Quotes Of The Day

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife/girlfriend Carla Bruni, unbeknownst to me, considers herself to be Italian:

"I'm not French at all," she said. "I don't have a French passport I have an Italian passport.

"I like to be Italian. I like the Italian temperament and I like Italian food. French people are in a bad mood for some reason, and Italian people are in a good mood."

How far off was Bruni with her comments?

Parisian dramatist Jean Cocteau once characterized his compatriots "as a bunch of Italians in a bad mood."

The Rise Of Libertarianism

When liberals aren't chanting the death knell of conservatism, they're on the offensive against libertarianism; a world view they seem unwilling to learn more about.

With people increasingly less engaged if not downright cynical about the present political narrative, they're now willing to explore libertarianism (its proponents claim direct lineage from classical liberalism). Both liberalism and conservatism dominate the political landscape and each has and had a vested interest in ganging up libertarianism and dismissing it as a group of disengaged and disenfranchised anarchists.

However, people are now discovering libertarianism is a little more complicated than first thought.

Liberals in the media are jumping all over Rand Paul's comments in a predictable reactionary "see? We told you so!" posture. As if liberal politicians don't make false, silly or flat out idiotic comments. Yet, despite the condescending tone, I can't help but feel liberalism is the one really on the ropes. The liberal message, so confident in its assumptions and models, has become stale. It no longer resonates with people who are willing to assess 50 years of liberal influence. Liberal over reach has arrived.

So liberals are trying to snatch the narrative. They do this by attaching (more like expropriating) words like "compassion" and "progressive" to their outlook. Which is why they're lashing out and trying to capture that same narrative positioning themselves as rational centrists and compassionate progressives. Damn the torpedoes and stay the course with FDR! Obama is very much in that mould.

Modern liberals claim they're natural descendants of the founding fathers yet they're completely out of synch with the liberalism of the Enlightenment. When I read the works of the great philosophes who inspired American political figures, I don't see any connection to modern liberalism. Instead, they chose a more socialist route. Which is why libertarianism is so alien to them.

By contrast new recruits to the libertarian ranks are likely to come from conservative circles because conservatives, strangely enough, do discuss certain principles shared with libertarians; such as military non-tanglements and fiscal responsibility, both a function of lesser and limited government - which is what the original American framers of the Constitution believed when they set up a Republic. Although, Hamilton believed in the power of the Federal state - but that's not the point of debate here.

If one posits the argument the GOP does none of those things, they be right. The GOP and Democratic party share the same statist outlook. That's why Bush and Obama aren't the yin and yang everyone was hoping for. They're yin and yin or yang and yang.

 It's the classical conservative element that's abandoning the GOP and possibly heading for other options more in line with their beliefs.

Options like the libertarian movement.

Man Of Change?

Now this is something. If all this is proven to be true, and it's looking like the administration was caught with its pants down, the Sestak Scandal is not going to be pretty. Apparently, it's a felony too. I watched Obama promise an explanation "soon." He was skating. But it wasn't smooth like Paul Coffey. It was choppy like, I don't know, John Leclair. My apologies to non hockey fans for the analogy.

The reason why Obama is starting to get hammered is because he promised something "different" in Washington, instead Americans find themselves in the same hamster in a wheel scenario under Bush. The perception of incompetence is what's hurting him. Insane spending, bitter border disputes, poorly handled oil spills, brewing scandals, and an on-going war have Obama on the ropes. Will he be Roberto Duran and take the hits and emerge victorious? Again, excuse the analogy if you don't like boxing.


Whatchu Talkin' 'Bout, Arnold?

Gary Coleman. Dead at 42.

On days where we stayed in after coming home from school because of bad weather or whatever, The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes would play back to back. While neither show was on my favorite list, I would still watch them. Diff'rent Strokes was a fun show. By the time those chicks on Facts of Life were old enough, it was time for lesbo action you know what I'm saying? It never came.

What ever happened to Montgomery?

Anyway, sad ending to a cast overcome by tragedy.


Canada To Spend Over A Billion Dollars In Security For G8/G20 Summits

Enough of this crap already.

Can anyone demonstrate to me relative to the money we waste on hosting summits what we get in return? In fact, besides all the useless pictures does anything get accomplished?

If the scale of these summits have made logistics complicated and exceed cost estimates then maybe it's time to pull the plug on it.

If Dr. Evil can use video conferencing so too can politicians.

MP Expenses: Open Her Up!

Poor Sheila. When the auditor-general of Canada wants to deepen her audits of politicians and their expenses and is stonewalled by MP's you know it's an uphill battle to dig for the truth.  Fraser is begging this to happen and we Canadians haven't been vocal enough to lean on politicians to allow it. After all, if they're innocent they have nothing to worry about, right?

Kids Selling Door To Door: Give Me One Of Each

I hate it when kids who come to my door selling stuff. I can't say not to a child who is trying to raise money to go play hockey somewhere or is looking to do good for some charity. The worse is when a former convict recently released from prison selling pitiful and useless things. You know, a pencil with a furry tip. Or a mini-flashlight that wouldn't sufficiently illuminate my dick. But hey, it's all about encouragement they say.

Why, just a second a go a guy came to my door selling stuff for La Fondation Canadien Espoir Jeunesse. Basically an organization that helps young people in distress be it abuse or general support. Again, when it involves the young, I help out where ever I can. I've been known to dish out even when I wasn't working and living off debt. Apparently, the concept of charity starting at home - whoosh!

Anyway, I bought a freaky $10 fruit and vegetable knife. I cook a lot and you can never have too many knives in the house. Unless you have other more macabre activities. The other stuff in his bag was way too expensive. $20 for oven mits? I only had a twenty and was just about to head out for a gelato. I had to buy something that left me enough dough so as to avoid going to the ATM. The knife was perfect. I swung it around like a Green Beret making stabbing motions and told him it would do.

As I handed him the twenty bucks he told me it was $11.29 with taxes. "They charge taxes?" I asked in French. He nodded. My guess is that they get some sort of government grant. Nothing like the government sticking it's god dang fat ugly fingers for such a noble endeavor. They managed to get a buck 29 off me. "Hang on, let me go and scrounge like a dirty rotten scoundreal for the 29 cents because I had no interest in waiting for 71 cents in change. That annoys me. Finally, I found it and handed it over to him. Of course, if it's a private enterprise then it would make sense.

The guy was happy like Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny singing in the Ozarks. I closed the door, changed out of my dress and headed for Canadian Tire.


BP Oil Spill

800 000 gallons ar gushing into the Gulf. For shame.

When you have two liberals questioning Obama you know he's in trouble. I give them credit for doing so. For video clip go here.

Not only does Obama mirror Bush, except when he's bashing his country abroad, he officially now has his own Katrina too! And really, he goes to Getty of all places?

As was the case with Katrina, the BP oil spill has become way too politicized (what isn't these days?) and to even bother trying to assess blame is nuts. If you want to follow this I suggest you go to The Oil Drum - without a doubt the best site covering it.

Part of the transcript. Bold emphasis mine:

COOPER: Yes. It is stunning. You know, you would think there would be hazmat crews out there, you know, in those marshes, soaking it up.

And apparently, they only -- BP only put down booms out there to soak up oil after they had been informed that the oil was already in the marsh. And they basically put down booms once the oil was already in the marsh. And no one seems to have picked up some of these booms that are supposed to soak up oil. So basically, they'll just re- release that oil because you're supposed to pick those booms up. You can't just leave them out there.

This new CNN poll this week found that half the country isn't happy with the way the president has handled this situation. Half the country doesn't think the spill is going to end any time soon. I mean, are those Katrina-like numbers for the president?

Because I was thinking, I mean, if this was President Bush, and you had President Bush going to a fund-raiser for a Republican Party at the home of -- you know, of the Getty family for oil, you would -- there would be a lot of people saying, "Look, how can he do that at a time when we're seeing all this oil in the water?"

GERGEN: There's no question if it had been President Bush, he'd be hammered by now, hammered by the press and by others, especially for the fundraisers.

We don't yet see the polls in the Katrina-like sense. Katrina, as you remember, was a turning point for the Bush presidency. The sense of complacency, the sense of not caring, really, I think doomed that presidency well beyond what happened in Iraq. That hasn't yet happened here -- and with President Obama.

We do have the CNN poll and we have another poll today from CBS, both of which confirm that the country generally -- there's general disapproval. But it hasn't reached sharp levels yet. But it's going to, Anderson, if this "top kill" doesn't work, and if, in the next two days, the president doesn't take full control of this and bring in the top military people to coordinate it and the type minds and the top technologists and engineers to get it solved. It has to be done. This is what government is for.

