Saturday, December 29, 2007
The singularly most brilliant idea in the world
Monday, December 24, 2007
Merry Xmas to all
All the best
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
New (and Improved) Steyn Buttons! Collect All Three!
We have NEW Steyn buttons courtesy of Tim!
Each of which can be grabbed over at our posting PAGE. I have published each one in the sidebar for you all to see.
Please post these on your site to show your support for Mark, Maclean's and free speech in Canada.
UPDATE: Well, you never know who is going to show their support. Nice of you to join us.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Mark Steyn/Maclean's Support Button
If you want to post it on your blog, go to this LINK, click on the image and use it to post to your blog. If you're new to blogging and need instructions, check out the comments for instructions (for Blogger, but I suspect every blogging program is similar).
Shout outs are always welcome, but its most important to actually put it up. Let us know if you do so we can give you a shout out as well.
UPDATE: Kate over at Small Dead Animals has been kind enough to post the button for her readers. Much appreciated.
UPDATE PART DEUX: Welcome Five Feet of Fury. Thanks for the link.
UPDATE PART.. WELL, WHATEVER "THREE" IS IN FRENCH: Word is spreading. We've got a link up over at Michelle Malkin and My Two Cents Worth. Welcome all.
UPDATE PART FOUR: New buttons are coming....
Monday, December 17, 2007
I gotta tell you, I'm usually a guy that takes sides - I like being partisan, and I don't hesitate to back a horse in an electoral contest. Which is why I'm glad I am not voting in the primary or in the general election.
I don't really like any of them.
Now, this is not to say that I haven't looked at many of them closely. Not as close as many CH readers, I'm sure. But often you have to go by how you feel and your perception of a candidate. However, some of the techniques or factors people are using to decide who they will support just shows us how far down the destructive path we have gone.
Firstly, to the Daifallah discussion. There was much teeth gnashing over the supposed decline of Hillary. We Conservatives want her to do well, so the argument goes, so she will become the Democratic candidate - which makes it easier for a GOP victory. Now, I'm certainly no fan of Hillary, but is this really what we really want? Are we willing to settle for any Republican president as long as they are Republican?
As a conservative, I for one have been embarrassed by the whole lot of GOP candidates running for the party's nomination. The mainstream candidates seem to be happy to continue the Bush-Cheney tradition of puffing up their chests and taking an aggressive and absolute foreign policy position, all while pandering to monied corporate interests. At the same time, each one seems to be "out-praying" the other, with faith being the ultimate measurement on whether they are right for the job.
As religion eclipses all other considerations, frontrunners include candidates who have been investigated by ethics commissions (Huckabee), flip flop on almost all major policy positions (Romney) misspent public funds (Giuliani) or something else.
As I said, I'm not enthralled with any of them, each for different reasons:
GIULIANI: I have NO idea why he went into the race. He had a reputation former politicians would kill for and something he could have dined off of for decades. He has a very successful lobbying practice and commanded huge speaking fees. People batted aside tough questions about how he ran New York in the post-9/11 years, how he prepared for and managed 9/11 itself and the treatment of first responders because he was "America's Mayor."
Now, for the privilege of running for the nomination, he will be subject to intense scrutiny about his business relationships, his leadership practices, his ethics, his personal life and his views on policies. And that review has been revealing. I already knew and was disappointed by Rudy's ongoing relationship with Kerik which I think says a lot about his character: loyalty over judgement. I'm also not happy with his Bush plus foreign policy views.
I'm a huge fan of what he did for New York (despite the grumblings) and how he displayed leadership in the face of a monumental national crisis, but he has a lot of personal and professional baggage that leaves his candidacy tainted.
ROMNEY: Slick flip flopper. He is the politician's politician, and I just don't like him. I don't think American voters will either. I don't give a rat's ass about his Mormon beliefs, but much of the red states will. Is this seriously the best the GOP can do?
HUCKABEE: Hell, I just love his Chuck Norris ad. In fact, there are lots of things to like about "Huck". I like the fact that he talks about helping the poor and low income folks. I like how he's not tied into the elite Republican establishment and brings a folksy touch.
