Saturday, April 16, 2005

Delayed yet gratifying punchline

Lorne Gunter at the Edmonton Journal

I'm at a loss.
I've been through the Alberta provincial budget with a fine-toothed comb. Put it under the microscope. Shone a bright light on the whole thing.

I've read it cover-to-cover: the budget speech delivered by Finance Minister Shirley McClellan (10 pages), the Fiscal Plan (56 pages), the Capital Plan (16 pages), the Economic Outlook (30 pages), the Alberta Advantage (a 22-page primer on why Alberta is the greatest province in the country), the Tax Advantage (14 pages), the Response to the Auditor General, the results of the It's Your Future survey and the report of the Heritage Fund -- each a part of Wednesday's budget documents and 10, 18, and 16 pages, respectively.

If I'm not mistaken that's 192 pages all together. And yet, despite my voluminous reading, I still couldn't find the one budget item I was looking for -- provincial expenditures on ports.

But there are no ports in landlocked Alberta, you say.

Maybe not. But if there are no ports, where is the Klein government getting the drunken sailors who authorized all the spending in this budget?

Friday, April 15, 2005

Website gagged as Calgary police chief wins court order

Well, if anything, this says that the police officer chief was more likely precisely that which he is accused of - appears that there are a number of sites dedicated to the misdemeanors of the Calgary police. I think the best course of action, not knowing anything about this police chief other than what I have been presented in the last hour, is for him to forget about false accusations - he doesn't have to clear his name of things that aren't true only of things that are true. And in the event that they are true, he really ought to take sanctuary in his "getaway church" and spend some hard time finding away to reconcile with others.

Nice to see that the CBC is also fighting the gag order that preceded the police chief's gagging of a website. Gagging really is the big thing these days.

GPS-Enabled School Uniforms

Combine this with the new satellite Google maps and you can always know where your friends are...

Japanese school uniform maker Ogo-Sangyo Company has released their newest advancement in uniform technology: GPS-enabled blazers. The GPS terminals, located inside the uniforms, can communicate back to parents (or potential kidnappers, naturally) the location of their children, allowing them to know exactly how many stops at the okashiya they made on their way home. The terminals are built by Secom, whose GPS devices showed up in similarly-intended GPS satchels. - from Gizmodo

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Shall we make those ribbons maroon, boys?

One ought not to say in general that a man is obsessed with his crotch. For if this were true, one would need to account for the disproportionate number of men that die of prostate cancer over women from breast cancer every year. I say, men, take hede: it is time that you became more attentive to the radical otherness of that which dwells in the South and give it what it deserves - consult your friendly neighbourhood Economist for details.
"Prostate cancer is far more common in men than breast cancer is in women. Yet the public awareness of the two diseases could not be more different. Women have their mammograms, their ultrasounds, pink-ribbon days, designer T-shirts and celebrity-awareness campaigns. Like breast cancer, cancer of the prostate is treatable if caught early enough. Unlike breast cancer, it is also completely curable. Yet more men in America and in Britain still develop prostate cancer—and more die of it—than any other cancer other than that of the lungs. Why so?"

Academia

Here is a fantastic piece on Prawfsblog:

Ribstein observes how beneficial blogging has been for the law schools of those professors who blog -- and, if I recall, Ribstein mentions specifically the high performance of Texas (Leiter), UCLA (Volokh and Bainbridge) GMU (Bernstein, Zywicki et al.), and GW (Kerr and Solove) -- in the SSRN tournament rankings. He therefore poses the valuable (if rent-seeking) question: whether schools should be subsidizing the production of blogging.

And here are some tables on teaching loads per year at various schools:

Yale University ... 3 courses
Harvard University ... 3 courses
Stanford University ... 9 or 10 credits
Columbia University ... 10 credits
New York University ... 10 credits

At my university, the standard seems to be 3-4 per semester, which is quite a bit. This does benefit students, somewhat. We have higher quality teachers actually teaching, as opposed to doing research -- which is what a lot of these universities seem to encourage.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Hate crime?

I wonder if this would be considered a hate crime:
Wolfgang Droege, a white supremacist who once led the Heritage Front, an infamous continental network of neo-Nazis, was shot dead Wednesday in Toronto's east end, news outlets reported.
If it turns out that this was done out of "hate," I wonder if the killer would ever be prosecuted under Canada's hate laws -- which were practically designed to root out neo-nazi-like speech and protect crimes against identifiable groups.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Gomery polling

New Ipsos-Reid poll:
Now a new poll shows the Liberal party's national support falling to 27 per cent.
The Conservatives are up to 30 per cent, a four-point rise. The NDP are at 19 per cent.

