Saturday, December 06, 2008
A small arms manufacturer in the US is taking deposits for a gun specially designed for elderly and disabled people, who may be able to get it on prescription. The Palm Pistol is the world's first ergonomic firearm, according to Constitution Arms.
The single-shot 9mm weapon is grasped in the palm of the hand, with the barrel pointing out between the fingers. Instead of pulling a trigger to fire the gun, users press their thumb on a button at the top.
"Point and shoot couldn't be easier," the New Jersey-based company claims on its website. And it goes on to say: "It is ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have dexterity limitations or difficulty sighting and controlling a traditional revolver or semi-automatic pistol."
The Palm Pistol has been certified as a Class I Medical Device by the US Food and Drug Administration, Constitution Arms said.
That means doctors could prescribe it to certain people, such as those who have had fingers amputated.
And patients could be able to claim back the cost on their medical insurance, if the manufacturer is successful in an attempt to have the gun defined as "durable medical equipment".
Here is the best part. She's hoping Mary can help, by earning the money to pay the medical bills that she and her construction-worker husband cannot. She plans to auction off the MRI film with Mary's image in it on eBay.
This is the Texas home that George W. Bush has purchased for his post-White House years. The home, on a Dallas cul-de-sac, sits on 1.13 acres and offers 8501 square feet of living space. The property was purchased for $2.07 million in early-October.
My dear American neighbours,
I see the political crisis in Canada has finally made it into the Washington Post's Foreign Briefs column.
So, anticipating a flood of interest from all of you at the dog run in the morning, let me try to give you some idea of what's happening up there.
A few weeks ago, we had an election in Canada, a couple of weeks before yours, actually. A political party known as the Conservatives won.
Well, sort of. They didn't win in the sense that most of you understand winning. I'll get to that in a second.
They also aren't what most of you would consider conservative.
They support what you call socialized medicine, they believe in protecting a Canadian-controlled banking system, they believe in government as a vehicle for transferring wealth between regions, and they've actually muzzled party members who tried to make abortion a campaign issue.
In fact, instead of making his Sunday trip to church a photo opportunity, our Conservative leader refuses to discuss his faith in public. (Like many Americans, he's an evangelical Christian).
Different kettle of fish
So our Conservatives are a bit different from yours. Down here, you'd probably call them Democrats. And fairly liberal ones at that.
But, as I said, they won our last election, which is a pretty low-key affair compared to yours. The campaign lasted a few weeks instead of two years.
What's more, they won with only 37 per cent of the vote. Now, you can do that in Canada because our Parliament has three other political parties: The Liberals (again, pay no attention to the name, they tend to adapt their worldview as needed), the Bloc Québécois (a Quebec party that says it wants to break up the country, but hasn't actually done much about it for many years), and the NDP.
I'm not quite sure how to explain the NDP. The other parties like to call them socialists.
Some of their more doctrinaire members would like the government to nationalize or take a large financial stake in things like banks and manipulate the national economy by spending huge amounts of public money. You know, the sort of thing President George W. Bush has been doing this year.
I know, I know, it's confusing.
Funny old world, isn't it?
So. The Conservatives won our election and formed something called a minority government.
That means the Conservatives can basically be tossed out of office by the opposition parties whenever they feel like it, which usually happens after a year or two. Then there's an election.
This time, though, the opposition parties decided to throw out the government before it really even started governing. But instead of forcing another election, the opposition parties made a deal: they formed a surprise coalition and now they want to take power without consulting voters again.
Americans might have a hard time understanding this sort of thing, but it happens all the time in places like Israel and Italy. Wait, though. Uh, wake up. We're getting to the really interesting part.
The CBC connection
To take over, the opposition parties have to convince our head of state that they can govern effectively. President Bush is your head of state, at least until Barack Obama moves in.
But our head of state isn't elected. It's the Queen. And she's represented up there by someone called a governor general, who is appointed. Voters don't have anything to do with it.
Except for not being elected, a governor general is a lot like your vice-president. Sort of ceremonial. Our governors general travel a lot, cut ribbons, declare holidays for school kids and try to set a good example.
The current office holder, Michaëlle Jean, used to be a CBC reporter.
