2012-06-29

Before Al Jolson

...there was Wm. H West's Big Minstrel Jubilee.

Thomas Votes Against The Others In SCOTUS

And the reaction from the left?

Nice people them.

I thought this stuff only happens on the right.

Oh, well.

2012-06-28

Euro Semi-Final: Germany-Italy. It Is Time

And thus fell Mordred into King Arthur's arms.

The classic soccer rivalry is back. Two of the great super heavyweights are about to clash once more. Spain? Nouveau riche. Germany-Italy are old money when it comes to this sport.

Yes. Italy has never lost to Germany in a major competition but that's the past. More relevant is - aside boths side stuck with suspect backlines but deep midfields - the Germans are scoring goals in open play. Not so for Italy. It'll be awesome. It has to be. So it is.

Goethe v. Dante. Ferrari v. Porsche. Beethoven v. Vivaldi. Vico v. Hegel. Fiat v. Volkswagen. Beckenbauer v. Baresi. Ozil v. Pirlo.

Question

The man who brought Romneycare to Massachusetts is promising to repeal Obamacare?

Sports Headlines

This is why sports hype sucks:

Describing the Tour de France the "Most grueling event in sports."

It's no more difficult than Giro d'Italia as many cyclists have said many times over the years. It's just more prestigious of the three tours. That's it.

***

I may be chiming in with my thoughts about Euro 2012 soon. If I do, one thing for sure is England will take a tongue lashing from me.



2012-06-27

Twit Of The Day

It was between Khadir's perpetually angry daughter or this girl.

Oh. Her name is Penny Laurie and she's hilarious.

Others include...this person.

For you kids out there, just to make sure, DO NOT copy what is suggested by these folks. The only thing it'll guarantee you is a life of victimhood.

Comedy Hour At NPR

"See what his voice does? It clears up the weather, too. It clears up the economy, creates jobs, helps education, and straightens out the weather." Obama supporter talking about, well, Obama.

Right.

Full story here.

The Inconsitency Of Political Correct Logic

If you are apt to consider 'political correctness' as logic.

I sometimes read the soccer threads at ESPN during major tournaments.

The commenters detected the word 'Nazi' was banned. It was showing up as %#%^ as opposed to the word itself.

However, it's perfectly ok to say things like, "we will Blitzkrieg" and "beat those Italian mafiosi's."

Hilarious.

2012-06-26

But...What About The Environment?

Like most jurisdictions, my city often restricts watering lawns in the summer. Conservation and all that.

On my drive back from work on this rainy day, the one lane boulevard I use was backed up. Looking ahead, I noticed a city truck on the road. I figured they were working on one of our many infamously gigantic pot holes. They're always working on the roads. Quebec is huge on the "infrastructure creates jobs" philosophy.

Bridges less so.

I digress.

As I approached the truck, I noticed it was stopping at every flower pot. It was watering them.

Did I mention it was raining?

Isn't that, like, redundant?

Conservation, shmonservation.

Envy Of The World...Giggle

Heard what I consider to be a vacuous statement on the radio today. In defending the notion of a tuition freeze:

"Quebec's education system and tuition is the envy of the world!"

No sources or citations to support this of course.

Poor Rick Moffat - former Montreal Canadiens announcer - and his pseudo-populist leanings.

Social contracts aside, you can't "freeze" anything when inflation rises. You can't watch the cost of a dollar increase while not raising the price of a product on the side of the coin. It's ludicrous and barbaric thinking I say!

The cost of education is not even matching inflation. Give me a break. If anything, the government is attempting to normalize - I know, the government of Quebec trying to be fiscally responsible - the situation.

I can't really think of anything Quebec has that would be the envy of the world when it comes to enlightened social policy. There are no advanced education ideas that originate here. If you consider "education on the cheap" to be a barometer of "envy" then I call bull shit.

French culture as a whole is highly politicized and I'm not so sure the results are that good I reckon.

I read a lot on what goes on in Europe and I don't see the Germans, Italians, Dutch, French (ok, maybe the French) and British saying. "we envy Quebec!" Nor have I seen any relevant American intellectual essays or journals who claim that either.

If anyone can set me straight on this, I'd be glad to listen.



Dreams Of My Nightmare

Well. The bots are falling like flies.

From IHT:

"...While most politicians write their stories once they’ve laid some claim to the spotlight and are already operating in its skeptical glare, Obama did so years in advance, setting the stage long before he strode onto it. The first edition of “Dreams From My Father,” a framing device for the campaigns and speeches to come, was published in 1995. He wasn’t even an Illinois state senator yet.

It was an act of careful and considered self-definition, and with the publication of David Maraniss’s new biography of Obama earlier this month, we learned just how careful and considered. Obama tailored characters to suit his themes and invented a few details of his family’s past, saying that a step-grandfather was killed in combat against Dutch troops in Indonesia when he really, according to Maraniss, died in a fall from a chair as he hung drapes..."

The narrative was indeed set before he did anything. I think this is where the skepticism gave from for those who dared to look beyond the script. It reached an absurd level when he won a peace prize for doing exactly nothing.

That and the "I inherited this mess" garbage. That logic is obliterated with a simple "yeah but no one forced you into this" line.

At this point, he reminds me of Tommy Hearns taking a hard left from Marvin Hagler. At this point, it's hard to believe Romney won't get elected.

"...Much has been made of his recent executive decision regarding young illegal immigrants as an act of sheer political calculation. It may well be. But I wonder if there wasn’t an emotional motivation as well — if he wasn’t trying to find one small patch of ground on which he could have his unchallenged say and way..."

He's an elected politician. Not a dictator. He shouldn't even be thinking this way. If he does, it says much about him.




2012-06-22

The Growth Of American Executive Power

From Reason:

"...Today's Democratic logic goes like this: If Congress is unable to pass progressive agenda items with a simple majority of legislators (and thankfully, that's the case), the vote of a single person will do just fine. President Obama is, after all, on his "We Can't Wait" tour. "We can't wait for Congress to do its job," Obama told supporters on a recent campaign stop. "So where they won't act, I will. We're going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress."

