December 23, 2006

Merry/Happy: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid, Holidays...

Just wanted to say have a wonderful and safe holiday(s)! More to come in the New Year... unless something crazy happens between now and then. Keep fighting the good fight!

December 20, 2006

And The Gimmicks Continue

One week ago today, I posted about the Conservatives affinity towards using gimmicks. That they haven't really produced much more than a lot of optics is fairly accurate. Since that post the optics knob has been cranked to the max and gimmicks are being dished out at light speed.

Today the Conservatives re-unveiled their plan to include up to 5% ethanol or other biofuels into gasoline by 2010 and diesel by 2012. This was originally unveiled with the so-called "Clean Air Act". In fact, Ambrose, who was flanked by Chuck Strahl, specifically stated that this needed to be passed with the Clean Air Act. This, obviously, was all just another game of optics and a lousy attempt to save face.

The optics of this announcement extended beyond just announcing a program that is already in place. Chuck Strahl was also present because of his big PR gaffe that came with the firing of the head of the Wheat Board (it definitely didn't win them many farmers' votes). Essentially after Ambrose was finished reading her talking points Strahl got up and repeatedly mentioned that this plan was 'good news for farmers'. Why is it good news? Because the government is going to reimburse farmers for their initial investments for the technology to produce more ethanol, rather than just make an investment in farmers themselves (the Liberal plan).

As mentioned, this plan has already been announced, but it comes on the heels of another announcement where the gimmick was also front and centre. Take for example the Conservatives plan to extend the funding of the federal homelessness plan. While it is laudable that they are doing this, they have decided to re-brand the program so they can say during election time, "we created it."

In fact, ever since the House broke for the holidays it has been one thing after another that all seems to be pointing towards pre-election posturing. Harper ran to Quebec to sell land back to Quebecers and talk about his nation motion. He has also been trying to suck up to the media by attending their parties, having some of his own and holding one-on-ones with the major networks. And for anyone that has seen them, they are priceless (and sad). This has also been coupled with his faint praise for the NDP's 'willingness' to work with him on creating a better environmental policy in an effort to green-wash his government. With the exception of Canwest, none of the media outlets seem to be playing ball as they all are quick to point out the problems with all these announcements. But then again aren't they all conspiring against the Conservatives?

I'm sure there will be more and that I'm even missing a few points. At some point this government needs to make a move. I don't believe Canadians are as naive as the Conservatives take them for. Too many provincial governments have trotted down the ideology path with masks of moderation donned. And there was the last Liberal federal government that also used some trickery here and there to cover-up their own shortcomings. There is also the problem that the Republicans in the US have also been playing a similar game since 2001. Politics has to be about much more than optics and gimmicks anymore because people are privy to the reality they live in.

Harper's Lowest Point Yet

Aside of watching the general news to find purpose in life, I also spend time watching sports updates. Sportsnet just showed a clip of a Stephen Harper interview. It is now plain obvious that he is desperate to gain votes in Toronto. In this interview he pandered to the lowest common denominator of Ontario's citizens... he praised the Maple Leafs.

There was something about the Leafs being well-balanced and other utter crap. While I will admit that Harper was right, the Leafs have some good young players, anything else beyond that, especially expressing anything that resembles being confident in the team, is unnecessary and pure pandering.

Everyone knows that the Canadian team closest to winning the Stanley Cup, especially this year, is obviously the Montreal Canadiens. If any Canadian team is well balanced and full of future superstars and deserves the confidence of their fans, it's the Habs.

I've said this many times: The Leafs will never win a Cup in my lifetime and the Habs will win at least one in every decade in which I'm breathing.

Oh yeah, did I mention I've lived in Ontario my entire life (only 45 minutes from Toronto) and still I'm a Habs fan.

That's all...

Biofuel Announcement from Ambrose and Strahl

I'm watching CTV at the moment where Ambrose and Strahl are announcing "meaningful steps" to adopt a biofuel commitment.

The results are apparently concrete and bolster the Clean Air Act. They are going to require all gasoline to include 5% ethanol and other fuels to have 2% by 2010 and 2012. Apparently these are short term goals... They are also apparently already pieces of the Clean Air Act or something to that effect.

