"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The provincial government has finally gotten of its collective behinds and released the TILMA assessment done for Saskatchewan by the Conference Board of Canada.
For the flaws in these types of studies, read these different assesments of the same analysis done for the original BA/Alberta agreement.
However, a quote from page 6 should make people think twice:
And this is from the PRO-TILMA side! Yikes!
As with any comprehensive agreement, the TILMA presents not only opportunities for Saskatchewan Economy [sic] but also contains potential risks. Reduced legislative independence of the provincial and municipal governing bodies, a potential loss of local procurement contracts and short-term increased provincial out-migration would lower the potential positive economic impact on the province
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
If you are a frequent reader of this blog (and I know there are at least 2 of you) then you will remember all the kurfuffle that happened back at the beginning of March. To refresh your memory I include links to my posts here and here
Long story short, a blogging dipper made a post that many found to be offensive. The federal NDP denounced him in a letter but gave that letter to a Liberal blogger to post.
Well, I sent in the following request for an Interview on March 10th . I simply went to the "contact us" section of the NDP website and submitted the following:
I got an e-mail response on Monday of this week (April 23rd) and sent in my questions on Tuesday (April 24th) . The questions and answers are included below.
To Whom it May Concern:
I am a blogger who also happens to be a member of the New Democratic Party. You can access by blog at http://giantpoliticalmouse.blogspot.com. Recently I have made some posts regarding the party and their initiatives to create a blogroll or some sort of affiliated blog system and quite frankly, my comments were not very positive. In the interests of fairness I would like to request an e-mail interview with somebody from the Federal NDP, preferably the President, but another suitable person will do. I will propose a series of questions by e-mail, they will respond the same way, and I will place the entire transcript, without edits, on my blog.
If the Leader of the Party can agree to do a video interview with the head of the blogging tories, then surly it is not asking too much to get the president or someone similar to answer a few questions by e-mail.
There is currently a bit of a backlash against the blogging initiatives that the federal party is undertaking and this might be a way of dealing with some of that backlash.
Giant Political Mouse
The person who responded was Joanne Deer who is the Director of Communications for the Federal NDP. The interview is below:
Question: My original request for an interview was made on March 10th. Your e-mail response was received on April 23rd. Obviously I used the incorrect method to obtain an interview. I (or other bloggers) may want to get an interview or have questions answered by the party in the future. If they do they would need a method of obtaining that information in "internet time" so to speak. What is the process that bloggers should use to get a prompt response from the Federal NDP?
Answer: Interview requests and questions needing a quick response can be sent directly to me at joanne[at]ndp[dot]ca
Question: The Federal NDP seems to be starting to have a "blogging strategy". Let me begin by asking, what is the Federal Party's vision for political blogs (of all partisan stripes)?
Answer: We view blogs as an increasingly important and influential tool for informing and engaging the online community. We want to engage with bloggers as we would with any media to get the federal Party's message out.
Question: As a follow-up to that, how does the NDP view the "blogging dippers"? Will they be setting up their own blogroll that will be separate from that group?
Answer: Blogging Dippers is an important progressive community, and we appreciate their desire to maintain independence from the Party's federal office.
We are not developing a separate blogroll and are optimistic the new elected moderators format will hopefully help strengthen Blogging Dippers community.
Question: If the party "endorses" or even just "selects" certain bloggers as "NDP bloggers" what safeguards and/or media damage control plans are in place if one of these bloggers says something that is clearly not party policy or messaging and ends up being offensive or used against the party?
We have never had any plans to endorse or select bloggers.
Question: So far the (arguably) two biggest "NDP party office/blogger" interactions have been the interview by Jack Layton by one of the Blogging Tories and the release of a letter from the President of the Party to a Liberal blogger (Jason Cherniak). It appears (to some) that the outreach component of the party has been to all the bloggers EXCEPT the blogging dippers. I assume this was unintentional - but how is the party going to ensure that friendly bloggers get access to information and responses?
Answer: Our philosophy is to treat bloggers as we would traditional media - to respond to requests and interact with them regardless of their affiliation.
We are absolutely identifying and actively developing relationships with bloggers who are 'friendly' and open to receiving tips and information. Many of the bloggers we are have been working with are already in touch with us through bloggers[at]ndp[dot]ca and my email.
Bloggers wanting access to information should feel free to contact me.
Question: What is the timeline for any blogging initiatives from the federal NDP?
Answer: In the coming weeks we will unveil some "blogging tools", including NDP video and banner ads to help interested bloggers enhance their pages.