That's the spirit!

One might forgive a little autocratic hyperbole in the heat of a campaign season, but Obama isn't joking. He can't wait. Only recently, he circumvented Congress on college loans and mortgages; he directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act; through rulemaking, he empowered the Environmental Protection Agency to effectively institute legislation that Democrats could not pass; he involved the United States in military action in Libya (the right kind of warring, apparently) without congressional consent; he installed four recess appointments without a recess; and that's just for starters.

This week he couldn't wait again. Even if you agree substantively with Obama's decision to grant 800,000 young illegal immigrants a reprieve from deportation -- as I do -- having a president undo a perfectly legitimate legislative deadlock by simply ignoring the law is a precedent that should alarm everyone. So should Obama's invocation of executive privilege in the Fast and Furious gunrunning investigation regarding a document that he supposedly knew nothing about.

No, Obama isn't the first president to issue oodles of executive orders or expand and abuse the power of the presidency. Far from it. Yet, onlookers supposedly horrified by executive overreach a few years ago are doing a terrible job rationalizing it now..."

One of the unique features of the American system was its deliberate design to keep executive (Presidential) powers limited. As opposed to the Parliamentary system where the Prime Minister exercises more power. It's looking more and more like this line is getting blurred - the wrong way - in the United States.

I think, and this is just an observation, too much is put on ONE person. The President - that is, any President - seems to feel the need to impose, intervene or interject on too many issues that shouldn't really be of their concern. There's only so much one person can do.

I always understood the role of the President - as it was originally intended - to be an over seer. A "is everything ok, here?" type of approach. Moreover, a person of profound intelligence and knowledge tempered with wisdom and substantial life and employment experiences. A person equipped with just the right balance of confidence and humility to make them unique leaders.






2012-06-21

Nothing To See Here

No kidding. Among non-Francophones, the STM is legendary for this sort of behavior experienced by a Montreal Impact player . In fact, it's hard to find someone who doesn't (including myself. So bad my experience I vowed never to use public transportation again - and never did) have a story to tell and if they don't it's because they never had the temerity to speak English.

Look, in Quebec, it's become normal to not equate linquistic discrimination with racism. Of course, to normal people, it is and it can't be distinguished. It's hilarious, for example, watching a sports writer rail against hiring a unilingual candidate to coach a lousy hockey team and then cry they're not racists after being challenged. Boobs. Quebec is queer that way.

Keepin' it real, brotha.

Right-Wing Nuttery

Damn. Oh, well. I was kinda hoping it was the case. I just want to get the "anti-Christ" thing (whoever it may be), over and done with. Guess we'll just have to wait some more.

More on right-wing extremists over at Southern Poverty Law Center.

All this reminds me of a scene on Seinfeld from an episode title The Limo.

Specifically the part where George Costanza says, "You know who's responsible don't you? The Jews!"

The UN And Bill 78

The UN should indeed butt out. They have enough clowns among their ranks to deal with.

But. I will say this. I don't know what their position was when Bill 22 and Bill 101 were enacted - each a form of anti-liberty (regardless of race, creed, and yes, language) legislation. In a way, they violate human rights since the government interferes directly on personal choice.

Never mind about the absolute nonsensical entity known as L'Office de La Langue Francais - a civil liberties travesty. Empowered nitwits.

2012-06-20

The Validity Of Executive Privilege

And the bizarre cover up with Fast & Furious.

Obama In Images

I'm posting some of my personal favorites here/with commentary. Thanks to Reason magazine for introducing me to these. I don't read Newsweek or The New Yorker.

Faceless person: "Oh, you read The New Yorker?
T.C.:Yes, I do.
Faceless person: Oh.
T.C.: What do you read? The Bostonian? Haw-haw.
Faceless person: I like tits!"




Where's the third eye? Where is it?!

Let's rename Newsweek, Newsweak.

Not be outdone, The New Yorker got in on the act.






Latinos?



I like the tacos. Nice touch. Oh, yes. The Mexican flag on top of the White House too. $5 to the first Canadian who paints something similar only with Canadian symbols. My money is on Margaret Atwood.



I like this one. There's an understated dignity to it. He may look limpish but he's strong. Like Ukraine!

Finally, but not least sirbob, this one has been making the libertarian circles and it's too classic to not post here. Nothing wrong with Obama the Puffer but he's trying a little too hard in this picture.





Want more? Check this out.




Reformulating The Meritocracy

Good review of Twilight of the Elites by Christopher Hayes from Dissent Magazine.

"...But meritocracy goes beyond this in limiting the possibilities of politics. A friend of mine at an Ivy League university teaches business students about John Rawls in a class on politics and leadership. The students are with Rawls when it comes to equality of opportunity. And some of them, especially the liberal ones, are with him on the idea that one doesn’t simply deserve whatever the market determines. But when Rawls gets to the parts about how people don’t deserve their natural talents, and how society should have a veto over their claims to their intelligence, the wheels come off the bus..."

We do tend to focus on penalizing or taxing the result as a means to reaching equality.

And

"...But reformulating our social structures to empower people broadly, rather than to allow mobility for a chosen few, must be the next step beyond meritocratic liberalism. As Alex Gourevitch and Aziz Rana have argued, a politics of social mobility ultimately fails because it only has room for a certain amount of people to “escape relations of dependence and control” found in the market. The aim should be to move all people from dependence to independence, and to eliminate all forms of domination. The current form of meritocratic social mobility is a zero-sum game, built on exclusivity and hierarchy..."

Isn't that, like, in the spirit of anarchism?

Those Callous Caribou-Eatin' Cheatin' Canadians!

Canada is not used to getting all this attention.

We're the bad guys now!

Weeee!

No soup-money for you Europe! 

Marshall Plan, Smarshall Phlan.

