2011-01-31

Question

What would Leonardo Da Vinci (or any great mind from the past you feel applies) do with/ or on Youtube?

Fight The Kill Switch; Assange On 60 Minutes

Fight the American impulse to introduce a "kill switch" to shut off the internet.

Wake up.

People.

If someone sends me a petition...I'm signing.

***

I watched Julian Assange on 60 Minutes. He said nothing we already knew. It IS an unwarranted, ignorant attack laced with ad hominens by the U.S. government and certain commentators.

He said two things people always tend to dismiss or underestimate when it comes to freedom. He could not exist if the people who leaked the sources didn't trust his site and without funding from the people. That he is able to garner donations directly from the people is an amazing thing. Makes you wonder just how utterly pointless "political" sites who live off subsidies really are. They are fake. He is real.

The ability to choose and spend their money as they see fit is something we've lost. We're often forced into paying for things we may not necessarily want. Wikileaks succeeds because the PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT IT TO SUCCEED.

Political parties can only wish they had this kind of "will of the people."

Wikileaks is real power because it threatens the "illusion of control" as he put it. He couldn't be more right. The people have an outlet. A conduit to force accountability where institutions lack them. It was bound to happen. You can't be a society of good conscience without someone questioning authority.

He also asserted the spirit of Wikileaks is truer to the philosophical foundations of the United States and its founding fathers singling out Jefferson and Madison. I don't know what they would think of Wikileaks, but in terms of sovereignty of the people, and all the natural and healthy distrust Americans had of government, I think he's right.

History of Taxes

A brief history of taxes.

The Greeks actually refunded taxes in full. The Romans laid the philosophical foundation of our current tax system.

As for income taxes, as it was in Canada, they were levied not for any humanistic reason, but to fund wars. Of all the taxes, income taxes - or direct taxes - is the most questionable one. Throughout history indirect taxes were used.

It seems one basic axiom was understood: Don't reach into the pockets of the people.

"During the 1930's federal (U.S.) individual income taxes were never more than 1.4 percent of GNP. Corporate taxes were never more than 1.6 percent of GNP. In 1990 those same taxes as a percent of GNP were 8.77 and 1.99 respectively."

***

Excerpts from For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the course of Civilization:

If you like taxes and defend them and believe they're necessary to achieve social progress then move along. You're not going to like this. For the rest of you curious enough, read the link and make up your own minds.

"Adams persuasively argues that the introduction of the income tax around the turn of the 20th century has become perhaps the greatest evil of modern-day tax systems. In Britain, John Stuart Mill was a persistent critic of the income tax. He called it "a mild form of robbery" that was "defensible on the same ground that the highwayman Highwayman,



See : Highwaymen defends his acts." In the United States, where the first income tax was introduced with a top marginal rate of 7 percent, fiscal conservatives in Congress fiercely objected on the grounds that the tax would soon reach the unthinkable rate of 10 percent. How wrong they were. Within 10 years (during World War I), the highest marginal tax rateMarginal Tax Rate


The amount of tax paid on an additional dollar of income. As income rises, so does the tax rate.


Many believe this discourages business investment because you are taking away the incentive to work harder."


"Throughout the 20th century the income tax juggernaut has been an instrument of political mischief in ways that most Americans probably would never suspect. Here is one intriguing scenario Adams draws:


"The Viet Nam disaster might have been avoided if it had not been for the American tax system which put enormous revenues in the hands of the U.S. presidency. It was easy for Mr. Johnson to hoodwink
Congress. If President Johnson had had to ask Congress to double everyone's taxes to finance the war, Congressmen would have had to explain that to their constituents. It is quite probable that if the Viet Nam war had been financed with new taxes which doubled everyone's tax burden, Congress would have questioned the need for combat forces that cost millions of dollars per minute in a remote jungle on the other side of the earth."



"...The history of taxation is a history of the law of unintended consequences. One of these is that high tax rates yield declining revenues because of tax avoidanceThe process whereby an individual plans his or her finances so as to apply all exemptions and deductions provided by tax laws to reduce taxable income."



"Through tax avoidance, an individual takes advantage of all legal opportunities to minimize his or her state or federal flight, and economic decline. Countless great empires learned this lesson centuries before the birth of Art Laffer. What is frustrating is that the lesson has had to be repeatedly relearned and still needs to be relearned (witness the Clinton administration). From the early 1900s through 1980, tax rates continually spiraled upward. The United States, Britain, and other nations adopted top income-tax rates of 90 percent and more.
Remember, historically high growth rates don't always mean a high rate of growth looking into the future. Growth slowed to a crawl while tax havens like the Grand Cayman Islands and Hong Kong flourished. During the last years of Soviet communism, the Gorbachev government lowered the top income-tax rate to 55 percent, a rate lower than now exists in much of the "free" world and lower than the top rate that prevailed in the United States from Franklin Roosevelt through Jimmy Carter."

"...Soak-the-rich schemes inevitably mean fewer rich to tax. In 1971 the Rolling Stones fled the United Kingdom and its oppressively high tax rates. As Mick Jagger explained: "We were forced to make a decision courtesy of the British government--live in England and not be able to afford another set of guitar strings, or move and keep the band together...."

2011-01-30

Killing The Voice

Al Jazeera loses license in Egypt. Cut the people.

For shame.

Can't happen here in North America?


President Obama, friend to the omnipotent state, wants a kill switch for the internet.

Bossa Nova With Astrud Gilberto

Joao Gilberto introduced the 'Bossa Nova' sound in jazz. Some of the great recordings involved Stan Getz with Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto.



Lazy, Lazy, Lazy, Tsk, Tsk, Tsk

I don't normally do this because if I did, this blog would be nothing more than a factchecking site (which, believe me I've contemplated. Not so long ago I compiled a list of conservative and liberal misquotes. Then it expanded into sports. Then I realized the time and energy needed to properly research and make sure you didn't make the same errors journalists and punits were making was waaaayyyy too much. Maybe if I had a team of true independent minds, but for now...)

***

Still. I did find l'affaire Bachmann interesting. One because it's recent, and two, because after all the talk about rhetoric in the aftermath of Tucson there goes the monkey our of the cracked box.

So. After watching Chris Matthews, in all his civil and intellectual glory, seize the reigns of American history (because you know no one will. You go Chris!), I decided to actually watch Michelle Bachmann's speech and the now infamous alleged comment about John Qunicy Adams, the Forefathers and slavery.

I know. Doing things for yourself is hard.

Perspective and context I try to keep. Sometimes, I get a little help from my blogging friends but overall, that's the theme of this blog.

Whenever I read liberals complain about conservatives, it's usually about taking things out of context.

Fair enough.

However, I constantly see both sides doing it.

And so I believe it's the case here with Bachmann.

The claim is she said the Founding Fathers, including John Quincy Adams, fought tirelessly to eradicate slavery.

What she in fact seems to have meant was, the men who documented America's history knew slavery was wrong and that "our forebears" worked tirelessly to eradicate it including John Quincy Adams - which of course, he did. Even to the point of losing his friendship to the pro-slavery propopent John Calhoun. But he couldn't pass his policies through Congress. The stage was set for Lincoln.

The key and operative word here is 'forebears.' Actually there were two key words that link the overall context of the message. Can anyone guess them? Forebears and...Mayflower.

