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    Friday, March 31, 2006

    Bribes okay for Nigerian soccer refs

    Stardate 5543.7

    HAHA! I had to plop this story out as I thought it was amazingly funny.
    LAGOS, Nigeria - Soccer referees in Nigeria can take bribes from clubs but should not allow them to influence their decisions on the field, a football official said on Friday.
    So they are basically saying that since refs are already taking cash from teams and others, it is okay to do so, but they shouldn't let that affect their officiating. Heh. The way I figure it, either it will affect their officiating, or clubs will stop offering bribes since they don't work. I think I would go with the first thought...

    Iranian missile test is bad news

    Stardate 5543.2

    For a country that is actively seeking materials for what they claim is purely nuclear energy but stands defiant against most of the world's demands to cease enrichment to announce the launch of a new "stealth" missile, it can only be bad news. Apparently, Iran has successfully fired a new missile that can avoid radar, other anti-missile defenses and can hit multiple targets at once.

    This news comes amid large scale military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf. They currently possess the Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of 1250 miles and is nuclear capable.

    I have already said that Iran should submit to the United Nations and EU on the issue of enrichment, especially if they are sincere about desiring the materials purely for energy purposes. There is no other way to prove this, except submission, and so far, there is no compliance.

    A stealth missile that could realistically carry a nuke is a very scary possibility.

    Thursday, March 30, 2006

    Hamas sworn in; Canada breaks ties

    Stardate 5538.2

    Now that the new democratically elected Palestinian government has been sworn in, Canada has become the first country besides Israel to break ties with the Hamas government, including aid and other relations.

    I wonder at this. I know it is mainly because the Hamas government will not outright rule out violence against Israel, but then when has Israel done likewise to the Palestinians? But cutting aid to the people? Boldly, the new leader, Mahmoud Zahar has stated that the Palestinian people do not need the aid money, and moreover that this is a political mistake on the part of Canadians. I think I agree.

    So what is next? The US will likely follow suit (that sounds pretty funny when you think about it), and even though democracy has spoken, will likely treat the Palestinian Hamas government no different than other "terrorist" run states. Maybe they will invade and occupy Palestine to Liberate the people and bring democracy and freedom to them? Oh wait, they already have it. Starving the people would likely only make the Israelis happy... so perhaps they could simply accept the vote of the people and work with the Hamas government to stop the violence.

    This conflict is ancient in it's origins, but consider these quotes from some time ago:

    “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault ? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?”
    And this one...

    “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
    The first is almost obviously from an Israeli point of view, the second sounds like something the dreaded Hamas would say (apart from the reference to Arabs), but both were made by former Israeli leader, David Ben-Gurion.

    So we can see that the conflict has seen similar tactics from both sides, and perhaps nowadays, the battle may only be reported on from one view. These words were said many decades ago, but really, they should be thought about when deciding which people are the aggressors in this situation.

    Perhaps I simply cannot understand why they don't live together. I have nothing against either peoples, but the level of violence undertaken by both sides is ridiculous. It is like squabbling children sometimes, so perhaps Canada should give both countries the same treatment. Perhaps the UN should as well. The biggest thing is to stop violence from both sides. US involvement in the situation seems purely one-sided and now Canada has chosen sides as well.

    By the way, when he said "God promised it to us", he, like so many others, refuses to understand that us actually means ALL of mankind.

    I have been to Israel, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are a military state, just as Palestine is. It was a beautiful country, and Mount Carmel in Haifa is easily one of the most lovely places on earth, but I distinctly remember sleeping on the bus, head on the shoulder of a soldier, as we made our way from Tel Aviv to Haifa. I remember our cab driver stopping without saying anything, to pick up a soldier hitch hiking, simply because that is what they do. I have been to many countries, but none had as large a military presence as Israel, not even Egypt.

    The Polunatic has similar thoughts to my own...

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    What the US Supreme Court really thinks about detainees

    Stardate 5528.3

    We already know how much Alberto Gonzales likes torture. In fact, he has time and again suggested that any changes to the way detainees, POWs or whatever you want to call them (depending on which side of the fence you sit on) should exempt CIA agents and their counterparts. He has helped defend the policies of abuse and mistreatment by US forces suggesting that they are necessary for the safety of the US people, even though intelligence gained by the means of torture has been proven to be sketchy at best.

