Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election Results

I would much prefer to scrutinize the election results than work today. However, briefly, I'm impressed Lunn won re-election. I'm glad Keith Martin beat out the Conservative candidate, that candidate seemed over-confident and an ego bruising defeat he deserved. Still he'll likely be back next time, and maybe as a more humble version of himself.

North Island was a disappointment. That Duncan guy, I can't believe his hypocrisy on MPs pensions, it typifies duplicitous politicians.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Liberal Leadership Convention

When will there be a new Liberal leadership convention? Assuming Harper gets a minority tomorrow, I wonder how long Dion will stay on. Perhaps he'll stay on until the next election. At the AGM, whenever that will be, I assume he needs to get a majority of delegates approving him. It is unclear if he'll be able to get that. Maybe Rae or Iggy will be able to get the Libs out of their funk.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Note from Fam

Here's a taste of what its like to be me, email from dad about holiday travel plans:

Dear RT:

Option thrifty

Thrifty does not involve overnight in an airplane. It might mean 2 nights in Vancouver? One change heading south, 2 changes coming home.

Option delta one stop

One or 2 nights in Vancouver, $500 more, One change heading south, one change heading north

Love from your father

I will look at SEA after a second slice of pizza with olives, artichoke hearts and grape tomatoes (+ pepper and garlic salt).

Pappa RT

P.S. troopergate report expected shortly

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fair Copyright

This is a great story. Good on these guys for doing something. Moreover, if the stunt is good enough, heck even if it isn't that clever, it can get coverage.

People should care about this bill, dead or not, because it will come back and it will interfere with basic personal liberties like format shifting.


Proposed changes to law on digital copying rankle few
Downloading of CDs would become illegal, protesters claim
Kent Spencer
The Province

Fair Copyright protesters proved yesterday that six men can carry a coffin through downtown Vancouver -- to protest digital-copying legislation -- and no one will care.

Bill McGrawth, a founding member of Vancouver Fair Copyright, said the federal Tories had moved to make digital downloading of CDs illegal. But the bill, C-61, died when the federal election was called for Oct. 14.

McGrawth predicted its provisions will return in some form following the election.

"The bill would have criminalized digital copying, which people are used to doing in their own homes," he said.

The group carried a black coffin through the downtown yesterday before staging a mock funeral for the now-dead bill.

McGrawth said Canadians should ask their federal candidates about changes to digital-copying laws.

He said violations under the proposed bill could have included putting a TV show such as Boston Legal on to a DVD and viewing it more than once. Or copying a legally purchased Madonna CD on to an iPod.

"There were all sorts of strange regulations in the bill," McGrawth said.

File uploads to YouTube would have been affected as well as digital loans of library files, he said.

Although the protesters' numbers were small -- only a handful showed up -- McGrawth said about 90,000 Canadians have registered their opposition on a Facebook site.

The bill was introduced June 12 by Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice, who wanted to make it easier to prosecute individuals who download copyrighted material.

The entertainment industry had asked for strict protection of intellectual property, including films and recordings.

The bill would have shut down transfers of unauthorized video-game files over the Internet.

Prentice said the bill would not be enforced as such; the industry would be expected to initiate actions against violators.

McGrawth said opening digital locks would have been illegal.

"We expect software and hardware companies would be forced to put in restrictions to prevent digital copying," he said.

There were to be $500 fines for infringements graduating up to $20,000, McGrawth said.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I forgot about this movie, about the 2000 election, one of those I wanted to see. Here it is.

Cartoon of the Day

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hell Yes

I like the notion of additional punishment for street racing...

Appeals court gives Toronto street racers additional punishment

Globe and Mail Update

A sentence imposed on two reckless drivers who killed a Toronto cab driver in 2006 were far too light to reflect the dangers of irresponsible driving and the horror of the carnage they caused, the Ontario Court of Appeal said Thursday.

In a 3-0 ruling, the Court said that the conditional sentences meted out to Wing-Piao Dumani Ross and Alexander Ryazanov amounted to “merely being grounded without driving privileges.”

“The respondents continue to go to school and work,” Madam Justice Gloria Epstein wrote. “Now that the first year is over, they have complete freedom during the day and can even go out after curfew with a parent's note.”

The Court tacked on a year of house arrest, barred the two men from driving for seven years, and issued a strong statement to would-be street-racers.

“When young people are granted the privilege of driving they take on a grave responsibility,” Judge Epstein wrote. “When that privilege is abused through irresponsible conduct – in this case conduct that took a man's life – the loss of the privilege must be felt, both by the perpetrators and by others who would engage in similar conduct.”

