The Rants of Issachar

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Volleyball - TWU Spartans vs. U of A's Golden Bears

Photo courtesy of TWU Athletics.

Great game last night. Unfortunately, we lost 3 sets to 2, but the Spartans stepped it up from Friday night. We can beat these guys and fortunately, we'll get another chance in the finals. I forgot my camera again, so I'm waiting on a response to my request to TWU athletics to use their photos.

:: posted by issachar, 12:12 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Going Postal on Stephen Harper...

It seems some people are upset by Stephen Harper's use of the phrase "God bless Canada" in his speechs. John Chuckman at Canadian Content seems particularly upset. The article is nuts. Seriously. Stop reading this and go read his article.

Thank you to Small Dead Animals for the link. (Via Relapsed Catholic)

I'm not even sure where to begin...

How about with the obvious. "God bless America" isn't George W. Bush's phrase. It's a politican's phrase. It's been said by Former Vice-President Al Gore, Former President Bill Clinton, Former President Herbert Walker Bush, and Former President Jimmy Carter among others. It's not "code, a kind of insidious political wink, to bloodthirsty supporters". They convey a very simple message. "I believe in God, and I pray that he will bless this land and it's people". Quel Horreur...

I'm not even going to get into bush=teh hitler paranoia that oozes throughout the article. Why not? Because we're talking about Stephen Harper, not the US President. As Paul Martin said, "America is our neighbour, it is not our nation". Absolutely. So I think it's a reasonable idea to actually discuss Canadian candidates when having our elections rather than pretending you're running against American politicians.

There's the demonizing of Albertan conservatives with comparisons to Pat Robertson and the nasty implication that Albertan's are real Canadians because a lot of Americans immigrants settled there over 100 years ago and because Alberta has oil. There's the false implication that the Conservatives are an "Alberta party". This implication is there despite the fact that the Conservatives elected people from across the country and that the Reform party was founded in British Columbia, not Alberta.

There's the bizarre falsehood about "Executive Branch" being an American term, and how it's use shows that Premier Ralph Klein is just like Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich. Someone had better tell the Canadian Government that they'd better stop referring to the executive branch.

And there's the sadly expected insinuation that Harper has a hidden agenda that he'll spring on us as soon as he has a majority. Oh, and Tom Flanagan is an immigrant so he's not a real Canadian either.

Wow. Crazy much? You got all this from "God Bless Canada"?

Update: February 1st
My statement about Tom Flanagan not being a real Canadian is a sarcastic. Read the offending article for context.

:: posted by issachar, 2:46 PM | Permalink | 6 comments | Links to this post

Liberal Leader Hedy Fry?

Apparently, Hedy Fry is considering running for the leadership of the Liberal party. Oh boy... I suppose she's better than Carolyn Parrish.

About the Liberal leadership race though. Someone I know who works for the Liberal party (and prefers not to be named on my blog), told me that Paul Martin's quick announcement of his own resignation was probably intended to make it easier to anoint his preferred successor. Anyone who doesn't have their ducks in a row for a run for the leadership won't have time to do it now. Had Mr. Martin stayed on for a few months, a few more candidates might have been able to gather support.

Sounds possible, but I think the Liberals are making a mistake. They need to have their Mulroney moment if they're going to reinvigorate their party. Post-Mulroney, the Progressive-Conservative Party he led was destroyed. It wasn't listening to people anymore and it had to be taken out behind the barn. It took a while, (and three new parties, but finally the conservative movement in Canada has a responsive party that listens to people. The Liberals need the same thing. They seem to think they just need to change the window dressing. They're wrong. The culture of entitlement is a corrosive thing and it needs to die before the liberal movement will have a responsive (and responsible) party again. I hope they realize this soon.

:: posted by issachar, 2:15 PM | Permalink | 10 comments | Links to this post

Friday, January 27, 2006

What a great couple of days...

The last two days have been great.