The reason we come out of a state of nature, going back to original documents being in a natural state and coming together and forming a government, it's all about forming a government that can protect us from wars and natural -- and catastrophes like this.

COOPER: I'm getting a lot of e-mails from people saying -- defending the Obama administration, saying, "Well, look, what could the federal government have done?"

I'm no expert, but I can tell you two things just from being here on the ground that I know they could have done. NOAA could not have -- could have actually made an effort over the last month to figure out how much oil was actually leaking from -- from that leak. NOAA was going along with BP all along, saying 5,000 barrels, and in fact, no one was saying, it doesn't even matter how much because it's not going to affect the cleanup. That just doesn't make any sense to me.

From Brussels With Love And Freedom

“As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the ‘capital of the free world,’" Biden said. “But it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.”
Joe Biden strikes again. Ok. Maybe the GOP were a tad too aloof if not downright dismissive of the rest of the world under Bush, but what the Democrats are doing by constantly taking shots at their own country really is irritating. You know, I'm willing starting to believe these guys are self-loathing Americans.

No. Washington is home of the free world. Brussels is home to an extremely rigid and socialist leaning suprastructure that may or may not fail.


Letters To The Commentator

Dear Wannabeloser,

Me and my friend were sitting around doing nothing laughing at your stupid blog and wondered what you looked like. We think you look like a piece of shit. Those really fucked up shits right after you eat some really rough shit stacked with cumin, curry, peanuts, cactus pears and beans.

Wow. First off, I take it you and your "friend" are unemployed and living off social assistance? Or is your friend really your dick? And what kind of cuisine mixes up those ingredients?Anyway, your question has some value as other readers may also wonder what I look like. So...

Puerto Ricans Are Illegals Now?

"Take America back!" is a popular statement uttered by hysterical faux-conservatives. I always wonder, from what? Who?

Anyway. This is just plain proof of why expanding government for security reasons can get messy if not absurd. Puerto Ricans are not Mexicans. One would the law enforcment officers would be prepped on this fact. Moreover, it's a protectorate of the the U.S..

The Deadliest Warrior Gets This One Wrong

I watched the episode where the Roman Centurion battled the Rajput warrior. I felt they dropped the ball on this one. I fail to see how a Rajput - even one on one - could take down a Roman soldier. In a field of battle, given Roman organization and battle tactics, the Rajput would likely be an easy enemy to conquer.

Like with anything, people debate the results and in this case (like other shows I'm sure) the use of certain weapons was debateable. The Rajput certainly get a lot of points for the inventiveness of their weapons but seriously, the chakrum would be useless in a battle against the Romans. As would some other of their weapons despite the lethality and excellent martial arts capabilities of the Rajput. The other thing I found odd was the use of a man well over 200lbs and six feet to test the weapons. According to the show itself, the average size of a Rajput was similar to a Roman at 5 feet 8 inches. Wouldn't the use of a large man skew the effectiveness of the weapon?

Last and not least, the main reason why I would take the result with a grain of salt is the bizarre decision to neglect the use of the Roman shield - the cornerstone of the the Roman legionaire. One need only look at the episode pitting the Spartans against the Ninja to see how wickedly and absurdly useful a shield is. I would have liked to have seen most of the Rajput weapons tested against the shield and really, the military prowess and tactics of a Roman - again, even one on one - was under valued in this episode.

I understand the show's premise is deadliest warrior and in fact has little to do with overall military power (even though they try to deal with this with those five on five battles) but still...

The Romans were like Spartans and how the producers overlooked the shield is a glaring omission.

I'll stick to my own belief on this one: The Rajput would be over run by the ruthless Roman army.

Roller Blader Makes Dubious Decision

On my way back from the soccer match in the east end of the city I spotted a lovely piece of bull shitted stupidity. On Sherbrooke St. heading west toward Pie-Ix boulevard, on the North side of the street lies Lafontaine Park; Montreal's tinier version of Central Park. Blessed with large green spaces, trees and a bike path that runs roughly close to 4 kms, it's a green granola paradise. Yet, despite having access to a wonderful park, what do I see coming at me? A girl roller blading in the right lane on Sherbrooke st.

With the city going to war on drivers insisting they take public transit (without the proper infrastructure to match the rhetoric), we forget how pedestrians, bikers and roller bladers too tend to conveniently ignore or forget to adhere to traffic rules and road etiquette. I'm a former biker, I know how idiotic they can be. I used to ride my bike recklessly. 

More often than not, when the orange hand goes up, people ignore it outright. It's that kind of poor thinking that led the girl to dangerously decide to roller blade on a busy street.

Revisitng Miranda Rights

The Obama administration and Attorney-General Eric Holder are rethinking miranda rights following the Time Square bomb scare.

This Is Just Gross

I find myself in usual agreement with the Bloc Quebecois on crime. Our marijuana/drug laws are increasingly disconnected and way too expensive. 

Parliament's passing of a slew of a law and order bills that will bloat federal and provincial budgets to the tune of billions of dollars without first knowing how much they would cost is a "systemic failure," says Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.

You go Page.

In 2007-08, the annual average cost of keeping one person incarcerated was $101,666. Under the old regime, the rationale behind giving prisoners two-for-one credit for time served before sentencing is that remand centres are often crowded and have worse conditions than facilities where people are sent after they've been convicted. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews ( Provencher, Man. ) said initially C-25 would cost the system $90-million over two years, and then ahead of Mr. Page's report revised that figure to $2-billion over five years.
Politicians over budgeting. What a surprise.
The bill, now called S-10, would bring in mandatory minimum sentences for people caught with as few as six marijuana plants. In the last session of Parliament Liberal Senators put forward amendments to the bill that would remove mandatory minimums for those caught with between six and 200 plans, only if no aggravating factors apply, such as if the cannabis plants were produced for the purpose of trafficking, if there were weapons used or found, the production created a danger to the public in a residential area, or the property of a third party ( a rental unit ) was used in the offence. The justice minister said the amendments "gutted" the bill, and the are not included in the reintroduced legislation.

Six fricken plants? Are they fricken kidding me?

Not everyone is off their rocker:
Sen. Carstairs said she is disappointed her colleagues in the House of Commons are not standing up for young people who could be affected by the law.

I am very much opposed to hard drugs, I am opposed to trafficking, but I believe that to criminalize young people for being caught with minimal amounts of marijuana thereby giving them a sentence with which they have to live for the rest of their life is unconscionable," she said.


Net Neutrality

From the American mouth of regulatory czar Cass Sunstein:

"And what if websites refused to acquiesce to this intrusion on free speech? "If we could get voluntary arrangements in that direction, it would be great," Sunstein said at the time, "and if we can't get voluntary arrangements, maybe Congress should hold hearings about mandates." After all, Sunstein went on to say, "the word 'voluntary' is a little complicated. And sometimes people don't do what's best for our society." Mandates, he said, were the "ultimate weapon designed to encourage people to do better."

Definition of authoritarian? Anyone? And what the heck does the sentence in bold mean exactly? It's so vague it's not even worth pondering.

The Taliban Will Win The War

Is there anything worse than a Quebec separatist working for the federal government of Canada?

A buddy was telling me a story about how a Quebec nationalist his cousin is dating was blathering on about "oppression" and how Quebec is constantly screwed by Canada. And so like a person abused all their life, Quebec turns around and takes it on the Cree and Newfoundland.

What got my friend really upset was how this person actually said Quebec is "honorable" and would never act inappropriately. We, of course, had a nice chuckle over that comment. Finally, he asked him what he did for a living in an effort to steer the conversation away from politics. With a straight face, "In Ottawa for the federal government."

Then these boobs wonder why A) we roll our eyes when they speak and B) why we promptly ignore them. The story has become stale.


We also got to talking about how spoiled Westerners have become. As he texted someone, I teased him saying, "You too?" "Man, this shit is great. That's why the Taliban will win the war." "

Come again?" I said. "We're so spoiled. Worse, we've become a bunch of pussies too afraid to fight a bunch of terrorists."

