Monday, February 28, 2005

Red Ensign #16 at The Phantom Observer

The Phantom Observer has raised the Red Ensign Standard today.

There is such a thing as a Canadian vision. We had it, years ago in the era of St. Laurent and Diefenbaker and Pearson ......

when our flag was not a Maple Leaf, but a Union Jack with a Coat of Arms.

When we looked on America as a senior partner and not a rabid elephant. When we could persuade the world that we could keep the peace, and they believed us.

In the past thirty years, we lost that vision, mired in little arguments about provincial power, spending money, and social rights. Politicians left and right caused the people to lose faith in them ... and thus the vision faded.

Spot on PO, spot on.

The Conservative Response to the Budget

Bob Tarantino at Let it Bleed has been displeased with the Conservative response to the budget. I tend to agree with Bob on a great many things, but my analysis of the situation and his analysis of the situation and an appropriate course of action tend to diverge rather substantially.

Bob's suggesting that we should have shrouded ourselves in secrecy and pretended to deliberate heavily to create a media stir about whether we would choose to defeat the budget or not, thus getting ourselves some free publicity, seeming to be in control etc.

I'd commend this course of action if we were actually considering defeating the government. However, we're not. We know not, the Liberals know that, and the press knows that. We're not going to defeat the budget going into our first policy convention and only 8 monthes after the last election. Rather than causing suspense and interest its just as likely that we would have been accused of playing games with the budgetary process when we really weren't going to defeat the government.

I'll agree that Harper should have done more to stress the negatives in the budget. However, to be honest my first reaction was nearly exactly the same "Well, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be." A more appropriate statement from the leader of the opposition would have been "I'm concerned with a number of spending priorities in the budget as they seem to allocate money without any plan on how to spend it, however, I am pleased to see the Liberals have included a number of our priorities in an effort to keep Parliament functioning." I think that's the message Harper has been trying to get across, although perhaps not as effectively as he, I or the Conservative Party at large would like.

Furthermore, I think the braintrust about the Leader are likely aware that Canadians aren't interested in another election at the moment, and we don't seem to have a golden issue to use as a stick to beat the Liberals over the head with so our approach has seemed to be of the tact that we're a reasonable party who wants to see Parliament work to govern Canadians, rather than the hardline, contrarian ideologues we're sometimes made out to be. This tactic makes sense to me, but how effective it is eh..too soon to tell. Would having gone into cloak and dagger mode been more effective - hard to tell but I doubt it. I don't think its as much of a no-brainer as Bob makes it out to be.

On the other hand, the Ballistic Missile Defense announcement being confirmed the day after rather effectively killed any budgetary afterglow in the press so for what solace it might be for those who disagree with my point of view - the Liberals aren't doing much better.

Ballistic Missile Defense Redux

In all fairness to my last post on the subject it was dripping with sarcasm and contained a fair degree of frustration with the abject stupidity of the government's decision. We had a chance to play nice with the Americans which cost us exactly nothing, all we had to do was sign on the dotted line, but instead we chose to scorn them. The decision was based on two things a) anti Americanism b) irresponsible pacificism and the hate on many on the left have for all things martial.

This is largely veiled by talk of how expensive the sytem is or how ineffective it is. This is generally hypocricy and malarcky. Its a pretext for anti-Americanism and and do nothing pacificism. Of the tests run so far for ballistic missile defense, which is admittedly still being tweaked 5 out of 6 tests over sea and 5 out of 8 from land have been effect. Even the CBC acknowledges this. As to whether its expensive its estimated to cost the Americans 10 billion dollars. That is a great deal of money without question, on the other hand what would it have cost us? Nothing, or perhaps a few hundred million if we INSISTED on chipping in or putting missiles on Canadian soil which was never likely to happen. We were asked for moral support and to contribute a few scientists and military officers as we normally do in continental defense - essentially falling into our respective Saturday morning cartoon roles of Canada a Pip and America as Hercules. Leaving the Americans to do all the heavy lifting while we piped up in our squeeky voice to cheerlead and tag along.

In this case we chose refuse to score free diplomatic points with our ally and promote good will and understanding in security measures. Our yes, no, maybe, no position and all the dithering that preceded has simply reinforced the notion that we are an unreliable and profoundly silly nation which doesn't take its own defense or soveirgnty seriously

On the other hand, we're quite willing to throw billions and even upwards of 10 billion dollars towards the mythical goal of halting climate change. The Kyoto Accord has become some sort of alter for the left to worship at and it demands its sacrifices. Like any other idol it seems to have rather spotty results for all the sacrifices being deirected towards it. If you look at goal of the Kyoto Accord its to prevent a 0.5 degree increase in temperature which would last for about 6 years before the predicted trends over took it anyhow. Not to mention the fact that its debatable whether human activity has had any influence on climate change. Even if you accept that there is man made climate change is there any point in an treaty which requires India and China to do nothing which have the world's fasted growing economies, quickly growing amounts of polution and half the world's people?

What's the point? Kyoto is a meaningless gesture for those on the left to feel like their "sending the right message."

Me, I'm on the right, I'll take "it works at least half the time so far, but we're working on that."

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Pope declares "Left liberalism" new "ideology of evil"

No seriously..I'm not making this up. The Pope explicitly states that gay marriage is part of a "new ideology of evil".

"It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against the family and against man," he writes.

He also has nice things to say about the left's other hobby-horse abbortion.

"There is still, however a legal extermination of human beings who have been conceived but not yet born," he writes.

"And this time we are talking about an extermination which has been allowed by nothing less than democratically elected parliaments where one normally hears appeals for the civil progress of society and all humanity," he writes.

Now, I'm not Catholic but you have to like the Pope. After all I'm genuinely in favour of any particular individual that was so hated by the former Soviet Union that they actually plotted to assassinate him. He also strikes me as a fairly wise man. However, looking at what he's said he's basically declaring the socialist-secular humanist-cultural relevist faction "evil" - not just wrong, not misguided, not delusional, not silly - EVIL.

I'm okay with that. Hey Pope..we haven't had a Crusade in a while can we destroy the evildoers? Please?

As if this isn't a gift for name calling and comedians everywhere for example, who doesn't want to say "Hey, Joe Clark I just read the Pope's new book and he says your evil."

Ballistic Missile Defense

After seeing the trade mark "Paul Martin Shuffle" where Paul takes two steps forward, two steps back and waffles all about it would appear "Our Glorious Leader" has come to a decision. Canada will not participate in ballistic missile defense.

Apparantly we cannot bow down to the "bullying Americans" by putting our name on the BMD letterhead, attend a few meetings and being consulted if there is a missile aimed at Canada. Yes, that really would sacrifice our soveirgnty wouldn't it? Being part of the decision making process about what to do if a missile gets lobbed at our country. On the other hand we can continue to be proudly Canadian by letting Americans defend our country for us - while we ridicule them for doing so!

After all how dare the Americans suggest we might want to be involved in defending a continent we simply happen to be a part of. We didn't ask to be part of North America - in fact we're considering asking for our half of the continent to be transfered to there! We have several university departments already studying how we can make Canada drift away from America and attach itself to Europe as we speak..and believe me the grant money is flowing on that project.

How can we be expected to go along with a weapons program which requires us to do nothing other than sign our names, attend meetings and financially benifet from being in on the research and development contracts because it would make our largest trading partner and most important ally really happy? We're against it! Why...umm...because its not like Bush really wants to shoot down missiles he's secretly working on a Star Wars program - he has George Lucas developing special elite combat units with Jedi powers and light sabres. Canada stands strongly against the development of a Jedi Knight program and condemns America's participation in it - we know all about your secret Star Wars program Bush! We're not buying into this whole "defending ourselves against incoming missiles" malacky. NO BLOOD FOR LIGHTSABRES!

Steyn OnTV

(via Free Dominion)
STOP whatever your doing, find an hour of your time and check out Mark Steyn on C-SPAN to see what the Right's favourite One Man Global Content Provider is thinking on various issues.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Budget - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

To be fair the Paul Martin I didn't wholly despise of 5 years ago seems to have briefly popped up around budget time to make a few good decisions. This year's budget has some positive announcements regarding personal and corporate taxation and military spending, that while being wholly insufficient are a step in the right direction. A few of the other iniatives in the budget aren't terribly unproductive. Several of the decisions were patently stupid and a few more outrageously so. Thus I've broken down the budget into "the good", "the bad" and "the ugly".