She said that conditional sentences are intended to serve as a punishment – all the more so, when a tragedy has galvanized the community and other young people are watching.

The lengthy driving prohibitions “convey the message that conduct similar to that which occurred in this case will not be tolerated,” Judge Epstein said, writing on behalf of Mr. Justice John Laskin and Madam Justice Janet Simmons.

“Where, as here, two young men made a conscious decision to drive in a dangerous fashion and caused the death of an innocent member of our community, the sentencing objectives of denunciation and general deterrence must be paramount.”

The victim in the gruesome accident – Mr. Khan – was a 46-year-old immigrant from Pakistan who was just three days shy of becoming a Canadian citizen. His cab was rammed at high speed as he attempted to make a left turn off Mount Pleasant Road on Jan. 24, 2006.

“It was estimated that Mr. Ryazanov was travelling at about 119 kilometres per hour at the moment of impact,” the Court said Thursday. “The momentum of the impact forced Mr. Khan's car north over the raised concrete curb and left the driver's side wrapped around a utility pole.”

Mr. Ross and Mr. Ryazanov, 18-year-old graduates of exclusive private school at the time of the accident, had been racing their parents Mercedes-Benz automobiles – at times, alongside one another – on their way to Mr. Ryazanov's house.

They reached speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour as they negotiated the numerous curves and grades along the route. The posted speed limit is 60 kilometres per hour.

Sentences caused media uproar

Coming amid a debate over the proliferation of street-racing and reckless driving, the sentences caused a sensation, fuelling radio talk shows and igniting angry editorials.

In sentencing the two last year, Ontario Court Judge John Moore gave each man a conditional sentence of two years less a day, followed by two years' probation. He also imposed a four-year driving prohibition and 150 hours of community service work on each.

The first year of their conditional sentence was to be served under house arrest, followed by a curfew for the second year.

On appeal, Crown counsel Robert Hubbard and Matthew Asma argued that Judge Moore made a fundamental error by not properly considering the perils of street racing as well as the fact that the defendants made a conscious choice to drive dangerously.

However, the appeal court ruled Thursday that Judge Moore did take both factors into account in his sentence – even if he did not explicitly state it.

“He acknowledged that the respondents were travelling at speeds of more than two times the legal limit, while switching from one lane to another and that this conduct continued over a distance of one and a half kilometres,” Judge Epstein said.

She also rejected the Crown's contention that Judge Moore failed to consider the fact that the friends were street-racing as an aggravating factor in his sentence.

“In any event, I do not regard it as important to assign a label to the respondents' conduct in order to determine the appropriate sentence,” Judge Epstein said.

The Crown faced an high and unusual hurdle in appealing the original sentences of 12 months of house arrest and two years' probation, since they had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving as part of a plea-bargain.

Defence lawyers Edward Greenspan, Brian Greenspan, Seth Weinstein and David Tice argued strenuously at the appeal that the Crown explicitly agreed during plea negotiations not to appeal the ultimate sentence.

They said that the defendants pleaded guilty based on that understanding, and it would be an abuse of the court system for the Crown to renege on the agreement.

The defence team warned that any attempt to override that agreement would tarnish the justice system and potentially lead to a collapse of the plea-bargaining system.

Mr. Hubbard and Mr. Asma conceded that the downtown Toronto Crown Attorney's office had, in fact, agreed not to appeal. However, they said that did not preclude the Attorney General himself from appealing.

The Court of Appeal agreed Thursday, saying that it was within the Attorney-General's power to go ahead. In fact, the Court said that neither side in a plea-bargain can truly sign away any future right to appeal, so they should be wary of even attempting to do so in future.

“I reject the respondents' argument that to permit the Crown to appeal in these circumstances would lead to a collapse of the plea bargaining system,” Judge Epstein added.

The Court also said that allowing the Crown to appeal would not constitute an abuse of the court process.

“Thus, while I accept that granting leave to appeal could appear unfair, it does not amount to a level of unfairness that is contrary to the interests of justice,” it said.

“Granting leave to appeal would not violate the conscience of the community. On the contrary, as I have mentioned, the error in the sentences imposed is of a nature such as to require the Attorney General to appeal to ensure that the administration of justice is fairly and properly carried out.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Japanese Firefighters

And no that is not code for gay.

What's the deal with these suits? Possibly it is just a stylistic difference from what we are acustomed to in north america, which is weird, but if it is more than that and these are more protective shouldn't they be adopted here too?

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Don't like Elizabeth May

1-We need less theocracy and she has been training, and hopes to continue, her advanced theological indoctrination.