    Now we have Justice Antonin Scalia suggesting during an unpublicized March 8th talk, that these detainees should indeed, have no rights. He blasts Europe for their hypocritical reaction to the gulag at Gitmo. Naturally, Scalia's arguement is so full of BS that I had to stop myself from choking myself at his idiocy. When he was questioned about detainee rights at his speech, he went on about how war is war, and enemies captured on the battlefield belong in Gitmo. They have no rights. No jury or trial. Why? Because his son fought in Iraq, and if guys are shooting at his son (in their own country mind you) then they deserve no trial if captured.

    So basically, the US is at war. However prisoners captured in this war are not actually prisoners of war. So they are not covered by the Geneva convention or any other human rights policies. Nice. The level of stupidity in the US arguement against giving these detainees humman rights and timely trials is growing on a daily basis. I don't know which is harder to choke down... their excuses or the defending of them by some people in the US.

    Mr. Scalia... I pray that if YOUR son is captured by enemy forces, they afford him the rights and conventions set out by international law. It would be a lot more than you would be willing to do for them. One thing he said rings very true with me however... and that was "there may be no end to this war".

    In a related story, who is deciding the legality of the Gitmo tribunals? Well, that would be the US Supreme Court.

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    A new CPC "Integrity" Commissioner...

    Stardate 5523.5

    Could someone point out to me how the Tories appointing an "integrity commissioner" will be any different than the Liberals appointing am "ethics commissioner"? Allan Cutler, a CPC candidate who lost his Ottawa South riding to incumbent David mcGuinty is the top contender for the job.

    Seems to me, the only way we could be guaranteed a non-partisan person in this situation would be to have the House vote on the candidates. The fact that all of the Tories were and are up in arms about Shapiro being a Liberal appointed puppet are really laughable when you take this new move into account.

    Saturday, March 25, 2006

    Habs Watch - Montreal Spanks Toronto, Twice!

    Stardate Unknown

    In what can only be described as a stern spanking, the Habs sent Toronto home crying after outscoring them 11 to 3 in back to back wins at the Bell Center. I called for a little heart before the last game, and with their new secret weapon, Huet behind them, the Habs answered winning 5 to 1 and then 6 to 2. Tonight's game was full of emotion at the end, with a vast number of fights and skirmishes, making it one of the best games I have seen in ages. With tonight's win, and Atlanta's 5 to 1 loss to the Islanders, Montreal moves back into 8th in the conference.

    The last word? Tucker, you're a goof.

    Alric, King of the Dwarves

    Stardate Unkown

    Click image for a larger view

    After a year on my desk, I have finally painted GW's Alric, Dwarf King and based him and his shield bearers on my first display base. There are a bunch of larger pics and different views on my website.

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    Blog of the Week - Can't Keep Quiet

    Stardate 5508.5

    As part of the BlogExplosion community, I can feature a blog each week to help generate readership for other blogs. This week, I have another mainly political blog to highlight.

    Can't Keep Quiet

    "This site contains a little bit of just about everything. I write about whatever strikes my fancy. Come by and see what I'm writing about now."

    This is a good blog for politics that lean to the left. A member of the Impeach Bush Coalition, and now involved in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, Mulligan's blog is definately worth a read.

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Habs Watch - Desperation Alley

    Stardate 5503.2

    After getting bumped into 9th spot, and out of a playoff berth on tuesday, the Habs had best start playing with a little more emotion and perhaps desperation. The trade deadline saw what many called a surprise blockbuster deal, moving Theodore and his $4.5 million salary to Colorado, for David Aebischer... So far, Aebischer has played as good as Theodore at one third the price.

    The lack of emotion and effort can be evidenced when playing against teams like Pittsburgh and even the Islanders... These teams are either lower than the Habs in the standings or at the bottom. These should be two point games for a team struggling to cling to the last playoff berth.

    Tonight, Montreal does battle against Toronto, who is only 3 points behind them in tenth. Toronto leads the season series 4-2-1. This is another issue I have with the new NHL scheduling format. Do teams in the same division seriously need to play each other 8 times? That leaves very little competition with other divisions, never mind the other conference. Again, I think this is an example of how the league being too large has altered the game for the worse. 30 teams is too many, and now, there is no time left in a season to play all of the teams...

    So with only 14 games left, it's time for a little of that old Kirk Muller heart and soul...

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Iraq: Ring in Year Four

    Stardate 5493.3

    For a war that had nothing to do whatsoever with the 9-11 attacks and the holy retribution that was initially the War on Al Qaeda, it has sure been dragging on now, and in fact, that crusade has become the War on Terror, where all nations of questionable leadership, policy and faith must surely tremble before the awesome might of the US.