Actually, the one before her was once a CBC reporter, too. So were two others in the recent past. In our country, any CBC reporter can dream of becoming head of state.
Letting a journalist decide
Like your vice-president, sometimes a governor general becomes unbelievably important. Right now, for example. Sooner or later, this former TV reporter is going to have to decide who runs Canada.
Now, the Conservatives aren't taking this state of affairs lying down.
They've been talking about shutting down Parliament for a while until they can think of some way to prevent the opposition parties from throwing them out. But they can't just do that. They'd have to convince the Governor General to let them.
It's all very dramatic, you have to admit. Right? Don't you? Hello?
I mean, we Canadians don't have all those big-mouthed cable anchors that you have, but you can imagine what they'd do with a situation like this.
It's the economy
Wait a second. I forgot to explain why all this is happening. Bear with me.
You see, Canada's economy is in trouble. Just like everybody else's.
So when the Conservatives won, most people expected them to turn on the spending taps, the way every other country in the developed world is doing.
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for some reason, decided not to.
In fact, last week he had his finance minister announce that the government intends to run a surplus in its next budget. Meaning the government intends to take more in taxes from Canadians than it needs to run the country.
(I know President Bush has never run a surplus. But Canadian governments have, every year for more than a decade, even when the supposedly spendy Liberals were in charge.)
Anyway, in the middle of an economic crisis, Harper's plan didn't go over well with the three opposition parties and they saw their chance.
So that's what's happening.
Actually, if you think about it, our prime minister is doing exactly what President Bush keeps saying he'd like to be doing, instead of authorizing another trillion or so every week in new bailouts.
Maybe it's not such a funny old world after all.
O.J. Simpson was sentenced today to serve at least 15 years for a hotel armed robbery after a judge rejected his apology. And the amazing thing is that no one really cared or hardly anyone even noticed.
He reportedly choked back tears as he told the judge: "I didn't want to steal anything from anyone.... I'm sorry, sorry."
Simpson explained that he was trying to retrieve memorabilia and other mementos, including his first wife's wedding ring, when he broke into a Las Vegas hotel room on Sept. 13, 2007.
But the judge wasn’t buying it. Simpson was immediately led away to prison after being denied bail. Hey, maybe the judge watched his white Bronco car chase.
The judge insisted that her sentence in this case had nothing to do with Simpson's 1995 acquittal in the slaying of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
I truly detest Sean Avery. He is a vulgar, annoying narcissist with no respect for the game that provides him with a very good lifestyle. I know that everyone applauds the 6-game suspension handed down by the NHL for Avery's ridiculous outburst in Calgary. However, my gut feeling is that it was wrong.
Bettman's justification for the suspension's length included Avery's prior history of questionable behavior, including his previous sit-downs with Bettman and Colin Campbell; the League's desire to send a message that Avery's conduct wasn't representative of the NHL or its players; and consideration for fans in light of the vulgarity of Avery's comments.
But the NHL have inadvertently set a very low bar with respect to off ice behaviour. If Avery's comments are inappropriate, well what about the frequent comments by Don Cherry that are outright xenophobic. I don't see the NHL demanding that he be removed from hockey telecasts.
If next week the media reports that a Calgary player was charged by police for assaulting his wife, what will the NHL do? Isn't wife abuse worse than insulting an ex-girlfriend? How about drunk driving? Tax evasion? Not making support payments? Once you join the morality police where do you draw the line?
On ice trash talking is a regular occurrence in the NHL. But when have you ever seen a player get assessed a misconduct penalty for trash talking? That is what created that ridiculous altercation between Avery and Darcy Tucker last season during a pre-game warm up. The reason Avery made the comment off ice is because he gets away with it on ice. You see the league has never even addressed Avery's on ice behaviour.
And what about the requirement to attend anger management therapy? How is that related to the ridiculous comments by Avery? He doesn't have an anger management problem, he is just makes bad decisions in his life. Meanwhile, why aren't players who lose it in a game aren't sent for anger management therapy?
It's the lack of any consistency that gets me.
The Denver Post reports that Philadelphia and Chicago are the "clubhouse leaders" for Sundin's services this season, pending cap room. The Canucks are considered to be running third in this sweepstake.
