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    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    Painting Dwarves

    Stardate 5248.2

    On saturday, our local gaming club held a "Paint a dwarf" event to help launch the new line of dwarves from Games Workshop for Warhammer. It was actually a good thing for me, as I have been uninspired paintwise for some time, and since I am supposed to be the painter guy for the club, I simply had to go down there.

    When I arrived, there was a table with about 8 kids glueing plastic dwarves together and after they had enough assembled, we all chose one to paint up. We needed a second table, and in the end, there were probably over a dozen of us painting away. Some kids were done quickly, in order to get back to the gaming, and some really took their time, including one young fellow that painted 4 dwarves and sat all day with me.

    At any rate, my dwarf, though a bit rough in spots, came out pretty cool for a plastic figure! He is standing on a 15mm square base which I painted as if he trod on stone floor. His armor is painted in the NMM (non-metallic metal) style, where you use only greys and browns and specific light source direction to create the metal look.

    I have suggested doing this sort of event once a month to help the kids with some new skills, but of course, it is costly to either us or the store :( Guess we can work those bugs out later!!! There are a few more views on my website.

    Monday, January 30, 2006

    Call of Duty 2

    Stardate 5245.1

    Just when I figure on getting back in the painting groove, I get Call of Duty 2. It was just over a year ago that I began playing CoD and it was very fun. I enjoyed not just the intensity level of the game, but the fact that you get to ride around as a gunner on a motorbike sidecar, or a tailgunner on a B-24 Mitchell... the missions were both challenging and diverse.

    I will likely give it a go tonight, and post some thoughts tomorrow.

    Democracy... right back at ya

    Stardate 5243.2

    As most folks know, the Palestinians have recently elected a new government, through a hard fought after democratic means. This sounds great, as many countries, especially the US, seem to be on a huge campaign to promote democracy in the Middle East. The problem that has arisen now is that the Palestinians have elected a Hamas majority. You may ask what is wrong with that, since democratically, that is who the people have chosen to rule them... but they are a terrorist organization, who's mandates include the destruction of Israel.

    You might also suggest that the battle between the Palestinians and Israelis has two sides, and with that I agree wholeheartedly. Not only do the Palestinians blow up Israelis, but the Israelis are just as guilty as the Palestinians. The big difference is that the US has been trying to draw the lines of Peace for an eternity in that region now. They are most definately on the side of the Israelis in this conflict, at least from all apparent perceptions, so this comes as a massive blow to both the peace process and the idea of spreading democracy throughout the Middle East.

    As if in swift response, King George seemed to struggle with questions about the new Hamas government in his recent television address. He stuttered through the usual rhetoric about democracy, and how the people have decided to make a change, especially with regard to the efforts of Hamas towards attaining better health care, education and other key services. However, you could tell he was frustrated with this sweep by a terrorist group, and now, Secretary of State Rice has made it crystal clear that they do not recognize this government and will not deal with them or send aid unless they disarm and cease hostility towards the Israelis, something which Hamas has vowed not to do.

    I wonder why they don't make the same demands of Israel if indeed, they want to continue to promote peace throughout the region? Needless to say, I see this as a massive frustration to the architects of the spread of Western Democracy in the Middle East... for indeed, the people have spoken.

    As an aside, please be certain that I do not support any group with an agenda like Hamas, who are bent on destroying another people or country. However, equal consideration must be made to all parties involved, since some may be more alike than they first appear...

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    Stand on guard for resources

    Stardate Unknown

    They tell us not to be afraid of the US and their policies and bristling guns. They tell us that some people that are now running our country won't sell us out to the big and powerful nation to the south. Yet some people in the States have other ideas about us. I was surfing along merrily on Blog Explosion and found this site with an alarming post...

    The world loves Canada. Why? Because the people are nice. Is that enough to qualify it as a nation? A bunch of loosely related territories that have nothing in common except, as I understand the history, a desire to avoid becoming American. Canada is so confused about its own identity that it has two official languages. If that is not a recipe for disaster I don't know what is. From what I understand about Quebec, Canada is usually about three days from disintegrating into ten weak little colonies.

    Given that Canada has one of the greatest resource bases in the world and is sparsely populated, should the US consider stategies for annexation? I think so. I should point out that it is neither prudent or desireable to consider military action - Canadians need not worry about such things. If Canada were to fall apart...well, there is the likelyhood that the provinces could be absorbed one by one. Imagine - America becoming a national continent. We would have endless energy and raw materials cascading down from the North. Our economy would burgeon beyond anything we could possibly comprehend.

    What should the US do to promote Canadian disintegration? Fund the Quebec separatist movement. Fund it, promote it, make it difficult for Canada to remain a nation. Within 50 years we would have one currency and one nation in North America and begin to think about competing with the major economies overseas. If the Canadian Provinces joined out of necessity it would be a peaceful transistion and we could work with them to develop a huge resource-based economy.

    It is time for Canada to stop pretending and get with the program.

    Now this fellow, who likely doesn't represent the majority of American thinkers, seems to think that the US should begin funding the separatist movement in Quebec to help fuel the disintegration of our great land so that it would be far simpler for the US to slowly eat up our country, province by province. What happens if people with actual power and control begin to think this way? Maybe they already do?

    Perhaps there is more to this than just the ridiculous post of a nobody. The recent Arctic Sovereignty issue is an example of how tenuous our relations really are. There are a lot of resources up there, especially the vast and mostly untapped Arctic oil reserves. Some people believe that the recent exchange between Prime Minister Harper (bless his soul) and the US Ambassador Wilkins has much more to it than initially meets the eye. With that much at stake, and the penchant the US has to aquire a stronger position with regards to the aquisition of these resources, one has to wonder.

    So should we fear the US with their policies and bristling guns? Will the people running our country sell us out to the big and powerful nation to the south? If people in power think like this one person does, then I would suggest yes, but only time will tell.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Help heal a friend

    Stardate 5229.8

    A friend and former work-mate of mine was in a head-on collision with a drunk driver last night. He has been in the hospital getting surgery done, and may be back for more work on the hip (pins) very soon. Please take a moment to think about him and all of the other victims of drunk driving that may be less fortunate. It is a plague that is only getting worse, and considering how blatantly simple it is to NOT drink and drive, there is no excuse for it.

    Drinking and driving kills. My friend was fortunate.

    Detaining wives...

    Stardate 5229.4

    This story is somewhat alarming considering the rest of the issues the US has had to deal with, cover up or lie about with regards to the War on Terror and Iraq.

    Military documents show that several times the US army has detained the wives of suspected insurgents in order to force them to surrender to authorities... This tactic is another example of how the knights in shining armor are using somewhat questionable tactics in their quest to rid the world of terror...