    Of course, you would think that after three years of occupation, newly installed, democratically elected governments and all of the other fantastic improvements brought by the Westernizing assimilation process, that the job would nearly be done, and they could move on to other countries whom continuously work against the will of the United Nations, and perpetrate grave incidents of human suffering, torture and mistreatment.

    Simply put, this is not the case in Iraq. Violence could realistically be at the highest level since the initial "Shock and Awe" attacks, and the civilian toll alone eclipses 100,000. The cost to the increasing deficit that is the US budget has been nearly $250 BILLION. Imagine what that sort of money could do for Cancer research, world hunger, or heck, even education and health care in the US itself. Insurgent attacks are on the rise again, and Iraq is one meal away from all out civil war.

    There is no sign yet of a US withdrawl. Good job George... you have won their hearts, and their oil.

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Harper Sells Canadian Values for American Favor

    Stardate 5489.0

    This is an important post on the state of Canadian policy in the Middle East, made by one of my regular commentors and friends, Stokedsurfer.

    The new Canadian view (read Conservatives and Harpers view) on the Middle East is no longer a mystery – and it is frighteningly close to the Americans view. My suspicions were first aroused when, all of a sudden, we had taken over the show in Afghanistan and are now actively joining the Americans in their war on terror. Now more evidence has come to my attention. Canada and the US were the only two countries out of 44 to vote against a UN resolution to let Palestinian refugee women and children back to their homes.

    Why would Harper do such a thing? They say it is because they don’t want to take sides on the issue. Well, guess what, we have now done just that. Last year, under the Liberal government, we abstained from the vote. Basically saying the resolution is a good idea, but we want to see more balance in it (ie. what about the Israeli refugees?).

    So Harper says, too bad women and children, he chooses Bush’s approval over human rights and traditional Canadian values.

    And don’t think there won’t be any consequences on this decision. Remember the Canadian, Adam Budzanowski, that was recently taken hostage by the Palestinians?

    Adam told them he was Canadian but was held because they thought he was an American. It was not until his Canadian passport was found that he was released.

    If we turn our backs on our values for hollow relations with the US we risk our international respect, and our national pride.

    More Canadians favor National Child Care Plan over Cash

    Stardate 5488.3

    As a follow up to my last post on childcare, Canadian women want child care, not diaper money, yet another study carried out by the YWCA in various locations across Canada is showing that this country wants a National Child Care program and not simply payouts... Naturally, the people in the study suggest they are in favor of "income support" but that money ($1200 a year) does not build a system for child care.

    In fact, that is well put. The CPC Child Care Vision is in reality, a form of income support. Nothing more.

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Mum's the word for Harper's Cabinet

    Stardate 5473.8

    In an effort to help muzzle the cabinet he is so proud of, H-Dog has ordered his Ministers to say nothing to the press and public unless it has been approved by the PMO first...

    "CTV's David Akin said reporters "don't really have access" to cabinet ministers anymore.
    "The most famous example is probably early on in the Harper government," Akin told Canada AM Friday.
    Akin said International Trade Minister David Emerson, who caused controversy when he crossed the floor, last month kept reporters waiting for up to 25 minutes for a telephone press conference.
    "And then the operator came on and said he was caught in a traffic jam," Akin said.
    "It was a traffic jam between the second and third floor of the office where he works. That's one of the most odd examples of this new attitude of the PMO."
    I can understand the Honourable David Emerson being shut up in a locked tower... but is H-Dog embarrassed by some of his Ministers' responses to questions from the media or afraid they will mess up and spill the beans about some sort of sinister agenda not revealed in their campaign?

    He says it is to stay focused on the 5 key points of their campaign and to stop Ministers from discussing the direction of the party. However they are going as far as to remove the microphones from hallways outside cabinet meetings... the same microphones that have been there for decades.

    So what's next then? The people who the MPs represent will be unable to speak with their representatives? Well, at least not without approval from the PMO first...

    And freedom of speech takes another hit, this time from the other side of the fence.

    Blog of the Week - Henry the Adequate

    Stardate 5473.1

    As part of the BlogExplosion community, I can host a small space for advertising another member's blog each week. This is a fun way of generating traffic and works well I think!

    Henry the Adequate

    This week, I have a new and interesting featured blog, Henry the Adequate.

