2011-08-31

Solar Modules Manufacturer Bankrupt

Getting used to blogger's new interface. Not sure about it.

Anyway.

This article about Solyndra going under caught my eye. $527 million loan by the U.S. government...poof.

2011-08-30

Idiot Savant Of The Supreme Court

I'm not a "we must over turn everything" kinda guy but do liberals actually believe their ideas are not subject to change?

Reading Walter Russell Mead's (who I generally followed since his excellent essay on the Christian right a couple of years back in Foreign Affairs but I've taken a step back after he outrageously claimed Obama was in Jefferson's class) take on  Clarence Thomas it took me back to the impressionable 1980s. Back then, all I remember was how stupid Reagan was and to a lesser exent during the Anita Hill trials, how immoral Thomas was.

It was pretty apparent watching the news and listening to my teachers. It was the thing to think. Back then there were no popular conservative radio or television shows. The only real source of consistent conservative messages were magazines. Conservatism was an obscure political entity (libertarianism was further "out there" mostly reserved to depict deranged people with assault weapons) even though the concept of conservative values remained very much alive. The transmitters of information weren't conservative nor did they bother to present that point of view. Looking back, I get the sense no wonder there's been an explosion in conservative popularity. In the post-war era, liberal doctrines DOMINATED the continent.

And so be it. Nothing to sneer at. It's just that, honey, I need a change.

I think it's good we're seeing many intellectual and political outlets outside the conservative-liberal dynamic. Today, one can easily reach out to or be exposed to a host of philosophies including libertarianism - which is evolving at a rapid pace - anarchism, socialism, etc.

Thomas was considered a clown but now he's the architect of the destruction of liberalism? Which is it, man?

Things change.

No?

Episcopalian Power!

One of the things I used to hear a lot growing up when discussing American history was how President's weren't Christians; that they were Deists.

It was a recocurring theme I'd see right up to my days in University. It became somewhat comical to listen to history students blather on in cocky intellectual confidence about it.

Yet, no one ever once mentioned that most of them were Episcopalian (which I believe the Bush's belong to. Dubya went Baptist) - a liberal oritented religion - or that none of the Fathers were hostile to Christianity or denounced it. They were skeptical of organized religion, yes, but hardly denied its importance or, more importantly, did they question God's authority.

Geez, this stuff is readily and accurately available and hardly up for discussion!

Green Niche Billionaire

Al Gore is making news again this time pathetically painting global warming skeptics as racists. When all begins to fail, just pin the problem on racism. Presto!

Gore has chosen a most anti-intellectual route. So becoming considering...

He's making a mint on his crusade.

Good for him.

Just don't call people "racists" for disagreeing with you. It's soooo declasse.


Conservative Party Dynasty?

If the Liberals and NDP (the so-called mythical "66% majority") merge, my guess, it will make the conservative party stronger than ever.

It's simple, centrist liberals (disaffected liberals let's call them), will likely flock to the conservatives rather than join a left-leaning agenda.. In this scenario, where the great Liberal party would be decimated, the conservatives will continue its march from the right to center.

It's already begun.

2011-08-29

War Is Fine When Our Side Does It

I find it quite astounding that people who bashed Bush for attacking and invading both Afghanistan and Iraq are spinning in favor of Obama's act of military interventionism in Libya. Not only that, if Iraq was all about oil, what the frick is Libya about? RC Cola? Kick out a dictator or regime change in Iraq? Sounds a lot like Libya.

Get the slow moving, reoccuring picture? War actions are bound to offend the Constitution on some level.

It increasingly feels as if all a President needs to do is "build a coalition" to get a pass to go to war. "Coalition" of course means getting sexy names like Germany (who have taken a "Lennie" from Of Mice and Men, approach to foreign policy in the post war era) and France (the quintessential argumentative "I love you but I don't really does it really matter?" nation) involved. Never mind the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Japan, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Spain, and Palau (!) took part in various ways until 2009. I don't know, but I don't see much "unilateralism" if this list means anything.

Libya should have fallen squarely on the shoulders of the (allegedly) sagacious European Union.

Obama's Uncle Arrested

This was reported a couple of days ago apparently in Australia and Britain and later picked up by the Washington Times.

Classic. Obama's (half) uncle is nabbed and then tries to call the White House.

Priceless.

First his aunt, now his uncle.

Greece Bans Sharia

My friend, who is Greek, sent me this. To those aware Greek-Turkish relations have been, shall we say, sensitive over the years.

Greece decided to abolish Sharia law accorded to Greek Muslims in a 1923 treaty.

Slicing Donkey

Many ways to die.

The Spanish donkey is just one sick example of how humans can be incredibly cruel as this list of vicious torture methods attests.

Slicing Donkey. Sounds like the name of a pub.

2011-08-28

Obama's Magic Bus

Not exactly 'Made in America.'

Pft.

At least, the other half is Canadian.

Take off, eh?

Who Are Those Guys?

Independents. Another term for indecisive?

Much is said about the importance of the 'I's' in American politics, but what if they're just a bunch of "hm, I kinda like pink but purple is nice too! Or maybe fuscia may be for me!" types?

I know Dante wasn't much of a fan of fence sitters who sometimes acted when opportunity presented itself.

Discuss.

NDP Mirror

I think we're going a little, itsy over board with Layton and his legacy.

