Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hurry Up and Wait

Does it really come as a surprise that attempting to shorten medical wait times in the Fab Five areas without increasing the federal investment in health care would make the other services slower?

It's finally coming to light that this entire effort has been a political exercise, divorced from any reality existing in the overstressed system. As anyone on the ground will tell you, the wait time problem is considerably more complex that has been discussed.

The single most effective method of decreasing wait times in Canada would be to reduce waste and inefficiency within the system, but that would mean admitting that a lot of people on the front lines are not doing their jobs. The price of political support is not pointing the finger at those most responsible. The entire system, including the labour unions contained within, are consuming resources at a frightening pace with no apparent regard for what patients need. The deciding factor for any decision aimed at increasing efficiency is "what will cause the least friction with unions". It's decisions that are made without the political will to actually make hard choices that leads to situations like this.

Until what we have is addressed without regard for political pandering, no progress will be made, and our system will continue the long spiral downward.

And Don't Stab Nobody, Neither...

Is a reminder to politicians in Nova Scotia necessary at this point?

Way to go, Ernie, you ruined it for everyone. Take your bottle and go home.

While I understand the optics of wanting to demonstrate to the people of the Halifax Regional Municipality that city councillors are responsible representatives of the public, I can't say I'm impressed at the transparently ham-fisted manner in which the Mayor has done it. What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in blatant showmanship.

I wonder, if you were a closet arsonist, would you be crossing your fingers that the Mayor didn't list that one as 'taboo'?

The best and most effective way of proving you are a responsible representative is not to fuck up in the first place. Mayor Kelly has just placed his City Council under close scrutiny, and even a minor mistake is now likely to be blown out of proportion.

It's not enough to say you're good, you actually have to be good. Eventually.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

OK, So What Now?

Growing up in Cape Breton, it was easy to be cynical about the Tar Ponds. Time after time someone would shout, "Someone should do something!"

A chorus of voices would reply, "Yeah!"

And then nothing would happen.

Finally, the cleanup is actually looking like it might happen. A method for ensuring the toxic soil, and the surrounding cocktail of chemicals, will not bother anyone again has been devised, after years upon years of debate. Solidification and Stabilization, the mixing of the chemicals in the soil with concrete, the covering of the concrete with an impermeable barrier, and the laying of sod over the top to remediate the land, is soon to begin. Finally, this will be dealt with, so of course everyone is happy and content.

Or not.

Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, insists that this method is "A joke", and insists it won't work. Citizens and environmentalists do not want this to happen (but fail to provide acceptable alternatives). The Tar Ponds Agency (TPA) insists that this is proven technology.

As near as I can tell, without an environmental background, the TPA is telling the truth - The American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the use of this technology in what is referred to as 'Brownfield Remediation', and the method has been used successfully in places like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The CMHC also supports its use in reclaiming land for affordable housing, among other things.

So, are the environmentalists yelling for no reason? Maybe not. The EPA, in relation to another site in Pennsylvania, indicates that when petroleum content is high, the application of this method is problematic, as Ms. May indicates. Anyone who has seen the Tar Ponds has seen that petroleum products constitute a significant percentage of the toxins present. So, she is also telling the truth.

Where does that leave the people living nearby? The public has now risen against encapsulation, along with incineration, and removing the soil would be mind-bogglingly complex. I have no idea what washing the soil would entail, but it sounds even more difficult.

No answer will please everyone, and doing nothing will please no one. So, what now?

I think that now, after decades of living with a toxic legacy, we have to admit that no solution is perfect, and, rather than try to find a fix that will please everyone and make the area pristine, we have to admit the mistakes of the past, and just pick a solution that will do the least harm.

Just get on with it, whatever it is. Cap it off, wrap it up, lay some sod over it and play ball.

Friday, January 26, 2007

This is weird...

Okay, this takes it, the National Post has actually published an editorial that I agree with.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Actions Speak Louder...

As a (hopefully) final reference to the Jared Taylor incident, I present the following tidbit of information.

As readers will recall, I decried the use of violence against the self-proclaimed 'white separatist', even though I disagreed strongly with his views. (Despite the transposition of the piece to, which incorrectly implied support)

I am pleased, amused and humbled by the fact that the person who literally pulled Taylor's fat out of the fire that evening was...

The Executive Director of the Atlantic Jewish Council.

This has just made my day.