Strahl just keeps mentioning something about all of this, 'being good new for farmers.'

So far this has been nothing more than an announcement to say, 'we've f****d up with the environment and farmers and our poll indications show this and we need to hold an optics-based press conference to save our asses.'

It's so interesting and new that CBC News and CTV Newnet aren't even showing the entire thing. CBC went back to showing Dubya's press conference.

I love how the Conservatives, ever since the final day of sitting, has been on a media tour and practically giving election-type optics at every turn. If this isn't a sign that they are acknowledging they've screwed up and are bleeding support, I don't know what is...

I'll blog more about the specifics later...

December 18, 2006

NDP Might Give The Liberals Their Election Call

(updated @ 8:20pm)
Jack Layton held a press conference today and followed this up with an interview on Politics with Don Newman. In both instances Layton talked about the work the NDP are doing through the environmental committee to deliver a real environmental and climate change program. He also said that he would like to see the bill come before the House sometime in February, prior to a budget being presented. While Newman questioned the likeliness of this happening, Layton replied that he believes if the opposition parties push for it to happen then it will.

This is something the Liberals need to get behind. Dion has already stated that he won't bring down the House over Afghanistan, which is probably wise. However, bringing down the House over the budget after it has been presented to the public (and most likely contains lots of 'gifts') is a risky move. Bringing down the House over the environment prior to the budget is both the perfect issue and time.

If the NDP, who gives the impression their spear-heading the whole process, are as serious about the environment as they say they are then what will be proposed will be incompatible with the agenda and the coming budget of the Conservatives. A new bill, with real teeth, will most likely include new (or restored) federal funding and grants for research and retrofitting programs (i.e. Energuide). There should be a real commitment to meeting Canada's Kyoto targets and will involve demands on and changes to policy regarding industry. However, since it's doubtful that the Conservatives even believe there is an environmental problem in the first place, that they disagree with and withdrew from Kyoto, and that the new bill will reverse cuts that the Conservatives made, there should be no way the Conservatives will agree with the bill. And in that case, this could be the issue that brings down the government.

All three opposition parties have pledged to fight for the environment. However, it's the Liberals that are currently making the biggest impression with Canadians (and the Green Party) in that area. While Layton is obviously trying to get himself back in the game with his comments today, he is really just going to boost the fortunes of the Liberals. It remains to see how committed the NDP really are to the environment. Not that there is any reason to not believe them but with their poll numbers I can't imagine they're looking to get into an election any time soon. But that may be where we're headed if they follow through with their environmental pledge and get the Liberals and Bloc to push it through the House prior to the budget.

Pushing it through early will probably lead to one of two scenarios:

  1. All the opposition parties back the plan but the Conservatives do not and make it an issue of confidence. Thus the House will fall. Or;
  2. The Conservatives do not back the bill nor make it an issue of confidence. However, since all the opposition parties back it they then have grounds to bring the Conservatives down.

However, all this depends on the strength of the bill and strength of the commitment of the opposition parties to this issue (and the Conservatives pulling a quick one). If the opposition comes through and the bill is the real thing then this could be good for the Liberals. They definitely need to get behind the bill and it's introduction into the House prior to the budget.

December 16, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green...

...Or from the Conservatives point of view, it's not easy giving the perception that you're green. And therein lies the problem for this government. Not only have they failed to be green, they have failed at being perceived as green as well. This was essentially confirmed by both Mulroney and Harper.

Mulroney acknowledged the failure when he confirmed that the Conservatives were lacking in the green department, "I think there's more work to be done on [the environment], both substantively and presentationally..." (1)

Harper has said he agrees with Mulroney's evaluation of what the Conservatives haven't been able to achieve. (2) However, in a televised spot Harper referred to the greenhouse gas threat as "so-called" and the "perceived effects on [people's] health from the environment over time."(3) This also comes on the heel of Stockwell Day's comments that blatantly shows his skepticism and doubt for the science and evidence supporting global warming.(4) These comments have given the people of Canada some clues to why the Harper government is failing; they don't believe that there is an environmental problem. Their so-called 'Clean Air Act' is proof of that.

