Wednesday 30 December 2009

Proroguey Maker

I know that I said I would get Stephen Harper a portable video player for Christmas, but Best Buy was sold out by the time I got there, so instead I went on eBay and bought him a Hunky Bill's Proroguey Maker. Now he can prorogue parliament anytime he wants! Afghanistan torture hearings got you down? Prorogue parliament! Don't like the make up of the senate committees? Prorogue! Jack Layton complaining too much? Fuck him! Prorogue! Can't stand the pedestrian chatter and juvenile name-calling in the House of Commons? Fuck them all! Prorogue!!! It's fun and it's easy, and it only takes minutes to prorogue your way to happiness.

I think Stephen Harper is really happy with his gift.

My apologies to any of you who value democracy.

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Christmas Giving

As I sit here watching the nutmeg slowly spread across the surface of my eggnog, like the stars of a tiny creamy delicious universe, I think about Christmas, and family, and giving, and what the fuck are sugar plums anyhow?

In the spirit of giving, I will share with you the gifts that I plan to give this Christmas:

To Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger, I give a magic set that shows you how to make a playing card disappear, and also how to make a $600 million deficit look like a balanced budget.

To Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, I give a toy helicopter and bendy-bus to play with at home. Uh oh! Look! The bus has been stolen by a level 18 car thief! MRRRRRUMMM BRRRRRR BRRRR, SREEEEECH! MRRRRRRRRUMMMM. Call off the car chase! It's too dangerous -- he's going over 70 km/hr! MRRRAAAUUUMMM. Deploy the helicopter! WHUUUUMP WHUUMP WHUMP WHUMPAWUMPAWUMPA WUPWUPWUPWUPWUP WEEEOOOOO WEEEOOOO WEEEOOOO There he is! Get in close! MRRRRUUUUMMM ... WUPWUPWUPWUP .... Oh no, he's heading for the IKEA rapid transit depot! We have to stop him! WUPWUPWUP Activate the tractor beam! OOOOOUUUUUAAAAOOOOUUUAAA Yay! We got him!

Coach Mike Kelly I have enrolled in an internet course to learn how to be a Dental Assistant, but he can change it to any number of exciting career options, like Computer Repair Technician! Gemologist! Early Childhood Education Specialist! PR Consultant!

To PM Stephen Harper I give a portable video player, so that he can watch himself sing and play piano where ever he goes, and admire how much more human he looks than all the other androids.

To Michael Ignatieff I give an AssMaster 5000 vibrating dildo. (What? That's what he asked for.)

To Jack Layton I give an AssMaster 5000 vibrating dildo. (They had a 2 for 1 deal.)

To David Suzuki I give a plastic bag filled with oil sand. Just because I'm a dick.

... and to my loyal readers: I give you my thanks and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and joyful holiday season! (Sorry, my dildo budget is maxed out.)

Friday 18 December 2009

Code of conduct, and your Friday video

Well, this is certainly interesting:

Kelly was fired at about 8 p.m. Thursday, just hours after being arrested and charged with assault following a domestic dispute in the morning at his home near Philadelphia.
If the team can show cause, they will not be on the hook for the final two years of Kelly’s contract.
Well isn't that fortunate timing? We were going to fire him anyhow, then bingo: he just let us off the hook for the rest of the contract!

I'm not so sure. How can you reasonably argue that he was fired because of his getting arrested? especially after saying this:
It’s a tough decision but I’ve been saying repeatedly to you for the last six weeks we were reviewing the performance of the head coach and we came to the conclusion tonight that based on that assessment it was time to move on and find a new head coach. We recognize that an incident did take place but in the eyes of the law these are allegations and allegations only.
Oh well ... time to move on. And let's never again give both the head coach and GM job to somebody who has never done either.


After putting you to sleep the past two weeks with Black Box Recorder and The Sugar Cubes, I am going to slap you out of your coma with Probot -- Dave Grohl's heavy metal side project. Turn up the volume on your netbook and call your boss over for this one:

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Party at Siloam's place

I've been after Siloam Mission a little bit recently about their ramped-up mail campaign, including aluminum tasting soup made from deadly chemicals, and their sad little ornaments that Charlie Brown would be ashamed to hang on his tree. However, they still do good work over at the mission and are a worthy cause.

This Thursday they are hosting a benefit concert featuring local talent Jodi King. I will not be able to make it, but I was at the Christmas concert two years ago (my God, have I been blogging for over two years already?) when Jodi performed along with Keith and Renée, and enjoyed the show. I encourage you to go, support the mission, and take in some tunes. If you're really lucky, somebody might come by with cookies. As noted on Ace Burpee's blog, tickets are available at Hulls Bookstore and McNally Robinson Grant Park.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Gerald Flood is senile

I don't intend to take on the roll of Media Police, but I have to point this out, since I've wrote about Gordon Bell before:

In a section of the Saturday Free Press ironically called Feed Your Intellect, Gerald Flood writes a heart-warming Gordon Sinclair-ish piece about an unsung hero in the fight to claim a parcel of land as green space for Gordon Bell high school. One problem: he's completely full of crap.

IT was a hot day in August 2008 that I first opened an e-mail from Eagles and Doves, the nom de Internet of Nancy Chippendale.
I like how this is starting: hot summer day, mysterious lady with a alias ... let me turn down the lights and pour myself a drink. Ok, I'm ready. Go on ....
She explained that the closing of a car dealership next to Gordon Bell had created an opportunity to convert the 2.5 acre car lot into a sports field, something Gordon Bell had never had and would never have if this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity slipped away.

The conversion of the lot to a field of play was so obviously a good idea that it seemed impossible that it would not happen. Except for one small snag -- Canada Post was eying the property to build a new depot. I told Nancy that it was a great idea but I could not run it until she determined the status of the property.

She came back crestfallen. Canada Post was not eyeing the property, it was buying it.

Dang ... they beat her to it. So sad that this nice lady's stroke of genius was undermined at the last second by an evil crown corporation.

Ya .. not so much, there Gerald. Checking back to the time line on my original blog on this subject, Canada Post purchased the land in November 2007, almost a year earlier. In fact, Canada Post started tearing down the Midway Chrysler dealership in July of 2008.

Not only that, but Pat Martin was already on the case in June of 2008. As pathetically late as Pat was to the game, this lady was even later. correction: Nancy was in fact on the case before Pat Martin, publishing this story in the paper Sept of 08, which prompted Pat to get involved. A misreading of dates on my part. My apologies. Gerald is trying to portray this lady as groundbreaking visionary, while deriding opponents as "blockheads" who "sniffed at the idea" of having a block of Portage Avenue encased in a giant fence while still being to small for a regulation field "and whatnot".