2-Attendance at anti-Israel rally suggests she either is against Israel or can't anticipate that the rally had pro Hezbollah elements.

3-She thinks Canadians are stupid.

4-Last but more important - she doesn't inspire confidence. Policy wise the Greens are not meaningfully different than the Liberals and she will help Harper get a majority.

Doesn't Know a case besides Roe v. Wade and could pick the next Judges

The Next Supreme Court

Published: September 27, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “The Candidates and the Court” (editorial, Sept. 21):

Let’s not forget that should John McCain prevail in November, Sarah Palin will be second in line to choose the next generation of Supreme Court justices.

Here is someone who is on the record as opposing or questioning the legitimacy of abortion, sex education, stem-cell research, evolution, same-sex marriage, gun control, attributing global warning to human activity, environmental protection, universal health care, detainee rights, the abolition of capital punishment, and the separation of church and state.

If that doesn’t fire up Democrats, nothing will.

Robert J. Inlow
Charlottesville, Va., Sept.
21, 2008

Latest Palin Gaffe: Can't Name Supreme Court Case Other Than Roe V. Wade

Today, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported on potentially embarrassing clips of Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric that haven't yet been aired. The Politico has more information on one in particular:

Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.

Perhaps Correct

Not meaning to sound like Hiderism (sp? that former anti-immigration leader in Austria), but some of these arguments sound persuasive.

The truth about immigration is that costs exceed benefits
James Bissett
Special to the Sun

Immigrants line up at Canada Immigration to obtain a permanent residents card, now required to re-enter the country.
CREDIT: Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun
Immigrants line up at Canada Immigration to obtain a permanent residents card, now required to re-enter the country.

We sometimes complain about politicians who don't do what they promise to do after they get elected. Ironically, it is sometimes much better for the country when some of these promises are broken.

Let's hope, for example, that the promises made by our political leaders to raise immigration levels and provide more money for immigrant organizations are not kept. Either our political leaders do not know that Canada is facing an immigration crisis or they care more about gaining a few more so-called "ethnic voters" than they do about telling the truth about immigration.

Canada is taking far too many immigrants and the leaders of all the parties are promising to take even more. There are already close to a million immigrants waiting in the backlog to come here. They have all met the requirements and by law must be admitted. There is also a backlog of 62,000 asylum seekers before the refugee board and even if these are not found to be genuine refugees most will be allowed to stay. In addition, there are between 150,000 and 200,000 temporary workers now in the country and here again it is unlikely many of them will ever go home.

Despite these extraordinary numbers, the Harper government wants to raise the immigration intake next year to 265,000. The Liberals and the New Democrats have said they want even more, as much as one per cent of our population, or 333,000 each year.

These are enormous numbers and even in the best of times would place a serious burden on the economy and on the already strained infrastructure of the three major urban centres where most of them would end up. Let's face the facts -- when there is a downturn in the world economy and dire predictions of serious recession or worse this is not the time to be bringing thousands of newcomers to Canada. In July of this year, Ontario alone lost 55,000 jobs. So what is the rationale for more immigration? The fact is there is no valid rationale. There is only one reason why our political parties push for high immigration intake and that is they see every new immigrant as a potential vote for their party. This is not only irresponsible it borders on culpable negligence.

There are few economists today who argue that immigration helps the economy in any significant way. Studies in Canada since the mid-1980s have pointed out that immigration has little impact on the economic welfare of the receiving country and similar studies in the United States and Britain have reached the same conclusion. Comprehensive studies by George Borjas, the world's most renowned immigration economist at Harvard University have shown that immigration's only significant impact is to reduce the wages of native workers.

Our politicians justify their desire for more immigrants by raising the spectre of an aging population and telling us immigration is the only answer to this dilemma, and yet there is not a shred of truth to this argument. Immigration does not provide the answer to population aging and there is a multiplicity of studies done in Canada and elsewhere that proves this. Moreover, there is no evidence that a larger labour force necessarily leads to economic progress. Many countries whose labour force is shrinking are still enjoying economic buoyancy. Finland, Switzerland and Japan are only a few examples of countries that do not rely on massive immigration to succeed. Productivity is the answer to economic success not a larger population.

Most Canadians assume that our immigrants are selected because they have skills, training and education that will enable them to enhance our labour force but only about 18 to 20 per cent of our immigrants are selected for economic factors. By far the bulk of the immigrants we receive come here because they are sponsored by relatives or because of so-called humanitarian reasons and none of these have to meet the "points system" of selection. This is why over 50 per cent of recent immigrants are living below the poverty line and why they are not earning nearly the wages paid to equivalent Canadian workers.