But he doesn't hide the fact that his faith essentially defines him and guides him, no matter what the issue is at hand. Saying his rise in the polls is due to divine influence? Enough. I'm not a fan of using your religion to club your opponents with. And I especially don't like it when "Christians" routinely act decidedly "un-Christian" like. He berates employees. Screams at his peers. Expects favours due to his position. Uses public money for his own uses.
I don't subscribed to the Europeanesque, nuanced, "sophisticated" style of leadership you get from the Joe Bidens of the world who have clearly spent WAY too much time in office. But I do believe you need a clear understanding of the challenges that lay ahead for the US and have some workable solutions. "The Almighty will provide the answer" or "My faith is my advisor" is not an acceptable policy position - on anything.
MCCAIN: Too old. Not a candidate for a 2008 election. Maybe 2000. Maybe never.
THOMPSON: I think the calibre of a candidate is decided by how you handle challenges. Fred was all the talk over the summer when he was going to run an "outsider" campaign and become the second coming of Reagan. Instead of using that massive expectation (and resulting attention) from the media and the political community to his advantage, he completely underwhelmed everyone. Now he's in a "lazy" narrative that he can't escape.
I was initially drawn to Thompson. I like his plain speaking demeanour and his basic conservative values. And the media and punditry might be treating him unfairly. But its up to him and his team to play the hand their dealt. And they have busted thus far. Bucking the system might be a good move, but you have to have the juice to go at it on your own. Fred doesn't have the horses - which is too bad; I think he would have been a great candidate.
I don't think the future bodes well for the Republican Party. Not since the federal Liberals has a Party been so in need of a timeout to do some soul searching and figure out what it is they stand for.
Hilary would be an awful President. But I'm not sure any of the current candidates on the GOP side would be any better. Glad I don't have a vote.
When a Taser is justified...
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
John Tory's Majority Report
The reality is this:
1) John Tory only needs 50% + 1 to vote no to a leadership review to stay on
The constituion is quite clear on this matter. Past practice will not work here. In this case, we have a leader that not only lost the election but lost his seat. He has something to prove and he will accept 50% + 1
2) The YES side must be in trouble
If it thinks it can only manage 20% of the vote. I have made my feelings about the leadership perfectly clear. My frustration with how this campaign was handled, the lack of organization more than the "faith based funding issue" and the fact that we seemed woefully unprepared for an election we knew was going to occur points all blame to the leader. Tory has taken responsibility and is now working overtime to keep a job he doesn't really need. You learn more from losing than winning sometimes, so hopefully Tory has learned a lot this time out.
However, if the yes side wants a leadership review, they need 50% + 1. Anything less and Tory stays.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Thank You, Conrad Black
Your sentencing pushed Al Gore and his Nobel Prize acceptance farcery all the way back to page 12 in most Canadian dailies.
Worth the 6 1/2 years right there.
To me, anyway.
Not sure how you feel about it.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Isn't One of Them "Thou Shall Not Make For Thyself An Idol"?
I took this ad from the Canadian version of Time Magazine I was reading while having lunch.
I looked at it and thought two things:
1) That Moses Znaimer is one vain dude.
2) That radio station is probably extremely thankful the first name of their patron/founder/operator is not "Muhammad."
Friday, December 07, 2007
Be An Election Gangsta: What Politicos Can Learn From Hip-Hop - Part I
I have assembled 4 "case studies" that offer strategies on how to deal with situations we commonly face as political activists. I'm not trying to suggest that the rap music industry is the only instance where these types of tactics have been used; however, my overall point here that you never know where you will get your inspiration from. Many of the "cutting edge" techniques we have seen deployed in Canadian and US elections had their origins in the entertainment media, business or even military strategy.
You wouldn't think to look at hip-hop as a sourcebook for political campaigning, but these few examples might change your mind. Stick with me here, and you might learn something. I know I did.
