Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Hey Mom, look at the Liberals!

Watching the federal Liberals tumble down hill from one day to the next like an armless legless Lucien Bouchard chasing a "yes" vote is becoming quite amusing. The newest amunition for Conservatives comes with the announcement that Stephane Dion would consider rescinding the Tories cuts to the tax that the Liberals once vowed to eliminate. (CP) I believe he said something like this:

We do not respect the Canadians who voted for your cuts to the GST, nor do we oppose the tax like we used to, so we will increase it back up to the levels that Mulrooney originally set, although we still think Mulrooney is evil, except that when we say we will rescind the tax cuts what we really mean is that we will actually do nothing because we are impotent.
Yes, that's right. It is all posturing and hot air, as Dion also announced that the Liberals will once again sit on their hands and not vote on the mini-budget. I am so happy that my MP is representing me by not voting in parliament. He deserves a raise.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Georgia Peach Fuzz

As everyone in Canada is clamouring for minimum sentences for violent crimes, I came across this gem. A guy got sentenced to TEN YEARS in prison for getting a blow job! Why ten years? That was the MINIMUM! Holy crap, what do you get for killing someone in Georgia? Probably nothing if they're standing in your front yard. I can only guess that anal sex would net you life in the slammer, where, ironically, you'll be forced to get much more of the same.

Good news though: the court, in a split 4-3 decision, overturned the minimum sentence law. I take that to mean it is still illegal to get a blow job or go muff diving if you're under the age of 18, but hey .. it's a step in the right direction. Not that I condone such activities! Of course not! But fact is it's a normal part of growing up for most teens, and growing up shouldn't be illegal.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

More good stuff from Auditor General

In other news ... the MB Auditor General came out today with a new report on the Spirited Energy campaign which gave the Government a passing grade in the spending of $3.1m. Of course, this is the same Auditor General who sat on the Crocus board in 2005 when the fund collapsed, and later said that an incriminating document that proves the government was aware of all fund's problems was fully taken into account in the 2005 auditor general's report which, surprise, makes no mention of the report.* Excuse me if I don't believe a damn thing Ms. Bellringer says.

Of course, even if the spending on the Spirited Energy campaign was above board, it is still a waste of money, and the government still lied to us about where the money came from. Convenient that the report specifically excludes any analysis of in-kind contributions and private sector spending.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Memo to the politically correct

The Black Rod has posted a piece with some advice for Ron Evans and the rest of the First Nations leadership. There are some blunt observations as well as thoughtful suggestions. Unfortunately, some people who have opposing points of view can only offer insults. That is not the way dialog works.

It's worth reading the piece and making your own judgments. If you have disagreements, I encourage you to counter the specific points made, either here, on your own blog, or elsewhere. And remember, name calling isn't very persuasive.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Spirited Offshoring

We read today that Bob Silver, owner of Western Glove Works, co-chair of the Premier's Economic Advisory Council and co-mastermind behind the Spirited Energy Campaign, is moving the last of his Winnipeg garment production to some unspecified country in Asia. The Free Press, also co-owned by Bob Silver by the way, paints Bob as an inevitable victim of the the rise of the Cdn $ and the elimination of import quotas, saying that most everybody "knew the writing was on the wall."


Over the last three to five years I have tried everything I could think of to justify continuation of production... But it is just no longer possible.

Never mind that three to five years ago, the exchange rate was between $0.63 and $0.77 US.

I understand the implications of exchange rate changes, and I'm not saying that Western Glove Works should forgo profitability because it's owner is on a high profile government economic advisory committee, but I can't help but notice the irony that Mr. Spirited Energy is giving up on trying to compete in our province.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Man dies 672 days after being Tasered

Jim Balkonie, 52, died this week after being subdued by police with a Taser. Witnesses say that, as best as they can recall, Jim was being belligerent -- yelling and swinging either a baseball bat or a shopping bag full of ice cream. One man thought he remembered Jim stapling bar coasters to his forehead, although that has not been confirmed. What we do know is that once police arrived on the scene, they shot the morbidly obese diabetic with the supposedly "non-lethal" Taser gun, which blasts a 50,000 volt shock through the body, immediately rendering the victim incapacitated.

His family is distraught that his life could be taken at such a young age. Although police deny that the Taser was responsible, and in fact had difficulty remembering the man at all, the family has no doubt about the cause of death and is launching a $4,200,003 law suit against the Idaho police and Taser International. Jim's closest friends, including his heart surgeon and his oncologist, are said to be in mourning.

Welcome back, Benazir!