    In one case, a secretive task force locked up the young mother of a nursing baby, a U.S. intelligence officer reported. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested to another that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family’s door telling him “to come get his wife.”
    The US army has recently released 5 of 11 women being held for either "aiding terrorists" or planting explosives, neither of which could be proven. If these cases are true, then the denial made by Iraq's deputy justice minister, Busho Ibrahim Ali, is even more chilling. He says that hostage-holding was a tactic used by the Saddam regime and that they are not Saddam.

    Seriously, if someone detained my wife or son, I would likey admit to whatever they wanted in order to have them released.

    The more I think about this, the more I find myself wondering what is next. Maybe they could torture the wives to get suspected insurgents to turn themselves in. It's not like they will be sitting drinking tea and eating crumpets while waiting for their husbands to turn themselves in for a situation where they face a possible unknown amount of detainment and even worse...

    Poll results: Is King George Honest?

    Stardate 5228.2

    Just for some of my overzealous commentors, it is time to conclude my poll that has been up for far too long... It was a simple question:

    Is George W. Bush honest?

    Let's see what a schwack of folks thought about that.

    Oh my, it is pretty standard with almost any poll you would find out there... An alarming trend I see here is that over half the voters not only think he is dishonest, but should be IMPEACHED! Wow, you would think he got a blow job or something. Overall, 66% of readers think he is dishonest.
    I guess when you have to rename your illegal hometown spying operations to include the word "terrorist" to make them sound better, you must be a pinnacle of honesty and integrity.

    Stay tuned for a new poll soon!

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Those crazy mexicans

    Stardate 5224.6

    Authorities in San Diego have reported the discovery of a 2400 foot (732m) tunnel that goes from a location near the Tijuana airport in Mexico to a warehouse on the US side of the border. The tunnel has a cement floor and lights strung along it's length. You would think it would be pretty handy for smuggling mexicans, or even say terrorists into the US, but this tunnel is used for a much more sinister purpose... smuggling pot.

    The authorities found two tons of the terrifying drug in the well established tunnel. And the US is so worried about the evil marijuana coming from Canada... Man. Two tons.

    Blog of the Week - Scooter McGavin's 9th Green

    Stardate 5223.2

    As part of the Blog Explosion traffic sharing community, we can rent out a small advertising space to blogs that are of interest to us... This week, I have a new renter.

    Scooter McGavin's 9th Green

    Scooter's is your one stop place for music, TV, sports, politics and many other interesting things! Stop by and check it out :D

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Robbie Burns Day

    Stardate 5219.3

    Today is Robbie Burns Day! I forgot with all of the hullaboo over elections and such, but thanks to my Father, I was reminded and thought I would post a quick mention.

    Robbie Burns was born in January 25th, in 1759. He was raised as a farmer with his peasant family and after he had little success with farming, he began to write poems locally. He soon received enough recognition that a book of his poems was published in Kilmarnock and eventually, his works were noticed in Edinburgh and the rest is, as they say, history. He died in 1796 and is now known as Scotland's National Poet.

    He was a true Scottish National and an inspiration to Scots everywhere. If you have the stomach, eat a Burns dinner tonight. Usually, they consist of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. Personally, I cannot stand Haggis, though I will raise a glass in his honor...

    A new name for spying

    Stardate 5218.2

    With all of the heat generated by the NSA's illegal wiretap program, the White House is deciding that the easiest way to make the problem go away is to rename the program. Kind of like suddenly calling P.O.W.s "illegal combatants"...

    The White House says the program is not domestic spying, since one end of the phone call or e-mail is always outside the United States. A better term, the president said Monday, would be the “terrorist surveillance program.”

    Is this line secure?

    I would think that the former option has less syllables and would be easier for King George to pronounce, but at least this will make the admin feel better about privacy invasion... There is a live vote on MSNBC regarding the best name for this. I would like to suggest some more names that they missed out on, starting with the two they have.

    • Terrorist Surveillance Program
    • Domestic Spying Program
    • Big Brother is Watching You Program *NEW*
    • We Can Watch Your Rights Dwindle Program *NEW*
    • We Know You Ate Smores for Breakfast Program *NEW*
    • Laura, Where's the Squelch? *NEW*

    Enough of that however. This is another attempt by the Bush Administration to lighten up something that is really very serious, and an obvious overstepping of their power. Now, by using this new "name", they draw the attention away from the American citizens, activists and anti-war groups they spy on and put it back in the direction of those evil, invisible terrorists that are poised to roll over those quaint suburbs of western society with their bombs, AKs and RPGs from across the ocean. Pathetic.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    R.I.P. Paul Martin

    Stardate 5214.2

    After what seemed like an eternity of smears against the man exonerated by Gomery, Paul Martin won his seat but lost the election. There was no doubt about the Liberal scandal and crookery but the fact that this man took the brunt of the attack as leader of the party could only lead to his inevitable stepping down.

    I believe he was handed the worst possible scenario when he took over as leader, with Chretien giving him anything but any form of support. Being Finance minister during the Adscam scandal does not mean he knew what was happening. Only the naive could think he personally oversaw every cheque being signed and every deal being drafted. But I digress.

    Paul Martin was far from a charismatic machine, but he had a strong economical sense, and instilled in me and many others a great vision of what our country is and what it could be. His strong stance with the US on trade issues as well as his desire to maintain our own national voice in the international community with regards to peace keeping efforts, foreign relations and international environmental policy is a testament to the vision he has.

    It is a shame to see him step down from his leadership role, but for the party, no other option is present. His vision will live on however.

    Expected results and final thoughts...

    Stardate 5213.4

    I have posted up my final thoughts and some general ideas about the results of the election last night as well as the campaigns and possibilities to come. It is to be my last Roundtable post (for two years at any rate LOL), and I want to thank CBC for this great chance. Hopefully some folks enjoyed reading my thoughts and debates and maybe a few people learned a great deal about Canadian politics alongside myself.

    Specifically, I want to thank all the folks who went out and voted. Especially the ones who have never voted before...

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Tory Minority

    Stardate Unkown

    Well, all is not lost. They have declared a Tory minority as of 8:45pm MST. The final hours should be interesting, but I am not sure how much they will alter the inevitable outcome.

    Congrats to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Please don't screw up our country.

    Martin has also stepped down as leader of the Liberals. More on that tomorrow. It is getting late, and I am drinking :)

    Results Ban

    Stardate 5210.0

    Due to the laws regarding posting any form of results before polls are closed across the country, I will moderate comments until after all polling is done this evening at around 8pm MST. You may still comment on any thread, but I will not post any election results until later.

    Election Prediction

    Stardate 5208.6

    My prediction goes as follows:
    • CPC - 125
    • LIB - 113
    • NDP - 25
    • BQ - 45

    This is out of the 308 seats. The latest SES poll also shows a major change in support over the weekend (CPC - 33.2%, LIB 30.4%) so we will wait and see...

