Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's going to get hotter! No wait.....

Climate change is going to make Britain and Europe hotter.

No it isn't. It's going to make them colder.

Maybe all the panic about global cooling a few decades ago was right. Remember the ice age we were promised? That was before environmentalists decided that global warming was the way to go in order to advance their anti-capitalist left wing agendas.

Pelosi's cut and run call a GOP opportunity?

So thinks William Kristol. Interesting suggestion to make Joe Lieberman Secretary of Defense!

Is this editorial or a "news" report

I can find no statement of this outrageous bit of AP bias being an editorial comment.

The first few paragraphs are:

President Bush's depiction of Iraqi security forces as "helping to turn the tide" is difficult to square with persistent setbacks in handing control of the country back to its own people.

His suggestion that Americans are solidly behind the mission also understates opposition at home, and his hard sell on the rising quality of Iraqi forces overlooks complexities on the ground.

Bush on Wednesday declared the Iraqi army and police forces are "increasingly taking the lead in the fight against the terrorists," even as recruits patrol Iraq's most violent cities barely three months after learning how to use weapons and police forces struggle to get officers to come to work.

The hit piece by Calvin Woodward is entitled "Bush Attempts Hard Sell On Iraq Progress". It's unbelievable that this is the level of blatant bias to which the MSM has fallen.

Powerline has more.

Today's favourite odd news: J-Lo's bum in a box


If you've ever wished you had a bottom like Jennifer Lopez (or maybe if you've wished your significant other has), your dreams have been answered!

The Shapes Contour Panty "instant bottom in a box" can give you that curvy derriere.

The rather interestingly named Chi Chi Izundu tried them out for the BBC. Her verdict? That they look like Bridget Jones' gigantic knickers and were uncomfortable to wear. Plus her bum looked big in them. Wait a minute! Isn't that the point?

Every man with a healthy sense of self-preservation knows that the answer to the question "does my bum look big in this?" is a resounding "no!" But because of these things sometimes the right answer will be "yes"! What a minefield!

Ignatieff takes flak on pro Iraq war stance

The NDP have been jumping all over the fact that Michael Ignatieff, one of the highest profile Liberal candidates for the coming election, supported the Iraq War and, despite WMD's not being found, still does.



What I found harder to respect was how indifferent my antiwar friends seemed to be to the costs of allowing Hussein to remain in power. The costs -- of doing what they saw as the right, prudent, nonviolent thing -- would be borne by the Iraqis alone. It was Iraqis who would remain locked inside a police state. What this meant was no abstraction to anyone who had actually been in the country. So when people said, ''I know he's a dictator, but . . . ,'' the ''but'' seemed like a moral evasion. And when people said, ''He was a genocidal killer, but that was yesterday,'' I thought, Since when do crimes against humanity have a statute of limitations? And when people said, finally, ''There are a lot of dictators, and the U.S. supports most of them,'' this sounded to me like a suave alibi for doing nothing. Now, a year later, I hear the same people tell methey're glad Hussein is gone, but. . . .

Ignatieff is also a supporter of the emerging democracy in Iraq and wants it to succeed.



Establishing free institutions in Iraq was the best reason to support the war - now it is the only reason - and for that very reason democracy there has ceased to be a respectable cause.

He has also skewered the flawed morality of the left (from the same article as above):


Liberals can't bring themselves to support freedom in Iraq lest they seem to collude with neo-conservative bombast. Anti-war ideologues can't support the Iraqis because that would require admitting that positive outcomes can result from bad policies. And then there are the ideological fools in the Arab world, and even a few in the West, who think the 'insurgents' are fighting a just war against US imperialism. This makes you wonder when the left forgot the proper name for people who bomb polling stations, kill election workers and assassinate candidates - fascists.

And now Ignatieff is one of the highest profile candidates, and a possible future leader, of a party whose current leader, just today, said


"Let me be unequivocal - we did not support the war in Iraq, we did not support military intervention in any way, shape or form."
Jack Layton is trying to make political hay over this, today saying that the Prime Minister "had some explaining to do" and suggesting that he firmly repudiate Ignatieff's position. In response Martin stated that members were "entitled to express their opinions" (somewhat ironic, that, for anyone who knows Canadian politics).

Personally, I hope that Mr Ignatieff wins in his riding, at the same time hoping that his party loses the election. With new blood such as Ignatieff in Parliament, Canada may reverse its recent slide into international irrelevance and European style mediocrity.

President Bush's speech

The President gave an excellent speech today at the Naval Academy.

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital.

This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory.

..............

Our strategy in Iraq has three elements. On the political side, we know that free societies are peaceful societies, so we're helping the Iraqis build a free society with inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq -- and to marginalize those who never will. On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offensive against the enemy, cleaning out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives.
As we fight the terrorists, we're working to build capable and effective Iraqi security forces, so they can take the lead in the fight -- and eventually take responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens without major foreign assistance.
And on the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq. In doing all this we have involved the United Nations, other international organizations, our coalition partners, and supportive regional states in helping Iraqis build their future.


Thus, the President clearly maps out the broad outline of the strategy in Iraq: create a democracy, develop the economy, train Iraqi forces to look after their own security.

The President explained that there are over 120 Iraqi battalions now engaged; that the assault in Tal Afar was lead primarily by Iraqi forces; that over 30 Iraqi battalions now control their own assigned territory; 90 square miles of Baghdad province are now controlled by Iraqi security forces, as well as areas in Northern, Southern and Western Iraq; and that more than a dozen military bases are now in the control of the Iraqi forces.

Importantly, the President addressed the criticism that only one Iraqi battalion is completely independent from coalition forces:

Some critics dismiss this progress and point to the fact that only one Iraqi battalion has achieved complete independence from the coalition. To achieve complete independence, an Iraqi battalion must do more than fight the enemy on its own -- it must also have the ability to provide its own support elements, including logistics, airlift, intelligence, and command and control through their ministries. Not every Iraqi unit has to meet this level of capability in order for the Iraqi security forces to take the lead in the fight against the enemy. As a matter of fact, there are some battalions from NATO militaries that would not be able to meet this standard. The facts are that Iraqi units are growing more independent and more capable; they are defending their new democracy with courage and determination. They're in the fight today, and they will be in the fight for freedom tomorrow.

As for future redeployment, the strategy was made very clear:

For example, we have increased our force levels in Iraq to 160,000 -- up from 137,000 -- in preparation for the December elections. My commanders tell me that as Iraqi forces become more capable, the mission of our forces in Iraq will continue to change. We will continue to shift from providing security and conducting operations against the enemy nationwide, to conducting more specialized operations targeted at the most dangerous terrorists. We will increasingly move out of Iraqi cities, reduce the number of bases from which we operate, and conduct fewer patrols and convoys.

As the Iraqi forces gain experience and the political process advances, we will be able to decrease our troop levels in Iraq without losing our capability to defeat the terrorists. These decisions about troop levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders -- not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.


Then the President addressed the cut and run policy Democrats, using the good sense of one of the few balanced Democrats left, Senator Lieberman:

Some are calling for a deadline for withdrawal. Many advocating an artificial timetable for withdrawing our troops are sincere -- but I believe they're sincerely wrong. Pulling our troops out before they've achieved their purpose is not a plan for victory. As Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, setting an artificial timetable would "discourage our troops because it seems to be heading for the door. It will encourage the terrorists, it will confuse the Iraqi people."

Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America. To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief.

..........

Some critics continue to assert that we have no plan in Iraq except to, "stay the course." If by "stay the course," they mean we will not allow the terrorists to break our will, they are right. If by "stay the course," they mean we will not permit al Qaeda to turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was under the Taliban -- a safe haven for terrorism and a launching pad for attacks on America -- they are right, as well. If by "stay the course" they mean that we're not learning from our experiences, or adjusting our tactics to meet the challenges on the ground, then they're flat wrong. As our top commander in Iraq, General Casey, has said, "Our commanders on the ground are continuously adapting and adjusting, not only to what the enemy does, but also to try to out-think the enemy and get ahead of him." Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics are flexible and dynamic; we have changed them as conditions required and they are bringing us victory against a brutal enemy.


Are you listening, Senators Reid, Kerry, Murtha, et al?

Near the end of the speech, the President outlined the withdrawal strategy very clearly and concisely:


As we make progress toward victory, Iraqis will take more responsibility for their security, and fewer U.S. forces will be needed to complete the mission. America will not abandon Iraq. We will not turn that country over to the terrorists and put the American people at risk. Iraq will be a free nation and a strong ally in the Middle East -- and this will add to the security of the American people.