Mr. Deity

Halden Johnson posted a link today to this brilliant YouTube series called Mr. Deity. Halden, I can't thank you enough! The Mr. Deity home page has links to the four episodes currently available, but I'll toss the link up to the right so you can peek in now and then and see what's new.

For convenience, here are the four videos currently available. Trust me, your boss will understand, take a few minutes and make yourself a better employee for the rest of the afternoon. Hang in to the end of Episode 1; if you feel as I do about Celine Dion, you won't be disappointed.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Oh Yeah - There's No Comparison Between the Two...

But this was on CNN's Website earlier.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Big Surprise - Sylvia Browne's Boviturdinous!

Every so often, people will ask me what I have against psychics - 'it's harmless fun', they'll say, 'you have to keep an open mind - they're only trying to help..."

To these people I offer this video as rebuttal - a piece from CNN's Anderson Cooper on famed psychic Sylvia and the 'help' she offered the parents of Shawn Hornbeck, the boy who has just been found very much alive after being missing for over 4 years - help which could be had at the low, low fee of $700 an hour...

Update: I've amended the title to reflect Flash's excellent new word meaning 'full of bulls**t'. Also, in the comments, Mike points out this article on James Randi's site which shows that psychic James Van Praagh also weighed in on this case, with a similar lack of success.

Be careful out there, netizen, the man is sometimes clueless

I just caught this via Alternet (h/t).

Julie Amero, a 40-year-old substitute teacher from Connecticut is facing up to 40 years in prison for exposing her seventh grade class to a cascade of pornographic imagery. Amero maintains that she is a victim of a malicious software infestation that caused her computer to spawn porn uncontrollably.


On the morning of Oct. 19, 2004, Julie Amero's life changed forever when pornographic ads flooded her web browser during a class. According to the prosecuting attorney, David Smith, Amero's computer began displaying images of naked men and women, couples performing sexual acts, and "bodily fluids."


On Jan. 5, 2007, a Norwich jury found Amero guilty of four felony counts of "injury or risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children." Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and while it is unlikely that Amero will receive the maximum penalty, incarceration remains a very real possibility. Even if Amero avoids jail, she will be stripped of her teaching credentials unless the convictions are reversed.

Perceptive readers would have noticed that Amero was a substitute teacher, not the regular user of the computer. This would mean that she would have been unaware of the contents of the machine or the surfing habits of the regular user(s). While I understand that blog trollers like myself (and you) are at least a little more technically savvy than perhaps the average non-netizen, I would think that at least one or two cops in the precinct might have clued into the risks of adware and malware. I mean, don't these people have kids?

"I'm confident", I can hear you say, "That the police are smart enough to look for that. Aren't they?" You're naivete is kind of cute.

No, not in this case.

Detective Mark Lounsbury, a computer crimes officer at the Norwich Police Department testified as an expert witness for the prosecution. He maintained that Amero was intentionally surfing for pornography while her seventh grade class busied itself with language arts.

Lounsbury told the court that Amero musts have "physically clicked" on pornographic links during class time in order to unleash the pornographic pictures. However, he admitted under cross-examination that the prosecution never even checked the computer for malware.

Why didn't the police check for malicious software? According to prosecutor David Smith, the police didn't check for malware because the defense didn't raise the possibility of a malware attack during the pretrial phase, as required by law.

In other words, we only investigate so far as we are told we have to by the law.

Nice one.

Perhaps, when this one is redressed on appeal, the officers that did not properly investigate the case, or their bosses that did not offer proper training for handling the simplest of computer cases could be charged with malicious prosecution, dereliction of duty, or stupidity on the job.

Update: Dr. Dawg pointed me to this link that includes elements of a report from an IT firm that investigated the computer involved and confirmed the presence of malware.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Turd sandwich or giant douche?

In the four years since the (UN) inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.

It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security.

Now this much is undisputed. The open questions are: what should we do about it? How, when, and with whom?

And who do we owe these words of wisdom to? George W? Nope. Colin Powell? Nope. They come from the Democratic leadership candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And here's me thinking democracy was about selecting from options.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


I just saw an advertisement for the CTV NewsNet coverage of the Robert Pickton murder trial. On one hand, I'm relieved that after all this time the trial is about to begin. On the other hand, there has been some backlash to the continued publicity among some groups in British Columbia, particularly from women's groups. I'd like to add a thought or two, if I may.