    Canada votes today

    Stardate 5208.3

    Today marks the day that our government will likely change hands. Not probably, but most likely. However, everyone has a chance, one chance to help change that outcome. I support the Liberals, but just because you don't doesn't mean you have to vote for the Tories. The NDP and Greens have excellent platforms, and in my opinion, any vote for a progressive party is a good thing. I will leave the thinking up to you, the reader today, and maybe bend your ear only with this letter written by hockey legend, Ken Dryden, that has been floatign around for a few days now. it is very good food for thought however, and well worth the quick read.

    >>> “Ken Dryden” 01/19/06 1:33 PM >>>

    Dear York Centre Voters,

    It’s just a few days before the election. I’m anxious; on edge. Polls aren’t votes. On Monday, we can all still vote any way we want, but somehow it doesn’t seem that way. For days, I’ve been trying to think of what else to say, how else to put it, to all those people who I know still don’t feel all that comfortable themselves.

    It’s time for a change. It’s on election signs, in ads, in the media. It’s in people’s conversations. Said so easily, as if what more could one say.

    But that’s too easy.

    Why is it time for a change? All the noise and nastiness, charge and countercharge, in this 20-month campaign, it can seem as if everything is wrong. Everything is bad. It isn’t. Our employment growth, our increase in living standards, our productivity growth - all at or near the top of the G7. Our unemployment the lowest it’s been in 30 years.

    This isn’t opinion. This just is. Two years of a good economy and it seems like a blessing. Eight, and it’s inevitability. It’s not.

    Why? And most fundamentally to all of us, it’s time for a change - to what?

    This election, like every other, is really about each party’s and each party leader’s understanding of the country - what it is, how it works. What it can be and should be in the future. More than a vision, more than appearances - it’s what’s in their bones.

    A few weeks ago the Prime Minister talked about our building an early learning and child care system across the country as a “great national endeavour.” Like Medicare.

    But to take on a “great national endeavour,” you have to think in those big terms. It has to be in your bones. Part of your understanding of Canada.

    Our country was built on great national endeavours - the joining of two great languages and cultures, the railroad, Medicare, the education system, the Charter of Rights. It’s what Macdonald, Pearson, Trudeau - what our greatest leaders - understood.

    I don’t think Mr. Harper thinks in terms of “great national endeavours.” I don’t think that’s part of his understanding of Canada. I don’t think that’s what’s in his bones.

    Their announcements on child care, public transit, persons with disabilities - so limited. So limiting. He tells us to: “Stand Up for Canada” — but what Canada are we to stand up for?

    To Mr. Harper, it’s about what’s in my pocket, in my backyard, people having the chance to choose for themselves, the collective good emerging out of that. And there’s something to that. But there’s something not. Not much of any real importance can be done alone. Part of bringing out the best in people is coaxing, nudging, inspiring them to get together, towork towards something bigger than themselves, that stretches their imaginations, that gets them to do more than they ever thought was in them.

    What if, 100 years ago, government put $50 in every family’s pocket and told us to build a school system - if that’s where we’d like to put our money. What if, 40 years ago - here’s $100 for a health care system, if that’s where you want to spend it. Where would we be today? Just because our schools and health care aren’t all we’d like them to be - imagine where we’d be without them.

    The railroad, Medicare, the education system, the Charter of Rights - Canada is a great national endeavour. We’re a country whose greatest national endeavours are still ahead. I want big things for Canada. I don’t want anything less.

    It’s time for a change. Why? To what?

    We need to think hard.


    I agree. We need to think hard. Very hard. And hope for the best.

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    Habs Watch - Outgunned and outrunned...

    Stardate Unknown

    Last night, I watched the most brutal 15 minutes of hockey I think I have ever seen Montreal play. Theodore was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 10 shots, and really, only one goal was his fault in my opinion. The Habs sagged like a wet paper bag. No they didn't sag, they came out of the packaging already sagging. It has got to be frustrating for Gainey, as there are guys on the team that should be pulling their weight.

    I am not a GM, owner or coach. However, Radek Bonk has GOT to go. They are paying this guy upwards of $3.5 million. For what? 1 goal in 27 games? Some of the laziest defensive zone play displayed since Kovalev lost to Boston in the playoffs? They could buy 5 guys from the midget hockey who play with more heart and intensity than this guy. I am starting to think that not spending the money on Brisebois, and keeping a guy like Bonk is a sound example of brutal management. Good job guys. Now fix it.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Marriage, abortion, religion and politics

    Stardate 5194.2

    My latest CBC Roundtable post serves several purposes. One is an on-going debate that another Roundtabler and I are having, and the other deals with some Conservative candidates and their intolerance towards gay marriage and other things like a woman's right to choose. It deals with keeping the big "R" out of the big "P". That is religion and politics folks. They don't mix well. Look at the Middle East. Look at the United States.

    Google THIS George...

    Stardate 5193.2

    CTV - Google defies US govt. demand for search data

    I have new heroes. Okay, maybe not literally, but in our modern world, where every word we speak, hear and type is filtered through the fibre optical lines directly into a massive NSA computer for stuffy suit and tie, sunglass wearing, robotic moving secret service agents to read at the whim of their Simian Leader, news like this is very refreshing.

    Last summer, the White House handed a subpoena to Google to hand over the info showing what millions of web surfers have been searching for on their search engine, a request that underscores the potential for online databases to become tools for government surveillance. Alberto Gonzales is currently asking federal judges in San Jose for an order demanding Google hand over the search records.

    This is just as invasive as the illegal wiretaps that are such a contentious issue at present in the US. What's next? Perhaps they want to know which comics I read, or what character I always play in Diablo? I suppose, if you play Diablo on Battlenet, then they probably already know.

    Yahoo has already sold out to the Feds, so I urge you to NOT USE YAHOO'S SEARCH ENGINE. If you do, I suggest repeated searches for the following:
    • George W. Bush naked
    • Nude George W. Bush
    • Sexy George W. Bush pictures

    In fact, you could use these searches on any search engine for that matter, just to be sure they find what they are looking for. I think this will help send the message that people (and apparently multi-billion dollar corporations) are starting to get fed up with the INVASIVE policies of the Bush administration.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    New Horizons on it's way

    Stardate 5189.2

    I actually missed the launch this morning due to lunch hour ping-pong (which I won at) but New Horizons blasted off at exactly noon MST. Okay, I forgot :(
    NASA - Success! NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida aboard a fast-moving Atlas V rocket. It's headed for a distant rendezvous with the mysterious planet Pluto almost a decade from now.
    With all of the war and conflict in the world, it is great to see programs like this actually "take off". Space exploration is key to the future of mankind in my opinion. Who knows what other races actually live out there... resources, planets... the possibilities are literally endless.

    I Love Canada

    Stardate 5188.3

    "Mommy, how come our Prime Minister doesn't love our country?"

    "Go to sleep dear."

    Ever since the debate when Stephen Harper couldn't find it in himself to utter 3 simple words, a nagging thought has plagued my mind...

    What would a Prime Minister do to a country he doesn't love? Would he fight for Canada or sell us out?

