Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hockey Night in Canada

While I have been hard at work railing against the CBC, I would like to take a moment and tip my hat to the one CBC television franchise that I watch and enjoy, Hockey Night in Canada. While TSN has a superior product in every way imaginable, the one thing that they don't have is the Don. It is to the point where I will often tune in to Coach's Corner without even watching the miserable Leaf game surrounding Don Cherry. The biggest problem with HNC is that the Leafs draw the highest ratings because of the plurality of their fan base, but they have sucked really badly for several years now. I can't watch HNC because Maple Leaf hockey stinks. It was hilarious when they lost the iconic theme song to TSN.

With that in mind, what CBC television shows do you watch? I am trying to get an idea of what is worth saving over there. I could have included none of the above as a poll option, but I would like to get a sense of what has potential value. So if the question is not what do you like the most, which do you loathe the least? I strongly suspect that Hockey Night in Canada accounts for a very large chunk of CBC revenues. I would like to know if any of these programs are actually turning a profit. The 2005 Auditor General report does not delve into which franchises generated their $547 million in revenue, but they were generally descriptive on expenditures. It is not yet clear if Newsworld conducts "in and out" expenditure dumping on local affiliates, but I have a strong suspicion. There is no other way they can produce all that content for 7% of the cost of the main channels.

Ironically, I worked the night shift at GM Place for two years and spent quite a lot of time around the Hockey Night in Canada production team. I wanted to work for the Orca Bay franchise so badly that I accepted a job as a janitor. I remember being trained on my first shift and the guy training me said "I bet right about now you wish that you'd gotten an education?" I said "I have an honours degree in Mathematical Economics." He looked at me confused and said "then what the hell are you doing here???"

"I want to work for the Canucks and I did my honours thesis on the Cost of Human Capital in Professional Sports."

I resigned after two seasons of picking up garbage after coming to the realization that nobody is ever promoted from the Housekeeping Department to the front office. But I cleaned up after the CBC production team for two years because I had a dream. That Good Will Hunting bullshit doesn't happen in real life!

Watching the CBC so you don't have to!

I have long mused that one of my lots in life is watching the CBC so you don't have to. That billion dollar baby of tax payer’s money that you might not watch, but you bloody well pay for! During a time of economic hardship and budgetary deficits in both private homes and public governments, we need to start discussing ways to trim the fat from an aged bureaucracy that will often promote its own self-interest above the public good. Let me look into Terry Milewski's expense account before we start talking about raising the sales taxes. Can somebody tell me how to do a freedom of information act request for CBC financial records?

The CBC costs 3 times more than it makes, and it relies on a billion dollars in parliamentary appropriations to cover the shortfall. The longer that we have lived in Conservative minority governments, the more the CBC has shifted its narrative to partisan cheerleading for the political party most generous with "parliamentary appropriations." It has progressively degenerated into a group of bureaucrats lobbying for the party that pays them the most money with the least amount of oversight. As the wise philosopher Biggie Smalls used to say "shoot first, ask questions last; that's how most of these so called gangsta's pass!"

In 2000 the Auditor General report on the CBC demanded greater accountability on cost oversight. The Heritage Minister agreed, and nobody did anything about it. The Auditor General reported again in 2005; "The Corporation itself has little control over its accountability structure. We therefore brought this issue to the attention of the Minister of Canadian Heritage after completing our special examination report in 2000. The recent review of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recognized the need to ensure the clarity of the mandates of the agencies and the programs that support Canadian broadcasting. The response of the Minister of Canadian Heritage agreed with the report of the Standing Committee on this matter. To date, no change has been made to the current accountability structure."

Cost accountability at the CBC was not a priority for past Liberal governments, so is it any wonder that the content has shifted to promoting the people in charge during the good ole days of no cost oversight? The decision to put a partisan amateur like Evan Soloman in Don Newman's old chair was a clear signal of the "strategic direction" of the Board of Directors. One of my New Year's resolutions was to get E-Solo fired. What better way than to write a book about the CBC content and finances? Whether I can get a book deal, or have to write it and publish it myself, this is it. I would like to take suggestions for a few webpolls I'd like to run this week.

Best Book Title: Thus far I have: Watching the CBC so you don't have to. Dude, where's my billion dollars? My journey to the dark side. Soloman's Bane. Auditting the CBC, where have all our loonies gone? etc

Best Chapter Title: I am fishing for ideas for specific subjects and events that I should be investigating. Perhaps Heather Mallick and the siren songs? Protest-gate 2010, a love story. Harvey Cashore, the expense account from Gulliver's Travels. Mercer and Rae, a love story. Losing the HNC theme song. Seducing Don Martin. etc

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single webpoll...

What should be the subject of the Iceman's first book?

The CBC (66%)
Environmental Marxism (30%)
Ignatieff (3%)

P.S: for those who would like me to write a book about Ignatieff or environmental Marxism, don't worry, both will be re-occurring themes in my book about the CBC agenda.  And I plan to design the book in a similar format to Glenn Beck's Arguing with Idiots, with pop up type ad ins, including various reader comments on specific issues.

Shaking up the Maple Leafs

I did not expect to wake up this morning on my first non-football "Lazy Sunday" in months to see that the Calgary Flames had traded Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here I had been under the impression that Phaneuf was untradeable, that his combination of physical strength and offensive talent are so unique that when you get a player like him, you keep him. Having said that, it seems that Phanoof has gotten worse each season that he's been in the NHL, suggesting that his body has paid a price for all that hitting, or his competitive spirit is diminishing. I was shocked that he did not make the Olympic team, but in hindsight when you parlay that with them dumping Dion on the Leafs, you have to wonder. Flames fans should be pleased with what they received in return as White and Stajan are quality young players who have yet to reach their ceiling while Hagman and Mayers are useful depth players.

My friend the Leaf's fan just sent me a text message. He's pretty juiced about this deal, but there again he has endured so much pain and suffering in recent years that any Oasis in the desert looks really tasty. His son is 2.5 years old, and despite dad's best efforts the little rascal is already a Canucks fan. The other day my friend turned on a Leafs game and his child proclaimed "this hockey stinks!" My buddy said "I didn't know whether to laugh or spank him." I responded with "this is probably for the best. You live in Vancouver and if he becomes a Leaf fan he'll be teased in school and develop a passive-aggressive personality disorder. Besides, Leafdom is a tortured life, as you well know!"

The Toskala-Blake for Giguere doesn't mean a whole lot to anyone and looks more like a salary shuffle than anything else.  As a life long Red Wings fan, I've really stopped paying attention to the regular season.  I just say "wake me up for the playoffs!"

CBC 2010: The Year of the Audit

I am delighted to inform you that according to the Broadcast Act, the CBC is due for a "special examination of its financial and management control and information systems, and of its management practices" and I have downloaded and read the very informative 2005 Auditor General report. In 2004-05 the CBC reported operating expenses of over $1.5 billion dollars (which excludes "capital investments") and revenues of $547 million with the remaining 1 billion dollars approved by parliamentary appropriations. The CBC reports 1.5 billion in assets (62% of that equipment), and 1.6 billion in various liabilities (it states that there are 1.6 billion in liabilities but does not discuss what they are). The CBC also received additional parliamentary appropriations of $100 million in capital funding. In March 2005, the Corporation had about 9,700 full-time employees. They spent $154,639 per employee and generated $56,391 of revenue per employee.

Basically you have a news/entertainment entity able to generate half a billion dollars in revenue, spending 1.5 billion at a price tag to Canadians of a billion dollars. The structural flowchart of The Corporation's expenses indicates 74% goes to the "main channels", 18% "support to programming", and 8% to the "wholly owned specialty channels". An anonymous commentor claimed on a previous post that as "wholly owned", Newsworld does not (or perhaps is not allowed to) receive tax dollars, aka "parliamentary appropriations".

The 24 hour news networks claim an operating budget of $69 million dollars, compared to $884 million for the "main channels" television division. I watch more CBC Newsworld than probably 95% of Canadians. You're telling me that entire operation runs for $69 million dollars? The only way that is even remotely possible is if they dump off the bulk of their content expenses on the main channels. Ergo if you see a CBC news truck anywhere in Canada, it is almost certainly a local affiliate footing the bill in the "main channels" division even if their content is shown exclusively on Newsworld. What exactly are the legal barriers between "wholly owned" and "parliamentary appropriations"? I'm curious.

On the revenue side, they report $322 million from advertising and $225 million from other sources such as cable subscription fees, program sales, specialty channels, facilities rentals, and interest. Admittedly the Auditor General "relied on internal audits of the Corporation's capital planning process and revenue generating activities"; ergo they relied on CBC self reporting. It does specify on page 8 that "two 24 hour news and information television services financed by cable subscriptions and advertising revenue" suggesting that Newsworld is supposed to pay for itself.