He pauses and continues. "You think we have it bad? We complain about taxes, dumbass separatists, loser hockey teams, support millionaire athletes that sometimes roll over and play like lazy sob's (hello, Orlando Magic!) meanwhile when we plump down on our couches and turn on the TV we see a family in Chemofastan or Itsurlastan carrying their entire possessions in two suit cases avoiding enemy fire and landmines in search of safety and freedom somewhere. Us? We laugh at freedom. We mock it with all this bull shit. Look at the Arizona law. People are freaking out. Those fuckers have a border more loose than Industrial's * vagina. And what's worse, no one seems to mind they're paying for a bunch of people who entered their country illegally! Americans make me laugh sometimes. Worse, they're fucking taking slack from Mexicans? Fuck me. End of an empire for real."

"Slow down there, pal. I have to go buy some ketchup," I interject. "See? Ketchup. We're worried about ketchup!"

"You bet," I replied. "My kid loves ketchup. It goes great with filet of sole and sauteed onions."

Umoved my friend continued. "Ever talk to a person from the former Soviet Empire and how they view America and to a lesser extent Canada?"

"Yeah, sobering."

"They have it on straight because they know what real tyranny and oppression is. Same with Iraqi's and other people escaping batshit countries. It's not even an ideological thing. It's just common sense. Castro is a dick. Not a hero. If you like that kind of governance then admit it and have the balls to go there. Don't wax poetic about it from afar. It's like my cousin's idiot nationalist boyfriend."

He lights a cigarette. I move in and quip, "You realize there's a war against that shit, right?" "Let them come after me. They're good at fighting bull shit things. Am I right?"

"It's all Red Dawn, my friend. It'll be up to a bunch of high school kids to defend us one day because everyone else has rolled over and taken a meat thermometer up their asses."

With that my friend concluded, "That's why the taliban will win the war."

* Industrial is the nickname we gave a French-Canadian girl known for her, erm, sexual appetite.


Good Joke

Jimmy Kimmel describing his home country of the USA and Canada during the Olympics:

"I like Canada, they’re good neighbors. I think of the United States as Homer and Canada as Flanders.”


About Those Assault Weapons In Mexico

This is not surprising.

Fiorentina Visit Montreal

Italian side Fiorentina (nicknamed la viola for their famous purple outfits) were in town this past week to take on the Montreal Impact. The last time I watched a Serie A team live was back in 2004 when I attended the Milan derby at the San Siro so I was inclined to attend the Fiorentina/Impact match. It's a good thing Italian teams have finally grown out of their insular shell to brand their product abroad. It's equally great for Montreal (and other North American cities) to be exposed to great European sides from England, Spain and Italy. Let's hope we can learn and build on this.

While the newly built Stade Saputo was a nice park (it was my first time there), I wasn't impressed in the least bit concession stands ran out of fricken water on a scourching hot day of 32c. What is it with Montreal venues other than the Bell Center (home of the Montreal Canadiens) running out of food? During a Montreal Alouettes CFL playoff game at the Olympic Stadium food stands ran out of hot dogs for pete's sake.

I understand the Stadium is out of service for most of the year and preparing and calculating how much food is needed is a difficult task but still. And how does a new facility like Stade Saputo fall into this trap? Is it because the season is technically over and they didn't want to have overstock? Although the mark ups on the beer and beverages are high enough to absorb some hit I reckon.


For the entire second half people who paid $45 to $65 had no water to drink. That's all I know.

A Real Shame

One thing I regret not doing more of here on this shitty little blog is talk more about Alexis de Tocqueville. I've been meaning to pick up a book on him to begin the process but haven't gotten around to it. Cripes, I'm still working on a second Galliani post.

I'll get around to it eventually.

Is Israel Losing The Propaganda War?


Is there a "propaganda" war?

Speaking of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, while I never really attempted to truly pick a side I did get to see up front how each faculty behaves in University. Let's just say we "neutrals" weren't very impressed with the Palestinian student group and the assortment of fringe leftists who joined them in causing unnecessary damage and general inconveniences. Moreover, they're not much for debate and free speech from what I've seen. You disagreed you were shouted down. People tried to engage but to no avail.

Hey, that's just me and the gang I hung with.


Man's Weapons Of Death On TV

One show I enjoy watching is The Deadliest Warrior.

It never ceases to amaze me how much effort was put into incredible weapons created explicitly to kill a fellow man. No one culture, clan, tribe or nation held the monopoly on weapons design. From Aboriginals to African and South American warriors to Native North American nations to Europeans. It's amazing pondering all the weapons of death mankind has devised.


Arizona In Pictures

Pictures, they say, is worth a thousand words - although I wonder why 1000 was chosen. Why not 2000?

The above pictures are from a 1.5 mile area called the "wash." It's an area where illegals settle in before making their move into Tuscon, Arizona. This is not immigration, it's a form of invasion.

In addition to being a a human problem, it can also be an environmental issue. I also would like to know why these sort of pictures are on blogs or emails but not in the traditional media. It's terrible how the powers that be, whoever they are and were, have allowed this to persist.


Nike Nails Soccer Ad Down

Can't wait for the World Cup. What a spectacle.

Open Season On America

Is it me or was it astonishing to listen to Mexican president Felipe Calderon actively and openly criticize the Arizona law on American soil? As I've always understood it, it's bad form or plain poor politcal etiquette to do such a thing.

Imagine if an American president said as much about Mexico? He would be seen as meddling in Mexican affairs.

From The Economist:

The Arizona law marks a new nadir. Mr Calderón called the measure “backward” and “discriminatory”. (As opposed ot Mexico's wonderful record on deportation. Rich coming from one of the most corrupt nations on earth). His government issued a travel alert, which will discourage citizens from visiting the state. The governors of Mexico’s border states said they would boycott a routine meeting with their American counterparts in Phoenix.

Will the state visit break the pattern? Diplomats from both countries note that their daily collaboration has improved. Co-operation on security is probably closer than it has ever been. American officials have begun searching southbound traffic and seizing illicit cargo. The Mérida initiative, a scheme under which the United States has offered Mexico modest anti-drug aid, has been extended and tweaked to emphasise strengthening institutions, such as the judiciary. Mexico has extradited suspected narcos in unprecedented numbers. Mr Obama shares Mr Calderón’s opposition to the Arizona law, calling it “misguided”. He would like to enact a comprehensive immigration reform.

Ok. So produce it. What's he waiting for? To corner the Hispanic vote for November?

Has anyone noticed that since Obama has taken power it's open season on America? He takes his grievances about America abroad. That's one odd signal to send other nations. I understand there are certain aspects of American life Obama doesn't like but he doesn't have to talk so openly about it. Certain things are just best kept inside the family - like the Arizona law. He could have just said, "that's cool Calderon but this is an American matter and we'll handle it." Capiche?Cosa Nostra, dude. Cosa Nostra.

But that's me. I'm one of those guys that if my buddy is acting like an idiot in a bar and starts a fight I'll stand by him. Only later will I lace into him and tell him he's an idiot. Chastising him by siding with the other guy in public would be pretty weenie of me.

President Obama gives the impression he's embarrassed of his country. People are beginning to notice it.


That being said, according to Politifact Obama has told the truth (or close to it) 115 times as opposed to lying 75 times. With a "half true" tag of 53. Not a bad ratio.

Rudimentary Blog Sabermetrics

I'm a big stats guy. Like, for anything. Especially sports. Go ahead. Ask me anything. I more or less know who is the all-time Home run leader or all-time leading scorer in the NHL.

Ok. Those are easy.

I'm no Schwab but I'm no shlob either. You like that? Schwab. Shlob. No? Fine. Be like that.

It's no surprise, then, that I keep tabs on certain stats on my blog. Not traffic. For some strange reason I don't care all that much about it. Instead, I keep a record of how many factual mistakes I've made and spelling errors. I used to be more on top of it in the past because I had more time but less so in the last year so I really rely on my "first drafts" and readers who decide to help out.

Nonetheless, considering the number of posts I've managed to be rather responsible with my postings. More than the NYT anyway. Whoa!

I've accumulated over 3500 posts and drafts (I don't post personal essays. I don't need CSIS or the CIA on my case) of which 2751 have been posted.

Of the 2751, 222 have had spelling errors. That is, I discover them after posting. A couple of years back I went through all my posts to fix the ones (including poor sentence structure) I caught. I'm sure some still remain but as long as I cleaned it up. In terms of facts, it's a little trickier. Generally, before I post something, I check several sources. Unfortunately, in the interest of time, I sometimes take a chance and just post outright and that gets me into trouble. While it only takes me a few moments to write up a post it's the actual research that takes time.

What do I mean by factual errors? Glaring ones. Stuff like "Canada won the Canada Cup in 1984 and not 1983." Or, "The Commentator is a moron and not a smart boy." Straigh facts (there I just committed one). Those types of errors have happened five times. Of which two were brought up by the same man, Costo. The other three came to me in a dream. I have a monkey who talks to me in my sleep for some reason.