Harper has said he will improve his government's environmental policies in the new year, probably beginning with more optics in the form of a cabinet shuffle and the outing of Rona Ambrose. However, it will take more than simple gimmicks to change the public's opinion on the Conservatives green-wash because most Canadians are now privy to the motivations of this government. But more than that, the Conservatives lived up to Canadians expectations on the environment.

Earlier this year, in April, there was a poll released about the government's performance in it's first few months. Since the government hadn't really done anything up to that point, the poll's results were more about the expectations people had.(5) The expectations for their environment performance was poor. If they've already met - and possibly exceeded - people's poor expectations then it's definitely going to take more than a cabinet shuffle and better optics to gain back credibility. And this challenge is only going to become even more tedious because the Liberals are laying the groundwork for a major environmental campaign.

It is not an easy thing for the Liberals to claim they are the new green-conscience of the Canadian government. Their track record is also less than perfect with several failed commitments in their pocket. However, there is a clear difference between the record of the Liberals and the Conservatives. While the Liberals' commitments were generally either too weak or too unreasonable, the Conservatives can't even claim they have tried. Not only have cut a revised and greatly improved Liberal environmental plan and passed the Clean Air Act - which doesn't contain anything substantial - but they also cut funding to environmental and green technology research and slashed the Energuide program that was cost-efficient and effective. Therefore, with respect to the environment, the Liberals hold much more credibility than the Conservatives do and this creates a problem for the Conservatives to climb out of the hole they dug themselves into.

Things are getting easier from that perspective either because as recent as this past week, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, has also been on the defensive over the Conservatives environmental record.(6) If there is anyone, or any party, that has the credibility and the public's confidence when it comes to the environment it is May and the Green Party. May has also thrown her support, at least in comparison to the other party leaders, behind Dion and his strong focus on the environment. The praise has also been coming the other way. And this has now led to speculation that the Liberals and Greens might possibly try to strategically work together in the event of an election.(7)

Having Canada's most credible party on the environment working together with the Liberals creates a massive problem for the Conservatives. The Conservatives have no environmental credibility and polls are showing they are steadily falling behind the Liberals in support, most notably in seat-rich Ontario and Quebec. Having the Liberals and Greens working together means the Conservatives would have to do more than just create optics, they would have to provide evidence they can and will deliver on the environment. But time is running short. The Bloc are threatening to bring the Conservatives down sometime shortly after the House returns in the New Year. This doesn't give the Conservative much time to table a motion on the environment or much less prove they can be green. Not that we can reasonably expect something significant from a party that doesn't accept there's an environmental problem in the first place.

Like Kermit the Frog says, "It's not easy..."

December 15, 2006

With Friend's Like This...

On Wednesday, former PM Mulroney conceded that the Conservatives have royally screwed on the environmental issue. While Mulroney was likely trying to provide some guidance to Harper on how to handle some of the issues Canadians are concerned with (which doesn't include tax and program cuts), it ended up confirming what critics have been saying all along. According to Mulroney, "I think there's more work to be done on that, both substantively and presentationally..." In other words, do something real and do it soon.

Then on Thursday, a top US State Department official, Tom Shannon, offered this nice statement about the Canadian Conservatives and the Republicans, in that they share an "important ideological affinity." This, much like Mulroney's quote, confirmed what many people have been saying for a long time - Harper's government is a far-right, ideological party. It is well known that Canadians' opinions are far from being favourable towards the Republicans, but to have a politician, that is arguably an ally to both Bush and Harper, confirm this, speaks volumes. And if this is true (which I tend to believe it is) then Canadians can know what to expect in terms of social policy. Nothing. What they can expect is a government hell-bent on tearing apart our social programs, cutting necessary taxes and running the government in ways that are contradictory to the views of the majority of Canadians. It also explains a lot...

These are the little things that the opposition has to seize on and expose. You want proof that the Conservatives have no real plans for the environment... listen to Mulroney, their ally. You want an idea of the true motivations of this Conservative government... listen to what Tom Shannon is saying. With an election probably just around the corner, these are gifts that we (those who oppose the Conservatives) need to spread and bring to the rest of the public.