But you don't often come across the name of Nancy Chippendale who, having started the ball rolling, worked mostly under the radar "with a rogue group that played to win," tirelessly advocating in the certainty that if she could keep the media engaged it just might happen. She is now planning to return to school and become a PR professional and start a company "to help non-profits promote themselves."

No, Nancy Chippendale's name was not there on the day that the dream she dreamed came true.

But it is now.

I haven't felt this ill after reading the paper since Sinclair's "fight to save Upper Fort Garry".

Thursday 10 December 2009

Call Centres, Christmas Ornaments & the Friday Video

The pending closure of the Convergys call centre in Winnipeg has been reporting by the mainstream media (and over at ChrisD's), but one thing that I never saw reported was the closure of the IBM customer service centre earlier this year.

About 15 years ago or so IBM bought Manitoba Data Services, which became ISM, and later just IBM. The helpdesk and IMAC services groups grew to a substantial size, supporting customers all over North America including DOW Chemicals and Nissan, as well as local customers like CWB and the Provincial Government. The helpdesk peaked about five years ago, and began to decline as IBM outsourced as much as possible to Bangalore, India. Then this year they shut down what was left of the operation and moved it to a larger consolidated centre in Toronto, one of four IBM "Global Delivery Centres" in North America . The job loses weren't quite as great as the Convergys closure, but I have seen news stories about much smaller cut backs at other places.


Hey look! I got another letter from Siloam Mission, three weeks after asking to be taken off their mailing list. This time they were kind enough to send me a cardboard Christmas ornament.

Ooooo, that's exactly what I was looking for to finish decorating my beautiful tree!

They also gave me a lovely note signed by John Mohan. So nice of him to continue spamming me even after quitting last month.

Ok, now on to the video ...

I give you the song "Hit", the The Sugarcubes. You might recognize the lead singer.

I was at the Pyramid Cabaret recently and was happy to see that they still have the giant Sugarcubes poster up on the wall. Don't ever take that down, guys. Unless it's to give it to me.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Devil's advocate on climate change

The Climate Research Unit scientists were right to fudge their climate change studies.

The cooked data, the exaggerated results, the black-listed dissenters, and the general bastardization of scientific process: it is all justifiable. In fact, it is essential.

The problem of global pollution and climate change is Remove Formatting from selectionsubject to something that economists call the Tragedy of the Commons. If the global climate were to go to shit, all nations would suffer. However, no one nation can solve the problem unilaterally, and attempting to do so would impart economic hardship on that nation. A collaborative effort is required involving all nations. If country Z refuses to participate, then country Y will as well, so as not to be at a competitive disadvantage. If Y does not participate than neither will X, and so on.

Thus you need all nations on board, and you're not going to get all those politicians in line with wishy-washy results, or "objective peer review", or "conflicting opinions" that self-interested leaders can latch on to as an excuse not to participate.

Furthermore, we all know how these international planning sessions go: leaders go in talking about a certain objective; after all the bickering and nattering they walk away with an agreement for 1/10th of that objective; and when it comes time to put the rubber to the road they may actually accomplish 1/10th of what they agreed to. So if you need to reduce emissions by a trillion tons to save the planet, then you have to tell everybody that they need to reduce emissions by 100 trillions tons. If oceans are going to rise by 6 inches, you tell them that they're rising by 50 feet. That's how it works. And if some pain-in-the-ass scientists say "Hey wait a minute, our results show ..." then you have to shut those fuckers up ASAP before they ruin everything.

Alas, some thieving thruthers who obviously don't have the best interests of the planet in mind have exposed the ruse, and as a result the climate negotiations in Copenhagen are doomed to fail. And because of that, we are all doomed.


Saturday 5 December 2009

Blog note 3:

I just noticed that local photo blogger Bryan Scott is a nominee for the Canadian Blog Awards under the Photo/Art category. I haven't looked through all of the categories, but it's the only Winnipeg blog I've noticed so far. I encourage you to go and vote.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Friday Videos, and oh those nutty Japanese bloggers!

Your Friday video coming up. But first, a couple of blog notes:

note 1:
I successfully made my blog 150 pixels wider this week. I am so proud of myself! (Stop shaking your head (Shaun) ... not all of us can be good at this computer stuff.) Now I can cram more pictures and nonsense (like note 2:) into one screen!

For those of you on the Son of Moto, Mr. Moto, or Ms. Moto blogger templates, all you have to do is increase the #outer-wrapper width and your #main width by equal amounts, and then upload a new larger banner. The trick for me was getting the shadows back on either side. To do that, you have to search for the shadow gif (outerwrap.gif), download it, make it wider in MS Paint or whatever, and then upload it somewhere and plug the new URL into your HTML. Bingo.

note 2:
I am getting an increasing amount of comment spam, mostly on older posts. I have already turned on moderation for posts more than 60 days old, but I may have to turn on that silly word verification thing for newer posts if it gets worse.

Anyhow .. one post in particular -- Boo (updated) -- got several Japanese comments in a space of a few days. I started deleting them, until the thought occurred to me: maybe there are actually Japanese bloggers getting into an intense discussion on my month-old halloween thread! I wouldn't want to break that up, would I? So, I decided to run the comments through a translator to see what's going on:

Disappearance from home said:

On the trendy disappearance from home bulletin board, a lot of messages of the runaway girl who I stay, and walks the net cafes of each place are written recently. They seem to go to stay at even the house of the man who got to know on a bulletin board immediately because there isn't money. Don't you return an answer to a note, too?
H checkers said:
H checkers to be able to enjoy together!I understand your hidden H frequency just to answer a simple question!I will try the diagnosis that the degree comes out sullenly of that person right now
side business said:
It is a guide of the side business that 50,000 yen or more a day is available. The celebrity-like woman of the man confusion eats out the man who got to know in a net by financial power in sequence. I lead such a woman by the nose and don't earn large sum of money?
married woman said:
OK natural as for the society ground, the practical acquaintance of the married women who are H!I introduce eroticism married women of the frustration to preference. I meet immediately, and please choose child wife, a celebrity, the woman who want to play from six genres more than a woman, an SM wife, a secret carefully
A high income part-time job said:
I find sexual desire unmanageable and get value of the money with a woman becoming the frustration, and it is work it heals it, and to give. I don't ask it paper, the educational background at all on participating. I take the one that is interested in a high income part-time job by all means
A high-quality cherry said:
The women who want to take virginity do that I incise a one-time special event on a heart for a man together for life called [the first experience] in supreme joy. Don't you do best SEX in a high-quality cherry with women liking such a virginity?
I see what Disappearance is getting at, but side business makes some good points too. I was going to let this continue, however A high-quality cherry seems to be taking this off onto a tangent that I'm not sure I'm comfortable with. Comments closed on this one. Sorry.