Last night, Aaron & I went to see Coldplay at GM Place. Section 104, Row 11. (Stage left, great seats). Thank you to Todd & Alistair for the idea. Todd found a pair of tickets right after he got his own on eBay. The scalpers bought up a few too many tickets and were selling them below cost. So not only do I get fantastic seats, I get them subsidized. :)

There's some photos of the concert below...

We got back a bit late and I had to stay up to pack up my ski gear. Today I went snowboarding with my students at Seymour. Yes, I got paid to go snowboarding. Of course I'd only really been snowboarding once before, but I figured I'd try something different since Seymour isn't known for the most challenging terrain. We had over a foot of fresh snow, and it was still coming down while we were there. The fog sort of reminded me of Big White. :P

Apparently I can snowboard, although I stayed with the Blue & Green runs. No photos of the snowboarding because I shouldn't be posting photos with students in them online.

Then I get back tonight and go to the TWU Spartans Mens Volleyball game vs. the U of Alberta Golden Bears. (They're ranked #1 in CIS and we're ranked #2). Unfortunately, we lost to them in three straight sets, but we've got another shot against them tomorrow night. Great game though. The gym was packed! No photos of the game because I forgot my camera. Hopefully I'll get some tomorrow night.

And tomorrow morning we're doing a lazy Saturday house breakfast. (Show-off breakfast cooking with the whole house). Well, Ryan will probably be doing most of the cooking. I heard something about Banana-Pecan waffles. It's going to be a good weekend. :)

Edit: Saturday Morning... The waffles were fantastic. Thank you for the recipe.

Here's the photos of the Coldplay concert:

:: posted by issachar, 10:01 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Conservatives win!

Conservatives Win!

124 seats. They're a minority, but they can govern with support from any of the three parties. (Or a mix from them all). I'm expecting good things from this government. I suspect that the NDP will have a lot in common with the Conservatives on the government accountability front. A majority would have been nice, but I'll settle for a Conservative minority government.

I saw Preston Manning in the shots from the Conservative HQ in Calgary. He looked pleased.

What did everyone think of Harper's victory speech? I didn't realize he had that much passion. A pleasant surprise for the evening.

Our evening here was a bit of a wash. A few guests couldn't make it, and I slightly overcooked the rice in the Paella. On the plus side, I actually had squid this time and the garlic cheese bread, (asiago makes it good), was fantastic. All told it was a pretty good evening, and unlike election night with my grandfather in 1993 I didn't go home disappointed. Thanks to Brad, Alistair and Alissa for coming for dinner.

:: posted by issachar, 12:14 AM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, January 21, 2006


I signed up for another Skype account. I also added the little Skype Me button to my template. We'll see how it goes... Thanks to Caleb for the idea.

:: posted by issachar, 5:20 PM | Permalink | 6 comments | Links to this post

Two more days 'till election day, and the FUD is worse than ever...

The elections on Monday and I'm hoping for a Conservative government.

The FUD that I posted about on the 6th of December has only gotten worse. The attack ads are ridiculous and they'd be funny if they weren't so corrosive to the democratic process. The one implying that Stephen Harper's going to impose some sort of military control on Canadian cities is particularly repugnant. The one implying that Mr. Harper is some sort of north of the 49th version of George W. Bush is just ridiculous. Last I checked, George Bush wasn't advocating publicly funded medicare. Rather than attack Conservative policies, it's easier to attack Mr. Bush's. Well I'll remember not to put my X next to Mr. Bush on my ballot on Monday Mr. Martin...

Unfortunately, some people actually believe what these ads imply. The Liberal party should be ashamed of themselves. And don't try to say that the Conservatives are doing the same thing. They're not. They are attacking the Liberals and their record, but that is not automatically FUD. An attack ad is not automatically FUD. The NDP has put up ads attacking the other parties, and I haven't seen any that qualify as FUD.

