Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Iceman Melteth

I need to apologize to my dozens of fans who have had to suffer through my summer hiatus where I have posted very little banter. To be honest, the heat has a destructive effect on my creative process, as Mother Nature designed my body for cold weather survival.

So to those 10-20 people who enjoy reading my opinion on a bi-daily basis, you may direct your anger at the Sun. There have been some stories in the news these past few weeks that have caught my attention, but none that were able to snap my heated induced creative malaise. When the ice running through your veins is the source of your "literary super powers", excessive sunshine acts as a virulent strain of kryptonite.

There was one story today that irked me, to say the least. I congratulate the Liberal Party for finding two seemingly "conflicting statements" by Tory Ministers, but it hardly warrants an urgent open letter by John McCallum. When the Trade Minister says "the recession is over" and the Finance Minister says "be careful, the recession may not be over" it is not front page news! These are not mutually exclusive statements. My official statement on the state of the economy is "many experts believe that the worst is behind us, while others believe it may yet get worse." The probability of outcomes is likely in the neighborhood of 70% worst behind us and 30% chance it gets worse. Neither Stockwell Day or Jim Flaherty was wrong. Day should have said "there is a 70% chance the recession is over" and Flaherty should have said exactly what he did. End of story!

The fact of the matter at hand is that the Global Economy is a complex organism comprised of a million components and thousands of variables that cannot be predicted through any modern combination of algorithms. Statements can be made that have a specific probability of occurring, but nobody can predict the final outcome with absolute certainty. The Chief of the Bank of Canada can come out and say the recession will be over soon; but even that is a guess, however educated it might be.

Then this Kevin Page guy comes out and says that he disagrees with government deficit projections half a decade from now? Sorry Kevin, but nobody can predict government revenues on the other side of this recession. We have no idea how much "made in Canada" will be "bought in America" five years from now, and that will ultimately have the most significant impact on employment and revenue. We also have no idea how this massive social spending experiment being conducted by Obama and Pelosi will affect the strength of that giant economy on which we are dependent for our wealth.

What we are dealing with here in reality are a series of probability based possabilities, and yet I keep seeing the talking heads on my television speaking in absolutes. It seems as though any shmuck who took Introduction to Macroeconomics at University suddenly thinks they are fucking channeling Nostradamus! Relax everyone, the sky is not falling just yet, but then again nothing is certain.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

a Calculation on the Palin Resignation

When I first heard the news that Sarah Palin was resigning her Governorship, my initial reaction was “well I guess this means that she doesn’t want to be President.” The equation was simple, my biggest knock on Palin is inexperience (coincidentally that has always been my biggest knock on Obama, Marxism notwithstanding), therefore giving up her post where she is accumulating relevant experience seems oddly counterproductive. Abandoning her elected office to write a book and embark on a speakers tour does not make her more qualified for the most challenging job on the planet. Furthermore, her resignation speech was awful, suggesting that she was quitting to escape “politics as usual”. Does that imply that finishing the term that you were elected to serve counts as “politics as usual?” If so, I support politics as usual.

When I was first introduced to Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican convention, my initial opinion was positive. My affinity for attractive female politicians notwithstanding, I strongly supported McCain naming a woman as the VP candidate. After Hilary was throttled by Obama, there was an opportunity to appeal to the women who had supported Clinton and were disappointed that a woman would not be running for President. Initially, I was impressed by Palin’s speech at the convention, and I saw a charismatic lady who had the potential to be a political superstar.

As the campaign progressed, my opinion of Palin as a potential VP soured. When she bombed the Katie Couric interview, whether you feel Katie set her up or not, afterwards she was no longer a viable candidate. Then to compound the fracture, the Tina Fey impersonation on Saturday Night Live was so unbelievably precise that it defined the candidate. Because the caricature was that of a bimbo, whether or not Palin would ever be good at the job of President or Vice President; it is irrelevant because her probability of victory in a National campaign has been significantly decimated by biased media coverage and comedic satire.

Where I really lost all confidence in her ability to do the job of Vice President was in the VP debates with Joe Biden. Joey was spouting off this constant stream of senile nonsense, making proclamations that were factually incorrect, and screwing up foreign policy events and situations. Despite how many people watched those debates, Joe Biden got a pass because Palin didn’t know Joe was fucking up. She could not jump with a “Joe, you are wrong” anywhere and instead stuck to her memorized talking points. Then that whole winking thing was just the nail in the coffin. Do I think that Palin is smart enough to be President, no. But I can say with 90% confidence that Sarah Palin is more intelligent than Joe Biden, whom I believe to be functionally retarded.

Now that Palin is no longer governor of Alaska, I suppose that her true intentions will start to unfold over time. If she is convinced that she can run for President, and that quitting her elected post is the best way to accomplish that objective; I would tell her that she is wrong and while she might have a future in politics, she will never be elected on a national ticket. Of course, opinions on this matter are divided on the right. For example, two very conservative female pundits, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter had very different opinions on Palin’s resignation. Coulter is convinced that it is a brilliant move, but as a disclaimer note that Ann really has drank the Palin Kool-Aid and remains convinced that Palin is a viable Presidential candidate. She is like those Japanese soldiers marooned on distant islands after WWII who didn’t know the war was over and believed that Japan would eventually win. I think Coulter has been losing her mind over this past year, just like Glenn Beck. Ingraham on the other hand advised Palin to fire the advisor that advised this action. Karl Rove seemed confused by the decision and warned that Palin was taking a considerable risk.