What makes it cloudy is she did say, "what the founders wrote in those documents." Which documents exactly? The "pre-Constitutional" documents? She seemed to be mixing things up a little. She jumped around but is it in the manner being depicted in the media? What do you think?

Now, I guess this is where someone can take it to mean Founding Fathers and run with it and then lead to a Chris Matthews "bubble head" tirade (civility again anyone?). However, she alluded to the Mayflower just a minute before and it's more likely she meant forebears in an ancestral context.

But I do expect a lot more from the New York Times:

"Last week, Bachmann was in Iowa, setting off alarm bells about her possible presidential ambitions and delivering a speech in which she claimed that the founding fathers had “worked tirelessly” to eradicate slavery. She then cited John Quincy Adams, who was not a founding father."


I guess what Bachmann is guilty of is oversimplifying the slave issue and implying that "all our forebears" fought to eradicate it because clearly they didn't. It's not an easy subject to insert in a speech. Where Bachmann failed to express her views in a manner that a layman could grasp, this journalist was just plain lazy in doing their job. She preyed on the layman's ignorance herself without much journalistic dignity. It's ok. She's not alone. That shit happens all the time. Man, sports journalists at ESPN are so lazy it makes me want to start my own sports network - with Ron Burgundy at the helm.

***
I don't believe, despite all their shortcomings, American politicians are ignorant - or at least the way leftists are trying to depict it - of their history to the point of idiocy.

Now if a slighty misinterpretation as this is enough to set off the left, then dammit, I call out Obama for his 57 states comment.

Did that make him "ignorant?" Of course not, it probably was a slip up. So...why not give the same courtesy or benefit of the doubt here? I mean, the evidence seems to point that Matthews is every bit of an intellectual charlatan as Beck is. And someone should send Rachel Maddow a book on basic finance and economics. Just saying.

Now, where I did raise an eyebrow was around the 24:50 mark when she asserted "regardless of your color of your skin." It's true the original settlers from Europe were escaping aristocratic regimes and that America was founded on the principle of a "classless" society where everyone could move up the socio-scale, but I'm not so sure skin colour was part of that equation - or at least in the way she asserted it.

Freshly Squeezed Middle Class

Interesting conversation on the comments thread (and post) about the American middle-class.

The Canadian middle-class is also squeezed. Her point about the very rich and poor (as wards of the state)doing ok applies here as well.

2011-01-29

We Need To...

Like I said, take care of your own biz. Here in Quebec, we're obsessed with Scandinavia. Newsflash: We're not Sweden. We don't have the same mindset to do what they do.

2011-01-28

A Musical Angel Walked Past Me

One day music will catch up to Laura Nyro.

I thought I had a fair grasp on music. How ignorant I was. I can't believe despite all my travels and travails on the music path I never came across her. Shows how under the radar she is.

It's criminal and a shame.

Absolutely beautifully haunting and rich with a melancholic soul. If you're a music fan take some time to check her repertoire on youtube.

I can't post them all.





Pour Un Instant

For one moment, I thought I heard the Quebec band Harmonium.

The song was written by Serge Fiori.

An Italo-Quebecer. Just saying.

It's a wonderful song. One that easily cuts across cultural and language barriers.

More State Of The Union

Obama put himself "out there."

Live Egypt

For those interested, watch what's going on Egypt live at Al-Jazeera. Egypt is a strategically important geo-political country in the region.

Muslim Population Growth

Well, it really didn't take a genius to see this was happening.

As to what kind of impact this will have, I have some thoughts and perhaps some concerns but I'll just let the article speak.

All I know is the non-Muslim Arabs I speak to are far, far more intolerant of what's going on than non-Arabs are.

***

A Greek friend of mine once explained to me why they oppose Turkey in the EU. Aside from that whole Ottoman Empire thing, they feel demographics are on the Muslim side and letting them in is a death sentence for Greece and even the West.

So he explained.

Me And My Mask

Some of you have wondered what I look like. Me in my younger years. Quite frankly, it used to creep the teachers out. I once over heard one say to her colleague, "Must he always keep his mask on? What kind of parents does he have?"

They couldn't tell but behind the mask I cried.

2011-01-27

China Syndrome

I don't get all this comparing to China American political elites and commentators are making. "In China, they have this and that." I saw this in the 1990s with Japan. It was thought Americans would have to structure its business models along Japanese lines. And as I've said many times in the past, my accounting professor in university strongly suggested we all learn Japanese.

I ignored her. I stuck to English, French and Italian. Largely because I spoke all three poorly and was too lazy to take another on. If I was going to learn a language it was going to be Elvish.

Anyway, in China - for the most part because part of its economy is free-market - what the people get is what the authoritarian government gives and dictates. China may be a power - or at least still a developing one - but in my view, it still lags the United States on so many levels it's not even funny. Just on per capita wealth alone it can't compete. Now, of course, they have the critical mass to match America's prowess but they still have to account and take care of a super large agrarian population. That alone eats at their power margins and is rightfully a major concern for Chinese officials.

China also has serious demographic (mostly male) and environmental problems.

America has such a jump start socially, technologically and economically even given its issues it shouldn't be looking to China for inspiration.

Americans should quit whining like a bunch of pampered cynics and get back to damn work on maintaining in what I regard to be the most important country on the planet.

The only standards they should be setting is their own.

That's my state of the union message.

Anti-Government Protests In Egypt

It's not everyday the Arab world does this sort of thing. I mean, we're talking Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen here.

50 Already For Gretzky?

My take on Wayne Gretzky at Sportsperspectives.

2011-01-26

The Commentator's State Of The Union Commentary Blitz

I "promised" my lametinkings on the State of the Union and by golly I'ma gonna kiptoit.

In point form:

-I wasn't going to watch it but Skeptical Eye was having some fun with it so I played along. It's not like there was anything on TV and I had had a long day....damn cabinets at the daycare causing me a pointless headache. I digress.

-President Obama's essential message was "government is a warm gun, momma." I found it interesting how he went out of his way to point out how government was at the forefront of innovation pointing to the space program, GPS and the Internet. It did have the human resources to produce breakthrough ideas but the actual execution of it came from the private side of the equation. That is, the money collected to pay for the talent came from taxes and the equipment used was manufactured by private companies. No matter how you dice it, it begins with private sector will, money and innovation. All government can do is encourage, and sometimes coerce, private business into a certain direction since it doesn't make anything. Partnership I can go with. State as the point of origin? Less so.

-About spending. Mixed signals. There were good points but too many "on the other hands" to name here.

-He staked his claim to presidential immortality on innovation. His vision is to push America into the next phase of economic evolution. Notably the green economy.

- He used the phrase "it makes no sense" twice. One on making a point about taxes if memory serves me correctly and the other about the insanity of multiple bureaucracies. I liked his salmon joke. It actually made me laugh.

-I wholeheatedly agree with his position on teachers and calling for people to join their ranks. We don't have enough of them on the continent let alone America. He's absolutely right about the time has come that we celebrate a science fair winner as we do a Super Bowl champion. While we're at it, take the Kardashians and this Snooki gal off TV please. By the way, I had the Chicago Bears on my "bonus" grid. He said "Super Bowl." Damn, him.

-Obama talks a good game but can he sink a three at the buzzard? Union addresses are exactly that: General points wrapped in smooth talk. But I think he did a good job articulating his vision.