    *** Update ***

    I have further thoughts on this in the second comment as quoted here:

    Taking the question in a different line of thinking will shed light as well. He calls Canada a "Welfare state" and says we are proud of it. We are a "second rate" country in his eyes. He says these things with disdain.

    In other words Harper does not love *this* Canada. He would love *his* Canada, with the removal of all of our social programs, welfare systems, and aid for the poor. He would love a Canada governed by the wealthy. He would privatize nearly everything no doubt, and expect veryone to reap the rewards of tax credits for gym memberships, riding the bus and putting little Johnny in hockey.

    A different perspective removing the literal interpretation of saying Harper doesn't love Canada...

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Two-faced Polling

    Stardate 5184.3

    My latest CBC Roundtable post goes into the incredibly fun and deceivingly confusing world of election campaign polling. Currently we have results ranging from an 18 point Tory lead to a 3 point Liberal lead. Who do you believe?

    *** Update ***

    The newest SES poll shows only a 5 point lead!

    Sorry the 3 point Liberal lead is from December by Pollara. Doesn't really count at all!!!

    A Grit in the Heart of Alberta

    Stardate 5183.1

    Being a Liberal supporter in central, rural Alberta can be challenging. Perhaps not as daunting a task as being a Democrat in Crawford Texas, but it is still something that can be frustrating at times and can take a lot of courage. For the most part, Alberta is Conservative country. King Ralph is a Conservative, and many of the people I know are Conservative supporters. In the 2004 Federal election, the Conservatives won 26 of 28 seats, leaving the Liberals only 2.

    Imagine trying to run as a Liberal Candidate in these parts? Not the Big City mind you, but a large area, where the biggest center of population is likely only 10 or 15 thousand. Let me introduce my Wetaskiwin riding's Liberal party candidate, Peter Crossley. He was born in Edmonton and has lived in Alberta ever since. He practices at his own law firm in Rocky Mountain House and is a very active member of the community.

    "The only promise I make to the people of Wetaskiwin is that I will listen."

    I had the opportunity to ask Peter some questions regarding Alberta and running for a seat in the election recently, some of which are pretty straightforward, and some a bit tougher...

    How long have you been a member of the Liberal Party?

    I have been a member of the party for many years. My first memory of politics was seeing my family name on a Liberal sign nearly 40 years ago.

    How is running in a riding full of smaller towns and cities different than a large city riding?

    I can only guess about the difference b/w Town and Country, but generally the small circulation media have space and will let the candidate explain at length.

    How closely do your personal policies work with those set out by Prime Minister Martin?

    My personal views fit closely with Mr. Martin - social justice, fiscal responsibility with a heart, and particularly in regard to the Kelowna Agreement - make a commitment, follow through, and honour a deal made previously.

    Do you think Prime Minister Martin’s proposed hand gun ban will be effective? What about the rest of the proposal?

    The gun ban does not seem likely here in King Ralph country, but I think it is a good start to a long term problem. More cops, more community support, and fewer weapons are all good ideas.

    What do you think Canada’s biggest issue is today, and what would your number one priority be if you were elected?

    The biggest issue for the nation is the economy. The biggest issue here is the decline in the family farm - see the Easter Report for a sensible solution. The other issue we face is what to do with the money and power that we are about to have on account of being the strategic petroleum reserve for the world. My number one priority is to listen - once I understand my constituent's issues as the MP and how Ottawa works I may then be able to make some headway for my constituents.

    Do you think that election campaigns should focus more on the issues and platforms and stay away from the ever growing trend towards smearing and negativity or are the negative television ads actually helping the campaigns?

    Issue based campaigns are the better way forward, but where an unstated agenda is at issue anyone should be permitted to raise it.

    Running for the Liberals in Alberta can’t be easy. Why are you running for them in a riding that hasn’t elected a Liberal since 1925? (I believe that is correct but please correct the date if it is wrong)

    Running for the Liberal Party here is a piece of cake. I think the last year we had a MP was 1905.

    It must be difficult running for a party that has been involved with the media in such a negative way. How can voters know that you are representing them and the Liberals, and not a corrupt group in Ottawa?

    I accept the verdict of Gomery, J. - the PM and the Liberals in government today have been absolutely cleared. Anyone who wishes to consider my honesty and integrity ought to meet me and decide for themselves.

    There is a lot of talk, especially amongst Conservatives, about the Western separatist Movement. Is this just a case of a few folks or do you think it poses a real threat to Canadian unity?

    Western Separatism is a tiny minority. The bigger issue is the hostility to the governing party that seizes this area. Harper said recently (I wrote this 1-17-06) that there is a permanent opposition in the Courts and the bureaucracy, so when he does not get his way he plans to duck responsibility - this is not likely to make things better.

    There are many concerns about trading with the US. In Alberta, the Cattle industry has been hit particularly hard. What can the Liberals offer to help the industry?

    For better long term support for farmers, see the Easter Report for a sensible solution. (Site Links)

    If global problems in areas like Iran escalate, would you support Canadian Military intervention?

    Military intervention should follow requests by the UN, activation of NATO, or in the unlikely event of direct attack.

    So as we can see, there hasn't been a whole lot of Liberals getting the vote in Alberta in some time now. I hope to meet Peter some day soon, as I think he would be a great candidate to get to know and a great candidate to head to Ottawa to represent central Albertans. Many of his views, especially with regards to international relations, unity and the credibility of the Federal government post-Gomery work pretty well with my line of thinking.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Pluto Probe - Boldly waiting

    Stardate 5179.2

    The NASA Pluto Probe "New Horizons" sits ready to launch for it's 9 year mission, but Mother Nature, as she often does, wreaks havoc with the plans of mortal men.

    The ship will arrive at the earliest in July of the year 2015, completing man's unmanned exploration of the solar system (well maybe not since space is so mindbogglingly big).

    Pluto is unique in the fact that it's orbit is so bizarre at times it is closer to the sun than Neptune. It spins on it's axis once for every 6 and a half Earth days, and takes 248 years to orbit the sun. It's average distance from the sun is 5.9 billion kilometers. Pluto has one moon called Charon.

    Pluto is much smaller than the Earth and has a very thin atmosphere of Methane and Nitrogen. It's surface gravity is 0.4 of Earth. The probe should launch this afternoon.

    You can watch the launch now on MSNBC video....

    *** Update ***

    T-3 minutes and all looks good. The probe will slingshot by Jupiter on it's 9 year trip.

    T-2 minutes and 34 seconds abort. Red line monitor fault.

    Scrubbing for the day.

    New launch time: 11:16 am MST on January 18th.

    *** Updated Again ***

    Due to weather causing power outages in Maryland where the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab is (they are managing the launch operations), NASA scrubbed the launch for a second day. Look for a launch between 11:08 am and 1:06 pm MST on Thursday the 19th.

