Rouse for Al Iafrate.
Lowlights: Frank Bonello offered GM job but Ballard made lowball offer which was turned down and then offered to Floyd Smith. Tom Kurvers acquired for a first round pick (Scott Niedermayer).

Cliff Fletcher 1991 - 1997
Record: 226 - 219 - 58 - 8O (.508)
Highlights: Doug Gilmour trade. Also picked up Grant Fuhr and Dave Andreychuck. Leafs make to semi finalsin 1993. Trades Wendel Clark for Mats Sundin.
Lowlights: Forced to dismantle team because Steve Stavros was having money troubles.

Ken Dryden 1997 - 1999
Record: 75 -73-16 (.507)
Highlights: Signs Cutis Joseph as free agent. Leafs make semi finals in 1999.
Lowlights: Lost power struggle to Pat Quinn. Put fans to sleep during interviews,

Pat Quinn 1999 - 2003
Record: 169 -109 - 35 -15 (.608)
Highlights: His most notable acquisitions include Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Alexander Mogilny and Eddie Belfour. Leafs make semi finals in 2002.
Lowlights: Trades Alyn McAuley, Brad Boyce and 1st round pick for Own Nolan. Returns to just coaching but blocks hiring of strong GM and instead job goes to John Ferguson.

John Ferguson 2003 - 2008
Record: 145 -110 -10 -30O (.569)
Highlights: Umm, Leafs made the playoffs in 2003-04.
Lowlights: Raycroft trade. Gives Tomas Kaberle, Bryan McCabe, Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker and Pavel Kubina no-trade contracts. Signs free agent Jason Blake for 5 years. Unprepared for post-lockout era.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Does anyone else see the irony here?

Goalie plays on with incurable brain cancer

One of most amazing sports stories has to be that of Robert Müller, the remarkable German goalie who fought back from an operation to remove parts of a brain tumor and, while still undergoing a full course of chemo- and radiation therapy, returned to the nets in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. He even stopped 96 of 100 shots for Kölner Haie in a 168-minute-long playoff match — the second longest game in hockey history.

Müller went on to backstop Kölner Haie (Cologne Sharks) to the DEL final and played well for Germany at the World Championship in Canada.

But over the summer the tumor started growing again, and in August he underwent a second operation. Then, a couple of weeks ago came bad news — Müller, just 28 and the father of two, has a rare and incurable form of tumor, and he has already exceeded the median survival period for those with the condition.

And yet despite this dark prognosis, Müller continues to inspire. He started practicing with Cologne last month, and last week he even dressed as the backup for a game in nearby Duisburg.

“I have the disease, and I have to live with it.”


Carleton University Disgrace

Carleton University won't be holding a popular fundraiser to benefit cystic fibrosis, it was confirmed Tuesday, after the student council passed a motion falsely claiming the disease affects only white men.

The motion passed almost unanimously, but the uproar caused the student association to think twice about its decision.

Since its creation shortly after news of the CUSA decision broke Tuesday, a Facebook group expressing support for the Shinearama fundraising drive has swelled to over 2,300 members as of Wednesday afternoon.

The president of the Carleton University Students' Association said she will move a motion to reinstate Shinerama as the frosh week charity of choice after it was dropped for not being inclusive enough earlier in the week.

Now this is political correctness at its worse. Not only that, it suggests that students at Carleton are just plain ignorant. This is a fatal disease and to suggest that people of certain gender or race are not worthy of treatment is a disgrace. Since breast cancer predominantly strikes women should support for a cure also be withdrawn? Anyway the Carleton students don't have their facts correct because women also contract cystic fibrosis. And the disease is not limited to just white victims.

Happy birthday to the Bushies

Fashion Disaster

That Mischa Barton has some wardrobe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another visual distraction

UFO Meteor comes down near Edmonton, Canada

Time to look busy


Recent hot photos of Boy George

OK. Maybe he's not so hot.

Student arrested for breaking wind

A student at a Florida school has been arrested after authorities said he was "passing gas" and turned off his classmates' computers. According to a report released Friday by the Martin County Sheriff's Office, the 13-year-old boy "continually disrupted his classroom environment" by intentionally breaking wind. He then shut off some computers other students were using.