-On liberty. Here's the thing. Invoking into the imagination the concept of liberty and freedom will always work. It resonates. Maybe Americans (and Canadians) take freedom for granted but always remember about the dude listening on his shortwave radio trying to avoid state thugs to American leaders and its people committing itself to freedom. You can't quantify the impact that stuff has on people struggling abroad to find their proper voices. To them, they need someone to speak on their behalf and America is that voice.

-Michelle Bachmann's response. Standard stuff. Must they always reference the military to make a point about freedom and determination? I love a good military reference once in a while but it's become part of their lexicon. It'a a bit rich.

-About the military. I reckon to many Americans the Pentagon budget is too big. That cutting it and scaling it is necessary. My only adivce is once you start cutting don't let it slide indefinitely. If you, you end up in a situation like Canada. After WWII we had the third largest and modern army on the planet despite beginning the century as a tiny, colonial outpost with little independent authority. By 1945, we sat at the table of nations like a proud, growing, strong teenager about to enter adulthood. Then, by the 1960s, probably because we knew American military might was in the background, we began slashing our military budget to the point we have the smallest army in NATO only bigger than Iceland - which has no military.

We eradicated our historical memory with the military and with it its heritage only to live in a series of vignettes on commercials.

2011-01-25

Obama's State Of The Union

Say what you want, but the State of the Union Address is great political theater. I wish our political leaders would talk to the nation more.

I'll write up my thoughts - maybe - tomorrow.

I'm tired tonight.

RBC Ad

Take a look at the image to my left. It's all you need to know about the Royal Bank. The jolly ole chap has a hat, a blue suit and gold tie. You don't see it in the image, but he's also wearing black wingtip shoes. Dude even has a handkerchief.

I mean, is this early 19th century London or 21st century Toronto? Nothing against conservative values especially with finance but...

I have little in common with him.

Their conservatism doesn't jive with my small business needs.

One Fantastic Four Will Meet Death

"Well now, everything dies, baby, that's a fact. But maybe everything that dies someday comes back."

Atlantic City, Bruce Springsteen.

Another Superhero is about to bite the dust. This time a member of the legendary Fantastic Four is expected to be killed by Marvel Comics.

DC started the death trend (well, technically Ben Parker and Bucky Barnes (Cap. America's sidekick) died first. But Superman was the first truly iconic hero to be cut down) with Superman back in the early 1990s and since then Bat-Man, Robin and Captain America have all died. Not only that, Spider-Man is also scheduled to be executed sometime in the future.

When you think of it, purging is good once in a while. It very much mirrors the cycles of history when movements, ideas, eras and empires die and resurrect. Some come back in different forms; some better than ever, some less so. It's no different with our mythical legends. How many stories can one drum up indefinitely with the same old arc and plot with the same character?

Killing and starting new, if done right, can be invigorating.

None of these guys stay dead anyway.

Ask Superman.

Butler's Impact On Canadian History

Putzing around the internet I came across Sir William Francis Butler. An Irish adventurer, he helped established the North West Mounted Police which later morphed into the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The R.C.M.P? Never heard of them.

Butler once said:

"The nation that will insist upon drawing a broad line of demarcation between the fighting man and the thinking man is liable to find its fighting done by fools and its thinking by cowards."


Income Inequality

Interesting Gini Index graph measuring income gaps/inequality. The reasons of course are varied and complicated. Notice the upward trend of the U.S., China and UK (though the growth seems higher with the last two). Even India seems to be breaking out. Also, France started the post-war era among the highest and then proceeded with the biggest drop. Italy too witnessed quite a drop from its highs.

South American countries in general maintain persistently high icome level gaps.

Canada and Germany have remained stable.

Click on image to enlarge.

Fitness Master Lalanne Passes

Jack Lalanne was a legend.

"Physical culture expert" as his videos showed. I love the video on the first page of his website. Bad diet and fitness can lead to not just the fall of America but the West as well. For him to have been talking about it back in the 1950s shows how long this problem has persisted.

I include Canada in this trend. We've cut gym classes to neglible levels. "Taxing" things or "banning" them is not the answer. Education is key. That's the Lalanne legacy. Alas, has anyone listened?

2011-01-24

I Declare War

I was making risotto earlier today with the TV on in the background. When I took a moment to look up, I saw a commercial for some show called 'The Kardashians Take New York' or some shit.

And shit it was.

It blows my mind the utter gunk garbage that gets on television these days.

In fact, not to be judgmental or anything, but there are waaaayyyy too many jerkjackoffs filling the tube making too much money. And guess what? They make it because people are actually watching.

I mean, who are the Kardashians exactly? I vaguely recall one being on a sex video tape and next thing we know she's "important?"

Fuck off.

It's the Paris Hilton disease.

***

So what's the solution, then?

Well, I'll tell you.

Lights Linus, please.

What we need is a good, old fashioned plague followed by a Dark Age to purge us of all the clowns who make it to the top including those taking important political and social decisions. I mean, I can't listen to the radio without someone making an asinine comment be it political, sports related or whatever else.

Once gone, and I'm afraid some good people will die too, humanity will benefit from bright minds who will take over and catapult mankind into another age of enlightenment.

Maybe then people will shrug their shoulders in disinterest when a "report" about Angelina Jolie makes it on the front page of a website or newspaper.

Thank you.

***

My biggest fear in life is having my daughter copy idiots on TV or sitting around listening to crappy music and watching programming that is specifically designed to destroy brain cells.

In order to prevent this I must play my part.

For example, I play a game called "Country, Continent or Planet?" with my daughter. I'll ask 20 questions like "Canada: Country, continent or planet?" And she has to guess which one.

She's pretty good at it now.

I realized the only way she'll have a fighting chance is if I take the time to teach her that learning is important. I want her to be able to critically assess, thinkand decide things for herself.

So today I decided to take the game up a notch. I spent $60 on - including a math-phonics-spelling-vocabulary book for first graders. She's in kindergarten - an Atlas and a book about maps for kids. In them, they discuss the planets, space, reading comprehension of maps and stuff like "Longitude and Latitude."

My wife takes care of cornerstone, bedrock, foundational things like reading, math and spelling since she's a teacher. I can offer other things. My interests lie in the stuff school is increasingly overlooking like geography and history. Slowly, I'm teaching her about basic financial concepts like "currency," "Saving," "bank accounts" and the like.

Geography in particular is losing its place in schools I reckon.

Alas, that won't happen here.

Slowly, she'll learn to appreciate knowledge for its own sake and this will lead to natural wisdom. After that, it's all up to her but at least I will have planted the seeds of curiosity in her.

I've declared my own private war on the Kardashian-Hilton scourge.

Taxes Snack On Income

How much do Americans pay in taxes?

More here.

As for Canada, check this out. PP 17 and 24 are interesting.

Taxes erode personal wealth. It's not an ideological argument but a straight mathematical one. You can debate the purpose of it but in terms of cost there's a consequence.

Alas, the average person is conditioned to think it doesn't. I saw it time and again when it came, for example, to credit cards. People only considered the final total of what they owed but rarely covered the actual cost of interest eating away at their capital.

Taxes do the same thing. If there's one thing that drives me pissbatshit nuts is when I hear someone say, "whoopee-do! It's five dollars less on pay. Stop complaining!" or "What's a 5% increase? People can take it!"

