Monday, December 19, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS
Now, I know I tell Tories to stop complaining about media bias, but I have never said it doesn't exist. Check out this caption that the Toronto Star ran with the photo above:
"Prime Minister Paul Martin was driving a horse-drawn wagon at a campaign event in a frigid Regina park yesterday, when one of the rear wheels went flat. With the wagon listing to the side and the tire shredding, Martin managed to slowly steer the crippled vehicle back to the waiting media buses."
You'd think the wagon was about to burst into flames and crash into a crowd of school children before Martin jumped on, took the reigns and saved everyone. Here's the nicely trimmed photo they ran with it (hat tip--Brian Lemon) :
My caption would have said something about three horse's asses, but I'm not an editor of a national newspaper.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: SHOPPING FOR SUPPORT
So I'm here getting my car fixed (which makes me think the system has some flaws when the waiting room in a auto dealership is much more comfortable -- high back armchairs, today's paper, TV, free coffee -- than a doctor's waiting room) and I'm reading the Globe and Mail.
Amongst the debate coverage is an article claiming that Harper's "everyman" image has been tarnished because he couldn't correctly guess the current price of eggs and milk.
We all know this game: you illustrate a politician's disconnect from voter's everyday struggles by showing they have no idea what daily life is like. I remember the media doing quite an effective job on that with George Bush I during the 1992 election (although I suspect he stopped making the treck to the local FoodWay long before he became President).
So Harper, after reiterating that it is his wife who does most of the shopping, guessed $3.00 for each. Apparently, eggs go for $2.19 and milk for $2.52.
That game is such a crock.
In defense of Harper, I am a homeower and father who regularly does the shopping. If you asked me what the price of eggs or milk was, I would have NO idea. And I just bought milk last week! His guess was only off by 50-80 cents, which I think was pretty accurate. Its not like he told the scribe it depended whether or not its delivered in a bottle.
Although if Harper just guessed the price instead of repeatedly prefacing the answer by saying he doesn't spend a lot of time in the supermarket, he would have been fine.
Either way, I have a feeling Paul Martin wouldn't know a "power saver special" if it bit him in the ass.
Friday, December 16, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: HARPER THE FASHION PLATE?
I know, everyone else is analyzing the exchanges and looking at who scored what point for which demographic. But being the Hipster that I am, it being Friday and the fact my unilingual ass had no idea what they were saying -- I would like to examine Mr. Harper's cool threads.
Firstly, he gets bonus points just for ditching that mock turtleneck. Like, who wears those anymore besides your grandpa? If you're wearing the same outfit as the mannequin in the front window of you local Tip Top store, you're already in trouble. But at least he hasn't tried to bring back the mandarin collar, so thank goodness for small miracles.
Now, on to his kick ass suit from last night. Here's Harper:
Now, my first clue that Harper had a pro putting his outfit together was the pocket square (you, know--the hanky in his pocket?).
"Puffy or multipeaked pocket squares are dorky. Yours should be, well, square—like Sean Connery’s."Done and done. He's was the only one wearing it and it stood out and looked great.
Next, the suit itself: a dark, crisp suit with small lapels. Its slimming, and yeah, yeah, looks good on TV. Now, I couldn't tell whether it was a 2-button or 3-button, but if it was 2, then he's really keeping upo with the trends (I actually don't like the 2-button, but hey).
On to his shirt: I LOVE that colour blue. Everyone wears blue shirts these days, but the often don't wear the right colour. Exhibit A:
Hey, Gilly--1993 called and they're looking for their shirt and they're pissed.
But the light, almost sky, blue shirt he was wearing really stands out against the blue suit and softens and warms the whole outfit. Oh, and I have just always thought its a great colour (diverse too--almost goes with anything).
Now, onto the tie. He didn't fall into the trap of wearing a slim tie (again, see picture of the Dorq Quebecois above) and you can't go worng with wide, vertical stripes. The gold bands look particularly good against the blue shirt and add a flash of colour without looking obnoxious.