Robert Fulford's take:

"The way it's worked out, the central function of the NDP is to help members and supporters pretend that they are not living in a society built on capitalism. Democratic socialism is a fairy tale that they tell themselves as consolation for having to exist in a distressingly grubby, money-driven world. New Democrats don't like business, even if they happen to work for corporations. They know and have always known that the profit motive is not a good thing. Many of them are prosperous, many take pride in their expensive houses, exotic vacations and pensions administered on Bay Street. Some have inherited large sums of money. Even so, they don't care to be reminded that corporations make the comfort and convenience of their lives possible. They love their electronic devices but they don't wish to dwell on the fact that computers and iPads exist (and reach us at low prices) because of the burning desire to maximize profit."

Let's run with this.

Hence, why nobody when it counts most, listens to millionaire socialists who then turn around and make movies screaming about how stupid and easily swindled people are. It's a cycle of endless tantruming.

It's easy to take the other guy's money.

Look, I have no interest in the NDP. It's not personal. I'm sure many of them are fine folks and still others excelllent representatives but to me, there are too many separatists and apologists who don't even have the guts to admit it lurk about within the party ranks.

Not only that, it's not a party that remotely considers power derives in the sovereign individual - everything runs through the state first with them. Nothing they say captivates or enchants me.

"...Above all, they can depend on the NDP to keep alive the most influential delusion of the 19th century, the belief that societies can be planned by idealists without the messy chaos of buying and selling. Over the years the New Democrats have mainly functioned as the Not Party. People voted for them because they were Not Liberals or Not Conservatives.



This year, Gilles Duceppe mislaid his sense of timing, blundered dangerously toward separatism and gave Quebec a reason, at last, to vote for the New Democrats: They were Not the Bloc. That's now part of an ancient pattern. The NDP is alt. politics. It's the alternative to other parties, but it's also an alternative to reality."

You're more likely to meet a person explain they voted for the NDP to "get the Bloc" out than actually spell out any policies (of which some are not that bad I admit) or philosophy (which I simply don't share). In sum, the state is too big and we pay enough taxes.

***

More of a shrewd calculation of political opportunism you can't get. Layton should be applauded for that in purely political terms.

If Layton was more popular than Harper, as someone said on something called the TV, he would have been elected Prime Minister.

The more I get into the eye of the planned idealist world, the more I see it's an unrealistic form of distorted anarchy.









Overlooked Founding Father

James Wilson:

"Wilson's greatest achievement in public life was his part in the establishment of the United States Constitution. With the possible exception of James Madison, no member of the Constitutional Convention was better versed in the study of political economy, none grasped more firmly the central problem of dual sovereignty, and none was more optimistic and far-sighted in his vision of the future greatness of the United States."




Canada's Fox

Sun TV still finding its stride four months into its existence.

Phrases I Hate

"Canadians act with humility."

Pish posh.

This nation is filled with insecure braggadocio.

We're obnoxious in our colonial way at times. Canadians, I forget where I read it, have earned a reputation of being boastful abroad.

Anyone who has observed some of us in the States (man, I can't keep count how many times I've heard Quebecers make fun of Americans while standing in line at outlets or in restaurants in America. Keep buying those New Balance runners and Old Navy tops!) or at an international hockey game (we boo anthems as good as any drunken moron) knows we pick and choose when our humility kicks in.

2011-08-27

Reviving American Liberty

I think Faux Capitalism summarizes nicely what's gone in Canada and the USA since 9/11.

It's perverse I know but true. It's how I learned it.

Canada has become more free, ironically, under the dreaded Harper government. It aims, for political expedience or otherwise, to be less intrusive to the derision of people who have uncritically accepted the state as natural law. Governments don't even bother to produce empirical evidence in some cases (as I learned in daycare) for laws they enact and enforce and people just blindly assume there's a reason for it.

The United States, at its most basic root and founded mostly in part by religious "extremist", was once upon a time a nation that changed the course of human history. Up until 1776, and this can never be over told, mankind only knew of bondage in various forms. America obliterated all types of tyrannical shackles by putting Enlightenment philosophy into overdrive. Canada, for its part, played little role in this as it was a spin off (or as one commentator I can't recall once said, "written off as a business expense") of the British empire and so it's normal little or no literature on the ideals of human liberty came from this land.

Truth is, the founders of the nation were more in line with Galliani than Keynes.

They may have argued between each other a lot and even changed personal opinions along the way, but they believed in God; that American power flowed naturally from God. There's no disputing this fact.

They were skeptics and critically and constantly questioned the world around them. It's hard to fathom they'd defend the state (or renegade corporatists) to the obtuse extent we see in some contemporary philosophical circles.

The writings of the American founding fathers galvanized freeman into action. Guess what? Republican (and democracy in general) thought has been on the march ever since.

One thing I respect and admire about the Founding Fathers was the idea that no matter what, man should be in control of his own destiny. No excessive state intrusion must break this sacred sanctity. People who vote to make this trade off don't deserve to be free. How pitiful a society that which only progresses by the hand of the state!

We've fallen for the "it's for our safety" routine a little too hard if you ask me.

We have no control.

Do people not understand this?

***

Here's Canada's chance to capitalize on things and produce great writers and thinkers defending the concept of personal sovereignty as its great friend to the south wanders about in a state of sad confusion.


Bush On National Geographic

National Geographic tell President's Bush story on 9/11.

Those planes crashing into the towers still send shivers down the spine as we approach the 10th anniversary.

Saturday Night Music



1.7 million hits for Scott Joplin 'The Entertainer.'

Not surprising.

And it transfers beautifully into Chet Atkin's brilliant guitar:



I believe the classic composed  in 1902 was rediscovered in the movie 'The Sting' starring Newman and Redford.

Great flick.