    Harper Hair

    Stardate 5178.3

    My latest CBC Roundtable post talks about the new childish Conservative attack ad. I say childish, because it really seems to be blasting Jack Layton's moustache and the rest of the message is lost in the inherent sillyness. I made up my own advert on the Roundtable, for "Harper Hair" so go read it!

    I know I will get my tax credit! Now, I wonder what you get for buying the teeth :D

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Habs Watch - 2 in a row under Gainey and Carbonneau

    Stardate Unknown

    After stopping 16 of 17 shots in the third, the Habs have won their second straight game since Gainey and Carbonneau took the bench. They have outscored their opponents ten to four in the two games. Perhaps this was the shake-up the guys needed. Ribiero played well tonight, great, bagging two goals in the first period. Theodore was shelled in the third, but Dallas scored only once. Maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up just yet though. There are still games to be won to get back into the playoff spot...

    Airstrike crosses the line

    Stardate 5174.5

    MSNBC - The recent CIA airstrike attack on a village in Pakistan near the Afghan border has raised the ire of Islamic groups across the country. The strike which was carried out against the current agreement between Pakistan and the US is said to have missed the intended target, Ayman al-Zawahri, and killed only civilians. Thousands of protesters have rallied against the US for several days now.

    At present, the US does not have permission to carry it's hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban fighters across the border into Pakistan. Somehow, I doubt that airstrikes in Pakistani territory are exempt. President Bush had no comment on the airstrike.

    Pakistan may indeed be harboring some of these militants, or even the big names, but what kind of message does the US intend to send when it begins attacking targets in other nations without their permission? Already, many of the people in Pakistan object to President Musharraf's support for the War on Terror, and this incident will only serve to inflame anti-US sentiment in the region.

    *** Update ***

    The US used three Predator drones to fire three Hellfire missiles simultaneously at three seperate targets in an attempt to elimate their target. So the targets as they are now called, were being monitored by the drones, and it is unclear if there was actually any "human" intelligence involved at all.

    I still don't know how the US admin gets off on saying they are justified in doing this, because "we need to kill bin Laden"... Why not just freaking nuke the whole area... As long as they get soem "bad guys" who cares right? Well that is NOT how the world works.

    Revisiting the CPC Child Care "Vision"

    Stardate 5173.8

    My latest post on the CBC Rountable has another look at the Conservative Child Care "Vision" and how it may not benefit the average family so well, especially after taxes, and how the lowest income earners in the country will likely never see any of it at all! The current polls suggest that a dollar a day buys a lot of votes sadly...

    The Best Was Yet to Come

    Stardate 5173.3

    I have wanted to see Bryan Adams for 20 years now, and after saturday night's show, I would go and see him again. He has a way with the crowd, especially in Canada, that is rare with performers, and he couldn't say enough about the support the fans were showing him. At one point, he brought a lady on stage to sing with him, and she did pretty good, considering she said she couldn't sing :) I got the impression that everything he does he does for the fans. Our seats were great for the show, and I found I barely looked up at the 3 big screens above the stage at all. This is something that I thought was surprising to see, as Judas Priest didn't have any big screens... It was really fun and an awesome birthday present!

    The first hour and 3/4 was spent rocking out to classics like Summer of '69, Somebody, Cuts Like a Knife, It's Only Love, This Time, I'm Ready, Heaven, Run to You, Lonely Nights, Hearts of Fire as well as newer stuff... like Everything I do (I do it for You), Can't Stop This Thing We Started, There Will Never Be Another Tonight, 18 Til I Die, The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me is You, Room Service, All For Love, Please Forgive Me... and then there were about 5 songs that he came out and did Acoustic solo after the rest of the band was done... including Straight From the Heart and others... I am sure I missed out at least 3 or 4 songs.

    I can't say enough about Keith Scott, either. He is Bryan's long time guitarist and friend, and though he is no Paul Gilbert or George Lynch on the axe, he brings a definate skill and style to the songs live, and had a chance to blast out some great solo work on It's Only Love. Both he and Bryan were always on the move, from one side of the stage to the other. It really helps bring the crowd closer...

    The show started at 7:30. The opener, Daniel Powter, played for about 40 minutes, and Bryan started at about 8:45 and played until 11:00. Powter was good, but I have problems seeign 4 guys on a stage with no guitar! He did one song called "Jimmy Gets High" that was very good, and written about a friend of his that died of an overdose. Quite an emotional song.

    Did I say the Centrium was SOLD OUT? Yeah. Great crowd. Great concert.

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Habs Watch - Julien Out; Gainey In

    Stardate Unknown

    Today, the Canadiens did something I have expected for some time now. They fired head coach Claude Julien and assistant Rick Green. After winning 12 of the first 16 games and sticking at the top of the conference, the Habs had a miserable run, winning only 7 times in the last 25 games. At the half-way point of the season, they have dropped to 10th in the conference.

    The general manager Bob Gainey will take the helm, signing on Guy Carbonneau as an assistant. Carbonneau is slated to be head coach at the end of the season, a move I applaud! The Habs play San Jose at home tonight, so expect to see a revitalized team on the ice.

    Birthdays and concerts

    Stardate Unknown

    Well today is my birthday, but that isn't really the big event. Tonight is the Bryan Adams concert, and I am getting pretty excited to see the show. I am not sure if I'll take my camera this time, as last time, it was fun, but really hard to get decent pics.

    At any rate, I will probably do some good write-up after the show, if the beer hasn't clouded my mind too much!

    He's done a lot of newer stuff that frankly I am not too familiar with, as I tend to shy away from mainstream radio, but I am sure I will recognize most of the songs. I can't wait for the classics from Reckless and Cuts Like a Knife especially, as those will really bring back memories! Like I said before, I fondly remember all of these songs from High School dances, and it will be very cool to see them performed live!

    I had best be careful with all of this reminiscing, or I will be looking for Corey Hart tickets as well!

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    O'Dweeds... a marijuana alternative

    Stardate 5159.0

    This may be an oldy, or it may not. It is irrelevant. It made me spit coffee on my monitor when I watched it this morning :D Right click and save (3Mb file), or simply click the image and watch.


    I in no way endorse the smoking of marijuana... Okay, I do, but please use moderation and do not operate heavy equipment or watch old episodes of Black Adder while under the influence. Okay, watching Black Adder is probably one of the better things to do while under the influence...

    The Zeisman fiasco heats up

    Stardate 5158.4

    The Conservative Party knew about his charges...

    “In a newspaper interview, Zeisman insisted the party knew about the charges laid under the Customs Act,” the Canadian Press reported out of Vancouver tonight.

    Harper insists that the criminal background check didn't come up with anything about this. Well if Zeisman began working as a part-time constituency assistant sometime in 2004, and the incident ocurred in July 2004, it would be interesting to know when the criminal background checks were done. Likely before this incident. Apparently, Mr. Zeisman's web site redirects to the CPC page for some reason.

    I find it hard to believe that nobody in his riding, or his party knew about the court appearances he had already been to.