Video(s) of the week:

I am going to slow things down a little with Black Box Recorder's The Art Of Driving:

Also, a couple weeks ago Unapologetic Ex-Winnipegger suggested God Blessed Video by Alcatrazz. I have thought about it, and I am not sure I can subject my audience to that kind of punishment. But I'll tell you what: if you start posting again on your blog I will reconsider.

In the mean time, I will quench your thirst for sweet sweet Steve Vai guitar juice with this slightly less cheesy piece. I really like how he juxtaposes the most profound images ever captured by man with his mundane guitar playing.

'till next time ...

The twisted taxi business

Super-fast post about Martin Cash's article in the Free Press on the taxi business in Winnipeg:

Since the beginning of the year, the going price for a taxi "medallion" has increased by 61 per cent, with a couple of recent transactions closing at a whopping $412,000.
Barry Prentice head of the of the U of M's Asper School of Business faculty:
"Where is the social policy of all this?" he said in an interview. "Why do we create a regulated cartel to charge high prices and control and reduce supply. Whose interest is that in? Does it serve the 410 taxi owners or the 650,000 people living in Winnipeg?"
My comments in the Freep:
Barry Prentice is bang-on. The extremely high prices for cab licenses is proof that the model is broken, and that there are too few cabs on the road. There is absolutely no reason for this industry to be regulated at all, except for basic requirements related to safety.

However, the longer you wait to deregulate the more difficult it will be, because so many cab owners have large sums of money invested in licenses. The government would likely have to compensate those owners at the cost of millions of dollars to the taxpayer if it were to deregulate. The gov't and the PUB need to get this under control now.

I've commented before about this, though I don't have time to dig up the links. This system is more than screwed up, and needs to get fixed before it gets any worse. The cost of a license in a deregulated system would be nominal, so some of the recent cabbies would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if we were to deregulate. But we have to as a matter of free market principle and because the system is so disfunctional.

Let's see if former cabby Marty Gold puts a positive spin on this on his talk show.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

The speech from the throne

The throne speech? Seriously, cherenkov? That's sooo November 2009. There's snow on the ground now. Get with the times, dude!

Ya, well ... I'm slow. What can I say? I had a doodle to make:
You're welcome. (For the visual of Greg Selinger with no pants. I know you were planning on thanking me.)

I see that the new Premier has callously disregarded my suggestions to take bold action with his time in office. Or perhaps he's just working up to it. However, I can't blame him. In fact, I could easily argue that he doesn't have a mandate to deviate from Doer's uninspired policy direction, since the people voted for Doer's policies, not the crazy schemes of the company bean counter.

However, that has left us with a pretty boring agenda containing more spending, more legislation, and little bitty tax cuts.

Oh ya .. and a helicopter! Helicopters are cool! I even have an idea about how to pay for it.

There are too many things to go through point by point, but a couple things stand out. For example:

> Legislation to create a list of known gangs to simplify court proceedings. Does this really require legislation? To me, it should be a little simpler than that: "Hey, Pat. Go create a list of gangs to simplify court proceedings. Have it on my desk by the 10th."

> New Home Buyer’s Protection Act. First announced under Doer. Won't do much other than increase the cost and pain-in-the-ass factor of buying and selling a house.

> Give municipalities power to seize vacant or derelict buildings. Don't they have this already? Huh. I guess not...

> Reduce small business income tax from 1% to 0%. Yes that's right: NO TAX. I have said before that this is ill-advised. Is 1% really too much to pay? Seriously?

Anyhow, I have to get back to work. Where did I leave the mop?

media: FP, CBC
blogs: curtis, fat arse

Friday 27 November 2009

Friday Video: Gorillaz

This week's video: Fire Coming Out Of The Monkeys Head by my fav animated band Gorillaz. You might know Gorillaz better for Clint Eastwood (a.ka. the sunshine in a bag song) or Feel Good Inc. but I chose Monkeys Head because it helps you learn Spanish with a groovy bass line.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Pin the cell phone on the Wowchuk

Just when I was wondering what to blog about, I get an email from the PC party of Manitoba promoting their newest money-making strategy.

Apparently trying to put the "fun" back into fund raise, they have set up a new website to "block NDP hypocrisy". You do this by buying virtual cell phones which will then be stuck onto a photo of NDP Deputy Premier Rosann Wowchuk talking on her phone while driving. See for yourself.

By show of hands, who is impressed by this innovative and sophisticated method of fund-raising? Anyone? Since I can't see you, I will assume that you are either not raising your hand or you can't raise your hand because it is busy doing something else. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Rosann can have that effect on some people.

Seriously, how much brainstorming did they have to do to come up with this turkey? Is this a Thanksgiving prank or something?

Yes, Wowchuk is a hypocrite for talking on her cell phone after announcing a ban on that exact same thing, but this little game seems very amateurish to me. Besides, that cell phone photo is over six months old now. Couldn't they come up with something a little more timely? Like, pay $10 to shoot deadly enhanced ID cards at Andrew Swan as he runs around your screen?

This is worrisome because it tells me that the PC party's brightest minds still have to resort to gimmicks and insist on insulting the intelligence of their audience. This is the exact same stuff that got them crushed in the last election.

just for fun:
Thursday, 7:00 pm...............2 cell phones
Thursday, 10:30 pm .............2 cell phones
Friday, 8:45 am ....................still 2 cell phones
Friday, 4:10 pm ...................46 cell phones. we're cooking now! are these tax deductable??

Update: It appears that Curtis beat me to it by about 5 hours. Dang. I'm going to have to start blogging on my lunch breaks.

Saturday 21 November 2009

ERBAN SPRÅLL -- slightly improved

Oooo. More info about the new IKEA development!

Michael Nozick, Fairweather's president, said the shopping centre is being designed with landscaping and other features to minimize the effects of a Winnipeg winter.

"If I used the word 'dome,' that would be a little bit of an exaggeration. That's close, (as) it will be out of the effects of winter," he said. -fp-

Um, sorry dude ... the stores are still outside, ergo shoppers are still going to be exposed to the effects of our weather. Anyhow ... I'm actually here to make some positive comments for a change! Yes really. See:

Along with the ceremonial digging of the dirt and the hyperbole about how revolutionary this mall will be, there were also a few new drawings. I have to say that the new layout looks much better than the original plan, which I have previously compared to buildings being puked out onto a concrete parking lot.