I would love to have back up but hey. Maybe one day.

There you have it. The Commentator's stats.


Forest Preservation Agreement

Major historic deal for the Harper government. *

Changing economic realities and heightened public and marketplace concern over environmental issues have created both problems and opportunities for Canada’s forest industry and environmental organizations. From these challenges has come a unique collaboration between 21 major Canadian forest products companies and nine leading environmental organizations. This collaboration, called the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, applies to more than 72 million hectares of forest from the provinces of British Columbia to Newfoundland.

While the future of forestry and conservation in Canada’s Boreal Forest rests primarily with governments, both industry and environmentalists have a shared responsibility to help define and realize that future.
*Thanks to Costo for reminding me it wasn't a government initiative but one between NGO's and industry interests. My apologies.


Ok. This Is Going Well

I began advertising for my day care. I had a great ad made on a plastic and I simply clipped it to the fence. In just two days I had over 30 calls and the place may be full quicker than I anticipated.

Prior to doing this the owner of the building asked me how I was going to advertise. When I told him I was considering taking an ad out in the local papers he told me to save my money. He suggested for a measely hundred bucks I can have a couple of ads made by a pro. In his mind, that was the best advertising because of the location of the center on a major boulevard. Within five minutes of putting the ad up with his son I got a call.

The beauty in all this? No cold calling. Here, the clients come to you!

The Beautiful Game

Heard an interesting fact about soccer. According to Declan Hill author of The Fix (a book I've been meaning to read) 5% of all humanity (that is, encompassing of all mankind's history) watched the World Cup final in 2006 between France and Italy.


Any questions as to which sport is the most popular?


One book I am currently reading happens to be a soccer book. The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinnis. It's a fantastic read. I'm only 100 pages in but I liked this passage explaining soccer:

"Once my defense mechanisms agains the glories of the sport had broken down, among the first of its elements to enchant me was the degree to which skilled players could execute all the basic maneuvers of a basketball player - dribbling, passing accurately, and shooting on target - using only their feet. Also while running non-stop (for there are no time-outs in soccer) over an area considerably larger than an American football field for a total of an hour and a half, all the while at the mercy of defenders who, unlike in basketball, were permitted to make frequent and often violent bodily contact."
Then there's the free direct and indirect kicks and corner kicks that seem harmless plays onto themselves but are complex in their actuality. In addition, an average soccer player runs the equivalent of 10 kms in one game - while getting hacked to bits by defenders. North Americans "sports" fans who bash the sport have no clue what they're talking about.

Gulf Katrina Oil Spill

So. When does it become Obama's Katrina?

Hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I will never understand that phrase. Bush was pummeled over Katrina by the left and it's not suprising the BP oil spill would become Obama's "Katrina."

BP's campaign donations to Obama from Reuters:

BP and its employees have given more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the largest chunk of their money going to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Donations come from a mix of employees and the company's political action committees - $2.89 million flowed to campaigns from BP-related PACs and about $638,000 came from individuals.

On top of that, the oil giant has spent millions each year on lobbying — including $15.9 million last year alone — as it has tried to influence energy policy.

During his time in the Senate and while running for president, Obama received a total of $77,051 from the oil giant and is the top recipient of BP PAC and individual money over the past 20 years, according to financial disclosure records.


Moment Of Financial Truth For U.S. Coming Soon

Moody's has ominous warning for the mounting U.S debt:

In the wake of the financial crisis and recession, Moody's Investors Service has brought new transparency to its sovereign ratings analysis — so much so that 2018 lights up as the year the U.S. could be in line for a downgrade if Congressional Budget Office projections hold.

The key data point in Moody's view is the size of federal interest payments on the public debt as a percentage of tax revenue. For the U.S., debt service of 18%-20% of federal revenue is the outer limit of AAA-territory, Moody's managing director Pierre Cailleteau confirmed in an e-mail.

Under the Obama budget, interest would top 18% of revenue in 2018 and 20% in 2020, CBO projects.

But under more adverse scenarios than the CBO considered, including higher interest rates, Moody's projects that debt service could hit 22.4% of revenue by 2013.
Yikes. Ouch. But wait! The Mayan calendar says the world will end in 2012! So there. Burn! Saved!

Then again, according to some experts of Mayan culture, the calendar signifies a major shift in human culture as opposed to its actual destruction.


Ruling America

And now for something opposite of the government: Wealth. As in who owns how much in the United States? The majority of it is in the hands of a few. While only Switzerland supasses the U.S. in terms of wealth held by the top 10% of the adult population, the story is similar in other wealthy nations.

The why's, how's, do's and dont's have shaped the discourse on this issue and I for one need to get some rest before I comment on this.

In the meantime, knock yourselves out. Neat tables and graphs and all.


"...that the top 10% of the world's adults control about 85% of global household wealth -- defined very broadly as all assets (not just financial assets), minus debts. That compares with a figure of 69.8% for the top 10% for the United States. The only industrialized democracy with a higher concentration of wealth in the top 10% than the United States is Switzerland at 71.3%. For the figures for several other Northern European countries and Canada..."

Magnetic Hill's Secret

I was at Magnetic Hill, oh, around 2003. We visited New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (Cabot Trail and all) and visited numerous attractions one being Magnetic Hill. To see the video on the CBC website just go to to the 'related' section next to the article. It explains the phenomena - or illusion - that's Magnetic Hill.

Incidentally, on our way back from our trip there were a few signs for Prince Edward Island as we passed each one we debated whether we should take an extra couple of days and go see that whiny whore Anne of Green Gables and pick up some red dirt and sacs of Cavendish potatoes. We opted to drive on through. One day we'll go back.


The Truth About Sweden's Success

If you're a socialist or social-democrats you're not gonna like this. I've often wondered how Sweden could be both a successful and productive economy on one side and total socialist on the other.

So how did they pulled it off?

According to the video, good old fashioned, get this, capitalism! Ok, not completely but the Swedes know first hand how insane pure socialism and rampant regulation doesn't work. So, they deregulated in the 1970s. Yes, the dreaded "d" word that still haunts American liberals still stuck on 1960s idealism.

The image of Sweden we have is that of a socialist utopia. The truth is, Sweden is far more sensible than that. Apparently, 80-85% of taxes paid are returned to the citizen in Sweden. I'll let you digest that for a second and how beneficial that is to a society. As for Sweden acting as a model for public health, this is the one area that causes problems for them. Like in Canada, public health institutions lead to: Demand greater than supply. Hence, long wait times. The issue isn't about money. There's enough of it but one of supply and demand and how quality and timely services can be rendered in an appropriate manner.

Sweden's long life expectancy is attributed less to public health and more to the fact Swede's simply lead healthy lives by their own choice.

It wasn't social democracy or labour unions (like Quebec nationalists believe) that made Sweden rich. Hard work, trade, innovation  and lower taxes (Sweden doesn't have a progressive tax system although taxes remain high) through strong capitalist institutions is.

Sweden has a common sense approach to capitalism. It carefully selects which programs get the cash and devised an interesting way as to how much each would get. It doesn't seem to squander tax money on hopeless programs like we do here. Merely raising taxes (and throwing cash to shock the system into working) to get more money to meet the cost of a new government program in a notoriously inefficient North American public sector is sheer madness. People are slowly realizating this.

Welfare Vines

We seem so preocuppied with compassion as a means to an end we forget there are costs associated with them and it's extremely difficult to manage and maintain such programs. No price is too high - until the bills come in. Of course, at which point the answer is always to increase taxes.

I'm actually all for certain publicly funded programs in limited and small doses. The reality is too many programs are not sustainable over time. I think access to affordable, for example, museums are essential to educating and creating a cultural ethic among students. As for the endless other programs, that they exist and continue to operate doesn't necessarily mean they're achieving stated goals. Saying people "wouldn't give them up" as proof they work is weak to me. You give people free anything and it calcifies into their world view.

The only solution is to slowly weed people off their meds. Going cold turkey is too much of a shock to the system. Right now, all the talk of third party and cutting Obama's power in November is akin to advanced indigestion when it's too late for Pepto-Bismal. The only cure is to vomit and clear yourself out.


About that health care thingy and all the messy math:

The CBO, an independent non-partisan agency that provides economic data to lawmakers, also said that Obama's debt projections were optimistic.
By 2020, the national debt would balloon to 20.3 trillion dollars, or 90 percent of GDP, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said in a report Friday.
La-dee daw. I don't know how people believed reform was going to "save" money. Nor do I quite get all the optimistic recovery talk. Sure in the short term economic activity can rebound but it doesn't mean the long-term structural issues are solved. Wait 'til the boomers retire. Now that'll be interesting.


