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.

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