The CBC is governed by a 12 person Board of Directors. It may please you to know that "the Board assessed its own performance in 2004; directors were generally satisfied with current practices" and "the Board is responsible for setting and approving the CBC strategic direction. The Corporation's strategic direction and key priorities are identified in the Corporate Plan."

Hmmm, here's a nice quote from part 62, page 17. "The Corporation itself has little control over its accountability structure. We therefore brought this issue to the attention of the Minister of Canadian Heritage after completing our special examination report in 2000. The recent review of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recognized the need to ensure the clarity of the mandates of the agencies and the programs that support Canadian broadcasting. The response of the Minister of Canadian Heritage agreed with the report of the Standing Committee on this matter. To date, no change has been made to the current accountability structure."

On page 23 it gets even more interesting with a mandated list of six performance indicators that the CBC are required to track in order to maintain quality of service. These include: 1) Weekly Reach, number of people who use each service each week 2) Weekly Share, percentage of all viewing time captured by each service 3) Essential Service, the percentage of adult Canadians who agree that it is essential that the service provided by the Corporation is available to Canadians 4) Satisfaction, the percentage of adult Canadians who agree that they are satisfied with the programming.

Excellent! I am overjoyed that the CBC tracks that data. Now where do I find it? Guess what guys, soon Stockwell is going to be signing the cheques (figuratively if not literally)...enjoy...

Here we go, on page 27 they present the Nielsen ratings from 1997 - 2005. CTV crushed the CBC. Global was marginally better. No distinction was made between Newsworld and the main channels, and there were no ratings for individual programming.

Here is a very interesting quote from page 37 "In our previous reports, we often stressed the importance of carrying out internal and external benchmarking of costs. In the current examination, we have seen no evidence that these activities have been carried out. The Corporation told us that it had attempted such internal analysis, but there were too many operating differences between the networks to make it feasible. As a result, it saw no benefit in such an exercise. The Corporation needs to be able to perform such analysis to assure management and the Board that the Corporation has effective operations and uses resources economically and efficiently." and "In our view, the Corporation needs to ensure that better information is available to understand the full financial implications of decisions and that the mechanisms for financial accountability exist and are used."

Oh, then on page 39 "about 90% of the Corporation's staff is unionized."

That explains a lot.

Hmmm, on page 41 "it has two large production facilities in Toronto and Montreal."

That also explains a lot.

There, I'm done reading all 49 pages. I feel like I should be awarded some kind of prize. This post is already long enough. I will have to save some of my analysis for later.  In the meantime, I pass the microphone to you...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Sum of all Affleck's talent = Zero

I am sitting here watching Ben Affleck trying to pretend to be a CIA analyst, and I want to ask the question; who is the worst actor alive today? Not who you dislike the most, but which actor has the least amount of talent of all the big box office draws? Keanu Reaves certainly belongs in the conversation. I have long believed that Nick Cage has talent, but have you seen Windtalkers or Bangkok Dangerous? Who do you see on television or in the movies that makes you think to yourself; this proves that anybody can do anything for a living if you find yourself in the right spot at the right time?

Who has made the most money with the least amount of talent? I would nominate Arnold Schwarzenegger, if not for his remarkable ability to play an emotionless robot. The only time I have ever laughed because of Dane Cook was the Mad TV parody of him. Then there are actors like Ashton Kusher who are good at being funny, but terrible at dramatic roles. Have you seen the Guardian? Some actors were once great, but then fade into shadow. Pacino has not made a decent film since the Devil's Advocate. I stopped watching 88 minutes about 22 minutes in and went back to the video store to exchange it.

I have been spending so much time discussing protests, biased public broadcasters, and constitutional reform that I figured I would lighten things up with a discussion of terrible acting inspired by watching Ben Affleck stumble through Jack Ryan in the Sum of all Fears.  I would like to do a "worst actor" poll if you have more ideas.  Now if you'll excuse me I have a 2005 Auditor General's report to read.  The next report is due for...this year.  That will be interesting...

The Broadcasting Act requires the CBC to have a special examination of its financial and management control and information systems, and of its management practices carried out at least once every five years.

How much did the CBC spend covering protest-gate?

As a public institution, are private citizens allowed to audit how much the CBC is spending on various projects? Because I would sure like to know. I'd love to know how much money Soloman and O'Malley are spending, where they are spending it, what is getting expensed, and I WANT RECEIPTS! I have an honours degree in Mathematical Economics and I enjoy doing a little forensic accounting as a hobby in my spare time. Could somebody please direct me to where I can find this information?

While the left is spending its time setting up and operating websites for bureaucrats to complain about government anonymously, where is the website showing me every last penny that Kady O'Malley spent in her career at the CBC? Moreover, how much did they spend covering the self promoted prorogation protests? They had teams on location at virtually every protest big and small. They were promoting them in advance, telling people on television that if they go to this location they will be on TV. What was the final price tag of covering this manufactured event?

I sure asked a lot of questions in this post, but that's because I'd like to know the answers to them. The CBC is very concerned about the size of the deficit. I’d like to help you find some ways to trim the fat.

I'd also like to know how much revenue the Soloman Show generates, and how much money the franchise burns through and what they spend it on. Inquiring minds would like a little more transparency.

And don't get me started on the documentary infomercials they are starting to run about the Yes Men as a lead in to the Olympics where they are clearly planning a stunt...

I'll save that for another post.

HOW LONG WILL EVAN SOLOMAN KEEP HIS JOB ON THE CBC'S POWER AND POLITICS?

Honestly I can't believe he has a job (63%)
Solo is an immortal bestowed on us from Mount Olympus (18%)
one year (11%)
one month (5%)

Flash Mobs

The events of recent weeks are a clear indication that the left has developed a new tactic in agenda persuasion now known as "Flash Protests". Through their beloved "social media" they are now quickly able to mass small groups of people to spontaneously show up in public places or at public events, take their own pictures of themselves, and then quickly disperse. Kady O'Malley was delighting in the new tactic today, proclaiming that even ten people with signs at any given location can influence a negative spin on some government action. Even if only ten loons show up, the CBC can manipulate camera angles to present the illusion that there is more opposition and anger than exists in reality.

I have a pretty good understanding of the logistic of these tactics. There are a select number of "field marshals" that identify the events that they feel protestors should attend, and other comrades pass that on to the demographic of loons who enjoy showing up in public to complain about the government. It isn't rocket science. There is an information and command structure that influences the infrastructure of detractors, and media organizations like the CBC openly facilitate their agenda by promoting certain events in advance.

The left is very excited about their new tactic. The claim is that they can use it to disrupt government governance while spin doctors like O'Malley work diligently to keep the issues she's mad about active in the public sphere. In my opinion, they know not what they do; and they are risking alienating themselves from the center by giving a megaphone to their most rabid supporters. In the meantime, these clowns are walking a thin line between legal and illegal, and we should be ready to shine a light on any stumble to the wrong side of the law. The people on whom the Canadian left is now relying to advocate their agenda have big mouths. This is a slippery slope that the left are running across like Forrest Gump.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Did Belinda Cost Hillary the Presidency?

I doubt that I'm the first person to ask this question, but it is a legitimate question to ask. We know that Hillary Clinton's campaign vetted the possibility that Bill was engaged in a romantic relationship with Belinda Stronach. Vanity Fair wrote an article about the alleged relationship, an article which seems to have magically vanished from the Internets. There is no concrete evidence that they were anything more than friends, unlike in the case of Monica Lewinsky's dress. All that is known for certain is that they met several times in public for dinners and events, and that many who saw them together noted that they appeared to be affectionate. All I know is that if you are Bill Clinton and your infidelity has been proven in the past, you may not want to frequently meet the hot younger blonde for intimate meals when your wife is preparing to run for leader of the free world; especially when your initial encounters led to speculation of “these two seem to really like each other”.

I did an extensive Google search, and most of the grumblings back then on this issue were coming from Liberals and Democrats. There was the belief among some pundits that if the allegations were true, then it should be released before the Primaries. Thus they dispatched their own investigators to determine if they were true and they were not able to conclusively confirm that an extra marital affair had indeed taken place. At least one of them reported a likely possibility, if not an absolute certainty. This then begs the question, did Hillary lose any significant supporters from within the Democratic Party prior to the Primary process on the fear that there was some probability of a second Monica Lewinsky scuttling the entire party during a Presidential race? That even if no affair had taken place, a number of influential Democratic insiders may have defected to the Obama camp before Iowa over this particular concern.