Odd Decision By Quebec

This. This is just bad karma.


Quebec's energy regulator has turned down a request from Newfoundland and Labrador to intervene in an ongoing dispute over pushing power from a proposed hydroelectric megaproject across Quebec's power lines.

Nalcor, Newfoundland and Labrador's Crown-owned energy corporation, has been locked in a dispute with Hydro-Québec over the transmission of power from the $6.5-billion proposed Lower Churchill development in central Labrador.
Regulators. No kidding.

I don't get why they just can't hammer a deal that's fair and just to all. I mean, Quebec is always demanding Canada treat them with respect too, right? It's not like they didn't benefit from a sweet deal back in 1969. To say nothing of equalization payments we get. All this tit for tat bull shit only makes Canada look dumb, greedy and immature.

Under that deal, negotiated in 1969, Hydro-Québec purchases power from Newfoundland and Labrador at inexpensive rates and pockets profits from resale to other markets.

Pockets the rest.

What I'd like to see - and it won't happen - is a privatized Hydro or at least allow competition into the market. That way we'd see just how smart they really are. It's easy to be businessmen of convenience when you're a crown corporation.

Let's not forget Quebec was all over Copenhagen like a stripper on a greased poll thumping its environmental chest. And now it prevents Newfoundland from providing clean energy to residents in the Atlantic, Ontario and Northeastern states.

Which makes me wonder, given the decision, what does NAFTA have to say about this and how will this impact Ontario/Quebec and U.S./Quebec relations?
Let goodwill prevail and give Newfoundland fair access to Lower Churchill for cripes sakes.

Nfld shouldn't waste too much energy - excuse the pun. Lower churchill is a bonanza waiting to happen. It may take longer and cost more, however, it may be in Newfoundland's interest to do it alone. Go through the States if you have to.

Canada. Parochial. Petty. Pathetic.

The Commentator: Canada's Blog

Now that the Montreal Canadiens have unexpectedly made it to the Conference final, I'd like to make my peace with the headlines over the last couple of weeks. Apparently, the Vancouver Canucks had been ordained "Canada's team" by various papers west of Montreal. As if the Habs weren't even playing. Pft.

Let's get one thing straight once and for all, Canada. While I'm no fan of the lame politics that permeates the organization and some in the media, the fact is the Habs are the most storied and decorated hockey franchise in the world. 24 Stanley Cups and 32 finals in 101 years of hockey. Only the Yankees and Celtics (and Packers, Bears, Steelers and Cowboys) sit next to them on the pantheon of great teams in North America.

Not the 'Nucks, not the Flames, not the Senators, not the Oilers (despite the legendary teams of the 80s) and not the Leafs; 13 cups notwithstanding.

The Leafs and Habs possess the most fans across the country but in terms of excellence, nobody approaches the Montreal Canadiens.

Canada's team that remains standing.


Besides, how does one determine exactly who gets to be "Canada's" or "America's" team? Who cares?

God Is God

Heard that some left-wing nut claim "God is a democrat" after 10 people lost their lives on an oil rig explosion. Implied was that those pricks deserved to die because they were wrecking the environment and God may sure of it. The mere fact this person had the guts to showcase her idiocy on a life radio program with such a retarded statement says all you need to know about her. Capitalizing on death to score a cheap political point. To which point she went on to the standard "blame Bush" routine. Since we're on the conspiracy platform, why not start one where Obama blows up oil rigs to further his green agenda?

Then the left wonders why they're ignored by moderates. Liberal radio personalities are equal to the task of those on the right. Only difference is they're way less entertaining.

Anyway. As cap & trade talk heats up, I wondered about the cost of diesel gas and how that would impact transportation in North America. What impact will that have down the road? It can't be good.

Darwinism shows up in the unlikeliest of places:

During the 1994 World Cup the great Bulgarian soccer player Hristo Stoichkov said (at least I think he said it then. No troubles, he did say it) "God is Bulgarian." I turned to my buddy and replied, "if that's true we got it all wrong."

Confessions Of The Commentator

I buy all kinds of stupid shit. I'm one of those guys who "runs" in to get coriander and leaves with a $50 bill 15 minutes later. Why, just the other day I bought cone shaped coffee filters. Not sure why. I don't drink filtered coffee. Just espresso and the coffee machine we have has a built in filter. I bought it because I figured you always need a cone shaped item in your house. Meh.

Speaking of cone shapes, I used to have a cone head. It turned quite the heads at shopping malls.

How An Apostrophe Almost Destroyed An Entire Language

Driving along a lonely but crowded road I came to a red light and did what all people do at a red light. I picked my nose. As I dug in, the famous McDonald's golden arch came into my field of vision. I observed the apostrophe 's' and recalled one of Quebec's most embarrassing law in the hey day. You know which one I'm talkin' 'bout Willis and Tootie. Remember at the height of the insane language paranoia and the little twirps in power demanded one of Montreal's landmark department stores Eaton's drop the apostrophe 's' because it signified an English symbol?

Yeah that one. It single handidly saved the French language. Let's celebrate!

The irony I thought (as I contemplated chomping down on a shnott) was how the word "Mc Donald's" escapted the moronic law because of franchise laws or something and yet...yet, no one fricken cares.

More importantly, it's proof an apostophe can't take down a language.

Knuckleheads. All of them. The ones who came up with it.

I decided to flick the sucker out the window. It hit and cracked the windshield of the car behind me. I sped off. Is it a hit and run?


Graham James In Mexico But Remains Under Investigation

The most notorious hockey coach in Canadian hockey history, Graham James was found guilty on 350 counts of sexual assault and sentenced to a paltry and laughable 3 1/2 years. He was incomprehensibly pardoned by the Parole board causing rightful outrage for Canadians including this blog.

His most famous victims of course were former NHLers Sheldon Kennedy and Theoren Fleury.

James is now living in Mexico but is still being investigated by Winnipeg police for other sexual assaul crimes as more victims step up. The CBC found him. Watch the video here.

Criminals all head for Mexico. At this point, isn't that a little predictable? Shouldn't they go further south and deeper into Central and even South America?


Those Crazy Dutch

Prostitute sues her former school for becoming a prostitute.

And then her pimp takes her to court for slander. Translated poorly by Google from Dutch.

Funny (in a nervous way) as this is, don't laugh. I can totally see this coming here.

From what I understand, according to my friend in Holland, public opinion is not in favor of this.


Germany's Role In The EU

Speaking of the great German nation, I've detected an irony in the image of the strong German.

After WWII, Europe was for all intents and purposes destroyed. Finished. The torch carrying Western civilization was passed on to the United States. Europe, given its pride and glorious history, weren't quite ready to give the torch so easily and decided on creating the European Economic Community consisting of the originals: Germany, Benelux (Belgium and Holland), France, Luxembourg, and Italy.

The way I see how the Germans were talked into it is this way. Already a pariah on the world stage, what with "starting" two of world history's bloodiest and costliest wars, Germany was also in economic shambles but possessed the added problem of being despised. The French, not interested in being over run and bent over by the Germans any longer, decided the best way to keep the Germans at bay is to unite with them in a common market focusing on common interests. Notably in countering growing American power.

It was a no-brainer for France. It got to keep a close eye on Germany plus it could claim they were helping to foster a movement last tried under Charlemagne who tried to unite all of Europe under the Holy Roman Empire. His model was Rome. Equally if not more important, it was a great way to pretend to still being a great power and a thorn in the side of the Americans.

Everybody happy? France yes. Germany was just a dumb big dog following hoping to be loved. Britain no. The French under De Gaulle deliberately kept the UK out. While the English whined about it, the interesting thing is they never really were sure if the wanted in in the first place! Some believed their destiny lay with the United States (and its satellites Canada and Australia).

The EEC eventually morphed into the EU which then impressively spawned the Euro. On both counts, I think, Germany gained less out of it. They were pulled into the EU at which point weaker nations were benefitting off their backs (for Germany is the economic engine of the EU) while Germany found itself as the babysitter.

Fast forward to today and how Germany keeps getting the short stick. I can't see how it's Germany's business to bail out Greece. France I get. Italy more so. These are Mediterranean countries. In the case of Italy, a cousin which shares part of its heritage with Ancient Greece. But Germany? They were again played like a fiddle under the guise of "catastrophe if we don't do anything" crap.


