Author: Kate

Beaurocratic Efficiency

No, that’s not an oxymoron.
Last Monday I filled out an express post envelope with my application forms and passport for a Brazilian tourist visa. The Brazilian Consulate is in Toronto. I enclosed an express post envelope for its return. The paperwork stated to allow 10 working days. Add two days each way I figured… two weeks.
It arrived this morning.
Wow. Just unbelievable.

Mad Cow Relief. Thankyou, Adscam

Paul Martin is announcing aid for the cattle industry this morning – to the tune of nearly a billion dollars, with a considerable part of that going to the actual cattlemen. [note to urban media types – not “cattle farmers”]
The best news to come out of Adscam yet.
Last week it was federal Finance Minister, Ralph Goodale, taking a look at the transfer payment situation and declaring Saskatchewan has been – gosh darn golly gee! shortchanged after all! – a hundred million on the way, and more to come. Heh.
Got to love the irony of that – Paul Martin is fighting for his political life – in Picture Butte, Alberta, while the premier of the same province is in Washington representing Canadian interests to the US on getting the borders open.

Put Another Dime In The ATM, Baby

What happens when an ATM crashes and reboots into a regular copy of Windows XP on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University? The world’s first Diebold Brand Media Player. Using the touch screen and the character mapper in Windows, the ATM was reprogrammed to play various looping songs (including Talking Heads) while occasionally belching out ‘What, am I made of money?’ via text-to-speech.

Diebold – also known for their eVoting machines.
Via Franksworld

The Day Everything Changed

Frank Lavigne has been an online friend for many years, so his photoessay was something I have known about since the day he put it up. It crossed my mind today that it’s probably not that well known. It deserves to be.

“I thought to myself, “One more shot and I’m out of here.”

“Dazed, angry, and confused, I felt along the wall of buildings to keep at least some sense of direction. Next thing I knew everything turned from pitch black to brilliant white. I thought I had died. began to think of all the things I hadn’t done; of all the promises I hadn’t kept.
“But then, just as hope seemed to fade away, a man named John pulled me into a store that he himself found only seconds before. He saw the light from my digital camera and grabbed at me, effectively saving my life by pulling me into a shoe store on Nassau Street.
In there, I was able to catch my breath and regain my composure. After I thanked him profusely for saving me, he told me that his pregnant wife was working in one of the towers. I wanted to get his last name or phone number, but before I knew it, he was gone.”

At first, I thought it might be better to save the link for later – an anniversary. But “never forget” means exactly that.
“Please remember”, saved for days on a calendar, means the forgetting has begun.

Harping About Harper

It didn’t take long for the national media to reboot their rhetoric about Stephen Harper. Elected overwhelmingly to the new Conservative party leadership, and winning the vote in every region of Canada, the sun hadn’t risen on his new leadership term and the Toronto Star is pulling out the hatchets : Harper = Alliance = Reform = Western = Alberta = RightWing = Extremist = Rednecks = Bigots = Run For The Safety Of Your Liberal Mamas! “
You get the idea.
Let It Bleed is all over the Toronto Star editorials today.

If it’s Sunday, it must be time for the Toronto Star to let out its stable of barking moonbats. This week’s theme is that conservatives are just too damn crazy to form a government in Canada. Strangely, Haroon Siddiqui and Antonia Zerbisias are missing in action this week, but never fear: to replace them the Star has drafted… wait for it… Senator Ted Kennedy. I kid you not.

Linda McQuaig proves incapable of coming up an original idea for her column, so she just parrots what her bosses say. Too radical. Too “mean-spirited”. Too, you know, non- Liberal. Now, to be fair, Linda does bare her soul and reveals something about herself which, probably, no one suspected. At least, I know I wasn’t prepared for it. Are you ready for it? Make sure you’re sitting down; make sure you’ve got a phone next to you, in case you need to call for medical help. Ready? Okay, here we go… don’t say I didn’t warn you:
“I’ll confess that conservatism has never been my cup of tea…”

Here’s something else that I know no one suspected – there are no true “right leaning conservative” political parties in Canada
None. Not a single party espouses dismantling universal health care. Not a single party is campaigning on a platform of adding property rights to the Constitution. None are suggesting that First Nation treaties be renegotiated to eliminate entitlements to individuals on the basis of racial pedigree. No party is advocating the elimination of our “affirmative action” like hiring programs in government. None of the parties are suggesting the CBC or Via Rail be sold.
The Canadian Conservative Party is ideologically positioned somewhat to the left of the US Democrats on the majority of fundamental issues. There are no parties of the “right of center” in Canadian politics.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Pot Dealer

The Government Of Canada, that’s who!

OTTAWA — Health Canada plans to make government-certified marijuana available in pharmacies, a move that could rapidly boost the number of registered medical users.