At the start of the Primary process, I was quietly rooting for Obama on the Democrat side because it seemed like the cool thing to do. All my friends were doing it. But after he all but locked it down on Super Tuesday, I began listening to what he was saying and I took a moment to forecast Obama's vision of a brave new world; and suddenly magically I was yearning for Hillary. I was never confident in McCain, and I would take any Republican over Hillary; but any candidate for any party increases their probability of winning power by winning the right to be on the ballot. You might want an Obama to win the Primaries if you think it gives Conservatives a better chance of winning, but then you're stuck with him if McCain blows the campaign.

I remember a conversation that I had with a fellow Tory back in the days when the Liberal Party of Canada actually elected their leadership, before the dark times of bloodless coups. My friend asked me who I wanted to win, Rae or Ignatieff? I said Iggy. He said he thought Bob Rae gave the Tories a better chance of winning. I quickly responded "yes, but if something catastrophic happens during the campaign, then you'd be stuck with Bob Rae, and then you'd experience the sum of all fears." If indeed the allegations of a relationship, true or not, between Bill and Belinda cost Hilary the Democratic ticket that would actually be kind of sad; because I watched that State of the Union Address this week, and my "spider sense" rocked me like hurricane...

If you knew McCain was doomed to fail, whom would you rather have? Obama or Hillary?

Elizabeth May on the Senate

With the Senate making the big news today and having watched the NDP critic demand abolition, I was curious to see Elizabeth May's take on the Senate issue. A Google search later and the best I could find was a brief reference to the Senate on the Green Party's website from 2006.


"The Senate is just one piece of the very complicated web that makes up our democracy," added Green Party leader Elizabeth May. "To tinker with it in isolation from other democratic systems, and without an appreciation for the many functions and long history of the Senate, is dangerous to say the least."

The Green Party supports the existence of the Senate, but advocate proportional representation of all political parties in the upper chamber. Ergo, there needs to be more Greens in the Senate, and Elizabeth May is their elected leader. The assertion is that we need to overhaul our democratic system in order to respect our democratic traditions. The Senate may be too complex to reform, so appoint more Greens and we're good to go?

The question is whether her treaty with Dion passes to Ignatieff, or if she will have to negotiate a new treaty with Iggy (or possibly already has)?

A few weeks ago I ran a poll on the Senate.

CANADIAN SENATE?

Elect it (71%)
Abolish it (24%)
Hands off it (4%)

Obama Partying Like It's 1984!

This week I decided to rent the film 1984 with Richard Burton to remind myself of this pillar of political literary opinion. When my class read the book in school, I was not interested. I just skimmed the Coles Notes and moved on. I had never seen the film version, and it took all of thirty minutes for me to see several parallels with modern Liberalism. Now all I can see is President Obama and the Democratic Party who want to inflate and grow "Big Brother". Who'd have predicted that this Orwellian torpedo fired at the right wing would one day mirror what the Liberal movement would eventually become?

Obama's most passionate supporters closely resemble that audience of people in the opening sequence in their actions and published opinions. How delicious the irony that the Liberal movement would one day become the very same caricature that they painted of their opponents once upon a time? They promote big government like Orwell, food rationing, they promote controlling the message like Orwell, and they basically predict 2010 like it is 1984.  Perhaps we should have a modern Liberal writer like Mike Ignatieff write a book titled 2084?

Here are some of the quotes directly from the film:

"April 4th, 1984.


I think to the past or to the future, to an age where thought is free; from the age of big brother, from the age of the thought police, from a dead man, greetings."


"Watch me. There brother, that's what I want. Anyone under 45 is perfectly capable of touching his toes."


"The proletarian won't count, they're animals"


"Double plus good this. Do you know, I don't think there's a single piece of meat in this stew? Looks like meat, tastes like meat, it isn't meat at all. Double plus good."



"Freedom is slavery! Ignorance is strength! A triumph of will power over the orgasm! As a rally of the anti-sex league in Victory Square tonight held to celebrate a 50% decrease in civil marriages"

On that note, might I plug a fantastic book by Jonah Goldberg? It ties everything together. Oh, and the indoctrination of children in this film is equally disturbing, yet the focus of modern Liberals.


"PM poised to seize control of Senate"

At least that is what Daniel LeBlanc was writing this evening at the Globe and Mail. As Daniel writes:


Prime Minister Stephen Harper will pad the five vacancies in the Senate Friday with Conservative appointees, tilting the balance of power towards his party and gaining an upper hand in upcoming legislative battles.

That is cutting edge news from one of Canada's top national newspapers. When I look at the Globe and Mail, I see plenty of Liberal Party cheerleading. Once upon a time, I enjoyed the Globe and Mail, but I began to tune them out when Torstar bought up a big bundle of G and M ownership. I thought to myself, "this will have a damaging long term impact on their journalism." When I visit their website and their comment sections, I see that it has been overrun by the militant left of the "new media internets", and I view their dismissal of Rex Murphy as a telling "canary in the coal mine."

Is this just a matter of the Globe losing its "right minded readers" to the National Post and catering to their new audience, or is this the deliberate initiation of an anti-Conservative agenda? I suspect that it is a little bit of both, but I do respect the few good men and women that remain on their payroll like Norman Spector.

I will be watching...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Ekos Being Green

I decided to do a mathematical investigation into polling numbers in the month before and the month after the last time Canadians actually voted. Now that EKOS is all the rage at the CBC, it made sense to investigate their performance around the last interval where Canadians physically went to the polling booths and voted. I gathered all the polls for Nanos, Angus Reid, Harris Decima, Ipsos Reid, and even Donolo's alma mater Strategic Council. I bundled them together with a 3 point moving average and then juxtaposed that over the EKOS polls.

The first thing I noticed is that when people polled for EKOS, it was really easy being Green. In the month prior to the election, the Green Party's moving average for all the pollsters was 8.9%. Nanos averaged 7.7%. EKOS averaged the Green Party at 10.9%. On October 14, 2009 6.8% of Canadians voted Green. You may have noticed last week that the Green Party was boasting that EKOS was projecting them to win a seat if an election were held today. On Jan 7 2010 EKOS had the Green Party at 13.4% nationally. The Green Party cites Jane Taber writing about it, thus it must be accurate.

I did a Google search for "EKOS Green Party" and of the 9,000 hits most were blog posts boasting about the Green surge at various points in history. I would like to know if the Green Party has ever hired EKOS to do market research. I can't prove whether the pool of people they query are more likely to be Green than other firms, or if EKOS deliberately manipulates their results. What can be proven is that EKOS favours the Green Party significantly more than the population of Canadian polling firms. On their Wikipedia page, there is a claim that EKOS is the number 1 pollster for the Government of Canada, but a citation is needed.

On the matter of the Conservative Party, from Sept 23 to Oct 3 2009 EKOS undervalued the Tories by an average 2%. From October 4th to October 12 they overvalued the Tories by 1%. The day before the election, they had the Tories at 34.8%. On Election Day 37.6% of Canadians voted Tory. Draw your own conclusions.

New poll has Conservatives at 94% support

A new poll being conducted today by Iceman Decibal Research has the Conservative Party of Canada at 94% support nationally, with the Liberal Party trailing desperately with a mere 4% of voter intent, the Greens and NDP are down to less than 1%. The data suggests that if an election were held today, the Tories would win every single seat in the House of Commons. All the opposition party leaders are poised to lose their jobs, and should be hard at work organizing new leadership conventions. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a clear indicator of the government doing a magnificent job and that they should unequivocally stay the course.

Of course if you haven't guessed it by now, I am doing a parody of myself (except for that last sentence, which came from the heart). Why? Seeing today that EKOS is doing "exclusive" polling for the CBC is mildly concerning. EKOS is notorious for using internet polling to juice their numbers, and as we have seen in recent years the left has increasingly taken to the internets to engage in their political warfare. I do frequent web polling and treat it as an unscientific sampling of my audience's opinion, not news. Its purpose is to allow visitors to see how other visitors feel about any given question. But run a poll on which party you support and you will get a sampling of your audience, okay Evan? Originally I put this particular poll up because the Facebook loons were hoarding into my site like hungry orcs, but they stopped visiting right around the time I launched it. Too bad, I'm really going to miss those kids. Their online juvenile delinquency was enlightening if not enjoyable.

The bottom line is that I feel EKOS is getting more attention than it deserves. Trust me, if they are doing exclusive polling for the Soloman Show (I hope to hell the CBC is not paying them tax dollars for it), then I smell a rat. It is entirely possible that the Liberals have slipped ahead of the Tories within the margin of error, but I also remember less than a year ago EKOS had the Liberals in majority territory. It is really cool to have an archive.

As I wrote:

Ignatieff's Poll Dancing
Saturday, April 18, 2009

It is safe to assume that Michael Ignatieff is feeling pretty good about himself right now, as recent poll numbers put him within striking distance of a majority government should the trend line continue. This week’s Ekos Poll has the Liberals at 37%, the Conservatives at 30%, and the NDP at nearly 16% nationally. If these numbers are accurate, it would suggest that that the Tories have lost nearly one million voters in only the past few months, many of those in the past few weeks. Most of that support has shifted to the Liberals, while the NDP has also lost some support to the fledgling Ignatieff juggernaut.


