Tuesday, September 27, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: TORONTO THE BAD?
According to the survey conducted by the magazine, Toronto ranks "dead last" as the most desireable place to set up shop. Factors include cost of living, taxes, building permits, crime rate, unemployment and other figures.
But never fear, along comes Globe scribe John Barber to tell us all is well in the Big Smoke. Since he's behind the Great Subscription Wall of Greed, let me offer up his defence of Le Status Quo:
"Every one of its top-10 cities -- including St. John's, Charlottetown and Thunder Bay -- is either struggling to attract investment, actively shrinking or (q.v. Quispamsis) insignificant. And yet the 10 worst cities -- including Markham, Mississauga, Richmond, B.C., Vancouver and Oshawa -- are job-producing powerhouses."
Okay, and why do you think Markham, Mississauga and Oshawa ARE "economic powerhouses"? Because those jobs are fleeing Toronto! Should we take comfort in the fact that Toronto might be losing jobs, but at least they aren't going very far?
"Like many others of its type, the latest ranking naively assumes that low cost is all that makes a place attractive. Thus it elevates all the cities where prices are cheap -- an accurate reflection of the fact that they are the least attractive locations -- far above the cities where costs are high precisely because they are more attractive."
Well, no, the survey actually looks at crime rate, unemployment, cost of construction, amongst other factors. Even with a low crime rate, Toronto still came in last. I would guess Toronto ranked even lower than the average in the other categories.
But still, I reject the premise of his thinking--the more expensive a City is, the more attractive it is? What kind of garbage is that?
I havenever understood the whole "well, it could be a lot worse" theory that people like Barber use in justifying the mediocrity that is the status quo. Yes, you're right. We could be Shantou, China.
"Imagine if the magazine had extended its survey to include London, New York and Tokyo, three of the world's most successful and costliest cities. Bay Street would empty as traders rushed to dig peat in low-cost New Brunswick."
Again, should we take solace in the fact that we're not the most expensive? Well, we're not a global capital, either. Rare are statements like: "And this new business trend is sweeping the globe in cities like London, New York, Tokyo.....and Toronto".
I call Toronto the capital of lost opportunity. There is no question Toronto at least has the potential to be a top notch, cutting edge city. There is little crime, no language barrier, (relatively) easy to get to and we have a well-educated workforce.
But why would a business set up shop here? High taxes, crumbling infrastructure (remember, John? That's why the "new deal for cities" was so important), gridlock, homelessness, an unfriendly Council. It goes on and on.
An attitude of "we don't need you, we're doing just fine" is why Toronto will never become a world class city. Until the Toronto leadership recognizes that businesses and the revenue they create (taxes, jobs etc) allow them to do all the things they want (social programs, transit, etc), this city will stay right where it is right now. Which is around "tastes like tapioca pudding" on the "cool ass city scale of flavour".
I don't know what that means.
Anyway, Toronto and Canada need a stint on Dr. Phil: "You only get the life you feel you deserve". Apparently, we only feel we deserve weak-ass leadership and a Council that thinks they are doing investment and commerce a favour by letting them bring their business to Toronto.
Friday, September 23, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: THE REAL QUESTION FOR CAROL JAMIESON
But there are a number of question no one seems to be asking, which I recon people (specifically CPC members) think should be. Like many of you, I received an e-mail from Ms. Jamieson on my personal account. Here are the $64,000 question(s):
- Where did she get my e-mail from? A list?
- If so, what list?
- Is it a Party membership list?
- If, so, how did she get it?
- Is she using a membership list without authorization?
- Doesn't that violate Party rules?
- Is that grounds for expulsion?
In the Ontario PC Party, every Leadership candidate and their team had to sign an oath that they would not use the list for anything other than leadership-related activities. If so, a substantial financial penalty would be imposed.
While I'm not sure this is the case here, those questions should be asked.
Something to ponder.