And let's not over praise our banking system. It got a bail out and if we were ever to open the industry up to competition, abusive gouging and collusion by our banks would likely cease since competition could conceivably blow them out of the water.

The so-called "Big Six" have a "big captive" market thanks to how things are set up here.

Too Fat To Dad

This is a case we should watch very carefully as it could imply a pattern or trend moving forward.

Obesity is now becoming a reason for the courts to involve itself in family matters. In this case, there seems to be more at play but apparently he has no visitation rights. Nor am I fully buying what the doctor is saying given what's at stake.

"...he will continue to be at risk related to his obesity for some considerable time. This will include not only his risk for major life threatening events, but also a lack of mobility and proneness to injury as was exemplified by (the father’s) hobbling around on crutches when last seen individually. (The father’s) health issues are magnified by his anti-authoritarian traits and refusal to follow recommended treatments. This also raises questions to his ability to make proper decisions in regards to his sons’ medical, educational or psychological needs...”

In other words, just don't be fat because seems to me a lot of people can be the other stuff. All that will come into play if you're obese. While we're at it, don't have one leg, bad lungs due to smoking and make sure that weak ticker is ticking along because all those things can impede how effective a father you will be. And for God's sake don't blog while drinking!

Until we declare war on other shit, obesity is the trend of the day.

Be careful what you wish for.

You want a "war on obesity?" Then be ready for the state to take all kinds of decisions on your behalf.

2012-06-19

Going For Trudeau

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

It was a matter of time the dead Liberal party would turn to a dynastic name.

"...The son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau has the public appeal to vault the sagging Liberals into first place in federal politics, a dazzling possibility for a party knocked to third place in last year’s election..."

Yes, because that's what we need. Dazzle. Fizzle, fazzle. No substance required.

Do the Liberals think he can repair the brand out West or do they not care?

Personally, this is very meh. It won't bring me back to the Liberal fold.

Hey, it's just the way I see it.





Paul Krooooogman's Luck Of The Irish

There's a professor of a critical thinking blog (that leans heavily to the left) I read from time to time (because for critical thinking it's excellent exercise; unfortunately it politically chooses a side), that argued Paul Krugman was the among "most reasoned" intellectual out there.

I damn well almost fell off my high chair. Babbette and all.

I poke fun at Krooooogman not because he isn't smart - he evidently is - it's just that he's so unabashedly left-wing his comments deserve to be questioned.

Take this. Just as an example.

He claims America will be Ireland under Romney. Aside from the silliness of the analogy, this is just a plain, plump silly thing to argue.

What about the problems in Greece, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and the UK? None of which one can characterize as "right-wing." Those countries suffer from, among other things, big welfare programs and rigid labour codes. End of discussion.

On the flip side, Scandinavian countries don't exactly support conservative economic thought. Though countries like Sweden actually deregulate to spurn growth.

Krugman is just cherry-picking and taking you for an idiot.

Slip Sliding Away?

Are we seriously surprised that Cambridge wants to ban sodas outright? All of a sudden, the government has declared war on sodas to fight obesity.

What's wrong with Massachusetts? Really. It's ironic all these ideas come from a place reknowned for its institutions of higher learning.

Man. Have they not learned with Prohibition and the War on Drugs? These are ideas that are not born out of a healthy society, but a sick one. It's not, I think anyway, delving into anti-government screed, there's something going wrong and people feel it.

It blows my mind at this point that someone (and its supporters) think it's a good idea. I read somewhere that some guy was arguing the point that such legislation is hardly nanny-statism. That it's merely helping people along.

Right.

Who cares what it is at this point? And just to say, yes, it is interventionism. There are no degrees of interventionism. There's just, you know, interventionism.

It's patently absurd and paternalistic, and it will do nothing (I reckon) to curb obesity. The basic premise is that sick people increase the cost of health care. That we need healthy people. I won't argue the two but it seems to me the state can justify passing legislation under such premises for almost anything.  

When does the slippery slope become slippery?

When we begin to cut down on apple pie? When McDonald's is forced out of business? When sodas become illegal and forced under ground at which point the cops will be putting Little Timmy's everywhere in prison?

What about all those 13 year-olds taken to drinking Starbucks and Tim Hortons ice-caps? Who will think of those children?

Unreal-surreal all this.

***

I mentioned this a while ago, but back in th 1990s the Canadian government was looking to ban Parmiggiano-Reggiano - the iconic Italian cheese. They had something against the way it was aged - I don't remember the details.

I actually wrote to the government at the time. My comment was simple: And Kraft cheese ok, right?

Thankfully, they backed off.

But they're always there. Ready to pounce.

By the way, Parmesan is not Parmiggiano. It's a knock-off.

Middling Opinion On Business

This link from The Montreal Gazette about Alan Greenspan was forwarded to me. I'm just going to cherry-pick a couple of things rather than delve too much into it.

Call me lazeeee.

"Yikes. If that phrase sounds familiar, you might be recalling the words of wealthy Depression-era banker Andrew Mellon.

As Herbert Hoover’s treasury secretary, Mellon advised him to “liquidate labour, liquidate stocks, liquidate farmers, liquidate real estate ... it will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted and enterprising people will pick up from less competent people.”

I always found it interesting that the final score about the Depression was FDR 1 Hoover 0. There is a body of economic theory that argues FDR's policies prolonged it. In any event, we'll never know if Mellon was (or could have been) right will we?

"...Above all, he said, managers must broaden their vision. Obsession with quarterly results and shareholder enrichment are not a good guide to creating a healthy company. Better to think more about the company’s health and its 10-year outlook. And all stakeholders must be considered, not just its owners: “It’s very difficult to have a healthy company in an unhealthy city.”

When I was a broker I did find it odd, if not amusing and odd, if not not, amusing add and obsessive how the investment world would judge a company on a quarterly basis. Talk about weeding vision out of the equation.