    "Henry is this superhero guy. Rescuer of distressful damsels, savior of the universe, lover of fine pizza, nemesis of giant chickens and Gummi Bears. Henry is all of these, and possibly more."

    Sounds like an interesting idea and an interesting guy to me, so stop by and give him a read!

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    Big Brother is watching you

    Stardate 5468.4

    As many of us know, Google is battling away with the US Justice Department to try to avoid handing out all sorts of search information from all of us that use Google on a daily basis. They have given some information over, both to the US and to China, but the fact is, I believe this is another incredibly intrusive policy set forth by the Bush administration.

    Many argue in cases like this, and the illegal wiretapping that is rampant in the US, that if you have nothing to hide, you should have no problems with this. That is exactly what the giant propoganda machine wants you to think. The fact is, it is intrusive. Whether I use Google simply to look up movies on IMDB or hockey scores or whether I search for bomb-making supplies or child pornography (neither of which I search for obviously) is still none of their damned business.

    What do you think? Check out the poll here, or on the sidebar...

    Should the US Justice department get on-line search records or is it a massive invasion of privacy?
    Yes. They must have it to fight er, terrorism or child pornography.
    No. This is intrusive. What I search and browse is my own business.
    Only people with something to hide should object.
    I don't know.

    So what's next? They already want to know what books you get from teh Library, and what music you listen to, and where you drive... So why not everything else? They could find out what toothpaste you buy from your credit card bills, or maybe whether your cat likes Whiskas or Iams...

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Private "Wealth" Care will only make things worse

    Stardate 5463.5

    There are arguements on both sides of the private health care issue. In Alberta, King Ralph is quickly moving against the Federal government and the Health Care Act and moving towards private clinics for certain procedures. They are doing this because of the Chaoulli decision by the Supreme Court. On the surface, some people (probably ones with much more money than me) will say this is great, and will afford the chance to get procedures done on a more timely basis... However, a recent article in the Edmonton Journal gives some very good reasons why this private care is BAD and will ultimately destroy the universal public system we already have. And I couldn't agree more. The biggest issue is the fact that Klein wants to allow Alberta doctors to work in both the private and public sectors.
    10. The Supreme Court decision in Chaoulli only looked at the Quebec law preventing the purchase of private health insurance. It did not strike down the law stopping doctors working in both the public and the private sectors nor did it speak to any law in any other province. Many countries (e.g. Sweden) and nearly all provinces protect the public system by way of laws preventing doctors being paid both publicly and privately for essential services. The majority judgment in Chaoulli said that the law preventing doctors working in both the public and the private sectors is important to ensure the viability of the public system. The Quebec government agrees with this and in its proposals is keeping this important law. Thus the Alberta government is wrong to say that the Chaoulli decision either requires or enables them to allow doctors to work both public and private.

    9. More private funding will not improve the sustainability of our system. Countries in which private spending is high spend more in total on health care, not less. The U.S. already spends more public dollars per person than Canada does, but leaves 48 million Americans uninsured. They don't get much more for all this extra spending, but they do pay higher prices for what they get.

    8. We have a shortage of doctors and nurses. Most developed countries do. Wealthier provinces are luring doctors from poorer provinces. This problem will be exacerbated if doctors are allowed to top up their public sector incomes by doing less difficult work for higher rates of private pay. If you were a doctor, wouldn't you? Doctors will spend more and more time in the private system. In New Zealand, where doctors are allowed to do this, specialists spend less than 49 per cent of their time in public hospitals; the rest of the time they are working in their private clinics.

    7. Countries that allow doctors to work in both the public and the private sectors at the same time have long wait lists, e.g. United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain. Why copy them? European countries like the Netherlands and Germany are different, as they require the wealthy to fully insure themselves by buying private insurance and, even so, there is a lot of regulation preventing inequities. For example, in the Netherlands there is a law that doctors are paid the same fee by private insurers as they are by public insurers -- so they have no incentive to give better treatment to private patients. If Alberta is to have a fair system then it must enact a similar law.

    6. In countries that have two-tier systems, only a relatively small percentage of the population holds private health insurance (for example 11.4 per cent of U.K. citizens); typically the wealthiest buy insurance. In other words, the vast majority of Canadians would not benefit from being able to buy private health insurance as either they will not qualify for it, or they won't be able to afford the premiums.

