Friday, August 31, 2007

Puffin' Smoke

I will allow various publications to rightly mock Iggy and his bird fetish.

However, I'm not sure if the Puffin is the best symbol of Liberalism in Canada. Maybe we need a new bird, or even a new sympol altogether.

What could be more Liberal than appropriating Canadian symbols and using them as definitions of "what it is to be Liberal"?

Is there a bird that steals other birds excellent methods for thriving in nature? Who change appearance depending on the environment they're in? Who eat other birds' food after they have gathered them?

That would be a bird fit for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Leadership sometimes actually matters... this little flip-flop demonstrates.

At the end of the day, sometimes leadership is about sticking to your principles..


PS About-face = flip-flop

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reason 1,265 why I will never subscribe to the Red Star

...the semi-literate idiot who called me at 9:15 pm to ask me to subscribe....

$(#* off


While we're on the subject of education....

Behold the "Paris Hilton-ization" of our younger generation. This is Miss South Carolina being asked a question about US geography.

This will be put into the archives, to be used as "Exhibit A" when I'm teaching my wee daughter about why being a pretty moron is not cool.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Who decides?

Further to Warren's post against funding for faith based schools, I offered this response:


As I understand the Tory policy, the funding would be extended to any school (faith notwithstanding) who agreed to teach the Ontario curriculum.

This takes the question of who is faithful and who isn't out of the hands of theologians and puts it in the hands of the same bureaucrats who decide that the separate school system is acceptable.

It actual gives the province some say in what is being taught at some of these schools.

Just my two cents worth,


B-Double responds: I'm not sure if "let the bureaucrats decide!" is the best selling point to use in explaining this policy. And, it wasn't the bureaucrats who decided that the seperate system was acceptable, it was the Ontario Cabinet.

I do think that Kinsella, the Post, etc is right - that a wide swath of different religious schools will apply for funding and we (as a province) have to be ready to decide who gets money and who does not - whether through regulations, an application committee or whatever.

My trouble with this whole thing is that this particular promise is lacking the clarity that other pledges in the past have enjoyed. Cutting welfare rates by 20% was as clearcut as they come.

The challenge we will face is that many (I would say the majority) of people in Ontario don't interact with private religious schools. They will have a hard time truly understanding what it means for them if this pledge becomes a reality. Contrast that with what the Fiberals are saying: "This will take money out of the public school system." That potental result can potentially affects many, many more people (even though I don't believe it).

Our biggest problem we face is not that the policy is flawed. Its the clarity issue: our points are nuianced, complicated and take a lot of explaining; theirs are clear, blunt and very simple to understand.

Besides - fear (in this case of the unknown) works.

How do you know you're a father of a little girl?

Besides the obvious resulting offspring?

Driving by a car wash with bikini-clad 18 year old female students and shaking your head, wishing "they would cover up."


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Provincial Election - Warning! Sarcasm Alert!


I'm sooooooooooooooooooo happy that we get to debate reforms in the school system again!

ALWAYS come up the winner in THAT debate.

OK, thanks - I'm done with the sarcasm.

Like any good storyline, contrasts are easy for readers/voters to follow. That's why the school funding for faith-based will be an easy election tale: Tory is for faith-based funding; McGuinty is not. Very clear lines of battle.

Now, the Tories want this to be about leadership. That's not so clear cut, especially in the "us vs them" context of an election. Unless John Tory can come up with clear, specific reasons why he is a better/different leader than McGiggles, how will voters know where each man stands?

In 2005, (1995 surely. -- ed.) the leadership issue was easy: MacLeod flip-flopped. She was a weak leader. Harris didn't. He was/is a strong leader. No issue.

In 2007, I'm not sure the same dynamic exists. Sure, McGuinty broke promises, but he's not seen as a weak leader. Besides, while I know that Tory would not break promises, how do voters know that? They have no track record to judge him on.

Anyway, I hope the campaign team knew they'd be fighting the next election battle on education funding when they made that promise a key part of the election platform. And I'm hoping their polling, etc told them its solid ground.

Because the Fiberals will make sure that is where the focus will remain.

And that ALWAYS works out well. Ask Jim Flaherty.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Stateside 2008: Hilary unstoppable?

So, my buddy attends a function with some high powered GOP insiders, and he files this report:

"Yo, B - Last night I attended a swishy dinner event. I had a good conversation with my best connected contact in the Republican Party.

I asked him about 2008. He said that there is very little chance that Hilary can be stopped - either for the nomination or the election. The big republicans, including apparently Karl Rove, are telling people to focus on 2012.