Still, not sure if I agree that companies don't look at the long-term. I think most do. It's just a matter of common sense to ensure the viability of the company. For example, if I open a business, I will try to make decisions that consider long-term issues since I plan to earn an income out of it; to say nothing of preferring to increase the value.

Soccer Fans Behaving Badly

I see UEFA has been busy handing out a lot of fines against various soccer federations (Germany, Croatia, Russia so far stand out).

North America is tame compared to Europe and South America. While it's true there are fan problems, it usually is isolated to a jack ass or two who yap at a player, beat up some poor guy or throw the odd things on the ice. It's rare. Preciously rare. And it's certainly nowhere near as politically and nationalistically overt as it is in soccer. Racist chants just don't exist here. Not enough to be a topic of discussion anyway.

You're Not Alone

Nice:

From Huffington (where else?):

"...Correspondingly in politics, democracy begins with citizens caring about one another and acting responsibly both for oneself and others. The mechanism by which this is achieved is The Public, through which the government provides resources that make private life and private enterprise possible: roads, bridges and sewers, public education, a justice system, clean water and air, pure food, systems for information, energy and transportation, and protection both for and from the corporate world. No one makes it on his or her own. Private life and private enterprise are not possible without The Public. Freedom does not exist without The Public...."

There it is a again. That sentence. That one little sentence that describes to perfection the mindset of an indoctrinated mind. I addressed here.

This is what passes for "progressive" thinking now? No wonder no one seems to be listening.

2012-06-18

Snyder: Worst Sports Owner Of All Time?

Just putting it out there.

Most sports fans are aware of the horrible, and I mean just terrible, behavior of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. In my lifetime, two other bad sports owners come to mind that rival Syder. One is Harold Ballard of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Bill Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks.

I'm sure there are others but I have to think few possess the resume Snyder has created.

Awful.

Miserable really.

***

As an aside, couldn't help but notice the relative peace and calm in the aftermath and subsequent parade (estimated 250 000 people) of the Los Angeles Kings winning the Stanley Cup.

No rioting in L.A.?

See that Montreal and Vancouver?

2012-06-16

Missed Job Opportunity

Back when I was 14 I thought to go and get a job at a local record store. Discus it was called.

I bought a lot of records there so it was a perfect fit for my first job.

I filled out the application form and figured I'd get a call.

It never came.

Some time after that Roy Orbison passed away. At the time he was a member of The Traveling Wilbury's (a super group from th 1980s that included Tom Petty, Jeff Lynn and Bob Dylan).

At the counter where I purchased the Wilbury CD the clerk looked at it and flippantly said, "il y'a un qui mort, non?"

It was more like, "there's a dead one in there, no?"

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A "dead one?"

Not getting the job was one thing, but listening to an ignorant hack possibly hogging my job was another. See, I always believed you should have some knowledge of the job you hold. If you don't, at least get informed before the opening so as to not look like an idiot. Call me old fashioned.

In this case, a person in a record store should have known the name of the person was Roy Orbison.

Damn you, Discus!

The Case For Burkean Conservatism

From The New Criterion:

"...In the end, what is at issue are concepts of world order and human progress. The extreme realist model proposes a world of equilibrium, punctuated by conflict. The United States, in this view, cannot shape history toward humane or democratic outcomes because history cannot be shaped, only enacted. The neoconservative model substitutes a democratic teleology of history and assigns America the responsibility (and the ability) to urge it along through diplomacy, the encouragement of revolution, and, in the extreme, through force.

American Burkean conservatism can make its distinctive contribution in transcending this cleavage. A world order of states embracing participatory governance and international cooperation, in accordance with agreed-upon rules, can be our hope and should be our inspiration. Progress toward it is possible, and desirable. But this progress will generally need to be sustained through a series of intermediary stages. At any given interval, we will usually be better served, as Burke wrote in the passage quoted earlier, “to acquiesce in some qualified plan that does not come up to the full perfection of the abstract idea, than to push for the more perfect,” and risk a collapse and abdication by insisting on the ultimate immediately. We need a strategy and diplomacy that allow for the complexity of the journey—the loftiness of the goal, as well as the inherent incompleteness of the human endeavors through which it will be approached.

An attempt to operate on principles of power alone will prove unsustainable. But an attempt to promote values without an account for culture and nuance—as well as other intangibles of circumstance and chance—will end in disillusionment and abdication..."

Of course, Burke and Thomas Paine exchanged a few words about the American Revolution.

2012-06-15

Cause For Celebration?

Break out the tin foil!

My last post was this blog's 5000th (6327 including those not published. Some rich screeds in those).

How about that?

I guess I'm at 5001 now.

From Individualism To Socialism

How Jack London became a socialist.

"...To return to my conversion. I think it is apparent that my rampant individualism was pretty effectively hammered out of me, and something else as effectively hammered in. But, just as I had been an individualist without knowing it, I was now a Socialist without knowing it, withal, an unscientific one. I had been reborn, but not renamed, and I was running around to find out what manner of thing I was..."

Question: Is he trading in individualism (in which he seems to further correlate being an individualist to working for a capitalist) for submission to the collective and ultimately the state?

If I Was Head Of Marketing For The Democratic Party

The way things are going for President Obama I can totally see him saying "fuck it" and breaking out singing Pac-Man Fever. That would be so funny. In a sad way. A funny sad way. No. It would be funny.

Once Upon A Time 45s Were In

I introduced my seven year-old daughter to my vinyl record collection earlier tonight. I was rummaging through them and took advantage to teach her some, I guess, history.

It was a little late - 9ish - but I did what any daddy possessing a milligram of pride and decency and riled her up with music. She's got the beat. The other thing I realized, as I looked at the names like Bruce Springsteen, Madonna (how did that get there?), Morrissey, Freda Payne, Billy Joel, John Cougar, The Police, U2, etc., they were recording records when 45 singles were still being made! Crazy.

Anyway, The Go-Go's were an all-girl band from the 1980s that actually didn't leave you cringing.

It worked.