Holy crap. Will that be a one way ticket back to Dubai, Ms. Bhutto?

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Grab your glocks when you see your ex

I stumbled across this today:

Sounds logical to me

Shirley Katz, a schoolteacher in Medford, Oregon and a licensed handgun permit holder, wishes to carry her Glock with her in school, which she can legally do under Oregon law. Her reasons? She apparently has a violent ex-husband, and she worries about a school shooting situation in which she would be unable to defend herself and her students from harm.

She wants to bring a freakin’ gun to WORK! At a SCHOOL! Why? Because she is coming off a bad relationship. This is so retarded I don’t even know where to start.No surprise, the Super Intendant “insists employees and students are safer without guns on campus”. So, of course, Mrs Katz is suing the school.

Is she going to wear this gun on her belt whenever she is teaching, or will she keep it in her purse, sitting on some chair or desk where it will be completely useless if this mad man bursts in and starts shooting? This cannot be justified by referring to those other horrible school shootings because the circumstances here are different: it is a personal issue with one person. That means, if this dude walks into the school, he is not going to start shooting until he sees Mrs Katz, at which time she will be fucked, Glock or no Glock. Meanwhile, there will be plenty of opportunities for angry, hormone-infested teenagers to try to steal her piece when she’s not looking.

I can see nothing but a positive outcome should some nutcase student try to take over and shoot up her class”. LOL. Oh ya, that sounds positive to me.

You better back the fuck up
Before you get smacked the fuck up
Ya, this is how we do it in our school
Any of you exs that want to bring it,
Bring it.
But we ain't teaching,
We bringing drama
fuck you and your mother fucking mama.

(apologies to the late Tupac)

Deja Vu

I watched -- okay, kind of payed attention to -- with mild interest, the provincial election at our big nieghbour, Ontrario. I felt a little bit of déjà vu washing over me. A party that broke it’s promises and ran on little else than false fears of their opposition, sweeping into another majority government. Hmmm .. where have we seen that before?

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Formula One vs. Champ Car

I've been a fan of Formula One racing since I was a kid. The fastest cars in the world racing at exotic locations all over the planet. Very cool, thought I. Especially the Monaco Grand Prix, with the giant yaughts, the topless blondes watching from the balconies, the long curving tunnel, and all. In recent years though, I have been losing interest in F1. My eye has been wandering over to other open wheel alternatives. Can Bernie Ecclestone ever forgive me?

So with the Chinese Grand Prix live on TV behind me, I think I'll review the pros and cons of F1 versus the other top-level open wheel road course alternative.

The fastest cars

Formula One is still the fastest race ciruit in the world. The fastest cars, the best drivers, and the biggest money. It is still the Elite racing series. On Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, the F1 cars ran about 6 seconds faster than the Champ Cars in qualifying. That's actually quite a bit in racing terms.

The start

The 25 fastest cars in the world drag racing from a dead stop is one of the craziest and most exciting things to watch in the racing world. I have never been a fan of the running start used in American racing. Advantage: F1

International element

Formula One wins here too. Champ has been getting more international each year, both with the racers and the race locations, but F1 still has the most ecclectic field and race courses.

Canadian element

Ever since Jacques Villeneuve left Williams in 1999, there has been no real Canadian threat in F1. Now there is no Canadian in F1 at all. With Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy both threats to win (and get into fist fights) any given race, Champ Car definitely gets the nod here. And that's a big nod also ... I need somebody to cheer for to really get interested in something. (2 points)

Yellow flags

One thing that has always bugged me about any American racing series is that the pussies pull out the pace car and stop the race any time there is a spot of oil on the track. As a result, you end up watching 1000 HP cars circling a track at speeds my grandmother might drive. With F1 however, they won't pull out the pace car unless something is seriously wrong. They will have a local yellow in the area of a crash (meaning no passing in that area) but the race goes on.

Pit stops

F1 has the fastest pit stops by far. It is pretty exciting to watch a car get a tank of gas and new tires in 6 seconds.


A few years ago Shumacher and Ferrari were winning every race, and most teams couldn't get a sniff of the podium. It is a little better now, but Champ car still has way more parity. One reason for this is the use of the full course yellow, which smushes the field together on a regular basis so the fast guys can't build up a lead. Another reason is the massive amounts of money that certain teams in F1 are able to spend to work around the silly restrictions that Ecclestone and the F1 governing body dream up each year.


Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Alain Prost, Aryton Senna ... need I say more?