Cheese Please

I never eat a piece of cheese. I tend to consume cheese in conjunction with another food item like in a burger or sprinkled onto something (in very select circumstances) or to cook with.

Cheese comes from grated feet didn't you know?

Here's a list of biggest cheese producers according to Agri-food Canada.

USA, Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands make up the top five in production.

Forever Stupid

The 'forever lazy' simply can't be serious.

Alas, I'm 'fraid 'tis.

The best part is the one with the dude in the airport looking a bathroom or the one with people hanging around a pick up truck in a parking lot.

2011-08-26

More Music Friday

Came across the British band 'Babe Ruth' while looking up, well, Babe Ruth.

Funkyfreaky moves from lead vocalist Jenne Haan.



Speaking of Ruth, his statistics still boggle the mind. He was quite the athletic specimen.

Wonder what the connection was between a British progressive rock band and Ruth.

Music Friday

Once saw Elvis Costello live. It was just him, and a pianist (forgot who):

Music Friday

Southern Americana.

Dylan and Cash play the timeless classic 'You are my sunshine.'



While Cash teams up with James Taylor on another priceless piece of music 'Oh, Susanna.'



Three mighty singer songwriters, yes sir.

As said off the top, these songs were born in the American south and are rooted and steeped in history. It's interesting to note a couple of "Northern" singers playing it.

Music trandscends, while history can heal.

2011-08-25

Layton's State Funeral


I don't know it's "misplaced sentimentality" but personally, I don't think it was necessary or even deserved despite his popularity. Call it "misplaced convenient state hero worship."

He's a "great Canadian" to many voters, but I have no idea how one qualifies as such next to his or her peers. It's too vague a tag to place on a public servant.

Stuff like that should be reserved for the cream of the crop; Where a politician stands, preferably one who at least led a nation, so far above his or her peers, Zeus could drop by for a drink on Mount Olympus.

Nonetheless, he was popular and above all and most important, leaves behind an entire family.
***

Bah.

Alas.

I'm a tightwad that way.

What I'm trying to say is Layton was no Ty Cobb. Ok, okay. Cobb was nuts. He was no Honus Wagner. Better?

The way I see it, even baseball's hallowed hall of fame is slowly showing cracks so an opposition leader in a mid-sized paper company, erm, country like Canada - damn The Office - receiving the full funeral stop isn't that surprising.

I suppose The Hall is my barometer to what's going on in life in general. Just like how I use Bugs Bunny as a metaphor for our existence.

The "feel good everyone gets a ribbon don't tally the score to preserve superficial self-esteem" society ain't worth a damn St. Louis penny.

Could you believe it? In some place on the continent, leagues are compelled to not keep score among kids.

Good way to build a society. Strip away the competitive spirit. Don't demand too much and make sure you follow the government guidelines to whatever it is the frick you do or eat.

Anyway.

Digress.

Once the resting place of the greatest and most dominant players is now starting to admit lesser beings who weren't so. If they keep this up, they'll achieve hockey hall of fame standards. Which isn't saying much.

Ah, yes. Standards. What of it? Not much is asked of it so why bother discussing it?

Excellence, or the concept of, is done and gone in the West. The curtains are down. The only thing keeping me from concluding we're in a contemporary dark age is the advancement of internet technology.

Even that may not be enough.




Black Hole Eats Star


The Hole wins without a contest.

Like an alligator snapping up a stupid gazelle on a river bank.

2011-08-24

One Of These Things Don't Belong

One thing I excelled at while watching Sesame Street was "one of these things don't belong."

Pulled (copy/pasted) these headlines from ESPN today. Which doesn't belong?

-Colts add Collins; Peyton not OK?

-Analysis Giants claim Padres closer Bell on waivers
-Report: Ex-Orioles pitcher Flanagan found dead
-Titans: No Johnson deal but talk 'beneficial'
-Pearl, ex-staffers absorb NCAA punishment
-Britt: NFL meeting went well/Talib mum on talk
-LSU QB's apartment searched following bar fight
-Banged-up Burress practices/ Eli seeks talk
-LLWS: Montana nips Calif. on walk-off homer
-ABCNews.com: Apple's Steve Jobs steps down
-Scouts Inc.: Brady ranks as NFL's best player

London Riots

Not buying (or at least entertaining) the "desperate disenfranchised" argument anymore when it comes to rioting. And even if it was accurate, isn't this an indicment of the welfare state in its current form?

If anything, Vancouver showed us "trust fund kids" and people in good standing are fully capable of destruction for its own sake. One thing I learned at my stay at a private cegep was how hard millionaire kids tried to look like they came from the streets.

London crying.

***

Liberalism.

End.

Layton Dies

NDP leader Jack Layton passed away this week.

Not a fan of his politics, but sad.

Cancer is evil.

***

Meanwhile.

Impressive.


Government Bondage Vs. The Christian Right

There have been changes at my daycare.

Let's just say the last seven days since I've returned from New England have been crazy.

In the meantime, this pretty much summarizes my personal perspective on things.

***

Daycare in Quebec at this point is nothing but about politics.

Geek World

What is donating CPU time in science?

2011-08-21

Discuss

Social democracy is communism by other means.

Discuss.

2011-08-20

Loners Should Chew Each Bite Carefully

"He who eats alone, chokes alone."

-Arab proverb.

Sports Host Icon Ted Tevan Passes Away

What a shame sports radio host Ted Tevan passed away.

Now this guy was a legend. We tend to throw and spray the word 'genius' and 'legend' around a little too lightly. Like everything else, it feels like everything is watered down as our standards drop lower and lower. It's getting to a point where we'll consider a piece of lint a "genius."