This is the only withdrawal strategy that is prudent and possible if success is to be achieved: as the Iraqis can take over their own security, so the coalition forces can leave. What is so difficult for leftists to understand about that?

Flight 93 memorial design changed

The Flight 93 memorial to victims of Islamic terrorism will not be in the shape of the symbol of Islam after all. Why did this issue even arise?

Via Little Green Footballs.

Sexsomnia

The Toronto Sun reports on a bizarre case in Toronto, where a man has just been acquitted of sexual assault after using the defence that he was asleep when he committed the act.

The incident happened at a party. Both had been drinking, and the woman fell asleep on a sofa. She woke up to find Jan Luedecke having sex with her.

Luedecke claimed he fell asleep on the same couch and woke up when he was thrown to the floor.

He only suspected he had had sex after using the bathroom and discovering he was still wearing a condom, court heard. He confessed to police.

During his trial, sleep expert Dr. Colin Shapiro testified Luedecke had parasomnia -- a disorder with symptoms such as sleepwalking. Shapiro testified Luedecke suffered from sexsomnia, which is sexual behaviour during sleep.


Er...so this guy managed to put on a condom while he was asleep too? Is this starting to seem a little implausible?

Obviously women's groups are outraged by the judgement. Apparently, this guy says he had sex with four previous girlfriends while asleep. So even if this "sexsomnia" is genuine, he knew he suffered from it. Didn't he have a responsibility to make sure it didn't happen again? He says that he has cut down on drinking and is taking pills to stop it happening again. He should be held responsible for not doing that in the first place!

Some doctors think this is genuine, and this defense has been used before, such as in the case of Richard Anderson, who molested little girls. But surely there should be a large onus upon those who use this defence to prove it. Otherwise sexsomnia could become a very easy way for rapists and perverts to evade responsibility for their crimes.

The woman in the Toronto case will appeal all the way to the Supreme Court, she says.

The first face transplant

Doctors in France have carried out the World's first face transplant, the recipient being a woman who was savaged by a dog. Success is uncertain at this point, but this is amazing stuff.

Rumours that Michael Jackson is enroute to France are utterly unfounded, you hear?

Iraqi author calls for Galloway to be tried

At MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute), there are excepts from an article published earlier this month by Iraqi author Fadhil Rashad.

It is a truism that money can blind one to the truth… I know that George Galloway knows the truth, and that he is well aware of the [crimes] that Saddam perpetrated against his own people and against the neighboring countries. However, he turns a blind eye to them, because he wants to make the whole world turn a blind eye to them and to overlook the oil vouchers that he himself received from Saddam. I want to say in this article: George Galloway, leader of the Respect party - you defend your friend and benefactor Saddam and you will yet be tried just like your friend and benefactor Saddam. I assure you that the Iraqi people will never turn a blind eye to those who robbed them. You robbed from all of the Iraqis what amounts to approximately 20 million barrels of oil [that you received] in exchange for misleading public opinion concerning the crimes perpetrated by Saddam against his people.
"In this article, I call on the Iraqi government to open the file on the Oil-for-Food scandal and file criminal indictments with international courts against those who benefited [from the oil vouchers] and those who stretched out their hands and took those vouchers from Saddam.

"May the first [to be indicted] be George Galloway…"


George Galloway is without a doubt a modern day Lord Haw Haw, and one day he will be held responsible for his collaboration with Dictators and mass-murderers. I hope that the Iraqis pursue the oil-for-food scandal fully, and manage to bring him to justice.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Did Senator Reid leak sensitive info?

You know how the Democrats are so concerned about the leaking of secret intelligence? Here's something they might want to investigate!



Is Senator Harry Reid all that swift when it comes to U.S. Intelligence matters? Last Wednesday, the Minority Leader appeared on KRNV-TV's "Nevada Newsmakers" program and dropped a stunning revelation. He had been informed just that day that Osama bin Laden was killed in the giant Pakistan earthquake last month. "I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that's the case, I certainly wouldn't wish anyone harm, but if that's the case, that's good for the world."

Intelligence analysts tell me that the only proper action by a top U.S. Senate leader who has been given such information is radio silence. If the report is true, such information is best released at a moment of the U.S. government's choosing. For one thing, as long as the information is tightly held, it can be used to sift out electronic intercepts that might lead to other Al Qaeda leaders. On the other hand, if Mr. Reid's public speculation proves groundless, it only embarrasses the U.S. and contributes to enemy morale. Here's hoping Al Qaeda figures aren't soon appearing on Al Jazeera television chortling about the clueless Mr. Reid.

Earlier this month, Mr. Reid was eager to keep discussions of intelligence matters under wraps. For little apparent reason, he invoked a seldom-used rule that forced the Senate to go into secret session to debate complaints about pre-war intelligence concerning Saddam's weapons programs. ...

If this is true, it's an appalling example of carelessness. Senators blabbing out sensitive information to local news stations should not be given sensitive information in the future. If it's true, then intelligence services might want to keep the existence of their knowledge secret to protect informants. If it's wrong then the US just ends up looking stupid (which maybe the Democrats would like). It's no wonder America's allies are starting to lose confidence when feckless loudmouths like Senator Reid are running about.

Betsy Newmark has more.

Today's favourite odd news: doodoo doo doo doo, I'm stealin' it!


What was the Wendy's franchise thinking when they hired Ronald MacDonald?

Well, he certainly did Wendy's, or at least tried to, getting caught stealing from the safe.

Fortunately, he was detained at the store, saving the police from having to take down a clown in front of the kiddies.

After being released on bail, Mr. MacDonald was seen pursuing his next employment opportunity.


OK OK it's Ronald MacDonald not McDonald, and nothing to do with the stupid clown. Let me have some fun, willya?

Economy booming in Northern Iraq

In the place where Saddam Hussein headquartered the 5th Legion of the Iraqi Army there is a public park with tranquil gardens. Where Hussein murdered 180,000 people, including 5,000 in a chemical attack on the town of Halabja, there is now a booming economy.

Kevin Sites writes on the economic boom happening in Kurdish Northern Iraq:

Everywhere you look, building is under way. In downtown Erbil construction has begun on what is being promoted as the largest shopping mall in Iraq. Flights from cities like Frankfurt, Dubai and Amman now arrive at Erbil's newly opened international airport. Workers are busy expanding a highway that runs between Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

Large western-style residential developments are being created by the dozens with names like "Dream City," offering swimming pools and tennis courts -- all at western-style prices. At a shawarma restaurant in downtown Erbil, 26-year-old Sherwan Shekahani says business couldn't be better.

"I feel like people are paid better now. They have better salaries so they go out to eat more often," he says.


Of course, it can't all be good news. The economic boom has lead to some problems with corruption and with high inflation, but compared to what went before, such problems are insignificant.

Kurdish Iraqis know why they are enjoying their booming economy.

Junaid says the Americans need to stay.

"The day the Americans leave," he says, "on the next day the Arabs will attack us. When the Americans go we will go with them," he says, only half-jokingly.

The warped view of Christian Peacemaker Teams

The pacifists at Christian Peacemaker Teams have a seriously warped view of the kidnapping of four of their members.

American and British aggression in Iraq is to blame for the hostage-taking of four pacifists, including two Canadians paraded on international television through al-Jazeera video footage, the Christian Peacemaker Teams said Tuesday.

........

"We are angry because what has happened to our teammates is the result of the actions of the U.S. and U.K. governments due to the illegal attack on Iraq and the continuing occupation and oppression of its people," Christian Peacemaker Teams said in a statement.


In the strange viewpoint of CPT, the actual kidnappers seem to accrue no blame, and they'll certainly not accept any responsibility themselves for voluntarily sending team members into obviously dangerous places just to promote their political ideology.

New poll shows Liberals and Conservatives in tie

Good news for the Conservatives. They are tied at 31% with the Liberals, according to the latest Ipsos-Reid poll. The NDP have 18%. The poll was taken on Monday night after the non-confidence vote.

Reuters story.

What unions have done to American manufacturing

How much do you think a grass cutter should get paid? How about $26 an hour (about $60,000 per annum)? If that seems a bit high, you obviously don't live in the fantasy world of union dominated manufacturing industries like the big US auto manufacturers.

As Henry Payne explains in this column at NRO:

As defined by the current United Auto Worker contract negotiated with the "Big Five" (GM, Ford, Chrysler, and top parts makers Delphi and Visteon), an auto "production worker" is a job description that covers anything from mowing grass to cleaning the toilets. In the real world, these jobs would be outsourced to $8 an hour, no-benefit wage earners, but on Planet Big Five, these jobs get the same wages as any auto line-worker: an average $26 an hour ($60,000 a year) plus benefits that bring the company's total cost per worker to a staggering $65 an hour.