Who do you want to win the next Federal Election?
Conservative 141 (94%)
Liberal 7 (4%)
NDP 1 (0%)
Green 1 (0%)

Votes so far: 150
Days left to vote: 3

Driving a Toyota

I could only imagine how it would feel driving a car where gas pedal sticks to the ground when you push down. As fate would have it, I drive a Toyota. Under normal circumstances I am quite fond of the brand, especially since as a general rule I don't buy anything that's union made unless a trade union has monopolized an individual labour force. I can sleep a little better a night knowing that none of my money is going to CAW or Buzz Hargrove's pension. With the lease on my Toyota soon to expire, I will start exploring new options. I am likely to be riding a bicycle until I can finally pay off my student loans, but still it is nice to dream a better dream.

I really have no idea about the status of the car market. What's out there at a good price, non union, that you like driving? I need you to bring me up to speed, or is that a bad pun given the gas pedal recall? I am assuming this is going to destroy my chances at winning the National Post's Stock Market Challenge, as I was holding Toyota. Damned faulty gas pedals!

Nationalizing Industries to Reduce Deficits

In the wake of President Obama's state of the union address, the assertion that bothers me the most is that nationalizing health care is going to be an economic benefit and lead to deficit reduction; as though there exists a mystical aura of trickle down government health care. To suggest, as many left wing pundits have, that freeing business from the burden of providing health insurance and transferring the burden to taxpayers is going to have a net positive effect on GDP and deficit size is ludicrous.

There are legislative options for reducing insurance costs that do not include nationalizing the industry. The government rarely does anything more fiscally efficient than the private sector, but if you allow market collusion and impede the competition between competing providers, there will be a net loss in both efficiency and of mutually beneficial transactions. I do not subscribe to the hardcore Ron Paulish Libertarian ideology of "remove any and all rules and regulations which govern economies and industries." There are instances where state intervention and regulation can increase the social good. Fighting against collusion, corruption, and many other potential ethical liabilities are a good thing.

I thought it was telling that today Evan Soloman was running video footage of Scott Brown's acceptance speech over the caption "Death of Conservatism: Republicans have become too ideological". That's right, Republicans winning a Senate seat in the Liberal stronghold of Massachusetts that has not elected a Conservative Senator in 30 years is a clear sign that Conservatism is dying due to their extreme ideology. Granted, that is the type of partisan spin that I have come to expect from Evan Soloman and the CBC.

For more on Obama's state of the union address, I turn you over to the excellent analysis of Kelly McParland.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Belinda Stronach; Bill and Tie's Excellent Adventure!

I was aware of the social relationship between former President Bill Clinton and former Tory MP Belinda Stronach, but it was not until today that I learned Team Hillary sent a squad of "private investigators" to formally investigate the allegations of a romantic relationship in the event that this became an issue during a Presidential campaign. For some reason, Bill Clinton's word was insufficient for Team Hilary and thus a crew of Magnum PI’s was required to determine if Bill was bedding Belinda. At least one of them drew the conclusion that yes indeed they were getting it on. This information was brought to me by the writers of a book called Game Change. If you click on the link below and buy a copy from Amazon, I get a commission.

I will refrain from making jokes about Tie Domi's "sloppy seconds", but it is interesting how Belinda was spending a lot of time with Bill Clinton at the same time as she was spending a lot of time with Tie. There would appear to be an overlap in the time periods of her romantic affairs with Tie Domi and Bill Clinton, two married men. I am generally agnostic on the matter of infidelity, and neither am I critical of Belinda's virility. I just think that this is all very interesting, that's all.  I'm not ashamed to admit that once upon a time I was smitten with Belinda.  If anything I'm a little bit jealous.


The Yes Men are running out of ideas

Creativity knows no boundaries. On second thought, actually yes it does; it is bounded by the limits of an individual's imagination. In the case of the Yes Men, they are running out of gas. Today they released a phony video of Stephen Harper talking to Manbridge with a fake voice over telling Canadians how Canadians think about Canadian issues. Thank you pretty Americans for preaching to me your beliefs in an attempt to accomplish your political agenda. You don't like globalization. You don't like commerce. You don't like jobs. You don't like growth. You would like us to shut down the oil patch that accounts for a massive chunk of our nation's GDP.  You are "anti" a lot of things, especially Canada now that you have a President you support and don't want to harm politically.

At the end of the day these goofs are improv sketch artists. They tend to prefer live stunts, but in the case of this video was just an editing room gag. I love when Americans tell me how I feel about my own country, not unlike Mike Ignatieff's True Patriot Love. Their voice over of our Prime Minister included many "Canadians think" and "Canadians feel" as though these two anti-globalization activists are experts on what Canadians think or how Canadians feel.

I have a strong suspicion that the Yes Men will be visiting my beautiful city of Vancouver in the very near future. I'll be watching!

State of the Teleprompter

President Obama will be delivering his State of the Union address this evening, where he will clearly attempt to stop the bleeding of support that has been flooding away from his party in a mass exodus. I expect there will be teleprompters. Look, the guy gave a speech recently at an elementary school and brought his teleprompters. Yes, talking to little kids, he required teleprompters. I remember when I was in elementary school, once per year we were required to deliver a speech to our classmates. We were required to memorize our speech. I was memorizing my speeches in the 6th grade, but I suppose that is too much to ask from the leader of the free world. I suppose it is easy to be a great public speaker when you read it off a screen.

As for substance, that is something I have not come to expect from the Obama Presidency. I expect more superlative fluff, and I expect he will say something that will attempt to have a deep impact with the electorate. This is his last State of the Union before the midterm elections, and if the by-elections have taught us anything, it is that the Democrats have serious cause for concern.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Economics of Protesting

For any University students enrolled in Finance courses this semester, I have an idea for a term paper; the Economics of Protesting. Net benefits to the people doing the protesting, the commercial printing of signs and other infrastructure, marketing costs, giving out free food on a hockey fan migratory path on game day, and so on and so forth. I understand that some protest movements get free advertising from the media, but surely there is a financial structure behind this industry. Protesting is an industry with a structure that needs to be further deconstructed, if not infiltrated. I support the right to peaceful non-violent protests that do not block traffic; but once it veers into the domain of criminal activity, I draw a line.

In Vancouver the Anti-Poverty Commission is the primary vehicle for protest movements, and the same people often double as Anti-Globalization activists. If a protest is only as significant as the total number of people attending, these are the people at the core of that social network. If they can lure normal people into attendance via radio advertising and free food, all the better. I do have some life experience from my childhood with the Anti-Fur lobby. These people have been around for a while. Today its modern incarnation is PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. My grandfather was a hunter/trapper who owned a tourist camp and took tourists hunting and fishing. My father worked for a time as an auctioneer in the fur business. As a child, many of our family vacations were to fur conventions and among my fondest memories. If you think PETA is crazy in 2010, they were just as nuts in 1984; there are just more cameras around now. We used to call them "the Anties'. I may co-write a book about it some day with my father.

Gerry Byrne, a Liberal I like

I watched an interview today with our new terrorism czar, and he actually made a lot of sense. It seems silly to even begin to compare a pie in the face to the much more violent acts of international paramilitary organizations. If so, Vernon Wells had better lawyer up! Nobody has more pie on their hands than Vernon.  But when the act is commited by a political activist trying to inflict harm, either physical or emotional on a government official, that should qualify as a criminal offense. 

The point that Gerry was trying to make is that because PETA claimed responsibility, that it was a confession that they sent an individual into a foreign country to commit a criminal offense. If the assailant is successfully charged with assault and PETA claims responsibility, then PETA is liable. My Little Oxford Dictionary defines terrorism as "practice of using violent and intimidating methods to secure political ends."

By the definition of the word, it could be construed that what the PETA activist did was in fact terrorism, even if it qualifies by the narrowest of margins. What if the Minister had been knocked down and injured? That was a very real possibility and was disregarded by a loon who has convinced herself of something that she will go to any length to force upon others. It isn't just this pie in the face incident; there are several instances where PETA or affiliated organizations send political activists to places to commit crimes. What other word do we have to define it? 

So at the end of the day, I have to complement Gerry Byrne for taking a stand on this one. I will not go so far as to declare PETA a terrorist organization myself, but I think they are really getting close. Is Mr. Byrne interested in floor crossing?

Fired Bureaucrats

I saw on television today that the Liberal Party was hard at work providing a platform for three former bureaucrats to complain. One is furious that she was fired for overseeing a failed file, and another is upset that his contract expired and was not renewed. Are not all government jobs lifetime appointments? Once you work for the government, aren’t you entitled to lifetime employment? Nobody ever gets fired from government jobs, Garth Turner notwithstanding. More so it is exceptionally rare for someone to be fired and be happy about it.