The Good

Their were a number of initiatives which improved people's fiscal status. The foreign content restrictions on RRSPs were removed which were previously set at 30%. I'm in favour of anything which improves people's economic freedom, so again this is a small step in the right direction. While allowable RRSP contributions have risen to $22,000 a year from $18,000 considering Canada's low rate of saving this is also a fairly smart move. While over years people will recieve a tax break of $195 as the amount of non-taxable income rises to $10,000 from $8,000. I can't say no to a tax cut, however, one can wish that it was somewhat more substantial than the price of a PS2 over five years or the cost of airfare when WestJet has a seat sale.. Canadians face a crippling tax burden and the best you can come up with as a rebate is about $40 bucks a year over five years? Apparantly this is the 24 rebate designed to encourage people to buy that "extra case of Molson's a year". Tens of billions of dollars are being allocated and this is the best you can do!

Corporate taxes were cut by 2% to lower to 19%, and a surcharge was removed which was the equivalent of a 1.12% tax cut. Not a bad move cutting corporate taxes as encouraging private investment and business relocation in Canada brings jobs into the country and spurs on economic growth. However, we may now have a 4.5% tax incentive to business as opposed to the United States as is quoted in the budget. Accepting these figures we also must recognize that we have a geographical disadvantage and all sorts of regulatory disadvantages visa via the states. A corporation locating in the US is nearer its markets and in many cases the government regulations aren't nearly as intrusive as they are here in Canada. If we were serious about attractiving investment we would have slashed corporate taxes by 10% and reached an 11% level comparable to Ireland, which has successfully lured many businesses away from its European neighbours and experienced high growth as a result.

Defense spending is slated to recieve an additonal $12.7 billion dollars, to which I can only say about bloody time. However, unfortunately the money is coming in a trickle at first with only $1.1 billion coming in the next two years. Many military analysts have stated in the past that an immediate infusion of $1.5 billion was needed this year to simply stop the hemoraging and degredation of materials. Thus the relative sloth of this increase is worisome. Furthermore, I tend to be suspect of promises made far into the future and over this five year term its debatable how seriously we can take this Liberal pledge as its quite plausible they'll declare something else such as health care an "emergency for a generation" and loot any other commitments.

Research the government is granting $375 million to various councils to increase research being done in Canadian universities, knowledge is never a bad investment.

The Bad

Aboriginal funding , the budget offers up $735 million towards areas such as Aboriginal housing, education, and social programs on Aboriginal reserves over a five year period. This continues the fine Liberal tradition of throwing money at a problem and hoping it will go away rather than dealing with the problem itself. The problem is not that the federal government doesn't give enough money to Aboriginal reserves, its that Aboriginal reserves don't work. They cause more socio-economic problems then they solve, the Aboriginal community needs to be assisted in taking a step forward towards integration into the Canadian economy and the mainstream rather than being coddled further.

The Gas Tax for Cities a $600 million dollar committment to the cities which will grow to a $2 billion dollar commitment or 5 cents per litre of the gas tax. I'm really not sure if this arrangment is even constitutional. Cities are provincially created and controlled jurisdictions and derive all their powers from the provinces. This makes this sort of arrangement without a provincial blessing potentially subject to legal challenge should any of the provinces become jealous of their legislative integrity.

Sports Canada/Olympic Games/Paraolympic Games funding apparantly we're now committing another $429 million dollars to funding the venues and athletes who compete in sports which none of us watch and care about because losing horrible regularly in the Olympic is shameful too us. Quite frankly, I could take a little more shaming if this $429 billion dollars found its way into the "tax cut column". I really don't feel our pride as a nation has suffered a great blow if we lose at free style gymnastics, competitive trampolining, ball room dancing or whatever ridiculous "sports" the Olympics awards medals for.

Healthcare another $800 million or so dollars are to be thrown at the problem ontop of Martin's "concession for a generation" earlier last year. Again this money is being spent with no eye to actually resolving the fundamental underlaying problems plaguing health care. At best its fighting a rear guard action against inevitable collapse of the system lacking any institutional changes. Change is needed as we already spend more per capita for less performance than in many European nations.

The Ugly

Foreign Aid apparantly while we can only afford to cut the taxes of the middle class here in Canada by $200 over 5 years we can give away $3.4 billion dollars in aid to foreigners, doubling our budget to do so. Quite franklyI never signed up for the World Vision package of taxation. If there are people who want to give their money away to the less fortunate kudos to them, but don't do it with my tax dollars. This is "charity" not a legitimate government function that in any way serves my interest.

Heritage Funding another $1.6 billion dollars to support culture, heritage and sport. All of which goes vaguely to celebrations, artists and mulitculturalism. Quite frankly this is wholly unnecessary, if people care about what the elites have determined to be "Canadian culture" they will pay for it. If not they obviously don't care or consciously reject your notion of Canadian culture. Again cut taxes and I'll even promise to buy a Group of 7 print, rather than having this money spent on whatever suspect "cause" it finds it way too.

$5 billion dollars for the Environment considering there is still billions of dollars sitting in a government account from the Chretien budgets where money was vaguely allocated to combat "climate change" and that money has only gone into a few councils, studies and commercials is another 5 billion dollars REALLY necessary. Our environmental strategy currently seems to consist of hiring B level celebrities to exhort us to be more friendly to the environment. Maybe with this extra $5 billion we're going to hire someone whose actually famous like Bono to make a commercial about AIDS AND the Environment. Spend the money you've got sitting around before pilling more ontop of it in a politically correct and ill thought out gesture. Have a plan before you start throwing billions of dollars at a problem and in the meantime - take this $5 billion dollars and CUT TAXES.

$5 billion dollars for a "National Daycare Program" so far $700 million dollars is being rolled forth this year with no strings attached. Watch this money dissapear into the hunry maw of healthcare as fast as a cat can blink its eye. Now I tend to agree with the Klein plan for child care, give parents money for it and let them make their own decisions about how its spent. If a parent wishes to stay home and care for their child - good deal, or if they hire a grandparent, relative, neighbour or nanny this is all simmilairly acceptable. Furthermore, I couldn't care less if the kid is in a private or public daycare centre. Let the parents decide, they care more about their children than the government does when you come right down to it.

Furthermore, do I really need to point out the absurdity of committing five billion dollars to a program which doesn't exist yet? Do I also need to point out that the provinces, the vast majority of whom are currently in decificit positions, or whom are lingering near decifit positions will find 5 billion dollars split 10 ways, woefully inadequate to fund a whole new social program. Do I also need to mention that the federal government has absolutely no jurisdiction in early childhood education? Do I also need to mention that taking on an expensive new social program when your strapped for cash and the federal government isn't offering enough money would be something too stupid for even the provincial governments to do? We could avoid this entire problem by cutting people's taxes by another 5 billion dollars so they could afford to make their own provisions for childcare, heck, maybe so they could even afford to have and raise children.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Daily Show on Blogs

(Via Plum Blossoms and onegoodmove)

The Daily Show truly has its moments, even though too often it does seem a bit left wing for my tastes. I recall watching its election coverage when Jon Steward said "its hard to make people laugh when everyone feels like curling up in a corner and holding themselves" or concerning gay marriage he rattled through the rather lopsided victories of ammendments to forbid gay marriage and stated something to the effect of "I think I'm going to go cry now.."

However, liberal or not he is fairly witty. The bit on blogs is one of the finer moments for the show. Stephen Colbert announces his name is "really Ted Hitler" and he's murdered a panada, before denouncing bloggers for taking facts and organizing them and presenting them for general consumption. Yes..those lousy bloggers with their "facts".

You can find a clip of that segement here.

Joel Fleming on a tuition protest

Joel Fleming who has a very witty and entertaining blog reports on the tenured and masters students representing the academic proletariat and raging against the "Rae Report". Apparantly even former NDP premier can repent and actually say "maybe we should charge people a little bit more in tuition". The former NDP premier is then savaged and the left blames the federal liberal government. I'm okay with that outcome, even if the leaps of logic there are a bit baffling. He mentions one of our inkstained malcontents offering up a little speach that went as follows.