    And what of the funds received by the CPC for votes thrown his way? He can't sit in the caucus, but at $1.75 a vote, and the previous numbers... they could collect nearly $30,000 from a non-contender.

    Blog of the Week - Haunted House Dressing

    Stardate 5158.2

    As a member of the BlogExplosion community, I can "rent" out advertising for another member once a week. I had a good selection of bidders this week, and in the end, for somethign a little different, I picked the blog of writer Jeremy Shipp.

    Haunted House Dressing

    The catchline for his blog reads as follows:
    Tired of the same old websites filled with free online novels, short stories, animation, music, natural health information, movie lists, gibberish, insanity, and photographs of condor ghosts? Well then, you better not visit this website.
    However, there is much more to his site than that! He writes... a lot. And he has a great appreciation of the arts, especially highlighting a specific artist each week. Stop by, and see what is new. Whether it is his latest novel, "Vacation" or a list of zombie jokes... it's worth a visit!

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedez Benz

    Stardate 5153.3

    "Sauce for the goose Mr. Saavik." This is something Spock said to Saavik in Star Trek II...

    My latest post on the CBC Roundtable happens to be about the BC Conservative candidate Derek Zeisman, who failed to inform his party about the fact he was charged in 2004 with smuggling a Mercedes-Benz and 112 containers of booze across the US-Canada border, and then lying to customs about it and is now headed to trial next month. He is of course, innocent until proven guilty.

    I find it very interesting however, that the Conservatives are backing him up 110% on this, and yet, even though the RCMP have specifically stated they are NOT investigating Goodale in the Income Trust affair, they demanded he step down! Maybe we will get a chance to see the new Conservative crackdown on Criminal Justice in action... Oh wait. Derek isn't 14 and he didn't have guns.

    It would also seem as though border security is doing a pretty bang up job, something the Conservatives say needs a thorough working over.

    Stand up for Canada! Yeah...

    *** Updated ***

    As if hearing the tolling bells, Stephen Harper has now said that they will be dumping Derek Zeisman. He cannot be replaced as a candidate, but he will not be sitting on caucus.
    "Mr. Zeisman will not be sitting as a Conservative should he be elected," Harper said. "He'll have to get this matter resolved."

    The NDP candidate, Alex Atamanenko was surprised nobody knew anything about this until now.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Rights and Freedoms, Notwithstanding

    Stardate 5149.2

    Imagine a world where the courts stood up for our personal rights and freedoms. It would be a really nice place to live. Take the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and uphold it so that nothing can infringe on those rights. This is basically what we have in Canada. However, the Notwithstanding Clause is included in the Charter as a means for politicians to reverse the decision of the courts, and generally, you would think an extra check like this is a good thing in order to avoid giving to much power to one arm of the government. That is why it is there, though as Cathie from Canada suggests, perhaps it was thought that it would never actually be used. Paul Martin's surprise proposal may seem to be somewhat hurried, reactionary, and maybe even hypocritical when he himself threatened it's use once, but I have to agree with the sentiment behind it.

    What happens if the politicians in power are not trustworthy? I know, we live in a free democratic Nation, just like the Americans. This sort of thing doesn't happen right?

    Oh wait a minute... it does! As Cathie does, I could probably list a dozen ways that the US administration has taken away the rights of it's citizens over the last few years, both using due process and also illegally with the realization of the NSA's illegal wiretapping scandal. So what happens if this ocurred in the Canadian Government? Of course many Canadians will jump up and say "we are Canadian, not American" or "Our Government is not like theirs". This simply put, may not be true.

    Diplomacy and trade with our neighbours to the South are integral parts of our relationship, but sometimes, politicians can take these relationships too far.

    Stephen Harper is a pretty scary guy when it comes to his relationship with the Bush administration, and some of his proposed plans for Canadian defense. He has said that the US Conservative movement is a "light and inspiration" to people in our country, and touted "Continental economic and security integration" with the US in various speeches. He would place American Nukes on our soil and though now he opposes Military intervention anywhere without great international support, he and the Conservatives were the only party to vote FOR invading Iraq alongside the US and Britain. As if having one spy agency isn't enough, Harper proposes to form a second Intelligence agency in Canada, similar in many respects to the CIA. We already know his plans to remove the rights of same-sex couples to get legally "married", and realistically, the only way he can do this is by using the Notwithstanding Clause. What is next I ask?

    If this guy had a majority government and the means to veto court decisions on Freedoms and Rights by using the Notwithstanding Clause, Canada could become a very ugly place to live. He may have a friendly smile, but really, some aspects of the Harper's Conservative platform scare the hell out of me, especially with the Clause in effect.

    *** Addendum ***

    Keep in mind here that the Conservative Justice Critic Vic Toews has called for the use of the NWC to revoke the right of equal marriage in Canada... There is more on this on the Liberal Party web site.

    "...remember, in Canada, Parliament has the ultimate tool. It’s called the notwithstanding clause, section 33, so that when the courts make a fundamental error in jurisdiction, Parliament can overrule it for a period of five years by an Act of Parliament."
    This was taken from an interview Toews did with a far-right American organization. It is an "ultimate tool" for overturning the courts decision. I think that the Judicial appointment process should be scrutinized, but I don't like folks considering something like the NWC as an "ultimate tool".

    *** Correction ***

    In haste I erroneously state that Harper's government "would place American Nukes on our soil" in reference to the BMD program. The actual BMD program consists of conventional weaponry. However, if the door is opened to such a program, I suspect it could easily be widened to include offensive capabilities of varying sorts...

    Bombs from the heavens

    Stardate 5148.5

    Today, the Liberal platform was leaked out and one point of interest is a proposed International Ban on all Space based weapons. This is quite interesting and somethign I think is very important. It ties in nicely with my opposition to the US Ballistic Missile Defence plan that has already been rejected by both the Liberals and NDP... though supported by the Conservatives.

    My latest CBC Roundtable post goes into this a little. Say NO to weapons in Space. Say NO to BMD. Keep our country safe from becoming a target to someone else's enemies. Vote against the Conservatives before we become the pawn of the US military, "defending" our sovereignty as Paul Cellucci, the last US Ambassador put it.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    "Nation" and other words

    Stardate 5145.1

    My latest CBC Roundtable posting deals with the context in which words such as "nation" are used, and why it was such a bid deal in the debate. I try to tie in this contextual use of wording with another issue, namely "marriage".

    I believe using the word "Nation" when referring to a Province who's leaders' goal is ultimately separation from Canada diminishes the use of the word when referring to our Great Country as a whole. We are One Nation... and that is Canada.

    Coolest birthday present ever!

    Stardate 5143.5

    Saturday is my birthday. I am really quite excited. Not because of the fact that I will be another year closer to the distinguished age of 40, but rather that my wife has bought tickets to go and see Bryan Adams in Red Deer.