All in all he looks professional, business-like but with a modern flair. In other words, Harper doesn't look like he opened his closet, looked at his 3 suits (blue, black and pinstripe) he bought 7 years ago at the Moores sale (3 for $299.00) and tossed it on.
He looks like everybody else who's wearing a suit these days--and when you're trying to show you can relate to average Canadians, that's a good thing.
Finally, I'd like to offer some advice to the mockneckers out there. If you feel the need to wear a sweater, take a page from GQ:
"If you’re going to own one sweater, make it a charcoal gray v-neck. It goes perfectly with a dark suit in fall or winter and with jeans or cords in spring."
UPDATE: See? Even the fashionistas agree with me:
"Fashion designer Paul Hardy agreed that Harper was the most stylish. "The pocket puff totally won my vote. He had the perfect shade of blue shirt," said Hardy from his studio in Calgary.
"Frankly, I just thought (his outfit) was so modern. I was very surprised because I wouldn't expect him to be on the pulse."
Not sure if I like the term "pocket puff", though.
But here's the money quote:
"A part of what made Trudeau so attractive to everybody is... he had verve. He had panache. He had style. Remember that portrait he had - the cape coat over his shoulder? Normally you have to be a gay man or an Italian art director to get away with that," he said.
Which one was he?
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: IF I COULD MAKE A BROCHURE...
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
REAL CAMPAIGN TALK: SCRILLA, TWISTED
Not only would it appeal to younger voters, it would make him a little less of a stuffed shirt. Just pop them in here and there. The media will never notice.
I'll do a few today to get the ball rolling, but look for it as a regular feature here on CH:
Example: "Meanwhile, the Liberals have spent mad scrilla on themselves and their friends, and wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars"
(Adjective) Got it wrong.
Example: "Asked by reporters if a Conservative government would send soldiers to the country, Harper replied: "Don't get it twisted. Our government would not be sending troops to Iraq. We want to encourage American success there. We want to see democracy, but our role is in Afghanistan, it's not in Iraq."
POLITICS AS USUAL: NO TEARS FOR TOOKIE
Tookie has become a bit of a "cause celebre" these days, getting high-profile support from Snoop Dogg, Jamie Foxx and the Rev. Jessie Jackson--all who were begging the Gov to stay Tookie's execution.
So why would I expect Canadian Conservative bloggers to rally to his cause? Admittedly, it seems odd considering that Williams was convicted of killing four people, including a convenience store clerk during a robbery as well as a South Korean family of three.
Terri Schiavo, of course.
You remember Terri. She was the poor woman who's husband was appealing for the right to end her life back in March. At that time, debate raged on blogs every about how and when the state -- in this case the U.S. Congress -- should intervene to ensure that Terri was allowed to live.
I remember at the time somewhat taken aback by the intensity of the postings. Conservative bloggers passionately spoke out against the Terri's husband, the judiciary, politicians and the media who were not prepared to step in to "save a life". They advocated for Congressional members, Florida Governor Jeb Bush and even President Bush to personally step in and stop Terri's feeding tube from being removed.
So I was intrigued by the lack of really any comment on the Williams execution by those same people.
I guess it all depends on who's life the state takes, eh?
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I support Williams or a bid for clemency. I don't know if the guy was innocent or not (as he claims). However, I also wasn't one of those speaking out against Schaivo's husband having the right to end her life.
I think the silence is, frankly, hypocritical.
You can't be against the state allowing someone the right to die while at the same time advocating for the execution of a convict. Period.
BOTH cases fall within the law of that state.
BOTH cases involve the state either implictly or explicity being a party to ending a life.
BOTH involve an individual who claimed to be "innocent" (either by not being guilty or that was aun unwilling victim of someone else's wishes).
BOTH cases had people on both sides who claimed to "know" all the facts about the case (Schaivo's mental state, Williams' innocence).