A prof, who has run unsuccessfully as an NDP candidate, then gave a little speech:

"The Canadian public keeps electing a Liberal government. Wake up and smell the herbal tea friends."

Uhh, two points - one, as much I'm amused by the federal Libs getting attacked from the left, how exactly are they relevant to the Rae Review? Second, why do I have to smell the herbal tea? Is coffee suddenly an unsocialist beverage? I sure as hell hope so - the only thing that could make my daily (ok, twice-daily) double-double any sweeter, would be knowing that drinking it was pissing off socialists.

My reply to Joel is yes! Apparantly coffee is now too "exploitative" for the left unless its "fair trade coffe". I've considered going to one of the university coffee establishments here at the U of A which have their "Fair trade" coffee and asking for some "free trade coffee", why? I don't want any "hippy coffee, give me capitalist joe!" In fact I want "slave trade coffee" if possible. Preferably that which used enslaved children to harvest it with some oversear cracking a whip across their backs and exorting them to 'work faster for the great satan'. Well, I want that if its cheaper than free trade coffee anyhow. Now considering I don't even drink coffee, this is obviously a joke, mostly because I'd love to see the look on the face of the coffee vendors with their dreadlocked hair, and multiple piercings, all of whom look as if they haven't bathed recently, when I asked for coffee made for THE MAN not coffee to "share the wealth".

I personally drink Earl Grey Tea, why? Firstly, it tastes good. Secondly, its British, imperial, and has an aristocratic title, if some part of those three characteristics doesn't annoy all the right people then I'm not sure what will (aside from a request for slave trade coffee).

In Alberta the current push is "no tuition" apparantly because we have a bit of a surplus here students are entitled to most of it, or so the thinking goes considering our money just comes up from the ground. *sigh* The stupidity of the left is somewhat disheartening. They don't seem to realize that a prosperous economy is a precipitous thing. For example, Venezula has a great deal of oil but rampant corruption and mispending has resulted in it being abjectly poor. Furthermore, BC right next door is a case study in how to destroy a perfectly fine economy with stupid socialist policies in one easy decade.

Morally, middle class and upper middle class children really don't have a right to the income of the taxpayers as a whole. I'm willing to agree that universities do provide enough positive externalities that some subsidization is in order. But tuition freezes and making the system "free" put the burden on the back of the average working taxpayer rather than the person whose going to benifet from it. And tuition fees result in stagnant resources for students and limited spaces being available. If you mean to benifet from higher education by increased levels of income it really you whom should shoulder most of the burden for the costs of your education. Obviously there need to be assurances that education remains accessible with grants, bursuaries and no to low interest loans being made available to those whom otherwise could not afford to persue it.

Replacement Players in the NHL

(Via All things Canadian )

The Sun Newspapers are reporting that the Edmonton Oilers have already inquired as to the willingness of their farm team's players to be utilized as replacement players. It would seem that 18 of 22 would be receptive to such an opportunity. I don't find this surprising in the least. My opinion is that for all the talk of union solidarity, it wouldn't last for more than a month. The players on the farm teams are dying for any opporunity to play in the big show as it were. They would all be willing to suit up if called up. Furthermore, the workhorses of the NHL the 3rd and 4th line players would start to wonder if a new season was called upon why they were sitting out and missing paychecks, albiet smaller ones so Sergei Federov could earn $10 million US rather than 6 or 7.

The first players back will be the ones who were marginal in the NHL to begin with and those with smaller contracts, whom can't absorb the loss of work for a long period of time. After that, it will be the vetran players who return. The players whom only have 2 or 3 more seasons left in them, and don't see the point in squandering them on the picket lines even if they do take a pay cut.

Inevitably once players begin to make their way back, the more moneyed players will return as they will be making less in Europe than they would be in the NHL. Furthermore, pride and greed will have exhausted themselves as a reason to hold out and they will simply return in a fairly non-challant fashion muttering bromides about "missing the fans", the "chance to play with such a great group of guys", "their family" or "feeling the itch to take another run at the cup". But that will all simply be a matter of saving face.

A Nightmare Scenario..

Tech Central Station has an article on politics in Sweden (also known as the Greater Toronto Area Europe) It would seem that Sweden has finally accomplished what Toronto based pundits and media can only dream of.

Until recently, the Swedish political landscape has been more or less invariable since the 1920s. The social democrats have been in power since then, with a couple of brief interruptions of non-socialist rule (1976-82, 1991-94). The tax burden is now 51.4 percent, compared to the EU average of 41.5 percent. Sweden is now the only country where more than half of GDP is channeled through government. Denmark, the first runner up, falls just below 50 percent. Now there's a world record that ought to be shunned.
The center-right parties, on the other hand, usually run for election on lowering taxes. Not to lower them a great deal, but at least roll back the expansion of the last couple of years. At the end of World War II, Bertil Ohlin, leader of the Liberal Party and later Nobel laureate in economics, tried to explain that taxes were too high and needed to be lowered. The tax burden was 18 percent. The ambition is usually to reverse the last year or so of tax hikes. People who dared to suggest larger cuts; reversing, say, the last five or six years of tax hikes, were maligned as cruel, insensitive libertarians without any concern for the welfare of the people.

However, it was always clear that the opposition wanted lower taxes. The man on the street would be able to distinguish between the social democrats and the opposition; the ruling party wanted higher taxes or at least status quo and the opposition wanted lower taxes. Well, no longer.

The conservative party has grown impatient with its unpopularity. After the former party leader was kicked out a year and a half ago, his successor decided to give up the battle for ideas and move the party platform closer to the electorate. The ambition to lower taxes was one thing that was quickly toned down. So far, the move has been reasonably popular among the party members. Since the last election, the party has soared in the polls, up from 15 percent to about 25. No one seems to remember that the numbers were pretty much the same four years ago, when the party still fought for meaningful change.

That sounds like the sort of "Conservative" party that Belinda Stronarch wants to be leader of. A ho hum "us too" socialist party that would simply perpetuate the current intolerable status quo with its stiffling layers of bureaucracy, aversion to freedom and feudal levels of taxation. Sweden is the most contemptable of developed nations. Far too many elites have warm fuzzy feelings about a nation that perpetually hovers on the brink of bankruptcy.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A few thank yous

My thanks go out to Glen Reynolds, the esteemed Instapundit for having linked to the last edition of the Red Ensign Standard. My gratitude is similairly extended towards all the members of the Brigade who linked to it as well. And yes, Doc. Monger your tardiness is forgiven.

A problem too few people have recognized

There is a great article on Tech Central Station about the dramatically low birth rates in the European Union. This is a dire threat to the European's system of governance with their lavish subsidies, pensions, and benifets as a population shrinking with each passing year is not going to be able to maintain the welfare state. Thus when their fertility rate is only 1.34 and in and around that number there are good reasons to be afraid, be very afraid. The Europeans have tried to deal with the problem by proferring all sorts of benifets for child rearing, however, it would seem the continue decline in population would indicate that this regiment of subsidies has been entirely unsuccessful.

But here's the thing. Even though these countries introduced such grants to give people incentives for having children, their fertility rates have continued to fall and remain below replacement level.

According to the British Office for National Statistics, between 1970 and 2000 the total fertility rate for 15 EU countries fell from 2.38 children per woman to 1.48 - or by 38 percent. Belgium, where family allowances were first introduced in 1939, experienced a fall in fertility level of 26 percent. France, so generous in giving all kinds of allowances, has a fertility level 24 percent lower than 30 years earlier. In Germany the drop was 33 percent, in Ireland 52 percent, in the Netherlands 33 percent, and in Spain 58 percent, to a fertility level of 1.23 which is the lowest ever recorded in Europe and causes great concern.

The end result?

Today EU countries worry about low fertility rates because they see in them a threat to the system of pensions and allowances and to their dream of a "social paradise". Therefore they speak of making the elderly work longer or letting immigrants in. They do not perceive a real problem behind the current decrease in population. But it is of no importance that the pensions system will collapse, nor that the welfare state will have problems - in fact, all the better, for it will end sooner rather than later.