December 13, 2006

All Gimmicks, All The Time

I'm sitting around watching Politics with Don Newman and he has a panel of MPs discussing Harper's revolutionary plan to apparently 'reform the senate'. The Conservative MP (who's name is escaping me - not like it matters to me... Or Harper) is already towing the party line. He's spewing crap about how the people will finally get a democrat senate and they will be pleased that they get to decide who goes into the senate. The other MPs pipe up and poke a billion holes in the plan and what is his reply? The same crap he just said prior to it being torn apart. He's on broken-record mode. I guess the Conservative party brass didn't provide the guy with enough talking points to give a substantial rebuttal to the criticism (or they're playing the Goebbels game, again [wink!]).

If anything, the whole charade just made me frustrated. How far does the Conservatives disdain for democracy and lack of respect for Canadians run? So far the Conservatives have not contributed anything substantial to the Canadian public and they consistently refuse to answer questions about their lack of real governing.

This new senate announcement is the perfect example. While Canadians are able to choose their favourite person for senate, it has to be done so from a list of candidates chosen by the government and then the government gets the final say about who actually will get the senate seat. That isn't contributing to democracy. It's nothing more than re-jigging some of the procedures to support the same problem. If anything it closely emulates the so-called changes the Cons' made to the process of selecting our Superior Judges where they'll allow judges to be questioned but the PM still has final say.

And then there's the announcement by Rona the Useless about banning mercury from car manufacturing. While the plan itself is laudable it's the timing of it that is questionable. Much like this senate announcement, the mercury plan came on the last day of sitting until the new year. Both of these were announced today in hopes of turning around the poor public perception the Cons have been receiving of late. But can we blame the public for having a general poor outlook? Definitely not.

The public is probably tired of being played for fools by our government. They tried to express that during our last election when, as it is becoming more blatantly clear, they voted against the Liberals and not for the Conservatives. Yet, rather than governing, the Conservatives have continued to display their disdain for ordinary Canadians.

  • They've tried to pull a fast one with the 'change' in the Supreme Court nominations.
  • They tabled a poor and obvious partisan Accountability Act.
  • They've cut and made cuts to Social Programs.
  • They tabled the Clean Air Act which wasn't worth the paper it was printed on and therefore wasted valuable trees.
  • They've attempted to sell-out Canada's softwood lumber industry and are attempting to do the same with our wheat out West.
  • They announced the chemical-ban plan that cut the number of noted chemicals by more than half and doesn't have the teeth it needs.
  • They created an apparent Universal Child-Care program that does nothing for child care.
  • And now they're trying to reform the senate selection.

The Conservatives have no substance to them or their plans. They are nothing more than ideologists who are hell bent on doing what they feel like while trying to fool Canadians that they are something more than what they are. So far they have only proven all their nay-sayers right; they only have their own interests at heart. It's only one gimmick after another in an attempt to gain the favour of voters so they can continue on with their need for control so they can push an agenda that doesn't mesh with most Canadians. It's all about optics. And that is unfortunate and will come back to haunt them because Canadians, after the Liberals royally screwed up, are a little more aware and sceptical about what goes on in Ottawa.

December 12, 2006

Bringing Down the House Makes Sense for Duceppe.

Forcing the government to fall on the Afghanistan issue makes perfect political sense. Let's think about this critically and from Duceppe's point of view. As recently as three weeks ago the Bloc won a major victory when it was able to push the House to recognize the Quebecois as a nation. And despite all the confusion surrounding the resulting motion it had two positive outcomes for the Bloc;

  1. It exposed the divisions in the Liberals and the Conservatives over the Quebecois' status.
  2. It gave some re-affirmation to the Bloc's relevance in Quebec politics.

However, the Bloc has also recently faced somewhat of a setback at home. This came when Stephane Dion was named leader of the Liberals. The speculation about Dion was that he would be a non-player in Quebec when it came to a federal election. Being that he had been considered soft and a bit of traitor from being the prime architect of the Clarity Act, most guessed he would be a liability for the Liberals. The only problem for Duceppe (and Harper) was that all the speculation seems to have been wrong. Not only is Dion showing more favourably at home, but the Liberals' numbers in general are also up (and not just in Quebec). And the numbers seem to be climbing. This means that some of Duceppe's momentum from the Quebecois Nation motion has been lost and he needs to do something, fast.