As for the Republican nomination, [dude] said that he would put money on Mitt Romney to take it. He is very well organized in Iowa and New Hampshire (and leading the polls in both states) and has the junior Senator from South Carolina (Jim DeMint) working for him in that state. He said that if Romney can win in Iowa and New Hampshire, and finish a strong second or third in South Carolina, the nomination will be his.

This dude also knows folks in Fred Thompson's campaign team, and he said that the stories about Jeri Thompson ruining her husband's campaign are not far off the mark. She is apparently forcing herself into every major decision and it is slowly killing morale among the troops."

Just lovely. But of course, at this point I would rather attack Hilary than defend Bush.

Tired of that particular chore.


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Monday, August 20, 2007

"Where are the Men?"

I am certainly not one to proactively grant the Toronto Star any compliments, but when you are right you are right.

Over the weekend, the Red Star published THIS story, which details the negative effects fatherless families are having in some of the more disadvantaged neighborhoods. Its good to see the Star acknowledge that broken homes is a much larger problem than most of our leaders recognize.

For those David Miller-types who can't get a handgun ban press release out fast enough each time another person dies on the streets of Toronto, here are some sobering statistics:

"Kids, especially boys, seek moral guidance from their fathers, and a myriad of studies have shown fatherless youths turn to crime. A seminal report, presented nine years ago at an American Sociological Association convention, tracked 6,000 males, ages 14-22, from 1978 to 1993 to reveal that when fathers aren't present in the home, youths are twice as likely to end up in jail. "

But strangely enough, even when confronted with this reality, people like David Miller - who never met a root cause he didn't like - seem to think its just a strange coincidence. During last year's "Summer of the Gun", Miller insisted that single-parent families don't factor into violence, claiming he was raised by a single mother and "turned out just fine" (subjective, to be sure).

We spend so much time celebrating diversity and all the different forms a family can take, we don't spend time talking about how important the nuclear family is. Yes, two mommies etc aren't fatal to a child's development, but a mother and a father is optimal.

Now, I don't claim to have the slightest bit of understanding how hard life can be for kids growing up in neighborhoods like Jane and Finch. My life is easy by comparison, to be sure. But even in my experiences, it was my father who taught me how to be a man, how to treat women and how to handle responsibility. People say I'm a good father. Thank my Dad - he taught me how to parent, even just be example.

When I was younger and starting to get into trouble, it was the spectre of my father that kept me on the straight and narrow. I respected him and knew I didn't want to let him down. Besides, as 6'4", he can be a little intimidating. Women have a lot to bring to the table in terms of raising a child, but to really teach a man how to be a man, you need a father. Period. Sure, you can come out alright - many children raised by single mothers do - but you better hope you're raising your children in a positive environment. When you have powerful cultural and social forces working against you - where gangs, guns and drugs are a constant seduction - you need a counterbalancing positive influence.

Men need to step up to the plate and start raising their kids. And we as a society need to shame deadbeats who run out on their kids as what they are - cowards and bums.

As Laurence Fishburne said in Boyz In the Hood: Any idiot can make a baby, but only a real man can raise his children.

Oh, and here is a positive example of a popular rap artist trying to promote this idea.

This is Lupe Fiasco's "He Said, She Said". You should watch it, even if you're not into rap music.

Its an important message, and kudos to him for trying to make a difference in a industry not known for promoting responsibility.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The new Ontario Liberal ads

.... the one with the petite mayor of a southwestern Ontario town standing in front of a wind farm?

Straight up brilliant.

I won't link to them - I don't want them to get a larger audience - but they are pretty damn good "Morning in America" type feel-good ads.

If you haven't seen them yet, don't worry - you will. Count on it.

I hope the Ontario PC Party has an equally brilliant ad or series of ads on the pipe, but I doubt it. Their ads will be focus grouped to death and spend more time talking about how great John Tory is - which, given his personal polling numbers, I don't really blame them. But as some conservative talking head said about a year ago: "If its our nice guy versus their nice guy, we're dead". And I really hope we have something better than funding for faith-based schools (which I support, but don't think is catching on with the public).

I have decided to go out on a limb and make a prediction on the outcome of the October 10th contest. If I'm wrong, I will be the first to eat crow.


Of course, if I'm wrong that means we have a PC Premier, which is fine. I will happily accept that consequence.

But I don't think I'm wrong.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No to MMP

I am against the MMP as proposed and will be voting against it.