"Hey, look at that sucker cling on to the carpet. It's a genius!"

The only thing I'll say growing up listening to AM sports radio was that Tevan was a late night special. I wouldn't listen every night but I usually caught his post-game Habs/Als/Expos shows. His pace was interesting and even at times hilarious as he'd yell at a caller, "you're outta here!" And those long-winded, off the cuff ads! Classic.

One time my buddy and I sat around during the midnight hour, after exhausting all sports avenues around Duvernay, listening to Tevan. Out of nowhere he'd stop and start talking about Tropicana orange juice. Or smoked meat. We'd just sit and laugh our asses off.

I even called in his show years ago when he had former Expos player Rodney Scott on as a guest.

Tevan was basically altnernative sports radio.

It was still a good time in the 80s for late night sports radio around here. Now?

I have no time or interest to listen to bull shit fluff. I can't stand listening to younger people who know less than me. The lack of historical knowledge and proper context in sports annoys me.

"You support the Browns? Know why they're named the Browns?" "Wha, huh? I just liked the Dawg Pound!"

I want hardcore. Morency filled in the gap nicely for a while but there's nothing I make a point to listen to when I actually have the time. Melnick conducts a wicked good interview and is a real pro but it's in the afternoon. I work.

Anyway.

Montreal lost a good one while mediocrity continues its ascent assaulting all.



Daycare Update

There's been some major changes to my place. I think I lost my cherry and became a "real" businesman this week.

You see, ownership let go of our "director." I left for three days and came back to some hard truths and realities. Couldn't believe what I saw and heard. I wasted to time. It was like a mother bear protecting her cub. The integrity of the business had to be preserved.

Long story short, I installed my sister as my puppet regime.

What? Everyone has to be a puppet sometime? I was a sock puppet for 10 years!

Anyway, the few parents and staff we told were not just happy but ecstatic about making this a family run operation.

I was surprised by the reaction

Now the real fun begins. Transitioning and explaining to parents the change while still trying to sell spots which has been slow.

***

Word of advice: NEVER put your trust into anyone. EVER. It's a cliche but unless they lay down cash and take RISK along with you, NEVER give a piece of a business or offer partnerships based on a "you have the money, I have the knowledge" basis. EVER. Knowledge is availiable, it can be compensated, it's acquired, it's ethereal. But it won't pay the bills when creditors come banging down your door. It would be nice right if you can get someone to offer you such a deal so that if things don't go well you escape with your "knowledge" and your partner is stuck losing his house.

There may be exceptions to that rule but on average DON'T.

***

Advice Part 2: If you have libertarian leanings and are an innovative spirit, don't get into daycare. You'll lose your mind. If you're formulaic and sterile it might be good. We have to fight against that every day. We shall prevail!

Quebec particularly, is without doubt a fonctionnaire (civil servant) oriented society. It struggles with private enterprise and in some cases are downright hostile to it. Well, that seems to be the case across the continent these days; except for Alberta it looks like. Anyway, the system ties you down to so much red tape you spend literally hours making sure you "conform." And in the end, about 90% of it doesn't even add a single thing to providing optimum service.

Alas, it must be done to keep your permit. I'm sure Nikk over at SE loves these stories.

Here, we live vicariously through the state. Bottom line is if your for "profit" you're evil here. But, they sure want to tax the hell out of it to sustain the concept of the 'greater good.' They call it "balanced justice" I call it raping the productive. I never liked balanced funds in investing for how to truly determine what the center of balance really is? It's arbitrary like most things are.

I stand by the fact a business/finance course would be beneficial to all in school.

But that's me.




And Another Thing About New England

I lost count how many times I've visited New England. It's gotta be at least 25 times (Vermont being so close but we've visited Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine quite a bit too). And then there's upstate New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. I'm straying off New England a little now.

Anyway, it's not hard to see why Maine is the perfect setting for a Stephen King novel.

Man, there's something about that place. 

***

Two more things about our trip to Maine. First, and this is more of a general observation of what we've experienced in the United States, I find when it comes to offering flexible menus in restaurants, the U.S. trails Montreal. Here, if you don't want vegetables with your meal there will be no issue substiuting for it -after all you're paying for the plate. In the States, the server will simply scratch it off on their pad and not offer a replacement while still charging for the full plate. I find that a little lame. You can return an ant to Wal-mart, yet to replace potatoes with carrots is an alien concept.

Montreal may copy a lot of its trendy ideas from elsewhere but when it comes to doing right by the customer they're pretty good.

Second, there are a lot of Quebecers in Maine. L'il Quebec if you will. I told myself, here in Maine, a Quebecer can open a little shop entirely in French and no one will say jack-boo to them. The market alone will decide if they survive. There are no archaic language laws or language police to accost citizens under the guise of cultural protection.

The reverse is not true. An American can't come into Quebec and do as they please. They must "conform" to the language laws of the province.


2011-08-17

Back From Maine

Back from Maine, which means I gets to badgers yous alls.

I don't have that much to say except the usual when I get back from New England: Americans with French names are proud of their French-Canadian background, signage can be found in French as far out as New Hampshire (whereas no English on Quebec highways; it's the law), and the roads are infinitely better on the other side of the border.

I paid close attention this time around to the roads. It's been a major complaint among Quebecers about the state of our roads and quite frankly I agree with it. Overall, our roads are a disgrace.

Driving through the Lafontaine induces vomit. I can't believe we tolerate that crap.

