Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Canada reorganizes its armed forces into four distinct commands, with two soldiers in each one

*Okay, I brazenly stole that head from Fark.com. And you know I give props to the CDF.

Military launches major command shake-up

Canada's military begins a major command structure shake-up Wednesday under the direction of chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier.

Hillier said the new system will kick in Tuesday at midnight, and will divide the workload into four new commands.

They will include: * Canada Command will be responsible for all operations in North America; * Canadian Expeditionary Force Command will be responsible for international operations; * Canadian Special Operations Forces Command will be responsible for all special operations; * Canadian Operational Support Command will be responsible for providing support to the operations commands including logistics, engineering, health services, communications and military police support.

The new structure will enable each command to focus on specific threats and areas of responsibility, with skills and training specific to their area of expertise.

I like Hillier, he seems like a straight-up kind of guy. I hope this is a good move but I can't really judge, we'll see.

**Ooooh, does my theft qualify me for the Liberal leadership race?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Mr. Hamas, meet Mr. Rock and Mr. Hard Place

You'll be bunking up for the next little bit.

World powers tell Hamas to change or lose aid

. . . the so-called Quartet, made up of Russia, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations, stressed after a meeting in London that international donors would continue to aid the caretaker government of President Mahmoud Abbas, at least until a new government was formed.

The goal was to give Hamas, which won a shock victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections last week, some breathing space to change its policies before forming a new government, possibly within three months, said U.S. and E.U. officials.

"The Quartet concluded that it was inevitable that future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government's commitment to the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations," said a statement by the Quartet.

I really love how Reuters uses "The Quartet" (following, of course, "the Quartet"'s usage). It's like a combination between some wack gangsta outfit and an avant garde classical group.

Senate passes cloture on Alito

The vote was 75-25. 75-25. Ha! I'm sorry -- was someone talking about a filibuster? You can put the relief tubes away.

Judicium Catholicum

An interesting post at Get Religion about the new "Catholic" Supreme Court. Don't know that I agree fully with what they or the Economist, whom they quote, say, but it's a worthwhile read. (And a great montage of Papa Ratzi clasping his hands next to the U.S. Supreme Court bldg - !)

(Sorry if my Latin is bad, it's been a while, but one must do justice to the occasion.)

Best buddies

Saturday, January 28, 2006

BTW: Two good letters from Steyn's post-elections letters, round 2

MAPLE MAILBOX -- More reader reaction to the incoming Scary Stephen regime:

(Scroll down just a bit):


It's a happy day for us here in Canada, though we urbanites in Ontario still don't appear to get it. Interesting that Toronto will have no representation in this upcoming Parliament.

I must disagree with your disappointment in Belinda winning her seat back. On the contrary, I can't imagine anything more schadenfreudelicious than watching her take her old seat on the opposition side. It will be interesting to see how long it takes her to resign.

On the other hand, who ever thought we would be glad to see Hedy Fry take her seat again?

I am seeing your picture quite a bit in the National Post these days. Any chance we will be reading you again?

Sue Gavin


(Scroll waaaaaay down):


Thank you for your column in The Australian. It cheered me up a bit.

The perceived wisdom was that anyone depressed on Tuesday must have been a Liberal. No so. I was depressed at the thought of so many people voting Liberal despite the corruption, the lies, and their campaign. I guess I overestimated the intelligence of voters, which, in my defense, is easy to do, even for pessimists. I heard no less than three times since Monday that the Conservatives would run a deficit. There's way too much Kool Aid here in the centre of the universe.


Mark Steyn: Democracy fells yet another anti-American government

An Act of Hygiene

. . . John Kerry pledged that, under his leadership, "America will rejoin the community of nations"--by which he meant Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schroeder, the Belgian guy . . .

. . . John Kerry may have wanted to "rejoin the community of nations." Instead, "the community of nations" has joined John Kerry, windsurfing off Nantucket in electric-yellow buttock-hugging Lycra, or whatever he's doing these days.