Much is made about the "public's right to know". As a member of the public, I'd like to establish and enshrine right at this moment the right not to care. I am not interested in the day-to-day testimony, and I will not care until the verdict is in. The verdict is what is important, not the daily events in the courtroom. If I were one of the families whose daughters have vanished, I would be a little tired of the constant reiteration of the same speculation over and over again.

"The public's right to know" is an excuse, and not a very good one at that. The media uses its' supposed "championing of the little guy" language to disguise that fact that they are pandering to put butts in seats and eyes on screens. The transparent exploitation of tragedy to appeal to the baser parts of human nature is appalling. Why does the public have a right to know anything about this other than the verdict? The families of the victims will be in the courtroom, and as far as I'm concerned, those are the only people who have a right to the information presented at trial.

Let's look closer at this supposed "right":

1.) What constructive information will come from the details that are shared?

2.) How does knowing benefit the public at large?

3.) How does sharing this information potentially damage the families of the victims?

4.) How will the sharing of the information hinder the selection and voting process of a jury?

5.) Can a jury (or for that matter, a judge) be impartial, and remain so until the end of the trial, based strictly on what they have seen, and not be influenced by the rush to judgment that constitutes media coverage? No system of isolation is perfect.

There is no legitimate purpose to broadcast the details of this or any other trial. The purpose of the media is to make money for shareholders, and any implication that they are presenting you with unbiased information out of a sense of duty to the public is false. We are not being informed for our benefit, we are all the victims of a dishonest sales pitch. The media does nothing other than dishonor the families of the victims, and trivialize the lives and unfortunate deaths of too many unfortunate British Columbian women.

Robert W. Pickton may be a vile serial killer, but until he is declared so by a court of law, what happens between now and then is none of our business.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A little Friday fun...

and a tip of the hat to our nation's great sport.

I know, they're American, but they can like hockey, too.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Flash has come up with a lovely new word: boviturdinous. I hope he doesn't mind me making the first public use of it: public hearings that the public is not allowed access to. Yep, the first four days of Nova Scotia Utilities and Review Board's "public" hearings on new (read "higher") power rates for NS Power "customers".

I just knew that we weren't even going to get a reach-around when the "privatized" NS Power in the 90's. A monopoly guaranteed a profit is soooo much better than a Crown corporation!


On a Lighter Note, OR, The Coughing Cows...

I had to chuckle at a gaffe made (repeatedly, according to this account) by Jack Layton in Brandon, Manitoba. During a speech to agricultural producers, Layton made repeated reference to SARS as a problem for the cattle industry. Of course he meant BSE, and he made a joke out of the confusion in the end, but not everyone got the joke.
It does seem that big-city Jack is a little out of touch with agricultural concerns, unless SARS has managed to jump the species barrier, and nobody knew about it until Jack discovered it, which might make Layton a genius.


I hates the hate...

Flash's post below regarding Jared Taylor's interesting visit to Halifax, and the ensuing discussion, got me thinking. A few times during the discussion, the term "hate speech law" was thrown around. I am guilty, I did it, too. Now, I am going to throw something in here for the sake of argument, and I presume that one will ensue, but hate speech laws make me cringe. Hate crime laws are a different story, but speech should never be considered a crime except in cases in which it is actually used in the commission of a crime - threats, blackmail, and such. Hate speech laws are the thin edge of a wedge that could so very easily expand should a legislature be put in the mind to expand them. I prefer the clear and concise US First Amendment; there is no room for argument, no quibbling. If things that are said sometimes hurt or make me angry or upset; fine, that's life.

People are not always nice, nor are they always right. However, as individuals, we always have options - we can argue, we can mobilize, we can research, or we can simper and whine behind the protection of the state's skirts. Many things can be said about the odious views of Jared Taylor, but he is out there actively promoting them to the masses while we sit and wonder whether the law will protect us from his vile verbiage. If indeed Taylor is wrong, and most of us around here seem to think that he is, then let's do something constructive about it rather than taking the Dalhousie University approach and sit and hope he'll go away.

He won't.

So what do we do about toads like Jared Taylor? We research their statements and expose them for the bullshit they are. For instance, as one of the commentors in Flash's post wrote, Taylor refers to the X% of crimes committed by various non-white racial groups. Would it not also be relevent to see how these racial groups are represented across the economic spectrum and then look and see how crime itself is distributed economically? Stuff like this has already been done, and the racial arguments never stand up.