Old plan:

new plan:

The developers obviously read and carefully considered my previous blog post where I recommended that the smaller stores all be grouped together into a walkable outdoor mall format. I like that the big store at the NW corner of Kenaston and Stirling Lyon is gone, I like that the strip of stores along the northern edge of Stirling Lyon are gone, and I like that the stores are now clustered together without any parking between them.

The southern half of the development is also much improved, although I noticed that somehow the development extends much farther west than it used to. How did that happen? Was that another freebee thrown in by the city? Has anybody out there heard anything about this additional land being sold to Fairweather? Also, what's happening with the bike paths along the south side of Stirling Lyon?

Oh well, who cares! Soon I will be able to eat $1 breakfasts and buy more FURKEN shelves and KRÅPPY cabinets for my house! (I do like IKEA, by the way. For some things.)

Now if only somebody would pay attention to my other suggestion to get rid of that idiotic 56 lane controlled intersection on Kenaston and build a split-grade fly-over instead.

Here are some more pics of the project (source: Dorsky Hodgson):

related: policy frog | graham .

Thursday 19 November 2009

Friday Video, getting harassed by John Mohan and other things

Happy Friday, everyone.

Hey, question for you. If the H1N1 vaccine supply is set to run out today, why did they open up the vaccine clinics to people who weren't high risk just one day ago? The WRHA seems to need to sharpen up their forecasting...
Less than one week after I posted about receiving aluminum/chicken soup from Siloam Mission, I got yet another letter from them asking for money. That's 2 in less than 2 weeks, and three in the past month. Good grief guys, I gave you money .. get off my back already!

I sent a letter back asking to be taken off their mailing list. Just watch, next week John Mohan is going to come to my door with a pellet gun and force me to turn over my wallet.
I'm digging the new Mercedes SLS:

It's sleek and retro, with gull wing doors, two seats, and tons of power. Fast and totally impractical, just like a supercar should be. (click picture for full view)
Thank you for sitting through my little non sequitur rants. As a reward, I give you the Friday Video: Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim, starring Christopher Walken (sorry about the intro. All the other ones had embedding disabled.)

Sunday 15 November 2009

Mostly Moose. Some other stuff

I went to the Saturday night Manitoba Moose game. It was an entertaining, but low scoring game, with the good guys winning in the OT shootout after a 1 - 1 tie.

Thumbs up goes to:
- the Moose defense, for keeping the Toronto Marlies to around 20 shots on net, and to goalie Cory Schneider for only letting in one of those (and only one in the shootout.)
- the game programs. The free handouts are four pages, with one page devoted to the lineups, and another filled with various stats and analysis.
- the scalper who sold me a 3rd row center ice ticket for $20.

Thumbs down goes to:
- the MTS Centre cleaning staff. The seats where really dirty. General grime, dried beer, feathers ... it was kind of gross actually. Time to pull out the Bissell for a quarter-season cleaning I think.
- Santa Claus, for causing all of the streets downtown to be closed off. Although parking was a snap once I decided to drive around the barriers.
- The Moose offense. That's not really a fair assessment though, because they worked hard all night, got over 30 shots on net and plenty of scoring chances. It just comes down to a lack of scoring ability. For example, at one point Marco Rosa had an open third of the net and hit the post ... from six inches away. That's what happens when everybody on the team who is capable of scoring more than 10 goals a year (and isn't over 40) gets pulled up to the parent club.

Other notes:
- best fan comment: "Hey Deveaux. How do you explain to your friends that you aren't even good enough to make the Maple Leafs?"
- former PC party leader Stu Murray was handing out St.Boniface Hospital lottery leaflets. Good to see him out doing the nitty gritty promo stuff.

Summary / Jets rant:
The Moose are a good fit for Winnipeg. It's affordable, the team is relatively successful, and the entertainment isn't bad most nights. I can't really complain. Could I have bought a $20 3rd-row ticket for a Jets game? Not a chance, but I probably could have bought a $50 ticket for the top of the cramped balcony, and the calibre of play would have been better. I feel like a traitor saying this, but I can live without the Jets. It would be cool to have an NHL team again, but Winnipeg is about 300,000 people and 5 or 6 big head offices too small to have the economic base for a successful team. Our arena is also very very marginal. Rexall Place in Edmonton holds 16,800 and the owners there are saying that's too small, and are pushing hard for a new downtown arena. Having said that, I do think the NHL will come back to Winnipeg. Where there's smoke there's fire, and there's more smoke all the time. As not-profitable as the New Jets will be, they will still be far more successful than some of the struggling US teams, like the Old Jets for example. I think it's going to happen.


Hey, since I have my thumbs all warmed up, a big thumbs up to Mary A Welch for her article about wind farms (or lack thereof), and to the Free Press editors for sticking it on the front page of the weekend edition. This is something that deserves more attention. And thumbs down to Minister Wowchuk (I'm having an "I Married an Axe Murderer flashback right now. Woooooo-Chuck! Anyhow ... back to the program ....) for idiotic comments:
it's not fair to compare Manitoba to Ontario, since our province already relies almost exclusively on renewable energy but Ontario is powered largely by dirty coal.
And that makes a difference how? Maybe in a world where exporting electricity was impossible ...
And, she said, Manitoba is blessed with cheap power, meaning ratepayers would take a hit if the province threw open its doors to wind power
Oh, you mean those artificially cheap rates that contribute to us being among the biggest consumers of electricity in the world, and to Hydro's massive debt, which will be much more of a problem when interest rates rise again? Those cheap rates? That is why we're not building more power even though we've potentially over-committed on power exports and may face blackouts according to an independent auditor?


Also a thumbs up to Gordon Sinclair for a good column about the Bomber's management woes. How about that, eh? I said something nice about Gordon! Although he still had ... let's see ... 1..2 .... 34 one sentence paragraphs. You still need to work on that, Gordo.


Still with the Freep ... to borrow a gambit from Kate at SDA: Now is the time when we juxtapose!

Mia Rabson
Aboriginal inmates in Canada make up too high a percentage of Canada's prison population and tend to get harsher sentences and less programming, a report from the country's prison watchdog said Friday.
Colleen Simard
Waywayseecappo Chief Murray Clearsky went to court for another drunk driving charge. It ended up with Clearsky getting a light sentence with no jail time. ... The worst part is this wasn't the first time Clearsky had been convicted of a drunken driving charge. He's been charged three times since 1983, and also has a dangerous weapon conviction.