Chicago would almost certainly have to trade one of their two big-money goalies to afford Sundin under their salary cap (Chicago currently is only about $2.6 million under), but they should be able to find a taker for either Cristobal Huet or Nik Khabibulin. Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of cap room either (about $4.5 million). GM Paul Holmgren is well respected around the league, and the Flyers have a good reputation with regard to taking care of players and treating them well.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Even before Sean Avery’s “sloppy seconds” comment got him suspended, he was widely reviled as a total jerk. The final twelve seconds of the above video, which show Avery jawing with a fan on October 11th, is just one example of fans not liking him (and vice versa). FanHaus’s Eric McErlain tracked down and interviewed that fan, 59-year-old Sandie Griffith, a Predators season ticket holder since the franchise’s inception.
Griffith insisted to me that while she taunted Avery, she never used foul language. So what was Avery’s response? According to Griffith, Avery said, “You’re nothing but an old f**king c*nt, I wouldn’t even c*m in your face.” After which he sprayed her with his water bottle.
So how well would this new party do? Here are the seat totals based for the Oct 14th election:
Bloc Quebecois 49
Well if you were to take the results of the Oct 14th election and combine the votes of the Liberals, NDP and Greens this would be the results:
Bloc Quebecois 40
Kind of scary.
Even in fickle, celebrity-obsessed circles, the downfall of the polar bear Knut reads like a tragedy. Though the Berlin Zoo is denying reports that he is up for sale, there can be no doubt about his dramatic fall from public favor.
There are no plans for a celebration to mark Knut's second birthday on Friday, unlike last year, when 5,000 fans joined the fluffy white-furred bear as he celebrated turning 1, with a cake made of lettuce, fruit and rice.
Knut currently lives in a small section of Berlin's polar bear enclosure, home to four other polar bears, including Knut's parents Tosca and Lars. That means there is no extra space for Knut. The zoo in reluctant to expand the structure so he may just have to go.
An new Angus Reid poll suggests the public is divided on the possibility of an opposition coalition throwing the Conservatives out of power.
The poll of 1,000 Canadians shows:
- 35% believe the Conservatives deserve to continue in government; 40% disagree
- If the Tories fall: 37% would allow the opposition to form a coalition government; 32% would hold a new federal election
- 57% are worried about the Bloc Québécois becoming involved in the federal government; 64% would not be comfortable with Stéphane Dion becoming Canada’s Prime Minister
- 53% believe the Tories have not done a good job in dealing with the economic crisis; 75% think the federal government should implement a stimulus package to boost the economy as soon as possible
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
- Brett Hull had an interview on Fan 590 in Toronto today about Avery's suspension. He said the "sloppy seconds" press event was stunning, and flabbergasting. He reiterated several times that it was Avery's staging of the event that was "crossing the line." He said Avery will issue an apology. But the biggest news is that while he was willing get Avery's back for his play in Dallas, he said he doesn't know if Avery will be welcomed back in the Stars locker room.
- Here is an interesting twist, Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated believes that Hull's job could be in jeopardy because of Avery and not because he was an under-qualified ex-player that was hired to co-manage an NHL team. I still think the team's record is what will cost Hull his job.
- Oh yes, Sean Avery has now apologized. He has suggested that it was a bad attempt to inject some excitement into the game. What a guy. Hope he enjoys his little meet and greet with the Commissioner.
Well it's become obvious that Stephen Harper will ask the Governor General to suspend Parliament until such time as he can present a budget. His thinking is that the political landscape might settle down over the next few weeks or months to allow the Conservative government to survive. Many Liberal and NDP supporters are assuming (or hoping) that Michaëlle Jean would not allow that to happen. That she will see through the Prime Minister's scheme to hang onto to power.
Well my guess is that they will likely be disappointed in her. I'm pretty sure no Governor General has ever refused the advice of a Prime Minister. I doubt Ms. Jean will want to be the first. You need to keep in mind that she is an unelected official that represents the British monarch. She is expected to be non-partisan. To judge the advice provided by an elected Prime Minister would create a more serious constitutional issue than to just accept it and allow the Parliament to be suspended. Sure suspending Parliament after just 2 weeks is an outrage but the government eventually has to answer to the opposition and the voters. The Governor General does not.