BOTH were situations where the State (Florida/Federal government, California) could have stepped in and prevented the person from being killed but did not.
BOTH stories end with a human life ending.
So where are the posts? Where is the outrage and condemnation at Williams' execution? The state could very well have executed an innocent man! This is state-sanctioned murder!
Monday, December 12, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: WILL THE FIBERALS BAN CYNICISM?
Canada's political parties rated among the most corrupt in new global survey
MARIA BABBAGE Sun Dec 11, 6:28 PM ET
OTTAWA (CP) - An international group that tracks global graft says Canadians believe political parties are the most corrupt institution in the country.
The dubious distinction was awarded to Canada by Transparency International. The Berlin-based group made the determination in its latest global corruption barometer.
Canada's standing was determined based on a public opinion poll taken in the months after Auditor General Sheila Fraser accused the Liberal government run by Jean Chretien last year of "breaking every rule in the book" with the sponsorship scandal.
You can check out the rest of the story HERE.
And you wonder why when asked, most people are not paying attention to the election? The actions of the FIBs cast a very wide shadow.
A pox on all your houses, as they say.....
MY SO-CALLED LIFE: GET "EM WHILE THEY'RE YOUNG....
...and it won't be the last if I can help it.
You think I'd be spending my $1200 on beer before her?
POLITICS AS USUAL: WHO DO YOU TRUST?
"Scott Reid, Martin's director of communications, was attacking a Conservative plan to give families of young children $1,200 a year for child care.
"Don't give people 25 bucks a week to blow on beer and popcorn," Reid said during a panel discussion on CBC News: Sunday. "Give them child-care spaces that work. Stephen Harper's plan has nothing to do with child care."
I guess I'm going to have to put down my large tub and six-pack of Old Milwaukee to slap Scottie outside the head.
I want to make a few points here. Firstly, Reid's comments nicely sum up FIBeral thinking on not only child care in particular, but government in general:
WE KNOW BETTER THAN YOU DO.
The reason why they refuse to cut taxes, will not refund budget surpluses, create program after program and legislate the hell out of all Canadians is because they think you can't be trusted.
Its like its Halloween and PM2 is taking away your bag of candy: "Now, Billy, I can't leave this with you. If I do, you'll sit up all night eating all your candy and you'll get sick. Plus, you won't have any candy left. Give it here. Father knows best."
So, the question than becomes who do you trust? Its a simple choice. Under the Conservative plan, the money goes directly to me, the Hipster. Under the FIBeral plan, the money goes to Premier Dalton McGuinty to spend as he sees fit on programming.
So, let's run down the case for each one, shall we? (Stupid Blogger--we need a "columns" feature!)
i) Broken 50 promises--so far
ii) Cannot balance provincial budget
iii) Splurges $3.8 billion on unplanned, unbudgeted spending
iv) Relies on others to provide child care
i) A man of his word
ii) Balances household budget
iii) Spends money on things like food, shelter, clothing (alright fine, I DO buys things from Baby GAP)
iv) Relies 100% on himself for his childcare funding (and presents from generous family members)
So the question becomes: WHO SHOULD CANADIANS TRUST?
Friday, December 09, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES
Other pundits have mentioned it, but you can't throw a stick these days without hitting a Martin photo op of PMPM surrounded by the country's young 'uns.
As Paul Wells mentions, its getting so bad that they might name the plane (a Press Gallery tradition) on the theme ("Air Photo Op" was the one mentioned, although I'd go for "Air Jazz Income Trust Inc." myself).
But back to the kiddies.
When I look at these kind of events, I try to acertain what the thinking is behind it. What are his campaign trying to do here? I'm assuming its not because PMPM likes kids, if you know what I mean. Hey, we should do a release about Martin's support for child porno..... oh wait.
So anyway, what kind of an image are you trying to portray when you surround your candidate with Canadians of the anklebiter variety?