Thursday 12 November 2009

Friday Video -- Take On Me

As per last Friday's post, I will make an attempt to post a video each week. I know, I know ... One whole video every week? My God, cherenkov, you maniac. How do you ever hope to keep that up?? Well ... I am not sure I can but I will do my best!

This week's is a classic cheesy 80s vid by Norwegian synth pop band A-ha, but one of the best videos ever. Enjoy:

Opportunity for Selinger (and soup for me)

It would be easy to write off Selinger's leadership of the NDP as "more of the same". I know because I've done it. It was very easy. Took almost no effort at all. However, today I am in a good mood (see what a warm sunny weekend can do?) so I am going to give Selinger a chance, and some free advice:

The Manitoba PCs are weak, but the retirement of Gary Doer has opened a door for them and given them new hope. Still, the PCs need to differentiate themselves from the NDP and make an impression with the people of the province. If the average Manitoban has any impression at all, it's a vague notion that the PCs fancy themselves as being more fiscally responsible and pro-business than the NDP. There's that, but the unfortunate "bring back the Jets" campaign blunder has also put a big sticky "Gimmick" label on them. If they are to make a comeback, they really need to get back to basics, expose the economic, social and environmental ineptitude of the NDP, and propose real conservative policies to address those areas.

Selinger has an opportunity to simultaneously step out of Doer's shadow and put a bullet to the brain of the PCs by beating them to the punch. Suppose, if you will, that Selinger decides to reign in government spending, reopen the debate on the routing of Bipole III, cut corporate taxes, over-haul the administration of our health care system and index personal tax brackets. What would the PCs have left? Selinger could define himself as a pragmatic and responsible leader, leaving Hugh McFadyen with nothing but more cheesy gimmicks to win over voters.

Mayor Sam recently suggested that Selinger is open to re-evaluating the province's requirement that the city spend $350 million on nitrogen removal in their new sewage treatment plant -- a policy that, like Bipole III, actually wastes money while further damaging the environment. "He definitely has an open mind" says Sam. That's good news, if it's true. Perhaps he is willing to take a fresh look at all of the government's policies. Is it true though, or is he just faking it? Is he actually feigning open-mindedness, while secretly plotting new ways to spend money, destroy the environment, drive away private investment and sacrifice health care delivery for bloated health care bureaucracy?

I hope that Selinger really does have an open mind. An open mind and fresh perspective are mandatory if we hope to achieve anything close to our potential here in Manitoba. However, I feel that I am asking a leopard to turn himself into a zebra. Selinger is not a conservative. If he were, he'd be in the PC party, not the NDP party. Even still, many of the sort-comings of the previous administration were a result of laziness or political expediency rather than flawed ideology. Even as a moderate progressive, Premier Selinger could make a huge difference, should he choose to be a real leader instead of a Doer clone (without the grin), while at the same time making it all the more difficult for Hughy and the PCs to gain traction with voters.

Will it happen? I don't know. I'm not optimistic, but I'll give him a chance ...

bonus post: Siloam Mission gave me soup

I have given money to Siloam Mission because I am fortunate to have more than I need to get by. Imagine my surprise this afternoon to discover that Siloam Mission sent me soup!

It was a little foil packet of soup along with a letter asking me to sign the packet and mail it back along with a donation so they can feed it to their patrons. This is a silly idea. If you just bought the soup in bulk instead of individual foil packets, you could save enough money to buy a bunch of food right there. Plus, I looked at the ingredients and found this as the top three: maltodextrin, salt and flavor. High in sodium, low in energy and vitamins. This is not good food for a starving person.

Plus, I hate gimmicks, so I refuse to play their little "game" this time. I am sipping on the soup as I write this post, and I am disappointed but not surprised to inform you that it tastes like tin.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Remembrance Day

Lest we forget ...

My colleagues in Ontario are working on the 11th. Why isn't this a holiday in every province?

Thursday 5 November 2009

Space, Splashes and Videos

Splish Splash - Water park at the Forks?

The only developer interested in building a water park with the help of a $7-million city grant wants to use the public money to erect a $64-million luxury hotel.
According to several sources speaking under condition of anonymity, the potential water-park proposal involves the construction of a $64-million "signature hotel" that would position itself at the high end of Winnipeg's hospitality market.

The proponent would purchase the city lot on Waterfront Drive for $7.7 million, thus immediately repaying the city for its $7 million investment, the sources said.
A couple of things ..

First: This is right next to the railway tracks, where they curve around the ball park. Those trains squeal like a banshee when they go around that bend. This doesn't seem like ideal placement for a luxury hotel. Sure you close the windows and muffle the noise, but isn't part of luxury being able to have your window open?

Second: they would not be "immediately repaying the city" unless the actual value of the land is $700k, and they artificially boosted the purchase price by $7m to repay the grant.* But if that's the case, what is the purpose of the grant in the first place? That's not the case, though, because 2.4 hectares of land at the Forks adjacent to a future world class museum must be worth more than $700k. I know this because the tiny gas station lot at the corner of Broadway and Main is worth $3.35m. How did I get that, you ask? $1m cash + $1.35m "donation" for "remaining land value" + additional $1m for environmental remediation = $3.35m value for a 0.136 hectare environmentally safe parcel of land. All other things being equal, the value of the hotel property ought to be about $59m

My opinion: forget the $7mil for the water park and use it to build a kick-ass polar bear enclosure at the zoo. It is shameful that we don't have one here in the polar bear capital of the world.


Six lucky people ...

It was announced recently that the Space Hotel is on-track for 2012. Just in time ... Six lucky people (at double-occupancy) will get a rink-side seat for the end of the world (or whatever happens when the great alignment occurs).


Friday Night Videos

Back in the day, before Much Music, one had to rely on video shows on regular network TV to check out the latest Luba or Thomas Dolby video. I used to so look forward to Friday Night Videos, or Good Rockin' Tonight. It was a treat to watch videos for half an hour, but Much Music and MTV made those shows obsolete.

Nowadays, 90% of the content on MM or MTV is some kind of crappy reality TV or gossip programming and the other 10% is crappy hip hop videos and interviews. I think it may be time for Terry David Mulligan to re-grow his mullet (optional) and bring back the dedicated video show. But until then, I will endeavor to post a cool video each Friday.