Let Jared Taylor shout to the rooftops - just make sure that others are doing the same, but with facts. The truth shall indeed set us free.

It is a sadly typical Canadian thing to have laws protecting people against harmful speech while at the same time maintaining a racist aboriginal policy that keeps our native population in poverty and at the fringes of society. Let them die from polluted water and inadequate housing, but by God don't call them names!

There is important work to be done here, people.

The Innocent Victim...

Just a quick update on yesterday's item on Jared Taylor. As I expected, he gets to play the victim in this morning's Chronicle-Herald.
And, an editorial in the Daily News takes a similar position to my own.

The more I think about it, the more I'm coming to the conclusion that freedom of speech should be universal. Those of us who disagree have the right to ignore preachers of hate, and the law is there to deal with those who do violence based on race.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Descending to Their Level...

Much noise is being made on the CBC News, the Chronicle-Herald and the Daily News, and from as far away as Vancouver, about the mob scene involving American "Race Realist" Jared Taylor's forceful ejection from the room he rented to share his incredibly backward and xenophobic views on race relations here in Halifax. He rented the conference room at a local hotel (under an assumed name) in response to his de-invitation from a conference at Dalhousie University, at which he was scheduled to debate on racial diversity. Evidently not happy that he could spout his idiocy on someone else's nickel, he decided to pay for it himself.

The accounts indicate that the audience at the outset was made up entirely of protesters and journalists. Not exactly the audience he was hoping for, I'm sure. In the TV story that I saw, however, some of the white chaps in the audience didn't strike me as either journalists or protesters, quite frankly. In fact, a few were hiding their faces, but not necessarily out of a desire to protest anonymously, rather to participate and hide the associated shame. This is, of course, pure speculation.

Let me make this perfectly clear: Taylor is a racist, and the most disgusting type of racist at that: the type who try to cloak their medieval superstitions in 'scientific theory'.

Notwithstanding, I think that when the protesters decided it was ok to take hold of him and chuck him out of the room, they were wrong. And, yes, it is that black and white, if you'll pardon the expression.

Any time one group decides that another has no right to be heard is when we cross the line into fascism. I understand and sympathize with the motivations of the protesters, and I would have been denouncing this idiot right along with them - but silencing him is not the answer. With 'theories' like these, the best and most effective way to humiliate him is to let him speak. He can do a far better job in discrediting himself than we could ever do.

Which is why I think Dalhousie was also wrong to turf him from the debate. Debate - real, honest debate, not the name-calling that passes for intelligent discussion these days - is the best way to establish that this turd is a crackpot and a small, fearful animal. He now has the ability to manipulate the media to his own ends. The report I saw on ATV included his speculation that the Dal prof who was to debate him was "scared". I sincerely doubt it, and I can understand and sympathize with Dalhousie's motivation, but my concern is that now, that prof, and the university, have robbed themselves of any opportunity to rebut this fool.

The public has a short memory, and in a month, people will forget where they heard the 'scared' comment, but not that they heard it. Nor will they forget this man being attacked by a large group of masked assailants. All it takes if for that seed to be planted in some less rational people's minds to make it 'true' to someone who can't or won't think for themselves.

The real weapons we have against racism are our reason and our willingness to learn. When we deny ourselves the opportunity to learn from, or even just about, other human cultures, we are all the poorer for having lost the opportunity. Sober thought and intelligent rebuttal are the best weapons we have, and by turning violent for the TV cameras, the protesters have taken away that option. They have shown his supporters what they already 'know': their opponents are not worthy of respect.

Bottom line folks: in this case, he has the moral high ground.

That is something that never, never, never should happen with creeps like Taylor, but a small group of masked moral vigilantes have handed it to him on a silver platter.

So, to these 'freedom fighters', I say this: the next time someone is speaking about reducing poverty, undoing global warming or mitigating the harmful effects of globalization, and someone shouts them down and violently abridges their right to speak, don't think, "How dare they", think instead:

"I have no-one to blame but myself."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bush on Bush

There is much talk in the blogosphere about last night's 60 Minutes interview with GW, and rightfully so. For those that didn't see it, go watch it at the above link, it's worth it. It's interesting to see him admitting to every error proffered, except the largest one of his presidency - the invasion of Iraq. He has obviously opted for his final stand to be the neo-con "right war, wrong implementation" apologia that we are seeing everywhere these days.