And the bridges. Wow. What more can be said? I don't trust anything with a bridge anymore; let alone the Champlain bridge. All Quebecers drive with one eye up each time they drive under one. Meanwhile, more bullshit commissions are called to state the obvious.

Our infrastructure is decrepit and an embarrassment.

There. I said it for everyone.

Time to call a spade a spade.

But.

But, we have a "green" city with neat bike lanes now!

2011-08-11

Short Selling Banned In Four European Countries

Short-sellers were annoying to listen to and they certainly could mess things up sometimes, but to single them out and blame them for market volatility?

Not buying it.

In fact, in this case I'm willing to say this is pure authoritarian bull shit. Governments are being called up for their obscene spending and they don't like it. So, their response is to ban short selling.

What else is new?

Oh, but options trading and currency speculation, that's ok, right?

Right.

***

Quick word on S&P's cutting of American credit rating. Without getting into details, it all comes down to perception and the perception is American's are acting silly when it comes to fiscal issues.

Obama conflated America's "triple A" status as a nation with its credit. Two different things.

Political bull shit aside, the market is forcing America to get its act together.


2011-08-08

Facts About The Commentator

I saw Chuck Berry live back in the early 1990s.

Yup.

And damn straight I believe they don't make rock like they used to after seeing that wicked legend live.

How did I get to see him?

My friend and I (Joe L.) were bored one night and simply headed into town to take in the free live outdoor shows at the Jazz Festival back when it was more authentic.

Those days you had acts featuring real jazz musicians. The chances of you seeing an awesome show were high.

You could float around stage to stage watching one band or musician after another. The festival included a section dedicated to the blues. That's where we sat in awe watching Berry.

Yes. Technically, he wasn't the blues but back then, rock was still evolving and searchng its own identity. Diddley, Little Richard, Berry and all those guys were rooted in the blues.

Anyway. Sitting on a sidewalk drinking beer we couldn't believe our ears when it was announced Chuck Berry was coming on. It was pure luck. We couldn't believe how lucky we were. It was one of those "you just knew you were watching something astounding" moments. The crowd knew it that's for sure.

Later on and stoned out of his mind, my friend didn't say a word for most of the ride home. When we arrived in front of his house, he said in sudden coherence while nodding his head in disbelief, "Fucking Chuck Berry" and shut the car door.

F***g Amen.

***

I also saw, while we're at it, Hubert Sumlin at the old G-Sharp on St. Laurent boulevard. Old, rickety, run down (it had old bus seats as chairs and destroyed, torn couches) and downright raw, me and an old flame were doing the cool thing walking up the hippest street in town on a hot summer night. I noticed a sign that said simply, "Hubert Sumlin. Tonight."

Well, I just had to go. It cost I think 20 lousy bucks or something.

I've seen a lot of concerts in my life. Some included some of the biggest, greatest acts. Your U2's, Springsteen's, and all that.

But I have to say, nothing quite reached the pure, wild, hedonistic energy of a blues guitarist ripping out chords you never thought existed.

It was there I realized unless a show is in a intimate setting, I had little interest in seeing one. Going to a concert with 80 000 people ain't my thing. Pack 30 to 300 people or so, and man, you got the recipe for magic.

I would love to see any of Dylan, McCartney and Springsteen in such a setting.

***

Speaking of Dylan, the only real shot I had at watching Dylan live in a small club was in 1990. I was reading one of Montreal's underground papers when a small ad got my attention. It announced Lou Reed was coming with Bob Dylan.

The only problem was the show fell on the exact same day I left for Europe: August 8, 1990.



Facing Partisanship

Where conservatives have suddenly become vocal about fiscal responsibility, liberals have lyrangitis when it comes to war.

"...In a phone interview, the national coordinator of United for Peace and Justice, which organized some of the largest antiwar protests during the Bush administration, Michael McPhearson, said part of the explanation is political partisanship. A lot of the antiwar protesters, he said, were Democrats. “Once Obama got into office, they kind of demobilized themselves,” he said.



“Because he’s a Democrat, they don’t want to oppose him in the same way as they opposed Bush,” said Mr. McPhearson, who is also a former executive director of Veterans for Peace, and who said he voted for President Obama in 2008. “The politics of it allows him more breathing room when it comes to the wars...”



Drunk Clown Needed Ad

Saw this ad on Craigslist.

Don't ask why I was looking for clowns on the internet.

Measuring Top Banks By Bloomberg

Report from Bloomberg's measuring the top 'strength of capital' bank ratios in the world.

And la-de-daw, the bank representing Canada was an unlikely one. National Bank beat out the traditional powers (by Canadian standards) of Royal Bank and Toronto-Dominion (TD). CIBC and Bank of Montreal also made the grade giving Canada five banks in the Top 20.

The United States placed four.

2011-08-07

Smoked Meat Inflation

I ordered a simple smoked meat sandwich at Dunn's - Montreal's contribution to diner food culture- the other day.
It cost $6.45. Not including taxes and tip.

Once upon a time, not too long ago, (it may have been in this galaxy too), I remembered when it cost $3.95.

Cost of living is a bitch.

1,816 Subsidy Programs Created Under Bush

From the Mercatus Center:

"President Bush added thousands of new federal subsidy programs during his eight years in office. In 2008, there were 1,816 subsidy programs in the federal budget that spread hundreds of billions of dollars annually to special interest groups such as state governments, businesses, nonprofit groups, and individuals. The number of subsidy programs has grown by 30 percent since 2000 and by 54 percent since 1990."

History of American spending here.

***

According to the link, and what I learned, that's why the government increased its interventionism in the economy, to avoid mass human suffering.