Today's offering: Walking With Thee by Liverpool's Clinic. Enjoy:

* (edit) I understand that the city's bank account balance will not suffer as a result of this transaction. I guess my objection is to any private development at the forks being subsidized by the city. Especially one that will compete with other businesses. This is a key area with limited supply of land, and we need to be very careful about how the remaining space is developed. Yes, even this parking lot by the tracks. This seems like another ad hoc development, and not necessarily part of a larger vision of what the Forks should be. Also, if the museum is successful, one would expect this land to grow in value significantly, so what's the hurry?

Wednesday 4 November 2009

Coach Ingram

The Peanut would like to congratulate Derek Ingram for landing a new gig as head coach of the national women's amateur golf team. In addition to private lessons at Elmhurst, Derek has been the coach of the local Bison university team, and has a hand in developing the next wave of Canadian men's golfers like Matt Hill and Nick Taylor -- two of the top ranked amateurs in the world -- as one of the coaches of the Canadian men's amateur team. I do not know if he will continue with these other jobs in addition to the new one and his private teaching. I suspect that he will drop the amateur men's job.

Useless trivia: Derek was a high school class mate of the Free Presses' Bartley Kives back in Garden City.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Boo (updated!)

I remember thinking when I was a kid that Halloween should be a holiday. The other special days when we get candy and stuff are holidays, like Christmas and Easter. It is obviously an oversight that Halloween is not.

That was then. Now it's just an inconvenience. You go out and buy candy for 200 kids, then you have to sit around waiting for them to come by instead of watching hockey in the basement. The little kids are cool because they are still enthusiastic and look funny in their poofy costumes with their painted faces, but when the teenagers start coming by I feel like saying "fuck it, they can buy their own candy" and shutting of the lights. I'm sitting there by the door so that I can give candy to the same kids who asked me to buy them cigarettes three days ago?

We got 20 kids this year, so as usual we have a ton of candy left over despite giving out big handfuls to all who came by. So now I'm going to get fat and lose all of my teeth because of this stupid holiday. Awesome. Next year, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to put a bowl of candy out on my front step with a sign saying "Take some and leave", while I grab some beer and sit in the basement watching TV. At 8:30, I'll replace the candy in the bowl with cigarettes and go back down stairs. That should make everybody happy.

(To answer Emma's question, they all said "Trick or Treat" as I did when I was a kid.)

** UPDATE **

I stumbled across this today when I was blog surfing (click to enlarge):

At one time I considered making a costume of George with the mutant Quato from Total Recall protruding from his stomach. As demented as I may be, I did not consider using an actual person as Quato. If this guy is for real, then he deserves an award for ... something. I'm not sure what. He would give these guys a run for heaviest costume anyhow:


Monday 26 October 2009

Pictures from Iraq

Check out some of his other posts while you're there. Interesting insights into life in Baghdad.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Nice Round ...

quick golf note: Mike Weir finished this weekend's PGA tournament with a blistering 9 under par 61. His scorecard showed only 4s and 3s, including seven straight 3s to finish the round:

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Can Homeless Hero be left alone?

I took the liberty of making some adjustments to Gordon Sinclair's latest column:

I went looking for Faron Hall last week because someone close to the city's homeless community had emailed an alert I needed to fill more column space. Faron, according to the report, was on the verge of being homeless exploited by a shameless columnist again.
Do we really need to know all of the details of this poor person's struggles?


Speaking of the Free Press .. there is a priceless picture on the home page right now. Curtis should do one of his caption contests with this. I'll kick things off:

Tuesday 13 October 2009

A fitting way to go

Doer announces $10-M UNESCO trust fund

The Manitoba government is contributing $10 million towards a new trust fund in support of winning a UNESCO World Heritage status for the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
The protection of the boreal forest and the rivers that run through it is the main reason the Doer government opted to build a new hydro transmission line down the west side of the province rather than the shorter route down the east side.
The Free Press staff writer made an error in the above quote. Protection of the boreal forest is not the reason, but the excuse. I suspect the reason has more to do with political expediency: not having to negotiate with stubborn Indians. Negotiating with chief Bushie could get especially ugly. Don't want to go there if you don't have to, and you don't have to if you have a bottomless well of money to draw from.

Regardless of the actual reason, it is bad policy, but it sums up Doer's tenure nicely: solve problems by spending money, and to hell with the environment.

As you know by know, the west side route will cost something like $410 million more than the east side route, through the proposed UNESCO site, plus the additional costs of preparing for the UNESCO designation like the $10m mentioned above, and the half-mil for land use plans. You should also know that the longer route means greater lines losses (waste) of electricity, which will add millions more to the tab via reduced sales to the US. These have been estimated at between 28 and 70 MW. According to this report, 1 kwH of coal-produced power produces 2.095 pounds of CO2. At that rate, using the lower estimate of line losses, Doer's west side route will add 513,861,600 lbs of CO2 to the atmosphere each year if you assume that the lost power would have been sold to the US where it would displace coal power.

So to summarize: hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, and hundreds of thousands of tonnes of pollution spilled into the atmosphere each year. Sounds about right.

I was going to write a letter to UNESCO urging them to reject the request for heritage status, to remove the lame excuse for choosing the west side route, but then I read this:
An official submission to UNESCO should be made by 2012.
2012? They can't reject something that hasn't been submitted! Submitting it in 2012 should ensure that the west side route is already under construction if UNESCO rejects our request. So, we are committed to wasting all this money and electricity for an application for a designation that has not yet been submitted, may not get approved, or may have been approved in spite of a transmission line. Yet, Gary has a reputation for being a "green" and fiscally responsible Premier. No wonder he smiles a lot.

Farewell, Gary.

**update**: I may need to revise my pollution calculations:
MANITOBA Hydro's Bipole III transmission line could be even longer than predicted, with one proposed route sending power 66 per cent farther than the rejected path down Lake Winnipeg's east side, according to a draft map

Saturday 10 October 2009

Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Timothy Milner

The final Nobel Prize to be awarded in 2009, the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was awarded today to Timothy Milner of the University of Idaho.

Timothy ("Timbo" to his friends) was awarded the prize for his outstanding accomplishments with respect to envisioning a tree that grows money. The "money tree", as he calls it, would help developing nations purchase "lots of food and stuff" because they would no longer be reliant on loans from the EMF or other countries. "Not only that, it would be drought resistant, so poor countries could still buy stuff if it doesn't rain."

"We thought it was brilliant." said Karl-Göran Mäler, chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee at the Stockholm School of Economics. "Now, some people might say that an inexhaustible supply of money would ignite hyper inflation, but seriously, nobody believes that monetarist shit anymore."