This can't be the only concern on Duceppe's mind either. Sometime in the new year the Conservatives are set to release a budget. While we don't know what the specifics of the budget will be there is some speculation as to what it might contain. One part of this will probably be new money or at least a better deal for Quebec. Add to this the rumours that Harper is planning to table a motion to hand greater power to the provinces, Duceppe ultimately finds himself in a bit of a pickle. Greater fiscal resources and greater provincial autonomy for Quebec are two major parts of the Bloc's agenda and if another party can deliver all those things, then the Bloc won't be so relevant. All they really would have left is their stance on separation and even that doesn't seem to have the same legs it once did.

Bringing down the house at this point makes complete sense, politically. Especially over the issue of Afghanistan. With the Bloc's issues being co-opted by the Conservatives, for their own political gain, and with the Liberals re-electing a well-known Quebecois for leader who is also taking on issues that are extremely important to Quebec (i.e. environment), Duceppe needs to do something to - essentially - stop the number of Quebeckers from looking at other parties. Using Afghanistan will help with that to some degree because it is a divisive issue as far as the Liberals are concerned and to a lesser extent the Conservatives as well. Using Afghanistan may give Duceppe back some of the momentum he had with the Nation issue and again expose party divisions that may make them look out of touch with the views of Quebec. However, there is some risk to move because the Liberals, in general, could side with the Bloc. It will definitely help if all the Liberal Quebec MPs side with the Bloc while the at-large Liberal MPs generally support the fall as well. And there's the problem that the Liberals may gain for not being the initiators of the fall in the first place. It's definitely a fine line Duceppe is walking.

For this to work, it will definitely have to come prior to the Conservatives budget being released and any motion that will move bulks of power from the federal level to the provincial level. It will also need to come sooner than later because the longer it's delayed the more time the Liberals will have to be prepared for an election and be able to develop some real policies on some of the more important issues for Quebeckers, such as the environment, the fiscal imbalance and health care. The next couple of months will be interesting, to say the least, because not only is the Bloc looking to bring down the house but so are the Liberals and the NDP. At the moment, the Conservatives, it seems, can't do anything right in the eyes of the public and the opposition parties are definitely looking to take advantage of it before the Conservatives find a way to turn the tide.

December 09, 2006

Bill Graham's Not Pulling Any Punches

H/T to Dymaxion World;

Graham must be getting serious with his dislike for the Cons tactics. On Thursday

Bill Graham compared the Cons to Joseph Goebbels because Graham believes that the Cons are sticking to false lines about the Liberals. Of course, the Cons are a little more than ticked. And who wouldn't be? Who wants to be compared to one of the worst group of people in history? Yet this begs the question. "Is it really reprehensible, if it's true?"

There are several things that I can recall off the top of my head that the Cons have consistently lied about:

1) One of Flaherty's favourite lies is that the average Canadian is taxed around 50%. He has repeated this many times, despite it being out right wrong. The average Canadian is only taxed approximately 33%-35%.

2) Harper and Ambrose's constant assertion that there wasn't any environmental plan prior to the Cons getting into power. In fact there was a failed commitment and then an actual program put in place shortly before the election was held. This program was immediately trashed by the Cons after taking power.

3) Ambrose has also been known to toss out the claim that the former Liberal government spent $100 million on carbon credits. In fact, no such thing happened.

4) Baird is fond of blaming the Liberal Senate for intentionally holding-up the passing of the Accountability Act, for partisan reasons, despite it's apparent poor wording and some of the changes being unreasonable or unrealistic. He did this rather than acknowledging that there were issues with the submitted version and that there were some Conservative senators that also had concern. It's interesting that the fixed-up version that was given back to him got his seal of approval and he has also stated that it is an improvement from the original.