The worst and most recent bit was the phone in to a shaw cable radio show accusing Saskatoon MP Maurice Vellacott of sexually assaulting his church secretary at North Park Church. The call came from Liberal opponent Chris Axworthy's campaign office. The accusation was false and in fact Mr. Vellacott has never worked at or attended North Park Church. Despite suggestions that Mr. Axworthy's friend George Laliberte was the one making the call, Mr. Axworthy suggests that someone unconnected to the campaign entered the office and made the call. Possible, but I doubt it. Please note, that there's no proof that Mr. Laliberte made the call beyond Mr. Vellacott's team saying they recognized his voice. (Hardly conclusive evidence and Mr. Laliberte denies it). I doubt that Mr. Axworthy came up with this plan, but with the example made by the Liberal campaign so far, I'm not terribly surprised a Liberal party worker might think this was a good idea.

Still, on a lighter note about the attack ads in general, check out John Stewart. (It's the Indecision 2006 video that starts out talking about Bin Laden).

So my pitch to everyone... Let's end the corruption and culture of entitlement in Ottawa. Vote against the Liberals. But it's not enough just vote against something. We need to vote for something. So let's also vote for a party with a positive vision from Canada and a clear platform. Vote Conservative. I'm sure you won't agree with everything in their platform, (I don't), but representative democracy isn't about finding the candidate that believes exactly what you do. It's about electing the people with the best policies. If you're still unclear on the Conservative platform, take a look at the interview Peter Mansbridge had with Stephen Harper. The video is better, but I can't find it online.

:: posted by issachar, 1:10 PM | Permalink | 9 comments | Links to this post

Friday, January 20, 2006

What I'd like from the CBC...

The CBC is publicly owned and publicly funded.

So why can I not download videos produced by the CBC off the internet? Why can I not download mp3's of their radio programmes? The CBC owns the copyright on all the programming and footage they produce, so they could put it on their website. If they're concerned about their footage being ripped off by other news organizations, they could easily put a limited license on it. No problem.

Bandwidth isn't a real concern either. They don't have to stream it all off their website. Put up a BitTorrent link. I can't think of a legitimate reason not to do this. Can anyone else?

Edit: January 22 2005
What on earth was I thinking yesterday? Lazy saturdays should never be that lazy. Somewhere between typing CBC and the word public I mixed up the the acronyms CBC and CPB in my mind. Not the same thing. I obviously need to proof read my posts better. I've removed the reference my initial reference to the CPB.

:: posted by issachar, 6:37 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Monday, January 09, 2006

Blogging the leaders debate...

It's always better to write than to argue with your TV... I'll clean this post up later...

Mr. Martin surprised me. He wants to eliminate the Not-Withstanding clause of the charter. Is he serious? He's seriously proposing strengthening an unelected judiciary whose members are appointed by a single man, (the Prime Minister) and whose appointments are not confirmed by any elected body? Judges who serve until they reach the age of 75, however long that term might be? Not that we use the Not-Withstanding clause or anything...

Forget it. Jill & Travis brought up homemade spaghetti sauce. I'm going to have dinner. I'll look for a download later...

Update: 9pm

Okay... Dinner was excellent. Thank you Jill & Travis.

A transcript of the debate can be found here.

There was more to the debate obviously, but I'm going to limit myself to commenting on Martin's proposal to eliminate the Not-Withstanding clause. I wonder if it's occured to the Liberals that they might need the clause for their proposal for reverse-onus on bail hearings for crimes involving guns. Not that I necessarily oppose refusing bail to violent criminals, but I wonder...

At any rate, I'm not sure this is a serious proposal. Oh, I have no doubt that he'll make some noise about it should he win the election, but I suspect this will die on the order paper. It's not that easy to change the charter. Particularly in a minority parliament. Is he willing to expend the political capital he'd need to? I doubt it.

But let's assume he's serious. Does anyone think this is a good idea? As for me, I like Mr. Harper's response.
The question raises the important point which is that I think there is a danger in saying that the courts will always, regardless of the decision, will always be supreme. Just as I think there would be a danger in saying that Parliament and politicians would always be supreme regardless of their opinion.
It's a bad idea Mr. Martin. I am not impressed.

Update: Almost midnight. Time for bed.