    5. From the perspective of a private insurance company, if you are on a waiting list you do not have an insurable risk. You don't have a risk of disease or illness, you have the disease or illness -- current needs that must be met. If you can't pay cash, the public system is your only option. People presently on wait lists will not be helped by privatization unless they can pay cash.

    4. Don't buy the baloney that Canadian medicare is in league with communist states like Cuba and North Korea. We are third in the world in terms of the contribution of private health insurance to the funding of our system. Physicians are not employed by the state and hospitals are not owned by the state. We already have more private financing and private delivery than many other developed countries. The real question is whether privatizing insurance for essential hospital and physician services will make our system better or worse.

    3. NAFTA requires that we must compensate U.S.-based private insurers for denying them access to Canadian "markets" if we subsequently change our mind about the benefits of two-tier insurance.

    2. Governments and health-care providers can fix wait lists. Together they have been able to achieve extraordinary improvements, for example, in cardiac care treatments in Ontario and with respect to hip and knee services in Alberta. There is now little or no waiting for diagnosis and treatment; most of these gains have been achieved as a result of better coordination of existing resources and talent. We can and will do it in other areas. We don't need a third way.

    1. And the top reason why we shouldn't allow private health insurance for essential services? Access to essential care should be based on need and not ability to pay. If resources are constricted we should revisit what is essential but not allow a two-tier system for what are core services.
    We should run a health-care, not a wealth-care system, for essential care.
    The real problem with wait times and shortages is staffing and equipment. I was at the Red Deer Hospital a few nights ago. The job posting board was FULL of positions for professionals, from Pathologists to Registered Nurses. In fact, there were a LOT of openings for Nurses. So the problem to me isn't wait times, and having the chance to pay for a new hip with your left arm, but the fact that there simply isn't enough staff.

    This is because of several things in my opinion... First, the education system is too expensive. The Conservatives want to give carpenters, mechanics and other apprentices a break with tuition and other fees, but what we really need is a break to encourage people to become doctors and nurses. The Liberal plan started to address this, but that is another story. The second issue is the fact that a two tier system will attract more of these trained professionals to private clinics and other markets, where pay is better, leaving the majority of us sitting in darkened waiting rooms.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    At least Harper's no Henry VIII

    Stardate 5459.4

    I couldn't say it better than this cartoon...

    Henry VIII beheaded people who opposed him... At least H-Dog will only fire them if they question him. He questions Shapiro's integrity while giving Emerson a back rub...

    Stand up for Accountability.

    PS Thanks to Thomas for permission to post his cartoon as seen in the Edmonton Journal and other classy newspapers.

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    New Painted Mini - Krista, Ritterlich Warmaiden

    Stardate 5453.3

    This is a 28mm Reaper miniature painted up using metallic paints and photographed using my new home-made light tent to reduce some glare on the figure.

    I sculpted the base out of greenstuff and painted it up like a dirt outcrop with some foliage on it.

    The shield was loads of fun. The freehand eagle and checkers took a bit of time.

    I painted the back of the shield to look like wood grain :D

    There are more pictures on my website :)

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Closing Abu Ghraib a Hollow Victory

    Stardate Unknown

    The US military is saying they will close down Abu Ghraib prison within months. Hoorah you say. But it is a hollow victory for human rights. The prisoners, many of whom are held for months or years without charges, lawyers or trials and of which less than 20% are actually convicted, will be transferred to a much nicer sounding facility called Camp Cropper.

    The abuses at Abu Ghraib have raised the eyebrows of many people and groups around the world, including the United Nations, the Iraqi government and many US Senators. Eventually, the US wants to hand over control of the detainees to Iraqi Officials (who want control of them now), when they are deemed ready to deal with them properly. Let's hope they don't follow the example set by the "bad apples" as King George called the soldiers responsible for the torture of Iraqi prisoners, even though instances of abuse by Iraqi forces have already been documented.

    Either way, they are in for rough times. It would be nice if they either tried them or released them. Holding them indefinately without charge or council is wrong period...

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Firing the investigator to avoid investigation?

    Stardate 5438.7

    It would appear that PM H-Dog may face a motion of censure when the House of Commons resumes next month for his refusal to co-operate with the federal ethics commissioner. Buying David Emerson to have a Conservative presence in Vancouver is shaping up to be much more of a problem than it may have been worth.