MY SO-CALLED LIFE: MEET ME ON THE BATTLEFIELD...
|Ulysses S. Grant|
You scored 69 Wisdom, 52 Tactics, 71 Guts, and 55 Ruthlessness!
|Like you, Grant went about the distasteful business of war realistically and grimly. His courage as a commander of forces and his powers of organization and administration made him the outstanding Northern general. Grant, though, had no problem throwing away lives on huge seiges of heavily defended positions. At times, Union casualties under Grant were over double that of the Confederacy. However, Grant was notably wise in supporting good commanders, especially Sheridan , William T. Sherman , and George H. Thomas. Made a full general in 1866, he was the first U.S. citizen to hold that rank.|
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Which Historic General Are You Test written by dasnyds on Ok Cupid|
Thursday, September 15, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: THIS FOUNDATION NEEDS A LITTLE WORK...
All good. In theory.
In an op-ed piece in the Globe and Mail on Wednesday, Preston announced that he and the Centre was be hosting a "Toronto Roundtable" of "100 conservative minded people from across the country" to discuss how to build a conservative instrastructure.
As reported today, that meeting of the minds happened and there was a general committment by attendees to look at such concepts as scholarships for conservative youth to go to journalism school, a "political organizer MBA", training, research, etc.
I have a few thoughts.
I should say from the outset that I applaud Manning for taking this significant initiative. I think its an extremely important one and its something I'm willing to support. That being said, however, I have beef:
Firstly, I saw the list of attendees for the roundtable and I have less to say about who was on the list than I do about who wasn't. I'm an Ontario boy, so I'll discuss what I know.
For a Centre that proports to care so deeply about building a grassroots political infrastructure, there wasn't a true organizer to be had. I come from that background and I know pretty well every good Conservative organizer in Ontario. None were in attendance.
As well, in this key battleground province there were very few representatives from the provincial PC Party. Even the President, Blair McCreadie wasn't invited as far as I know. Big mistake. And it doesn't stop with him. I can think of countless people who were not on the list but definitely should have been. These are people who would be absolutely critical to winning a ground war in Ontario.
So much for getting off on the right foot (pardon the pun).
The second point I'll make is this: you want to create the political generation of the future?
Bring back the youth wing.
My generation seems to be the last one that actually has spawned "political operatives". Since my time in the PC Youth there has been a real effort to eliminate any real "battles" characterized them as "disruptive" or "pointless infighting".
For most youthies, youth politics was a chance to cut your teeth in political campaigns when the stakes were a little lower and everything wasn't dictated by HQ or the Leader's Office. This gave room for creativity, initiative and a real ability to move up the ranks.
Yeah, I've hear the argument about making youth "second class members", which is nonsense. I never felt like that. If fact, most untested youth a) feel intimidated by taking part in senior activities when they have no experience and b) will spend a hell of a lot of time doing joe jobs on campaigns before their really given a chance.
The latter circumstance stems mostly from the Canadian Alliance side, which never had a youth wing. As a result, there are only a handful of youth members who could really step up to the plate and take a leadership role due to their experience.
Youth coventions are heady affairs: races for Presdient, seat rushes, smear campaigns, stacking out delegate meetings, backroom deals, etc. Yes, some might see it as a waste of time or far from the ever-so-important Party policy convention. But that's not what brings youth in and keeps them there.
For me, my time in the youth allowed me to experience the most positive side of politics: loyalty, team building, organization, a real sense of accomplishment, the excitement of being inside a campaign. Those are the things that made me work for months on end to get the job done.
Nothing bonds people like being up all night making signs for a seat rush the next morning.
I loved it all. And I actually learned most of the political skills I have today. Those skills have allowed me to be a campaign manager in the 2003 provincial election and to work as an organizer for PC Party Headquarters after the 1999 election.
But I seem to be the last of a dying breed, unfortunately. Organizing and campaigning seem to be a lost art.
So, if I could give any advice to Manning and his new initiative, it would be this: nothing substitutes for hands-on experience. You don't send a kid into the adult world without them going to school, working with their peers and experiencing life in that context. Why should politics be any different?
Training isn't just for seminars. Sometimes the best soldiers are forged in the heat of battle.
B! TALK DAILY: APPARENTLY, VOTES = RECORD SALES
"CINCINNATI — Maybe Nick Lachey should have run after all.
Even with fund-raising help from his 98 Degrees bandmates, Justin Jeffre couldn't overcome voter skepticism — and let's face it, with only 20 percent turnout, voter apathy — about his campaign for Cincinnati mayor. The singer, 32, who announced his unlikely candidacy in April at his hometown alma mater, came in a distant fifth place in the nonpartisan primary held on Tuesday, garnering just 2 percent of the vote.