It's also heartwarming to see that his spirit is still strong, and not "crushed". Even though he has to sign 2.5 letters to parents/spouses every day. What a wonderful country is America - you can go from dodging service to being president and ordering others to die for your folly.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cape Breton Independence?

I couldn't help but notice that the inaugural meeting of the newest Cape Breton independence group brought in about a dozen adherents last night. Might I suggest that the next meeting be held on the mainland? You'll get a better turnout.

Sorry Flash.

Et tu, Alfie?

Bob Chisolm, Rodney MacDonald's new chief of staff, was forced to admit that he learned of the Fage drink-drink-honk-honk-smash-smash the night of the accident after back-bench Tory MLA Alfie MacLeod phoned him after driving by it. This is not good news for the Tories and for the Premier specifically, because it produces two scenarios, neither of which is positive:

a) That the Premier's chief of staff does not trust his boss' judgement and would rather hide bad news from him than have his input in how to deal with it.

b) That the Premier knew about the accident before December 4 (when he said he learned of it) and that his office is lining up to fall on their swords to protect him.

Having been caught in the lie, Chisolm weasled "If I did [mislead] I'm very sorry that I did." If. If. He then went on to admit to a probable lapse of judgement. I'll set aside the moral issue of lying to protect one's ass, because that is sadly the assumed standard of behaviour these days, but to believe that one could hide the incident, that it would just go away is simple stupidity. I will not set aside the fact that this only makes it that much harder to believe anything these guys say or to trust them with my tax dollars any longer than I have to.

This kind of incompetence and cowardice is becoming the standard for this government. Yes, cowardice. If Bob Chisolm had any balls, he would have investigated the incident as soon as he heard, instead of admitting to reporters a month and a half too late that he was afraid of what he might learn about the details. Fear of reality is a damned good quality to have in a chief of staff, don't you think, Rodney?

And let's not leave Rodney out of this - if he had a spine, his advisors and staff would likely not have to try to hide bad news or sugar-coat reality for him.

This, unfortunately, is exactly the kind of behaviour that I'm growing accustomed to from The Fiddler and his Step-Dancing Clowns.

Monday, January 08, 2007

March of the Penguins

No political commentary - I'm just posting this cause it's so darn funny...

Mow, mow, mow!

I know that by it's nature, it's impossible to say that any individual weather event is a direct result of global warming, but this is just freakish.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A shorter John Baird...

It looks like Stephen Harper's new environment meat puppet, John Baird, has been authorized to say that global warming is real. This is a nice change from the teleprompter put in front of outgoing Rona Ambrose, but it remains to be seen whether there will be any substantive change in policy. I'm not holding my breath for anything revolutionary, but I think that Stephen Harper knows his office may live and die on this issue, so something will happen. That Baird is allowed to aknowledge the reality of global warming is a start.

I also note that the federal Liberals and their supporters seem to see this shuffle as political posturing now that the environment has become such a hugely important issue to the electorate. As Olaf says here, so what? The purpose of the government is to do things that the citizenry feel need to be done. Not reacting to the public sentiment on this issue would be an indication either of stupidity or a deeper understanding of climate science than climatologists have. I believe the CPC are not the former and do not have the latter.

The fact is, environmental issues were low on the national radar for many years and are not anymore - if the Liberals were still in power this would have taken them by surprise as well. After watching the Liberals treat environmental issues as a way of sucking a few votes at election time only to be forgotten later, I don't believe the party has any credibility on the issue at all, at least not based on past performance.

Perhaps they too have a renewed respect for environmental issues and if so, I applaud it. But for the love of FSM, don't attack the Conservatives for the same.

Sometimes the only possible response is WTF?

A short clip from the French version of 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' For the non-French speakers, the question is 'Which body orbits the Earth?' and the choices are:
a. The Moon
b. The Sun
c. Mars
d. Venus
I don't know what's sadder - the contestant's obvious confusion or the 'help' he gets from the studio audience.