If you think in this manner, you'll likely never make or grow your money. It's not the "one-time hit" you have to consider regardless of class. Rather, the overall tax burden picture. Of course 5% or five bucks is "nothing." But when you add up five bucks across several items it adds up. Besides, 5% may not be much to someone earning 80k but to someone earning 30k it's a different story. The last comment came from a Montreal councilman on the radio last year.

Look, if I don't watch it, taxes can pose a challenge for me. It's that simple. I have to account for it from payroll taxes all the way down to corporate and personal income taxes. At every stage of my cash flow, taxes are paid. When you add it all up, the government takes a nice chunk-a-change. Anyone is free to demand taxes are necessary, they just don't have the right to tell people who much they can absorb. Excessive and arbitrary taxes are a drain and are inefficient.

There are ways around paying so much (which is why you should talk to a financial advisor or accountant) and the average person has no real reason to not want to pay their share, but the bottom line is we do give (some say waste) at least 50% of our money to various taxes away no matter how you dice it up.

It's up to us to decide if that's appropriate or not.

***

Advice? If you plan to start a business (heck, you can do this for any exercise), make sure to factor in the taxes you will pay on everything.

It gives you a more realistic picutre.

Canadian Armed Forces Ad

I've always liked these Canadian armed forces recruitment commercials.

"Fight fear, distress and chaos. Fight with the Canadian armed forces."

2011-01-23

Sometimes You Just Have To Nod And Ignore

Seriously?

I mean, really. Seriously? For true? Someone actually tried to claim private liquor stores lead to more deaths than public controlled ones?

Yeah. Right.

"We need to make informed decisions as a community about what can be done," Stockwell said.

"We may choose the extra convenience but we need to know what the cost is."

Right.  

I need a gin tonic.

Welfare State And African-Americans

I'm sure Walter Williams drives liberals nuts.

Especially with stuff like this. The welfare state did more harm to blacks than slavery?

Gun Control In Canada

For some, the effectiveness of gun control in Canada is not a fait accompli.

It is believed the cost of the gun registry in Canada is outrageous. But, as I said, we're divided on the issue.

From the first link:

Comparing two twenty-year periods, one where one could legally own almost anything, and one with "strict laws": from 1974 to 1993 the Canadian homicide rate was roughly 2.4 murders per 100,000 persons and from 1946 to 1965 it was about 1.1 per 100,000. [Dominion Bureau of Statistics and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics]


In the 22 years from 1973 to 1994, the rate was never below 2, and in the 42 years before 1973, the Canadian homicide rate was never above 2 (murders per 100,000 persons). [Dominion Bureau of Statistics and Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics]

That all being said, this report from This Magazine does a good job of discussing it. Equipped with a myth chart.

***

For fun, I post this little resource about murder rates in the European Union.

***

The thing that distiguishes the United States from everyone else, obviously, is the "right to bear arms" phrase in the Constitution. Switzerland has interesting gun laws - just saying.

Support Iranium

For all you freedom loving folks out there here's your chance to blog less about it and actually support it by attending Iranium at the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa as part of the Free Thinking Film Society festival.

As is usually the case, anti-democratic jerkoffs - through the threat of protest of course - have enough sway to allow censorship to win the day.

As for me, my open house for my day falls on, you guessed it, February 5th and 6th.

Good luck to Iranium nonetheless.

D-O-U-C-H-E Bag

Denis Leary's Douchebag Song.



There's a better but edited version on youtube if you want it.

2011-01-22

It's The End Of The World As We Know It

Doomsday Science Festival in Rome.

Mostly about the probabilities the human race is on its last legs and will soon (relatively speaking) be extinct.

The Canadian angle here.

About Business

Here's a neat helpful resource if you're about to start a business.

I lie mostly on the "Do's" side, but I have engaged in a couple of "Don'ts" though not like the ones listed here.

The reality is you gotta do what you gotta do; even if it means using your credit cards. Just try and make sure you can pay them down quickly enough. Think Duddy Kravitz.


I made some errors but nothing, I reckon, I can't overcome in due time.
Keeping up with obligations while you have no revenues coming in is a struggle so bear that in mind because 'Mr. Nerdy Pants Credit Scorerer' only wants payment:

"Starting a business? How nice! Really, a daye care? Wow, nice service for society. Yeah, I know. I understand it's hard. Now fuck you, pay me."

How's my Ray Liotta?



So make sure you got some liquidity somehow, kids.

And yes, as the resource mentions, don't expect the banks to be on your side in the way you think. Banks are a business and you're a mashed up piece of dollar sign to them. Don't be fooled by Royal Bank commercials casting themselves as "friendly" to small businesses. They're "friendly" on their terms.

Hey, it's biz-nis.

I mention it in this manner because people seem to be under the impression banks owe them something - or something - and react incredulously when they discover they can't get what they want or need. Only deadbeat corporate bums get the benefit of the doubt. Sorry, had to put that low blow in there.

Keep your eyes open and think outside the box when it comes to finance. Money is out there.

Smaller, local banks tend to be more open and look, where applicable, for credit unions or banks that specialize in your industry. They'll understand you better.

In one case in dealing with a bank, I did the mistake of assuming they knew my business giving the prevalance of daycare here. It was like talking to Borat the communication was that bad. I approached five banks and one came through and the other gave me a hard time before giving in.

If you're not determined, don't bother jumping on such a venture. Or else you'll vomit stress to the point of ruining your body. If you're the type that freaks out when the price on a mutual fund - never mind common stock - fluctuates by calling your broker or banker, then maybe it's a sign you're not cut out for business.

Me? I spat at my statements and gave it a karate chop whenever my market value was down. But I wouldn't recommend either because it can be messy and lead to injury.

Is The World Sick?

As you can tell, Kinsella's "sick soul" mumbo-jumbo got me going.

Worst massacres in history. Notice that killing is very much a human thing. If America is "sick" then the world died long ago.

More on Arizona Shooting

The Economist on Loughner shooting and the case for gun control.

"...None of this is useful or clever—and it is no less awful because the American left is also guilty of crass hyperbole. But it is a big (and so far unjustified) leap to blame the woeful state of American political discourse for the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman, and the killing of six people in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8th (see article). Worse, by focusing on this issue, America is ignoring the real culprit: its gun laws..."



"....And even if intemperate political language did to some degree help stew Mr Loughner’s brain—along with violent video games, Goth music and marijuana—there is nothing to be done about it. Rambunctious debate is central to America’s democracy. The first amendment protects free speech even more firmly than the second protects guns—the real villain of the piece, besides the killer himself...."



"...It is fanciful to imagine that guns will ever disappear from America; they are too deeply embedded in its founding myths and its culture. But that does not mean that more effective checks on the mentally unstable are impossible, or that restrictions on the killing power of what can be sold are doomed to failure. Neither of these will happen, though, unless the blame is directed to where it belongs...."

Me? Gun control won't keep a crazy down.

1982 Massacre In South Korea

I guess this can be for people like Warren Kinsella.

Worse killing spree in modern history. Thanks to South Korea.

Hey, America is not #1!

Tax Rates

Marginal tax rates have come off since their highs in the 1970s.

I tend to agree with their conclusion on how the inefficient value of tax discourages entrepreneurship.