Think that's bad? How about getting that amount for doing nothing?

the Detroit News reported that "12,000 American autoworkers, instead of bending sheet metal, spend their days counting the hours in a jobs bank." These aren't jobs. And they certainly aren't being "lost" to China.

We just go in (to Ford's Michigan Truck Plant) and play crossword puzzles, watch videos that someone brings in or read the newspaper," The News quoted one UAW worker as saying. "Otherwise, I've just sat."


That is insane. And completely unsustainable. Is it any wonder that the American auto companies and their large parts suppliers are in such dire straits? They simply cannot compete any more. Idle labour such as described above cost Delphi $400 million in just the second quarter of this year alone!

Read the article for further mind blowing statistics.

UK Conservative leadership contest

The next interesting date for Conservatives is December 6th. That's when results are expected in the leadership contest for the UK Conservative Party. With Tony Blair pledging not to fight another election, this is a critical juncture for the Conservatives, and the right choice could see them become serious contenders in the next general election.

The BBC has short profiles of the two remaining contenders, David Cameron and David Davis.

Cameron is favourite to win the contest, and is the public's favourite too. Davis has said that he would accept the deputy leadership position if offered, which would make for an extremely powerful leadership combination.

The Daily Telegraph endorsed Cameron on November 27th:

At the start of the race, the Shadow Education Secretary seemed uncertain and occasionally petulant. But, as the contest has proceeded, he has acquired grace, presence and confidence. As Sir Nathaniel Wraxall wrote of Pitt the Younger, he has "seemed made to guide and to command, even more than to persuade or to convince, the assembly that he addressed". This capacity to grow and to learn is of the greatest importance in a politician who is not only comparatively young but also - by his own admission - inexperienced.

......

Above all, Mr Davis should be offered - and has said he would accept - the Deputy Leadership of the party, an anchor and a reassurance to those in the party who may find Mr Cameron's plans occasionally alarming but also as a politician of experience, grit and judgment. This exciting contest has shown that the opportunity for the Conservatives to change the political landscape is the most promising it has been since 1979. Now it is time to deliver.


Things are looking up for the Conservatives in Britain, and if they keep on track, it looks like they may be in from the political wilderness soon.

Canadian "neo-conservatives"

That's the meme that Paul Martin introduced last night after the non-confidence vote.

According to CBC:


Martin criticized the "alliance of neo-Conservatives, the separatist Bloc Québécois and the New Democrats" for forcing an election.

This provides ample confirmation that the Liberal's major tactic in this election will be to demonise the Conservatives, and particularly Stephen Harper, as scary extremist right-wingers.

Invoking the neo-conservative label (what complete nonsense!) combines this with another of the Liberal's chosen tactics of desperation: anti-Americanism. If the Liberals can create a mental association in the minds of Canadians with the current US government, then they hope to tap into a mentality of fear and prejudice. "Vote for the Liberals" the reasoning goes "or we'll end up like those horrible Americans." Unfortunately, this can be extremely effective with issues like healthcare, and the Conservatives must address it forcefully. If this is the way the Liberals want to go, then much more in the way of associating them with "organised crime", as Harper did a few days ago, will be justified.

Sadly, this is likely to be the level of the coming campaign.

Captain Ed has thoughts on the fall of the Government.
Austin Bay has choice words for Paul Martin (Nixon Of The North....LOL)

White phosphorous

EU Rota has an excellent article on white phosphorus, specifically demolishing the New York Times editorial on the subject.

The morning after reaction

The Toronto Sun is, shall we say, pleased at last night. "They're done - stick a fork in 'em!" reads the headline on their editorial.

After 12 years, four governments and two prime ministers, it's not just time to boot the federal Liberals out of office.

It's time to drive a stake through their hearts, before they rise up again and bleed this country dry.

The Sun gives its reasons, including Adscam, the pitiful state of healthcare, revivial of seperatism in Quebec, softness on criminals and wastrelism with taxpayers money.

The Toronto Star is considerably more charitable towards Paul Martin and the Liberals, predicting a new Parliament not much different from the old, and saying that

Martin can credibly claim to be a good steward who delivered economic growth, job growth, big tax cuts, low inflation and surpluses.

That's disputable, of course. The Star goes on to list its choice of the issues in the election with its opinion, including preserving state healthcare and blocking private choices, national unity, poverty (a regular Star favourite), and foreign affairs (being unco-operative with the US and kowtowing to the UN). Can you tell I don't think much of the Toronto Star?

Don Martin in the National Post decries the election as basically a waste of time.

Welcome to the Christmas campaign nobody wants and nobody can decisively win, featuring three grown men punching it up and dragging each other down in a frantic fight to save their own leadership necks.

There is something to be said for this, it must be said. But Martin gives a reason why this election is necessary in his own column, that being the Liberal's reckless spending over the past month or so. Could Canada afford to have kept them in office for another three months? Thankfully, we wont have to find out.

John Ibbitson in the Globe and Mail says that the two key questions of the coming campaign are "do you want change? Or are you afraid of where change could lead?"

He echoes a fairly common theme: the low quality of the leaders of the parties.

Every now and then, a political candidate is able to capture the hope factor: a new and compelling vision for the future that voters embrace. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney all managed it, at one time or another. Hope campaigns trump fear and anger campaigns, and usually presage a generational shift in political leadership.

Somewhere out there, there may be another hope politician, someone who speaks to the aspirations of the young, diverse, urban, post-national state that Canada is becoming, someone impatient with, and willing to go beyond, the tired debates of the old men who captain us.


Unfortunately, no-one seems on the horizon.

So with the same old leaders, and the same old themes of fear and anger, we shall endure another election campaign, while some of us wait, and others search, for new leaders who will send the old feuds scuttling.

We'll let you know if we find anyone.


Please do!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Today's favourite odd news: bigger butt = longer needle

Pity the researchers who had to figure this out: fatter buttocks require longer needles for the effective administering of drugs. On the other hand, isn't this a duh! kind of thing?

Normally the keyster is a good place for injections , but (hur! hur!) it seems that if the hairy barbarian is too large, the drugs don't reach the muscle tissue, lodging instead in the fatty tissue uselessly. So the next time you need an injection, and the doctor pulls out the Eiffel Tower, take the hint and join the fitness club.

You can read more about this study here, if you really want to. But (hur! hur!) even more fun is to look at this list of butt words (although who the hell calls their butt a "moneymaker?" Don't answer that!)

Election 2006: last week's polls averaged

Here are the average of the previous week's polls Nationally and in the key battleground Provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia (sourced from nodice.ca). Note that the average may not add to 100%, because not all parties have results in all polls.

National (4 polls)

Liberal 35.9%
Conservative 30.1%
NDP 17.2%


Ontario (2 polls)

Liberal 44%
Conservative 35.5%
NDP 16% (note, result from 1 poll only)


Quebec (4 polls)

Liberal 26.25%
Conservative 10% (note, result from 1 poll only)
NDP 10% (note, result from 1 poll only)
PQ 55.75%


British Columbia (3 polls)

Liberal 36.3%
Conservative 28.7%
NDP 31.7%


UPDATE: On future Monday's I'll review the previous week's polls and compare the progress (or lack of) of the Parties.

For this week, the obvious conclusion is that the Conservatives have a lot of work to do, particularly in BC, where they seem to have slipped quite badly, and to the benefit of the Liberals at that. At the moment, it looks like another Liberal minority is on the cards.

The non-confidence vote

The vote takes place in a little more than an hour. Discussion on the motion begins at 6:30 with the vote expected around 6:45. At this point, there is little doubt that the government will fall.

UPDATE: Vote call in about 13 minutes. This will be the first time in Canadian history a government has fallen on a pure non-confidence vote.

UPDATE 2: As usual, things drag.

UPDATE 3: The speaker has just informed Parliament that there will be a reception after the vote call to allow Members to exchange Xmas greetings! A nice touch.

UPDATE 4: This government is history. Let the electioneering commence!

UPDATE 5: Final count: YES 171 - NO 133

Why the Democrats are endangering America

In the days before the commencement of the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein ordered Iraqi television stations to play scenes from the last few American days in Saigon in 1975. The point that he was making to the Iraqi people was obvious: don't rely on the Americans. When the going gets tough, they'll quit.

This is a telling point made by Herbert Klein in an essay at the American Enterprise Institute.