Democratic processes are often slow and inefficient. But I shudder to think what the alternative is. So if the non-confidence vote doesn't happen in the next week. Then it might just have to wait until next month. Certainly the country will suffer while politicians fight for control. I'm not so sure voters can do anything about it. There has been little cooperation in Parliament over the past few years and that's not going to change in the next week.
It's an exciting time in the United States, but there are even bigger things happening to the north. No, it's not picking a national security team. Canada is on the verge of a coup. There's even a little deception and illegal wiretapping involved.
In October of this year the Conservative party in Canada (a little left of the Republicans, but still pretty cozy with George Bush) won a minority government. That means they won the most votes of any party, but don't have enough seats in Parliament to pass anything on their own. Still, their leader, Stephen Harper, was re-elected Prime Minister.
But, as the financial crisis settled in, Harper made noise about removing the right to strike for civil servants and ending a government subsidy that is given to all political parties after an election based on the number of votes received. Not surprisingly, this got everyone else a little mad. The easiest way to unite your opposition is to take their money away.
So the three smaller parties, the Liberals, New Democratic Party and Bloc Québécois (who rarely agree on anything), got together and signed a deal to cooperate in a bid to overthrow the Harper government. Their official reason: he failed to implement any sort of economic stimulus plan to help the Canadian economy (which is true).
Overthrowing a government in lots of places in the world can be messy business. But this is Canada. The technical head of the country is the Queen and thus, her delegate, the Governor-General, can constitutionally order a change in power. Enter Michaëlle Jean: young, good looking, and a woman who generally travels the globe as a figure head. She's had to cut her visit to Central Europe short to make one of the most important decisions in Canadian history.
Meanwhile, there have been many phone conference calls between party leaders and in caucus about how to form the new coalition. One of those conference calls, secret and run by the New Democrats, accidentally had login information sent to a Conservative official. The Conservative Party dialed in, recorded everything and promptly released it to the press.
Too bad there's a criminal offence called illegal wiretapping where, if you know you are not supposed to listen to something, listen anyway and then record what you are listening to, you're in a bit of trouble.
Not fazed by his party's criminal activity, Harper has released ads stating that a coup is "un-Canadian" (well of course it is). The opposition has drawn up a formal proposal to present to Michaëlle Jean. On Monday, the confidence vote should occur and it's anyone's guess what will happen from there.Getting rid of Harper couldn't make me happier. The Liberals and the New Democrats care about things like public health care, worker's rights and other important social programs. Harper is a fiscal conservative who believes in small government and wanted to do away with gay marriage (a very un-Canadian thing to do!). But most of all, the coup makes watching Canadian politics even more exciting than watching Obama roll out his new administration.
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
An Abbotsford man who fibbed about an insurance fraud just wouldn't let his conscience get the better of him.
Police say the man had a change of heart after admitting the car insurance fraud to investigators, and tried to run off with the recording device that held his confession.
Ravinder Sran was spotted by Insurance Corp. of B.C. staff a few blocks away, smashing the device into bits on the sidewalk. The machine was destroyed, but the digital recording itself was not.
The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to one charge each of fraud and mischief.
A court has ordered Mr. Sran to pay just over $5,000 in fines and restitution, as well as six months probation and 15 hours community service for the fib and the dash-and-smash.
Folks this is serious business - noxious boobs!
Uganda's police warned male bar-goers to keep their noses clean after a probe found a gang of robbers had been using women with chloroform smeared on their chests to knock their victims unconscious.
"They apply this chemical to their chest. We have found victims in an unconscious state," Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) spokesman Fred Enanga told AFP.
"You find the person stripped totally naked and everything is taken from him," he said. "And the victim doesn't remember anything. He just remembers being in the act of romancing."While early investigations suggest that the gang may consist of dozens of members, the source of the sedatives remains unknown.
"We don't know exactly how they get these materials," Enanga added. "That is something that our investigations must crack."