    Naturally, as is always the instance with politics, the Conservatives label Bernard Shapiro as a Liberal partisan and thus, Harper is refusing to co-operate. I can only notch this up to arrogance. Shapiro may have been appointed by the Liberal government, but last time I checked, he is still the ethics commissioner.
    Harper says as prime minister he has the final word on cabinet postings and he doesn't want Shapiro, an unelected official, getting involved.
    This is starting to sound a lot like the BS King George in the US spews out about his Presidential authority, and how he can break laws if he thinks he should as was shown repeatedly with the illegal wiretapping fiasco. Sadly Mr. Harper, you are not above the law. I think H-Dog and Emerson will both pay in the end. Already, the bad publicity is starting to increase. Perhaps he can replace Shapiro but now, he should suck it up and co-operate.

    In a nutshell... they don't like the ethics commissioner so they'll replace him. Bullshit I say. You can't fire and replace someone simply because they are going to investigate you.

    Stand up for Accountability... oh wait. That was only a campaign slogan.

    Blog of the Week - With Sticks and Stones

    Stardate 5438.2

    As a member of the BlogExplosion community, I feature a blog each week that may interest readers. This week I have another new blog featured that may involve some thinking, discussion and more!

    With Sticks and Stones

    Government, technology, religion, and mass media: the general populace of allegedly "civilized" nations considers these elements to be fuel for the advancement of humankind. We see these elements as nothing more than cheap fodder for self-annihilation ...

    The site has a few different authors, so check back to see what the latest topic is!

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Miniature auctions on EBAY nearly done

    Stardate 5433.6

    Well my eBay auctions for painted minis are nearly over. About 9 hours left today and they are still pretty cheap!

    Zaphod's Minis on eBay

    Check em out on the sidebar or follow the link to see :D

    Habs Watch - Ciao Theodore

    Stardate 5433.2

    Well the trade has been talked about as "stunning the hockey world" but frankly, I have been waiting for this one for some time now. At the deadline, Montreal traded the struggling starter, Jose Theodore to Colorado for David Aebischer. This is great news for me, as I was growing increasingly frustrated with a goaltender who is getting $4.5M this year, $5.5M next year and $6M the year after and was frankly, not focused on the game. His stats show this, and coming off of an award winning season in 2002, he has a GAA of 3.46, a save percentage at a dismal 0.881, no shutouts and a record barely over 0.500 at 17-15-5.

    David Aebischer will make $1.9M and his stats are far superior so far, with a GAA of 2.98, a save percentage of 0.900, 3 shutouts and a record of 25-14-2. He joins Mark Streit as the second Swiss player on the Habs team now. He reminds me a lot of Patrick Roy, who despite his blow up and eventual trade, remains one of my hockey heroes and favorite goaltenders.

    At this point, I think they could have traded for nearly any goalie in the league and came out on top. Christobal Huet has played great, and started 11 straight games now, but is definately showing signs of fatigue and can't take the load he is getting. I wonder if Aebischer will start tonight on the road, against the Bruins.

    I was a little surprised that Montreal didn't move big and useless Radek Bonk but then many teams now know what he is really made of. Of course, John LeClair used to be a Bonk-like player until he was traded to Philly...

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Canadian women want child care, not diaper money

    Stardate 5429.4

    Well I said all along that H-Dog's "Vision" for child care of giving families $1200 a year per child under 6 was nothing more than a vote-buying money hand-out, and to a certain extent, many women's groups agree. Today is International Women's day, and many groups called on PM H-Dog to reconsider scrapping the $5 Billion deal with the provinces currently in place.

    "While families welcome financial support, it is not child care," Monica Lysack, of the Canadian Child Care Advocacy Association, told a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday.

    Barbara Byers, executive vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress, told reporters that "for working women, child care is all about equality."

    She said Harper's promised child-care money falls far short of what is needed. "Help with diapers maybe, but not child care. This government has its focus on the family all wrong," Byers added. (emphasis mine)

    This is exactly true. Diapers... beer, popcorn... in the end it's all the same. It's not child care, it's a monetary handout.

    It's kind of funny, but not really, that PM H-Dog seems to show what he really thinks women should do in his Statement on International Women's Day...
    “It is also a chance to reiterate my Government’s determination to provide Canadian women with the security and sense of opportunity to which they aspire, and to reiterate our commitment to working with them to ensure the economic security, timely health care and safe streets that are so vital for raising strong families.”
    In other words, take our money each month and stay at home to be mothers. He is paying women to not have careers or aspirations beyond motherhood. I would never take away from women who are stay at home mother's as this is often a very difficult and thankless job, but the Prime Minister is showing how he really feels on women's equality. After all, isn't that what a "traditional" family is all about?