Aw, but the Canuck government wasn't so all-fired anti-American, now, were they? you ask. Well, I have to say, yes, but even more so, anti-militaristic:

In April 2002, the Pentagon wished to confer the Bronze Star on five snipers from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan for their service in . . . killing the enemy. Ottawa put the request on hold, relenting grudgingly only after the matter was made public. It seems the Canadian government's main objection was a reluctance to let it be known that our military still, er, shoots people, and extremely accurately. [Steyn's ellipsis, for emphasis]

Canada has amazing soldiers who are pathetically underequipped. I hope they start getting the funding they need and deserve -- and I hope young Canadians really begin answering the call to follow in this proud service to their country.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ah, mamma mia, Leonardo!!!

As they say, it is a "Da Vinci" pile-on . . . (some of that real Leonardo tie-in stuff looks kind of cool though . . .)

The 'Da Vinci' Cash Cow

For book publishers, the most provocative question raised by the upcoming movie version of "The Da Vinci Code" is: Can a three-year-old best seller that has already been endlessly milked for profits yield one more windfall for the industry?

With the film opening in May, the publishing industry is placing one of its biggest bets ever on the staying power of a blockbuster book. Publishers are using the movie's release to anchor numerous "Da Vinci"-related titles and tie-ins, including the novel's first U.S. paperback run. And all of them are trying to harness the selling power of the most successful novel in recent memory, with an estimated 40 million copies in print world-wide.

Down at the bottom, all too true:

. . . "This is a book that is being bought by people who only buy one or two books a year."

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Method comes to Canada

Only time for a short post, but I want to let folks know that METHOD PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE IN CANADA!!! Oh, I am excited. Stumbled across them at my local Shoppers last Thursday and was really too delighted. I used these products all the time in States and have missed them so much since moving up here. Not the cheapest cleaners, but I recommend trying them out and seeing if you don't like how mild they are for your skin, eyes, and respiratory system, yet how effective they are at cleaning. And they smell nice . . . Method cleaning products, right now (probably) at the "featured items" endcap at your local Shoppers!

The "Da Vinci Code" History Seminar

Ack! Aaaaaack! Ack ack ack!

Opus Dei 101 -- Investigating a “history” class.

. . . the point of this course is to explain how The DaVinci Code, the Dan Brown novel that claims Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a baby and that Opus Dei is a murderous conspiracy charged with protecting the Divine Descendents, is like, you know, historical and stuff.

What really made me pause however was this line: "The Priory of Sion actually existed since 1099, and Opus Dei frightfully exists right here in the U.S.A., today!"


Good read. Check it out. We're only going to hear more about this nonsense as the (shudder) movie approaches; I highly recommend arming yourself with a copy of The DaVinci Hoax by Carl Olsen and Sandra Miesel, though De-Coding Da Vinci by Amy Welborn is worthy as well.

Fixing up 24 Sussex

I wanted to link to this story, which was featured in the Post yesterday; unfortunately, it was subscriber-only. However, this letter to the editor in today's paper says just what I wanted to say in response: Namely, why can't a private foundation be formed to help pay for renovations and redecoration at 24 Sussex? That takes the partisan onus off any prime minister while having it fixed. And, er, it's what we do in the U.S. . . . (Parks Service takes care of day-to-day stuff). Well, this Canadian says it, to his own peeps.

Re: PM's Residence A Real Fixer-Upper, Jan. 25

National Post -- Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006

Like the country, the prime minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive is in a state of disrepair. Anywhere else in the free world, where things are not as constrained by the powers of an overreaching civil service, that would not be a problem. Concerned citizens would incorporate a charitable foundation, memberships would be sold, a general meeting would be held, a volunteer board would be elected, funds would be raised, contractors would be hired, and the place would be fixed. The problem is that this is Canada, and we don't do things like that: Only the government can solve our problems.
Thom Gillan, Hamilton, Ont.