You don’t say.

[T]he department is changing the regulations to allow participating pharmacies to stock marijuana for sale to approved patients without a doctor’s prescription, similar to regulations governing so-called morning-after pills, emergency contraceptives that can be obtained directly from a pharmacist without the need for a doctor’s signature.

It’s going to be interesting to watch how this plays into the current contraversy about the numbers of American citizens shopping for their prescription drugs in Canada …

Tommy Douglas Is Dead – Pt III

CBC: Cancer patient dies waiting for treatment

Duff McDonald was showing symptoms of prostate cancer last March. He had to wait six months to see a specialist and before a bone scan could be performed, the 65-year-old checked himself into the hospital and died. His daughter spoke out because she says her dad trusted the health care system and doesn’t want other people to make the same mistake.

This wasn’t the first case of prostate cancer going undiagnosed due to long waiting lists. It’s not even the first case this month. (see Tommy Douglas Is Dead – Pt II.)
In late February, it was announced that the NDP’s Agriculture Minister Clay Serby had to step down from his portfolio and would be out of the legislature, while undergoing treatment for cancer. The type of cancer has not been revealed, but it is known that it’s “treatable” and that he has already had surgery. Officials stressed that Serby was not given preferential treatment or moved to the front of the waiting list.
Perhaps so, and I wish Mr. Serby nothing but the best.
However, if it is revealed that he is suffering from prostate cancer, a lot of people are going to be asking a lot of questions of this health care department, and charges of insensitivity and “using his illness for political purposes” are going to fall as flat as the promises by Health Minister John Nilson to look into the particulars of Mr. McDonald’s case.


While Ol’ Doc Joyner waxes nostalgic with a Slate article about (Is there a “gag” tag?) Fleetwood Mac, I was taken back to the early days of my own music tastes … ( “Sub-ma-rine mission for you, boyz”) … ironically – the 70’s rock star dead pool overview? Pre- punk Alice Cooper is still around to piss on John Denver’s grave, the body count for the Sex Pistols is one to the Gibb brother’s two, and punk is undergoing its latest incarnation – Fright Wing Republicans.

NYT – With names like GOPunk, Anti-Anti- Flag and Punkvoter Lies, the sites are a curious blend of Karl Rove and Johnny Rotten, preaching personal responsibility and reflexive patriotism with the in-your- face zeal of a mosh pit. When he’s not banging his head to the Misfits, the Vandals or the Bouncing Souls, for example, Mr. Rizzuto spends his time writing essays denouncing Michael Moore and “left-wing propaganda,” and urging other conservative punks to join his cause.

We were conservatives way back then, too, kiddies.

Iraq The Model

Paul Wolfowitz has an op-ed in the that quotes another Iraqi blogger.

AFTER the horrific March 2 bombing that killed 170 at Shi’a shrines in Baghdad and Karbala, one Iraqi had an answer for those in the West who wonder if such tactics can work. His words speak to the horror of the events in Spain last week and in Baghdad on Wednesday.
His name is Ali and his Web log said this about the terrorists and their allies: “They are spitting in the face of the wind.”

Ali, the Iraqi blogger, put such attacks into a larger perspective: “Some people still wonder what would be the relation between the liberation of Iraq and [the] war on terrorism. I think that the fact that nearly all the terrorists are gathered on our land to fight so fiercely should be more than enough explanation.” He added: “We are . . . showing [other Arabs] what they can achieve once they are free . . . I see these evil powers show their true and ugly face and play their last card – surer than ever that we are winning.”

You can read Ali’s blog here.

Continue reading

Bringing Democracy To The UN

In Geneva, The U.N.’s Successor May Be Testing Its Wings

Imagine a better Washington. Imagine a conservative Republican administration working hand in glove with liberal congressional Democrats on a foreign-policy initiative designed to strengthen the United Nations while simultaneously increasing America’s clout there. Imagine both parties and both branches bringing this initiative to fruition smoothly and unfussily, during an election year. Say, this year. Say, right now.

I know I live under a rock, but I’m surprised this hasn’t recieved a little more attention.

In 1945, when the U.N. was born, most of the world was non-democratic, and so a “league of democracies” would have been a rump group. Today, however, more than 60 percent of the world’s countries are electoral democracies. Today it is absurd for Burma to vote as the moral and legal equivalent of Belgium; more absurd for Cuba and Zimbabwe to be members in good standing of the U.N. Human Rights Commission; and more absurd still for Libya to chair that commission, as it did last year.
To add injury to insult, democracies at the U.N. are disproportionately weak. The U.N. is dominated by a cluster of regional and ideological caucuses. African countries, for example, are pressured to vote together, with undemocratic governments often calling the shots and democracies going along to get along. Tyrants thus routinely exempt themselves from human-rights resolutions, while log-rolling ensures that condemnations of Israel sail through.
In 1996, a private group called the United Nations Association of the United States of America floated the idea of a caucus solely for democracies. With 120 or so nations (out of 191 U.N. members), such a caucus could serve as a powerful counterweight to the traditional caucuses.