Clearly, the only solution to resolve this is by placing the little fart in handcuffs. Today he may be blasting gas but unless you act decisively, this type of behaviour could lead to more serious criminal activity like firing hand guns. On a related note, several other students in the school have reported flatulence problems and stomach cramps in fear that releasing a fart will land them in similar trouble

Toronto Maple Leafs: After 20 games

After an encouraging first 10 games, the Maple Leafs have perhaps come back down to Earth. In the first 10 games the Leafs earned 11 points but the past 1o games there were just 3-5-0-2. At that time it didn't look like the Leafs would be a lottery pick team and might even compete for a playoff spot. However, they are now just 4 points ahead of the last place team in the league.

They continue to be a scrappy and entertaining team but they have begun to fall short in coming back in games. In addition, they have begun to give up leads late in games just as they did last season. The weak offense and strong defense has disappeared. Ten games ago they were 23rd in scoring averaging 2.5o points per game. Now they are 7th in scoring averaging 3.1o goals per game. Where their goals against ranked a respectable 14th at 3.00 goals per game, now they have dropped to 28th at 3.45. So new personnel but the same results as last season. As for specialty team, the Leafs are similar to where they were last season, Their powerplay last season was 15th and now is rated 4th overall. Their penalty killing was horrible last year at 29th overall and dropped to 30th. Obviously, Coach Wilson is having difficulty in teaching his new team how to play defense.

The controversy over the last 10 games was coming from the grumbling from players sitting out. However, injuries and the recent trade with St. Louis will reduce much of the discontent in the ranks. Looking forward, the start of the Burke era will certain keep the media wags busy.

In the early going only Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky were offensive threats. That has changed and surprisingly the Leafs have two offensive lines. Matt Stajan leads in assists (13) and points (19). I don't think anyone expected this from him. He is tied for 28th in NHL scoring. Grabovski leads the team in goals (9) while Ponikarovsky leads in plus/minus (+5). Tomas Kaberle had a slow start but is now 8th in scoring for defensemen with 13 points. Grabovski is 3rd in rooking scoring with 14 points. However, Toskala has been terrible and rated 39th among NHL goalies in goals against average and 42nd in save percentage.

Cliff Fletcher has finally unloaded some extra bodies. Some fans may be shocked at seeing two first round picks (Steen and Colaiacovo) traded away but both have been disappointments. Colaiacovo has had so many injuries that you have to wonder whether he will ever but together a decent season. It took Antropov 10 seasons and frankly it's just not worth waiting that long. Steen has shown some promise but very little. I have never been impressed and the team has given him so many opportunities to shine. Lee Stempniak has most upside between the 3 players traded. In my books the team that gets the best player wins a trade no matter how many bodies are moved.

Two seats on Canadian airplanes for the obese

It's not just Canadian prisons that are sympathetic to the obese. Canada's airlines must give obese people two seats for the price of one on domestic flights, the country's highest court has ruled.

The supreme court declined to hear an appeal by Air Canada and WestJet, the country's two largest airlines, on a January 2008 decision by the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which gave the airlines a year to implement the policy after they failed to show that a "one-person, one-fare" structure would cause undue hardship. By convention, the court gave no reason for declining to hear the case.

What remains unresolved is when exactly obesity constitutes a disability. The CTA said airlines must develop procedures to assess eligibility, adding that free seats need not be awarded to overweight people who are merely uncomfortable in a single seat.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Keep your eyes on the road


Mug Shot of the Week

Sarah Palin likes a good turkey slaughter

The Governor is providing an endless supply of humourous clips and quotes. Here she is doing an interview while turkeys are being slaughtered behind her. Clearly she needs to find new PR staff.

YouTubed to Death

By now most people have heard about the South Florida college student killed himself by overdosing on drugs in front of a live online audience as some computer users egged him on, some debated his method, and others tried to talk him out of it. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise since many people chronicle their lives online on Facebook or MySpace. And public suicides are also not a new phenomena - the Toronto subway system gets its share of jumpers and what about the Golden State Bridge.

Nonetheless, the suicide in front of a live audience was still chilling. Now some watchers ultimately notified police, but by the time officers entered Abraham Biggs' home, it was too late. The reality of what happened came to a head for these viewers after police entered the video frame and were seen hovering over Biggs' body. And there is nothing that can be done about those who watched and did nothing to prevent it.