The former chief executive at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is upset that she was fired last year. Here I thought that Chalk River was a disaster that warranted the rolling of bureaucratic heads? It cost Lisa Raitt her job, and I would certainly expect others employed in the field of nuclear safety would also be terminated. By the way, Ignatieff was talking about this yesterday as though these dismissals had taken place in the present tense. This one took place last year. The Liberals also made it sound like all of them were fired, but the RCMP Complaints guy's contract expired and was not renewed.

I have no objection to the Reindeer games the Liberals are intent on playing this week. I do object to their assertion that the dismissal (and one non renewal) represents an evil subversion of democracy. Next thing we'll see is Bob Rae tabling legislation that nobody who works for the government can ever be fired. Let's make all government jobs lifetime appointments! Those are the kinds of laws you get from Rae Administrations.

PS: How much do you want to bet that one or more of these bureaucrats are on the Soloman Show today?

Jon Stewart, I'm sorry

I owe an apology to Jon Stewart. In the past I have accused him of being a blunt partisan instrument of the far left, ready to castrate the Jim Cramers of the world to defend his man Obama. It bothers me that there are legions of young people who watch his show in lieu of the news, and I have scolded Jonny boy on a few occasions for that reason. But after seeing him eviscerate Keith Olbermann, I am man enough to admit that I owe Jon an apology, at least in this instance. I watched his bit and all that I could think to myself was "nicely done!" For all the times that I have watched the Daily Show and been upset, this time I applauded. We will see where we go from here Jon, but for now, I salute you.

Tonight, days after the piece on Olberman, Jon slammed Obama for setting up 2 teleprompters at a speech at a speech at a grade school classroom. Is Jon Stewart trying to expand to a new audience? I know that I am more willing to watch his show today than I was a week ago.  I am not saying that I will always agree with what Stewart says, but for now, I salute him.  I did spend 30 minutes trying to find the Olbermann clip on Youtube, but alas the perfect clip did not appear in all my many searches.  Ergo, I have given up and won't link it.  Find it yourself because it is getting late and my bed is calling my name.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bob Rae "the Prince of Prorogation"

It was compelling television to watch Pierre Poilievre remind Bob of his history of proroguing as Premier of Ontario right after Bob finished a partisan rant on Prime Minister Harper usurping democracy. Bob attempted to deflect by looking down at his shoes and repeating "this is not about me". When Pierre was done and Solo started setting up the next subject, Bob sat back in his chair and made that "growling face" where he grins his teeth like some kind of rabid wolverine. It honestly appeared that for a period of about 20 seconds, Bobby was weighing the pros and cons of jumping over the table to ring Poilievre's throat.

We are talking about a man who prorogued the Ontario legislature 3 times in his single term as Premier, when Ontario was gripped by devastating economic recession. It is not easy to set priorities when you're in charge, is it Bobby? But as I've said before, I am kind of torn on this and I really should pull my punches because I strongly support Bob Rae suspending the legislature when he's in charge. My only gripe was that he did not shut things down for his entire term, because Ontarians would have been better off with no government than his government.

And what is even more disturbing is that a man who prorogued 3 times in one term decided he would take this federal prorogation by the horns and proclaim that democracy is dying. You have to wonder if it ever occurred to him when he was deciding what to be angry about; that perhaps you should not attack a leader for doing something you did repeatedly as a leader? Or did he even stop to think? Since he was one of the first to jump all over the Colvin file for the opportunity to accuse our troops of war crimes, I am assuming that the attempt to tie prorogation and Afghanistan together blinded him to his own past actions.

The Liberals today were trying to tie prorogation back to the detainee file. Ignatieff bluntly said today that the only reason Parliament was prorogued was to kill the committee, but if Harper decides to call a public Inquiry after the Olympics, that would kill that conspiracy theory. Either way I’m sure Iggy is pleased with Bob’s history of proroguing, because it does discredit his fiercest rival.  This has to postpone the night of the long knives.

As an aside, I am considering joining Pierre Poilievre's fan club.

Ignatieff Can't Back Down

It is official, Team Ignatieff has decided to go all in on the "prorogation crisis" and ride the wave while it lasts. Today between the jokes and complimentary exchanges, Evan Soloman managed to squeeze in an interview with Iggy who was introducing new legislation proposals to limit the government's ability to prorogue. As you might have guessed, E-Solo did not ask a single question about Trudeau's 11 prorogues, Chretien's 4, or Rae's 3. Iggy laid out his complex set of new rules for prorogation, which ostensibly strips duties and responsibilities from the Governor General. Evan's most challenging question was pointing out that Iggy was stripping power from the GG, and he answered by complementing what a fantastic person she is, but ultimately he dodged the question.

Clearly Donolo has decided that this has been the most successful of all the contrived controversies the Liberals have launched under Ignatieff's reign, and they may as well run out every last breath of momentum they can squeeze out of it because nothing else has worked. I would like to correct an error in Ignatieff's rants about proposed rules. He said that the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament "twice within one year" and I would take care to remind the leader of the Opposition that more than 365 sunsets elapsed between Harper's two prorogations.

Of course he fully admitted that he would use prorogation if elected Prime Minister (good luck with that), but said that the difference was that you need more rules when the PM has no character. That because this particular Prime Minister allegedly has no distinguishing mental or moral qualities, a different set of rules need to be applied to the current administration. At this point I don’t see how Iggy could back out of this even if he decided he wanted to.

I have to complement Pierre Poilievre for reminding Bob Rae of his storied history as the "Prince of Prorogation" on a later panel discussion, and how one of Bobby's prorogations went so long that they could not release a budget for that year. Bob's scholarly response to this reminder was to say that this is not about him and it is just a baseless attack to try and change the subject. Way to deflect Bob, but that came across as hollow as the space between your ears. When you are so vehemently opposing a standard procedure that you yourself used frequently in your short reign of terror in Ontario, there's a word for that, hypocrisy. Sir I disagree with you. I think in this instance, it is about Bob.

When Pies Attack Ministers

The mature decorum of animal rights protesters never ceases to amaze me. When I saw the image this morning of an American activist hitting one of my Government Ministers Gail Shea in the face with a pie at the unveiling of a new aquatic research center, I shook my head. It begs the question; are our Ministers provided with adequate security at public events? Or is tight security generally not required at these sorts of functions on Canadian soil? Perhaps Canadian activists have enough self-respect to leave their cream pies at home, and it is only when we are invaded by the hardcore American activists that security is breached. While the pie in face stunt has a long storied tradition in our society, it is still an unacceptable action against a Government Minister at a public event.

I would like to send my best wishes to Gail Shea, and while that may have been an embarrassing incident, I expect that a lot of Canadians will feel empathy for your experience. Live long and prosper!

This is my official opinion on seals and the hunting of these voracious predators.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Vancouver Protest Venue Selection

Every weekend when the Vancouver Canucks host a hockey game, tens of thousands of Vancouver sports fans descend on the downtown core to watch the game, be it attending in person or watching at a Sports Pub. Many go early and explore downtown and several hundred commute from the North Shore via public transportation (alcohol consumption is often part of the hockey experience). On Saturday, somebody decided to host a protest at a venue directly in between the Sea Bus terminal and GM Place. They were attempting to draw a crowd on a migratory path of hundreds of Canucks fans, and guess what, they brought food! Makes you wonder what percentage of the alleged "several thousand protestors" (as reported in today's Province) were just Canuck fans walking by?

Somebody was calling the radio stations reporting "several thousand" people protesting on Hornby. I went out in search of several thousand people, but missed the few hundred people handing out perogies a few blocks away. I missed prorogies! Did anyone ever do a reliable head count? Or is a few hundred accepted to be several thousand in otherwise respected newspapers? I don't include the Vancouver Sun as a reliable newspaper, and I did not purchase a copy today. I would be interested to know what role the APC played in Saturday's protest, as they really represent the primary protest infrastructure in Vancouver, but I will delve into that later...

Elizabeth May Prorogues Leadership Review?

I delight in seeing the internal strife boiling over within the Green Party that has culminated in Slick Lizzy campaigning to avoid a mandatory democratic leadership review. Elizabeth is afraid to face her own colleagues in a healthy democratic expression of their disapproval of her performance as leader. Now she is trying to destroy these mechanisms of democratic job performance reviews in a vain attempt to retain power, manipulating democracy for partisan political gain. Shame on you Elizabeth.