It also explains why a study published this year by professor Herbert Grubel of Simon Fraser University revealed that the 2.5 million immigrants who came to Canada between 1990 and 2002 received $18.3 billion more in government services and benefits in 2002 than they paid in taxes. As Prof. Grubel points out, this amount is more than the federal government spent on health care and twice what was spent on defence in the fiscal year 2000/2001. Isn't it time our party leaders were made aware of this study?

In the discussions about immigration we never hear from our political leaders about the serious environmental problems caused by the addition of over a quarter of a million immigrants each year. Most of our immigrants are coming from developing countries of Asia where their "ecological footprint" is tiny compared to the average Canadian but within months of arrival here, the immigrant's footprint has increased to our giant size. We have already experienced the impact mass migration has had on the health, education, traffic, social services and crime rates of our three major urban centres. It may be that cutting the immigration flow in half would do more than any gas tax to help reduce our environmental pollution.

If immigration is to be an issue in the election campaign, then let us insist that the real issues be discussed and that our politicians contribute more to the debate than promising higher levels and more money to immigrant groups.

Canadians and immigrants deserve better.

James Bissett is a former executive director of the Canadian Immigration Service.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Politicians on Digg

It occurs to me the incidence of popular political figures on is kind of suggestive of what appetite there is for action by politicians. Yes Obama is huge on Digg and has been for some time. There have been pro-Obama links coming up since the beginning of his battle with Hillary. However the other figures popping up are less obvious. Dodd occasionally around telecom immunity - and that much is predictable given the tech bent of Digg. However, it also goes for the types who by mainstream would be considered fringe - i.e. developing Gravel campaign. But these same fringe types, like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, represent something else I conjecture: a desire, maybe even desparation, for clear thinking, firm but logical positions, and generally people speaking truth to power.

Why this isn't in sync with those getting elected to congress generally? Money I presume.

Kucinich - And this is the System we are Saving

Head of Skate

Hey Rosetta! - Swing The Cellar Door

A promising East Coast band - who should expand their touring West... Hey Rosetta!

Swing the Cellar Door - Hey Rosetta!


before You Go I Want You To Know
all That You Were And The Sound That You Made When You Moved
before You Leave I Need You To See
all That You Mean, You Would Hardly Believe It

sitting In The Kitchen Wondering How It Is I'll Tell You This
when The Phone Rings, So I Start Right In Then:
we Are Shells Or Instruments, Inside There's Sound That Speaks To Us
if You Listen, And I've Been Listening

and I'm Sorry To Reduce You To This Useless Imagistic Bullshit
but Maybe That's All I've Got
maybe That's All I've Got
sorry To Confuse You With Some Foolish Thing That Misses Truth
but Maybe That's All We Are
around A Brightly Dying Star

these Spiralled Shells, So Sexual, Could Out-Reveal The Texts We Dwell Upon,
or Maybe Not, But Certainly
a Sound That's Free Can Open Me And Easily
just Rip My Heart Out, And Start Me Shouting:

this Is How I Feel... Listen

i'm Sorry To Reduce You To This Useless Imagistic Bullshit
but Maybe That's All I've Got
maybe That's All I've Got
sorry To Abuse You With This Ruthlessly Sadistic Music
but Maybe That's All I Want
(I'm Just A Really Pretentious Guy)

but Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait! Wait!
before You Go, I Want You To Know
all That You Were, And The Sound That You Made When You Moved
before You Leave, I Need You To See
all That You Mean, You Would Hardly Believe It

you Would Hardly Believe It...
if I Could Just Speak It...

but This Is How I Feel...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Legislate Out of Idiocracy?

LaBruzzo: Sterilization plan fights poverty

Tying poor women's tubes could help taxpayers, legislator says
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
By Mark Waller

Worried that welfare costs are rising as the number of taxpayers declines, state Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, said Tuesday he is studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.

"We're on a train headed to the future and there's a bridge out," LaBruzzo said of what he suspects are dangerous demographic trends. "And nobody wants to talk about it."

LaBruzzo said he worries that people receiving government aid such as food stamps and publicly subsidized housing are reproducing at a faster rate than more affluent, better-educated people who presumably pay more tax revenue to the government. He said he is gathering statistics now.

"What I'm really studying is any and all possibilities that we can reduce the number of people that are going from generational welfare to generational welfare," he said.

He said his program would be voluntary. It could involve tubal ligation, encouraging other forms of birth control or, to avoid charges of gender discrimination, vasectomies for men.