Things I just don't get

1) Vienna sausages. That coating they leave in your mouth - ick. Haven't had one in 20-odd years and I can still feel it. 2) Che t-shirts. "I (heart) murderous, dictator-snuggling, doctrinaire thugs." Why? 3) Multiple and/or "alternative" piercings. Especially nose, lip, and eyebrow piercings. These were hip and rebellious in, oh, 1994, 1995, and even 1996, though even then they weren't particularly attractive. But Anno Domini 2006? I don't think so. 4) Sadist horror movies, like the Saw series or this new Hostel movie. Oh, regular all-American gore isn't good enough for you anymore, eh? 5) The Sims. Why live "real life" on your computer when you have a real life? If you don't like your own "real life", make it better, for pete's sake!

"Hamas Election Victory Shocks World"

Seriously? Like, you didn't see this coming? Not even a teensy bit?

The prognostication was not hard; the difficult thing to see is the way to move forward. Power-sharing might be the way -- maaaayyybe.

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Islamic militant Hamas' landslide victory in Palestinian elections unnerved the world Thursday, darkening prospects for Mideast peace and ending four decades of rule by the corruption-riddled Fatah Party.

The parliamentary victory stunned even Hamas leaders, who mounted a well-organized campaign but have no experience in government. They offered to share power with President Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah chief, who said he may go around the new government to talk peace with Israel.

In bed, 1:47 a.m., Thursday morning

Me: Honey, who do you suppose Dominic DaVinci voted for?
Husband: (Sleepily) Whaaaa?
Me: You know, that fictionalized Larry Campbell character? I'd bet NDP . . .
Husband: Darling, shut up.

(What the husband actually said: "NDP - of course!")

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

"Speaking of Iranian elites, we might just get saved by corrupt oligarchs. Hooray!"

Jim Geraghty follows up on his previous post that I mentioned yesterday. To wit:

Thankfully, Ahmadinejad does not have absolute power; the Iranian constitution defines the roles of secular and religious leaders and governing bodies, and duties often overlap in their government. In addition to their president, Crazy Ahmadi, they have a national religious leader, the Council of Guardians, an executive branch Council of Ministers, a legislative National Assembly, a Council of Expediency (created by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1988 to resolve legislative issues on which the Majles and the Council of Guardians fail to reach an agreement), a Supreme Court and the four-member High Council of the Judiciary, and of course, the military, with both a regular military and the Revolutionary Guard Corps, which maintains internal security.

That’s a lot of people, a lot of factions, and I’ll bet they can’t all be ready and willing to die in a nuclear blast awaiting the imminent return of the Mahdi. In fact, you’re looking at the cream of Iranian society, the ones who enjoy the best housing, best pay, best food, best life, etc. They may enjoy the here so much, that they’re not itching to leap into the hereafter.

Speaking of Iranian elites, we might just get saved by corrupt oligarchs. Hooray!

Plus some more analysis, of how yesterday's scenario gets changed in this light.

But Ahmadinejad still gives me the willies. Maybe that's why they elected him, after all: "Ah, Fahrouz, he will so enrage the degenerate citizens of the Great Satan!" "Yes, Sayeed, I can hardly wait to cast my vote for the crazy bastard!"

Phone call, 6:42 a.m., Tuesday morning

First voice: Hello?
Second voice: Hi, Petey?
FV: How did you get this number?
SV: Oh, Daddy had it looked up for me. Look, now that you're going to be deputy PM and everything, I was just wondering if you could, you know, maybe talk to Stephen for me and tell him I'm sorry about all the mean things I've said since May . . .
FV: --click--
--Call ends--

Monday, January 23, 2006

Election results - where to get 'em

Preface: I'm not encouraging anyone to break any Canadian laws.

Okay. Websites to go to for info before 10 p.m. Eastern:

Captain's Quarters (having traffic problems but he is liveblogging - keep trying)

The Surly Beaver (liveblogging and commentary - starting to have bandwidth problems, hang in there!)

Sailor Republica's Do or Die (liveblogging)

Iran: The new Soviet Union

Okay. What I mean is that, when I was a young 'un, there was always a background fear - in the background, quiet, but there - that something would somehow go wrong with the Russkis, they'd press the button, and, whoosh, goodbye Earth (or at least life as we knew it). With the fall of Communism, that fear fell, too - an almost palpable feeling, like a cramp suddenly loosening. The lack of that fear was part of why the '90's was our "escape from history" decade.