Friday Night Music Rainshowers

I don't know if there's a "Montreal sound" in rock like we used to hear about the "West coast" or "California sound" with bands like The Eagles.

But if there were, Michel Pagliaro would definitely be on the list along with April Wine, Leonard Cohen, Andy Kim (and a few others I'm over looking at the moment) and now perhaps Arcade Fire.

'Pag' is still kicking around and adding to his legacy.

2012-06-14

I Want A Higher Return On My Money

Yes, this is what I like with my espresso. A student - and I use the term loosely- wearing a CCCP/Soviet Union t-shirt (really? In 2012?)  lecturing me. Ironically, he'd probably be more likely to deploy the troops to crush a rebellion than Harper or Charest.

Remember kids, as an aside, the government shouldn't know where the guns are.

The Markets Under Obama

Conservative commentators are all over President Obama's "the private sector is doing fine" line.

So, as a result, pop conservatives are worried about how the markets will react if Obama gets reelected.

The fact remains since 2009, the stock markets have rendered a positive return - they usually do under Democrats.

The markets aren't seeing the same demons conservatives are.

I wish I could say otherwise but here it is.

2012-06-11

Immigration Keeps Us Alive

I keep reading (mostly from the right) how Canada needs to "stop immigration" because new immigrants "don't want to assimilate."

Bunch of nonsense.

Canada has a labour shortage. It doesn't have a strong enough birth rate to keep up so we need to make it up through immigration. Specifically, skilled labour. It's a gigantic country that needs filling.

The challenge is providing those people with jobs in their fields. People with medical degrees from India or Iran shouldn't be driving taxis or selling shoes.

Canada's reality is not Europe's where immigration is looked upon negatively. We're the New World and continue to offer people from around the world with a great opportunity to live in peace and harmony with a high quality of life. We're in no position to close down our borders, Muslim terrorists notwithstanding. More importantly, there is no reason - culturally, politically or economically - to argue against it.

We all sometimes gets caught up in the "culture wars" (in Quebec, it's still further backwards with the "language wars") but when you look at it, that's just a detraction from the real issue of keeping the economy healthy in a pluralist society that respects the rule of law.

People come with knowledge. Knowledge is an asset. Language and ethnicity (culture) are just an excuse for protectionists and nationalists to exploit for their own parochial purposes.




2012-06-09

Daffy: It's Mine, Mine, Mine!

I'm not sure where this attitude and belief came from in explaining the problems in the economy - it seems to me the day the vacuous and misleading Elizabeth Warren proclaimed 'no one got rich on their own' - but I'm starting to hear and read this pitiful rationale more and more.

Each time I hear it from now on, I'm naming names.

On the Tommy Schnurmacher radio show, guest panelist Anne-Lagace Dawson (an NDP supporter) closed a segment uttering these same words adding "we're all in this together."

In what together I wondered?

It should be explained, to her mind, the financial problems are all the fault of the rich banks (who are extremely tightly regulated in Canada and Europe) and the 1%.

She's entitled to her opinion. To me, myopic catch-phrases from the left are mutating into something beyond their basic beliefs.

Whatever.

I'm not interested in debating this, it's (largely) public spending the problem, deal with it.

What I'm annoyed with is that people like her are increasingly describing a narrative that I will not accept as a person and business owner.

No, Mme. Dawson, you did not have a hand in my (pending) success. We're not sharing anything.

Any sharing on my part "pour la societe" comes off my payroll and personal income taxes.

Until you provide an investment cash outlay, you have not a single right to say "I didn't do it on my own."

Are you suggesting that by some intellectual sleight of hand you magically are a part of this journey?  Moreover, the logic you espouse ends with the reality I helped "pave roads" through my tax dollars in the first place just like any other citizen. It doesn't entitle me to say, "well, Mr. Butcher, you should charge me $2 instead of $3 because I helped to make you succeed!"

That's a form of free-loading.

There's no proper logic to defend this position. When you think it to its logical end, you're essentially saying people "own" shares in a business because it is they who helped make it succeed. Completely ignored (obliviously) is the fact that in order for someone to succeed they usually offer something in return. It's called goods and services. It's probably the most basic of our economic principles.

So Jean Coutu may be rich, but he provided good and services in exchange for money. He filled a demand needed by customers. And yes, he did it by himself. Even if he received a loan from the government to start his business or earn his pharmaceutical degree, it's likely he paid it back.

At best, this position is circular logic. It's a moot point and shouldn't be uttered.

It's silly - and perhaps immoral - on all counts.

I pay my taxes for all the welfare excesses people are demanding off my back. We're already kicking in our "dues." For someone to come along and say, "no one does it alone" annoys me to no end because it's wrong. No, Mme. Dawson. And Mme. Warren. And others who believe this gibberish.

Above all, you didn't sweat and toil into building our businesses. You didn't "share" into the stress and family fights to make a business successful. You weren't by our side when many sleepless nights went by unsure if we could make payroll, or pay rent, or property taxes, or cover expenses or deal with banks who demand so much personal collateral. Nor are you there to offer a word of encouragement when things are down or sound investment advice when we need it most.

You're not there. Until you are, I owe you nothing - financially and most of all intellectually. You and you alone define whatever it is we're supposed to be "together" in.

I didn't agree to anything.

 We would appreciate it if you stop dragging us into your world view. Our lives are complicated enough as it is.

Thank you.

Sincerely, T.C.

I Like USA Shopping And Charest Government Caving

Every so often I read the newspaper (particularly when I visit my parents or mother in-law). They always have a paper lying around somewhere. So why not read it?

A couple of topics captured my eye.

The first is about "cross border shopping." Particularly how it's argued to "take away jobs" from Canadians.

Bunch of stupid, nationalist bull shit. Canada, as a whole, is not a finished manufacturing based economy. We left that off the table a long, long, time ago. No "jobs are lost" since we pretty much import everything from the USA.