CASE # 1: RESHAPING YOUR BRAND/IMAGE: JAY-Z'S "AMERICAN GANGSTER"
For those that don't know, Jay-Z is a former drug dealer turned multimillionaire rapper and hip-hop entrepreneur. His first album was released in 1996 under his own label, Roc-a-Fella Records, and he has consistently been referred to as the "Best Rapper Alive" by the media and his peers. He was known for gritty subject matter, razor-sharp wordplay and consistently delivering solid albums.
However, in 2004, Jay-Z announced he would retire from rap and become President and CEO of landmark record label Def Jam, originally home to the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J. Only a year into his tenure as label president, Jay-Z returned to the studio and released "Kingdom Come." Far from talking about the life of a reformed drug dealer or the hustle of the streets, the subject matter of this album was about yachts, trips to the Mediterranean and how "30 was the new 20."
The response from the rap community was harsh and brutal. Fans who were used to the cool hustler persona "Jay-Hova" had created for himself were alienated by this new artist rapping about subjects they could not relate to, but Jay-Z lived every day: a world of luxury penthouses and Lear jets.
Here's a great video ("Show Me What You Got") that illustrates exactly where he was at, image wise:
As someone who always valued his street credibility and reputation for authenticity, Jay-Z feared her would be remembered as someone who became rich and lost touch with his past. So Jay-Z came up with a plan: he would reestablish his street credentials by going back to his roots. All he needed was a vehicle.
That vehicle came in the form of the film "American Gangster", based on the life of real-life Harlem gangster Frank Lucas and stars Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe and is directed by Ridley Scott.
As part of discussions into whether he would contribute to the accompanying soundtrack, Jay-Z got an advanced screening of the film, which brought back memories of his drug dealing past and came up with a better idea: he would release a companion album of the same name and would take fans back to his hustler roots and restore his credibility with his core fans.
But he needed to get the attention of those fans first. He needed to signal to the entertainment media, music industry officials and the public at large that he was back to original form. He also needed to build a buzz.
So, instead of a radio-friendly single, he decided to send a strong signal to his fans that the "old" Jay-Z was back. So he released a very simplified, gritty single: "Blue Magic." And before the release of the single, he and his record company released an absolutely brilliant "trailer" which clearly laid out the direction of his new album:
In 3 minutes, Jay-Z sent a strong signal to everyone that he was back to his hustler roots. The Internet was abuzz with the trailer and his new single was being played heavily across the country. Not to mention the fact that he was able to build on the strong, strong promotion of the movie of the same name. He was able to make the release of his new album an event.
Unless your candidate is planning on releasing an album, what can we learn from this?
Jay-Z understood the need to control his image. He also knew that his image after the "Kingdom Come" album release would be the one fans were left with: rich, corporate executive. That may be fine for most of us, but in a genre that respects street credibility and authenticity, that was not acceptable to him.
So he decided to hit the reset button and start from scratch. He did that by using strong visuals in a limited manner to generate interest. In fact, as you may have noticed, Jay does not even appear in the initial "Blue Magic" trailer. He used images and ideas that were directly linked to the themes he used in his new album and re-crafted image: the grimy hustle, the hard street life.
Additionally, because of the impending release of "American Gangster" the film, Jay-Z recognized that all the talk in Hollywood and New York would be about the gangster hustle and the brutal reality of street life. He used that event to further solidify the overall image he wanted to transmit to the public.
So, in summary:
- Understand the core ideals and images associated with you and your candidate (are they a taxfighter? A social activist? A successful businessman? A policy wonk?) in the media and amongst the public;
- If you are looking to re-brand your candidate or yourself, sometimes less is more. A strong single narrative is better than a massive barrage;
- Look for an event, cause of organization you can successful piggyback your candidate and solidify his/her image by tying it to a vehicle that has a similar brand and a high profile; and finally,
- Cap off your re-branding efforts by a seminal event to re-announce your new direction.
NEXT: Rapid response with 50 Cent and his rivals
The "Me" Generation in the Boardroom
Many have dubbed Generation X and Y and, I guess, Z some of the most selfish folks who have every entered the workforce. Reports are constantly popping up about new hires that want their weekends free, the key to the corner office and a starting salary of $80,000 - right out of university.