If the Democrats get their way, Saddam will be proved right. The Democrats have launched attack after attack at the President with the specific objective of undermining his credibility, and the latest campaign of mis-information to try and sell the idea that Bush deliberately misled America into war is the latest salvo.

Why is this dangerous for America?

Firstly, the safety of America (and the West) is tied to the success of democracy in Iraq and the Middle East, and hugely important elections are to take place in Iraq on Dec 15th. By attempting to discredit the war that made such elections possible and promoting a cut-and-run policy, the Democrats are undercutting support for those elections and encouraging the "insurgents" to try and outlast the political willpower of the American people.

Secondly, the President has been in Latin America and Asia , engaging in difficult discussions concerning free trade and strategic alliances. A President will have a far harder time getting the committments and alliances that America needs to deal with existing and future threats if his credibility has been seriously undermined.

This does not mean that a President must be above criticism, but the Democrats are plumbing the depths to an extent that has rarely been seen before (perhaps the accusation that Roosevelt knew about the coming attack on Pearl Harbour but did nothing comes close).

As Klein concludes:

There is no substitute for credibility. A president must be viewed by the nation as credible if he is to guide the country both at home and abroad.

The Democrats seem willing to sacrifice the credibility of the President, the credibility and safety of the United States itself, and the democratic and economic hopes of millions in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia if it means political mileage for themselves.

And yet at the slightest criticism of their methods they scream "don't question my patriotism!"

UPDATE: For another look at how the Democrats are making the world a more dangerous place, see this essay at Right Wing News, which talks about how America's credibility is being undermined by the Democrat's "perception of defeat".

Low approval ratings for......

Jacques Chirac, hero of the American Left.

Via the Telegraph.

Jacques Chirac's presidency hit a new low yesterday when a poll revealed that most voters think he now has little or no influence over events at home or abroad.

Of those polled, 72 per cent regarded the influence of their president - who turns 73 tomorrow - over what happens in France as "weak".

Two thirds said his clout on the world stage was feeble, while only 36 per cent thought he held any significant sway over European politics. Condemnation came from all age groups and corners of France. Women were slightly less critical.

The civilian casualty fable.

A very interesting commentary at the Logic Times on the number of Iraq civilian casualties.

Also, read the Fuzzy Moral Math commentary for an effective demolishment of the "anti-war" protestors selective concern.

Via Little Green Footballs.

Steyn on Hollywood PC

Mark Steyn's latest column addresses the malaise of Hollywood storytelling: a craven political correctness, that now even extends to having Whoopi Goldberg lecturing everyone about what is an isn't funny on DVD releases of Looney Tunes collections.

But, for some reason, this new set begins with a special announcement by Whoopi Goldberg explaining what it is we're not meant to find funny: ''Unfortunately at that time racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in ways that may have embarrassed and even hurt people of color, women and ethnic groups,'' she tells us sternly. ''These jokes were wrong then and they're wrong today'' -- unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg's most memorable joke of recent years, the one at that 2004 all-star Democratic Party gala in New York where she compared President Bush to her, um, private parts. There's a gag for the ages.

I don't know what Whoopi's making such a meal about. It's true you don't see many positive images of people of color on ''Looney Tunes,'' but then the images of people of non-color aren't terribly positive either (Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam). Instead, you see positive images of ducks of color, roadrunners of color and tweety birds of color. How weirdly reductive to be so obsessed about something so peripheral to these cartoons that you stick the same damn Whoopi Goldberg health warning on all four DVDs in the box. And don't think about hitting the "Next" button and skipping to the cartoons: You can't; you gotta sit through it.


One of the most terrifying aspects of totalitarian thought is the desire to regulate humour, to decide what is and is not funny and force people to conform. Can you imagine living in a society where, before laughing at something, you first had to think it through to see if it conformed with the currently acceptable definition of "funny"? Imagine that if you laughed at the wrong time and at the wrong thing, you faced social ostracism, penalisation at your place of employment and enforced "sensitivity training" or worse?

This is the kind of world that Hollywood PC is giving us a glimpse of.

Steyn further comments on the Limousine Liberals attempts to be "non-political":

But being so perversely ''non-political'' is itself a political act. If there were a dozen movies in which Tom Cruise kicked al-Qaida butt across the Hindu Kush, it would be reasonable to say, ''Hey, we'd rather deal with Matobanterrorism for a change.'' But, when every movie goes out of its way to avoid being ''encumbered,'' it starts to look like a pathology. And by the time Hollywood released this summer's ''Stealth,'' some studio exec must have panicked that, what with all this Bono/Live8 debt-relief business, it might look a bit Afrophobic to have any more Matoban terrorists. So ''Stealth'' was a high-tech action thriller about USAF pilots zapping about the skies in which the bad guy is the plane.

That's right: An unmanned computer-flown plane goes rogue and starts attacking things. The money shot is -- stop me if this rings a vague bell -- a big downtown skyscraper with a jet heading toward it. Only there are no terrorists aboard the jet. The jet itself is the terrorist.

This is the pitiful state Hollywood's been reduced to. Safer not to have any bad guys. Let's make the plane the bad guy. No wonder it's 20th century Britlit -- ''Harry Potter,'' ''Lord of the Rings,'' ''Narnia'' -- keeping those Monday morning numbers up. It's Hollywood's yarn-spinning that's really out of focus, and in the end even home entertainment revenue won't save a storytelling business that no longer knows how to tell any.


Of course, when it's the West and more particularly America that can be portrayed as the bad guys, the desire to be non-political flies out of the window. Which is why Bruce Willis' planned movie will be such a refreshing change.

The Ignatieff candidacy

Michael Ignatieff will be running for the Liberals in this election, almost certainly in the safe Liberal seat of Etobicoke-Lakeshore.

Ignatieff is a Harvard Professor of human rights, is considered to be a possible successor to Paul Martin, and is therefore one of the Liberal's "star candidates" for the election.

But even here, the Liberal Party appears to be incompetent and corrupt. For one thing, they only managed to find a Toronto riding for Ignatieff on Friday, and now they seem to be using strongarming tactics to ensure his nomination, including not answering the door at the Liberal offices when other candidates wish to file nomination papers.

On the incompetence side, the riding they have selected has a large population of Ukrainians. Mr. Ignatieff has described Ukrainians as "phony Cossacks in cloaks and boots" and written that he feels a "disdain" for them.

Really, the Liberals are no longer fit to govern.

More on this at the National Post.

Tonight is the night.....

....and it wont be alright. Well, if you're a Liberal anyway. For the rest of us, it's going to be a combination of satisfaction, enjoyment and amusement.

The non-confidence vote is expected around 6:30 EST. Barring unexpected hitches, Mr Martin will be paying a visit to the Governor General tomorrow morning to serve notice that Parliament has been dissolved.

The coming campaign will be nasty, nasty, nasty!

Update: Reports from the National Post and the Globe & Mail

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Today's Favourite Odd News: Underwater Hockey

The blue team has a breakaway. An attacker with the puck races up the left side, closing in for an uncontested shot on goal. Katie Rademacher can't let this happen. With long brown hair flowing from her white headgear, the high school junior pumps her legs and regains strategic position, forcing the attacker into the corner. Then she swipes the puck with her chipped, white stick and passes it out.

The threat is over. Only one thing left to do: Come up for air.

Yes, it's underwater hockey. Whatever will Don Cherry say? Probably something about European players wearing girly thongs.

Apparently it was invented in the 1950's by British Divers to keep fit, and is growing in popularity fast. You can check out the website of the 2006 World Championships, to be held in that famous watersports town, Sheffield, England.

In this game, a two minute penalty in the box could be fatal!

Polling encouragement for the Conservatives

Robbins Research conducted a private poll between November 11th - 16th, with a sample size of 18,443!

The poll is good news for the Conservatives, giving them 32.21% support against 32.10% for the Liberals. The NDP gets 22.30%, and the Bloq 13.33%.

Fully 68% would prefer a Stephen Harper minority government to 32% prefering a Paul Martin minority. And 65% say that the timing of an election is unimportant.


ROBBINS believes that considering this poll and current trends (particularly in Quebec) that it is doubtful that the Federal Liberals will achieve more than (35%) of public support in the next election. We believe the pressure is downward from there. ROBBINS forecasts that the Conservatives will NOT receive less than (31%) of public support in the next election with pressure upward to a higher total.

ROBBINS does not believe that the New Democrats will achieve less than (17%) of public support in the next general federal election, however ROBBINS believes that the New Democrats could win as much as (24%), however the pressure upward beyond (20%) is thin. Moreover, the impact on seat totals for the NDP is negligible between 20% and 23.5%. The additional 3.5% between 20% and 23.5% impacts more on Liberal seat losses and Conservative seat gains, although any gains the NDP makes generally helps the Conservative party.