Speaking of which (again) of "we must act" mots de morts, Obama was lecturing Spain that they must get their financial house in order. Now that's rich. The one guy who set America's spending policies into unsustainable overdrive (he may go down as the President who put the stake in the heart of American liberalism and tax and spend theories) is telling another country how to run its affairs?

Hey, I happen to think Spain is one of the few poor countries that actually didn't make a mockery (hello Greece) of being part of the EU. It did manage to improve its image and economic affairs. From what I hear, they also have a competent central bank.

If anything, Mr. President, they probably should be lecturing you!

Question On Welfare

I left this question on SE:

Who creates the demand for a welfare state? Politicians or citizens? Or both?

And why?

The first welfare state in the Western world came by way of Otto von Bismarck (still one of my all-time favorite names. So strong) in Prussia. In this way, the answer to the question is politician. So if it's correct to assume they start it using the Bismarck or even FDR model, then it follows some but not all citizens will like it and demand for more. At which point the vicious circle begins since politicians will have an incentive to oblige in order to get votes.

Buddy Holly's Uncomfortable Days With Decca

Picked this up at Skeptical Eye.

Imagine that. The great Buddy Holly having to beg to gain control of his own work and failing! Screw the record labels and all their crying about downloading. What comes around goes around. They literally made a fortune by taking advantage of musicians who didn't think or care to read the "fine print."

The story of That'll be the Day:

Quebec On The Wrong Side Of Regulation

Who would have thought that the words "regulate" and "Quebec" would be mutally exclusive on creating a national securites regulator?

Note to self: Canada is the only G7 country without a single national federal securities regulator. Not sure if this is a bad or good thing (thought I would say it's needed and actually good for investors) but it does make doing business with Canada much harder as there are 10 different regulators to deal with. Quebec claims it will hurt our economy (you know, the one which takes in more than it gives out to Canada, the one with the highest concentration of union members on the continent, the one with where the "shining" light or darling is a corporate bum in Bombardier and a nationalized outfit monopolizing electricity in Hydro- Quebec, the one that lost all its major corporations to Toronto in the 1970s because of the political situation and the one that no longer has the Montreal Stock Exchange - that one) or what's left of it. Hate to say it but it's already damaged.

Now. If Quebec was a bastion of free market principles where the intrusion of the Feds would disrupt a good thing, then yeah, count me in as supporting this. But that's not the case here.

I witnessed first hand how counter-productive the Canadian financial markets are. When I was a broker Albertans weren't licensed to trade in Quebec and vice-versa because of some stupid, parochial battle played between two - all things considered - tiny minnows on the world stage. Just dumb. What do you expect from a country that still has inter-provincial barriers and is still "studying" how to reduce them. Sign a free trade deal with the Americans, Mexican and Chileans but among us we act like independents. Lame.

Once again from the top: What hurts Quebec, and everyone outside these borders knows it, is our own insularity.

Keep those transfer payments coming in though!


The Many Ways To Make Money In America

This is classic.

An illegal immigrant since deported back to his native Barbados got $145 000 from the state of New York.

I imagine 145k is good coin for the gent and can go a long way in Barbados.

*Shakes head, sips Camomille*

Galiani In The Written Flesh

Rob over at Wind Rose Hotel (link in sidebar under Italy blogs) was kind enough to provide the link to one of Ferdinando Galiani's works titled Dialogues sur le commerce des blés, (1769). Don't let the title fool you, it's a most engaging dialog between Le Marquis de Roquemaure and Le Chevalier de Zanobi  discussing what caused the famine in Rome at that time.

I've only read the first 25 pages but I do like the reasoning and logic of the writer.

As I wrote in my comment to Rob: It's interesting to note the discussion about Rome and the mention of Naples. The 18th century wasn't kind to Italy but it did belong to France. I also like the line of thinking about the misapplication of experiences to solve modern problems.

Yes, the book is in French. If you can translate it do so. It's a good read.

It's One Vision Of Canada

"For the past 150 years nationalism has been a retrogade idea. By an historic accident Canada has found itself approximately 75 years ahead of the rest of the world in the formation of a multinational state, and I happen to believe that the hope of mankind lies in multinationalism."

Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

I can accept the first part of the quote. Not so sure about the rest of it though. I loathe nationalism with all my heart. It is a retrogade idea. As for multinationalism is that code for multiculturalism? If so, not a fan of the concept to the extent it has to be written down and enshrined in the Charter. Canada is not the first and will not be the last "multiculturalnational" state.


Facts About Goldman Sachs

Great, great article about Goldman-Sachs at The Big Picture. Thanks to Looney Canuck for the heads up.

God I love when people lead me to good stuff.

One way to look at what they did is to look at how recipes for food products can be bastardized. For example, stating you're olive oil is 100% Italian but take 20% from Tunisia and 10% from Turkey because it's cheaper and widens your margins. It "is" 100% Italian - if you consider just the Italian part. It also happens with hamburgers, wine and anything you care to add.

GS did the same with all their junk and hedge games. I don't think much of any argument defending GS can be made (I think) but I still think the government playing the "I can't believe it" line is a bit rich considering how close in bed they were with these dudes.

Just another night on Wallshington St.

Speaking of typical nights with these old dudes:

Ici Ont Commerce En Francais Part Deux

Quebec is hilarious sometimes. I was out shopping today. I hit two places that were littered with those idiotic "Ici ont commerce en Francais" stickers. Really? I took one look at the sticker and didn't even bother to set foot in it. The first place was Zellers. The second was Le Marche (I forget the name) which sells vertical blinds and the like.

Fine. Be like that. Pft.

Thankfully, competition remains (for now) and so I went to the competitors (in this case Fabricville) who professionally and courteously served me while having no problem speaking the dreaded English language. It was a pleasant give and take scenario. That's where my money goes.

Stick a frivolous ignorant sticker on your window and I'll stick it back by not giving you my money.

Why would a company, a place of business that should be blind to such stuff, do that? Do they not stop and think "Well, maybe I may offend a few people and it may very well cost me $200 in lost sales?"

Meh. Alas, that's how I would think. Obviously, some don't.


That's why I no longer support the Montreal Canadiens - despite their excellent run in the playoffs. When the president of one of the best brands in sports comes out and essentially says, "you have to speak French because 66% of our market is French" he alienates me in the following way.

The best available talent is overlooked and bypassed. All that does is keeps you wallowing in mediocrity because you've cornered yourself to one segment of a talent pool. If the Yankees or an NFL team pulled that shit they'd be rightfully attacked for discriminatory practices. The media would wreck them to smithereens.

In world soccer, managers of different nationalities are hired at clubs all the time. They learn the customs and language of the team they represent. So why doesn't Le club hockey Canadiens accord the same chance to a non-French speaking candidate; especially if that person is coveted?

Imagine if the Yankees said, "Well, our market is increasingly Spanish speaking ergo we must have a manager who speaks Spanish." Or if the past to reflect its demographics, "Well, given we have so many Germans and Italians our manager must speak those languages." Dumb, huh? I doubt New Yorkers would accept such parochial logic?

But here in Montreal, Quebec (partly because we're shielded by language and that no one in the States really cares what goes on up here) we get away with it. No ACLU here. Human Rights Commission here in Canada? Bah. They're busy attacking freedom of speech.

The majority of people don't look at it this way but I do. So. Pft. Convince me the errors of my ways.


Beaut Of A Quote

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson.

Save Us, Save Us!

Just thought of something. With Obama on a rampage to set the world straight - in his image of course - including the financial markets - with the same a-holes who created the mess. Everyone's ka-chinging along - it occured to me that if he feels innocent people are being "bilked" then why isn't he going after Hollywood or Television networks as well? I mean, don't they all employ some measure of deceit to rake in ratings? They may not "bilk" people in the same way unscrupulous Ponzi schemists posing as investors do but do they not rob people of something more? Like their minds? Nothing on TV; not Court Tv, not reality TV, not Moore documentaries, is real. Where are the calls to "regulate" them? Should they not be forced to produce good stuff? Maybe we can create a new bureacracy equipped with the "Movie police" to make sure they conform to basic standards - sorta like how we want to regulate, like, effen everything.


They all try and pull a fast one on us for they too are "greedy" in that they make millions feeding us crap and lies.

Screw them too.


The Dutch Forever Grateful To Canada

Holland continues to honor Canada for the liberation of their country in World War II.

It really is remarkable to see how the Dutch maintain clarity about the war. It looks like they will always teach their students about the sacrifices made by allied troops in Europe. Too bad here we do little to keep the spirit of our role in liberating Europe alive.