When asked why they didn't wait for him to actually create a money tree before awarding the prize, Karl-Göran responded: "We just thought that the idea was so profound that it would change the way we think about international finance, so we wanted to put a spot light on it as soon as possible. I mean, can you imagine? A tree that grows money? That would be so cool." In response to further criticism, he added: "plus, he has a cute ass."

Timothy was gracious in his acceptance speech: "This is so awsome. I mean, I'm just a guy with an idea, but I never thought that posting my idea on Facebook would result in a $1.5m prize. I am soooo going to have a kick-ass kegger this weekend!"

c/p Dust My Broom

Wednesday 7 October 2009

The NDP candidates, to a casual observer

Based solely on what I have absorbed from media reports that have happened to pass through my field of vision over the past few weeks, these are my impressions of the two candidates for leader of the Manitoba NDP party:

Selinger: Same as the old boss. Yawn.

Selinger has made very little impression on me. Policies? Does Selinger have policies? He probably does, but I haven't picked up on any yet. Most of the answers I have heard him give seem to be carefully crafted mumbo jumbo or complete nonsense like "I believe we are a 'have' province". This leads me to believe that Selinger doesn't actually stand for anything other than spending money, and I only know that from his track record under Gary Doer. I think, like his boss, he will be a man of inaction who will be completely unwilling to make the difficult decisions that are required to address some of our problems -- especially if he does not even acknowledge the existence of the problems to begin with.

Bullshit rating*:

* may not be accurate due to insufficient data.

Ashton. Ashton, Ashton, Ashton ... where do I begin?

Steve Ashton: "Mr. Zero Tolerance", left wing nut-bar, bit of a suck.

At least I know that Ashton stands for something. He has principles, even if he has no common sense to accompany those principles. Let's look at some of his policies:

"Dignity Laws" to enforce zero tolerance for hatred. I like how Freedom Manitoba put it: "Ashton wants to see Manitoba become a model for human rights, by violating human rights." We already have laws and mechanisms in place in this country to protect people from dangerous levels of hatred, and if anything, they have already tilted too far towards violating people's rights vs. protecting them from harm. This whole proposal is unnecessary, stupid and dangerous. How are we going to enforce this? Are we going to take police away from busting gangs to arrest people who use racial slurs? Can I still sing along to Tupac in my car?

"Anti-scab" legislation: "a zero-tolerance zone in terms of replace­ment workers." His heart is in the right place, but Manitoba is already a hostile climate for private investment because of our labour policies and tax structure, and this would push even more private money out of the province, and make us even more reliant on public spending to drive our economy - something that is not sustainable.

Tuition freeze: anybody who is able to think critically about this issue will realize that this is a failed policy and should not be continued.

I also heard something about "provision of jobs for young people". I don't know what this means, but you can't force private businesses to hire from specific age groups, so it therefore must refer to some new and expensive government program (thank you Alberta!) I also know that he advocates regular increases in our minumum wage. I do too, but it has to be on-par with the other provinces and should be tied to inflation.

Now, about the "bit of a suck" comment: look, I don't know how the NDP selection process works, but can it really be as bad as Ashton makes it seems? This guy is apparently signing up new members on pieces of cardboard and toilet paper rolls, and then complains because his people are outside smoking when they should be inside voting, but somehow it's the systems fault. I don't want this guy sitting at the table with at a First Ministers conference having a hissy fit because everything isn't going his way, but he gives me the impression that that's exactly what will happen.

The good news: Ashton clocks in at a mild 1 on the Bull Shit-O-Meter. He's not actually that full of shit. He's just seriously wrong.

I have to say that, of the two, Selinger would make a better Premier. He might continue our decline into the economic abyss, but at least he won't accellerate it (I hope). From the Conservative's point of view, Ashton would be better because they should be able to finally differentiate themselves from the governing party, which they have been unable to do before, and probably can't do with Selinger, on account of him having no policies to differentiate from.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Introducing the bsometer

The Anybody Want A Peanut's gadgets, gauges and technology division is proud to introduce the Bull Shit-O-Meter (patent pending). There have been others, but this one is better because it accurately reflects the levels of bull shit, as detected by the AWAP BS sensors.

Here's how it works: It measures levels of disingenuosity (a.k.a. bull shit) in statements, press releases, answers, or other public verbage, on a scale of zero to four, as follows:

0 - Straight up, yo.
2 - Partially full of crap
4 - Completely and totally full of shit

So, for example, if Gilles Duceppe were to say "I want Quebec to separate from Canada", that would rate a zero on the meter because it's a genuine sentiment. However, if he were to say "I want to do what's best for Quebecers" that would rate a 3, because while there is a kernel of truth in that, it is largely crap.

Look for the bsometer in action in future coverage of politics and other things here at the Peanut.

Friday 2 October 2009

Oh please ...

Apparently there is a conspiracy going on with the Canadian Olympic logo ...

"Canada's Olympic Games belong to all Canadians. While it is clear that the Conservative government's multimillion-dollar infrastructure campaign is crassly partisan, can the prime minister at least stop trying to politicize the Canadian Winter Olympics?" Liberal MP Hedy Fry asked in the House of Commons. -oc-
If anything, it looks like this:

Of course, like lemmings, a bunch of other brainless opposition members jump on the supposed controversy as well. Here is a tip for the media: if Hedy Fry is talking about it, it is not worth paying attention to.

Wednesday 30 September 2009

Selinger Poll

re. Free Press story Selinger the best to lead: poll

I find this odd. Do other newspapers commission their own polls and construct front page stories out of the results? I don't remember the Freep doing this during the last leadership race for the Conservatives, though granted, in this case the leader automatically becomes Premier, so it may deserve a little extra attention. However, it still seems like a case of the media creating the news rather than covering it.

Further, there appears to be some spinning going on with the piece. If one were to glance at the headline and first few sentences (as I often do) they might get the impression that Manitobans choose Selinger over all potential premiers including the leaders of the opposition parties. The subtitle, for instance, includes the statement: "Who NDP supporters, non-supporters are backing". Look, non-supporters are not backing Selinger. They are simply choosing the lesser of two evils.

Further, most people are not choosing anyone. As Wofrom (presumably this Wolfrom ?) points out in the comments of the story: From what I can see of the numbers, even among NDP supporters, Selinger comes second to "None of the above". This is hardly an overwhelming result for Selinger, and declaring him the "Peoples choice" seems premature, and smells a little bit like booster juice.

- curtis
- cotton

Monday 28 September 2009

What did I miss?