Formula One: 6 points
Champ Car: 3 points

F1 still kicks ass.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Phil Fontaine thinks Indians are racist

I can't help but draw that conclusion after reading this article in today's Freep. According to the column, Phil thinks it is racist to question how Native recipients of the residential school lump sum payment will spend their money. However, very recently, the Aboriginal Healing Foundation does just that. Therefore, the members of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, who are primarily (if not entirely) First Nations People, must be racist. Simple logic really.

Of course Phil was only referring to non-natives. It's not racism if you talk about your own race (I don't think). However, his point of view is troubling and hypocritical nonetheless.

The AHF report documents many of the troubles that result from the sudden influx of cash:

Increased drug and alcohol abuse was among the more commonly cited consequences of LSPs by recipients. This impact on people’s lives seemed to be felt almost immediately: “When I got the payment, I was sober for 12 years overall. After I got the money, I drank for four days in a row.”

Overall, while not every participating recipient worried that LSPs would inevitably usher in widespread alcohol and drug abuse (“some will drink it up, but not all”), others could scarcely recall more than a handful of Survivors who did not indulge in such abuse when the payments came.
So we know we have a problem. Is it racist of us to acknowledge it? How do we deal with it if we aren't allowed to talk about it? The report also suggests that "government money" is particularly damaging because "money is often viewed with suspicion as an instrument which government will use to manipulate and undermine Aboriginal people."

So do you want the damn money or not? Yeah ... that's what I thought. To put words in Phil Fontaine's mouth: "Give us the money you racist pigs, and look at all the damage you're doing to our people."

I suppose at some point in the future we'll have to give compensation payments for all of the hardship caused by our compensation payments.

Heh, good thing nobody reads this blog.

-- update --

Darcey has a good a good post on this over at the Broom. I should have known ...

I also should have know that the Free Press is two days behind in it's reporting.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Don't Run The Hydro Lines Through The Grand Canyon

I have to get something off my chest. Even though I have commented on this issue elsewhere, I feel a need to rant about it here on my own humble blog.

That something is the government interference in the operations of Manitoba Hydro. You could dedicate an entire blog to that, but my focus today is on the decision to run the new DC Hydro lines down the west side of Lake Winnipeg, rather than the more obvious east-side choice.

A winnipegFIRST article has a few useful quotes:

The management of Manitoba Hydro believes that the east side is a better, more efficient route.
-- Bob Brennan, president and CEO of MB Hydro, confirming that government interference (my words) is the reason for the decision.
There’s already roads and infrastructure on the west side, so it’s more fitting than going through an untouched boreal forest on the east side that has the chance of being an UNESCO site
-- Colin Lemoine, press secretary for the provincial government, providing the flawed line of logic behind the decision.

Let's examine this:

First, is the government really concerned about the "untouched boreal forest" in that particular corner of the province? What about the San Gold and Rice Lake Gold mines east of the lake? What about the logging along the eastern edge of the province? What about the native communities, like Bloodvein First Nations? Does keeping the area "untouched" mean that we can never build roads to their communities?

Second, what the hell is this deal with the UNESCO heritage site anyhow? I grew up in the Boreal Forest in western Manitoba, and I could not explain to you how or why this area should be a UNESCO world heritage site. I even looked at their criteria. What is the "outstanding universal value" that can be found in this particular area, and not, say North Western Ontario? Sure, it's a beautiful area of the province, but it's not unique and endangered in the way that the Great Barrier Reef is.

Third, let's suppose we get our heritage status. Then what? What does that do for us? There will be some administrative costs associated with it, and very little economic benefit. That area will get the same hunters and fishers visiting that you see now. In fact, if we want the area to remain "untouched" (which it is not) then tourism would have to be limited or stopped completely. Maybe they're not interested in economic return ... maybe they're trying to protect the endangered white tailed deer.

Fourth, if government is at all concerned about the environment, then it should be concerned about the additional electricity transmission losses that will occur from using the western route -- 500 kms longer, resulting in tens of millions of dollars of lost electricity by some estimates. That is a lot of power that could be put to better use displacing dirty coal-fired power in other jurisdictions.

Fifth, we are waisting an opportunity to build summer roads to communities that are cut-off from the rest of us most of the year. All the more important with increasing unreliability of winter roads. Potential job creation for individuals in remote native communities has also been successfully avoided.

Sixth, we are losing an opportunity to build redundancy into our power supply from the north. With both DC corridors on the west side, we are much more vulnerable to natural (and unnatural) disasters.

Finally ... what about our valuable tax dollars????? $500m more to build, and who knows how much more in lost revenues from lost power (see point #4).

Now go back and read the quote from the provincial Press Secretary, and you can see just how lame their logic is.

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