The concept is being floated at a meeting of the UN Commission For Human Rights that began Monday in Geneva.
hat tip – Jack’s Newswatch

Mark Steyn Reviews His Iraq Predictions

On April 12th 2003, after the fall of Baghdad, I wrote a column in The Daily Telegraph discussing the latest predictions of doom and making my own observations on how things would look a year ahead. Well, that time is almost up, so here’s how it stands. I wasn’t 100% right, but the naysayers were close to 100% wrong. The original column and predictions appear in black. The updated assessment of the situation is in red:

Read it here – IRAQ: ONE YEAR ON. None of Steyn’s observations will come as any surprise. But it’s fun watching him rub it in.
What is perplexing is the behavior of those who were wrong a year ago, who continue to predict doomsday and failure, unwilling or unable to learn from experience. It’s almost perverse. If you want a good idea of what is likely to happen in the coming months, listen carefully to these people, and then presume the opposite. Not a bad system, actually.

EU Response To Terror: Cut Their Allowance?

Europe is not at war against terrorists, the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said, warning against a hysterical reaction to the threat of attacks in the wake of the Madrid bombings.

You don’t say….

“We have to energetically oppose terrorism, but we mustn’t change the way we live,” Solana has told the German weekly Bild am Sonntag in an interview to appear on Sunday, adding “Europe is not at war.”

Of course they’re not. He considers this whole unfortunate Madrid business an accident. Someone grabbed the wrong map, that’s all.
No, really.
The EU has been funding terrorism. Why would terrorists bite the hands that feed them? Ilka Schroeder – 25-year-old member of the European Parliament and former member of the German Green Party;

“The Europeans,” Ilka Schroeder said at Ben-Gurion University, “supported the Palestinian Authority with the aim of becoming its main sponsor, and through this, challenge the U.S. and present themselves as the future global power. Therefore, the Al-Aksa Intifada should be understood as a proxy war between Europe and the United States.”
In an earlier address in New York, she said it is “an open secret within the European Parliament that EU aid to the Palestinian Authority has not been spent correctly. The European Parliament does not intend to verify whether European taxpayers’ money could have been used to finance anti-Semitic murderous attacks.”

P. David Hornik makes these points in the Jan 12, 2004 article;

As for her notion of the Al-Aksa Intifada as a proxy war between Europe and the United States, it’s both compelling and questionable- more compelling in regard to countries like France and Germany, less so in regard to countries like Britain and Spain. It’s easy to adduce other reasons for the EU’s overall willingness to fund anti-Israeli terror, from traditional anti-Semitism (which Schroeder acknowledges as a factor), to the desire to deflect terror from Europe itself and keep it safely to the south, to the desire to appease local European Muslim voting blocs, to the desire to stay in the good graces of oil-rich Arab regimes. What’s clear is that, one way or another, Europe is addicted to Jew-killing; if today, amid its high-flown human rights rhetoric, it no longer engages in it directly, it’s able to do so by proxy, and it’s not about to stop.

No surprise that the EU response to the Spain bombing would be a beaurocratic one. Spain’s “learned her lesson”. No need to worry, now that that’s taken care of.

The measures include appointing a new “coordinator” to oversee the fields involved in the anti- terrorism fight — including police and judicial work, intelligence-sharing and cracking down on extremists’ financing.

Meaning, Solana plans to cut some allowances until these people remember who they’re being paid to bomb.

El Bush

I listened to George Bush’s speech today.
So did Alaa

I have just listened to President Bush’s speech on CNN. I just couldn’t leave the keyboard without saying something. Because the warmth of the Presidents’ words of friendship and commitment to our people really did make my eyes moisten. Not even the openly hostile report by the CNN reporter could spoil the feeling.
God will be on the side of good men, and it is clear for this middle-aged man who the good men are.
Hail dear El Bush. Thanks to you and all the Coalition men and women. Long may live our alliance and friendship. Victory by the Grace and Help of Allah is assured.

Mad Cow. Still Killing Us.

Thought mad cow was yesterday’s news?

Yesterday, Hunking tried to buy a frame for the $1.57 cheque
he received from the Ontario Stockyards for the two cows that weighed about 400 kilograms each when they were sold Feb. 20 at auction for an average price of about 10 cents per kilogram.