The real problem is that too few people mean slower development, fewer inventions, lower economic growth and poorer living conditions. For it is thanks to human beings that we have the internet and computers, washing machines and hair dryers, planes and cars, new and better drugs. Most of the things that make our life comfortable and long were invented at a time when population growth in Europe was at its fastest. Unfortunately, all those who - even in good will - support the family benefit philosophy act against the family itself. They act to the detriment of their own children, however few they will ever have.

This worries me as exactly the same analysis can be applied to Canada. Our fertility rate to my recollection is approximately 1.5. This is well below the replacement rate of two, and far behind the American rate of 2.4. Its a worrisome trend as the demographics of an aging population will ultimately make our current social services untenable and unsustainable, and they will direct affect our standard of living as it will remove the dynamicism of youth from our country. On the other hand I'm in the camp that won't shed many tears over the collapse of socialism. However, I'd prefer to see it phased out to do the least damage to those whose aged states renders them dependant upon it.

So basically, go fornicate and be fruitful your country needs you.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A digression to social commentary

An article in Newsweek entitled Mommy Madness has been bandied about the blogsphere to some extent in the US. The article seems to be little more than a soap box for one woman to air her grievances regarding motherhood, the intransigence of males regarding child rearing, and the lack of assistance proffered by 'society'. Before I venture into bashing this article its most likely necessary to offer a few caveats. Firstly, there is no point calling me misognystic. I simply direct my contempt wherever it seems warranted, just as a direct my respect. I personally consider Margret Thatcher to be one of the greatest political leaders in modern history. Furthermore, being male I really don't have any idea but I tend to assume child rearing is challening and difficult and think alot of people do struggle with what is both a necessary and admirable venture. That being said...

I have no sympathy for the woman who wrote this article in Newsweek. Its simply a self centred airing of imagined grievances based upon self-imposed pretentious and unrealistic standards and expectations. The whole article is full of upper/upper middle class snobbery and I can only snicker at the "stress" that goes with not being sure you're child has the "best" piano teacher or does participate in activities x,y,z. It goes on to complain about how hard it is to juggle careers and children. This is quite true, however, when you read what sort of psychotic notion of parenting they have it would seem most of the misery they experience is purely self-inflicted. They are don't need to regiment their lives. Teach them to read, help them with their homework, sure have them play a sport and learn a music instrument but their life doesn't need to be coreographed and planned with detail normally reserved for a military campaign. Let them watch tv, play with their toys or run around outside...its what kids do. On the other hand just sitting kids in front of the Tv and turning it into the "babysitter" isn't a good idea either. But I'm fairly sure I watched about 3 hours of tv a day until I was 14 and I'm in law school, so I don't think it will rot their mind entirely.

The most amusing thing about the entire article is watching the author try and reconcile the notion that she can have everything she wants out of a career and a family. Sadly, that's not likely to happen, especially if you have unrealistic expectations about both. If your goal is to be "Corporate Princess" and "Supermom" you've created two conflicting goals and you're not going to satisfy either. To be cynical, life to some extent is a zero sum game, nothing is ever going to be perfect and its full of trade offs. The author's solution to this "problem" is state funded daycare...
this seems to be the same solution Canada's "luminaries" have come too. I shudder to think that the state which can't protect us from criminals, indulges itself in corruption and mismanagement on a regular basis thinks itself "competent" to look after children in their formative years. I tend to be following the party line on this one - cut taxes and let families deal with these trade offs as they think best. Rather than creating a program that creates the conditions requiring the program - try letting people deal with it themselves you lousy socialists with your one track mind forever seeking "more government". I'm only mildly optomistic about this program dying in its cradle because the provinces can't be so stupid as to be stuck with another "shared" program where Ottawa interfers and forces the province to pick up almost all the costs. I just don't see that happening when a majority of the provinces are already in deficit.

But back to the article Lileks of The Bleat absolutely savages this article. His response to it is absolutely brilliant, I'm posting alot of it below simply because I couldn't read it and not burst out laughing. In red is the text of the actual article and below it in italics is Lileks response..enjoy although I'd suggest reading the whole thing.

Women today mother in the excessive, control-freakish way that they do in part because they are psychologically conditioned to do so. But they also do it because, to a large extent, they have to. Because they are unsupported, because their children are not taken care of, in any meaningful way, by society at large. Because there is right now no widespread feeling of social responsibility—for children, for families, for anyone, really—and so they must take everything onto themselves.

Imagine that. You have to take the responsibility of your children on yourselves. The day I expect "society" to take care of my child in a meaningful way is the day I give society the right to take her away and do a better job if I don't schedule daily flash-card phonics sessions. I suspect that we are talking about two different groups - those mothers who genuinely need help because they made some horrible decisions and find themselves with many children and no fathers, and those who can't quite strike the perfect balance between Corporate Warrior Princess and UberSuperPerfectRoleModelLove-GusherMom, and hence get, well, excessive and control-freakish. I think the former group needs our help, and the second group needs a big frosty glass of chill-the-hell-out with a kicky pastel umbrella. Proof of the horrors of modern American life follows:

As I write this, I have an image fresh in my mind: the face of a friend, the mother of a first-grader, who I ran into one morning right before Christmas.

She was in the midst of organizing a class party. This meant shopping. Color-coordinating paper goods. Piecework, pre-gluing of arts-and-crafts projects. Uniformity of felt textures. Of buttons and beads. There were the phone calls, too. From other parents. With criticism and "constructive" comments that had her up at night, playing over conversations in her mind. "I can't take it anymore," she said to me. "I hate everyone and everything. I am going insane."

Well. It’s too bad Amazon cannot overnight a sense of perspective, because there are, in truth, tougher situations to find yourself in. I’d like to reserve “hating everyone and everything and going insane” for the moment when I’m fleeing the attack helicopters that have come to wipe out my tribe.

From my experience kids do not require their paper goods to be color-coordinated, unless that means everyone gets the same number of sheets of each color. Which, I hate to relate, can be arranged. And if you can't, and they complain, you tell them to deal with it. Likewise uniformity of felt textures, the absence of which has not caused any eye-gouging fights I’ve seen. But I’m a guy, and hence I will never stay up at night playing over conversations in my mind, something to which some women seem more prone than men. It's an instructive difference. It would seem to suggest an inherant dispositional characteristic that might not respond immediately to minor shifts in public policy.

In a related story Steve of Hog On Ice seems rather irked with something that crept into this Newsweek article a couple times. The notion that men and women are the same and that consequently "men aren't helping". Although he isn't responding to the lack of helpfulness directly..

One of the many unbelievably stupid things feminism teaches us is that men are just pretending to be men. Gays are real. Lesbians are real. Straight women are real. Transsexuals are real. Men, however, are putting on a macho act. Deep down inside, they, too, want to sit around babbling about nothing and watching "The View."

HAHAHAHAHA. Come on. I'd rather kill myself. The differences between men are women are chemical and impossible to change. If you spent a month on testosterone therapy, you'd start thinking and acting a lot more like we do. One of these days, some brave researcher is going to prove that butch lesbians have higher testosterone levels. Then he'll be fired and possibly crucified.

Blogroll Update

I've updated my blogroll to include a number of sites I read with various degrees of frequency. There are a number of links to political satire (mostly american), a few international blogs, additional several right wing blogs and a few token lefty links...because like Fox I'm "fair and balanced" well sort of..well I at least acknowledge the other side exists and has things to say and then proceed to disregard and or refute them.

Harper's questioning the Liberal Human Rights Record has the Left up in arms, Mike Brock Fires back

Apparantly the Liberal media is up in arms about Stephen Harper pointing out the failings of the Liberal Party's human rights record, when they attempt to trumpet it at every possible opporunity. Apparantly we're racists, bigots, intolerant, facists (pick your favourite lefty slander towards conservatives and insert here). My reaction is "they would say that wouldn't they", after all the Liberal Party of Canada and its cronies have never been known for letting facts get in the way of a good argument. But Mike Brock has a stinging rebuke, and I couldn't have said it better myself so I'll leave it to Mike.