In analyzing my cash flow, my expenses represent 75% of my revenues before taxes. 40% of which goes straight to salaries (and payroll taxes) mostly inflated thanks to government regulations. Then come all the fixed costs (including property taxes and taxes I pay on rent, maintainance, insurance etc.) and realities of doing business. The way I see it, it goes towards keeping other businesses alive. The economy has to roll somehow.

Then, once I settle my operating profits come the corporate taxes. They're reasonable in my opinion, and my net profit is still healthy but to those who advocate still higher corporate taxes be careful because if they go to high it may lead a person like me to determine it's not worth the investment, time and effort.

Not good either.

Finally, the marginal income tax I pay for the salary I intend to pay myself. Personal taxes for stuff like public health, education and unemployment insurance which self-emplyed workers have no right to, and even though I'm beginning to use private practioners more and more, and plan to send my child to private school.

That's the trade off I reckon. If my business goes bad, and took advantage of the lower taxes by managing my money prudently, then I'm less of a burden on society since I can take care of myself, but it's not always the case. Some businesses just aren't profitable. Still, there's a fair argument for a self-employed worker who pays into it should be able to get help when in trouble. I know there was a debate about this last year in Parliament when politicians wanted to extend UI benefits.

I can see, and this is just guessing on my part, why politicians don't increase corporate taxes too much. Aside from possible cronyism on a bigger scale, on small businesses, they can erode our bottom line 'just like that' given the amount of hidden and not so hidden taxes we already pay. The reality is we need business.

In my case, I could probably absorb a higher rate. I won't like it - since I put my ass on the line and have employee and debt obligations. That's another thing people who call for higher taxes on business don't seem to accept, we take the risk and so should technically keep the majority of the rewards. That's your trade off in a society. I take on risk the majority of society can't or won't do. I invest, hire, spend, and pay taxes. The least they can do is leave my corporate taxes alone. Just because I make "a lot" of money doesn't entitle a person to ask the state to confiscate it - but what can you do?

Nonetheless, at about 28%  I think Quebec has struck a fair balance. I don't know how businesses in California survive.

In any event, there's something to be said of bettering society by doing your bit through taxes. Personally, I give a lot to charities. Well, gave. The last couple of years all my capital was poured into my venture. I plan to give again.
The best I can do is ask the state to not squander it. At which point we enter the Theorizing Zone and ask how much is enough for the government?

I'll post more about my experiences as we move forward. The best way to discuss it is to use real life examples. Maybe my thoughts will change altogether.

2011-01-21

Daycare Update

I figure I'm about one month away from my grand opening. Until then, I'm taking more punches than Thomas Hearns in his hey day. I just hope I can remain standing.

The one thing I've observed that's been constant is the natural distrust of business people have. It's truly remarkable. They've been fed a load of crap to be frank.

I can only explain as it relates to me personally.

My director I hired comes from the public day care side. This private adventure is new to her and it's interesting to listen to her speak about private daycares. The prevailing attitude is that private daycare operators are in it for the money. So much greed they possess it comes at the expense of quality. Naturally, hence, the need for government involvement.

Frankly, I welcome it. Up to a point. Daycares "prends soins" of our nation's most precious commodity: Children. By its nature it should on some level involve the state. The question is to what degree? Personally, and I mean really personally, I wished we were at a stage in our evolution where man would govern on its own free of the state. I just don't know if we're there. I think, with my game plan in place, I can prove we can make it work without big brother looking over us.

While there's no doubt there are some terrible private day cares, public run day cares have had to face serious issues as well. As with all government projects, eventually the unionized worker is at odds with the state. Next thing we know, the government simply can't keep up with the costs associated with all the demands.

It's a broken record story.

In my case, I've had to embed in her mind I'm interested in first securing a stable day care of premium quality - so far as we can afford it. I'm not subsidized and so don't live in a freeloading, la-la land financial black hole. I can't really on a handout. I actually have to account for every penny.

Teaching someone that cutting or controlling cost is not evil but, well, necessary in order to survive the opening months is tough. Luckily for me, she understands. My goal and objective, as I explained to her, is to reach a point where I can offer similar perks to the state side and superior to the competition on the private side.

What's going to make me succeed (or fail)  is not whether I'm "greedy" but simply a question of values. The reason why, I believe, some day cares fail to meet high standards is not because people are "cheap" but incompetent and lack the humanistic qualities and understanding of the type of service they're engaging in.

I can see why a public official would think the former. It's what they've been fed. Malarkey, balarkey. Moreover, there's a vested interest in thinking this as it maintains a certain "we versus them" mentality with public officials on the side of the people. Humanism versus capitalism.

I merge the two and don't see how they're mutually exclusive.

What they don't compute in their minds is the presumptuousness of their positions.

In my case, my intentions are good and clear. I don't need to be spoken to in a paternalistic tone just because some a-hole messed up his or her daycare. That's life. You simply can't control things.

The government, God bless them, tries but it's a battle they can't possibly win. Or even be involved in.

Listening to some, there's no doubt we have a natural "anti-business" default switch. I see it in Obama and I see it in officials I speak to. They tolerate business as a necessary evil. They don't always see business as being an agent for good capable of improving society. They figure it must be regulated into submission.

Yes. Profits are the bottom line. That's the game. It's not an easy balance for sure. It's the grand question facing Western capitalist oriented democracies.

In my case, the type of industry I've chosen, despite the lucrative aspect, it commands I think like a public servant within a capitalist structure. I get that.

Just spare me the paternalism and assumptions of what my intentions and motives are.

Maybe I'll succeed. We'll see. But one thing is for sure...

I'm nervous.

Kinsella Misses

In light of a recent discussion about why I blog and how I try to straddle the American-Canadian line, this article by Warren Kinsella is the perfect reason to explain why I blog. Some may mistake my positions as "pro-American" and "anti-American" when nothing can be further from the truth. I just pluck out opinions in our nation's discourse I consider to be puerile and of little worth in contributing to our national intelligence. I mention the U.S. because our commentators seem to remain slaves to the "let's compare ourselves to prove our worth" navel-gazing narrative. It's annoying at this point.

It's exactly this sort of logic that makes me want to scream.

"Why do these things happen? Because, in some ways, America’s heart is sick, too. Because – unlike up here – Americans make guns far more available than they should. And they make guns more readily available to sick young men such as Loughner.


That, mostly, is why these things keep happening."

Specious and, dare I say with a hint of unnecessary and unfounded smugness.

Just a couple off the top of my head remarks:

-Crime - murder in particular - has in fact been decreasing in the United States (according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics from a peak of 10 per 100 000 in 1974 to five where it stands today) whereas in Canada, (the link goes to Stats Can. I called them to ask them a question and one thing I learned is the way they collect data is by culling all reports from police forces across the country) despite some increases, has stabilized since the 1980s.

On that fact alone, Kinsella's "sick" assertion is bogus. It's an empty piece of thought. How does one even measure the "sickness" of a nation? Sheesh.

-On a general level, let's take Montreal. My city has witnessed two major tragic school shootings in the last 20 years - Univeristy de Montreal and Dawson College. I would like to see how many major cities on the continent had as many. Did Canadians ask why we were so "sick?" Did they wonder if their moral fiber was in jeopardy when they discovered Clifford Olson, Paul Bernardo, Karla Homolka (who was set free), Robert Pickton and the gruesome decapitation of a young man on a Grey Hound bus were Canadian killers?