The idea of party lists disgusts me as a democrat (i.e. someone who believes in democracy, not a Democrat). The thought of our political leaders putting together a list of hacks who would then be eligible for all the perks and pork of duly elected MPPs makes my blood boil. (Full disclosure: I acknowledge the chance of my name appearing on one of those lists is nill, however if asked, I will serve :-)

A better idea, in my humble opinion, if MMP is passed, would be the requirement that the "list" MPPs would be chosen from candidates who ran in the election but were not successful. The allocation of the MPPs would be based on the percentage of popular vote they secured. That way, there is no hanky panky by the leadership of the party. There would be an argument that the appointed MPP had some legitamacy as he/she had his/her name on the ballot and secured a portion of the votes for the overall percentage.

Another option is to have a preferential ballot with everyone's second choice allocated after that person is dropped off the ballot until someone wins 50%. This ensures that the elected MPP is the second, third or fourth choice of at least 50% of the population.

My $Q.02.

Monday, August 13, 2007

You down with MMP? Yeah, you know me...*

*Not an endorsement of MMP.

Vacation. Sorry.

But Q did a great job of keeping you Hipsters using your melons in my absence.

I've really been off the grid politically since I started a new job just over a year ago. So, it gives me a great chance to view political events from a vantage point that is not overtly partisan.

I am continually amazed by how little attention/coverage the proposed electoral reforms are getting in the run up to the October 10th Ontario election. This isn't just the case of some election cycle, where candidate A is trying to unseat candidate B; the McGiggles government has put changes to the people that will almost completely change the way we elect our respresentatives here in Ontario.

And the coverage has been almost non-existent. By my recollection, I have seen only one article on the proposed reforms in the last 6 months. Now, maybe that's because I don't read the Red Star which spends pages and pages of weekend ink writing about these kinds of issues. Is it just me? Now to be fair, Facebook, as usual, is all over this issue. Groups gallore! So, the issue has been covered in the social networking scene, such as it is. But everywhere else its just not there.

The challenge I fear is that the proposals are fairly complicated - or at least the potential repercussions are. It will be a lot for the average voter to digest while they are working, getting the kids to school, shopping, watching Gilmore Girls reruns (oh, that's my household - thanks honey), or whatever.

I have a message for all you electoral reformers out there - this is not on anyone's radar screens. I spend a lot of time with folks who are up on current events but are fairly non-partisan (or at least not hacks). No one is talking about this issue. NO ONE. Heck, I would consider myself fairly up on things politically and all I know about MMP is that it involves party lists, which I think sucks. In fact, I actually couldn't tell you right now what MMP stands for.

So the two camps really have their work cut out for them. Not only do they have an election to contend with (a real clash of the titans, to be sure), they have to explain fairly dry reforms to them as well. I hope this important debate gets the attention it deserves.

Ah, who am I kidding??? May the best slogan win!

Thursday, August 09, 2007


A friend of mine recently returned from a holiday in Germany and our discussion turned to the autobahn (my buddy had rented a sports car and took full advantage) and I asked if he saw any major accidents.

His reponse was that he saw no accidents on the autobahn itself. He said something that appealed to the libretarian in me. Essentially he said that most people were responsible because the authorities cracked down hard on offenders. People were liable for their actions if they were found to be responsible for an accident, failed to maintain their vehicle or were otherwise at fault.

It seems to me that our present Canadian system contains many rules and regulations designed to keep us "safe" which repeatedly fail (handguns are restricted already people, the criminals aren't registering them) and when someone is found culpable, the sentences and consequences are so meaningless that there is no incentive to be responsible.

If I were justice minister, I would overhaul the Criminal Code of Canada to spell out dire consequences for those who, through their own actions, cause harm to others.

I am thinking specifically of those who use guns in the commission of a crime, but also drunk drivers.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007


This summer, I am watching epidsodes of Eureka.

Good show, but what I really like doing is mining the old IMDB for links to other shows and places and I found this interesting.

The guy playing Fargo is the same guy who played on Wonderfalls,
one of my all time favourite "best shows that were cancelled".

I also have a crush on Caroline Dhavernas (she is on my freebie list)
who I just saw in Breach.

B-Double speaks: Dude, even your TV crushes are BORING. I didn't know you liked the comic-con kind of chick. Actaully, I did.
You better watch out! She might hook you in for a hot night of laundry, or if you're lucky, she'll knit you a macrame vest. Don't tell me you wouldn't wear it.

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