The critical question is: Did they succeed?

I can only answer personally. My answer is it probably did by setting up various "social safety nets" it can support a person who is temporarily going through turbulence. It's feasible to the extent we expect and trust the person to get back up on their feet.

Beyond that, at what cost? The second one penny goes to a person fully capable of working and contributing, the system becomes compromised; if not immoral. We all "know" some people out there professionally game the system.

I would love to see stats on the waste enabling people through entitlements. We've gone from noble welfare ideals to excessive decrepit self-entitlement.

To do so is to distort the spirit of the philosophy of "my brother's keeper."

***

Representing 2/3 of the economy, consumer spending has always been an important component of it.

2011-08-06

Gov. Christie Does Freedom Proud

I heard Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) defend his appointment of a Muslim judge on the radio yesteday.

Meh. I would imagine a simple 'Chris Christie defends Muslim judge' would ooze internet buzz and activity. Even with Fox I had to insert the word 'Fox' to get a source.

I guess my imagination is not very developed.

One would think that this would be of some importance.
If places like Huffington are so into civil liberties and all that, why didn't they report or discuss it?

Audio clip here.

Things You've Seen But Don't Know The Name To

So that's what it is!

A Rube Goldberg.

2011-08-05

Weberian Political Theory

In school, they called it University, I minored in Political Science (ok, I came up one class short. Been meaning to get that one last one), and one could not get very far without running into the shadow of German thinker Max Weber.

In fact, he was quite ubiquitous and dare I submit a thorougly under appreciated and valued theorist?

Although I never bought into the "Protestant Ethic" line.

Lame Sports Crap Leads To Joke

One comment in sports I've come to hate like mud is "we win or play the right way" bull shit.

It's especially rampant  in soccer (and hockey albeit to a lesser extent).


I always hear pundits babble on about some team playing the "right way" yet I still don't know, after a few decades of observing sports, what the heck that means. Another quip is "you just don't do that" alluding to some mythical unwritten rule.

The way I see it: Just win boobs. You don't win by looking pretty. It's not a judged sport like figure skating. You win by...anyone?...that's right: Kicking the ball in the  net.
If you did it while flipping over Willy good for you. There's a Scooby snack waiting for you.

If you did it because you were looking at a girl in the stands and the ball happened to hit your hip, bouncing off a defender for an own goal, guess what, still you get a Scooby snack.

It's still A GOAL.

***

Pundits just come up with shit half the time. They just suck in oxygen for no other apparent reason.

Which led me to this joke:

"Hey, Peter, the Brazilian Amazon just called. It wants its air back."

Eat that Costanza!

Go easy with the cain will ya? My neck hurts!

Debt, Debt, Debt

Much is being made of the ECB "bailing out" Italy by buying up bonds.
Italy has many problems but despite a high debt as a percentage of GDP,  it owes most of it to itself.

It's a net saving (unlike North America and like Japan) nation. Italians save their money largely because they don't trust anything let alone the government.

Still, institutional investors have become impatient with Italy and Spain.

***

As an aside, likely because of widespread tax evasion, Italy has a black economy estimated at 35% of its GDP! 
When it comes to economics, Italy has different characterisitcs than its G7 partners. For example, relative to its population and economic size, Italy has the smallest market capitalization in the group. Canada, by contrast, has a bigger stock market with a smaller economy. Switzerland, which is even smaller than Canada, also has a larger stock market than its neighbour.

Part of the reason, I reckon and have read, is Italians don't believe in public trading or giving off a piece of their business to strangers. It remains overwhelmingly a parochial (but sophisticated) nation of dynastic small-medium size businesses rooted in artisanship.

It's part of their mystique (and branding power) at this point.

***

As for the United States consider from the second link above:

"If the bond vigilantes attack, the U.S. Government's cost of servicing its debt would soar, perhaps to levels that are too high, assuming current funding levels of government commitments, such as national defense, Social Security, Medicare, senior citizen prescriptions, and Medicaid.



As a result, Congressional officials would then be left with the difficult choices of: 1) a massive cut in spending or 2) a massive increase in taxes. Or an onerous combination."

Personally, it should be a combination, but with a strong accent on the former.

Canada's economic environment is stable, however, how long can it last with the Americans experiencing so much trouble? Trade witht the United States account for 85% of our economy.

Reason dictates as some point we'll naturally feel the pinch.

2011-08-04

Eat According To Blood Type

Adjusting your diet according to blood type.

Check For ADHD

Think you have ADHD? Take a test.

Did I ever tell you about my first kiss...ooo, muffins. Gotta go.

Question

Is compromise over rated or under rated?

Needed for this conversation:

Dill pickle deli style.

'Bama's Bacon Burger Beast

What? Bacon on the Prez Obama burger?

Does Michelle know?

I'm surprised they didn't come out with a fight 'Bacon 'Besity' campaign on the same day.

I mean, the recipe calls for some sugar! Don't they know sugar kills?

We Will Protect Your Hearing

People do realize, here in Canada and Europe, they don't own their bodies anymore, right? I'm surprised this still hasn't hit.

Once the health system went public, your body went straight into the hands of bureaucrats, hence, the 'greater good.'

I'm not being a wiseass. That's what happened.

Notice how everytime the state forces new legislation like this one on limiting decibel levels on iPods on health, not too far off from the explanation is "cost to the system."

Canada is good at ripping off social ideas from Europe and claiming it as a "uniquely progressive Canadian value and/or idea."

Yes, it sounds all nice. They want to make sure your hearing is protected. Blah, blah.

But think of it. Think.