Regarding the battleground Provinces, the conclusions are:

Ontario
Robbins believes that there is

a significant electoral shift in Canada’s largest province Ontario, where currently 30 Liberal seats are in jeopardy. ROBBINS believes that of these seats, 7 have already been lost to the Conservatives, and 3 to the NDP. The remainder is too close to call. Contrast this with 3 current Conservative seats and 1 current NDP seat which are both too close to call. Neither the Conservatives nor the NDP have lost seats in Ontario according to our findings.

British Columbia

In British Columbia another significant battleground province, of the total 36 available seats only 19 are decided, with 17 seats too close to call. Of the 19 decided 16 belong to the Conservative party, 1 to the Liberal party and 2 to the NDP.


The bottom line of the poll is:
Using averaging based on trends I would judiciously assess seats totals based on
the results of this poll as follows: Conservatives (113), Liberals (108), Bloc (64), NDP (27).

There is much more analysis in the poll report.

Hat tip: Captain's Quarters

A good suggestion from Senator Warner

Senator Warner has suggested that President Bush broadcast regular updates on the war in Iraq, much in the style of FDR's second world war broadcasts.

This is a great idea. A regular update would give the American people a sense of the progress being made, counteracting the leftist MSM's doom-and-gloom campaign. Such broadcasts could include messages from the soldiers in Iraq and messages from the Iraqi people themselves. It would also be a regular chance to address the false and hollow criticisms being volleyed by the Democrats and the political left, many of which can be demolished in just a few well-written sentences.

Obviously, such broadcasts should be realistic, addressing setbacks too, and not trying to present Iraq as a new rainbow-tinted democratic utopia. But they could be very helpful in keeping the resolve of America strong.

I hope that this idea is given serious thought.

UPDATE:

Compare the report referenced above to this barely disguised attack piece by al-Reuters, entitled "Senator urges Bush to explain Iraq war". Note that the Reuters headline makes it seem as if Senator Warner wants Bush to explain the whole war, instead of the progress being made. Note also the mention-Cindy-Sheehan-at-any cost mentality (including the staged photo of her at the top).

Bruce Willis to make Iraq war film

From The Sunday Times, via Michelle Malkin.

ANGERED by negative portrayals of the conflict in Iraq, Bruce Willis, the Hollywood star, is to make a pro-war film in which American soldiers will be depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy.

It will be based on the exploits of the heavily decorated members of Deuce Four, the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, which has spent the past year battling insurgents in the northern Iraqi town of Mosul.


.....

Willis visited the war zone with his rock and blues band, the Accelerators, in 2003.

“I am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported,” he told MSNBC, the American news channel.



.....

Willis said it would be wrong for Americans to give up on Iraq just as progress is being made. “The Iraqi people want to live in a world where they can move from their homes to the market and not have to fear being killed,” he said. “I mean, doesn’t everybody want that?”


The movie will be based upon the writing of Michael Yon.

Good for you, Mr Willis! It'll make a nice change from the usual hate-America-first drivel coming from the Hollywood elites.

Pictures from Cindy Sheehan's book signing

You'd think from the media coverage that Cindy Sheehan is constantly surrounded by a mass of supporters and that she's caught the mood of the American public. Well, maybe not.

Hat tip: Little Green Footballs.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Today's polls paint differing pictures

Two new polls are out today.

The first, carried out by Ekos Research, gives the Liberals 38.7%, the Conservatives 29.4%, and the NDP 16.9%.

This is very good news for the Liberals, and would put probably put them close to a majority government, if duplicated on election day.


The second poll, from Ipsos-Reid, gives the Liberals 34%, the Conservatives 30% and the NDP 16%. A much closer figure, but probably a very thin Liberal miniority victory in duplicated in reality.

Canada "likeliest target" for bio-terrorism

That's what David Warren, writing in the Ottawa Citizen thinks, and he makes a pretty convincing case.

His reasons:

  1. America is the primary object of hatred, but harder to hit because of their efforts to secure their borders and the efforts of the Homeland Security Department
  2. Canada has far more open borders and less suspicious authorities, making an attack an easier proposition, and yet a bio-terrorism weapon unleashed in Canada is still extremely likely to cross into the US (germs don't stop at customs).
  3. Europe is less likely to be a target because they are already half assimilated into Islamic territory through the progression of demographics.
  4. Canada's larger cities have a large Muslim population to provide cover to the terrorists.
  5. The Canadian law enforcement authorities are basically hostage to political correctness, therefore their efforts can be quickly blunted with charges of "racism". The pathetic response to the ongoing gang-warfare in Toronto is a perfect example.
  6. Canada is an advanced country technologically and medically, therefore the materials for an attack are available here, from pharmacies or hospitals, using theft, bribery or blackmail.

His conclusion:

It is from the contemplation of such facts, that persons of sound mind may deduce what is necessary to avoid an attack. We cannot possibly eliminate the means, without also eliminating everything that makes our society technologically advanced. We must instead find and eliminate the people who want to kill us. This, incidentally, is the pro-active strategy President Bush and company embarked upon, about Sept. 20th, 2001. But perhaps it wasn’t bold enough.

The article is available at Real Clear Politics (the Ottawa Citizen requires registration).

Bono wants Canada to increase foreign aid

Bono is mystified by Paul Martin not increasing Canada's foreign aid.

Speaking in support of the Make Poverty History project, Bono said Canada could easily increase Third World aid because it's the only major industrialized country in a surplus position.


This lecture on morality brought to you from the guy who spent $600 on a first class ticket to have his hat flown to Italy in a seat of its own.

Krauthammer on the torture question

This is probably the best essay I've read on the ethical question of torture.

DURING THE LAST FEW WEEKS in Washington the pieties about torture have lain so thick in the air that it has been impossible to have a reasoned discussion. The McCain amendment that would ban "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of any prisoner by any agent of the United States sailed through the Senate by a vote of 90-9. The Washington establishment remains stunned that nine such retrograde, morally inert persons--let alone senators--could be found in this noble capital.

Now, John McCain has great moral authority on this issue, having heroically borne torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese. McCain has made fine arguments in defense of his position. And McCain is acting out of the deep and honorable conviction that what he is proposing is not only right but is in the best interest of the United States. His position deserves respect. But that does not mean, as seems to be the assumption in Washington today, that a critical analysis of his "no torture, ever" policy is beyond the pale.

Read it all.

Hygiene is now punishable

Speaking of politically correct idiocy, the troops who burned Taliban corpses for reasons of hygiene will face disciplinary action. Apparently the troops in question showed a "lack of cultural and religious understanding".

Of course, we all need to having cultural and religious understanding for the TALIBAN. Poor misunderstood babies.

Marlowe gagged by British PC censors

The Times reports on one of the latest pieces of craven PC censorship in Britain: the rewriting of portions of Christopher Marlowe's play Tamburlaine The Great for a performance in London.

IT WAS the surprise hit of the autumn season, selling out for its entire run and inspiring rave reviews. But now the producers of Tamburlaine the Great have come under fire for censoring Christopher Marlowe’s 1580s masterpiece to avoid upsetting Muslims.


Audiences at the Barbican in London did not see the Koran being burnt, as Marlowe intended, because David Farr, who directed and adapted the classic play, feared that it would inflame passions in the light of the London bombings.

Simon Reade, artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic, said that if they had not altered the original it “would have unnecessarily raised the hackles of a significant proportion of one of the world’s great religions”.



Director David Farr rewrote portions of the play after the July 7th attacks, proving once again that terrorism does work, at least on gutless intellectuals.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Today's favourite odd news: The Lawnmower Escapee

If you're going to lead the cops on a chase, maybe you should get something faster than a ride-on lawnmower?

Charles Carter tried to escape police at 5 miles per hour in a field in Illinois, but was forced to give up when an officer jogged alongside and tazering was threatened.

Carter was already on home confinement. Maybe for being drunk in charge of a weed-whacker?

Full story.

"Rescuing Canada's Right"

Angry In The Great White North hobnobbed at the launch of the book "Rescuing Canada's Right", which sounds like a good addition for the bookshelf.

Lord Black was in attendance who, incidentally, is now trying to reclaim his Canadian citizenship. You may recall that he renounced his citizenship in order to be able to accept a British peerage, after Jean Chretien had resurrected the arcane "Nickle Resolution" to try and prevent him receiving the honour.

Of course, this case is of great interest to myself, a native Brit now living in Canada. After all, my peerage is surely in the works. It's only a matter of time now, and this time there'll be no Jean Chretien to get in the way......