Well, one tries to be rational about Iran. With Khatami, that was possible. But, look - Ahmadinejad is just plain freakin' nuts. Even Macleans says so! (The Canadian newsweekly has a positively psycho-type picture of the man on their cover this week.) And I just can't bear to think about any of the Iranian atomic mess because it's too depressing. If my mind starts wandering that way, it tends to follow the steps in this great post by Jim Geraghty- not a lot of fun. Frankly, I'd rather work on my theory about nutty world leaders who refuse to wear neckties - obviously, there's Ahmadinejad, now I've also got Evo Morales of Bolivia . . . much more fun than contemplating Iran and the Bomb.

The U.S. bishops: Always ready to meet the challenges of the day head on, courageous in the Lord

And this is Cardinal George we're talking about! Oy vey.

US bishops sought delay on gay-seminarian document

Chicago, Jan. 20 (LifesiteNews.com/CWN) - In an annual interview with Chicago Sun Times reporter Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Cardinal Francis George revealed that last year the United States bishops asked the Vatican to delay release of the long-awaited document on homosexuality and the priesthood.

. . . Cardinal George told the Sun-Times that US bishops were concerned that the timing of the document's publication would create the appearance that it was linked with the current Vatican visitation of American seminaries. "We asked them not not to publish it, but to delay it-- to wait-- otherwise it would color the visitations," the cardinal explained. He continued: "We said, 'If you do this, it will be taken as a commentary on the visitations and we'll get into this whole business that the gay community is so sensitive to of, 'You're blaming us for the pedophilia.'"

Vatican officials were not persuaded by the American bishops' arguments, Cardinal George said, because the Instruction on homosexuality and the priesthood was intended for the whole Church. The Vatican concluded that the document's release date should not be based on circumstances only in the US, he said.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Spare thy people, O Lord!

Tipped from the Curt Jester, whose visitors (mostly) feel likewise.

St. Louis Jesuits liturgical music group back together after 21 years

"Morning Light" is the seventh recording for the St. Louis Jesuits -- Dan Schutte and Jesuit Fathers Bob Dufford, John Foley and Roc O'Connor -- who were known for such songs as "Blest Be the Lord," "Lift Up Your Hearts" and "Sing a New Song."

Frankly, I don't have the heart at the moment to mock this. These men helped ruin my childhood with terrible church music, the least they could have done was kept silent.

"It really was a wonderful experience and very nostalgic and heartwarming to record together again," Schutte said in a phone interview with The Catholic Voice, Omaha archdiocesan newspaper. "Beyond the recording, it was just a wonderful experience of spending companionship time together."

How nice for you, Dan. But you could have just kept the tracks on GarageBand in your home computers, all the same. And, you know, released bootlegs for those now late-middle-aged people who thought you were so "hip" and "groovy" back when.

More on the Fairlane

From last year - this walk-through from about.com sums up nicely.

Here are some pics I downloaded from conceptcarz.com:

Pretty enough for the girls, handsome enough for the guys.

All ready for the tailgate party! (Do the baskets come with? I hope so!!)

ford_fairlane_06 interior 2
A shot of the "suicide doors" (which may or may not last into production) with an interesting bit: Often in concept cars, designers leave out the "B" pillar and put on suicide doors, so you have a nice unobstructed view of the interior of the vehicle. This is obviously more of a pre-production vehicle (IMO) because of the B pillar there. The doors may not necessarily go away - the Honda Element is a current production vehicle with suicide doors, and without a B pillar, for that matter (see here: 2005 Honda Element). Gen-X'ers like me, current mommies and daddies, are pretty nuts about suicide doors - we remember those Lincoln Continentals that were around when we were little. They're icons in Gen-X-made indie movies and comix. We'll see . . .

One step closer to my dream car

I absolutely fell in love with the Ford Fairlane concept last year, and it was more than a little frustrating that Ford muckety-mucks "hinted" that the thing would go somewhat straight into production within two years. So since last January, I've been waiting for this - kindly tipped to me by my dad, who helped make me a car junkie almost as bad as himself . . .