    It is kind of funny because I am still a hard rocker when it comes to music, and my general rule is faster and harder is best... but ever since high school, when tunes like "Heaven" and "The Best Was Yet to Come" were hits at all the school dances, I have wanted to see him perform. His name has been synonymous with the Canadian performing arts for 20 years now, and the chance to see him this weekend is very exciting.

    Of course, he is not Judas Priest, but that will not lessen my enjoyment of his performance at all! The chance to see him with my wife is perfect as well, because I don't think she has ever been to a concert like this.

    Thanks honey :)

    Superior Debate Format

    Stardate 5143.3

    I have some early thoughts on last night's English debate in Montreal. Check out the CBC Roundtable for various insights into what happened, and what can happen as a result of the debate. No clear winner last night, thoguh I think Martin did much better than the first debate. His plan for education is as solid as ever, and his end statement describing Harper's vision of Canada as a "fend for yourself" vision couldn't be closer to the truth.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    Debate Taxing the Poor

    Stardate 5139.3

    My latest post on the CBC Roundtable is geared towards hwo some of the CPC tax cuts and credits will only serve to benefit the rich. I want some of this stuff put forward in the debate tonight. Big spending plans and tax cuts cause deficits. Let's see how it can be done...

    Harper Watch

    Stardate 5138.8

    At present, the Tories have a substantial lead in the polls. Of course, these things can change, but if Stephen Harper is truly to be the next Prime Minister of this country, then Canadians should get to know him a little bit better. Please take the time to visit Harper Watch and check some facts on his ideals and standings.

    He had supported the invasion of Iraq, and in fact, the Conservatives were the only party to vote against the Bloc proposal to stay out of the invasion, alongside Britain and the US. Contrary to popular belief, Martin wanted to get involved with the rebuilding of Iraq, as did many people, but the US refused to let anyone except their "buddies" get into the lucrative rebuilding contracts.
    In March 2003, the Canadian Alliance was the only party in the Commons to vote against a Bloc Québécois resolution to stay out of the war. At the time, Harper said "in reading only the polls, indulging a juvenile and insecure anti-Americanism, this government has for the first time in our history left us outside our British and American allies in their time of need."

    He seems to toss aside concerns about Quebec and Alberta separatism almost casually, despite all of the big election talk about the Liberals and their hidden agenda regarding Federalism.
    “Whether Canada ends up as o­ne national government or two national governments or several national governments, or some other kind of arrangement is, quite frankly, secondary in my opinion… And whether Canada ends up with o­ne national government or two governments or ten governments, the Canadian people will require less government no matter what the constitutional status or arrangement of any future country may be.”

    His tax platform will undoubtedly benefit the wealthy and only serve to make the poor poorer by offering up a smorgasboard of tax credits that frankly end up ignoring the poor. In the long run, the rich will get richer.

    Other social issues that haven't hit the front pages in the campaign yet include Harper's desire to hold a "free vote" on the same-sex issue. An issue that was put to bed when the parliament voted and passed the Same-sex legislation already. In other words, Stephen Harper's Conservatives want to take away rights from minorities after they have already been granted.
    “It will come as no surprise to anybody to know that I support the traditional definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others, as expressed in our traditional common law.”

    Abortion is another hot topic yet to hit the airwaves this campaign. With Harper's big selling point being "The Family" it is no wonder he opposes abortion and the choice of a mother to undergo this procedure.

    There is a lot more to this guy than the robotic little smile he has, to suggest that everything will be alright after the election. Go into the debate tonight and the election with eyes open, and tin foil lining your cap brim.

    Dungeon Lords

    Stardate 5138.6

    I haven't written about games in some time now. My buddy turned me on to a newer game on the weekend called Dungeon Lords. It would seem to be one of those 3rd person RPG style games, though you have complete control over the view. Combat is non-stop and character development seems pretty slick actually. Not only do you gain experience to advance levels, but also skill points that you can use to increase any number of skills, or even your primary stats.

    I took a fighter to start, and after several hours of play, he is up to level 4 now. Most of his skills are along the lines of armor and weapons, but I have branched off with the inevitable lockpicking and trap disarming skills. I believe you can even take magic skills if you are willing to pay the points :)

    However, I am noticing that the longer you linger in areas, the more random encounters you get, even when the setting is turned down for encounter frequency. The monsters also seem to get proportionally tougher with your level, which is good, but with the number of encounters, it is difficult to stay alive! I guess you have to keep moving, or perhaps find some boss style monster to kill that would actually clear an area.

    The graphics and engine in this game are pretty slick, and so far, I am really enjoying it! It is actually quite fun, and once I learn a few spells and attack combos, it will be even better! Did I mention it has complete multi-player capability? I'll have to explore that another time however...

    For tips, maps and walkthroughs... go here.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    I'm just a weird guy

    Stardate 5124.3

    I have never replied to a meme or Meme or whatever the heck they are. In fact, I tend to treat being "tagged" like your average chain letter. You know, the one's that say "666 cute kittens will die if you don't answer this and mail it to 10 of your closest friends...".

    However, this one is kind of interesting, mainly because of the fact that there are only 5 points to make, and also, the nature of this particular meme is to describe 5 weird things about myself.

    Skippy the Wonderdog tagged me, and in the immortal words of his wife, "You're not normal" is exactly the sort of thing my wife would say about me as well.
    1. I have a brutal habit of quoting movie lines in every day conversations... Actually using them to enhance my own witty dialogue. The weird thing is, most people don't have a clue what movies they are generally from. For example... I loved John Carpenter's "The Thing" and in fact use many lines from that movie every day. A classic is "It's gone MaCready!"
    2. I paint 28mm miniatures both as a hobby for gaming and display, and professionally, to sell to collectors or as commissions. This may not seem so strange, but I tend to talk to them as they slowly come to life, and in fact, I have what many experts call Figmentia. I have cooled down a lot, which I think is adirectly proportional result compared to the increase in my writing.
    3. I thoroughly enjoy going for evening runs with my cat. Actually, it really involves me chasing her down the hallway, then her chasing me down the hallway... This goes on until one or both of us eventually collapse in a heap on the floor, belly skyward, suggesting a willingness to concede defeat. I credit my cat with helping keep me oh so slim.
    4. I am primarily a metalhead (Judas Priest, Slayer, old Metallica etc.) when it comes to music, though I have a fairly diverse selection of other music. For example, and for some unfathomed reason, I thoroughly enjoy listening to almost every Alan Parsons Project CD at extremely high volumes.
    5. I have a statue of Cthulhu on the bookshelf in my office. It was actually sculpted by a friend of mine in the States, and he was kind enough to send me one in exchange for a review of the work he did.

    I could probably list off another 100 weird things, and I imagine my wife could as well... but I will let people's imaginations do the dirty work :)

    The most difficult thing about these meme things is finding someone else to tag! So here goes:

    Darcey at Dust My Broom

    Jason at Cherniak on Politics

    The Canadian Cynic

    Alan at Gen X at 40

    and Jeff at The Anthill

    May God have mercy on my soul.