Differing approaches of UK Conservative Party leadership candidates

One of the most interesting differences between David Cameron and David Davis, the two remaining candidates for leader of the Conservatives, is the variance in their approach to opposition to the Labour government.

David Cameron's approach is, in his own words:

"If the Labour Party puts forward proposals which we agree with, then we should support them and not just oppose for opposition's sake. That is the sort of Punch and Judy politics that people in Britain are tired of and which we must end."


On the other hand, David Davis' approach is to defeat the government whenever possible and on whatever grounds:

"We have defeated this government once in eight years, that was under my leadership last week. We will have to do that again and again. This government will have to be taken apart, it will not fall apart."

Obviously, Mr Davis' approach is the more politically orthodox one for parties in opposition. But personally I favour the approach of Mr Cameron because it is rooted in principle-based politics rather than victory-based politics.

Don't get me wrong, I realise that victory is essential in politics. But how that victory is achieved is also important. No two mainstream political parties are likely to have ideologies that are in opposition to each other in every detail. Sometimes they will agree, as with the Labour education reforms that the Conservatives supported.

And voters are tired of "Punch and Judy" politics. It's this lack of a principled approach that has lead to ever higher public cynicism about politicians and the very nature of democratic politics.

It may be that the "take them down whatever" tactic gains short-term victories, but the principled approach builds long-term credibility and thus a far more solid foundation for victory generation.

This is one of the reasons why I'm hoping for a David Cameron leadership of the UK Conservatives.

Cindy Sheehan, embarassment to America

Ms. Sheehan has published her latest insane rant at the left-wing extremist site Daily Kos. It's the usual combination of anti-war garbage, Bush Derangement Syndrome, and the latest whining points of the self-hating Left.

For example, after blathering on about not being permitted to meet with the President again (she has already met him once), she recites memes about white phosphorus being a "chemical weapon" (it isn't), and an accusation that President Bush's democracy is "where no open dissent is allowed" (exactly what does she think she is engaging in with her ridiculous letter?).

She also says "since August, when I wanted to ask you the question: For what noble cause did you kill Casey and the others, over 200 more of our brave young men and women have been killed in the charade of Iraq. "

To give an answer to her question and to show the noble cause, review this photo essay by Michael Yon. That's the noble cause that Casey Sheehan believed in: freedom. The freedom of Iraqis and the right of Iraqi children to be able to grow up without living in fear or murder and torture being inflicted upon themselves and their loved ones.

But apparently, Cindy Sheehan and the Left doesn't care one bit about those children. They would prefer to undermine the efforts of the military, thereby giving encouragement and support to people who booby-trap children's dolls by filling them with explosives.

What's worse, is that even though Casey Sheehan believed in this noble cause, his disgraceful Mother has used his life insurance money to try and promote its failure.

It's time for Cindy Sheehan to fade away.

Paul Hellyer, embarassment to Canada

Paul Hellyer, a former Minister of Defence (from 1963 to 1967), has obviously taken leave of his senses.

In a speech at the University of Toronto (who probably haven't had any senses for a long time either) in September, Mr Hellyer said that "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

Weighing on his mind are the possibilities of "intergalactic war" which he feels that he needs to speak out about. But he's not only gone around the bend over ET, he also combines it with a dose of anti-Americanism and, since he's a Liberal, Bush Derangement Syndrome.

"The United States military are preparing weapons which could be used against the aliens, and they could get us into an intergalactic war without us ever having any warning." And "the Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the goings and comings of the visitors from space, and to shoot at them, if they so decide."

A spokesperson for an NGO which goes along with this lunacy says that “our Canadian government needs to openly address these important issues of the possible deployment of weapons in outer war plans against ethical ET societies.”

Er, hell no! This is not what I'm paying ridiculous amounts of taxes for! If foil-hatted conspiracy retards (including former government ministers) want to rant about weapons in space and extra terrestrials, they can damn well do it on their own dollars.

Besides, how do they know that these "ET societies" are all going to be "ethical" (which in their minds no doubt means good little extra terrestrisocialists)? What if they're a bunch of warmongering capitalists, hey Mr Hellyer? What if they even voted for Bush? Gasp!

Hat tip: Powerline

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Today's favourite odd news: Freegans!

Want to eat for free? Become a freegan, and never pay for food again! All you have to do is hunt for waste food through garbage bins.

Yuck? Not for the freegans, who "find more food than we could possibly eat" according to Freegan Adam Weissman.

And if you're about to rolf, or getting worried about food poisoning, Dr Michael Gregor has posted health guidelines on a Freegan website. Just stay away from anything someone else has already started eating (no, really?), "NEVER take a chance on cans that are bulging or oozing from the seam", and cut away the mould.

Don't you feel guilty now, after porking up on half a grocery store's worth of food for Thanksgiving? And you'll do it again for Chrsitmas! No? No Guilt at all?

Yes, well, I quite agree. It's not my thing either. On the other hand, I just watched War Of The Worlds, and having a few of these guys around could be useful if the tripods start throwing their weight about.

Liberal's greatest threat could be desire for change?

The National Post reports on a new poll by Decima that goes against the conventional wisdom that it's the Adscam scandal the Liberals have most to worry about.

Instead, the poll suggests that the voters are ready for change. Of respondents who said they wanted the current government replaced, only 35% said that it was because of Adscam, whereas 57% said that it was because the Liberals have been in power too long.

If true, this growing feeling that it's time for a change is good news for the Conservatives. Outrage over Adscam will tend to fade over time. This was seen after the release of the first part of the Gomery Report, when the Liberals took a huge hit in the polls, only to recover back to their previous levels. However, a general feeling that change would be a good thing wont fade away so easily.

The bad news for the Conservatives is, critically, how Stephen Harper is viewed. Of those who said they would still vote Liberal (yeah, there's quite a lot of them, particularly in Ontario), 40% cited Harper as their main motivation. This shows how successful Liberal campaigns to present Harper as a scary right-winger have been, and it is essential for the Conservatives that they go some way at least toward counteracting this in the coming election campaign.

The Liberals have said that they will run two campaigns, one for Quebec focused on "unity", and one for the rest of Canada, probably focused on slagging off Stephen Harper. I think the Conservatives should also run a split campaign: focusing on corruption and Adscam in Western Canada, and on presenting Harper and the Party as a more moderate alternative in Ontario and the East.

The Wall Street Journal Thanksgiving Editorial

Every year since 1961, the Wall Street Journal has posted the same editorial at Thanksgiving. This is the first time I've read it, but it truly will be worth reading every year from now on.

This is indeed a big country, a rich country, in a way no array of figures can measure and so in a way past belief of those who have not seen it. Even those who journey through its Northeastern complex, into the Southern lands, across the central plains and to its Western slopes can only glimpse a measure of the bounty of America.

.....

His countrymen cannot forget the savage face of war. Too often they have been asked to fight in strange and distant places, for no clear purpose they could see and for no accomplishment they can measure. Their spirits are not quieted by the thought that the good and pleasant bounty that surrounds them can be destroyed in an instant by a single bomb. Yet they find no escape, for their survival and comfort now depend on unpredictable strangers in far-off corners of the globe.

.....

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere--in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

For any of our American cousins reading this: a happy thanksgiving weekend to you.

Non-Confidence motion introduced to Canadian Parliament

The Conservatives introduced a non-confidence motion to Parliament this morning. According to the National Post, here is the text of the motion:

"That the House condemns the government for its arrogance in refusing to compromise with the opposition parties over the timing of the next general election, and for its 'culture of entitlement,' corruption, scandal and gross abuse of public funds for political purposes and, consequently, the government no longer has the confidence of the House."


It's a zinger, hitting the hot buttons of "arrogance", "corruption" and "culture of entitlement". The vote will be on Monday and, barring unforseen developments, the Motion will pass and this Government will be history. The election date should be either January 16th or 23rd.

Reports are already surfacing that the Liberals intend to fight an extremely negative campaign focused on Stephen Harper. This is a standard Liberal tactic to try and demonise the Conservatives as extreme right-wingers. Expect a liberal mix of over-the-top accusations mixed in with a liberal dash of anti-Americanism. The Conservatives will need a good strategy against this, as unfortunately it has proved quite effective previously.

The Conservatives on the other hand will need to not only hammer home the corruption angle, but also emphasise the attractive alternatives that they offer. A common theme amongst voters interviewed on talk-radio has been that the Liberals suck, but there are no real alternatives to them. If there is one thing that the Tories have failed to do in Ontario, it's demonstrate to voters that they are an alternative.