Let’s see: Paul Martin campaigned on lies about the Conservative Party; he claimed we were planning on buying multi-billion dollar aircraft carriers, planning on embarking on some neo-fascist takeover of the world in cahoots with George W. Bush, and that we were going to essentially remove the underpinnings of Canada, resulting in some unimaginable and damaging shift in Canada's history that would be irreparable. Now he claims that we are plotting to use the notwithstanding clause of the charter to overturn a supreme court ruling which hasn’t even happened, and that we’re on a mission to curtail the rights of minorities while converting Canada into the planet's first Catholic totalitarian state's. Cheap politicking? How dare they accuse of that, when they've got the subject cornered a-la Warren Kinsella and David Herle?

So we point out their record on human rights, and we note that it was Brian Mulroney who offered a formal apology to Canada's Japanese community, after Pierre Trudeau outright refused to do so, and we're a bunch of cheap politicking racists. The rationalization abilities of the left in this country have no boundaries.

Stephen Harper's remarks on Same Sex Marriage

After reading the Hansard of Stephen Harper's speach on Same Sex Marriage, I can only say that I am profoundly proud to call Stephen Harper the leader of my party. He's presented not only a coherent argument on the subject of same sex but brutalized the record of this embarassment of a government we have and its obfuscation and web of fallacies. The highlight reel follows...

On the Prime Minister's speach

The Prime Minister spoke at length, as we just heard, about rights in the Charter of Rights. I remind the Prime Minister that in our system of government, the Prime Minister does not decide or define our rights. The Prime Minister does not interpret the Charter of Rights. The Supreme Court of Canada does that. He asked the Supreme Court of Canada to endorse his interpretation and it just refused.

On the state of the government

What do we have today? We have no agreement on child care. We have a phantom deal on infrastructure. We have missing policy reviews on defence and foreign affairs. We have none of that famous fixed for a generation in health care. We have holes in federal agencies, the same old democratic deficit in the Senate, unaccountable foundations and, on the first day of a major environmental and economic accord to which the Prime Minister committed this country, we have no plan whatsoever and the Prime Minister does not speak about it. His only speech is on his new-found passion for same sex marriage because it is the only proposal of significance he has been able to lay before the House of Commons.

Traditional Marriage

It will come as no surprise to anybody to know that I support the traditional definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, as expressed in our traditional common law. I believe this definition of marriage has served society well, has stood the test of time and is in fact a foundational institution of society. In my view the onus is on those who want to overturn such a fundamental social institution to prove that it is absolutely necessary, that there is no other compromise that can respect the rights of same sex couples while still preserving one of the cornerstones of our society and its many cultures.

Up until a few years ago, even within the modern era of the charter, Canadian law and Canadian society took for granted that marriage was intrinsic, by definition, an opposite sex institution. So obvious was this that until now a formal marriage statute has never been adopted by Parliament. This view was not even restricted to the numerous faces and cultures that have populated our great country from all corners of the earth, though it has been a universal view among them.

He goes on to quote Anne McClellan in 1999 and adds that:

Today, for making statements that are identical and for identical reasons, members of the government side resort to terms like bigot, reactionary and human rights violators. The hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty of the government and some of its members at this point is frankly staggering.

Fundamentally, what has changed since the government, including the Prime Minister, voted for the traditional definition of marriage in 1999?

On this side, we do not believe that merely on the basis of lower court decisions, upheld only because the government refused to appeal, them that a fundamental social institution must be abolished or irretrievably altered. Only a free vote of the Parliament of Canada is an appropriate way to resolve such fundamental social issues.

On Civil Unions

At the one end there is a significant body of opinion, led today by the Prime Minister, which believes that the equality rights of gays and lesbians trump all other considerations, trumping any rights to religious faith, any religious expression or any multicultural diversity, and that any restriction on the right to same sex marriage is unjustifiable discrimination and a denial of human rights.

At the other end, there is an equally significant body that thinks that marriage is such a fundamental social institution, not only recognized by law but sanctified by faith throughout the world and throughout history, that any compromise in terms of recognizing homosexual relationships is unacceptable.

However, we believe that the vast majority of Canadians believe in some aspects of both and they are somewhere in the middle. They believe that marriage is a fundamental distinct institution, but that same sex couples can have equivalent rights and benefits and should be recognized and protected.

We believe that our proposals speak to the majority of Canadians who stand in this middle ground and frankly, who seek such a middle ground. Our proposal is that the law should continue to recognize the traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, but at the same time we would propose that other forms of union, however structured, by appropriate provincial legislation, whether called registered partnerships, domestic partnerships, civil unions or whatever, should be entitled to the same legal rights, privileges and obligations as marriage.

On the Liberal's alleged human rights record

Quite frankly the Liberal Party, which drapes itself in the charter like it drapes itself in the flag, is in a poor position to boast about its human rights record. Let us not forget it was the Liberal Party that said none is too many when it came to Jews fleeing from Hitler. It was the Liberal Party that interned Japanese Canadians in camps on Canada's west coast, an act which Pierre Trudeau refused to apologize or make restitution for, leaving it to Brian Mulroney to see justice done. Just as it was Mr. Mulroney and Mr. Diefenbaker who took the great initiatives against apartheid, Mr. Diefenbaker with his Bill of Rights, and I did not see a notwithstanding clause in that. It was the Liberal Party that imposed the War Measures Act.

Today it is the Liberal Party that often puts its business interests ahead of the cause of democracy and human rights in places like China. Recently in China it was the member for Calgary Southeast who had to act on human rights while the Prime Minister went through the diplomatic moves.

The Liberal Party has spent years repressing free speech rights of independent political organizations from Greenpeace to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation that might want to speak out at election time. It has consistently violated property rights and has put the rights of criminals ahead of those of law abiding gun owners. The Liberal government has ignored the equality rights of members of minority religious groups in education in the province of Ontario even after international tribunals have demanded action.

On Liberal "Multiculturalism"

All religious faiths traditionally have upheld the belief that marriage is a child-centred union of a man and a woman, whether Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh or Muslim. All of these cultural communities, rooted in those faiths, will find their position in society marginalized.

I believe the Liberal vision of multiculturalism is really just a folkloristic one. The Liberals invite Canadians from cultural communities to perform folk dances and wear colourful costumes, but they are not interested in the values, beliefs and traditions of new Canadians unless they conform to the latest fashions of Liberalism. All races, colours and creeds are welcome in Liberal Canada as long as they check their faith and conscience at the door.

These ladies and gentlemen are the words of a leader. In the other corner we have Mr.Dithers.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Empire Strikes Back! - Oil Traders curb stomp invading Green Peace Protestors

(via Cold Fury)

This comes on the heals of Wal-Mart flipping the bird to its whiny unionizing employees, and its been a good couple of weeks to be a capitalist. Green Peace is a lot of whiny, snivelers who function on nothing more than pseudo-science and breaking the law. Strangely while the left complains about how "fascist" the right is, they seem to think themselves above the law. Kind of strange how that works isn't it? After all you don't see people on the right taking to the streets to try and forcefully coerce anyone from halting their peaceful activities. Yet the "environmentalist" (the active part of that appellation seems to be "mental") and anti-globalization ilk seems to think interrupting peaceful trade and commerce, vandalizing businesses and destroying property is just fine and dandy.

Apparantly Green Peace thinks it can force entry into the International Petroleum Exchange and disrupt its proceedings with sirens, horns and chanting and being physically dissruptive. Apparantly they didn't count on the traders there being young, male and pissed off. Let alone the traders kicking the snot out of these spoiled eco-brats and ejecting them from the building.

WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.

“We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs,” one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”
Another said: “I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot.” Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: “Sod off, Swampy.”

They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.

But they were set upon by traders, most of whom were under the age of 25. “They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”

Mr Beresford said: “They followed the guys into the lobby and kept kicking and punching them there. They literally kicked them on to the pavement.”
A spokeswoman from IPE said the trading floor reopened at 3.10pm. “The floor was invaded by a small group of protesters,” she said. “Open outcry trading was suspended but electronic trading carried on.”