Of course not. We dismissed them as isolated incidences and not as some proof of the degredation of Canada.

However, they're sad reminders and facts of reality. No amount of legislation will ever rid us of this predictable part of our DNA.

-"Why they keep happening?"

Well, aside from the fact he doesn't support statistical facts, it would be best to separate the fact from the perception. Again, as I mentioned in an earlier post, America has 310 million people. It's a numbers game. The question is, if America is so sick, then why isn't this happening more frequently? For now, they remain pretty isolated.

I would not be surprised if such a stat exists, to find that the typcial American is as safe as any Canadian.
For a lawyer, I'd expect him to come up with far stronger facts to support his claims.

Can we once and for all knock off the bull shit about Americans "being sick" and Canadians being so lucky?

Maps Of Political War

So.

The same? Different?

The language is similar.

Again from the top:

Politics is war by other means.

***

A reminder. I don't recall much talk about civility then.

2011-01-20

What Ever Happened To?

The anti-war protestor? By way of the fiscal conservative under Bush I reckon. Meh. Only the hard left and libertarians continue to protest.



Obama baby killer. Has a nice ring to it.

Oh. If you think along the lines of "well, he didn't start them" two things to argue. One, true but he maintains them. Two, the war rhetoric with Pakistan and Iran is increasing under Obama.

Love the Nobel War prize slip up in the video.

Jazz Blues Blog Fusion

John Mayall's Jazz Blues Fusion was one of the first blues albums I ever bought. Freddy Robinson is on guitar.

Website Of Interest

Center for Public Integrity.

A Life Lived

Interesting life of Sargent Shriver.

And Still More Humor


More Humor


Some Humor

Spike Lee And I-Talians

I'm of Italian heritage as many of you know and I like Spike Lee's movies. It never bothered me none how he "portrayed" Italian characters in his films. Some people I knew were like that.

Blacks have taken their share of hits. Just as Irish and Jews have too. Sometimes, you have a perception of yourself that's not the same as another person. Get it?

It was interesting to see a film as told through different eyes.

Are stereotypes about Italians a lame game these days? Perhaps. However, I don't think Italian-Americans getting sensitive on the issue is energy well-spent.

It goes the other way too. Italians are often portrayed in a positive light either as singing artists, first rate food lovers, fashion experts and so on.

Italians: The good, the beautiful, the bad and the ugly. Take it or leave it the way I see it.

And I totally agree with him about the 'Jersey Shore' quip. I have no idea how these people are getting on television.

Bastarache Commission Closes Case

The Bastarache commission clears Premier Jean Charest.

Who knows what really goes on?

2011-01-19

Vandalizing Synagogues

The strawman here? "We attack Jewish institutions because of Israeli policies."

Bull shit. We're in Canada and as long as you're here keep your dirty laundry elsewhere.

It's anti-semitic and it must be condemned strongly.

***

It'll be interesting to see who the culprits are this time around. Quebec has a long history of anti-semitic behavior.

Hateful rhetoric is alive and well.

Lego Replica

I'll tell you one thing (ok, maybe I've said more than one over the years), Canadians don't have the same attachments to their University as Americans do their Colleges. It's not even close.

Firssample, 1 million Lego pieces were used to build a replica of Ohio State's Horseshoe.

***

I remember years ago stopping off in some town in south Vermont or Massachusetts or some place for a coffee on our drive down south. We were overlooking a packed football field. I asked the waitress what level of play it was and she responded it was a high school game. We're talking 10 000 strong. It was amazing.

NO ONE used to come watch our high school soccer games and we won the championship two years in a row. University football is lucky if it gets an average of 5 000. Heck, our own unique and exciting brand of CFL football struggles to pack in the crowds from time to time. It boggles my mind how a place like Winnipeg with a solid football tradition doesn't sell out every single game.

It's better now thanks to some advertising and TSN exposure, but I remember a time when the league died a thousand deaths (though Western support has always been strong) only to survive thanks to the Haida gods or something. Around 1985 I attended a Montreal Alouettes game (remember this is pro football) with 800 people in attendance.

2011-01-18

Blog Of Note

It's Only Teenage Wasteland is a blog about a teenager dealing with Asperger's Syndrome and bullying.

In fact, it's maintained by my nephew.

Patent Nonsense

About Target coming to Canada.

No person should have a patent on any damn word or name.

American or Canadian.

Politicians Do Right By Store Owner

I disagree with advocates who call for a boycott of a shoe store because some of its shoes are made in Israel. It's misguided on too many levels to bother discussing here.

I'm just glad my values are aligned with politicians - Liberal MP Marlene Jennings is right -  and hope to one day go out and buy a pair to show my support of the Archambault family.

As for Amir Khadir, his five minutes are up.

The anti-democratic, socialist Khadir should heed these words by the store owner:

"There is no one who will tell me what I will sell in my store,'' Archambault said.


Damn right.

Fighting Back Against Censorship

Radio stations in Halifax and Edmonton are showing some moxy by playing Money for Nothing for one hour straight. The entire country should get involved.

Good on them.

They have my support.

Let freedom reign.

Rock on.

About Rhetoric Part Deux

With the Americans going on about "uncivil rhetoric," Canada and Quebec has its share.

No dogs or Anglophones does a nice job culling together hostile commentaries towards ethnics in Quebec.

"Les Americains sont des hombristes." Americans are insular. So went a news report years ago about a museum opening - of all things. Always struck me a little like "pot calling the kettle black."

About the link, I tend to regard them as "fringe" opinions.

***

Of course, the one that will remain imprinted in my mind forever and ever is Jacques Parizeau's infamous and classless "we lost because of the money and ethnic votes" during the 1995 referendum in which the Federal forces won by the slimmest of margins. People forget how close Canada came to being dissolved that night. Tension filled the air.

My friend and I were changing a head light on his car. Hardly a political type, he placed a cigarette in his mouth and said, "I can't believe how sad this is. Of all countries..." And said nothing else.

Indeed. Pure laine (pure stock) separatists act as if they're Palestinians. They're not. They're far, far, far from that scenario. Quite frankly, I find it horribly misguided for them to even remotely compare themselves to them. You ain't gonna get a better existence than in Canada. I admit that much. For all our mediocre and immature disposition at times, one thing we have is peace. Peace of mind. It's the one thing millions of immigrants yearned for when they came here. Over the years I've met and spoken to an endless amount of immigrants from Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Belgium, Armenia, Cuba, Turkey, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Haiti, Portugal, Sri Lanka, India, China, Somalia, Kenya, Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador and countless others and they all had one thing in common in their opinions: Quebec has no idea what true oppression and violence is. They mock those who died in their homelands at the hands of their own government and various sectorial wars.

That night in 1995, we shamed democracy. Later, we discovered illegal spoil ballots and a deceitful question only caused more problems. The Feds, led by the Liberals, went into the election with a tad too much cockiness.

The sad thing about Parizeau's malicious nonsense was how a friend on my street rationalized it at the time: "It's true but you don't say those things in public."

Think about that. It does reveal a certain mindset.

I'd rather be an "ethnic with money" with class than a myopic separatist with none of either.