(Of course, my secret theory about Bill Ford, environmentalist, is that he's really driving Ford into the ground in an effort to stop the internal combustion engine, especially since fuel cells are a pipe dream and - ask Toyota - you get nowhere with hybrids unless you subsidize the heck out of them. Because the Fords themselves must have their money in diverse investments, they could "afford" to lose the Ford Motor Co. investment. It's just a hunch, but it explains a lot, doesn't it? We'll see about this "restructuring plan". Seriously, of course, I want them to stay alive because I want my Fairlane!!!)

Ford to pursue new look for minivans: source

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co., which is gearing up to unveil its turnaround plan on Monday, is likely to announce a new direction for its sluggish minivan line-up, a person familiar with the automaker's product plan said on Friday.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker will move away from the traditional minivan look, characterized by sliding doors and a truck platform, and pursue a design similar to the Fairlane concept wagon that it revealed at the Detroit auto show last year, the person said.

The vehicle had three rows of seats, was based on a car platform, and looked more like a larger station wagon. The automaker called the Fairlane a "people mover."

Ford, facing a deepening financial crisis, will announce a comprehensive restructuring plan on Monday that will include plant closings and layoffs, as well as present its fourth-quarter earnings.

More Camino enthusings

Well, I've been using Camino for almost two months, and I have to say I love it. It really does load fast, and I haven't run into much it can't handle. I keep Safari around for emergencies, but that's it, and I've totally stopped using Firefox - nothing wrong with Firefox, but Camino's just so much better, and it improves as the builds go along.

I've also downloaded several (free) programs that have made working in Camino even more fun. One is CaminoKnight; this automates the process of downloading the nightly build and installing it over the previous version (if you start using Camino at all you'll learn what I mean, and appreciate this program). Another is CaminIcon, which allows you to download and install different themes and icons for your Camino interface - you would use this instead of extensions (if you're familiar with Firefox) or add-ons to Safari like SafarIcon, which is written by the same talented fellow. There's also nadamac's CamiTools, which adds on to the Preferences and is a real bonus; you should just take a look. I suppose the two things I like most about it are 1) the toolbar search engine editor (I had downloaded an extension for this in Firefox and loved it) and 2)the view options, although the block options are also great if that's a problem for you (I really try to practice safe surfing so it's not so bad for me -- at the moment).

Anyway, I'm so psyched about the fun I've been having noodling around with Camino's appearance, I thought I'd take a screenshot and share it with you. This is using the "Plastic" theme (incomplete icon set) from this Camino Builds and Themes Page. Gives a kind of clean Safari feel, but it's all Camino. Though I think I'll change the bookmarks to blue. Needs a little color - and in CaminIcon, it's easy to do!


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Another classic from the Curt Jester - "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Religious"


Before you can adopt one of the the seven habits, you'll need to accomplish a "paradigm shift"--a change in perception and interpretation of magisterial fidelity. You need to move away from polyester pantsuits with sensible shoes and a heterodox faith. Stephen R. Convent walks you through how it is that it is obedience to Christ and his Church and not the latest in social engineering or the latest fad created by university professors that make a religious order highly effective. That it is not labyrinths but liturgy, prayer not progressive's talking points, dying to Christ not dialogue the point of which is to evangelize the Church with the culture instead of the other way around.

Thinking about getting on the Harper Bandwagon?

Here's the logical conclusion.

(H/t to Angry.)

1.5 million cast ballots in early voting

Elections Canada has the figures here. According to the CBC, that is a 25% upturn for the national total over the 2004 election. In the U.S., heavy early voting means good news for conservative candidates, but I don't know if it has the same correllation here in Canada.

(Interesting bit under the election turnout story suggesting that drop in voter turnout may be related to lack of civics classes. My husband's told me before that most Canadian schools have dropped civics, but it's still hard to believe. What do they take instead? A second semester of sex ed? Video game theory 101??)

If you want to show the world you "don't get it" . . .