It's control. It's still not their place to decide.

We're turning into indecisive, non-thinking, soft-spoiled, turned-over, little twirps as a species.

At this point, while we wear helmets, strap people down and keep their mouths open to be fed by a mechanical civil servant.

"Open wide. Who's a good boy? Here comes the pitted peach pablum! Who's a good boy? We take care of you, don't we? Don't we? Answer! You're so hard! That's what she said! Now, don't forget you can only say 50 words today because we don't want you straining your vocal chords."

*Pinches cheeks*

Sex Allegations Hit Politician

"Horniness transcends all political lines. Zip." The Commentator at his sexual trial in 2001.



Meh. As long as they're not racist to the extent they define it, right?

Apparently dude will be keeping his pension. Something in the area of $900 000?

I understand he served for all those years but seriously, when will accountablity be firmly rooted back into our lives? The way I see it, if you pull a stunt like this you're pension either stops or gets cut.

Phrases I Hate

In sports: "____ nation." As in "Red Sox nation" or "Pirate nation" or "Raider nation."

Horrible.

***

In politics: "It's the law." As in here, for example, in Quebec: No we can't send you literature in English because it's the law."

Don't laugh. It's true.

I still don't know why Americans would come and open a business here. Mind you, I don't think many do. If they want the "slowed down" pace of Canada (otherwise known as egalitarian social-democratic paradise...no laughing please) they can just go to Ontario. The only Americans here are the ones relocated by major corporations who deal with the bureaucracy through their backoffices.

I reckon.

Personally, if I had the choice, or could redo a couple of things, I would not live here. Nothing personal against the people, but the overall political and business mindset is not for me and my family.

***

City of Edmonton: Offers all documents in eight languages.
City of Montreal: As long as the facade of the website is in English, let them eat cake the rest of the way.

Oh. Wait. It's the law. "Voyons-donc! C'est normale!"

Progressive Canada.

Keep saying it enough you'll eventually believe it.

***

Speaking of bureaucracy, I love how they spin their own existence.

As they explain you the extraordinary costs of "social services" small business are forced to pay they speak as if they're doing you a service. "Don't worry it will be covered" and "it's to protect you from whatever."

When you sit and really think about it, it's all a myth. It's all empty rhetoric.

In the meantime, the people said to be protected under social laws become enablers and masters of gaming the public system. I don't know what the percentage is but if I go by what I've heard in the grapevine, it's not acceptable. Of course, the state doesn't have the resources to crack down efficiently on fraud.

2011-08-03

Fighting Bankruptcy

What's going on in, I don't know let's see, Rhode Island!

Sometimes it's the smallest places that tell the biggest truth!

Public Pressure Is The Root

I know I take my shots at the state (damn you, Hobbesians!), but people do realize that it's them who ask for its control, right?

I don't think most bureaucrats sit around "inventing" ways to contol people more. I'd like to believe they react to public pressure. Now, the problem is when does it become excessive? In other words, when the government just does things for its own sake?

***

As I watch the typical blame game take place in the wake of the Ville-Marie collapse, another thing the public should consider is a lot of these contracts are outsourced to private contractors.

No. I'm not drunk.

2011-08-02

Spending Is Spending

Krauthammer just ain't cutting it here.

Where were you when...

Ah, spending for security is ok?

World Economy: GDP Growth

Presenting, for all its imperfections, GDP figures (2006-2010) for selected nations!

Glug, glug! Drink up!

There doesn't seem to be a whole lotta shrinkage. Slow growth in some parts but no negative growth - except for a couple of nations.

***

"I was in the pool!" George Costanza.

Maybe the world is just coming out of the water?

***

Passing a quick glance, only a couple of nations stood out.

Ireland (-.10%)
UK (-.10)

Others:

China (1.14%)
Egypt (1.04%)
Iraq (.83%)
Argentina (.72%)
Brazil (.50%)
Uruguay (.50%)
South Africa (39%)
Turkey (.39%)
Poland (.34%)
Japan (.26%)
Canada (.25%)
Spain (.16%)
Netherlands (.16%)
Germany (.14%)
Italy (.11%)
France (.11%)
United States (.10%)

Question

Suppose, all things being equal, someone earns $50 000 and the other $5 000 000 each being invested in the stock market. Suppose, further, the market drops 10%. One loses $5 000 the other $500 000. The former has $45 000 the other $4 500 000. Repeat the exercise with taxes.

In brut numbers the wealthier individual loses (and pays more), relatively, and this is where things get messy, someone may be tempted to "equalize" the terms. Someone may assert, well, true he too lost 10% but he can afford to lose another, say, 5%.

Who is better or worse off? Does it stand because the person with more money is perceivably still left with a more money doesn't feel the pinch? Does it mean, to extend the argument, the state has the "right" to take more through -otherwise known as progressive - taxes?

Expand and adjust this question if you must.

Yukon Natives Looked Over

Welcome to progressive Canada part 345399299.

Meanwhile, English schools in Quebec are quietly dismantled as funding ceases.

Sounds like the judge was some piece of work.

Ville-Marie Collapse

Amazing really.

I wonder, after all the inquiries after the de la Condorde bridge collapse, how much of the recommendations were put in place.

Montreal not only looks like a war torn place; it acts like one.

I bet you no one wants to bring up de la Concorde.

***

Really? No. Really? Pass me the beer nuts.

Six Figure Union Bosses

Stop being an extremist already. Besides, it's probably worse here in Quebec - our unions rake in over $800 million per year last I heard from an expert in labour relations.