Look to the Stars

But don't really expect them to know what they're talking about. As this BBC article points out; most celebrities speaking out for a cause do so with little in the way of actual knowledge and less in the way of research. Fortunately, these people are trying to fix that, as uphill a task as it sounds, with over 1,400 scientists willing to provide their services in the cause of improving public debate. They've even got their own celebrity backing them up:
One celebrity who is backing the campaign is illusionist Derren Brown. He said: "We are more than aware that the media prefer a shocking story over delicate fact.

"In areas like food, environment and medicine, this can have serious results," he added.

"Scientists, traditionally a quiet bunch, are now trying to redress the balance and finding ways of promoting fact over misinformation."
Come to think of it, what is it with magicians anyway? Why is it they're the ones trying to shine the light?

I guess what I'm trying to say is - don't assume that someone's an expert on a subject just because they're on TV or in the movies. And before any right-wingers chime in with comments about 'Liberal Hollywood', why don't you just be quiet - the right wingers have more than their fair share of loonies talking out their butt; Pat Robertson, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh - shall I go on? I'd also pass on a helpful comment I'd seen long ago on another site on the subject of distinghuishing science from pseudo-science
If an 'expert' is saying "the evidence suggests" or "It strongly indicates" then there's a fair chance it's science. If they're saying "There can be no doubt that" or "It goes without saying that" or "There can be no other conclusion", then maybe you should start looking further.

Turn the Fage

When I heard on the radio last night that Ernie Fage was involved in a hit-and-run last November, I'll admit the first thing that popped into my mind was that he might have had a few before hand. Otherwise, why run, right? At that time, I quickly posted what I had heard and read, but shortly thereafter more complete reports came out that witnesses smelled alcohol on him and captured the images of him and his car on camera-phone.

The premier said Fage told him of a "minor fender-bender" sometime before Christmas, but looked no further into the issue. For Michel Samson, the interim Liberal leader, this is not good enough; he maintains that the premier should have looked into the incident instead of dismissing it. When I first heard this, my immediate reaction was that Samson is merely trying to make a political issue out of something that has already been handled - Fage came forward, admittedly late, and MacDonald accepted his resignation.

However, David Rhodenizer makes an interesting point in this morning's Daily News:
why MacDonald accepted Fage's story of a "minor accident," knowing it happened following MLAs' traditional session-closing piss-up at the Old Triangle.

I don't believe that a premier, or any leader for that matter, is responsible for the personal behaviour of members of his party, provided everything stays legal and it doesn't affect their actual job. That was why I initially thought that MacDonald did what he had to do - a member of his Cabinet said he had a fender-bender, big deal.

Conversation 1:

"Hey Rodney, I, uh, got into a bit of a bump with the car a couple of weeks ago."

"Anyone hurt?"


"Good. Much damage?"

"Nah, just a dent in the bumper and fender."

"Cool. Cream in your coffee?"

Conversation 2:

"Rodney, I, uh, had a few pops one night a couple of weeks ago and got into a bang-up in an intersection."

"Whoa, any damage? Were the cops involved?"

"Not much. I reported it a few days later, it all seems cool."

"Phew, this would look really bad if anyone found out."

As of right now, there is no indication in anything that MacDonald or Fage has said to this point that indicates which conversation occured. However, the only way we're actually going to find out is if we don't take these guys' word for it. Michel Samson is doing the right thing; where is Daryl Dexter?

For me, the next question is when does MacDonald kick Fage's sorry ass out of caucus - before or after the trial?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ernie Fage, NASCAR Minister

Nova Scotia minister of repeatedly fucking up, Ernie Fage, has resigned a Cabinet post for the second time in less than a year, this time after CBC and CTV revealed that in November he left the scene of an automobile accident. The first time he resigned, it was for approving a loan to a company owned by members of his own family. This time, he opted to rear-end only one taxpayer.

I doubt that even Rodney will let him back in this time.

The Ballad of Poor Little Rona

Sometimes, I don't know where stuff like the following comes from, I really don't.
I certainly don't think Ms. Ambrose is blameless in her forced relocation to Intergovernmental Affairs (I may actually get to meet her at some point, and I'm not sure how I feel about that), but the following worked better laying the blame on Steve - better to blame the ventriloquist...
(I'm guessing you can all figure out the tune is from the Beverly Hillbillies)

Well, listen to my story 'bout a gal named Rona,

She had a PM that would not leave her alone-a

Wherever she went, he would hang on like a leech,

And completely disrupt the environmental speech.