    Habs Watch - Uncertain times

    Stardate 5123.5

    What is the answer? I have watched the beloved Habs drop from the top of the conference to 8th, barely hanging on to a playoff spot. Last night, another story unfolded that has been typical of late. No shots. Well okay, there were some, and they even got a few goals from them, but seriously, you will NOT win in the NHL with 6 shots, 4 shots or 3 shots in a period.

    There have been injuries sure. Every team has injuries. The League is so competitive now, it doesn't matter too much anyways. Why the lack of offence? And why so many goals against? Theodore has been terrible in my opinion, though of course it isn't all his fault. But to be a superstar goalie means you have to make a difference when the rest of the team is on the ropes. Simply put, he isn't. Another 5 goals against game last night. 6 goals against the game previously, against the "mighty" bottom of the conference Penguins.

    Montreal has lost 8 of the last 10 games, being outshot by a 337 to 299 margin and outscored by a whopping 41 to 28 spread.

    So what are the answers? Shake up the team with a big trade? Theodore perhaps? What about Claude Julien? The coach usually gets the axe before a star player is traded... I think somethign HAS to happen however... and soon, before a promising season is destroyed.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    Education: More important than just tax credits

    Stardate 5120.1

    My latest post on the CBC Roundtable deals with the Tory and Grit plans for higher education.

    I got to thinking about it a little. The Tories will only give you tax credits whereas the Liberals want to help PAY your tuition. So if the Tories win the election, poor people may not be able to put their kids into college.

    Of course, there is a work-around for this.

    Assuming you have a baby the first year the Tories are in power, you could take the $1200 a year for childcare you would get (before taxes) and save it up for the next 5 years. When all is said and done, and your child is 5, you will have $6000 saved (before taxes) which could either buy you a kick ass high definition television OR be put into savings to pay for your child's first year of college. Naturally, 13 years after you stop receiving the Child care money, tuitions will likely be far higher than they are now, where the $6000 (before taxes) would likely barely cover the costs. After the first year, you would be on your own again anyways.

    I would buy the television...

    Blog of the Week - As Confusion Sets In

    Stardate 5118.2

    As a member of the BlogExplosion community, we can feature a blog each week for credits, also known as renting out space. This week, I have chosen "As Confusion Sets In" as my renter...

    As Confusion Sets In

    Mr Matt is a soldier in Iraq, and his blog has some reflection on his military life, as well as hobbies (recently he was shooting AK-47s and Sterling submachine guns at the range) and jokes! Stop by and have a read! I think he is hoping to come home this year from his tour but then you must read his blog to find out more :)

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    King George the Seer Savant

    Stardate 5115.0

    So after re-writing history, King George has decided that now he will be an authority on writing the future. Some very bold predictions about what 2006 will bring include advances and more international cooperation in the war on terrorism. After talks with high ranking generals and folks from the Middle East he announces...
    “There’s a lot of work to be done in this war on terror,” Bush said. “But the American people can be rest assured this administration understands the task, and understands the challenges and understands our obligation to protect you, to protect the American people.”
    Very good George. I am not so sure if most of your people understand what the administration understands... He continues with some very wise words that frankly, leave me wondering what the heck he means...
    “We talked about the areas of concern in this global war on terror, recognizing that the enemy, which has an ideology of hate and a desire to kill, lurks in parts around the world,” Bush said. “I assured those generals that this administration will do everything in our power to bring these enemies to justice.”
    I wonder which parts. I suspect he has no idea either.

    Attack and Mislead...

    Stardate 5113.5

    My latest post on the CBC Roundtable is about campaign strategy, and specifically, television attack ads. A recent Conservative attack ad seems to use some wrong or unfounded quotes that were not entirely true...

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Children, Canada's Future

    Stardate 5110.0

    My latest post on the CBC Roundtable delves into the differing Child Care proposals brought forth by the Tories, Grits and NDP.

    Rebuilding Iraq? NOT!

    Stardate 5108.5

    It would seem that the US has decided it's spent enough money on rebuilding projects in Iraq.
    The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq's criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.
    Of course, I believe they never intended to rebuild the country, just as the General says, but then after a heavy aerial bombardment campaign, things don't need rebuilt right? So far, they have spent about $18.4 Billion on rebuilding projects, but then, $2.5 Billion was shifted from rebuilding essential electrical, education, water, sewage, sanitation and oil networks to build new security forces, prisons and detention centers. Also, anywhere from 14 to 22 percent of the cost of every non-military reconstruction project goes towards security.

    So with about $3.7 Billion still unspent, and the $2.5 Billion shifted to security, we are left with $12.2 Billion and of that, only an average of 82 percent is actually spent on the projects (an not security)... so the US has spent $10 Billion on reconstruction. According to my ticker, the Cost of the War in Iraq rings in at over $231 Billion as of today, or roughly 23 times as much as the rebuilding efforts. Congress has no problems increasing funds for the War efforts, but not the repurcussions afterwards.

    And before anyone jumps up and down like an idiot and says, "they should rebuild their own country" let's not forget who bombed them, invaded them and ocupied them. Is this the way to help out people in other nations? Is this sending a good message about what freedom and democracy can do? The War machine goes on. The rebuilding machine grinds to a halt.

    Monday, January 02, 2006

    Voting for Canada or the Environment?

    Stardate Unknown

    My latest post on the CBC Roundtable is about the Green Party strategy... Check it out and what could be more debate brewing...

    Holidays and resolutions...

    Stardate Unknown

    Holiday season grinds to a halt. The New Year has dawned, and now it's time to contemplate the mundane things we all do everyday, like work... It is my last day of holidays, and I have to say, the time off was great! Whether or not it was entirely productive is another matter, but in the long run, rest is rest.

    The last year was full of every imagineable thing, from family fun to political idiocy. I think one of the biggest things for me was the Judas Priest concert, as it did two things for me, other than simply entertain me. It reinvigorated my interest in playing music, and it made me feel like I was 20 again. Heh. I have also enjoyed writing for over a year now, and I should be back in full swing starting today or tomorrow.

    As for those silly resolutions? Let me think a little... Last year, I said I wanted to paint less, as I was gettign burned out, but by the end of the year, I was really not painting at all. This hurts my site (for updates) and it hurts my clients who patiently wait for handpainted minis by Zaphod :) This year, I will paint more... in fact, I simply must get down to my local store at least once a month this year. I am or was supposed to be the painting guy, but really, I have let down a lot of young folks who could use my tips! I am also going to write and record another song. The last never made it to my blog really, because I structured it to have lyrics, and sadly, I am not poetic enough to write them. This song will be an instrumental and shall kick butt :)

    I also want to wish everyone I have met a Happy New Year. Hopefully, things around our world change for the best as the year goes on, though somehow, I suspect 2005 was simply a dark foreshadowing of what is to come.

    Peace, and may the Force be with you :D

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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