Captain Ed is one of those very rare birds: an American with an interest in Canadian politics. Good job too. Where else would Canuckistanis have been able to read about the Gomery Inquiry during the publication ban? His take on the forthcoming election tactics is here.


UPDATE: The Globe & Mail on the forthcoming negative campaign.

UPDATE 2: The non-confodence motion will be voted on at 6:30 pm on Monday evening, according to Reuters.

UPDATE 3: In somewhat of an anti-climax, the original toughly worded motion was trimmed right down to read simply ""That this House has lost confidence in the government." Disappointing, and rather a climb down, methinks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Today's favourite odd news: Buddha reincarnated?

A lot of people seem to think so (no, I'm not one of them), and they think that 15 year old Ram Bahadur Banjan is the man. Ram has been meditating in the Nepalese jungle for six months, and his followers claim he hasn't eaten or drunk in that time period. Presumably bathroom breaks haven't been required either, though his "followers" place a screen between him and onlookers at night (yeah yeah, getting cynical are we?).

His fame has certainly spread though, and the site where he meditates now receives about 10,000 visitors a day. Forget blogging, meditation is the way to go, and you don't actually have to do anything!

The good news is that, as this AP report points out "a makeshift parking lot and cluster of food stalls have sprung up near Banjan's retreat, an area not previously frequented by visitors", so the local economy is benefitting.

That's Buddha for you: motor of capitalism.

A turkey for Thanksgiving

The feel good article of the day (via Polipundit)! It seems that Americans need to forget Thanksgiving, and

should atone for the genocide that was incited -- and condoned -- by the very
men we idolize as our 'heroic' founding fathers.

You need to all have a day of "collective fasting" on this "white supremacist holiday" instead of gorging yourself silly on poultry and stuffing.

Come on Americans, get in touch with your inner guilty self-hating side instead of porking up on the "bounty of empire". But hey, as a Brit I can't feel morally superior. After all "some historians in Great Britain continue to talk about the benefits that the empire brought to India". Heck, I even believe in some of those benefits.

Now excuse me while I check into the re-education camp.

Why people hate economics

At Tech Central Station.

Are you type C or type M?

Frum on the Party of cut & run

At the American Enterprise Instutute:

Why were they so angry? It has been the Democrats' strategy ever since last year's election to shun any discussion of the future course of the Iraq war. They will angrily criticize the management of the war. They never tire of arguing and rearguing the original decision to go to war. But when asked what should be done now, they respond--in the words of Democratic national committee chairman Howard Dean: "Right now it's not our job to give out specifics."

Ah. And when will it be their job? "When the time is right," says Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic congressional campaign committee.

Actor berates woman during play for cell phone ringing

Bravo Mr. Richard Griffiths, who lost his patience during a West End play when a woman's cell phone rang for the third time.

The production of Heroes at Wyndham's theatre was nearing the end when
Griffiths asked her: "Is that it, or will it be ringing some more?"

It was during the penultimate scene that Griffiths, 58, addressed the woman
directly from the stage.
He said: "Could the person whose mobile phone it is
please leave?
"The 750 people here would be fully justified in suing you for
ruining their afternoon."


I really cannot understand people who think that it's OK to leave their cell phones on during a play, or a concert, or at the opera. It displays a stunning lack of manners and complete contempt for the others in the audience. If only there was some way for buildings to block all cellphone signals.

I bet these are the same people that you see walking around the grocry store talking into their cell phones with important business like "I'm at the bread now. Do we need wholewheat or ryebread? OK, I'm moving across to the dairy section....."

Congressman Mark Kennedy in Iraq

Powerline has observations from Congressman Kennedy on his latest trip to Iraq.

An excerpt:

Al Qaeda in Retreat American commanders say that we have never been better positioned against Al Qaeda in Iraq, not just because of the victories we are achieving cutting off their supply lines along the Euphrates River with Operation Steel Curtain, but because of their recent attacks turning the Iraqi people against them. Recent Al Qaeda attacks against everyday Iraqis – Sunni and Shia alike, the Zawahiri letter to Zarqawi, capped off with the Amman, Jordan bombing have undermined their support.


More on Operation Steel Curtain here.

CNN dismisses latest "glitch"

APe News - CNN executives today dismissed as a "glitch" an episode on last night's news coverage in which a black cape, skullcap haircut, blood red eyes and four inch fangs were overlaid onto footage of first lady Laura Bush.

At fault was a new device called the Progressivator Edit Tool, technicians say, adding that the technical help desk at Moveon Media Solutions has provided guidelines so that any future occurences of this style of glitch will not be consciously discernible by the viewer.

The incident is widely regarded as another blow to President Bush, already reeling from the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, declining support for the Iraq War, scandal-plagued Republicans, a bad hurricane summer, high gas prices, a broken water main in downtown Pittsburgh, and less Republicans being included in poll samples.

Senator John Kerry weighed into the debate during the afternoon, saying that he "would not tolerate the Swiftboating of CNN", and adding that vampires were definitely used by US forces as scouts in their top-secret missions into Cambodia, because of their useful ability to turn into bats when detected. Such missions were hushed-up by the military due to the tendency of the scouts to suck the blood from Cambodian kids, said Kerry, and it was well-known in military circles that he had declined a purple heart that he was entitled to because of a neck wound from an insubordinate scout.

In response, John O'Neil of the discredited Swiftboat Veterans made unsubstantiated claims that Kerry's reminiscences were "complete nonsense" and that vampires were "storybook monsters", despite the widely seen footage of a vampire broadcast last night by CNN.

Meanwhile Congressman John Murtha advocated an "immediate redeployment" of American forces from Transylvania. "The presence of red-blooded American boys there merely acts as a catalyst for the vampires, and any war against an enemy that needs to be staked through the heart is unwinnable", he said, sniffing garlic cloves and holding back tears.

Senator Barack Obama also issued a statement that he supported "whatever it is we are currently talking about", and pointing out that as a rising star of the Democratic Party, he needs to get his name into the headlines every so often.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Punkin Chunkin

A quintessentially American activity. A bunch of guys building giant air guns and catapults that shoot pumpkins thousands of feet, and getting together to have a World Championship pumpkin fling. There's probably a lot of beer drinking and meat eating going on too. Why can't we have this in Canada, damnit?

It's called Punkin Chunkin, and this year's world championships were held in Delaware. The huge machines are given amusing names like "Second Amendment", "Bad Hair Day" and "The Great Emancipator."

According to the results page, the winning...er....chunk (?) was by "Second Amendment", with an impressive 4,331.72 feet! That's about 4/5 of a mile.

You can see photos and video on the website. Hillarious stuff!

Maybe these things should be sent to Iraq. Nah, forget it, you'd have the liberals screaming about the US using "biological weapons."

2006 Election: The Democratic Space predictions

One of the predictions I keep an eye on is Democratic Space. They were remarkably close to the actual results for 2004, as they point out:


the model predicted that the Liberals would win 131 seats (they actually won 135), 102 seats for the Conservatives (they won 99), 19 seats for the NDP (they
won 19), and 56 seats for the Bloc Quebecois (they won 54). The model has 3
steps: 1) for each riding, it adjust the level of support for each party
proportionally to the change in support within a given province, 2) it then
adjusts each riding for variations between regions within provinces and 3) it
makes an adjustment for particularly popular candidates.


As of November 16, 2005, they are predicting National results as (2004 result in brackets):

Liberal 100 (135)
Conservative 97 (99)
NDP 44 (19)
Bloq 67 (54)


The Ontario predictions are:
  • Liberal 52 (75)
  • Conservative 34 (24)
  • NDP 20 (7)
  • Bloq 0 (0)

The Liberals lose, but the majotiry of the seats they lose go to the NDP


The Quebec predictions are:
  • Liberal 8 (21)
  • Conservative 0 (0)
  • NDP 0 (0)
  • Bloq 67 (54)

The Bloq wins big at the expense of the Liberals.

The British Columbia predictions are:

  • Liberal 10 (8)
  • Conservative 12 (22)
  • NDP 14 (5)
  • Bloq 0 (0)

This is interesting, as the NDP win big at the expense of the Conservatives, thus depriving them of a greater national total than the Liberals. Personally, I don't see the NDP doing this well in BC.

2006 Election: 2004 results review

With election-fever starting to heat up in Canada, let's have a review of the results from the 2004 elections.

The full results by Province can be seen here on Wikipedia.

