January 29, 2008

It's Time...

Simply put - It's time to bring the House down and go to the polls. In a completely unoriginal post I want to echo the sentiments of Scott Tribe, Jason Cherniak, JimBobby, and countless others. To my own credit though, I thought the time was way back in the fall when the House reconvened.

I don't even see a reason to hesitate. I don't believe an election prior to the spring budget will change the Liberals chances to gain seats any more than it will during the budget. It's not like Harper has shown any leadership or willingness to actually govern the country. And things are even worse for him when he's not controlling the messages that are being printed in the media, which right now he seems to have no influence whatsoever. Which is fine because most of what he says is only for the purpose of deflection from his mistakes or to make another non-announcement about a program that is already in place and was already presented. But that's what happens when you don't have any plans except how to dupe the public into thinking you're actually governing rather than running an extended election campaign.

Right now, Harper is probably at his weakest. Between the environment, Afghanistan, the nuclear generator, etc. Harper is fully exposed. Waiting for the budget might shut the window on the exposure a little and make the fight a little tougher. I say, go after him when he's down the most. That seems to be now.

January 15, 2008

Vote For Me... Pretty Please

Probably half the blogs I've perused today have plugs for the Canadian Blog Awards (CBA). Apparently voting has begun so people are looking for support. So I decided to throw my support behind some blogs and when I got to 'Best Progressive Blog' category, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my blog was listed. Lil 'ol Random Noise was amongst the nominees. So in a futile, yet vain, pursuit, I am also going to ask people go vote for me because the Lord knows, if I'm going to get out of the first round, I need all the support I can get. There are too many actually good blogs (Dr. Dawg, April Reign, Jim Bobby, The Galloping Beaver, Dymaxion World, Apply Liberally, etc.) in there for me to even be a consideration or contender and have more than just there mom (Hi, mom!) read their blog.

As If There Aren't Enough Issues In the Great Lakes Already...

Ontario to approve Great Lakes wind power - Toronto Star

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for implementing clean energy projects in Ontario however, I can't see the wisdom in building off0shore projects in the Great Lakes. The Ontario government did the right thing when they put a moratorium in place to study this issue but it seems enough pressure has been applied and the Great Lakes will soon be known as the Great Floating Windmill Farms.

There are enough problems, currently, with the Great Lakes that have been created by our lack of care when working in them. There are serious pollution problems caused by sewage dumping and other chemical dumping (i.e. mercury). There are massive problems with indigenous species being on the brink of extinction due to invasive species and over-fishing. Additionally, the Lakes are extremely fragile ecologically from shoreline projects and developments, dam construction and past logging projects. In other words, the Great Lakes are under enough pressure as it is and adding to that pressure, not just by Ontario but surrounding States as well, will only push the problem further. And this doesn't even get into the effects it will have on non-aquatic migratory species, etc.

Ontario, the Canadian Federal government and many US States are already spending hundreds of millions, collectively, to reverse and repair much of the damage that has been caused. There are also agreements in place about care and usage of the Lakes. From where I'm sitting, allowing many massive off-shore windmill projects is counter-productive to those efforts and therefore makes much of the money that has been invested a complete waste. Then again, this just seems to be par for the course when it comes to energy and the environment for this province. I may be supportive of the Ontario Liberals, but I have always had issues with their energy and environmental outlooks. This isn't any different. Taking the short-sited route when it comes energy is typical and unfortunately, I have a feeling it's going to come at a great cost.

January 10, 2008

On Preserving Canada's National Igloo

H/T to CalgaryGrit and Braeden Caley:

I knew I had heard the name Mike Huckabee somewhere prior to the Republican presidential candidacy race. Thanks to the two bloggers above, I realize that I am not crazy. Huckabee is the infamous Arkansas governor that made the cut for one of Rick Mercer's popular Talking to Americans segments. In Huckabee's clip he gave his support for Canada's preserving of our national igloo.

Last summer I had the opportunity to see Rick Mercer live while I was at a conference in Quebec City. Mercer's talk was a mix of personal reflection and comedy (obviously) that all leads to some deep thoughts on careers. A large part of his speech involved showing clips, several which came from his Talking to Americans segments, including the Huckabee piece. The funniest part was not the clip but Mercer's account of how he had to build up the nerve to actually attempt pulling it off and how scared he was the entire time waiting for Huckabee to do this. I'll provide the gist of the story but it will in no way be nearly as funny as Mercer giving the tale.

Right after Mercer had decided to attempt a meeting with Huckabee he noticed that outside of the Governor's office there was a prison works program taking place. There were several men in jumpsuits, chain ganged together, setting up the nativity scene for the upcoming holidays and these men were being carefully watched by guards with shotguns. What Mercer noticed was that the men were supposed to be in a particular order that corresponded with the setting up of baby Jesus' crib. However, where baby Jesus should have been last, he was actually first. When the prisoners realized the mistake and attempted to correct themselves, one of the men tripped and the guards apparently got brave and were quick to draw their guns to provide 'encouragement' to the prisoners to get their acts together. Now, when you're about to attempt to pull a prank on a Governor and the first thing you see are guards with guns and how quick they are to use them for 'encouragement', you can imagine how nervous you would feel, especially in the case you get called out. Obviously though, Mercer soldiers on.

Once inside, Mercer speaks with an administrator, explains that he is there doing a story on this Canadian issue and getting American reactions, etc. The administrator asks him to wait while they speak with someone and Mercer figures he's finished at this point. However, one of Huckabee's aids come out and asks him a few questions, takes his name, which he gives honestly, and then leads him to another room to wait in while they speak with someone else. At this point, Mercer figures they are researching the supposed issue and him and will quickly escort him to one of the armed guards waiting outside. Again, an aid, different from the first, comes in, speaks with him, takes his name, asks him to wait and leaves. Again, this time they must be surely researching something and will realize what's going on. However, another aid comes in but this time takes him to wait outside Huckabee's office.

After escorting Mercer to Huckabee's office. Mercer is asked to wait because Huckabee is conferencing at the moment, but before leaving the third aid again asks for information and takes his name, then promptly leaves. At this point, Mercer figures that at least one of these aids are going to do a little background research but up until now, that doesn't seem to be the case. Anyway, after a few minutes, Huckabee comes out of his office, talk to Mercer about the igloo in question and then says, "Let's do this!"

Just before they are begin to start an aid appears and is desperately trying to get Huckabee's attention before he goes on to make the well-known comments. After a few minutes of trying to get his attention, the aid succeeds and Huckabee quietly conferences with the aid. At this point, this aid must have finally realized what was going on and is outing Mercer. Huckabee finishes talking with the aid, turns around and faces Mercer with a very serious look on his face. He walks up to Mercer and says something to the effect of,

"Alright, so my assistant has brought up a matter of concern and I want you to be honest with me. Be completely straightforward with me: Is this national igloo a controversial igloo?"

Obviously, Mercer answers 'no', we get to laugh at Huckabee's expense and Mercer promptly runs away and leaves the state of Arkansas as fast as possible.

It's a crappy account of the story and obviously Mercer tells it much better. However, I thought it is worth providing anyway in light of Huckabee trying to become the next Republican presidential candidate.

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)

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