Still to this day Holland sends Canada tulips as a token of their gratitude.

Forge On I Must

Sometimes I wonder who frickencares about the opinions expressed on this shitty blog? Actually, I often say this. Who cares? Nobody cares! But then I watch Chris Matthews and figure if that guy can make a lot of money making a living by just talking nonsense then my free pontifications don't seem so pitiful.

The irony in Matthew's assertions in the linked piece is while he claims hedge-fund managers "aren't productive" given the nature of their jobs, the same can be said for his existence as a talking head. After all, what do commentators actually produce?

Italian Influences On The Austrian School

Talk about forgotten economic theorists. I wonder how much discussion is given - if at all - to the thinkers like Ferdinando Galiani in Italy mentioned in this article.

Isolated excerpt:

"Galiani believed that government generally should not interfere in the natural workings of the economy. A government that attempts to stimulate all sectors of the economy, agricultural and industrial, stimulates nothing. Stimulation means that a particular sector is given preference over the other sectors, and how can one sector be given preference over another if all sectors are stimulated?"

A question that still goes unanswered these days. In a similar vain, why do some companies in certain sectors keep getting subsidies at the expense of others? Where the government pours in, it comes out somewhere, no? Who's on the hook and when will it be demonstrated once and for all what the benefit is? "Saving jobs" has become the mantra for those who espouse giving money to companies. I want to see more studies attempting to proce this as opposed to just being accepted as normal procedure.

Searching For Truth About The Gulags

This is a valiant (and useful) attempt by the author to dispell traditional understanding about the Gulags and how many prisoners and deaths took place during the Soviet Empire between 1929-1953.

While much that is mentioned may be accurate (the Nazi angle and how media integrates itself through manipulation of information for example) - if not interesting - it still doesn't sufficiently debunk fully the inherent injustice of the Gulags. Blaming economic conditions alone may not be enough. In the end, it becomes a game of statistical semantics. No matter how you dice it, many people were taken to the Gulags and millions (about a million according to the Soviets) did die. What's a million here or there in a revolution and in times of war?

Speaking of Soviet historiography (by way of the Central Committee), the fact remains some (if not most) of it is dubious as to the nature (ie. to conform to ideological bias with the state) of how they collected and reported information to be transferred into historical accounts.

McGill University Raises Tuition For MBA

It's about fricken time.

Students were paying $2000 per year to for such a privilege despite the actual cost to run the program is around $22 000. Guess who paid the difference?

McGill's Desautels school of Management wants to raise tuition for Quebec students to increase self-financing and better fund its programmes.

Courchesne doesn’t agree and has threatened to withdraw $28,000 in funding annually for each student enrolled in the programme.

An actual MBA degree costs about $22,000 per student, per year. Quebec residents who enrol in the program pay only a fraction of that, and the government subsidizes the rest
Desautels is right and Courchesne is wrong.What else is new with the education ministry and all their follies? If I'm McGill I tell the government to stuff the money where the sun don't shine. They can do better without having to be slaves to the government to justify their every move. In the process, students who truly deserve and want the program will pay for it like they do any service or commodity - monthly payments. Nothing wrong in that.

Misguided Thinking

To call off off shore drilling because of an oil spill - dramatic and unfortunate as it is - is an over reaction. It's like a sports league caliing off the season because of an inury to a couple of players. Fear is overcoming common sense. Drilling, from what I read, is an incredibly complex process. All things considered, the track record of oil spoils - or lack thereof - is pretty good over the last 50 years.

The environmental fervor has the upper hand now. It drives the mindset of politicians; especially President Obama and Governor Terminator in Cally-fornia.


Burgerville Montreal

I didn't realize the founder of 'Dic Ann's' burgers - an institution here in Montreal  passed away in 2009.

We are proud of our achievements, particularly in serving a quality product, at a fair price and at a quick speed. In 1987, we achieved a world record, serving 1,306 cheeseburgers in 1 hour, each with custom condiments, all dressed by a single person. In 1998 at our St-Jérôme location, another world record was set when we served 1,542 hamburgers in one hour. Also, in 2006, we prepared what we believe is a world record for the largest order, for 800 hamburgers and cheeseburgers. The order was placed by “Location Turbo”, and prepared at our Pie IX location.
Dic Ann's is fanous for its paper thin burgers topped with their secret sauce.

From Wiki:

The name, Dic Ann, is an amalgam of the founder's names, Dominic "Dic" Potenza (1918 - 2009)[5] and wife Ann Collecchia. Potenza was born in Century, West Virginia and was raised in Utica, New York. "Mr. Dic," as he was known died on October 28, 2009. During the 1940s, he worked as a head-waiter in the supper-club restaurants in the Rochester, New York and Buffalo, New York areas. It was at one of these clubs that he met his future wife, a jazz accordionist who performed using the stage name of Ann Russell.
If you ever find yourself in Montreal head to Dic Ann's and simply say "hamburger all-dressed" at the counter and let them do the rest. You may have to eat a couple of them.


Speaking of classic burger joints founded by Italians, Dilallo Burger - home of the Buck Burger -  in Ville-Emard (where my mother grew up. Incidentally, also Mario Lemieux) was founded in 1929 and continues to thrive today.

For more burger info check out the Montreal Burger blog.

Populist Mumbo-Voodoo-Jumbo Drives Democrats

Personally, Obama's mxing of class warfare and identity politics leaves me in discomfort. I automatically twitch when I listen to him speak about Wall St. and it bums me out. The scary thing is that people actually buy into his populist drivel. After all, it's all Wallshington St. now.

During the health care reform debate it was charged that conservatives were breaking all sorts of critical thinking laws. Yet, the same people (professors) who charged this are silent on Obama's bull shit about business. Sometimes I listen to him and his cronies and it boggles the mind what this guy is saying.

What Goldma Sachs (the folks who, you know, politicians willingly took campaign funds from) did was not against the law per se. Unethical? Perhaps. If they broke rules or misled people (and it looks like they did) then penalize them and move on. Assuming it's an isolated case. As for manipulation of the markets, hate to break it to you but that happens every single day on a multitude of levels across not just the markets but in our daily lives. Despite this, the markets have persisted in all its imperfections. 

Ethics - or lackthereof - and risk are part of the whole process. Buyer beware for cripes sake. Have we become so pathetically weak of mind that we need the government to regulate everything at every turn? Is it that much of a stretch, given Obama's rhetoric, that he wants the state to have more control of the markets?

(Excessive) state regulations on the markets are like ragweed. Pull one out and the next day another pops up elsewhere. I don't defend - and never will - bad behavior, however, the way the government is looking to make Wall St. the sole scapegoat leaves me with two words: Cui bono?

My father used to always tell my mother: Stop babying the boys. Let them get hurt and then they'll learn.

Guess who was right in the long run?

But this is just a personal take.

From Capitalism Magazine:

The housing crisis of 2008 and the recession are products of political mismanagement, not Wall Street fat cats. It was government that coerced banks into loaning billions in the form of mortgages to unstable home-buyers whom no lender would have touched with a 39 and a half foot pole otherwise. It was government that, through the federal reserve, manipulated interest rates throughout the 90's and 00's to keep the housing orgy swinging. It was government that spent away the wealth of the internet age on unsustainable entitlements, bungled adventures in the Middle East, and Alaskan bridges to nowhere. It is government that is spending still more on the harebrained stimulus package, bailouts for GM and Chrysler (the former recently demonstrating mind-boggling cynicism with the lie that it has paid back the American people) and ObamaCare. And it is government that will bankrupt this country once socialized healthcare takes full effect, entitlements devour trillions each year, and the private sector is bled dry of every last job by a VAT, regulations, mandates, and progressive taxation.
Of course, there's no way he can prove health care will bankrupt a nation - a more appropriate angle is it can put a severe strain on it. Moreover, I wouldn't absolve the private sector completely, but I do feel we under estimate the corrosive  role of government in the process. On the other hand, one can offset this remark with successful measures passed by the state to make the markets more "functional." What those can be I'm not entirely sure. In other words, it's a counterfactual.

Giving Blood

Just came back from donating blood at Hema-Quebec. It was my first experience offering my blood to a stranger I'll likely never meet. It went well. Feel slight light-headedness but nothing to complain over - for now.

My veins are nice and thick so it only took six minutes. The nurses, after asking my nationality, couldn't stop gushing about Italy and how much they love it and so on. At one point, they were talking to one another trading family experiences. "O, sta morendo qui!" (I'm dying here!) I wanted shout. I thought better of it. Not sure if they'd get my sense of humour.