Greetings. You may have noticed a lack of activity around here the past couple weeks. I was out of town. I heard that the weather was great while I was gone, and -- as expected -- it's crappy again now that I'm back.

So, besides summer, what did I miss? Is Gary Doer gone yet? Is the new stadium under construction? Has Ignatieff toppled Harper, or is Harper creating new structural deficits to gain Layton's support? Is Winnipeg World-Class yet? Is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights back on budget? Are Polar Bears extinct? I have some catching up to do ...

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Wyatt Irked, and the Shitstorm at the Not O.K. Corral

You may notice that I don't post much about the goings-on at City Hall. The reason for that is because I prefer not to notice that City Hall exists. Every time I catch a glimpse of city politics, it reminds me of a never-ending episode of Big Brother: A bunch of petty and stupid people cooped up with each other, calling each other names, forming cliques and alliances, and stabbing each other in the back. Frankly, it's easier just to not look and pretend everything is fine. Unfortunately today's events with Russ Wyatt jumped off the front page and forced me to look. Damn you Free Press!

I think part of the problem is that the players rarely change. They get voted in time after time because of name recognition. They settle in, and take their position for granted. They forget what they're there to do. They have too much time to form rivalries carry grudges. Perhaps term limits are required to chase some of these old badgers and badgerettes from office so that we can get new ideas, and more importantly, new attitudes in there. With a shorter shelf life, the city councillors and the mayor may take the opportunity to work together as a team and overcome differences to get things done, rather sniping at each other from the comfort of their little ideological Lay-Z-Boy recliners.

That, however, is simply my view. I could be very wrong about what things are like at City Hall. If I am, let me know and I will make an effort to pay more attention.

Friday 4 September 2009

Friday Night Beer

Hmm. It appears that the Broom's Friday Night Blues and Beer is missing it's Beer component this evening. I knew Darcey was going through some hard times, but no beer??? It must be worse than I thought!

Oh well, I shall chip in with Green's Discovery All-Natural Amber Ale

Coming in a half-litre bottle with a pop bottle-type twist off cap, this looks suspiciously like garage brew ... but if so it's brewed in the garage of somebody with a sense of humour:

... and the garage is in Belgium.

The beer pours a hazy dark copper colour, and a foamy beige head forms, not unlike the stuff that gathers between rocks along the shore of the pacific. The foam dissipates slowly, leaving little clusters sticking to the glass.

I though the beer was reasonably tasty. I got some roasted walnuts and a hint of citrus in there. It leaves a tingly feeling on your tongue, with a little bit of bitterness of the back-end. Verdict: not bad for a beer lacking celery and crustaceans (and wheat and barley ... what makes this beer again?). 3 peanuts out of 5.

as always, get a second opinion.

... and don't forget to check out Darcey's as-always kick-ass Blues set.

Monday 31 August 2009

The obligatory Goodbye Doer post

I am a blogger (among many other things) and I live in Manitoba, therefore I am required by blogging convention to do a post about Doer's resignation, whether you want to read it or not.

A few months back I wrote about Doer potentially resigning. I did not predict it one way or the other, but what I said was:

Will his remarkable timing continue? Much depends on what happens federally. If the Conservatives stay in power as the economy recovers, or if the Liberals manage to get a majority, you can bet that they will again be looking for ways to chop spending and get the federal budget back on track, right about the time of our next Provincial election. This would put Doer in the same shoes as his predecessor, faced with declining revenues and tough decisions to make, should he get re-elected. You can bet that Doer will keep a watchful eye on that possibility, and quit while he's ahead if that's where things are heading. Whatever happens, you can bet he'll retire from politics smelling like a rose.
Indeed he is, although the timing of his resignation appears to be more of a happy coincidence than the cause. His successor, and I will not speculate on who that may be, will not have as easy a go of it for two reasons: the first is referred to in the quote above, and the second is that they will not have Doer's smiley charm that allowed him to slither away from scandals and failures.

Ok then .. what grade should we give him? What will his legacy be? For sure, he will go in the books as a successful Premier. He presided over a prosperous era, recorded a series of balanced budgets (sort of), and ran a boring show in a profession where "exciting" usually corresponds with "controversial" and "short lived". He made a series of modest tax cuts and kept most voters happy. One might look at this record and give him a B or B+. Nothing astounding for sure, but steady.

In my mind, however, Doer's term in office represents a wasted opportunity. It corresponded with one of the most prosperous eras in this country's history. Instead of taking this opportunity to reduce our provincial debt, he increased it. Instead of reducing our dependency on equalization payments, he increased it dramatically. Instead of reducing corporate taxes to draw private investment, he decreased small business taxes which will have a very marginal return in terms of job growth. Instead of keeping our personal income taxes in line with our neighbouring provinces, he kept tax brackets frozen and opted for small decreases, making us less competitive.

In short, he didn't take the opportunity to use the economic boom, which is now over, to position ourselves for the future. Our province's economy, including our valuable hydro resource, is burdened by debt and overly dependent on government jobs and government spending. This isn't as much of a problem now as it will a few years down the road. It's Doer's successors who will really feel the pain of his economic mis-management, and will be forced to transfer that pain to the people.

Further, his administration has been plagued with scandals, and he has failed miserably in the environment department (although he has a green image because most of our power comes from Hydro electricity) as well as in health care. He never did keep his initial promise to end "hallway medicine". Curtis Brown says that he is sure Doer has repeatedly regretted making those promises. To the contrary, I am sure he does not. Those promises got him elected. He knew it wasn't doable without massive reforms to the health care system and/or massive tax hikes, but he didn't care because it got his ass into the Premier's chair.

Gary Doer is not a man of bold action. He is more of a "don't rock the boat" sort of guy." He is not a leader, but a caretaker. I challenge any of you to point out a difficult decision that he made during his tenure in office. A truly difficult decision ... the kind of unpopular choice that a real leader would make for the betterment of the province. They are few and far between, if they exist at all.

Doer may make an excellent ambassador to the US. His charisma and rolodex (do they still make those?) will serve him well, and I suspect that he can be quite compelling in closed door discussions. As a Premier, however, he didn't have the fortitude to do what was right. C-

Wednesday 26 August 2009

Sen. Ted Kennedy

The Peanut says good bye to Senator Ted Kennedy today.

Kennedy was a vocal supporter of health care reform. In fact, an exclusive source has told Anybody Want A Peanut? that Kennedy intentionally died in order to help boost Obama's lagging health care reform campaign.

I may need to vet my sources a little better.

Not your typical stuffed suit or partisan hack, Mr. Kennedy was good for American politics and Washington won't be the same without him.

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