Running against Peter MacKay was an incredibly dumb idea, though I suspect Dion's price for pulling the Liberal candidate (which he took internal flak for doing) was that he would be allowed to choose the riding. Either that or Elizabeth May really is that dense to think she could win in Central Nova. Now she has set her sights on Gary Lunn, when realistically she has a probability of victory in Guelph, West Vancouver, or Owen Sound. I would even say she has a higher probability of taking down Hedy Fry in Vancouver Center than Gary Lunn, unless Iggy pulls the Liberal candidate in Saanich. I recently attended a Town Hall meeting where Mr. Lunn took questions from local citizens about what they would like to see their government do for them.  I was very impressed with the Minister of Sport.

I strongly suspect that these loud detractors within the Green Party would like to get Liz out of there before the next election to avoid sinking millions into another lost cause. Replace her with Dick Hibma, get Dick into the debates, and there you have your first seat elected Green.

Did Protests Cause Traffic Accidents?

I would like to ask the question, were there any serious traffic accidents while these many thousands of people were marching in solidarity through the streets of Canada? I know of at least one, because I saw it. At 1pm "several thousand people" met at the Vancouver Art Gallery and marched through the streets to some undisclosed location. People who were there admit that they blocked traffic. Not long after they began to block traffic on Georgia street (which doubles as a highway), there was a deadly accident south bound in the Stanley Park causeway heading towards Georgia. Stanley Park empties onto Georgia Street. I would encourage any survivors of this devastating traffic wreck to direct your attention to the Canadians Against Prorogation Facebook page for your pending lawsuits.

I guess the kid that planned this party did not consider the possibility that his negligent planning may have killed people. Rather than just meet at one place and stay there, they insisted on making it a traffic blocking street protest. Next time you want to organize a rally to protest a standard Parliamentary procedure, stop for a minute to consider the consequences.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Serge Marcil not as important as Mike Ignatieff

One of the reasons that I watch the CBC is so that I can be tuned in when they do something negligent. Today for example I was watching Newsworld and at one point they broke the story that the body of former Canadian MP Serge Marcil had been recovered from the carnage in Haiti. They delved into this breaking news for about 10 seconds, but then had to cut away to live coverage of Mike Ignatieff giving a speech to a Liberal rally. It is a matter of priorities. I could only imagine how the friends and family of this slain former MP felt when they saw on the television that the missing body of their loved one had been found, and then were quickly cut away to an Iggy stump speech. How do you think they felt watching that hollow hyperbolic partisan speech waiting for more information on their missing friend?

The CBC had an agenda to promote their manufactured prorogation protests, where they had crews on the ground across the country. Rather than cover the story of Serge Marcil, they deemed it a priority to air live coverage of a stump speech. They could have waited a few minutes before airing non-live footage of the speech, but no they had to cut away right away.

The CBC, unbiased journalism in action!

Vancouver Protest; Thousands of Needles Lost in a Haystack

With the superlative hyping of these mass protests across Canada, I decided that I would visit the Vancouver chapter of Canadians Against Prorogation, excited to see some of the left coast's loonie fringe at their finest. I grabbed my camera, jumped in my car, and took off for downtown. I was listening to the radio en route where they said "we are receiving reports that thousands of people are protesting up Hornby street." But sadly there was a serious accident in the Stanley Park causeway and the Lion's Gate Bridge was shut down to vehicle traffic, so I had to "park'n walk". Thus I arrived at the Art Gallery just under an hour late. I still figured these thousands of people would be easy to find.



As you can see, I was greeted at the meeting place by a massive crowd in a groundswell of public anger (not simply a scattering of tourists taking their picture with the Olympic Clock).  There was nobody holding signs, no musical acts doing live shows, no spontaneous chanting, nothing.  So I figured that these many thousands of people had set off on foot from their initial meeting place.  Surely these thousands of people marching in harmony through the busy downtown core should be easy to find.





I walked up Georgia to GM Place, I walked up and down both Granville and Hornby to Pender the whole while gazing up and down the streets, and there were no protestors.  Finally I did happen to find a gathering of about 30-50 people protesting outside the courthouse a block from where the Prorogation Protest was set to meet.  As it turns out CAP double booked Hornby with Egyptian Christians Against Detention.




On my way home I decided to stop by Stanley Park, near the giant Olympic rings at Cole Harbour.  If there was a great place for these thousands of angry Canadians to congregate at the end of their long march, this must be the place.




Unfortunately there were no protestors at the end of that rainbow. I was very disappointed. I was hoping to see real live protestors frolicking about in their natural environment, but alas all I found were empty streets. As I made my way back across the Lion's Gate on foot, there was a feeling of sadness that I was not able to observe the clowns in action, but also a sense of amusement that I walked up and down the streets of downtown and other than some Canuck fans getting ready for the game, there was no significant gathering of people in sight. I did get a good laugh when I came home and checked The Province newspaper for a report. This is what they had to say about today.

In Vancouver, several thousand protesters urged Harper to get the government back to work.

A large throng marched in Vancouver’s Victory Square with critics saying the Conservatives’ move was anti-democratic and calculated to avoid heated questions during the 2010 Olympics.

One of the Vancouver march organizers, Trevor Fenton, said the move shows Canada is in a “full-blown constitutional crisis.”

Has the Liberal Party given up on Adults?

I am beginning to get the feeling that the Liberal Party is shifting its focus from adults, to the more easily influenced youth. Impressionable minds who have not lived enough life to distinguish the difference between the end of democracy and a standard Parliamentary procedure used repeatedly by past Liberal administrations. The CBC has been closely following these "grassroots" protests and it seems like every time they interview an organizer, it is a kid. Whether children were chosen as a tactical move, or they were the only ones to drink the koolade, I can only speculate.

I am not trying to declare war on young people. I have a niece and 3 nephews all of high school age or less. I want for them to take an interest in the world around them, but I stop short of taking orders from them. It isn't hard to convince young people that the world is coming to an end or that something bad is happening. You could even do a controlled experiment where you take a random sample of people from all ages and individually hand them a fake newspaper saying that the world is coming to an end. Have them read it, and then ask if they believe it. I would be willing to wager that there is a direct inverse correlation between how old you are and how likely you are to buy the phony apocalypse.

Of course the CBC has a team on location for every protest, and I am being introduced to journalists that I had never met before. If you can believe it, the "C-Team" at the CBC are even worse than the usual suspects. They are estimating 7000 people at the Toronto rally. With 5 million people in the GTA, that works out to roughly one percent of one percent of the population in attendance in a Liberal stronghold. And that one percent of one percent are a bipartisan representative sample of the Canadian population… (that was sarcasm by the way)

There's Jack Layton giving a speech. He appears quite pleased with himself. I have noticed that all these CBC talking heads are taking great care to emphasize that the organizers are not politically affiliated and this is purely about our democracy in peril and not an opposition stunt to try and win votes. I think that's why they are putting so much emphasis on the young people who were roped by these dopes. Let me make something clear, any event featuring Jack Layton and Elizabeth May as keynote speakers cannot be labeled non partisan.

I have never seen Kady O'Malley happier with herself. She again emphasized that all the organizers were very young with no party affiliation, and she went on to describe "the enthusiastically non partisan mood here". Nice to see that they have booked musical acts for their Ottawa crowd estimated by Kady at 2000 - 4000 people. Again, how many registered Liberals, Greens, and Dippers live within driving distance of Ottawa? 5000? The CBC just flashed to the Calgary protest. There were 3 guys. The studio journalist asked the field journalist "what is the focus of the anger in Calgary?" And by that do you mean the focus of the anger of the 3 guys standing behind the reporter? The attention the CBC is giving this is unreal. I guess people are getting bored with disaster relief in Haiti.

This is creepy, they were just breaking news on the CBC that the body of former Liberal MP Serge Marcil was found amidst the wreckage in Haiti, and then they immediately cut away from that breaking news in Haiti to go live to the Ignatieff speech. Ironic how these two breaking news stories emerged at the exact same time and the CBC cut away from the dead Liberal in Haiti to go live to a speech by the current Liberal leader. Priorities.

(**please forgive the fractured nature of this blog post, but I have ostensibly been "live blogging" the coverage of the Prorogation Protests on the CBC**)

The Vancouver protest starts in an hour. My instincts tell me that I should grab my camera, hop on a bus and head downtown...and I think that I might do exactly that...

The Liberal Youth

I have begun to notice an emerging trend in Liberal tactics that I find concerning. It may be that it has always been this way, but this is the first that I have become acutely aware of it. Between Ignatieff's school tour, and the CBC parading of young students as the roots of this Facebook prorogation protest movement; it is becoming more apparent that they are increasingly focusing on young people as their target audience. Whether older and wiser people are less likely to buy their snake oil, or young people are just the easiest converts, I don't know. I suspect that it is a little bit of both.