In my mind, you're looking to associate his image with some key themes or ideas:
- The future.
- All that's good in the world.
Or put another way, you can also use images or themes to try and change the image of your candidate, party or policy. As Dr. Phil says--80% of communication is non-verbal. In this case, you group a pack of teenagers, grade schoolers or "urban youth" when your candidate is:
- Yesterday's news.
- Out of touch.
- Not innocent.
Although, I'm not quite ready to dismiss the reasoning for why PM2 is kickin' it with the shorties is because they are the only ones that still look at him with some kind of awe (Hey, that's the guy on TV!") and they won't ask him any complicated questions.
Although, as we saw from my last post, that's only because the uppity ones are kept outside.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: BREAKING NEWS -- MEDIA INTERVIEWS REAL PERSON
Awesome video, great interview. Watch it HERE.
Brought to you by our good friends at ProudToBeCanadian.ca.
POLITICS AS USUAL: LIBERALS TO BAN MURDER!
"Along with a plan to ban handguns, Paul Martin today is expected to unveil his party's plan to ban murder in Canada.
The proposed ban on murder is said to target urban Toronto where a high number of gang related murders have been committed this year but Liberal sources emphasised that the murder ban would be in effect across all of Canada.
"Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberal party takes murder seriously, which is why we are proposing this ban. Criminals and potential murderers need to know that murder is unacceptable in Canada and this ban on murder will be an emphatic message to Canadians: don't commit murder."
While Martin acknowledged that technically murder is already illegal in Canada he pointed out that it was the message that was important.
"We are sending a message to these criminals with both the handgun and the murder ban that we will not accept this behaviour. People need to know that handguns and murder are wrong and that their government takes this seriously. Two laws banning murder will send that message."
Martin also pointed out that the Conservatives don't have a plan to ban murder."
He doesn't have a blog, so I'm posting it here.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: WHY ARE THE LIBERALS HIDING?
In doing some research for a client who wanted to get in touch with various campaigns of all political stripes, I was using the internet and the wonders of Google to track down information about each national party: Conservative, Liberal and NDP. What I've found is that the FIBerals have almost completely gone into hiding--it is virtually impossible to get in tough with their campaigns. Although they accuse the Conservatives of having a "hidden agenda", they are out in the open online.
I'll give a few illustrations. My riding is Mississauga Erindale and the Conservative candidate is Bob Dechert. I can find him HERE on the Party site and HERE on his own site. There's contact information and lots of detail on his positions, etc. All good.
But when I tried to find the FIBeral candidate for my riding, Omar Alghabra, it was quite different. Here's what the FIBerals have to say about Omar:
Nothing. No contact information. No website. Now, you might say "Hipster, be fair. Alghabra was only nominated as the candidate last week".
And you'd be right.
But if you look at the listing of every candidate running this time for the FIBerals, there is NO contact information.
In fact, many of the bigger candidates like Michael Ignatieff or long-time MPs like Hedy Fry, don't even have pictures posted on the site.
Now, there are some enterprising folks like Richard Mahoney, Anne McLellan or Derek "As In General, not Bruce" Lee, who have campaign websites with full contact info.
But you look at Cabinet Ministers heavyweights like Ken Dryden, Bill Graham, John McKay, Stephane Dion, Ujjal Dosanjh, John McCallum and many many others, its virtually impossible to actually contact their campaign to ask a question, determine their position on issues or even volunteer. All you get is their parliamentary websites, rather than campaign information.
They seem all too comfortable operating as government officials, but somewhat skittish on actually speaking to voters.
Who looks like they are hiding from the public?
Who looks out of touch?
Who seems hidden right now?
On the information highway, it looks pretty obvious.
POLITICS AS USUAL: IGNATIEFF UNDER WITNESS PROTECTION?
From the FIBERAL website:
Thursday, December 01, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: YOU DOWN WITH GST? YEAH YOU KNOW ME!
Argument #4: We control the agenda
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