What these protectionist boobs are essentially saying is that we be forced (or at leas be patriotic) to be double, if not triple the price, for certain goods and services in Canada. Accept price gouging for the flag! We can't compete with America's economies of scale and never will. Not only that, we gain access to products not yet in Canada because some bureaucrat has to "ok it."

Until the Canadian government goes fascist and outlaws shopping (or increases tariffs) in the USA, I will continue to shop there (including on the internet) for clothes, car parts, certain food items, wines etc.

You'd be a fool not to.

Nowhere in Canada can you find Calvin Klein or Kenneth Cole at deep discount prices! In Quebec, the price of wine is ridiculous if not outrageous. About $4 more, on average, than what I can get in the States. Then again, we do have to pay their salaries. If I'm not mistaken, SAQ workers earn about $21/hr. The same job down south is perhaps $12.

***

I'm simply floored by the fact that Jean Charest is "negociating" with union-backed student leaders who probably don't speak for the majority. He has not an ounce of pride or leadership.

I read an interesting letter to the editor by someone who made a simple and logical case against the farce of the student protests.

The main tenet of the argument being that back in 1962, the cost of tuition was $525 to earn an engineering degree. The Consumer Price Index rose 7.6% since then. 7.6 times $525 is $3390. That's the minimum they should be paying adjusted for inflation.

There really isn't a debate but yet the students are asking for a freeze after the government insanely offered to lower the initial $325 (spread over seven years)?





Clinton's Mind

You know, former President Bill Clinton has been rather persistently offering his insights on American politics. It's rather unsporting and ungraceful for him to do so, no? I get the feeling Clinton is not impressed with Obama and never quite got over his nod over Hilary.

That being said, comparatively speaking, Clinton was a superior President. Moreover, and more difficult to prove, a superiour mind. I don't recall Clinton making the kind of gaffe's Obama does. No one's perfect but it seems to me some of the things Obama has said are not the sort an intellectual should be permitted to commit.

This is just my opinion, but even under duress and despite flaws in his character as a person, Clinton played the part of the President well. He always felt like a statesman. There seemed to be depth to his intellectualism.



European Legendary Tales

The Twelve Peers of Charlemagne. Led by Roland, they were immortalized after the treacherous defeat at the Battle of Ronceveaux of which the Songs of Roland were born.

I believe they were also referred to as the Twelve Companions and the plot predates the Arthurian Knights of the Round Table.

Maher Bets On Mets

So.

Maher is allowed to buy a minority stake in a professional sports team and Limbaugh isn't?

It's not like Maher hasn't said some questionable things.

*Rolls eyes.*

Christian Tales

Can you name the Seven Champions of Christendom?

Hint: I'm not one of them.

Price Of Success: Immigration In Rome

It's months I've been meaning to bring up the topic of immigration in the United States and what it was in Rome.

Rather than sit and write my own insufficient musings, I defer to more capable of hands (Mark Damen).

"Not that things hadn't actually been that way for centuries, only by late antiquity it was undeniable that, in spite of being called "Roman," the Empire was, in fact, a multicultural enterprise. The pretense of a "Roman" Rome had worn so thin it was impossible to maintain the illusion, for instance, that everyone in the Empire could speak—or even wanted to speak—Latin, the Romans' native tongue. Furthermore, it had been ages since any emperor had even bothered to pretend his lineage could be traced back to some ancestor who had arrived with Aeneas in Italy, an invented history which was beginning to look rather silly when Spaniards and North Africans had been steering the Empire for decades.

The stark truth was that by the fifth century CE—and indeed for many years before that—a succession of dynamic and capable foreigners coming from all ends of the Empire had kept Rome on its feet and these men were as "Roman" as anyone born or bred in the capital. Barbarians were, and had been for a long time, guarding and feeding the Empire, which made it all the more difficult to claim they shouldn't also be running it. While three centuries earlier the Roman satirist Juvenal had lamented, "I can't stand a Greek Rome," now Rome wasn't merely Greek. It was Dacian and Egyptian and Syrian and, most of all, ever more German by the day.

Thus, the sort of change which Rome had undergone—and which implies per se a certain trajectory into the future—was all too clear: from a local stronghold in Italy, to a multinational power, to the only superpower in the known world, to a globalized conglomerate of many different peoples. Even if Romans still held the title to the Empire and affected superiority over the barbarians managing their domain, Roman possession of the lands around the Mediterranean Sea was, for the most part, only on paper. The reality was that the state was jointly owned, a participatory experiment which was by then maintained with the sweat and blood of many races—and there were even more who would have liked to sign up as "Roman" but they couldn't get in.

This begs the question, then, why so many foreigners lived—and even more wanted to live—in Rome. Why did barbarians in such numbers press to invade an empire in which they were treated as second-class citizens no matter how hard they worked and collaborated? The answer is easy. The Roman Empire in that day was a far safer place to live and offered much better accommodations than the wild world outside its borders. Roads and aqueducts and baths and amphitheaters and even taxes look good when one is gazing in from outside where poverty, blood-feuds, disease and frost reign supreme—the mild Mediterranean climate of southern Europe cannot be discounted as a factor in the barbarians' desire to infiltrate sunny Rome—but there was an even more impressive reason lurking beyond the borders of the Empire, something anyone would want to avoid if at all possible: Huns!"

Quick thing about Latin. What not mentioned here, and wasn't necessary to the point, is there was Classical Latin which gave way to Vulgar Latin (practiced by soldiers, merchants etc. and not the elites) which, in turn, the Romance (Roman) language evolved starting with Italian (see chart here under classification).

2012-06-08

Union Membership Drops Drastically in Wisconsin

"Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—the state's second-largest public-sector union after the National Education Association, which represents teachers—fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011, according to a person who has viewed Afscme's figures. A spokesman for Afscme declined to comment."

That's a big drop. Here's a list of nations by union membership as a percentage of all employees. American must really be annoyed with unions these days since they represent a rather small figure of the work force. Canada has 2 1/2 times more membership - mostly in Quebec and Newfoundland. France came in last, which is a bit of a shocker really.