I have noticed a particular thread to this trend in my personal life and I'm not happy about it.
Firstly, I should say that I would consider myself fairly successful thus far. I get paid well, I have started one consulting practice from the ground up and now I'm helping to spearhead a greenfield operation for a US company and its going well. But this is no thanks to my friends and peers I have met through politics. Sure, there are a few who gave me a hand, but I've largely had to build my business completely on my own.
When I first got into the workforce, I thought that an important part of your success was helping out those who you can, and in turn, they would/should help you. I have always thought that if your friends are successful, that encourages your success, so you should do what you can to help them out. That way, everyone wins. But I have seen repeated instances where I seem to be the only one following that rule.
I'm proud to say I have helped numerous friends and colleagues find good jobs. I have been a reference where needed (even if that means exaggerating a bit to ensure they got the job).
I have referred work to my peers, even when they worked for a direct competitor, but we couldn't perform it for some reason. When the opportunity presents itself, I sub out work to friends. If I hear about an gig that one of my peeps could perform, I try and direct it their way.
Again, I do this not out of an expectation that I will get something in return, but that we all make money and are successful - I'm just doing my part. But I can't help feel disappointed when I'm not treated in the same fashion. I've had friends not turn phone calls or fluff me off to someone else. Some I have known specifically could help me out, but couldn't be bothered. Good friends that I scored work for never even said thank you.
Taking a lead from this book, which suggest concentrating solely on helping others and letting karma do the rest, I even tried to help others out by grabbing lunch and trying to explore ways to assist them any way I can. No takers.
What's up with that? Of course, I fully acknowledge it could be that I'm an ass. Fair enough. I am.
But I think it is more likely that most people just getting into the work force only think about themselves. What's in it for them? What do they stand to benefit? I try not to think like that. I try to do what I can when I can. Its hard to think about someone else's career and success when you're still trying to fully develop your own. But I do - why can't others?
I have a few business contacts that show what it should be like. One client, who has known me since I was friends with his son is public school, specifically calls me even though he deals with others in my company. Why? As he says: "I want to make sure YOU get the credit." How awesome is that? But sadly, its also cool because its so rare.
Why do you think the "old boys clubs" are so successful? Because they look out for each other and help each other succeed. If we as a generation ever want to replicate that success, we need to help each other, especially in business.
Its about loyalty. Looking out for others' interests. Group achievement.
But most of my friends and colleagues are only worried about themselves. That's detrimental thinking in the long run, because karma is a bitch. In fact, I've already been in a position to help others and I didn't, simply because they didn't help me. Bitter? Not really. I personally believe this is the way it is supposed to work, is it not?
I guess this is just the selfish nature of my generation, and I assume it will only get worse with the "I'm Special" generation that is following closely behind.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The Crux Of The Matter....
This comes from the Toronto Star in an article about Tory is trying to get advice from the federal Party on how to move past the current situation and succeed:
"Insiders say Tory will address the federal party's 41 Ontario MPs in Ottawa next Wednesday. He will also meet Ian Brodie, Harper's chief of staff, and Doug Finley, the federal Conservatives' campaign czar, on sharing "best practices" for winning elections."
Great. Fine. But why they hell didn't he do that BEFORE the election???? From my understand from folks on the Ontario campaign team as well as people very close to the federal Party, Lasch, Tory et al were not taking advice from anyone. Now, after they get spanked in the last election, they want to find out how to win.
That's fine that Tory is great at being humble when such poor election results make it impossible to be anything but. But that and 25 cents will get you a cup of coffee.
I was embarrassed by the contents of the platform (and yes, I kept a copy - worth a read if you haven't seen what was actually in it), we walked right into a trap with the religious funding issue and we really had no strategy for the election besides "John Tory is a really awesome guy and he'll work hard." That, and his campaign team were a bunch of arrogant, insular operatives who left many, many people on the sidelines. I know of dozens of longtime activists who were never asked to contribute to the election effort.