    Iran threatens US, US threatens Iran

    Stardate 5428.3

    The latest news on this on-going pissing match is that Iran remains defiant and if the US refers the Iranians to the UN Security Council, they could feel "harm and pain" for their efforts...
    “The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain but it is also susceptible to harm and pain. So if the United States wishes to choose that path, let the ball roll,” it said in a statement obtained by Reuters on the sidelines of a U.N. nuclear watchdog board meeting in Vienna.
    Now what to do here? My poll received startlingly few votes, though I suspect that deep down inside, when you get the gung-ho "turn the middle east into a sheet of glass" folks, many of us are still confused.

    In the end, I have decided that we must take two courses to ensure they do not produce weapons. At first, I defended their right to have a nuclear power program, as any developing nation deserves to have. However, in light of the current situation mainly between the US and much of the Islamic world, this, in my opinion, is not the reason they are seeking such materials.

    The first thing the UN has to do is ensure that nobody gives them materials nor processes materials for them, unless (and this can logically be the only exception), they cease all opposition to the will of the international community and accept and abide by every term set forth by them. Now this is where my vote of internationaly agreed upon or cooperative force comes in. I am not talking about an invasion or occupation as we have seen fail so miserably in Iraq, but rather cordoning off their country so that it would be most difficult for materials needed for weapons to be brought in. In a sense, this is a militarized sanction. Economic sanctions would likely inflame and ill-will towards the west, possibly making the problem worse. The second thing the UN must do is be absolutely sure to act against any nation aiding them with supplies and materials that could be used in processing uranium or building weapons.

    Invasion would only make the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan stronger, and would create even more instability in the area... after all, I want all US forces to withdraw from Iraq now!!! In fact, the way Afghanistan is going, they should get our own boys out of there too...

    The other solution would be to bomb certain installations in Iran ala Ronbo Reagan and Libya, though this would likely fail to do what is needed, and only inflame the rest of the Islamic community more. The difference in Libya I believe, was that they were alone.

    In any event, I think the only solution will be derived through international cooperation and NOT a US led force. Many folks have given up on the United Nations, but frankly, there is no other body that stands together on this planet like the UN. The games with Iran must stop. The best way is to stop playing them. Be sure they do not get the materials they need, and be prepared to act as a united planet against them if they do...

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Painted Minis on eBay

    Stardate 5423.3

    As a mini painter, it is nice to be able to sell some of my painted works either to collectors or gamers from time to time. One way of doing this is through auctions on eBay. This allows me to do things like repair cars, buy guitars and other things!

    Currently, I have some older figures up as well as the Kung Fu fellow I recently completed. They are all quite cheap, so feel free to stop by and have a look! There are individual links on the sidebar to the left, but this goes directly to my eBay page.

    Zaphod's Minis on eBay

    Defectors: Emerson vs Stronach

    Stardate 5423.2

    Since everyone is saying people who believe Emerson should resign are hypocrites, let's look at a brief and probably underwhelming comparison between his betrayal and that of Belinda Stronach.

    Of course, we are very familiar with Emerson at present, and we know that only a week before being elected as a Liberal MP in Vancouver, by a wide margin, he opposed the CPC platform and policies and he opposed PM H-Dog. Two whopping weeks after beign elected as a "dust collecting back bencher" for the Liberals, he suddenly had some sort of political epiphany and decided to jump ship and accept a very nice post from H-Dog as the Minister of Trade and various other things (one being the Minister in charge of the Vancouver Whistler games, and he has already skipped out on one important ceremony for that...). Now, he believes he did the right thing, and that he would win his riding again, if running as a Conservative.

    Stronach left the Conservatives to join the Liberals only a day before a key vote in the House. She also received a nice post from then PM Paul Martin as the Human Resources minister. However, she actually had reasons as cited in this CTV article about changing sides, including the CPC's interest in allying themselves with the separatist Bloc. The clincher appeared to be great tension with Party leader Stephen Harper which erupted into a shouting match and H-Dog stating that Stronach would never lead the party, nor be featured in any more advertisements.

    Now both did wrong, and both should have had to re-run in their ridings, but let's look at the causes. Emerson has no apparent reason other than the fact that he didn't want to sit at the back collecting dust. Stronach had a fight with party leader H-Dog over various things, and didn't like the direction the CPC was going. Hmmm.