"Don't be surprised if in 2009 Justin Jeffre is back in the ring."
Though his 708 votes paled in comparison to the more than 13,000 scooped up by the top two candidates who will vie for mayor on November 8, Jeffre didn't come in dead last. He beat 83-year-old retired shoemaker Sylvan Grisco (0.3 percent, with 130 votes) and security guard and three-time presidential candidate Sandra Queen Noble (0.2 percent, 121 votes), who was unable to raise any money to support her candidacy."
B! TALK DAILY: MAY I PLEASE GO TO THE BATHROOM, MS. RICE?
So, Reuters snaps a photo of Dubya looking for an opportunity to see a man about a horse.
I personally think its funny. I also think it makes Dubya seem more human, which is good for him these days.
But the questions I have are these: should Reuters have published it? Is this really newsworthy?
Secondly, on a more serious note, should the photog be taking pictures of the notes the Presdient of the United States is writing to his Secretary of State? Is this a security issue? I know its definitely a privacy one.
One other note about the note: "I think I may need a bathroom break" is a statement, not a question. No need for the "?" at the end there, G-Dub.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: KIM'S REVISIONIST HISTORY
"Campbell, who now teaches at Harvard University in Boston, responded publicly on the condition it was clear she was responding to the Vancouver Sun's request for comment. She also insisted that her response below be printed in full.
"In 1993, Brian Mulroney was the most unpopular prime minister in the history of Canadian polling and the Progressive Conservative Party was at historically low levels of support," she wrote in an email.
"The question that begs asking is why he then gave me, as his successor, only 21/2 months to turn the party fortunes around before an election had to be called."
Actually, no Kimmy, the Party wasn't. Here is a sampling of polls from before the 1993 Federal election:
September 11, 1993 (Angus Reid) LIB: 37 PC: 35 REF: 10 NDP: 8 BQ: 8
September 14, 1993 (Comquest) LIB: 33 PC: 36 REF: 11 NDP: 8 BQ: 10
September 20, 1993 (Angus Reid) LIB: 35 PC: 35 REF: 11 NDP: 6 BQ: 11
So, at the campaign's outset, a Liberal victory was far from a done deal. In fact, the significant drop in popular opinion might lays squarely at the feet of the election campaign YOU ran.
Yes, Mulroney was quite unpopular. But YOU weren't Mulroney. The Liberals ran a tight, well scripted campaign promising everything under the sun (sound familiar, Ontario?), while you mused about elections not being the proper place to discuss issues of substance.
Oh, and played snuggly bear with your Russian boy toy.
While Mulroney definitely was one piece of the puzzle don't try to weasel out from your responsibilities, Kimmy.
Bottom line--you blew it.
The election, I mean.
Friday, September 09, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: GET OFF THE CROSS, WE NEED THE WOOD
A few days ago, a story in the Globe and Mail on the OLO bloodletting contained a quote from Carol Jamieson, who was identified as a "Conservative Organizer". Here's the passage:
"Those who have been fired "are either people who are dissenting about what Harper is doing or they are former Progressive Conservatives," said Carol Jamieson, a party organizer in Toronto."
Okay. So a number of bloggers, particularly Stephen Taylor and Angry in the Great White North tore into Ms. Jamieson. Apparently, they were tipped off that she was not even a member of the CPC and they responded as most would to someone claiming to speak for an organization they didn't even belong to.
To make a long story short, Ms. Jamieson proved she was, in fact, a CPC member in good standing. Now, both bloggers are tripping over themsleves to offer up apologies to all and sunder. Angry is even going so far as to muse that this "incident" might be the end of his blog.
Give me a break.
The truth of the matter is, while they were off on the membership aspect, they were both dead right on the other things. Before I go through those things, I will acknowledge two points: 1) Yes, Ms. Jamieson has every right to say what she wants. 2) I know Carol and I find her a fine person to deal with. She has been with the Party (well, the PC Party, anyway) a lot longer than I have. I respect that.
That being said......
- Dissing the Leader in public is uncool. I don't care if you don't like Harper; the Party succeeds if the Leader succeeds. It seems to be a Tory trait that I would just as soon get rid of. Ms. Jamieson isn't the only offender, but she's the topic right now. If Ms. Jamieson is so proud of being a member of the Party, she should stop airing her beefs in public. No "I" in "team" and all that.