I was watching Evan Soloman interview this 18 year old kid who claims that all by himself with no external influence, he decided to organize a protest of Parliament Hill over a routine legislative procedure; who was on a panel with the kid who decided with no external influence to start the anti-prorogation Facebook group. Iggy has been going to schools to try and convert the young because the bulk of the adult population has largely rejected him as a viable Prime Ministerial candidate. In the interview Evan was repeatedly emphasizing their young age to present these stories as an uprising of our nation's apathetic youth. One of the biggest problems that the Liberal party has faced is that the people most likely to vote Liberal are the same people who care the least about voting.

I remember being an 18 year old male. I'm sure most men would agree, at that age you spend 80%-90% of your time thinking about getting laid. Young people can be phenomenally intelligent, but many of their higher brain functions are not fully developed. Life is similar to a career, the more time you spend doing it, the better you get at it (gymnastics notwithstanding). You need to get punked a few times before you learn how to adapt and read a pending punking before it unfolds. When I was 18, that Nostradamus scholar convinced me that 2/3 of the world's population was going to die in 1999 and 7 months. It never happened, and I became a skeptic. Then a few weeks ago I watched a documentary featuring the same clown telling me that the world would end in December of 2012. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well you can't fool me twice.

I encourage young people to become more interested in the political process and the world around them, but when I see them taking leadership roles on constitutional matters, unlike Soloman I don't get excited. To me it just seems that as the left has increasingly ostracized itself from the adult community, they keep setting the limbo stick lower and lower in a desperate attempt to gain some sort of traction in any demographic and stop the bleeding. Seriously, Soloman is doing entire segments on a voluntary webpoll of Facebook visitors, and then Kady O'Malley cites it as a “study” in the same God damned segment! Then the kid who ran the poll and started the group begins breaking it down like he's Nanos, and how miraculously the results disprove all the misconceptions about the Facebook group. Thanks, but no thanks.

"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Some Liberal bloggers are really jazzed about the Liberal Youth movement....

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Protest Organized by an 18 year old

It is good to know that the CBC is busy promoting a story that they will surely be covering extensively tomorrow, telling people when and where to show up. I just finished watching an interview with the 18 year old kid who is organizing the Ottawa rallies. A kid who assures us that this will be a non partisan event, and his evidence for this assertion is that he knows someone attending who once voted conservative. Excellent, with that kind of supporting evidence we should nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

I do not want to discourage young people from developing an interest in politics. I think it is great to have more people engaged in the political system, I would just be weary of who I take my cues from. Young people may be the future, but they also lack the necessary collection of life experiences that would qualify them to preach their beliefs to a national audience. They have not lived enough life to fully appreciate and understand the theatrics of politics. Young people are much easier to convince about virtually anything than are their elders. If I can convince a 10 year old that a magical rabbit sneaks into their house once a year to hide candy, how hard is it to convince an 18 year old that democracy is being destroyed via a normal parliamentary procedure? I would like to ask this kid how many years ago he stopped believing in Santa Claus. He would have been 5 years old when Chretien prorogued Parliament to kill the Somalia Inquiry.

Sure enough now Soloman is talking to Kady O'Malley about what she referred to as a "study" on this Facebook Prorogation group. Basically the kid who created it ran a survey on the website, and now the unscientific results are the subject of an entire segment of the Soloman Show (referred to by Kady as "this study") with guests encouraging people to attend the protest. The results from this survey were repeatedly put up on screen on our national broadcaster. Somehow I suspect that the 20 people who watch the Soloman Show had already RSVP their lawn chairs for Saturday, but nonetheless I am frustrated by the persistent existence of Liberal partisanship on a tax funded network.

I love how they had cameras at the protest in Toronto that had a whopping 30 people. They keep repeating the footage on the CBC, where the cameraman goes in at a low and close angle to mask the fact that hardly anyone showed up. I am assuming that the Ottawa rally will attract significantly more people, given the speakers that have agreed to address the audience. How many registered Liberals, Dippers, and Greens are there within driving distance of Ottawa?

Turkey is still serious about defeating Al Qaeda

It is comforting to see a Muslim nation that is still serious about fighting the war on terrorism, as was on display today in Turkey when police arrested 120 suspected Al Qaeda members in a massive operation across 16 provinces. I have long maintained that the remnants of the old Ottoman Empire holds the key to defeating radical Islam in the Middle East. The Sultans were able to maintain jurisdictional control over most of the region for a really long time, and I see them as the gateway or bridge to a long term solution.

The Turks have some skeletons in their closet to be sure, but in that part of the world everyone does. Their feud with the Kurds is uncomforting to me, yet I don't know if it is even possible to reconcile that dispute. The tactics resorted to by the PKK to establish an independent Marxist state in the south east are not acceptable in a healthy democracy. Blowing up government buildings is not an acceptable means of achieving a goal, and once their movement shifted to violent civil disobedience, they forfeited their right to lenient empathy. The Kurds in Iraq are a different story, as they have built an oasis in Hell and I feel should be ordained with autonomous control over their territory. I am concerned that if we allow the Turkish military to roll their tanks into Iraq, they will plow right over Kurdistan on their way to Baghdad. And yet, the Turks may be the only force capable of preventing an Iranian invasion of eastern Iraq when the American military does finally depart.

I remember hearing stories about the Turks in Afghanistan, and that they are the only force that the Taliban doesn't attack. If that is true I would ascribe two possible reasons; 1) a "don't attack us and we won't attack you" situation, or 2) the Islamic extremists don't want to incur the full force of Turkish wrath in the global war on terror. What I do know is that the simultaneous arrests of 120 people across 16 provinces is a definite sign that Turkey is serious about fighting the war on Islamic extremism.

To the Turks, I say rock on! I used to date a Turkish girl in high school, but that's a story for another day... :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The CBC's New "Kill Him Kill Him Dead" Segment

I hope to Christ the CBC is not paying Scott Reid for his new weekly spot on the Soloman Show. I don't mind Scotty being on television, because honestly his big mouth is a great asset to the Conservative Party; like the time he asserted that if you gave taxpayers back tax dollars it would be wasted on beer and popcorn. I would however be very upset if he were now collecting tax dollars to appear on my public broadcaster. Furthermore shouldn't encouraging the assassination of a sitting Prime Minister disqualify a dipshit from working for a government institution? Maybe I'm just old fashioned that way.

When you think about it, Scotty has been a boon to the Tories. First, beer and popcorn represented the dagger that killed Paul Martin's political career; followed in Dec 2008 by the "kill him kill him dead" column that helped destroy left wing coalition governments in perpetuity. It may be a mighty gift to attach a microphone to the man and perhaps this is an instance of don’t interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake; I just don't want Scotty spending any of my tax dollars on beer or popcorn.

Evan Soloman's "Haiti Bump"...a time to pun?

It bothers me to no end that a bitter partisan like Evan Soloman is employed by my tax funded public broadcaster to exploit any opportunity to score political points. Take Haiti for example, where Evan dedicated a portion of his show today to his expectation of a "Haiti bump" in the polls for the government; and that because there was only a 1% increase in government support in a poll that was launched the day after the earthquake, this was evidence that the Canadian public has not responded positively to the rapid government response to the crisis. I don't know if the term "Haiti bump" was on the teleprompter, or if that gem was Soloman improv, regardless it was an utterly tasteless pun. Do you not think Evan that Haitians might not appreciate your selective use of the word "bump" to score political points?

Of course for half of Evan's "Power Panel" he ran the caption "no Haiti effect on party standings"; regardless of the fact that the poll started the day after the earthquake before anyone really understood the scope of the disaster and the emergency readiness of our Armed Forces. If the poll starts asking questions before anyone knows what has happened, then you can't cite poll results to prove or disprove a theory that you believe there should be a "Haiti bump". Then you have his colleague Kady O'Malley delighting over the same poll and providing us a detailed mathematical analysis. Yes, the "journalist" who can't add 40 and 18 is going to channel John Nash...

I have some more consumer products for you to avoid, and encourage people you know to avoid. Do NOT buy Bounty paper towels, do NOT buy Kashi Foods, and certainly do NOT buy Oil of Olay (NOT even once a day).

Oh, and it looks like Scott "kill him kill him dead" Reid now has a weekly spot on the CBC, ON THE SOLOMAN SHOW! Jesus Christ, I hope they aren't paying him for this, but that will be subject of my next post...

A Conference About "Renewal"

The magic word for Ignatieff's "thinker's conference" is renewal. An attempt to put the minds of the Liberal Collective together into one communal recycling of tired ideas. I liken this to the "renewal" process that takes place every day in the lodges of that great Canadian icon, the beaver. An animal with a digestive track unable to extract the proper nutrients from its food at first pass, forcing those busy beavers to consume their own fecal matter to survive. This allegory of renewal with a Liberal Party Policy conference is stunning.