Ultimately, on all those points, the buck stops with John. He was pivotal in every decision that resulted in the situations outlined above. Was this a momentary lapse in judgement, or part of a larger pattern?
I suspect it is part of a larger pattern, so we can expect more of the same from Tory and his crew. Yeah, he'll raise money like nobody's business - but if he spends the cash on stupid, expensive polling questions and subpar campaign ads, what good is it?
Again, I suspect that he will survive the Leadership Review because no one cares enough to organize against him.
Which is a sad, sad statement on where the Party is at. But John and his "inner circle" have no one to blame but themselves.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
How About "Draft a Clue"?
I'm going to the dentist this morning, so I'm already in a bad mood. Let's take it out on John Tory, shall we?
Firstly, I took a gander at the "Draft a Leader" website Q has posted below. I have to say this guy, who I've never heard of, is squandering quite an opportunity. He has been linked by Bourque, National Newswatch, Warren Kinsella, us (most importantly) and has been picked up by the provincial media.
Unfortuntely, he has taken a "build it and they will come" strategy, by creating a "home" for disaffected Party members, but not actually proposing anything concrete. I guess he's hoping the people who "join" (join what?) will come up with some wonderful alternatives. Don't count on it. You need more than a website and a smile to dump a leader, my friend.
Oh, and "draft a leader" is lame. Was http://www.dearjohn.ca/ taken? Actually yes it is.
On the other side, we have longtime party dude John Capobianco as the point person for the "grassroots" effort to keep John Tory. I say "grassroots" in this fashion because I don't think its much of a real member-driven cause. In fact, I think that the Urquart column on the campaign is proof positive that nothing has changed in the Party despite Lasch supposedly going for the high jump. I say supposedly because I'm wondering what the real "sacrifice" was. His job as campaign manager was over anyway and he and his firm still got paid - what exactly did he resign from? Giving free advice?
Yeah, that's a real kick in the slats. I feel for him.
Anyway, this "astroturf" campaign just shows that its business as usual in the ol' Leader's Office. Its being driven by Ted Matthews, a long-time party hack who was a PAID staffer for the 2007 campaign clown show and has been on the Party payroll for years. Now, I have nothing against Ted; I worked under him when I was *gasp* at Party HQ for a year and a bit and he attended my wedding. But since I came clean, we need a little disclosure here from the "Save the Leader, Save My Job" crew. The guy's not doing this to be nice or because John Tory is just plain awesome - he has a financial incentive to do so. Not exactly an organic movement amongst riding Party members.
But don't worry, Ted - I've got some good news. Tory will get to stay. But it will be a poisioned chalace, a term I understand John is familiar with. Here's why. I'm talked to many, many, many people since the election. The consensus is this: there is no immediate alternative, so John is the best default. And he's a nice guy. So he gets a pass because they know John will at least show up to do the job. In this instance, remaining as Leader is kind of the equivalent to a "participant" ribbon in public school: you didn't really win, but someone recognized you were actually were there.
And the next words out of their mouths are: "but I'm not really going to do anything to help him." In my mind, indifference is a far worse position than anger. At least angry people are motiviated. Think it was hard to get volunteers? Wait a while. See what happen in the next few years. Especially when its the same old crew running the show.
Good luck boys, you're going to need it. But at least you'll be getting paid, right?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
With all do respect to the yes campaign, I think you are going to need more than John Snobolen as the cheerleader to make this happen.
On a side note, both my wife and I were contacted by a "polling company" conducting a survey about whether a) we were supporting Tory and b) who would we choose as a potential leader.
Our choices were:
Peter Van Loan
"One of these things just doesn't belong here, one of these things just isn't the same."
PS My post title was a play on the "Tora! Tora! Tora!" phrase that launched the Pearl Harbour attack. B-Double thinks I might be too subtle at times.
Monday, December 03, 2007
For the love of pete!!!
This better be qualified, justified and rectified immediately.
Under the "Well, Thank God for that..." column...
First against the wall when the revolution comes...
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