Monday, December 01, 2008
By now everyone has heard about Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress who caught a bullet in his leg while fumbling with a gun in a Manhattan nightclub on Friday. Burress was inside the club with teammate Antonio Pierce when they were confronted by security guards looking for weapons. He took the gun out and started to unload the bullets while drinking a glass of wine. But the sure-handed receiver began to bobble the firearm, accidentally firing a shot that ripped through his leg. The security staff wanted to call an ambulance but Burress refused. It appears they left and Pierce disposed of the gun before Burress showed up at the hospital sometime later that evening.
Here is another big name football star who is about to blow millions because he was carrying an unlicensed gun. Couldn't he afford to pay someone to carry his piece? He just signed a $35 million contract. Talk about a self-inflicted wound. Pierce is now cooperating with police to salvage his career.
Special to The Globe and Mail
November 28, 2008 at 3:09 PM EST
Okay we just might as well admit it and get it over with. Stephen Harper is a genius.
Here we are faced with a global economic crisis. Nations all over the world are struggling to figure out how to protect their citizens — who are terrified. We've seen unheard of cooperation between political rivals all over the industrialized world.
But not in Canada. Not with Stephen Harper. Not on his watch. No my friends, he has one goal and one goal only and it has nothing to do with governing: how can he use this crisis to destroy the opposition?
And wouldn't you know, he almost did it.
Stephen Harper decided Canada doesn't need a stimulus package; all we needed to do was cancel the subsidy that political parties get.
Which would have saved the government about $26-million. That's about the same amount Harper spends on bodyguards every year when he visits danger zones like Thunder Bay or Nunavut.
But the real upside for Harper, of course, is that the entire opposition would have been crippled or destroyed. It gives me great faith to know that as our economy crumbles Harper is on the case trying to come up with new an innovative ways to cutback the Green Party's office budget and bankrupt the Liberals. And then the world will be a better place.
Maybe he has a point. Maybe that's why Canada keeps refusing to give the man a majority. It's not because he's a mean little man obsessed with revenge, but because we just have too many choices. We go to the voting booth and get confused. Like that first trip to Baskin Robbins.
Maybe we'd all just be better off if Conservative was the only flavour on the menu.
Well we almost found out. Because if Stephen Harper got his way on this, democracy would have changed forever. And not a single citizen will have gotten to vote on the matter.
Days after his acquittal on sexual-exploitation charges, former junior hockey coach and NHL agent David Frost has launched a website where he promises "no holds barred" hockey commentary and even a blog by the former player convicted of conspiring to have him killed.
Here is a description of from his blog:
Featuring Hockey’s number # 1 bad boy controversial figure former NHLPA agent Dave Frost. His behind the scenes expertise look, that no one else will tell you about today’s game.
On the site he boasts that he was a "highly successful" coach who has developed many professional players, he acknowledges "there is without question controversy with the way that transpired."
This is one very sick guy who just won't stay away from hockey. My advice is to say away from his site and maybe he will just disappear into the night. Never to be heard from again. Though I doubt it.
The girls soon realized they had forgotten to erase one of the photos. That lone photo, the girls claim, was sent to the entire football team without their knowledge. I'm guessing a lot of things will happen in these girls' lives without their knowledge. How did I end up pregnant? How did my minivan end up in the ditch? How did I reach my credit limit ? How did I get to be a grandmother at 36 ??
In September someone sent school officials a copy of the photo. Having stated in June that "inappropriate photos will not be tolerated", school officials held their ground and suspended the two girls. They weren't suspended from school. They were only suspended from the oh-so-important cheer squad. A tragedy of Shakespearean proportions, right?
The girls' parents soon filed lawsuits accusing the school district and officials of sexual exploitation of children, violation of right to privacy, violation of due process, violation of sexual equality and negligent infliction of emotional distress and outrage. And you wonder how the girls got to be so stupid?
Bothwell High School cheerleading squad with clothes on.
1. Scarlett gets her blouse ripped off.
2. From the film Eightlegged Freaks.
3. From the film A love Song for Bobby Long.
2. Scarlett on the red carpet.
1. Scarlett crawling on all fours.
The hysterical Conservative party is suggesting that a coup d'etat is underway in Canada in order to reverse the results of the recent election. A coup d'etat is defined as an unconstitutional overthrow of a government by a smaller part of the establishment, often the military. I don't think what is going on in Ottawa resembles a coup d'etat in anyway. The possible takeover of the government is perfectly legal. And the oppposition parties are hardly a small part of the political establishment having won over 62% of the popular vote and a majority of seats in the last election.