Interview ends here.....
I am glad to hear that the Federal NDP is not looking at developing a blogroll (answer # 3) but you can see where one might get that idea from this part of the President's letter:
I assume that since that time, sensible heads have prevailed at party office.
The NDP is undertaking the development of a new blog roll that better reflects the views and needs of the New Democrats in the blogosphere
Other than that the answers are quite good and I am looking forward to seeing the video components that the party will put together for bloggers. I am also glad to see that they "get" the relationship between the blogging dippers and the NDP.
This is just freeking cool!
An international team of astronomers from Switzerland, France and Portugal have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date.
“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid,” said Stéphane Udry from the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland and lead-author of the paper in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
“Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky – like our Earth – or covered with oceans,” he said.
“Liquid water is critical to life as we know it and because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X,” added Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University, France.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Friends of Al Gore have secretly started assembling a campaign team in preparation for the former American vice-president to make a fresh bid for the White House.
Two members of Mr Gore's staff from his unsuccessful attempt in 2000 say they have been approached to see if they would be available to work with him again.
I think that Gore would easily win the nomination and then the Presidency if he ran.
That would be a good thing for the entire world
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
Canadian MP Joy Smith introduced a new bill this week designed to cleanse the Internet of child pornography, racial hatred, and material that promotes violence against women. All noble goals, to be sure, but the cure might be almost as bad as the disease: Smith's plan calls for government censorship and the licensing of all ISPs in the country.
Actually it is not my take, but rather the take of a few other bloggers:
First off take this
While I've been viewing the situation in Central Nova from afar like a slow motion train wreck about to happen, I haven't really been rubbed the wrong way by May or her party. Until now. For May to insist that it might be more important for Jack to talk to her about their "shared values" than to talk to Harper on actually SHARING those values smacks of a sense of entitlement that shouldn't even be inherent in a person whose party has yet to elect a single member, and who has yet to enter the House of Commons as a sitting Member of Parliament let alone the Leader of an official party in that House.
Even if all of the Liberal voters in that riding (and that is a pretty big if) threw their support behind the Green’s a good percentage of the NDP vote still needs to switch their support. All of that is also assuming that the right-Liberal vote doesn’t switch to the Conservatives once they have lost their party
Essentially, May has written off nearly every other Green candidate in the country in order to improve her personal odds of being elected.
May has put all of the Green eggs (and ham) in one basket. If she does not win, then this new strategy will only have helped the Liberal Party appropriate Green votes. If she wins, she will not have anyone to second her motions let alone official party status. In effect, May would have to function as an appendage of another party. Through her deal with Dion, she has clarified which party it would be. Whether or not May is elected, the beneficiary of this deal will be the Liberal Party.
and finally back to this
Does this mean if (a big if) May is elected she will get a free ride for the rest of her time in politics?
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I know I am. Take a look
Health outcomes for patients in Canada are as good as or better than in the United States, even though per capita spending is higher south of the border, suggest Canadian and U.S. researchers who crunched data from 38 studies.
Overall, Canada did better, and in fact we found a statistically significant five per cent mortality advantage to people with diagnoses in Canada compared to their counterparts in the United States
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
As even a total idiot (or some Saskatchewan Conservative MP's) could figure out from this site - I am a big fan of the Simpsons.
This week is the 20th Anniversary of the show. Read more here
Today, The Simpsons is broadcast in more than 45 languages—and is the longest-running sitcom in history, edging out "Ozzie and Harriet," which ran from 1952 to 1966.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Recently there have been a number of posts in the political blogosphere that have "offended" some people and have led to calls for removal from lists or bannings or what-not.
This is a reminder that freedom of speech comes with a price. No surprise, but Salman Rushdie says it better then I ever could.
The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which people will never be offended or insulted is absurd. So too is the notion that people should have the right to call on the law to defend them against being offended or insulted. A fundamental decision needs to be made: do we want to live in a free society or not? Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other’s positions. (But they don’t shoot.)
At Cambridge University I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.
Some cold, hard facts about the campaigns of those contending to be the 44th president of the United States were revealed this weekend as campaigns posted their first quarterly reports with the FEC.
The FEC reports revealed much more than wonky numbers: They tell a great deal about the campaigns. Some tidbits:
Looks like Obama has a commanding lead.
Self-described fiscal conservative Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., spent 64 percent of what he took in, and assumed a stunning amount (to the tune of $1.8 million) of debt.