It almost brings a tear to my eye. This is the kind of England that once stood astride the world as a colossus. Finally, whining and mob thuggery gets its just deserts a sound beating and ejection from the premises, let it be a lesson to those anarchic anti-globalization yahoos who think themselves above the law.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Earnscliff and the Finance Department

Monty Solberg, the Conservative finance critic was quoted in the Sun as saying the following:

To illustrate the cozy relationship between the big Ottawa lobby firm Earnscliffe and the federal finance department, Solberg told the Commons, "the inbreeding between Earnscliffe and finance was like something out of the Ozarks. The only thing missing were the straw hats."

And we all know Kinsella, would agree with that.

Speaking of the Sponsorship Scandal

I ran across this picture which I thought was amusingly accurate.

from Le Cornichon

Poetry from Portage - Brian Pallister on Gomery

(via Phantom Observer)

Brian Pallister the MP for Portage-Lisgar is a guy who has alot of fun with his job. Anyone whose met the guy, let alone campaigned for him, will tell you the same thing. After all how many guys wax poetic on public inquiries?

We watched as Judge Gomery said not a peep,
While Jean deftly juggled his balls in his hand,
The former PM showed the meaning of cheap,
A petty and tacky, inelegant man.

Then came the new guy: once Treasury Board Chair,
The question,“That money, now where did it go?”
“I saw nothing, heard nothing, I wasn't there.”
And one never asks if they don't want to know.

Golf Amateurs do it, but Pros never try,
The Liberal game is improving your lie.

Jean meddled with BDC loans, we know why,
Sacked the president; he would have followed the rules,
But now the Shawinigan Street Fighter guy
Claims that ad scam was “hands-off” and takes us for fools.
The PM a detail man when things go well,
Micro-managed his way to the top of this town,
But when leadership's needed, he hides in a shell,
Knowing you cannot prove what is not written down.

Golf Amateurs do it, the Pros never try,
The Liberal game is improving your lie.

NHL Lockout Update - Season Cancelled.

I was wondering if my gloom and doom prediction was going to be made to look foolish yesterday, when the NHLPA agreed to a salary cap of some sort. However, the league and the player's association evidently can't come to an agreement over the level of the cap so the season's cancelled. Although one has to think, did we really need to cancel a season when their now arguing over whether we should have a $49 million dollar salary cap or a $42.5 million dollar salary cap?

The players are looking terribly foolish in this, at least in my eyes. They've been chanting "No salary cap, not ever" since Semptember. Now they've changed their position to simply "we'd like a higher one than the league wants". Everyone could have been saved a lot of time, money and energy if the players had just taken that position in September rather than going through this prolonged bluff. Then the NHL would have had a CBA and a season and all the negotiations would have been over in October. I was sure the Oilers would make the playoffs this year and lose in the first round to Dallas too.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Red Ensign Standard #15

Its been a busy couple weeks in politics, hence its been a few solid weeks of blogging from my collegues in the Red Ensign Brigade. Foreign policy has reared its head and Ensigners have chimed in with their opinions, while the war of words over same sex marriage has continued on albiet at times beginning to resemble a marathon. However, as issues wax and wan there has been a diverse range of opinions throughout the Ensigners.

The Brigade brings together a motley crew of Conservatives in their big and small C varieties, classical liberals, libertarians, moderates, and others whom are best described as right wing or simply malcontent. The golden thread that always unites this group is a profound sense of patriotism, a love of country - love of Canada and the most sincere desire and belief that Canada can do better.

Some of us have been accused of "hating Canada" in the past or labelled as "too pro-American". Yet those who bandy about such accusations fail to fully consider why we remain and work for change, nor do they consider why the idea of more individual freedom, and a nation standing for principal and upon its own two feet is considered "foreign". The idea of integrity, principal, decency, hardwork, freedom and individualism are not "new" to Canada. They are rooted in our past, they are very much part of our collective identity as Canadians. However much the accolytes of Pierre Trudeau wish to white wash over the matter and claim that Canadian identity is nothing more than a few pieces of paper, big government, politeness and everything and anything (multicultualism). That isn't Canada, it never was. Canada has , a history, a past, an identity and it has the Red Ensign. So we must as Burke advised make our maxim "nitor in adversum" (I strive against opposition).

The Red Ensign Standard #15

Rue at Abraca-Pocus has discussed the French Canadian celebration of La Candelora, the existance of this custom at the end of winter was news to me. Rue also ventured into a discussion of the sacred and the profane in the sense of the interaction between monotheisim and supersition.

Absinthe and Cookies is sold on the Fox show "House", points out the UN is "neo-prohitionist", and dares the UN to come get her drink.

Paul at Frozen in Montreal is rejoicing over Howard Dean becoming leader of the DNC. Paul and I seem to agree that that victory couldn't have happened to a more annoying guy. However, Dean does seem to be a bit of a rainmaker when it comes to getting money out of the white guilt crowd so I'm not sure how happy we should be about this yet. Paul also points out in Siberia a tiger and lion successfully mated to give birth to liger. Strange but true? Or simply a rumour that's found its way into the papers..time will tell.

Dirtcrasher at Antroblogogy finds the mob like behaviour at a new Ikea in England ridiculous yet amusing and also discusses ordinance.

John and Dusty at Argghhhh! are ontop of the Eason Jordan story and points out that the blog has primarily become a check upon the punditry and "experts", grasping at any inane statement they make with the tenacity of a bulldog. Dusty is feeling bellicose about the idea of Iran with nukes.

Damian at Babbling Brooks (the Babbler), has a round up and a few insights on Chretien's attempted slight of hand at the Gomery Inquiry. He urges us to keep our eyes on the ball, that millions of dollars were funnelled to Liberal allies in Adfirms who then kicked it back to the Liberal Party, and ignore Chretien's political theatre. Damian also points out that Hugo Chavez is just a younger Castro with oil. Nor does he buy the "suposedly" free and fair elections there where only 1% of the vote was monitored. He also accusses the left of being too willing to offer a free pass to anyone who hates America.

Chris and Dennis at Blue Tory (with Dennis being a silent partner in the blog) have noted the frivolous raising of the minimum wage here in Alberta (where things really are better). Chris of course points out that raising the minimum wage leads to fewer jobs. Chris also wonders how Steven Harper and Paul Martin shall fair in being reaffirmed in their positions as leaders of their respective parties.

Andrew at Bound by Gravity discusses the ethics of Wal-Mart, he believes their well within their rights to close a unionized store which compromises their profit margin. Andrew also makes the very valid point that should we really be trying to drive up the wages of a place like Wal-Mart so people try to make a career of bagging groceries? He implies - no, I concurr. Andrew also takes the criminal justice system to task for being far too indulge of obvious criminal acts.

Huck at BumfOnline compares Lincoln's idealism regarding slavery to Bush's regarding democracy. He also points outs that those persuing the ideal are so often slighted as being "simplistic" he notes that Lincoln suffered many of the same criticisms as Bush. I think Reagan might know a thing about that too. He also points out that the Gomery Inquiry is about to get down to following the money.

Bob and Dana at Canadian Comment relay Bernard Lewis' analogy about the spread of Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia. If the Klan or Aryan Nations controlled Texas and began to endow churches throughout Christendom...a harsh analogy but Bernard Lewis is one of the foremost middle eastern scholars. This seems to follow up a previous comment on the detrimental effect dictatorships have on the world.

The Candepundit remains dormant.

Chris at ChrisCam goes beyond simply condemning Jordan Eason and condemns the entire Davos Conference as an arrogant, elitist exercise. Chris also has mixed feelings over the latest forthcoming royal wedding.

Rebbecca at Doxology relays some facts regarding the definition of marriage, and also has a number of thoughts on Lent.

Darcy at Dust My Broom has an axe to grind with affirmative action programs, he also has a related and scathing post on minorities demanding segregated education.

Steve at Enter Stage Right considers the recent SES poll. He also notes Howard Dean's acclaimation as DNC chair and hopes he will provide a more reasonable direction for the Democrats than his predecessor. Although I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on that one.

Alan at Gen X at 40 has some ruminations on the future of hockey and more specifically Bettman's many failings. He's also a touch upset that the Chrieten government paid $13000 in fees to a consultant to purchase 480 neckties for $46,000.

James at Hammer into Anvil is on a simmilair line of thought expressing disgust with Liberal flunkies collecting outrageous fees to provide trinkets. He also dismisses the notion that Iraq is a "quagmire". was experiencing technical difficulties at the time the ensign was raised.