    Go ahead and investigate Paul Martin. However, in Emerson's case, I would suggest that H-Dog is guilty as charged for influencing his crossing, especially considering he had NO MP's in Vancouver at all...

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    Harper to be investigated by Ethics commissioner

    Stardate 5404.3

    Heh about time! Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro is launching an investigation into what role H-dog had in David Emerson's floor crossing...
    "The ethics commissioner is apparently investigating ... whether Mr. Harper induced Mr. Emerson to come over with the offer of a cabinet post," CTV's Robert Fife told Newsnet Friday.

    Gee, I wonder... Considering all the facts and quotes we have compiled so far, whether it was Emerson's staunch opposition to the Conservative Vision of Canada, or the fact that afterwards, he smugly declared that collecting dust on some back bench in Ottawa was not nearly as appealing as his new post, I think there was quite obviously a BIG part played by H-dog.'

    Naturally, everyone is gonna go off about Stronach and Brison. They should have been investigated too, as reader Pete would say, and I agree. But we are living in the here and now. The CPC's "Stand up for Accountability" in action!!!

    Maybe George can lend him Karl Rove for a few days to sort this out.

    Dr. Laniac's Bad Attitude

    Stardate 5403.2

    One of the founding and most active members of the Progressive Blogging Indy 500 "Say No to Torture, Say No to Gonzales" group is Dr. Laniac. He always has some great stuff to read and think about, but something else he does is music...

    As part of the Huffington Post's Contagious Festival, he has released a new musical project entitled Bad Attitude. The link is only a preview track for the Huffington contest, but there is a link to download the entire project! In particular, he suggests listening to "Ballad of Bad Attitude", a tribute to Crooks and Liars, and "It's a Beautiful World", which Lane describes as a darkly humorous Eno-esque piece...

    Check it out and enjoy some new music with a statement!

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Klein; Stop the madness

    Stardate 5398.6

    How the hell does a drunk redneck maniac like Ralph Klein keep getting elected? First he is on the brink of working alongside H-Dog to destroy our public health care system by implementing a nice "if you've got cash you can move to the head of the line" third way health care plan, and now he is THROWING things at 17 year old pages in the Alberta Legislature after saying nobody else has any suggestions... um, isn't that what they handed to him?

    They knew Katrina was going to be bad...

    Stardate 5398.4

    But what else is new? We are getting used to lies and subterfuge from McChimpy's Administration. There is even a video to prove that Bush and Chertoff were briefed on the dangers of Katrina days before it hit. Watch the video....

    As opposed to Bush suggesting four days after the storm "I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees"...

    "V for Vendetta" - Opens March 17th

    Stardate 5398.3

    V for Vendetta... If you see no other movie this year, see this one.

    Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey (NATALIE PORTMAN) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked man (HUGO WEAVING) known only as “V.” Incomparably charismatic and ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a revolution when he urges his fellow citizens to rise up against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V’s mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself – and emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plan to bring freedom and justice back to a society raught with cruelty and corruption.
    Like Syriana, this film should raise the blood pressure of many right wingers, and soon, folks are going to start complaining about it, and suggesting that you boycott the film. To the contrary, I suggest you go and watch it. In fact, watch it, and think about it. From the sounds of THIS article, the film should be a must-see for any thinking person, especially in light of the increasing level of idiocy, lies and subterfuge coming from the Bush Administration. Read the article for more insights, but the fact is, the hero of this movie is nothing less than a terrorist. The society he is fighting for is eerily similar to modern day America, and it's War on Terror. The erosion of freedoms in the name of National Security is one of the main themes, and parallels will be drawn to be sure.

    I plan on seeing this movie. I hope everyone else does too.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Hell HAS frozen over

    Stardate 5393.2

    I sat back laughing at the East coast, as Mother Nature took a massive white dump on them. I laughed as New York came to a standstill after another huge downfall of snow... I sat on my porch when it was nearly +15 outside, thinking about how great this winter was and how lucky we were to not have any snow...

    Well now the tables are turned. Yesterday was the biggest snowfall yet, with so much that our drive was shovelled 3 times. The piles on the sides are so high you can't lift any more snow up them. All of this within a week or two of the +15 days...

    Class "M" planet my arse... frozen wasteland that gets too hot in the summer more likely. Global Warming is real and sadly the effects are beginning to really show. Extreme winters and extreme summers. All I have to say is stop idling those trucks for half the day...

    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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