It was a wonderful experience. The nurses were very caring and made sure I was ok before I left. I like the way they were confident I'd be back. We'll see.

Let's see, I've now given blood and ticked "yes" on the back of my driver's permit as an organ donor - what? Like I'm gonna need it when I'm dead.

Call me The Humanitarian from now on.


Gas And Oil Prices DO Impact Personal Income

Dunno where these guys have been but during my time in investments, it was obvious to us there was a relation between personal income, oil prices (which serves as a tax) and debt.

I don't quite get folks who rail against tax cuts and consider cutting them to have been an abysmal failure in Canada in the USA. What are they proposing? Increase them? For what exactly?

Less taxes, more in your pockets. What's so hard to comprehend?

How does gas act as a tax? When I put gas in my truck at around $1 a litre it would cost me $70. Say, I did this three times a month. I spent $210 a month on gas. Now, with the gas tax increase, for equal frequency I pay $80 or $240 per month. That's $30 less in my pocket.

Simplistic sure, but my personal economics is not complicated. I line up the numbers, compare them to the past and deduce my own private economic universe.


Look. It doesn't take a genius to know things are not good economically including in Canada. I was talking to a courrier and he was telling me how orders have been dried up for nearly two years now. No one is moving merchandise. It's a massive crunch. Why do I point to courriering? Because they're in the middle of the action. They deliver to all sorts of industries. They're in the trenches and are one of the first to see when the economy retrenches and comes back. For now, volume is off significantly.

Should U.S. Bail Greece Out? Dumb Question

The answer has to be a resounding no. The first people to help Greece out are the Greeks themselves. For such a proud nation, one would think they would. If austerity measures (unfortunate shock treatment) prove elusive, next in line should be the EU. Along cultural lines it should technically be the Mediterranean nations but of that bunch only Italy and France really have the financial means to do so. In the case of Italy, it's less probable given its own fiscal problems. That leaves Northern Europe and Germany in particular. Either way, let them figure it out.

Then there's the whole notion of alliance. Greece hasn't exactly been pro-American over the years. Part of the reason, I reckon, is because of America's close ties to Turkey.

The only rationalization that could apply to all, and this is a macro angle, is to consult Ancient Greece's legacy and its contributions to Western civilization. In this way, all of the EU and America could argue they have a vested interest in maintaining Greece's solvency.

Nonetheless, America is in no financial condition to bail other nations. Charity, after all, begins at home.

It's going to be interesting to see how all this plays out if it does indeed mean a financial reconfiguring of the system.


I hear a lot about how this is the result of over spending by governments but I hear very little about why governments spend excessively. No doubt corruption plays a role but how did we in the West - and I group us all in the same boat for we pretty much have similar structures and policies tailored to fit our respective nations - become so addicted to "tax and spend" ideas?

Moreover, while the people of Greece are likely to get hit hard and blaming incompetent politicians and tax evaders may be justified, they shoulder some of the blame as well. Populations too demand unrealistic services from government and politicians are all too willing to provide them so long as they bring votes. Blame can go in circles but everyone had their bit to play in it. The EU has effectively subsidized the living standards of Greece. Tick, tock finally rang. And the shitty thing is the people will pay.

Tracking Tolerance In Western Culture

Classically Liberal traces the evolution of tolerance in the West. It's a long post but informative:
Commerce rewards tolerance by increasing the number of trading possibilities. Trade undermines prejudice in all areas: be it religious, ethnic, racial or sexual. Bigotry flourishes when the bigot can pass that cost on to the entire society, but when he must bear the direct costs of his own prejudice he is more reluctant to do so. Some may still prefer to engage in traditional, prejudicial practices, but they are at a competitive disadvantage to competitors who fail to do so. Brittan said: Capitalist civilization is above all rationalist.’ The entrepreneur, as a profit maximizer is forced to ignore the “traditional, mystical or ceremonial justification of existing practices.” This rejection of the traditional, means depoliticized markets are inherently anti-conservative. The gay marriage debate is a good example. Private businesses have largely adopted measures to recognize gay relationships among their employees. It is the political sphere that is behind the times. The state rarely forces change. Most of the time it is an impediment to social changes and only plays catch-up once the cultural revolution is over.
I once a letter to the editor, I know so 90s, discussing how the state and politicians who rail against capitalism are in fact the ones who act as "lagging indicators."

The intricacies of the decision making process for an entrepreneur is delicate and filled with considerations it's difficult for a non-entrepreneurial mind to grasp.

It's All About Satisfaction

Betcha if the Stones ate at 'Pepperbee's' the iconic 'Satisfaction (I can't get no) would have been changed to 'Satisfaction (I can get some).

Injustice By The Hands Of People Who Swore To Seek Truth

Wow. All those pins and flags. Nice little bio too for former Missouri politician in Kenny Hulshof.

Until you read this at Barbara's Journey Towards Justice.

Not so long ago I went off on Martha Coakley for basically throwing an innocent family in jail. It still burns me.

Could you imagine how many of these immoral and unethical dolts are in power? Power OVER you! But go. Go ahead and vote for these people and make heroes of these zeroes.

Kezer was 17 when he was arrested for shooting a Southeastern Missouri State University student three times. He was prosecuted in Scott County and served 16 years in state prison. He was exonerated last February after a rebuke of prosecutor-turned-Congressman Kenny Hulshof.

In a 44-page decision, a Cole County circuit judge said Hulshof withheld key evidence from defense attorneys and embellished details in his closing arguments. Conflicting testimony and three jail inmates who had claimed Kezer confessed to the killing later acknowledged they lied in hopes of getting reduced sentences.

In a similar vain, travesty of misjustice that is, the other day I watched people protesting the Arizona law walk hand in hand with Al Sharpton. The man who basically, along with a prosecutor, who potentially ruined the lives of boys who played the Duke lacrosse team.
These people don't care about justice. They care about advancing their own careers.

Q&A With The Commentator

Dear Idiot,

I can't believe morons like you are allowed to have blogs. There oughta be a law against that. But for now, I have to accept you exist and might as well ask this question: How do you feel about celebrities voicing their opinions about politics?

Mike, Rouyn-Noranda.

First, you spelled 'Idiot' with a capital 'I.' I appreciate that. Second, it's a free country. If they want to talk politics, let 'em. However, that doesn't immune them from criticism and for that you've come to the right place. If you ask me, thety're idiots. And I don't capitalize the 'I' on purpose. Seriously, what the fuck is in their intellectual training to be interviewed by fucken Charlie Rose or Larry 'My suspenders are whithering' King?

I really could care less about what these actors think. They seem to believe because they're "famous" and are able to recite lines, they have some sort of natural intellectual advantage to not just offer their opinions but pretend they're actually pundits. Pretend is the operative word here. They make a living out of pretending. The problem is, major publications like The Economist have jumped on the "hey, they're famous so they will sell mags" bandwagon. Doesn't matter they possess little actual knowledge "who" they are is suffice. Who's next guys? Paris Hilton and her thoughts about Iran? Gweneth Paltrow and her ruminations on the Holy Roman Empire?

I'm ranting a little but it's my blog and I'm the Idiot, remember? In conclusion - I hold people in low regard who close their term papers that way - yes, they're free to speak out. No, that doesn't make them experts. Yes, I ignore them. No. Wait. First I laugh my ass off and then I cry. Then I ignore them.

Speaking of actors, I was watching TV and saw a commercial for Inside the Actors Studio (IAS) and an interview with Mickey Rourke. No big deal until the voice over spoke about how he overcame "tragedy" and then panned to an over concerned audience member.

Fuck me. Let me get something off my chest. A person getting killed by a drunk driver is a tragedy. A great man losing his life to cancer is a tragedy. A senseless murder is a tragedy. A man losing his family because his wife is a cheating cunt is a tragedy. What Rourke went through - from what I've read - was all self-induced. He has but himself to blame for beating up girls and taking fucking drugs. I don't care he lost all his money. He had enough "cache" to make it all back because of who he is. I mean, three  famous sex scenes with Carre Otis, Lisa Bonet and Kim Bassinger? Shwing!

So forgive me if I don't categorize the former eccentric pugilist as a "tragic" figure. I hate all of you.

Anyway. I'm cranky because I cut the skin on one of my toes while clipping nails. I cried hard. Like a baby. Whenever I hear an actor babble on about political gibberish it reminds me of this scene in Seinfeld when Kramer was fired: