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Congrats to Andrew Coyne for his Macleans promotion

Well, Macleans became slightly more tolerable:

This is to tell everyone who hasn’t heard that I am leaving the National Post to become National Editor of Maclean’s magazine. I start next week…I have always wanted to try my hand at editing, and having only ever worked in newspapers, am eager to see what the magazine side of the business looks like.

I don’t obviously agree with everything Andrew has to say, but he’s at least fair about what he writes about. So, there are now 3 good reasons in my opinion to buy Maclean’s – Coyne, Kady O’Malley, and Paul Wells (just don’t try to argue politics with him on Facebook. That’s a no-no, as I learned from personal experience). That still doesn’t cause me enough reasons to renew my subscription that I let lapse more then a year ago – I do not like the distinctly conservative bent that Ken Whyte has put into Macleans with who he’s picked as columnists, nor the slightly tabloidish feel that the magazine occasionally puts on its covers, but at least they’re moving back in the correct direction.

More attempts to buy votes.

If anyone wants a reason why Flaherty is doing a mini-economic statement/mini-budget/tax cut announcement, this new poll (courtesy of Decima, h/t to Steve) should tell you why: the Tories are still stagnant and were actually DROPPING their lead, despite Bob Fife’s disbelief on CTV that the Canadian public isn’t falling in love with Mr Harper.

Meanwhile, one place that all this Budget surplus ISN’T going is to the people that really need it the most. An example: I saw a story on London’s A-Channel News this evening of the regional London labour groups offering a cheque for $12 000 to a local women’s shelter that helps abused women. Very admirable…. […]

Would Jack snub May?

I wouldn’t put it past him to stand her up, even if it was a charity dinner that May won fair and square. He claims to be the leader of the party that stands up for working families, the common person, a party of progressive values, and the only real opposition to Harper, yet he goes out of his way to shun and attack the other parties with progressive elements in them who are also in opposition to Harper.

Why would he do this? The fact of the matter is: Jack is looking out what’s best for him and the NDP with regards to seats and in particular increasing his […]

Random thoughts – Monday

– I see Chantal Hebert has again decided to print another column going after Dion and highlighting Liberal divisions as she perceives them. Quelle surprise.

– I’d forgotten how much pollen there was floating around in the countryside north of Tillsonburg out here, between hay and ragweed and goldenrod and so on. Fortunately, I’d bought a good supply of Claritin before I moved here for my temporary stay.

– I’d also forgotten how bloody slow dialup internet access can be. Expect my visits/blogposts etc. to be reduced til something gets resolved on that front.

US tourism promotional video uses Niagara Falls, Canada.

Anyone who visits Niagara Falls will tell you that the Horseshoe Falls – all of it in Canadian territory – is the most spectacular visually of the Falls there.

The folks at Disney and the Depts. of State and Homeland Security also agree with this assessment, as they’ve decided their falls suck and have decided to use the Canadian one instead in a newly created tourism promotional video for the US:

Making matters worse, a visitor to the U.S. would not even be able to get the same view of the falls in the video because the scene was shot from a vantage point in Canada, according to Paul Gromosiak, […]

Slightly incognito

I will be a tad absent for a couple of days I think. My long awaited move from Wallaceburg is happening, though not in the way I was hoping. At any rate, I’m packing some tonight (Friday) and moving out of the apartment tomorrow, and back to my folks, where I will be continuing to look for both more permanent living quarters and employment.

For those who need to get a hold of me, my current email address is now going to be the yahoo account I use (which I will list on this site in the Contact tab) , or the one at the Progressive Bloggers site which is listed on the left-handed panel at that website.  For those who have it, my cellphone # is the way to get in touch personally.

More on Afghanistan: or how NATO refuses to help

In light of yesterday’s story on how Hillier thinks it will take a minimum of 10 years to stabilize Afghanistan, (NATO’s head thinks it will take a generation), and the PMO hastily issuing press releases to disagree and claim everything will be stablizied by 2011, this editorial in the Toronto Star this AM was timely, as it showed us how Peter MacKay has utterly failed to convince any of the other member countries of NATO to help shoulder the load:

NATO plans to lease 20 civilian helicopters while military choppers sit idle at European bases. The Germans and French, shouldering easy duty, are willing to deploy just 250 more military […]

Harper at odds with Hillier, NATO over Afghan stabilization timeframe

A dispute has arisen over how long it will take for Afghanistan to be stabilized so it can fend for itself.