. . . THIS is a great way to do it!

(I quite agree with the poster "Mad Mike" there on SDA:

Just another example of the desperation of the anti-Harper crowd.

Of course, their complaints will only help by drawing yet more attention to the Blogging Tories (at the expense of the MSM). Tactically simplistic, strategically stupid move.

5 days left, and they will only succeed in drawing the attention of thousands of people to information and opinion they want hidden.


Twits, indeed.)

The new encyclical: Due out Jan. 25

VATICAN CITY, JAN 18, 2006 (VIS) - The Vatican Information Service has spoken, so everyone can quit speculating: It's a week from today. I'm sure it will be interesting, to say the very least.


During today's general audience, Benedict XVI announced that his first Encyclical, the title of which is "Deus Caritas est," will made public on January 25. The official presentation of the document will take place in the Holy See Press Office at midday on the same day.

. . . "Charity," the Holy Father went on, "is the love that renounces itself in favor of others. 'Eros' becomes 'agape' if one seeks the good of others, it becomes 'caritas' if it opens to one's own family and to the entire human family."

The Pope affirmed that his Encyclical "seeks to show that the very personal act of love must be expressed within the Church also as an organizational act. If it is true that the Church is an expression of God, it must be true that love becomes an ecclesial act."

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I have a dream . . . that one day all God's children will eat chocolate together

From Scrappleface:

Nagin Recruiting Hershey to Rebuild New Orleans

by Scott Ott

(2006-01-17) — In a further clarification of yesterday’s remarks that a rebuilt New Orleans would be a “chocolate” city, Mayor Ray Nagin today said he’s planning to recruit Hershey Foods to establish a candy manufacturing plant in the hurricane-ravaged region.

. . .“We’re in the very, very early stages of discussions with Hershey,” Mr. Nagin said, “It’s still in the pre-meeting, pre-phone call stage. But that’s what this chocolate city concept is all about. It’s literally chocolate, rather than chocolate as a metaphor for something else. It’s edible chocolate. It really is.”

. . .“Ever since I saw the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I’ve thought, ‘That’s New Orleans’,” Mayor Nagin said. “and I thought, ‘I’m Willy Wonka’.”

CPC voting reminder postcard

Husband received this handy early voting reminder postcard today. Of course, since he voted on Friday (and early voting ended yesterday), it's no good to him, but as there's apparently some confusion out in Ontario where Progressive Canadian candidates are being marked "PC", I thought I'd post this (after editing for our privacy). I'm thinking most registered voters, especially if you have any way of registering a party preference, should be receiving one of these in the next day or two, if you haven't already. As is shown on the "sample ballot", Mr. Hawn is alphabetically first among the candidates in Edmonton Centre, and that's how he appears on the real ballot. As always, know your candidate's name and your preferred party!

cpc card rev

cpc card front

My Team Martin sign

Thanks to Kate's Librano Sign Generator:


Monday, January 16, 2006

Jack Layton presses for more "Strategic Voting"

Oh my gosh, are the Liberals going to tank or what?

Lend me your votes, Layton declares

Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton put a new twist on attempts to siphon votes from his opponents Monday, begging disaffected Liberals to “lend” him their votes while their party “regenerates".

“Vote for us just this once, in this election, so there is a strong voice in the next Parliament that is standing up for the priorities progressive people believe in,” he said.

Layton added the Liberals will be “going into the repair shop for a while” to work out their ethical issues, and will thus be thinking about themselves and not voters' priorities.

While Layton said he wouldn't predict the outcome of the election, his messaging appeared to suggest the NDP believes in the real possibility that Stephen Harper could be the next prime minister.

He also made an appeal to Red Tories, saying it was no accident that the CPC dropped "Progessive" from its name.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Today's news: G&M endorses Harper; Hell freezes over

No, seriously, the G&M did endorse Harper and the Conservatives. Really. See here:

Editorial: Three reasons why it's time for a change

Oh, yes, I'll be buying this

How can I resist? It's Martha.