2011-01-17

A Piece Of Montreal Long Gone

First largely an Irish neighborhood, Italians later moved in until the demolition of Goose Village (Victoriatown) in the mid-1960s.

60 Minutes On Arizona Shooting

Ok. This is likely going to be the last post about the Arizona episode. I just find it fascinating how some people jumped to all sorts of conclusions convinced of their explanations before any facts were gathered.

As I suspected, the more information comes out about Loughner, the further away it moves from the assumptions made early on in the media. Yet, I notice websites on the left keep hammering at something that's not really valid.

Last night I watched 60 Minutes and it revealed a couple of things of note:

One, Loughner's anger towards Gabrielle Gifford began three years ago.

Significant because it was right around the time Sarah Palin was introduced to the American public. The only uncivil rhetoric at the time was reserved for the Bush administration as President Obama hadn't even been elected or had just been ushered into office. The game then would be trying to link Loughner's slow descent into madness to the election of President Obama.

Good luck with that.

Two, he had become obsessed with a movie about a person who dreams about various political philosophies and where the protagonist sets himself on fire - I forget the title. If Palin's website (or conservative punditry for that matter) was the "leitmotif" of his actions, why then - following the logic - shouldn't the movie since it's actually proven to have influenced him?

Three, the report discussed how the Secret Service identifies and handles cases where possible mental illness is present. Rather than a random act, Loughner was well-thought out (and patient) and deliberate in his actions.

Four, he used political language but didn't necessarily have a functional political point or thought - as I argued earlier. I bet he probably didn't know himself.

Five, according to his friends he believed in chaos. Plain chaos.

Nowhere does it say (or anyhwere else for that matter) he was a conservative influenced by Sarah Palin type rhetoric. To cling to this notion at this point is to offer little to the discussion.

This is all in addition to what was reported elsewhere during the week that he was a conspiracy theorist and heavy drug user. What set him off? So far, apparently a break up with his girlfriend may have triggered it.

***

It's interesting none of this has been reported in major papers. If they're so committed to a honest discourse, then why not report this?

Some Justice For Sal Culosi

A swat team sent in for a sports bet? Worse, a senseless killing for...again...a sports bet? How is this not an act of thuggery? Murder? How does this help society in any way? Serve and protect what?

A loss of life over a...bet. To me it is senseless in this case.

Holy crap.

*Face palm*

And EU's Net Contributors Are...

European Union budget.

What's interesting to note, Germany, France, Italy, Holland, Austria, Finland, Denmark and Sweden are net contributors to the EU. In the case of the first four countries, it's not surprising since they are founding members. The other two original members - Belgium and Luxembourg - are net recepients.

As for the UK (also a net contributor) it receives what is called the UK rebate.

Essentially, eight countries (not including Cyprus) carry the "net" load.

About the EU debt structure.

2011-01-16

Remembering Trailer Park Boys

Their entrance alone makes me thoroughly proud to be Canadian.



Lahey is the liquor.

That's Strange

But. But isn't Halifax in Canada?

The Robertson Screwdriver

It is alleged, the urban legend goes, Canadians are dull. Boring. Tete-carree or squareheads. Although the last being a French perjorative to describe an arrogant Anglo-Saxon.

So is it a surprise a Canadian invented the Robertson screwdriver seen here? Yup, it's true. P.L. Robertson came up with it.

Now you'll never look at a robertson without saying to your friends, "A Canadian invented this!" as you raise it pointing to the sky.

Eh.

***

I have to give some props to Folgers. I don't drink filtered coffee and I resent the sappy tones of coffee commercials - yeah, I said resent. I'm miserable that way - but it was nice to see a different spin on one I saw the other day. Usually, we're blasted from all sorts of angles connecting foods to hockey. The narrative goes something like "doughnuts and hockey: a part of our heritage" or some other derelict effect.

After a while it's enough. "Molson Canadian as Canadian as hockey!" or "Cariboo-boo oil, getting hockey moms to games on time!" And so on.

Above all, it's male dominated. For example, fathers buying crappy Tim Hortons coffee at 5am taking their sons to hockey practice.

While it is true this routine is true for so many Canadians across the line, it gets to be old after a while. For me anyway. Go figure, I don't even buy any of the products doing it.

Call me a Canadian whiner.

Anyway.

Folgers decided to be a trailblazer. It maintained the sippy-sappy part but at least they had a father go out on his lawn making ice not for violent boys revving to slap a puck at a window...but for his daughter who went to practice her figure skating.

Fucken-A.

And they even named her 'Alex.'

As a father of a daughter I appreciated it. Especially since, sniff, I take her skating.

*Holds backs tears*

Still won't buy Folgers but they're alright in my book. Well, actually it's a loose-leaf.

Money For Nothing Banned In Canada

Eat shit Canadian Broadcasts Standards Council.

No seriously. Eat it.

Banning Dire Straits Money for Nothing? Effen 25 years later? Are these paternalistic, unelected people grossly insipid or what?

You know, we keep talking out of our asses about freedom and democracy in Canada - yet, certain elements in our bureaucratic culture is anything but.

I didn't vote for these folks.

At this point, let's go and CLEAN UP every piece of art. Down south morons want to ban Huck Finn and there's no shortage of them up here. I'll remember this the next time some index ranks Canada among the "freest" countries.

On that note go get 'em boys and a big stick out of the tongue to the CBSC for even considering this:

2011-01-15

Loughner's Violence

The fine line between violence and mental illness.

He won't be the last.

Unfortunately.

***

I propose an addition to Godwin's Law. As I read comments on various political blogs, it's amazing how quickly Sarah Palin is mentioned. It's fascinating.

How far can a thread go before Palin is brought up?

The great straw woman of our times.

About Rhetoric

Right-wing attitudes during the JFK administration.

Party On

Iconic. 'Louie, Louie' is The definitive "wild party" song.

No one really knows how many times it's been covered. Originally written in 1955 by Richard Berry, the best known version came in 1963 with The Kingsmen - with incoherent lyrcis and all:



Berry's version (1957):

2011-01-14

Whenever I Call Your...

I wrote a song once...Whenever I call you bitch...and Whenever I call your mom...no one picked it up. It was satirical. What do you expect from a guy who was in a very similar situation (with Pat, Claudio and Johnny) as these fine lads from Animal House starting at the four minute mark.

Memories.

Anyway.

I owned not one, but two, Melissa Manchester 45s by the time I was 13!

Kenny Loggins/Stevie Nicks also did a great version of this song.

Muppets rule.

Is This Progress...

...in Afghanistan?



Corrosive Concordia

It fills me with great satisfaction to post here on this horrible blog with middling ideas and still less middling purpose, stories of when ostensibly good people are corrupt. What? Academics are capabel of bad things? Silence! I will hear none of it! None!

I disagree somewhat about his opinion on Concordia University (and that is the prevailing view), I attended Condcordia by choice. Saying it's a poor version of McGill may be true up to a point I reckon, but I doubt there's much difference in the "quality" of student in each. I'd take on any McGill student in a debate anytime, anywhere. Ok, maybe not anytime since I'm busy and can be a coward when I choose to be. Come to think of it not anywhere either since I don't perform very well in certain environments. In a carefully planned location...with lotsa beer models no problem. Bring it on.