40% of Quebec's work force is unionized.

That's, like, a lot.

2012-06-07

Music Thursday With Dan Hartman

Always liked this song. Incredible that it's been 18 years since Dan Hartman died.

Freedom Of Speech Is Freedom To Speak

I'm with Mark Steyn on this one. It's a shame what he had to go through with the bull shit Human Rights Commission.

People like Garrison are, to me, what's wrong with modern thinking on matters of free speech. He - and all his tyrannical ilk - are  the poster children for "political correctness." PC is just a fast lane to mediocrity. If I may be so blunt.

Soon enough we'll become sloppy social sophists like the British.

I don't like stuff like this but it's quite a jump to imprison someone for it.

It's Gold, Jerry, Gold!

The US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Monday that Libi had served as the group's "general manager" and had overseen day-to-day operations in Pakistani tribal areas.

Just like Wal-Mart.

How many VP's have the good guys killed so far anyway?

Like Banya says, "it's gold!"

2012-06-06

Red Army Great Krutov Passes



Vladimir Krutov was an awesome hockey player. Let me open with that.

Krutov died of liver failure at the age of 52.

Loathe to admit it (they were communists after all) at the time, but the Soviet Union ice hockey team were basically Brazilian soccer players on skates. The only nation capable of defeating them was Canada.

The net dominance of the Soviets was indisputable - which makes USA's Miracle on Ice easily one of the all-time great upsets. Probably the greatest of them all. That's how good they were. Back in the 1980s it was the height of the Cold War - Red Dawn and all that - and Canada closed ranks with the United States on that front. I don't know if we hated them in as much as we pitied the crap spewed by communists.

They were losers and the people in the West who supported them bigger failures. The attitude was Canada represented all that was free and good and that when we (hastily) put our best together (during the Canada Cups which was the only time we could ice our best players), we were better. Let's just say Canada and the Soviets were two great heavyweights. International hockey's Italy-Brazil in soccer.

They were machines. It's what we were told. Unemotional, atheists skating and fluttering around straddling between artistry and robotic mechanics. We didn't appreciate their artistry. We focused on the fact they rarely smiled and celebrated. The joke was if they did they would be sent to the Gulag or Siberia. Like I said, communists were losers and it dictated how we judged the players. Back in the 1970s, after Canada's Pyrrhic victory over the Soviets in 1972, the godless Soviet Red Army team would take on NHL teams.

Two games remain memorable, if not downright mythical and legendary. The first was the game against the Philadelphia Flyers - then the league's best - and the Broadstreet Bullies. Make no mistake about it. They were brutal. Mean. Insane even. Hanson Brothers magnified.

One problem. The Flyers were actually skillful and talented. The match, won 4-1 by Philadelphia, was typical of a Cold War showdown brought to a halt with absurd Soviet gamemanship when they pulled their squad off the ice after a non-call.

The other being the enchanted epic meeting with the once proud and powerful Montreal Canadiens. I don't think there ever was such a showdown with so much fervor in North American pro sports. The Habs managed to stare down and even outplay the Soviets. Our own team, imagine that, matching grace and glory eye for eye the greatness before them. Despite out shooting the Red Army 38-13, the game ended in a 3-3 tie.

In hindsight, a proper scoreline between two legendary opponents. Obviously, this is a little revisionism on my part since at the time I highly doubt praise and respect were key to our outlook on the Russians. I'm sure some, the more wise among them, people called it as it was but for the large part, this was freedom and democracy against tyranny and communism.

Despite those two games, between 1975-1991 the Russians dominated the NHL with a 26-8-2 record.

One guy in my high school had the courage to wear a CCCP t-shirt. Not on political grounds, but purely in the interest of sports. "They're the best. We have to kill ourselves to just keep up with them" was his rationale. Of course, Canada had, at one point, Bobby Orr and by my time, Paul Coffey and Ray Bourque. Surely these Canadian masters were as good, right?

That's no longer the point. I think Canada made its point. Rather, it's coming to terms with who the Soviets were. Their names are now enshrined in hockey folklore. Vladimir Tretziak, Vladimir Makarov, Igor Larionov, Viechislav Fetisov and Vladimir Konstontinov.

Their names filled us with fear and dread but awe and admiration like Garrincha, Tostao, Pele and Socrates scared the living hell out of soccer defensive units. Among them was Vladimir Krutov who was 1/3 of the famous KLM line.

The fall of the Berlin Wall signified, thankfully, the wretchedness of what was left of crappy communism. It ushered in an age of freedom so longed by peoples held under its dictatorship. It was so unhealthy; unnatural. It was time to get "Western" (cue 'Tiny Dancer' from WKRP) and get to know who the Soviets were. With glasnost and perestroika, came in new moments between Russia and the West.

For hockey, it meant the arrival of ex-Soviet players to the NHL. Sadly sold off like cattle by the last remnants of what was left of a cash-strapped (surprise!) communist regime.

By the 1990s, they were past their prime and hockey fans only got to see a glimpse of their magnificent talent. The were more like artifacts and relics from The Smithsonian than hockey players. They were productive, I find, under the the circumstances with various teams.

Times were changing indeed as the next generation of superstars were quietly defecting led by Sergei Fedorov (CSKA Moscow) who arguably became the greatest Russian player to play in the NHL. Later came, Pavel Bure and, I believe, Alexander Mogilny; the rest is history. In fact, Russian players became the bedrock of the Detroit Red Wings (of which Larionov played a key role) rebirth and dynasty of the 1990s led by the one man capable of understanding this great opportunity accorded them in Scotty Bowman. They still have one of the best Russian players in Pavel Datsyuk.

The Soviets produced technicallygifted players (shot accuracy, skating, passing etc.), still do in my opinion, and Vladmir Krutov was among them. Krutov only played one season and struggled most to adapt to North America. Makarov (scored 322 goals in 519 games)and Larionov were able to carve bigger careers. Perhaps.