- She's NOT an official. But the article sure does make it seem that way. To the general public, Globe scribe Gloria Galloway made it seem like one of the key players in Toronto is crapping on Harper. If you weren't up to speed, you are safe to think Ms. Jamieson is on the payroll. Neither is true, as much as Ms. Jamieson clearly would like to think so (based on her response to Angry).
- She was on Ezra's campaign. You know Ezra, don't you? The transvestite who ran a joke campaign for the leadership of the Alliance. Ms. Jamieson was an advisor to him/her. I know all's fair in love and war, but for that alone, her comments should always be treated as suspect and certainly shouldn't be taken as official.
Angry's article in particular spent most of the time debunking the fact that she wasn't an insider or an organizer for the party, which is absolutely true. She migth have organized in the past, she might sit on the her local EDA, but the story erroneously implies she has an official organizational role with the CPC. Party member or not, to imply that she is a "party organizer" is a stretch at best, dead wrong at worst.
In any event, my message to both these guys is this: this ain't Rathergate. While I respect both of you for your rigid standards for accuracy, Ms. Jamieson is hardly worth the self-flaggellation you both have displaying in recent days.
The fact of the matter is Ms. Jamieson has been publicly disloyal to the Leader and has allowed herself to be presented in the media as something she is not. Yeah, you missed the mark on the membership thing, but member or not, does that make her immune to the rest of the facts you brought up?
In my mind, absolutely not.
If Carol doesn't like the heat, she should stop commenting to the press. Funny, I don't see that happening. Sure she has the right to say it, but don't be surprised when your targets return fire.
Of course, it would just be a little more impactful if the grenades being tossed were actually true. But she doesn't get off the hook on all the rest of it.
So guys, lets take the rope from around our necks, shall we? We don't need martyrs.
Keep up the good work. And it is good work.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
MY SO-CALLED LIFE: A BLOG WORTH READING?
I've started to realize that the blogs I read on a regular basis (which, by the way, don't always coincide with my list of "blogs I read" on my sidebar) aren't really all that entertaining.
So, I'm asking CH readers -- bring me some salvation!
In the comments section, I would like you to give me the top 2 blogs (besides the Hipster, of course) you would pick if you could only pick 2. I'm looking for something insightful, witty and with a different take on things.
Your recommendations, please.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: MORE ON THE CPC BLOODLETTING....
A new update from my "Deep Throat", who I'll call "Big Mouth"....
"As for the # of staffers let go, I believe more are on the way. The OLO laid off their entire data "farm" aka data entry which was not as high profile. Not sure if the next round of layoffs is reflected in the #15 or not....
I apologize in advance for any OLO staffers who might be reading this.
"I understand this is all part of a planned restructuring... Phil Murphy blew his budget and when he started asking MPs for budget money from their global budgets, Harper started to hear it from his caucus.... One of the unknown reasons he was asked to leave..."
Hmmmm.... you heard it here first. Just the supposed facts, ma'am. Just the supposed facts.
Take that, Stephen Taylor! :)
POLITICS AS USUAL: HOW THE WEST WAS DUMB
A lot of people have been talking about Kanye West and his rant on live TV during the NBC telethon for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
I'm not going to stand here and tell you I'm going to boycott his music, etc. I'm not. He's entitled to his opinion, not matter how misinformed it might be. I'll still listen to his music. In fact, I have his latest disc under my "What I'm listening to" section in my sidebar.
But what I will say is this--if you need someone to speak about life in the ghetto, Kanye ain't the right guy to do it. He grew up solidly middle class, with both of his parents involved in his life. He has never known real poverty, and is often criticised by his fellow rappers as being "too bourgie": someone who really has no idea what its life to be living on the streets.
So, when he talks about how hard blacks have it in America, you might want to ask him: you mean as hard as you had it, Kanye? I'll give you a quick rundown of his "hard knock life".
- Goes to high school in the upper class suburbs.
- Starts his own band, which flunks.
- Really gets into the production side of making records.