According to senior Liberals Fife talked to Monday, the government could be reduced from the current 133 seats, to about 60 seats in the next election.

The campaign to discredit Brault begins:

This news is small potatoes: one person denies a small point of Brault's testimony. Yet that is what the state sponsored media, the CBC, chose to run as the day's top story. Mind you, he was hired by the Liberal Party during the time Brault said he was receiving government money.

The TorStar, not known as Liberal-friendly, chose to run this blockbuster story: Ex-PM lobbied directly, inquiry told.

Holy Spirit Jurisprudence

World Law: An Ecumenical Jurisprudence of the Holy Spirit by Berman
Conflict between the morality and the politics of law...may often be resolved... in the context of historical circumstances....This is, indeed, a fundamental characteristic of law, which may be defined as the balancing of justice and order, of reason and will, in the light of historical experience, in the light of memory.
History is downplayed in modern jurisprudence. Law is not found; it is made. This is a retreat from the English common law assumption of an "ideal law." This is the foundation of the first law school at Bologna in the eleventh century; it is the assumption of stare decisis; and it is the assumption of our written laws. Are written laws are history. Even positivists believe in history.

Weekend Gomery/Liberal Roundup

What a difference a few days makes:

DEVESTATING NEW POLLS:
During publication ban:
IPSOS-REID: Liberals (34% support) lead Conservatives (30%) by 4%.
ENVIRONICS: Liberals (36%) lead Conservatives (30%) by 6%.
After:
EKOS: Conservatives (36%) lead Liberals (25%) by 11%.

An EKOS poll finds 25 per cent of respondents across Canada say they would vote for Liberals if an election were held.

Thirty-six-per cent said they would vote for the Conservatives, an increase of 10 points from a survey taken in February. 20 per cent said they vote for the N-D-P, and 12.6 per cent said they'd vote for the Bloc Quebecois.

Remember that Liberals led Tories by over 15 percent before last election was called. Now it is 11 percent. Could it get worse for the Liberal party? Assuming that Conservative support is half of the Liberal party in Quebec (25% to 13%), that must mean that the gap between the Conservatives and Liberals is huge across the rest of Canada.

UPDATE: EKOS: "The poll also suggests that Liberal support has dropped in its stronghold province of Ontario, where the Conservatives now lead with 40 per cent. The Liberals have 33 per cent support."
  • CONS lead Liberals in Quebec.
  • The only income group in which Canadians would vote Liberal: Those earning over $100,000
  • CONS lead among women and men.
  • Atlantic Canada and Ontario have seen the biggest shift in voting patterns.
  • Alberta: now a70% Conservative country.

Former Liberal/Chretien pollster from Pollara, Mr. Marzolini, is flatly wrong: "You can't win a campaign only based on negatives if you're Stephen Harper because you've got too many negatives." He might have forgotten Jean Chretien's 1993 campaign against Kim Campbell: anti-GST tax, anti-NAFTA. Chretien won; Campbell's majority was reduced to 2 seats.

BLOG FACTOR: Blogs, specifically the rebel Captain's Quarters and promoter InstaPundit, have surely lifted the publication ban singlehandedly. In effect, the only reason why there is election talk right now is because of the Captain and his free-speech supporters. Bloggers take credit for being influential on the US political scene; they deserve plenty for stirring up the furor of the Canadian people against their government. It is really Locke's State of War.

THE MEDIA BIAS FACTOR: Reuters, as well as most newspapers I have managed to read, have really dropped the ball on the latest round of polling.

The articles are bias as hell. Ontario is the most important battleground province. Yet it is at the bottom of the page. Take the Reuters story:
The Liberals slipped to 38 percent in Ontario from 43 percent in February, while the Conservatives rose to 34 percent in the latest poll from 28 percent in February.
More examples which seem to indicate the current Liberal desperation:

POINTLESS FIGHTING: Liberal/Chretien ideologue Warren Kinsella vs. National Post Editorial Board

MARTIN TO HARPER: Don't trigger an election until Gomery reports - Martin: We need more time (to shred our paper trail). Here is Martin's spokesperson Scott Reid:
"Will the leader of the Opposition give Canadians a guarantee that he will let Justice (John) Gomery report his findings - that he will not force voters into an election until they have the answers that this prime minister has said that they deserve?"
Of course, Reid might have forgotten that Martin called his June election without any "answers" from the sponsorship scandal.

CABINET MINISTER'S CONNECTED TO SCANDAL: Chretien, Gagliano and Ouellet.

FLASHBACK: Remember the June 2004 English leaders debate? Gilles Duceppe said:
"We still do not know if any ministers in your cabinet were involved, because you refused to answer the question."
Well, now we know why Martin hummed and hawed while "answering" this question. Duceppe was on to something here.