Levinoff Meat Products Ltd. of Montreal paid $83.05 for Hunking’s two cows, but by the time the $45 trucking cost, $29 commission fee, $2.20 insurance, $5.18 GST and other incidentals were deducted, Hunking’s net from the sale was $1.57.

Certainly, these were cull cows, not fat steers from which steaks and choice cuts are made. But the food products they were turned into will sell for about the same price as they did before BSE. Someone is making some money.

Spring Cleaning

I’ve been busy today trying to untangle the complications of trying to get my dog to Brazil with me, on the same aircraft, and for less than my own ticket…. but had enough time to check out the regulars, and read my comments section.
For Willie – some much needed historical perspective. The Price of Freedom in Iraq at Outside The Beltway.
For Canadian readers, meet fellow Saskatchewan blogger, Theresa Zolner, and learn about how best juggle your choices on a preferencial ballot to your prefered candidate’s advantage. Tomorrow the Conservative Party of Canada chooses a leader.
By way of Drudge .. another scandal at a major media outlet – USA Today reveals Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Jack Kelley has been fabricating stories. For years.
And for your landscaping problems, John Kerry’s your man. All this and Vietnam, too.
And most importantly – Murray Wood on 650 CKOM radio just recieved his first report of a gopher sighting! It is spring! Time to go dust off the .22

Saddam, A Year Ago

New York Post

While much has been made about intelligence failures in the West, it seems that Saddam’s own senior officials, diplomats and spies offered him such a warped vision of the outside world that warnings went unheeded and the power of France and Russia to prevent the conflict took on mythical proportions.

On instructions from Saddam, Lt. Gen. Abed Hamid Hamoud, the head of the presidential office, ordered Naji Sabri, the foreign minister, to contact the French and Russian governments and tell them that Iraq would accept only an “unconditional withdrawal” of U.S. forces.
“Tell them that Iraq is now winning and that the U.S. has sunk in the mud of defeat,” said the letter, written on March 30 – 10 days into the war and less than two weeks before U.S. tanks entered the capital.
The letter was in response to a message the day before from Sabri, who had met the Russian ambassador to Baghdad and reported that Moscow believed “U.S. aggression has no future.”
“The conflict could continue for months, a year or two years,” the Russian envoy is quoted as saying.

Some of the intelligence fed back to Baghdad may explain why its analysis was so off the mark. One clumsy drawing from an intelligence officer at the Iraqi Embassy in Syria sent on March 22, two days after the start of the war, showed the location of 20,000 Israeli troops equipped with Patriot surface-to-air missiles allegedly camped in the western desert of Iraq.

Via Kathy Kinsley

Is Moron A Gender?

UN Commission on the Status of Women

When the US asked that the document explicitly state that ‘mother’ and ‘father’ were not under the umbrella of the term ‘negative gender stereotype’, she was jeered by the EU and cut off by the Canadian chairperson.

It’s not easy being a woman in Canada.

When discussing portrayals of women in the media and gender stereotypes, the Canadian chairperson Beatrice Maille said that countries must work together so that girls in the media aren’t portrayed as playing with dolls and boys aren’t seen as sports players as this perpetuates negative stereotypes. The representative from Sudan responded, “How can we prevent this portrayal of girls? Why should we prevent this? It’s the reality that most little girls play with dolls. In fact, I still play with dolls on occasion!”

We have negative gender stereotypes like Beatrice Maille to overcome.
Hat tip – Trudeaupia

Gay Equality Rights

Heterosexuals Demand Right To Be Gay
“Equality for Gay Heterosexuals” met yesterday to organize their first ever Gay Pride Parade. George MacRae, 47 and his wife, Janice spoke for their organization. Pushing back his baseball cap to reveal a tanlined forehead, George explained,

“All we’re asking is for society to allow us to stand up and say “We’re gay!”. Not all the time, of course, but most of the time. We have a heck of a lot of fun at poker rallies and fishing derbies, but we can never be gay. For years we’ve been forced to say we were ‘delirious’ or ‘ecstatic'”.
“They say only homosexuals can be gay. We can be ‘happy’ if we like, with all the same protections of happiness that homosexual people have. But ‘happy’ isn’t the same thing as ‘gay’, you know? It’s close, but it’s not the real thing. We just want to be equal and to live our lives as gay people in peace. Being a heterosexual and gay does nothing to dimish homosexual gayness. We think it strengthens it.”

gay.jpg MacRae’s wife has opened a dance club where members have a place to meet and socialize with other gays. Friday was the ribbon cutting, followed by a whist tournament and barn dance.

“Homosexuals don’t have to give up anything up to allow heterosexuals the right to be ‘gay’. Homosexual culture and traditions aren’t going to come crashing down because a man and woman want to be recognized fully as a gay couple.”

Shameless self promotion at the Beltway Traffic Jam