Part of Goebbel's propaganda was to say a lie so often that it eventually is taken for truth. This is what Graham accused the Cons of doing. While the comparison may leave some people with a poor taste in their mouth, it does get the point across. And as I asked above, 'Is it really reprehensible, if it's true?"

As a side note, I don't think the Cons should get too concerned over hearing Nazi comparisons. Their Republican counterparts are quite fond of using the comparison for a whole host of people. If anything, it's a mode of recognition with them. You know you must have gotten the Republicans' attention when they've compared you to some aspect of the Nazis. So really in this case, the Cons should should feel proud that they've got the Liberals taking them seriously.

December 05, 2006

Creating Efficiencies By Cutting Access

In an earlier post, I had mentioned that Harper cutting access to the Status of Women programming was tantamount to cutting the program. I was implying that in spite of being forced by the opposition parties to keep the Status of Women program running, he was cutting access by closing 12 of 16 offices and therefore not having to provide the same level of funding to the program. An obvious attempt to appease the lobbyist group REAL Women, a social conservative group, after failing to shut the program down, which they originally lobbied for.

Anyway, my implication may not have been right on the mark. Apparently, they are going to keep the funding in place. The plan is to redirect the savings from the beurocratic side of the program and place it directly into programs. This is obviously just pure spin.

Sure, the funding might still be there on paper but it doesn't mean it will be used. At the end of the fiscal year, the unused money will show up as surplus in the government's budget. And how are they going to have a surplus in the program? They are cutting access to the program. If women can't get to an office to access the personnel or the resources that are supposed to be available, then the Status for Women program isn't being used. If the program isn't being used, then money isn't being spent. This is nothing more than spin-doctoring at its worst and for an ideological purpose that doesn't mesh with the ideals of most Canadians.

December 01, 2006

To Come Full Cirlce...

This has been a long time coming. Today, I am officially resigning my membership in the NDP. And I am re-joining the Liberals.

There was no one specific event that helped me make up my mind about my return to the Liberal fold. It has been a switch that I have pondered for just under a year. I have been talking to friends who are involved with the Liberals and the feeling I got from them about many different aspects reminded me of why I originally joined the Liberals. I also wanted to avoid any speculation from naysayers, assuming there might be some, that I was 'jumping on the bandwagon' of the new leader. As of this point, there is no new leader yet.

I resigned my membership with the Liberals shortly before Paul Martin crowned himself king and in the process divided the party. I was one those people who didn't believe the rhetoric of renewal under Martin would come to fruition. If the new leader was willing to divide the party for his own gain then he really wasn't being much of a leader. Expressing that opinion openly wasn't viewed as being loyal to the party and any of us that believed that were essentially considered outcasts. And shortly before that I had been skeptical about the leadership of McGuinty. Therefore, I let go and joined the NDP, hoping for something more.

I have nothing really negative to say about the NDP. They have some great ideas and ideals and they have done a lot for the progress of Canada. I just didn't ever feel apart of them, not in the same manner as I had when I was with the Liberals. This is strange to say really since I generally lean far to the left. I have also spent a lot of time attacking Liberal policies, especially when it comes to Ontario and energy. However, while I still find myself skeptical in some areas when it comes to the Ontario government, it has been less so of late. And with the Federal party letting go of the past and heading towards real renewal, I feel as though rejoining the Liberals would be the right decision to make.

I still hold reservations towards one of the potential leaders; that being Ignatieff. He reminds me too much of the 'old guard' Liberals, the ones that made members such myself feel unwanted. However, I don't believe things will turn out that way in the event that he wins. I actually don't think he'll win anyway. My choice for leader is Gerard Kennedy. I think he'll truly bring a renewal of the party and reinvigorate the Liberals with a forward, progressive set of ideals.

Only time (1 day in fact) will tell who become leader and the direction the Liberals will take from, here on in. This will not mean I will end my criticism on decisions that I feel are poor ones. I can only hope that it instead, within a newly reunited party that different points of view will be accepted. In the end of it all, I hope that I'm making the right decision in re-joining the Liberals. And with that, my membership within the NDP is officially over (I guess this also means that my feed into the Blogging Dippers will come to an immediate end).

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)