However, there are troubling elements of what is occuring in Ottawa. The dirty tricks by the Conservatives blow their cover as the "ethical" party following the sponsorship scandal the vanquished the Liberals to the opposition ranks.
But Canadian voters strongly rejected the notion of Stephane Dion as prime minister and were never given the opportunity to consider whether Michael Ignatieff is right for the job. Is there enough talent in the Liberal and NDP caucuses to run this country during the current economic downturn? What kind of deals have been made with the Bloc Quebecois to buy their support?
So what options are left for the Tories?
1. Prime Minister Stephen Harper may prorogue Parliament until the new year. The opposition will cry foul, but it’s within the Prime Minister’s power. The effect on Ottawa would be to pour some cold water on the heated political atmosphere on the Hill.
2. The Conservatives have announced that they have pushed up the Budget Speech to January 27th. They could try moving it up even sooner and include an economic stimulus package to appease the opposition. But I'm not sure they now have the ability to hold off the December 8th vote which would make an earlier Budget moot. Also, it is doubtful that any stimulus package would dampen the opposition coalition's desire to take control of the government.
3. Let the opposition take over and wait for it too unravel. The political ambitions of Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff could undermine the deal that has been worked out.
4. The Conservatives could dump Stephen Harper. The animosity that the Prime Minister has developed is what created this mess. Getting rid of him may be the only thing to save the government.
Chinese police got a surprise when they pulled over a brand new 4x4 for a routine check - the driver had no arms.
Zing Shen, 42, was steering the vehicle with his feet and was amazed when officers decided issue him with a public safety summons.
He told the traffic officers he had been driving like that for years after losing both arms below the elbows in an industrial accident.
He had an automatic so did not need to worry about changing gears and said he had put a lot of practice into learning to control the steering wheel with his legs.
He was a little annoyed at being stopped, as he believes that he has become a much more careful driver since losing his arms.
I'm wondering if he ever uses his cellphone while driving. With one leg are the accelerator, one leg holding up his cellphone, and one leg holding the wheel. Wait a minute, that isn't going to work.
Brian Burke threw out some beautiful one-liners in his first weekend as Maple Leaf GM, but the most significant for fans was what he expected of his teams. "We require, as a team, proper levels of pugnacity, testosterone, truculence and belligerence. That's how our teams play," said Burke.
So you can throw out "The Passion that Unites us All" which was replaced this season with "Spirit is Everything". This isn't the first tough Irishman to gain control of the Leafs. Pat Quinn did introduce a belligerent style of play with the likes of Gary Roberts, Darcy Tucker, Shane Corson, Wade Belak and Tie Domi. The difference is that Brian Burke has a better appreciation to the type of balance you need between skill players and pluggers.
There has already been a lot of speculation regarding Burke's bias against European players. He is no Don Cherry. You cannot be successful in the NHL by taking a xenophobic approach to building a team. And Brian Burke has been successful.
So when he looks at the Leaf's roster he will have to decide whether the player falls under the skill category or plugger category. For example, is Matt Stajan skilled enough to be a top 6 forward or is he tough enough to be a plugger? If he doesn't fit in either category, well you can figure out the rest. So obviously, at risk are players like Blake, Moore, Ponikarovski, White, Hollweg. It is also why Coloaiacovo and Steen were likely moved with Burke's blessings.
Let the makeover begin!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
In a stunning about-face, Transportation Minister John Baird went on television yesterday afternoon to announce the Harper government would reverse its controversial proposal to strip political parties of federal subsidies. He noted it wasn't worth going to an election over.
Harper's retreat on tis issue is unlikely to halt the opposition’s joint effort to oust the minority Conservative government. And there were hints there could be further retreats in store though not necessarily any new economic stimulus.
Meanwhile, Conservative MPs are on "high alert" for a return to campaign mode even as they launch an all-out media blitz to discredit the possibility of a Liberal-NDP coalition government, attacking the idea as an "insult to democracy." Conservative MPs have been instructed to appeal directly to the public. But then over 62% of Canadians voted for a party over than the Conservatives at the last election.