It also could include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.

LaBruzzo, 38, is white, married to a lawyer, has a toddler daughter and holds a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University.

He is serving his second term in the Legislature, where he drew attention this year for advocating the controversial legislative pay raise and for trying to abolish the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Commission and its Police Department.

His 81st House District runs from Old Metairie north to Bucktown and west along Lake Pontchartrain to the Suburban Canal. In a somewhat different configuration, it is the same district that sent white supremacist David Duke to the Legislature in 1989.

LaBruzzo described the tube-tying incentive as a brainstorming exercise that has yet to take form as a bill for the Legislature to consider. He said it already has drawn critics who argue the idea is racist, sexist, unethical and immoral. He said more white people are on welfare than black people, so his proposal is not targeting race.

LaBruzzo said other, mainstream strategies for attacking poverty, such as education reforms and programs informing people about family planning issues, have repeatedly failed to solve the problem. He said he is simply looking for new ways to address it.

"It's easy to say, 'Oh, he's a racist,' " LaBruzzo said. "The hard part is to sit down and think of some solutions."

LaBruzzo said he opposes abortion and paying people to have abortions. He described a sterilization program as providing poor people with better opportunities to avoid welfare, because they would have fewer children to feed and clothe.

He acknowledged his idea might be a difficult sell politically.

"I don't know if it's a viable option," LaBruzzo said. "Of course people are going to get excited about it. Maybe we'll start a debate on it."

. . . . . . .

Mark Waller can be reached at or 504.883.7056.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sean Lecomber

This guy's standup is pretty good.

BC Tory Candidate Was Disciplined

Published Date: 2008/9/23 0:20:00
Article ID : 5146
Version 1.00

By Steve Mertl
The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER — The Conservative candidate in a suburban Vancouver riding was disciplined three times by British Columbia's real estate regulators, The Canadian Press has learned.
ukhmander (Sam) Rakhra, who is challenging NDP incumbent Peter Julian in Burnaby-New Westminster in the Oct. 14 federal election, has been sanctioned for incompetence and professional misconduct by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia.
Material covering three instances of discipline in 2004, 2005 and last year, which included a six-month suspension that ended Aug. 10 this year, was sent to The Canadian Press by a Liberal party source.
The council, which administers the B.C. Real Estate Services Act, confirmed the infractions Monday and provided details of the disciplinary settlement.
It said Rakhra currently does not hold a real estate licence after surrendering his licence last December.
Rakhra did not respond to an interview request, but Conservative spokesman Colin Metcalfe said the party was aware of his problems before he won the nomination in June.
“What we know is there have been a few incidents where there were administrative matters not handled properly in his real estate business,” Metcalfe said.
“That matters were dealt with between the candidate and the real estate council to their satisfaction, and as far as we're concerned the matter is closed.”
Council spokesman Anthony Cavanaugh said Rakhra was ordered to take remedial courses and may face a requalification hearing if he wants to get his licence back.
“It's pretty serious on the scale of the sanctions that we hand out,” said Cavanaugh.
Rakhra obtained his real estate licence in 1987 and had been managing broker of Tapestry Realty when the infractions occurred.
His position made him responsible for overseeing other agents at his firm, said Cavanaugh.
“The real estate council has no tolerance for any kind of behaviour that contravenes its act or the rules,” he said.
The length of the suspension was due to Rakhra's previous disciplinary history, Cavanaugh said.
“We very rarely see multiple infractions,” he said. “When we do, the sanctions that we hand out reflect that accordingly.”
Rakhra was handed a retroactive six-month suspension in 2004 after stepping aside during the council's investigation that concluded he was negligent in complying with rules under the then-Real Estate Act, including premature withdrawal of commissions from trust accounts.
He was reprimanded the following year for infractions related to a serious of transactions by a broker under his supervision.
In an agreed statement of facts on last year's case, the council found Rakhra and Tapestry committed several infractions, including non-disclosure of a conflict of interest by one agent in a real estate deal and in the way clients were advised by another agent with respect to direct payments made to sellers and-or developers.
Metcalfe said the party believes Rakhra is in a three-way race with NDP candidate Julian and Liberal Gerry Lenoski.

Lunn in Trouble?

Whoa, unexpected, the NDP candidate in Sannich Gulf Islands, Julian West, has resigned, this leaves the Liberal candidate positioned much better to pose a serious challenge to Gary Lunn.

Apart from this swimming incident I would have preferred Mr. West to the Liberal candidate. However I really relish the possibility that Lunn will be dethroned.

The Shunn Lunn campaign lives?