If she wanted a bright future in politics, she should have at least finished her first term as Governor. Quitting in the middle of the term cannot be spun to me under the guise of “making a difference”. That may get Ann Coulter’s panties wet, but I am not so easily ensnared.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Funeral for a Fiend

I hope now that this memorial tribute concert has passed, we can soon get back to the standard news cycle of military coups, fraudulent elections, and relevant current events that actually matter. While I am nearly at the end of what I want to say about Michael Jackson, I just have one final rant because I feel that we should set this idolatry into its proper context at the beginning of the “post-MJ legacy”. And please, would people stop putting Al Sharpton on TV! I think he is now officially on my list of people that “I will never listen to a word you have to say ever again” between Michael Moore and Janice Dickenson. He is trying to profiteer on the death of this icon, praising his character despite what the majority of people believe to be true.

Evidently my prior pleas for the general public to end this fortuitous idol worship in the death of Michael Jackson have fallen on deaf ears. I watched parts of the funeral concert, and listening to these celebrities and fans celebrating the life of a likely child molester was frustrating and nauseating. They invited Usher to sing a song, but wouldn't R Kelly have been far more important for a pedophilia tribute concert? I listened to Stevie wonder say that because God has taken Michael away from us, he must have a special plan for him. Oh really? What plan might that be, burning in Hell? Does God have a special fire pit to cook those combustible hydro carbons of which Jacko is made?

While millions of devoted Jacksonites are eager to worship his art and celebrate his life, I am more interested in opening up some America’s Most Wanted cold case files and playing connect the dots. What I keep hearing, most loudly from Al Sharpton, is that we should disregard the dark and embrace the art. In my humble opinion, when an artist secretes more dark matter than a coal fired power plant, we must not ignore the evil. Instead we should be analyzing what he did, what created the dark side of Michael, and present a final analysis to parents such that they may avoid destroying the lives of their own children in a similar manner.

I felt no empathy watching Brooke Shields sobbing about all the Reindeer Games that her and Wacko Jacko used to play. Infact, I was thinking that it would be appropriate to gather former victims of child molestation by that gloved hand in a room with a camera, and watch how they react to Brooke’s fairy tale account of that sick, twisted freak. The man was a gifted artist, and I will always be open to discussions on how his art was an evolutionary turning point in music history, but whenever I see people praise the humanity of the individual, I raise an eyebrow. He was influential, but he sure as hell ain't no patron saint.

And to Al Sharpton, discussing the uniting impact Michael had on the black community, here is a fantastic clip of Chris Rock telling the story the way it is. Also if you have never seen this bit by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog from Conan, this is also hilarious.

Monday, July 6, 2009

the Canadian Union of Public Employees

I concede that once upon a long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away during the heady days of the Wild West at the dawn of the industrial revolution; Unions did serve a moderately useful purpose. This was of course until we had a Ministry of Labour and an evolved legal system to ensure that workers are treated in a manner consistent with the Constitution. We now have Police and Government officials who enforce the labour code and ensure that we don’t send newly landed immigrants running into caves with a quart of nitro.

Nowadays, the primary purpose of Unions is to act as a collective bargaining agent. They negotiate compensation packages for their membership that rewards tenure over talent, and they erect barriers that inhibit the hiring and firing of employees. In the private sector, I support the right of workers to unionize. I feel that unionization is a hindrance to good business, but in a competitive market I as a consumer have the right to choose a lower cost item. I am no fan of the CAW, but whatever deals they suckered GM and Chrysler into signing does not matter to me, I drive a Toyota and get a better product at a cheaper price. I do get upset when the government buys ownership in GM, because under those circumstances the autoworkers union transform from a private sector union to a public union. I’d prefer that GM do the dodo.

As a consumer, I enjoy a wide variety of choices when choosing a product or service. If a particular product is crap because it was made by an untrained union worker who knows he can’t be fired, or if it costs too much because the union extorted an absurd contract from management; then I can simply choose an alternative product. Where I have accumulated a critical mass of fervent contempt is with public unions who have a monopoly over the supply of labour to critical services. They are then able to exploit our dependency on their monopolized services to engage in extortion by abruptly removing that essential service from our lives.

If the Telus workers want to strike, I can just buy a Rogers phone (which I did). But if CUPE decides to pull the plug from garbage collection, the option of going to the counter and requesting an alternative does not exist. Then once the trash starts pilling up on the streets, they take it a step further and attempt to blockade private dumping sites; which is a transparent action proving that they want to enforce suffering of the citizenry who will be paying their salaries when they are able to extort a better deal from the Government. Resolution is expedited by Government capitulating to obscene Union demands.

In addition to the deadweight loss produced by the monopolization of a labour force or industry, public employee unions are lashing tax payers when they successfully extort these voluptuous contracts from Governments. This leaves the governments with the dilemma of either raising taxes or cutting costs elsewhere (such as law enforcement or education). Do we really need a united assembly of garbage men to compete for scarce public resources? I say let’s encourage the private sector to get in the trash collection business to compete for contracts with the gluttonous CUPE.

Where have you gone Mike Harris, Toronto turns its lonely eyes to you…