Martha Stewart Confirms New Magazine For Spring

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia . . . confirmed plans Thursday for a two-issue test magazine entitled Blueprint: Design Your Life, set to debut this spring. Blueprint, the first publication launch since Stewart was released from prison last March, aims to teach and inspire women between 25 and 45 how to decorate, dress, entertain and organize their lives.

Sounds like a Good Thing.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Edmonton Centre poll

Interesting poll by Ipsos for Edmonton Centre. Hawn 42%, McLellan 35%, +/- 4%, "Race is Too Close to Call".

People I'm glad I'm not

Alberta Liberal MP/candidates

(FWIW, my husband just voted - NOT for Annie - at our polling place here in Edmonton Centre, said there were maybe 5 other people there, at 6:30 p.m. on the first day of early voting.)

Spanish government puts army chief under house arrest

I think about all he has in common with Franco is being a general. On the one hand, you can understand the Spanish being wary of military intervention. On the other, the military is actually given a role in the Spanish constitution safeguarding national unity - not that that would ever be pretty. However, the current Socialist government is quite indebted to the Cataloñian region and is not exactly pro-military, so this is hardly a surprising reaction. Boy, the '90's really were an "escape from history", weren't they?

Army chief's warnings awaken ghost of Franco

Addressing army officers in Seville, Lieutenant-General Mena said that, if limits set by the Spanish constitution to stop any region from overreaching its set powers were exceeded by Catalonia, the army would have to act. His speech met an angry response from Spain’s Socialist Government. José Bono, the Defence Minister, ordered him to be placed under house arrest and is expected to seek his expulsion from the armed forces.

It became clear yesterday that Lieutenant-General Mena enjoyed some support within the armed forces. Retired Colonel José Conde Monge, President of the Spanish Military Association, applauded his remarks and criticised his arrest.

“We are in a dangerous situation that the politicians do not want to acknowledge but which threatens to break up Spain,” he said.

The Catalan plan has split Spain, causing a widespread backlash among many Spaniards against the region.

Liberals - vote strategically FOR the NDP!

Haven't seen this yet anyplace:

Vote NDP to stop Harper in B.C., Layton says [and not just in B.C.]

Canadians must now vote for the New Democratic Party to stop surging Conservative leader Stephen Harper, NDP leader Jack Layton said Thursday.

Layton, who had previously fought against the Liberal argument that Canadians must vote strategically to defeat Harper, is now acknowledging that the Liberal slide is helping his cause in areas like Vancouver Island -- where the NDP is seen as the main challenger to the Tories in the six ridings here. [my emphasis]

. . . The NDP leader has refused to follow the Liberal lead in trying to demonize Harper, recognizing that Liberal attempts in the 2004 to portray Harper as a dangerous right-wing radical drove NDP voters to the Liberals, and has largely kept his own concerns about Harper to himself.

. . . Layton also refused to exploit the new controversy over B.C. candidate Derek Zeisman, who was running for the Tories in Southern Interior riding the NDP almost won in 2004.

Well, Zeisman was pulled today, so that takes care of that - good on Layton for taking the high road. Very (dare I say it?) Ed Broadman.

Tipping Point

I've said, commenting on other blogs, that the Liberal ads are the tipping point of this election. A couple of days after saying that, I believe that even more strongly. Conservative numbers are just going up, Liberal gaffes are growing, Stephen Harper is looking even more tanned-rested-and-ready, and Paul Martin is acting like he's stopped drinking his 12-15 cups-per-day of java and is now simply mainlining it.

Don't get me wrong: The Conservatives make mistakes, sure. But look at what's going on: Peter Mansbridge holds the Prime Minister's feet to the fire. The Aspers come out for the Conservatives. Duffy v. Duffy. Strategic voting - for the NDP (see next). So much more. I don't know if it's been so much a tipping point as a Harperlanche . . .

Colby Cosh on Canada's Murder Capital

Raht here in cozy little Edmonton. True. Though Tronna has us seriously beat when it comes to gun murders, which is what seems to matter up here . . . . He's quite right about the serial-killer-and-loaded-loudmouths responsibility, but still and all there are often "gang" connections to the many native or part-native young men killed around here ("natives" seeming to be Canada's answer to "black people").