It's all for the common greater greatest good. It's all transparent and "democratic."

Debt Ceiling Extravaganza!

The debt ceiling has been raised oer 100 times since 1940.

It's funny how all these volatile economic issues began right around the 1910s.

"The latest calculation of the National Debt as posted by the Treasury Department has - at least numerically - exceeded the statutory Debt Limit approved by Congress last February as part of the Recovery Act stimulus bill.



The ceiling was set at $12.104 trillion dollars. The latest posting by Treasury shows the National Debt at nearly $12.135 trillion."

I believe that was the first time that ever happened in 2009.

***

A little from the government:

"...The debt limit, as noted above, can hinder the Treasury’s ability to manage the federal government’s finances. In extreme cases, when the federal debt is very near its statutory limit, the Treasury must take unusual and extraordinary measures to meet federal obligations. While the debt limit has never caused the federal government to default on its obligations, it has at times caused great inconvenience and has added uncertainty to Treasury operations.

"...The statutory limit on federal debt began with the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917,8 which helped finance the United States’ entry into World War I.9 By allowing the Treasury to issue long-term Liberty Bonds in addition to more commonly used short-term debt instruments, the federal government held down its interest costs..."
Why does it feel as though all the Acts and Laws established around 1917 (1910-1920) are coming back to haunt nations?

***

How did they get in the red? Article in the NYT tries to explain.

Wow. Bush and Obama each contributed almost equally? J'amais!

Wikie has an entry about debt and other things here.

More from The Atlantic.

***

The options seem to be cut spending and/or cut/raise taxes - more like raise.

To me, the former has to be drastically curtailed. There are waaaaayyyyy too manyy programs on the continent let alone the USA that are simply inefficient, pointless and wasteful. I'm sure many of them can be consolidated if not cut outright.

In Life There Are Winners And...

"America is the winner" I heard President Obama utter last night.

How can raising a debt ceiling be spun as "winning"?

2011-08-01

Olympic Gold To Silver Ratio

There are so many ways to rationalize the success of nations in sports. The Olympics is a popular one.

One method I disagree with is simply dividing population into number of medals won. Small countries will always look better given there are a finite amount of medals to be won.

I don't know if there are any better measurements out there but one I like to use is the ratio of gold medals to silver medals. It considers how countries do when they're in a position to win a gold medal.

Here's a look at countries with 100 plus combined (winter and summer games) gold medals:

China 56% of the time wins gold.
United States 55%.
Russia (including Soviet Union) 55%.
Italy 55%
Hungary 53%.
Norway 51%.
Japan 51%.
Finland 50%.
Australia 50%.
Sweden 50%.
Germany (including East Germany) 49%.
Netherlands 48%.
France 47%.
Great Britain 46%.
Canada 44%.

Western Classics A New Interest

Until recently, I wasn't nuts about Westerns even though I watched them.

All of a sudden, I've grown intrigued by them in ways I never did.

Tonight I gave The Lawless Breed the time of day.



Who's with me in believing the point of collapse to Western civilization is when The Beatles broke up?

Anyone?

C'man.

Box Office Flop For Palin

Wow.

Some piece of populism I reckon.

Judging by that cover anyway.

Anyway.

Apparently it's a bomb. I guess the vast right-wing silent majority couldn't be bothered to go and watch a documentary about Sarah Palin. I'm almost tempted to watch it.

Of course, it's gotta be the media's fault.

***

If there's one thing the left-wing is a master of it's profitable film making.

The Answer Is Always To Restrict

Meh.

Predictable enough.

The aftermath of the massacre in Norway has elicited the typical debate about how to restrict freedom.

Don't ask how I landed on this Danish editorial translated in English.

Now...

It's France's turn to face possible credit rating downgrade.

It's all the rage.

***

It's confusing because not so long ago I read in a British paper that the UK was basically flat broke yet its rating remains in tact. Or at least, it's not spoken of.

***

I think I'll go with what I've been repeatedly told: Don't read the papers. Old, stale news pimped out by the controllers of information - whoever they are.

They're watching us right now.

Logic Lost

Biden denies using the word 'terrorist' but Politco is reporting it.

“We have negotiated with terrorists,” an angry Doyle said, according to sources in the room. “This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.”


Biden, driven by his Democratic allies’ misgivings about the debt-limit deal, responded: “They have acted like terrorists.”

Let's assume he said it.

Is that all it takes to be called a terrorist these days? Not wanting to spend money = terrorist?

Last I checked, the Tea Party hadn't commited a crime let alone a murder. Of course, at the same time, DO NOT call Muslim militants who actually murder in the name of Islam, terrorists.

"Biden told Democratic lawmakers that the deal would take away the tea party’s “weapon of mass destruction” — the threat of a default on U.S. debt obligations."

First off, anyone who knows anything about debt knows nothing would have exploded on August 2.

Second, the left consistently publishes articles about how critical thinking is dead on the right and how fear-mongering is a tool used to get elected. Yet...what's this? Hyperbole and fear-mongering.

Oh. I get it. It's just a metaphor.

***

Pelosi. Biden, Reid. How are their comments any better than what Bachmann and Palin pimp out?

So much for civil discourse.

Ironic given Gabrielle Giffords voted.

Poof.

***

Distractions, distractions.

Arbitrary Dates

The U.S. past its debt ceiling deal.

All before the apocalyptic August 2 deadline.

Arbitrary August.

As if bonds all come due at the same time. They make it sound they had to come up with $14 trillion bucks in one shot.

Look at it this way. How do you react whenever someone gives a specific date for the end of the world?

Exactly.