General Hillier said earlier today it will take a minimum of 10 years for the Afghan army to be trained. The NATO Secretary went even further then that; he believes it will take “a generation” to develop and nation-build. (A generation is about 25 years last I checked)

Contrast that to Harper and the Conservatives, who are claiming it will only take 4 years to do so. They are either wearing rose-coloured glasses, or are trying to paint an overly-optimistic picture of Afghanistan to help soothe voters fears (or both).

And, as to be expected, the government is hiding behind its new Afghanistan commission of “non-partisans” so that it doesn’t have to answer questions about this apparent discrepancy between the military guys and themselves:

Skeptics have warned that the commission, whose recommendations are non-binding, will serve only one purpose: helping the government avoid questions on Afghanistan for a few months. Today, that warning appeared prophetic.“This government has established an independent commission to study the issue and provide advice to this government,” Tory House leader Peter Van Loan replied when pressed on the matter.

Again, I remind everyone that John Manley has helped enable this. For a reported salary of 1400$ a day. A commission whose creation now will be used by this Conservative government to avoid answering questions about Afghanistan, and which will then issue a report everyone already knows will come down mostly on the side of the Conservative government’s point of view, and then be used as a partisan device to attack the opposition parties with – including Manley’s own party.

All I can say is to Mr Manley, don’t try running for the Liberal leadership next time it’s available, because you’ll have even less support (if that’s possible) then when you investigated doing the attempted run after Chretien retired.

EDIT: For the record, I don’t object to Canadian advisers and trainers staying there for 10 years or “a generation” to train the Afghan Army, nor do I oppose stabilization and peacekeeping efforts. If Hillier is implying we need to stay there 10 more years in a combat role, and NATO’s top person hinting it might be longer then that, then I do have a serious problem with that, and with the Conservatives trying to claim to Canadians everything will be just fine in 4 years.

Liblogs video contest

This is interesting: Liblogs is asking people to submit videos in support of “Canadian liberalism”. The interesting part: a couple of cash prizes are being awarded for the 2 best videos.

The winner will receive a $250 prize. A second $250 prize will also be awarded by a panel of experts that includes Senator Jerry Grafstein, Warren Kinsella, John Duffy, Ian Davey and Jason Cherniak.

Not a bad judges panel. If I read the main release at the Liblogs site correctly, 1 prize will be awarded for the best video as chosen by voters online.. and the 2nd prize as judged by the panel of “eminent persons” (or […]

It must be sunspots! (How about it must be certain world leaders, including Harper)

Well, the global warming skeptics out there were half-right when they claimed climate change models run on computers can’t accurately predict future climate change. Unfortunately, it appears the models were too conservative in their predictions.

Carbon dioxide emissions were 35 per cent higher in 2006 than in 1990, a much faster growth rate than anticipated, researchers led by Josep G. Canadell, of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

So, we have this study that says Carbon Dioxide is higher then the models predicted, and we’ve had a prior study where Arctic sea ice is melting much faster then predicted. I’m sure the climate-change skeptics like the editorial board at the National Post will find something to explain this away, though the scientists have offered their own theories why CO2 has jumped; basically, we are producing much more carbon dioxide than was factored into the 1990-era predictions, the earth’s seas and forests are much less able to absorb the increase, and the result is that Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising much faster than the models predicted.

That leads into the second point; how do we stop it? Thomas Friedman of the New York Times writes in an op-ed titled Save The Planet, Vote Smart, that it’s much more then choosing the energy-efficient light bulb, society must look at the people running their governments and choose the right leaders:

Why? Because leaders write the rules, set the standards and offer the tax incentives that drive market behavior across a whole city, state or country. Whatever any of us does individually matters a tiny bit. But when leaders change the rules, you get scale change across the whole marketplace. And the energy-climate challenge we face today is a huge scale problem. Without scale, all you have is a green hobby…So if you want to be a green college kid or a green adult, don’t fool yourself: You can change lights. You can change cars. But if you don’t change leaders, your actions are nothing more than an expression of, as Dick Cheney would say, “personal virtue.”

This is the point that needs to be made about Stephen Harper and John Baird and the whole “aspirational targets are good enough” lot we have in Canada’s Conservative “North Star” government. If Canadians want real climate change fighting to be done, Harper and Baird and the Conservative Party are not the people to be leading the fight, and that point needs to be hammered over and over again to the public. If people think Canada can do better at fighting GHG, as 2/3 of then said in a recent poll, we must emphasize over and over again to the public that for that to happen, it’s time for the public to elect politicians who will lead in that fight, and not keep ones that try to delay or deny action on global warming.

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