Air that is,

Brown Lungs,

Acid Rains

Well the first thing you know there arose a great kerfuffle,

And the poor little lady was the victim of a shuffle,

The whole darn thing busted Rona's little bubble,

In another six months she'll be fetching double doubles.

Coffee that is,

Timbits and honey crullers.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Jumping Through Hoops

That's what parents will be doing for exercise this month, trying to figure out the Conservative government's new Child Fitness Tax Credit, cause heck, these experts can't. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine idea and kudos to the Tories for putting it through, of course it would help if they'd actually gone and given some clarity:
But guidelines on what qualifies for the children's fitness tax break don't go as far as naming activities, leaving organizations that promote sports such as golf and bowling holding their breath
Now, granted, bowling might not work up as much of a sweat as hockey, but hey, at least it gets the little darlings off the couch and doing something and let's face it, if little Johnny or Suzie is 60 kilos overweight, they're probably not going to get much joy out of hockey or soccer. All I know is it would be helpful if Peter Van Loan, Minister of Sport, had an idea what the program actually meant. Wait a minute, what am I saying - it would be helpful if Stephen Harper could tell his Minister of Sport what idea he was supposed to have.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion

Just a word about The Inner Geek is Loose, the other blog I spend time on. It's all about the stuff you never discuss in polite company - you know, comics, gaming, sci-fi, that kind of stuff. It's where I let my inner 15-year-old out to play.
I've posted some Dr. Who, and some Mystery Science Theater 3000. It's worth a look. Trust me, have I ever steered you wrong?

It's Taken a While...

...But, finally, the Globe and Mail reports that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), including acupuncture, will be regulated in Ontario.
While I'm not going to debate the efficacy of acupuncture or herbal medicines - I concede that acupuncture does have some minor analgesic properties - I'd like to address the notion raised by one individual in the article, who is..

..worried that the red tape that will come with the college will scare many traditional Chinese medicine practitioners out of their profession and will mark the end of the industry in a few years.

Uh, yeah.
Isn't the entire point to dissuade those who shouldn't be practicing from doing so? If you're reputable, as some individuals quoted in the article seem to be, then this is a way to lend legitimacy to what they believe is a useful practice. If you're not reputable, if you're a charlatan, then you shouldn't be in business.

There are some things that bother me about some 'traditional' medicines or practices:

1. The assumption that, since something is traditional, it is proven, and therefore good. Not so. Female genital mutilation is a traditional practice, but who would argue that it is beneficial to women?

2. The co-assumption to point 1, which is that, if something is natural, it is good. Again, not so. Although some herbs and their derivatives are useful, some are not. Cyanide is found naturally in some plants. Some of the deadliest poisons have evolved as defense mechanisms for certain sea creatures, reptiles and insects. Good stuff, huh?

Some may say, "Yes, Flash, these things are true, but Man has created many things that are harmful or detrimental, and therefore unnatural."

Back off, Birkenstock. If you concede the truth of evolution, you must, by definition, accept Man as a variant of the big category of 'mammal'. We are natural, part of nature. Ergo, anything we create is natural. All resulting from 'stuff' we found in nature - the raw materials for manufacturing don't come from thin air, after all. Guns, butter, plastics, Milli Vanilli, edible underwear, SweetTarts and parachute pants - all products of nature (however abominable some may be - c'mon, Milli Vanilli? If that doesn't convince you of the existence of evil, I don't know what will). We're just more clever than other mammals in making the raw materials into something that could kill us.

Which is bad. We really need to stop doing that. When we say 'The planet is at risk', we mean, 'WE are at risk'. The planet will eventually recover long after we're gone, but if we keep creating toxic and harmful stuff, we're screwed. The Earth will move on without us, without so much as a tear or a sympathy card. Somewhere, the dodo and the great auk are scooching over, making room for us in the Extinction Cafe.

Not all things we create are beneficial, but not all are harmful, either. We from the cult of the opposable thumb have done wonderful and horrible things. Hopefully, we manage to learn from both. Ultimately, what we need the most - compassion for our fellow mammals - is what's lacking. If the regulation of TCM can stop exploitation, illness and death, I say bully for them. More than anything, we need to protect the vulnerable, and you're never more vulnerable than when you're sick.


Ipsos greeted the New Year with an interesting poll of Americans. Apparently 25% of Americans expect the second coming of Christ this year.

Another year of stupid awakes...