Shheohh! Blogger's finally back up!

Now I can get up all the posts I've got in the pipeline . . .

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The new ads

Following the last two debates, you'd think everyone would be talking about the Notwithstanding Clause bomb, Jack Layton's "Working Families" rap, or, well, something, anything, debate-related. But no. Big focus is on the latest round of Liberal ads. As the Conservatives said they would, they've gone negative - and how. One's already gotten them in so much trouble that they've had to pull it. (You can see it at the CTV site.)

Don't get me wrong, they're good (as Warren Kinsella sez). And they might pull some votes back to the Libs - especially NDP "strategic voters". But if you listen to them at all, or see the same ad more than two times, you are going to start thinking . . . and you'll think, hey, why so hysterical? That's why I think they released so many ads, so that their target audience wouldn't really have time over two weeks to really think about any of them, but still feel the emotional impact from each one, up to election day.

Now, many Liberal supporters, or folks who are just plain anti-CPC, are saying, what's so wrong with attack ads? After all, the Conservatives as well as the NDP are using them. Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with attack ads, in their proper place. But they are really more of a seasoning than a main ingredient. The bulk of your ad campaign needs to be your fruit & veg & good carbs (idea ads, laying out your platform, what you'd do, your vision) and good, lower-fat protien (feel-good, I'm-proud-to-be-Canadian ads). Then you sprinkle your seasoning on top of that. But you can't eat seasoning, it has no nutritive value. To make cayenne pepper or saffron alone, without any "real" food, the centerpiece of a dinner, would be a little . . . um, nutty. And to have an ad campaign consisting only of attack ads is a little . . . um, desperate.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I call Belafonte "Greatest Idiot"

Belafonte Calls Bush 'Greatest Terrorist'

During remarks given on his visit to, who else, Hugo Chávez in Venezuela. Lovely. Here are the top 3 grafs:

The American singer and activist Harry Belafonte called President Bush "the greatest terrorist in the world" on Sunday and said millions of Americans support the socialist revolution of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Belafonte led a delegation of Americans including the actor Danny Glover and the Princeton University scholar Cornel West that met the Venezuelan president for more than six hours late Saturday. Some in the group attended Chavez's television and radio broadcast Sunday.

"No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people ... support your revolution," Belafonte told Chavez during the broadcast.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Okay, Canadians, this is officially pathetic

Hardly what I expected for my first post of the new year. Nonetheless, a bit of a shock to look up canada.com and find:

Canadian fans take cheap shots at U.S.A. by Pete McMartin

[U.S. head coach Walt Kyle] was under the mistaken impression -- one still shared by many Americans, the poor, trusting boobs -- that because our two great countries are neighbours and have co-existed peacefully for over 150 years and have vast economic and cultural ties, that he could consider Canada a home-ice-away-from-home and Vancouverites would naturally cheer for the American team rather than for a team from a country which, not 20 years ago, was chiefly known for its vicious soul-crushing despotism, and whose hockey teams were reviled by Canadian fans as products of a drab socialist machine that saw sport as nothing more than an arm of state propaganda.

But Kyle hadn't figured on the Canadian weakness for envy; I'll bet he didn't even suspect that that weakness existed, or would find expression in something as well intentioned as an international hockey tournament.

. . . (And imagine the Canadian reaction if an American hockey crowd had chanted "Canada Sucks!" Imagine the country-wide alarm! Imagine the indignant frothing! Imagine the CBC- televised forum hosted by Peter Mansbridge on the crisis in U.S.-Canada relations, featuring the nationalist ravings of Maude Barlow!)

Kyle and his team deserve an apology.

Consider this one.

Thanks, Pete, that's very decent of you. I'm sure the majority of Canadians would agree with you. Something like this is very shocking to Americans, who mostly have the attitude, "If an American can't win it, better a Canadian than anyone else!" I'm sure they were totally mystified, not to say hurt. But then, they're from McChimpy Bushhitlerland, so what do their feelings matter?