It still doesn't detract from the fact Krutov was one of the best wingers in international hockey for a period in the 1980s.

Death Of Democracy

*Playing with ball of yarn*
Oh, democracy died.

Didn't you hear? Right after an election. Dead like Superman. Bat-Man. Captain America. All of them. Dead. They may even make the cut on a "1000 Ways to Die."



Perhaps he and the protesting students (what's left of them), should get together. Misery loves company.

Literary Sciene Icon Bradbury Dies

Ray Bradbury dead at 91.

What About The Habs?

Just another example why soccer is miles and generations ahead of hockey in Quebec. Parochial nonsense, wrapped up in nationalist gibberish is absent in professional soccer. At the end of the day, the best man for the job is hired regardless of nationality or language. The fans demand the best. If he be Dutch so be it. I won't give this more than it deserves.

Assume you're pot of candidates included what are considered to be the best coaches.

Listening to some in the French media, they're speaking as though Joel Quenneville would never have a shot here. Nor Ken Hitchcock. Or John Tortarella. They're already moaning that Bergevin went out and got Dudley and Mellanby (two excellent choices) because they're not "chez nous."

In any place, it's called discrimatory rhetoric. Here, it's called "respect."

Please. 

I ask. Why would I give a penny to an organization that wouldn't hire the best?

2012-06-05

Walker Prevails In Wisconsin. Is Charest Watching?

Is this a harbinger for November? I wouldn't bet on it - a lot can happen until then - but one thing is certain, this is a wake up call for Democrats.

Now let's see if the Wisconsin Model succeeds and whether it will lead to similar results in other states.
I don't think the state will fall apart.

There's a lesson for Jean Charest: Stand by your word.

Party Switching

I don't know enough about American political history (Pat Buchanan's cue) to discuss the significance - or insignificance - of party switching but it is rather interesting to see these facts.

People switch parties for all sorts of reasons and motives so I'm taking this at face value.

Since the 1960s, a switch from Democrat to Republican happened 214 times while the switch from GOP to Democrat was 81. Since Obama took office, nine politicians crossed over to the Democrats.

Meanwhile, 49 (and counting) went the other way in his four years.

I count 49 switched from Bush during his eight years - two terms - as President.

Loaded Questions

"Do you think you're not getting enough scoring from your top guys?"

This question from a reporter came in the aftermath of New Jersey's 4-0 loss to Los Angeles in game three of Stanley Cup. It get asks a lot in all sports. It's a loaded question because the answer is obvious.

No shit. The Devils were shut out. Do you think you need more scoring? Why not just ask, "do you think if you score more goals you will win?"

It's likely, just guessing (and I really hope for their sake there is some sort of reason) designed to elicit an emotional or curt response from a coach. Unless a coach is coy at which point they play with the reporter like a cat does with yarn.

Usually, a reporter's response to asking inane questions is "readers want to know." If that be so, how dumb are the readers and how silly is the paper for pandering to such insipidness?

It's a waste of time and it's grown tiresome watching NHL and NBA coaches lash out in a press conference where asinine questions are asked.

2012-06-03

Tax Credits For Children Of Illegal Immigrants

Ugh.

"...Release of the IG report last year sparked a Republican effort to stop the payments, and an emotional opposition to that effort from Democrats. They argue that the beneficiaries of the credits are in effect the U.S.-born children of the low-income parents who claim the credits."

I thought it was the GOP who relied on emotions.

Fact Checking Bain Capital

I think it's pretty safe to assert that Romney has a more substantial record on jobs.

I was hoping some of these fact check sites would verify Bain.

Frankly, it doesn't surprise me at all. It's not a stretch to think the benefits outweigh the bad with private equity. Focusing on just one thing (e.g. increasing debt) without considering other factors is typical.

The positive success stories of The Sports Authority and Staples alone offer jobs and growth as long as they stay in business. The Democrats don't have a leg to stand on. So they have to focus on the negatives. One thing is for sure, Congress can't create such businesses.

Obama's Economy By The Numbers

Compiled by Politifact.

Sitcoms And Politics

I spotted conservative commentator Tucker Carlson on TV the other day and he got me thinking of the 80s sitcome Family Ties.

Now that I look back, the show had hutzpah for depicting Alex P. Keaton (played by Michael J. Fox) not only as a conservative Republican during the Reagan administration, but a smart, academ ically driven one as well. The show further blended Keaton's character with his idealistic, liberal, hippie parents. His Mallory was also conservative but an airhead, while the other one was, from what I recall, a tom-boy just lost in the shuffle.

Is there a show on TV that is as overt as Family Ties when it comes to mixing politics, ideology and family?

Anyway. The more I think of it, the more I believe Keaton spawned Carlson.

2012-06-02

Of Derbyshire And Farrakhan

And Obama was supposed to be a post-racial, transformational figure.

Get the fuck outta here!

No, no. It's not his fault what others say but it's amusing to even have uttered such things about a mere mortal.

Movie scenes come into my head and I build posts around them.

This is what I do.

Where The Figurative And Literal Meet

Impostor posing as wife: Ok, everyone help mommy clean this house up.
T.C.: Go home you socialist!
Little girl: What home, daddy?

2012-06-01

Potemkins Abound

From 1995 in the Chicago Tribune.

You've probably engaged in Potemkin behavior. Like cleaning up madly the pig sty you call a "home" before guests come over. Or in my business, dirty, places with busted up ratios magically "conform" to standards and then revert back to their natural state of bad habits.

 

Racial Joke

What do you call someone of Irish-Italian extraction?

McDago.

Whoa!

*I'd like to point out McDonald's had no input on the creation of that joke.

Wretched Hypocrites

Faced with a choice between an "honest" candidate and a "deceptive" one, who do you think voters will elect for?

It is my contention, based on nothing but pure speculation and observation, the rat would win. People, perhaps subconsciously, want to be deceived. They have to be deceived or else what will they have to complain about!