Personally I am excited for the Liberals to produce tangible policy so that I may analyze it for discussion. Yet somehow I suspect that no real policy will emerge from this uniting of the hive. I wonder which MPs Donolo will permit to speak publicly? If you apply the left's "moral compass" to Planet Donolo on the matter of silencing his MPs the conclusion is unavoidable; a Fascist is running Iggy's office as I'm writing this.

I have been busy hosting a forum of ideas for seminars and workshops that the Liberals can host during this conference to help expedite the renewal process. By far the most popular idea is for Bob Rae to host a special conference on running the provinces, with special guests Glen Clark and Ujjal Dosangh. This was my first attempt to run a poll in tournament format, and the participation rate has been better than some past polling. Perhaps I should have let the round 1 polls run for more than 48 hours. Not everyone visits every day. I have had a few new ideas since I first selected the "Sweet 16". I think Iggy should host a seminar either on the invasion of Iraq or coerced interrogations. I would like to see Ujjal Dosangh host a seminar on combat tactics, and John McCallum to host one on deportment. I reserve the right to "shuffle the deck" prior to the final 8. For those office pools, I will add an amendment to the constitution that you can make new picks in each new round.

Dennis Miller on Massachusetts Super Tuesday

If you have not already listened to Dennis Miller chime off on the results of the Tuesday elections, there are two fantastic interviews for you to listen to. The first was with our beloved Mark Steyn, and the second was his appearance on the O'Reilly Factor. To listen to Dennis interview Steyn, download the podcast on I-Tunes for free or visit the Dennis Miller Zone. To watch the O'Reilly interview, click here.

Miller has said it better than I ever could, and I turn you over to the Oracle.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama should have stayed with Cramer

I remember a year ago, not long after Obama was sworn in as President, he quickly teamed up with Nancy Pelosi to draft massive new legislation thousands of pages long of economic stimulus, cap and trade, and health care reform. Democrat Jim Cramer, host of MSNBC's Mad Money, went on his show to request that Obama slow down and not try to do everything at once. Cramer wasn't even saying that he disagreed with the policies, but rather that attempting to do the entire agenda in the first year was doing too much too fast and was very risky. In addition to a barrage of smart ass comments by the White House Press Secretary, Cramer was eviscerated from his left flank by Jon Stewart. It marginalized and embarrassed Cramer, who just curled up in the fetal position and shut up.

And so Obama proceeded with the Pelosi agenda despite the warning calls from his own side, and the left wing ate one of their own alive. Meanwhile Cramer is very popular in the northeast, where he helps people play the stock market at home. Obviously what Cramer said about Bear Sterns was an error, but Stewart waited a full year after the Bear Sterns comments to make a joke of it. Jonny did not take aim at Cramer until Jim recommended that Obama not attempt to all his agenda in the first year. This smug, "do what I tell you to do or I will tear you to pieces" tact that the left wing has adopted since winning the White House cannot be playing well with normal people.

In critical by-elections in New Jersey and Massachusetts, the Democrats lost.

Our Third World Health Care

I am happy to hear that Brock Lesnar is alive and well after surviving what he calls our "3rd world health care system". Brock is a self acclaimed conservative Republican and he was taking the opportunity to utilize his own experiences to refute Obama/Pelosi Health Care reform. What experience is he talking about? He was sleeping in a remote cabin in the Canadian wilderness where he enjoys hunting. He woke up in the middle of the night in crisis because an advanced previously undiagnosed digestive disease reached the next stage. His wife rushed him 3 hours to the nearest facility where they were unable to immediately stop his intestines from perforating. After a very brief stay, his wife sped him down to the American border where he was eventually treated at the MAYO clinic.

Personally I have nothing but positive experiences with the Canadian system, though from what I hear in the stories of others there are serious shortcomings in the treatment of more serious afflictions. I do not believe that the public component increases the efficiency or speed of care, and yet I support people being provided with necessary treatment for serious conditions even if they cannot afford it. Call it a Nash Equilibrium, that if you have a perforated intestine, it doesn't matter if you pump gas or are the UFC Champion, you will be treated. The problem is that an entirely public system lacks efficiency, and you need a private component to help drive technological growth and innovation, two things I really want in my health care infrastructure. There needs to be a healthy balance between public and private, a Nash Equilibrium, where prevalence is a non singular event. And where each passing day the baby boomers require more and more medical attention, and our upside down population demographic pyramid means that the Canadian government in 2020 is going to have a mighty albatross of a problem to deal with.

Personally I really liked Tony Clement as Minister of Health...

Conan V Leno

I don't get what all the fuss is about. I rarely watch any of the Late Shows so I mostly don't care, but if I understand this right a lot of people in Conan's niche audience are upset that Jay Leno wants to keep working. Leno has been number one in that time slot for a long time, and this fact seems to anger people who don't think he's funny. If you don't think he's funny, don't watch him. Lots of people do like to watch him, and that fact should not be a grudge held against him. Then you have the least talented of all the late night hosts, Jimmy Kimmel doing a whole hour of his show dressed up as and doing a bad Leno impersonation. I can't stand David Letterman, but never have I demanded he be taken off the air. If David wants to work for a living, I have no objection. I won't be watching, but go ahead and do your top ten lists. What is the greater crime, exploiting your authority over interns by dropping your pants, or wanting to work?

On the whole controversy about NBC and the Conan contract, the conspiracy that they set him up to fail, frankly I don't care. I am no fan of NBC, and I fully admit that the people running that ship are either corrupted or incompetent. What I would like to see at this point is Conan go to a new network and compete directly against both Letterman and Leno head to head to head. My bet is that Leno continues to be #1. The biggest reason is that Letterman and Conan compete for the same audience, which is probably a big reason he failed as Jay's replacement going head to head against Letterman.

In any event, if a man wants to work, he is entitled to the right to work. If Brett Favre still wants to play football and can still take his team to the playoffs, let him play. I don't agree with people who advocate mandatory retirements for people they don't like...unless they work for a public broadcaster and are subsidized by tax dollars. In that instance I will speak up against employment.

Obama, the Tides they are a changin'

For the past year I have been expecting the pendulum to swing back towards the right side in the 2010 midterm elections, but never in my wildest dreams would I have predicted the Democrats losing Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts! I suppose the tide is shifting faster than many would have predicted, which feels fantastic for those of us who have been concerned what the filibuster-proof Dems were going to do to the American economy. After this stunning defeat in one of the safest blue states, a lot of Democrat House and Senate representatives are going to have to take a sobering second look at the Pelosi Agenda.

I remember during the campaign, Obama was championing himself as the bearer of a brave new era of bipartisanship in Washington. What did he mean by bipartisan? Do whatever I tell you to do because I won the election. Pundits like Bill Maher have been furious that Republicans have been resisting "populist opinion" refusing to bow down to Pelosi's will. To the narrow minded like Maher, it doesn't make any sense how an opposition would oppose government legislation when they have lost the election.  For this blasphemy the closed minded Conservatives would surely pay a steep price at the polls, like winning two Democrat strongholds in New Jersey and Massachusetts. The people expressed their outrage at Republican partisanship by electing them where they are not normally elected. This victory tastes so sweet, and I think it is a simple barometer for the devastation that the Dems will surely feel in November.

The tide is moving back out Mr. President, and the question remains will he listen to what the people are saying, or will he ignore and stick to Nancy's legislative agenda? I can guess, but truly I don't know what he will do. All I know Mr. Obama is that the tides, they are a changin'!

Watching CNN tonight, Paul Beggalla had giant bags under his eyes like he was crying in the green room before air time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Is Scott Brown going to Washington? YEAAAAAAAAHH!!!!

It is ironic to me that the by-election for the seat of the long serving Democrat Ted Kennedy is being held on the 6th Anniversary of the infamous Howard Dean scream. Republican Scott Brown is leading his Liberal opponent 53% - 46% with 65% of precincts reporting. It is still too early to call, but I would put the probability of victory at least 85% as of 9:10pm Eastern. Granted after Coleman V Smalley, no victory is ever safe.

I saw one CNN field reporter earlier proclaiming that Massachusetts voters were frustrated with the "pace of change" and not the substance of the change. That they are going to vote against an agenda they support to speed it through; speeding up legislation by giving the opposition a filibuster? Speed it up by slowing it down, that's the message that one CNN reporter was trying to sell today. I do hit the mute button when Paul Beggalla starts speaking. If I go the rest of my life without listening to another word that Paul has to say, it will be a good life.


Is Scott Brown going to Washington DC to take back the Senate? If not the Senate, at least the filibuster. Scott "Filibuster Douglas" Brown? No matter how many times I watch this clip, it never ceases to amuse me! www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDwODbl3muE as it turned out, Howard Dean was unable to take back the Whitehouse in 2004...Thank God!