John the Mad has an insightful post on Lent. He also rages against the media's manipulation of the same sex marriage issue, and its transparent left wing liberal bais. Its a top notch rant, they don't call him "the mad" for nothing.

Just Between Us Girls is taking a break from blogging.

Keith at Minority of One has some thoughts on the history of blogs. He also speculates about Lansdowne Technologies having a sweeter deal with the Canadian government than Haliburton could ever dream about in the US. He also notes that the Canadian blogsphere seems to be leaning towards partisan strife.

Jason at Musings has considered the shaky situation with a nuclear North Korea and comments on the Wal-Mart closure in Quebec in response to unionization. Jason is up for an anti-boycotte, he doesn't really need anything from Wal-Mart at the moment but he's going to buy something as a show of solidarity.

Dr.Funk at Musings of a Canadian Slacker appears to be slacking not blogging.

Myrick considers how rich he on a global percentile.

Nathan of Nathan's Updates from Seoul has a photo tour of Gyeongbokgung as well as some pictures of the Catholic seminary in Seoul.

Curt at NorthWesternWinds has an interesting post on the Left's new view of the social contract. He also has some thoughts on the problem of "progress". Curt also directs us to Jason Kenney's remarks on human rights, and his distaste for the media toadying to Chretien. He has a priceless quote in this last post stating "Y'all need to get out more is all I'm sayin'. There's life outside of Starbucks, The Star and the CBC radio." So true true and we all know exactly the sort of people your talking about.

Alan at Occam's Carbuncle mocks the rational for sex ed and decides that since teenagers are also committing crimes we ought to teach them the "right way to commit crimes". I think that's called social studies Alan where they exort students to join the Liberal Party of Canada. He's also a might bit irked at the provincial government's backslapping advertising over a smoking ban.

Nicholas at Quotulatiousness is in fine form mocking the pretentions of leftist European elitists, after all whom is more deserving of mockery than they? (Jack Layton aside) Nicholas also worries over bioengineering.

Ray at Raging Kraut stakes out a position on SSM, mostly because he's irked that its being used to distract from Adscam and its being rammed down the public's throat. He also has a poigant post on sailing.

Paul of Ravishing Light, turns out to be a former Wal-Mart employee and doesn't understand the fuss over how they treat their employees. He suggests that unionization is simply a socialist thrist for an ideological victory and cheers on the anti-boycotte. He also suggests that Rick Mercier used to be funny until he sold his soul to the government's agenda.

Peter at Rempelia Prime is a big fan of Ted Morton's Court Party thesis. He also notes that Jason Kenney needs a heavy dose of platitudes to sell his message in "Lemming World(Ontario)". He also has some arguments against SSM.

Rightjab is AWOL.

Jay at Shiny Happy Gulag writes a scathing polemic against extending the franchise to 15 year olds. He also rages against SSM and the seemingly endless stream of pet lefty causes. No one ever has to ask Jay how he really feels.

Ben at Skreet Skreet Skreet observes that Bin Ladin's film maker is sueing Michael Moore for using his footage. Does this remind anyone else of the old addage that "evil always turns against itself"? Ben also discusses a recent speaking engagement done by Stockwell Day which he attended.

Stephen Taylor produces some graphs concerning the partisan percentage of political donations given by the CBC board of directors and Via Rail's as well. Unsurprisingly those who recieve from Mother Government, give to Mother Government in monolithic proportions. Stephen also has a few snide words about "GI J...Hostage".

Striving Against Opposition has some of the latest cutting edge commentary on a series of Canadian and international events...(narcisim stiffled). In all seriousness if you want to see what I've been up too scroll down.

Chris at Taylor and Company offers a defense and explaination of social conservatism. He also discusses art.

Jay at the Freeway to Serfdom takes on the various abhorent policies of the Nanny State with his usual zealous libertarian angst. He also wonders how Germany manages to go on with its miserable state of employment and almost complete lack of individual responsibility.

Thomas at the Green Baron has gotten engaged. Congradulations Thomas.

Kate at The Last Amazon is disgusted with Famous Players wading into the SSM when people simply want to be entertained not preached at. She also offers a healthy dose of skepticism towards the current efforts to achieving some sort of progress in the Holy Land. I tend to concur, its too soon to say whether any genuine progress will be had.

The crew over at The London Fog can hardly contain their satirical glee in mocking the fact that 43% of Ontario couldn't determine what they liked most about Dalton McGuinty. They also are holding an intrablog debate on abortion, you can find the opposition too here and in support of here.

The Meatman at the Meatriachy exhorts us all to Wal-Mart solidarity to support that gleaming bastion of capitalism. He also points out that studies show the male brain is 4% faster. We're number 1, we're number 1...goooooo phallus!

The Monger casts Chretien in the role of a doctor and Canada in the role of a defrauded patient. He also directs us to the Christopher Hitchens top 10. Hitchens has to be everyone's favourite lefty, well at least those of us on the right. The good doctor also explains his deep and abiding hatred for Chretien.

The Phantom Observer brings us several amusing remarks from the House of Commons, found here and here. He also has some observations on the waxing and wanning of Canadian foreign policy (mostly wanning).

Ben at The Tiger in Winter is in Katmandu! He has updates on his trip here and here.

Tipper at Tipperography has her take on the forthcoming royal marriage. She also wades into current developments on the Israeli - Palestinian crisis and is mildly cyncial about what's currently going on.

Jaeger at Trudeaupia is bang on in his assessment that a "National Day Care Program" is nothing more than a liberal attempt to cultivate another group of dependents on a government program. Jaeger also snickers at Pettigrew being snubbed in Syria, another victory for soft power!

Temujin of West Coast Chaos describes his hatred of lottery tickets. He also humbly requests divine intervention in the destruction of the UN. Heck if God rid the world of the UN I'd be in church every Sunday giving thanks.

Happy Valentine's Day all, and I'm spent...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The NHL Season is Over - A topical take on what's wrong with the NHL

Gary Bettman said the season was cancelled unless it was clear they were just ironing out the details for an agreement by sunday. Well, its Sunday and I haven't heard any rumblings about a deal to save the season nor have the papers been headlining "NHL Season Saved". Thus I feel reasonably confident that Gary Bettman will trot out tomorrow and announce the season cancelled.

The crux of this whole little Mexican standoff has been whether a salary cap should be imposed to to prevent salaries from balooning. The salary cap is basicaly a devise to save the owners collectively from their own stupidity. The fact that several owners are willing to pay lavish salaries for mediocre players and outrageous salaries for good players has distorted the economics of the game. A cap would constrain the big spenders *cough* New York Rangers *cough* from driving up the league's salaries and forcing everyone else to compete in a manner that's nearly bankrupted some of the small market teams, as well as many of the Sun belt teams.

The owners have come to the point where they've recognized they have a problem. This is good, recognizing you have a problem is always the first step to recovery. Their payroll expensives have become proportionately the highest among major sporting leagues.

The league's numbers indicate that 76 per cent of total revenues last season went to player costs. By comparison, the National Football League spent 64 per cent of its total revenues on player costs, Major League Baseball 63 per cent. About 58 per cent of the National Basketball Association's revenues went to play players.

This particular situation is a function of many other problems which I will outline below.

Television ratings in the US for hockey are also the lowest of the four big sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey).

NHL: 1.1 rating on ABC, 0.47 on ESPN and 0.24 on ESPN2
MLB: 2.7 rating on FOX, 1.1 on ESPN and 0.6 on ESPN2
NBA: 2.4 rating on ABC, 1.3 on ESPN, 0.9 on ESPN2 and 1.4 on TNT
NFL: 9.0 rating on CBS, 9.9 on FOX, 7.1 on ESPN and 11.0 on ABC.

Consequently the tv rights for broadcasting NHL games in the US is the lowest.

NFL cashes in on per year: ABC (Monday night)- $550 million, FOX (NFC)- $550 million, CBS (AFC)- $500 million, and ESPN (Sunday night)- $600 million.

MLB has this: FOX- $417 million and ESPN- $141.8 million

The NBA cashes this: ABC/ESPN- $400 million and AOL Time Warner/Turner Sports- $366.5 million.