- Produces records for most of the late 90's (soem good $$$)
- In 2001, creates a huge buzz with production work for Jay-Z
- Becomes one of the most sought after producers in rap (big time $$$)
- Almost killed in an October 2002 car crash (OK, that sucked)
- Takes to the mic shortly after
- Records mulitplatinum "College Dropout" in 2004 (huge $$$)
- Tours extensively, becomes known as the "Louis Vitton Don"
- Records second album, "Late Registration", which ships platinum (super big ass $$$)
(sarcasm) A real rags to riches story. He sure did have it tough (/sarcasm).
Yeah, Kanye, if the ghetto ever had a real spokesperson, its you.
Stick to music, my friend.
INTERESTING FOOTNOTE: I guess media spin isn't limited to politicians. How's this for a misquote?
Jay-Z Backs Kanye's Bush Comments
By Gail Mitchell, L.A.
Rap mogul Jay-Z is standing behind Def Jam colleague Kanye West in the wake of the latter's comments during Friday's telethon to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina. As previously reported, West declared that "George Bush doesn't care about black people" and that America is set up "to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off as slow as possible.""I'm backing Kanye 100%," Jay-Z tells Billboard by phone from London.
"This is America. You should be able to say what you want to say. We have freedom of speech."
Jay-Z admits he shares some of West's views about the slow response to the disaster. "It's really numbing," he says. "You can't believe it's happening in America. You wonder, what's going on? Why were people so slow to react? I don't understand it."
Although Jay-Z says he hasn't "spoken to anyone about doing a concert event" to benefit Katrina victims, he says he wants to speak with Sean "Diddy" Combs about starting a fund exclusively to aid African-Americans in times of crisis. "Just in case anything like this happens in the future, we can do what the elder Bush and [former President Bill] Clinton are doing for our people specifically."
So, he's backing his right to comment, not his comments. That's accuracy in the press for you. The last line is classic.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: LET THE BODY COUNT BEGIN....
My source up on the Hill has told me that Ian Brodie has been hired as Harper's Chief of Staff and a total of 15 staffers have been fired, including the former CPC candidate for Ottawa West Nepean and even the receptionist.
This is a body count worthy of a slasher film.....
Sounds like we're really on an election footing. No staff at HQ. Actually, maybe that will bring us closer to running a good campaign....
MY SO-CALLED LIFE: KATRINA HITS THE BOARDROOMS
There has been plenty of coverage over the last two weeks about Katrina and the devastation she left in her wake. I wanted to just share my narrow, but enlightening experience with you.
As I mentioned, I was away on business. In fact, I was in Washington D.C. meeting with the top executives of a large corporation. On my first night there, we all had dinner together as an informal way to kick off the meeting. Katrina was on everyone's mind. None of the people I was with were actually from the affected areas, but many of these executives had offices there and knew folks who had their lives and livelihoods washed away when the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast.
I was surprised by how much the tragedy seemed to affect them. As an official part of the program we all observed a moment of silence before we sat down to enjoy our meals, but the discussion around the plight of the hurricane victims dominated the dinner conversation.
We here in Canada have been blessed by the fact that many of the recent tragedies and major events in the last few years -- 9/11, the Iraq War, the Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina as examples -- have not really impacted us in any substantial way. Amercians, on the other hand, have been front and centre during most of these events. This was my first time to talk directly with my southern neighbours and to be honest, I was surprised by what I heard.
These were older businessmen and women, pretty well-heeled from what I could tell. Some of them were from the southern areas (Tennessee, northern Louisiana, South Carolina, etc), others were from the Washington area. But all of them were pretty broken up. We had very sombre conversations about the horrible toll Katrina took on these affected area and the massive effort that will be needed to get these folks back on their feet.
There was real compasion for these people, and the folks I was with that night felt a deep sadness and concern for the hurricane victims. Many had already donated money, food and supplies to the relief effort. They seemed very much distraught at the situation and were adamant that the federal government do more to help.
Americans, especially those at the executive level in the corporate world, often get a real rep for being cold and only caring about their stock price. But I saw first hand a very different image. At a dinner where the only real agenda was to talk business, the only thing the American businesspeople wanted to talk about was the best and fastest way to help their fellow citizens.
Something you don't hear about often, especially in the media.
My wife and I have already donated to the Canadian Red Cross. I encourage every CH reader to do the same.
NEW POLL: WHAT WILL YOU BE WATCHING THIS FALL?
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