That being said, Concordia is a lame ass institution these days. I stopped giving money to Concordia years ago. I found it pathetic, unacceptable and undemocratic for what the spineless squirms lurking and creeping about the upper echelons of Concordia did when the Palestinian student body resorted to violence a few years back to get their message across.

That forever marked me and I have no interest in being part of that crap. Until they truly clean house they can all kiss my ass.

About Valery Fabrikant, it never struck me as "crazy" he thought people were stealing from him. That nonsense happens ALL THE TIME.

Hard Core Feminism Is Extremism Too

No?

With all the stupid, idiotic, insipid, moronic, self-serving, absurd, and dumb talk about "civil discourse" on the back of something that has nothing to do with it, how is this not part of "uncivil" discourse?

The Dragon And Eagle

I'm aware of the China story. I even studied China for a semester at school. Cool history.

But.

We're overestimating certain aspects of China's power; and underestimating the Eagle.

I think I'm gonna stick with the USA thank you very much.

Just my take.

I enjoyed this piece about the subject.

2011-01-13

No Specific Purpose Or Title Here

I don't post clips from The Office because, well, it would overtake my blog. It's impossible to isolate one clip and if you do you have to literally pour hundred of them. There's too much laughter. If The Simpsons were on youtube it would be over for me.

For the harcore Simpsons viewer:

It tastes like burning...

The goggles do nat-ting...

Mendoza!!!!

Steak?

Anyway, this is relevant to writers and bloggers:



Sooo Dwight:



"Oh my God, you saw that?"

"In German!"



Ok, that's enough.

2011-01-11

Why Media Fails

Sometimes all it takes ONE article in an op-ed to make you stare at the camera with one eyebrow raised like Bugs Bunny.

The New York Times pulled this classic today. An op-ed about the Arizona shooting appealing to "civility" by Paul Kanjorski.

YET.

Here's one of his qutoes from the past:

"Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him [Rick Scott, the Republican candidate for Florida governor] and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him."

Amazing. The thing that blows me away is the editor who allows this to get published. Is he or she ignorant or just plain arrogant?

Journalistic integrity my ass.

I'm waiting for the "it's different" or "liberals have to fight fire with fire" or "taken out of context" or "it's a right-wing frame job" argument.

***

Some conservative thoughts on the shooting here and here.

***

Someone with a Masters in psychology I know made a good point: If such shootings were politically motivated as being described, half the population would act out. Many people for endless reasons, feel isolated wiithout being necessarily ideological or crazy. But they don't. Clearly, this person was mentally ill.

Indeed.

Sheesh.

Some credit for humanity please.

***

As I alluded to in a previous post, statistically, it's still an anomaly.

"Finally, attacking any innocent person is abhorrent and the perpetrators must be severely punished. In my opinion, the relatively few attacks on public officials (fewer than 80 in 60 years with about a third of those aimed at the president) provide no real justification for erecting the modern massive security infrastructure in which government officials and buildings are being increasingly closed off to citizens. I admire Rep. Giffords' willingness to meet and talk with citizens where they live. I hope for her speedy recovery."

The 14 Faces Of Fascism

14 characteristics of Fascism. So how many of the 14 does America - or any nation of your choice and where applicable in the West for that matter - possess?

Seeing that many claim it's really a "fascist state cloaked in as a democracy" as we used to say in the 80s, dude.

Proof Please

Still no proof this "lone wolf" was a right-wing extremist.

And so it closes:

"While discussion has swirled around possible ties between accused gunman Jared Loughner and right-wing extremists, DHS on Monday said department officials “have not established any such possible link”. Levin doesn’t believe extremism was the sole driving factor. “This guy is a mentally deranged person first,” he said, and noted that the mentally ill often latch on to conspiracy theories to layer over their already “obsessive and aggressive template.”


Yet, people are running with the "right-wing" angle. Who's being irresponsible now?

I think Bret and Nikk at SE are a little more on the ball. I think we more or less are seeing this in the same way.

Intolerable Social Actions

I walk by child to school everyday. Even in the winter. I find the cold great northern wind therapeutic. Along the way, you observe the actions of people on the streets and those in their cars. At the cross walk, there still exists people in their cars not willing to perform a complete stop in a school area. That blows my mind. Everyone is in such a hurry. So much so, apparently, they're ready to take a chance on runnin over a kid.

Next, is the sidewalk itself. It's littered with people clogging the middle of the cross path. I think this is unaccepable social behavior. Parents kneel over and adjust their child's hat or school bag or negotiate with them while we are forced to go around them. Not always easy when there's 10cm of snow around you. Worse, they see they're blocking the path and still maintain what they're doing.

Finally, another bad habit parents have is standing talking to their kids or another parent at (in?) the doorway thus forcing the rest of us to either stare and wait for them to finish (I force my way through with an excuse which usually jolts them into reality) or squeeze around them. I love watching people frustratingly meander around such folks with a meek "excuse me." I'm sure with a "idiots" attached to that in their private thoughts. Again, no easy task to with an army of kids (who aren't exactly equipped with social politesse - naturally) are running through going to class.

To not be aware of those around you or to ignore it when you do is an inconsiderate action I choose to not tolerate.

Snap, snap. Wake up, people!

Liberals Fail Test

Not a fan of Noam Chomsky - don't know what the fuss is all about when it comes to his political views. It's not like he's rock solid in his arguments. Anyway. For those of you out there who like him, here's a digestable piece in The Progressive.

In fact, he repeats something I've been saying all along: Ridicule the Tea Party at your peril. Moreover, don't ignore some of their legitimate concerns.

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Ok. I'm going to take a stab. As many long time readers of this blog know or have observed, I tend to stay clear of the "a conservative does this while a liberal does that" type of writing. Too many grey areas to consider in writing in such a clear cut manner.

But I'm going to impart my personal perception of how the left and right are rationalizing the Loughner shooting.

I listen to and read both liberal and conservative radio and publications - and everythig in between - so I think I get the gist of their respective positions. Now keep in mind, I'm not considering the more extreme of each side. Just trying to grasp a general feel for each. I'm sure some of you have a different spin and I do welcome additional thoughts and opinions.

The thing I've liked about conservatives is they actually attempted to go beyond the political aspect of the shooting and explored human themes about death and the inexplicable acts we're capable of. They have, furthermore, explored religion and God. They conclude they really don't have any answers for the Loughner's of this world.

In some cases, I heard one mull over the math and statistical probabilities of it all.

Liberals conversely, so far, have all the answers. It's the rhetoric, stupid. And the lack of gun control. And the right-wing agenda. And Sarah Palin. So the discussion evolves from that perspective onwards.

It seems so churlish. Empty.

You even have (lame) local sports writers making such (unprovable) claims in their sports columns up here.

Not one comment that made you stop and say, "Hmm." Personally, that's what I'm searching for.

Liberals claim to have a conscious and want to be humanists. They're nothing of the sort for when time comes to offer thoughtful ideas about the infallibility of man they falter. They have nothing. Just tired old cliches. And then they wonder why no one is listening.

Socialists are far more agile and reflective when it comes to man's condition. I know some of you may think what's the difference between a socialist and liberal (and they do overlap) but they do have their own philosophical outlook. I don't agree with socialism but it does offer perspectives we should consider, if not heed.

Heck,even  libertarians and anarchists and all the offshoots try harder than liberals these days.

Ok. That's my spiel for the day.