Several items stand out from these results:

  1. The Liberals' power base is in Ontario, but Quebec has importance for them too. Of the 135 Liberal seats they won in 2004, 75 were in Ontario and 21 in Quebec, making 96 out of the total of 135 seats just in these two provinces. If the Liberals are to lose, it's here that the Conservatives and Bloq Quebecois must make pickups.
  2. The Conservative power base is divided fairly evenly between British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. These three Provinces accounted for 72 out of their 99 seats.
  3. Obviously, the Bloq Quebecois relies on Quebec (amazing!). All 54 of their seats are located in that Province.
  4. The New Democrats basically sucked all round. However, they are the party that could be the real winners in the coming election, because if the Liberals lose support in Ontario, it's possible that most of it will bleed towards the NDP.

The two Provinces that stand out as important battlegrounds in the upcoming election are Ontario and Quebec.

Quebec: If the Liberals lose support, which is very likely given the Adscam fiasco, it is likely to bleed to the Bloq Quebecois. Expect the Liberals to lose seats, the Bloq to gain, and the Conservatives to be trying to locate Quebec on a map again.

Ontario: The big question is whether the other parties can dent solid Liberal support enough to turn over a significant number of seats. If Liberal support does bleed away, will it go towards the Conservatives or the NDP?

One interesting possible scenario is that the Bloq wipes out the Liberals in Quebec, and the NDP makes gains in Ontario, again at the expense of the Liberals. Then you could end up with a Parliament that has the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloq within spitting distance of each other, and the NDP as a significant fourth party.

So, having reviewed the 2004 results, we can now go on to look at what the pollsters and pundits are predicting for the next election.

Michael Yon: Iraqi children photo-essay

A nice balancing antidote to the MSM's poisonous diet.

It's kids like these that the cut-and-run Democrats would prefer to abandon to the terrorists.

"Al Qa'eda are not the Viet Cong"

Mark Steyn's latest is up to his usual excellent standard.

Happily for Mr Zarqawi, no matter how desperate the head-hackers get, the Western defeatists can always top them. A Democrat Congressman, Jack Murtha, has called for immediate US withdrawal from Iraq. He's a Vietnam veteran, so naturally the media are insisting that his views warrant special deference, military experience in a war America lost being the only military experience the Democrats and the press value these days. Hence, the demand for the President to come up with an "exit strategy".

In war, there are usually only two exit strategies: victory or defeat. The latter's easier. Just say, whoa, we're the world's pre-eminent power but we can't handle an unprecedently low level of casualties, so if you don't mind we'd just as soon get off at the next stop.

Demonstrating the will to lose as clearly as America did in Vietnam wasn't such a smart move, but since the media can't seem to get beyond this ancient jungle war it may be worth underlining the principal difference: Osama is not Ho Chi Minh, and al-Qa'eda are not the Viet Cong. If you exit, they'll follow. And Americans will die - in foreign embassies, barracks, warships, as they did through the Nineties, and eventually on the streets of US cities, too.

Poll: Canadians losing faith in state run healthcare

A new poll shows that the previously sacred state run healthcare system is losing its lustre among Canadians, according to a report in the National Post. Support for the availablility of private services is likely to increase from the 45% of respondents in this survey who said that people should be able to pay out-of-pocket for private services if they wish.

Fifty per cent of respondents to the POLLARA survey indicated their confidence in the public health care system is falling, the number rising even higher -- to 54% -- among women.

The results are based on a nationwide survey of 1,200 Canadians, as well as doctors, nurses, pharmacists and 201 health administrators across the country.

The survey was conducted between Aug. 17 and Sept. 2, 2005, and is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The poll showed only 5% of respondents are becoming more confident in public health care.

Declining faith in the system is seen across the country, from 41% of Atlantic Canadians saying they are less confident to 58% of respondents in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.


As a sign of the growing acceptance of public tolerance for private healthcare, the first private clinic in Canada opened on Monday, in Vancouver. Of course, the socialists are in a lather with the usual tired nonsense about "elitism". Apparently, forty more such clinics are planned nationwide.

About time too. The simple fact is that healthcare is an economic activity like any other, and obeys the laws of economics like any other. And when healthcare is a government run monopoly, it becomes an ever more expensive descent into medicrity and a constantly sinking lowest common denominator of service.

For evidence that the state-run healthcare system in Canada is unsustainable, see this report by The Fraser Institute.

For each of the past five years, public spending on health care in every province has grown faster on average than total revenues from all sources – including federal transfers. Nationally, public health spending grew 8 percent annually, compared to 3.9 percent for provincial revenue, 2.4 percent for inflation and 4.6 percent for economic growth. This has resulted in health care taking up an increasing share of provincial revenue over time. Whether one looks at the most recent 5, 8 or 30 years of data, the trends are all the same. If provincial governments continue to maintain the medicare status quo, public health care expenditures will eventually exceed provincial capacity to pay.

The most recent five-year trends indicate that in 7 out of 10 provinces public health spending is on pace to consume more than half of total revenue from all sources by the year 2022, two-thirds by the year 2032 and all of provincial revenue by 2050.


It will be difficult for the socialists to give up one of their most sacred cows, but sooner or later, it will happen because it must happen.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hillary Clinton comments on Iraq withdrawal

You know that the Democrats are pretty far left when even Hillary Clinton starts to sound like a moderate.

According to AP:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would be "a big mistake."

The New York Democrat said she respects Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., the Vietnam veteran and hawkish ex-Marine who last week called for an immediate troop pullout. But she added: "I think that would cause more problems for us in America."


Of course, the obligatory two-step has to follow, wherein she tries in true Democrat fashion to cover all the angles at once:

At the same time, Clinton said the Bush administration's pledge to stay in Iraq "until the job is done" amounts to giving the Iraqis "an open-ended invitation not to take care of themselves."


Rubbish. And incredibly derogatory toward the Iraqi people, who display courage and bravery every day in trying to build a free country. Besides, people who don't want to take care of themselves vote Democrat, Senator, so maybe you should support an "open-ended" invitation.

She blamed the problems facing the United States in Iraq on "poor decision-making by the administration," but added: "My view is we have to work together to fix these problems."


Guess those problems have nothing to do with the terrorists, hey?

It'll be interesting to see how the leftists react to this.

Air Quality in Canada improving: study

Air quality in Canada has been improving steadily for the past three decades, according to The State of Urban Air in Canada, released today by The Fraser Institute. The greatest success story has been a 94 percent reduction in the levels of ambient lead since 1974.

“While environmental alarmists continue to publish a steady stream of reports claiming worsening air quality, the data show quite clearly that the reality of environmental progress is overwhelmingly positive,” said Jeremy Brown, author of the study and policy analyst at the Institute. “Air quality is, in fact, improving dramatically in the developed world as improvements in technology, higher incomes, and democratic systems have created an ever-increasing ability to protect the environment.”

Parliament voting now on election call motion

Canada's Parliament is voting now on the opposition's motion for the Government to call upon the Governor General to dissolve Parliament in the first week of January, with an election in mid-February.

UPDATE: YES 167; NO 129

Motion passed, and house adjourned.

UPDATE 2:

This is, of course, a non-binding motion. Prime Minister Martin has already indicated that the Liberals will simply ignore it. Typical Liberal arrogance on display. The stage will then be set for a non-confidence motion on Thursday.

UPDATE 3:

Comment from Liberal house leader Valeri:

"It's not really a compromise, it's a cop-out that's an attempt to evade responsibility for causing an election during the Christmas holidays,"


Yup, they're ignoring it all right.

Why the rich should get richer

The Economist reviews The Moral Consequences Of Economic Growth by Benjamin Friedman.

The book is an interesting look at how morality is influenced by economic growth. A viewpoint often expressed is that in the rich world further economic growth is, at best, morally ambiguous. However, Adam Smith made the point that a society that is experiencing economic growth will be happier than one that is economically stagnant. This is true of any society, no matter what their current level of economic development is.

According to Mr. Friedman, history shows (and this seems like a very logical perspective) that when prosperity is increasing, people are more likely to be tolerant, favourable of democracy and inclined to settle disputes in a peaceful manner.

On the other hand, economic decline leads to intolerance, strife and dictatorship.

Mr. Friedman gives his idea that the cause of this is that people's sense of well-being is relative. It can either be relative to their previous standard of living, or to other people's standard of living.

If economic growth is happening, people will relate their increased prosperity to their own previous circumstances and be less bothered about other people's. On the other hand, during economic stagnancy or decline, people will tend to care more about their placing in relation to others, and this leads to intolerance, frustration and the tendency for social breakdown and incresing criminal activities(it's interesting to consider the recent riots in France with this in mind).

Consequently, economic growth is always a good thing from a moral standpoint, even in wealthy Western countries.

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