Now let’s turn our attention to the NHL: $120 million for their last contract with ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC and this year, a whopping $60 million or half of what was made last year.

Tied in rather intimately with high percentages of revenue directed towards labour and low tv revenues is average player salaries.

NFL- $575,000 (although a lot of additional costs are tied up in signing bonuses)
MLB- $1,003,000
NBA- $2,366,000,
NHL- $1,795,000

Ticket prices are also comparable to other leagues, although the arenas are often not as large (at least not the size of either the NFL or MLB)
2002 figures in US$

NHL $49.86
NBA $50.10
NFL $53.64
MLB $18.86

Average attendance:

NHL - 16,533
MLB - 30,401
NBA - 17,050
NFL - 66,817

By way of a summary, what's wrong with the NHL? Too much money is being spent on players whom are not attracting people to the game. TV ratings are too low to support the level of salary that players are currently demanding. Hence the NHL's player costs have risen to an exorbitant 76% of total costs.

Solutions: The players who feel they would be underpaid under a salary cap could promise to make 3 more people for every one currently watching at home watch. (alright I can't even type that without bursting into laughter) Quite frankly players need to accept they are the poor relation in the major sports leagues and accept that they should be paid accordingly.

1) Salaries must be rolled back substantially. The number the players and NHL have been bandying about is 24%, personally I'd say 40% would likely be in order. Reducing player salaries by 24% would leave the average salary at $1,364,200 while 40% would leave player salaries at a much more reasonable $1,077,000.

2) A hard salary cap - cap the amount a team can spend at $30 million dollars US. Impose completely draconian penalties for violations.

3) Revenue sharing - baseball and football, both far more sucessful leagues than the NHL have revenue sharing systems as they recognize that the large market teams could not function without the small market temas to play against. Consequently I'd recomment at least 33% of the profit at the gate go to the opposition team.

4)Alter the rules of the game - get rid of the trap and obstruction. Its boring to watch, its bad for getting people into the stands and its horrible tv. Adjust the rules to make the game more fast tempo and high scoring.

5) Take a page out of Premier League Soccer's book and involve compensation for player development costs in both free agency and trades.

6) Salary arbitration should be eliminated as it would be incompatible for the most part witha salary cap, and has only done ill to the league.

7) Allow no signing bonuses and or performance bonuses save for winning and or making it to the Stanely Cup to be paid.

8) After doing 1,2,3 and 4 work at expanding the fan base in the US and building a television audience. Currently baseball is laying a beating on hockey in the ratings, there are twice as many baseball games as hockey games and baseball isn't an action packed thrill ride. Not to mention the fact that Football attracts 9 times as many viewers...

9) If the players refuse to recognize their current situation, bring in scabs from the AHL, Europe, and other minor leagues. The third and fourth line regular players will return to their teams almost immediately, while the first and second line players will not return immediately but faced with the decision of making next to nothing in the minor leagues and Europe they will accept the new reality of their situation.

10) Replace Gary Bettman with someone who actually is knowledgable about hockey, and for god's sake don't add any more expansion teams.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Side rant - We can put a man on the Moon but Pizza Hut can't get a Pizza to a University Residence because it doesn't have a Street Adress

This is a diversion from politics and the exercise of my owner personal perogative to be slightly petty. Pizza Hut seems to be using a call centre to place their orders, they also seem to have a people in a call centre who don't have a clue as to what their doing. I live in a residence on a university campus and they can't get a pizza to me because I don't have a street adress.

Them:"Where is that then?"

Me: "It's on the university campus, and a service road leads from the street to it, it does not have a street adresss."

Them: "Where is the university? What's the university's adress"

Me: "You do realize that the university takes up a large number of city blocks and is fairly hard to miss don't you? I happen to be off X street on the campus."

THEM: "Hmm..we need to put in an exact street adress into our system. I'll ask the supervisor."

Me: "Fine"

Them: "Hello, this is the supervisor...our system can't accept an adress without a street number."

Me: "So your basically saying your system doesn't believe where I live exists."

Them: "No we believe you but we can't make our system work."

Me: "You do realize you have competitors who get here just fine and that by doing this your losing business."

Them: "We can't make our computers do that."

Me: "You have a store fifteen minutes from here..."

Them: "Sorry our computer program won't let us."

Me: "Fine, I'll go to your competitors since you obviously can't do something as simple as getting a pizza to where I live."

*Chris then hangs up and phones Dominos who CAN figure out how to get him his damn pizza. Capitalism works.*

Hey Stephen in the next election say "Jean Charest knows he has a silent partner in Paul Martin, I"ll look him in the eye and say no."

Paul Wells, having recovered from cheerleading Chretien, returns to what he's really good at (and the reason we all like him) ridiculing Paul Martin. Wells brings to our attention the rank hypocracy that is involved in Paul Martin's rallying to the banner of public health care, from us "scary Albertans". Apparantly Ralph Klien running his jaw about how public health care isn't working is a dire threat to the system, while the Quebec government presiding over the formation of a parrallel private health care system isn't worth mentioning.

While this does seem consistent with Liberal beliefs regarding foreign policy (talking being far more effective than actually doing anything). Most of us have to wonder how wonder how King Ralph is so appalling in his prognostications while the end result is simply not worth mentioning because its in Quebec.

This is the sort of Liberal hypocracy which grates me and most of Western Canada. Its "okay" for Quebec, but wrong for anyone else. Everyone hates a double standard and there simply isn't anything else to call this.

Wells' reminds us of Paul Martin's campaign accusations against Harper being a "silent partner for Ralph Klein's health care reform."

Ralph Klein is "hoping he'll have a silent partner in Ottawa by the name of Stephen Harper, someone who will not speak up for the Canada Health Act," Martin told a group of health-care workers in Ontario on June 17.

"Well, unlike Stephen Harper, I do care. I will look Ralph Klein in the eye and I will say 'No.' Unlike Stephen Harper, I will defend medicare."

Kind of brings a tear to your eye, don't it.

Alright Paul, break out the warhorse. Guess what the dragon of private healthcare isn't found in Calgary or Edmonton, or even in "Scary Alberta" at all. It happens to be alot closer to where you live. Hey, its even in the city and riding you happen to represent. So go slay the evil, scary dragon of private health care Paul. Really, its in your neighbourhood. So seeing as "you care" do something about it!

Wells directs us to an article in the Montreal Gazzette, which outlines the extent to which private healthcare is flourishing within Montreal.

Montreal has become the private health-care capital of Canada, offering a wide range of diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic services to those patients willing to pay out of pocket to bypass the public system, a Gazette investigation has found.

A parallel health network for the well-heeled and well-connected has emerged in the city in the past five years amid swelling waiting lists in hospitals for MRI scans, orthopedic procedures, almost every type of day surgery, and a shortage of family doctors. Montreal, in effect, is now the mecca of private health in Canada, attracting patients from as far away as Vancouver Island.

"The province that's going to lead the change in the Canadian health system is Quebec, because it's the only province that has the autonomy to do it," said Brian Day, a Vancouver orthopedic surgeon and proponent of private health care.

"The federal government and (Prime Minister) Paul Martin will never hit on Quebec in the way that he will hit on Alberta and British Columbia."

Hippocrits..plain and simple. That's all Paul Martin and the Liberals are, every single one of them. This is simply the proof of it. They don't actually care about the health care system, unless they can exploit it to scare old people with bigotry towards Western Canada.

"Since nobody has clarified the situation, these private facilities are now increasing in number," said Normand Laberge, CEO of the Canadian Association of Radiologists. "Everybody is playing with words, pushing the envelope because the funding of the public system is put at the minimum."

I want this to be an election issue, I want to see the CPC making commercials about it. Expose these lying too faced hippocrits for what they are. A lot of swindlers who pretend to care, and then do and allow exactly what they said they were fighting against - free trade, health care, gay marriage.

Why is this happening - because "Jean Charest has a silent partner in Ottawa, Paul Martin, someone who will not speak up for the Canada Health Act."

We might as well go into the next election and have Stephen say "Well, unlike Paul Martin, I do care. I will look Jean Charest in the eye and I will say 'No.' Unlike Paul Martin, I will defend medicare."

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