Leading up to an election year anticipated to be one of difficulty for the GOP, the Democratic presidential candidates raised $27 million more than their Republican counterparts.
Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised $24.8 million in primary cash for his campaign — almost 30 percent more than did frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y
Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson may have come up with the most clever way to keep his burn rate below 20 percent — his campaign manager, Dave Contarino, is a volunteer who does not draw a salary from the campaign. That's a somewhat different approach than the roughly $240,000 annual salary Rudy Giuliani pays to his campaign manager, Mike DuHaime.
Obama — 104,000 donors
McCain - 50,000 donors
Clinton - 60,000 donors
Edwards - 40,000 donors
Giuliani - 28,000 donors
Obama scored the most Internet money by raising $6.9 million online in the first quarter.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
So I don't agree with Andrew Coyne very often, but here it is:
And more to the point, read this post that pretty much sums up the whole deal:
It’s pretty clear there’s a larger game being played here than just electing Mr. Dion or Ms May, and larger stakes than just Central Nova. Even at yesterday’s joint press conference, there were hints that similar arrangements might be worked out in other ridings. Which suggests the real target of this operation is not Mr. MacKay. It’s the NDP.
Some bloggers (in comments mostly) such as here and here are claiming that this move is against the Liberal Constitution.
It is a riding where an outstanding young NDP candidate named Alexis MacDonald (I have met her, and trust me, this woman is amazing) came within striking distance of MacKay in 2006 with almost 33% of the vote. ... It is also a riding where the Greens took only a measly 1.6% of the vote in that same election.
I don't know if that is true or not. I took a lookee-see at the Liberal Party Constitution and didn't see anything that would prohibit this deal, but if some one else saw what I missed (very possible, I just took a quick glance) then please let me know.
this is against your [Liberal] constitution, a point Warren Kinsella also made on the Adler show today.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
na na naaaa na
na na naaaah na
hey hey hey
Belinda Stronach's brief but tumultuous fling with federal politics is coming to an end. The auto-parts heiress announced Wednesday that she won't seek re-election as an MP and, effective immediately, is rejoining her father's multibillion-dollar empire, Magna
Oh, you want some ORIGINAL content from a blog, do ya?
Fine, look at these
The Adventures of Diva Rachel
Peace, order and good government, eh?
West of the Fourth
Ramblings of a Northern Ontario Liberal
Blast Furnace Canada Blog
Pierre Trudeau Is My Homeboy
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Former U.S. presidential candidate Al Gore will be giving his much-publicized presentation, An Inconvenient Truth, to a Saskatchewan audience later this month.
Gore, a former vice-president under Bill Clinton, was invited to speak at Regina's Brandt Centre April 23 by Premier Lorne Calvert.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
This is a poorly written article, but it is still worth reading
The Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt: He was the ultimate keeper of secrets, lurking in the shadows of American history. He toppled banana republics, planned the Bay of Pigs invasion and led the Watergate break-in. Now he would reveal what he'd always kept hidden: who killed JFK
and this is true:
E. Howard scribbled the initials "LBJ," standing for Kennedy's ambitious vice president, Lyndon Johnson. Under "LBJ," connected by a line, he wrote the name Cord Meyer. Meyer was a CIA agent whose wife had an affair with JFK; later she was murdered, a case that's never been solved. Next his father connected to Meyer's name the name Bill Harvey, another CIA agent; also connected to Meyer's name was the name David Morales, yet another CIA man and a well-known, particularly vicious black-op specialist. And then his father connected to Morales' name, with a line, the framed words "French Gunman Grassy Knoll."
So there it was, according to E. Howard Hunt. LBJ had Kennedy killed. It had long been speculated upon. But now E. Howard was saying that's the way it was. And that Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't the only shooter in Dallas. There was also, on the grassy knoll, a French gunman, presumably the Corsican Mafia assassin Lucien Sarti, who has figured prominently in other assassination theories.
Monday, April 02, 2007
I spent the better part of Sunday reading a good chunk of the information on this site about the issue of peak oil (I know, I'm a geek)
This site is a remarkable resource for people who want to know more about the issue and the argument being presented on both sides.
Peak Oil is not a theory. It is a fact. Only the timing, magnitude, and implications are open to interpretation. How we interpret them should be a top priority for us individually and collectively.
Given that even the most optimistic prediction is that we will reach PO in about 25 years, this is something that is going to have start being addressed by governments around the world.
Again, this is why there needs to be public investment in developing new energy technologies - a topic that I have blogged about many times