Two years ago, Mr. Martin was saying that he would use the not-withstanding clause if the Supreme Court ruled that churches must perform same-sex marriages. It's been barely more than two years and now he wants to get rid of it entirely? That's not a very coherent vision. Thanks to J. Kelly , and the NDP and for that. Still, he's allowed to change his policies if he wants to. I just don't think they've thought this one through enough.

I started using Google's Blogsearch tonight. Very fun.

:: posted by issachar, 5:53 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Fry - Robinson - Fogarassy debate

I caught a bit of the Vancouver Centre debate on CKNW this morning. The bit that caught me was the wrap up "answer in 10 seconds or less - what will be the main issue in the leaders debate tonight?".

The three all mentioned several things, but they both mentioned trust. Ms. Fry says we don't trust the Conservatives, Mr. Fogarassy says we don't trust the Liberals, and Mr. Robinson we don't trust the Liberals or Conservatives.

I'm not sure if trust is the main issue for me, but it seems like it's an issue for them. For the record, I think it's a bit odd for Mr. Robinson to put himself up as the man to trust considering his rather high brow shoplifting incident. The NDP should be able to field a better candidate. Are they so short of qualified candidates that they can't retire Mr. Robinson?

One positive thing I will say about Svend is that he votes in the commons according to his own opinions, not the polls. Of course some of his opinions are rather poorly thought out, but he's not a "whatever the latest poll says" political animal. Why does an openly gay man support the violent and openly anti-gay (as in prison or worse), Palestinian groups? I'm guessing the average gay man in the WestBank might not appreciate Mr. Robinson's position on the matter.

As for Ms. Fry, she's permanently lost my respect after that "Crosses are burning on the lawns of Prince George" comment. I'm convinced that she thinks anyone voting Conservative is either a pawn or a racist. There are good people in the Greens, Conservatives, NDP and Liberals. Anyone that vicious and/or ignorant should not be in government.

As for the Mr. Fogarassy... Don't know him. I hope he wins, but that's mainly because I don't want the other two influencing government. At least now that Mr. Robinson has changed ridings, one of them is guaranteed to lose. Gun to my head, I hope Ms. Fry gets tossed.

At least the debate wasn't like the last one on CKNW. That was irritating. Ms. Fry and Mr. Robinson were interupting each other so much you couldn't make sense of any of it.

:: posted by issachar, 7:45 AM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google Video...

I know Google Video has been out for a while, but I thought I'd put up a couple of links to the best video's I've been sent so far.

Thank you Google. Now if you could add Canadian phones to your Firefox SMS Extension that would be great.

The Asian Backstreet Boys. Who are these guys and who's the guy playing the first person shooter behind them?

Awesome Russians
Parody of Kanye West
If you've got any other good ones, leave links in the comments.

:: posted by issachar, 11:49 AM | Permalink | 0 comments | Links to this post

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

You know what really grinds my gears?

Stupid pricing at Canadian stores. That's what.

I'm looking to buy a webcam. Specifically the Logitech QuickCam Fusion. It's a little steep in Canadian Stores at $149.99 CDN. So I decided to check out down south. $79.99 USD. Both of those are before taxes, but shipping's included in the Amazon price. Last time I checked, the Canadian dollar was more than a little above 53ยข USD. Apparently there's a 38% premium for
shopping in Canada.

And that ladies and gentlemen is what really grinds my gears.

:: posted by issachar, 4:35 PM | Permalink | 2 comments | Links to this post

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year - Goodbye 2005...


Apparently we had a leap-second added into the festivities last night. I didn't notice. We said farewell to 2005 with a fantastic dinner down the beach. Crab legs, sashimi and... pepperoni pizza. Odd mix, but it was a buffet and it was all good. That was followed up with fireworks on the beach and swimming in the ocean. Piggy back wars with the cousins. Getting tossed by the waves. Fun.

It's a slightly cloudy day in Maui. I'll be home tomorow.

Here's to a good 2006.

Update: January 3rd 2006. Thank you WestCoastLoon. That must be a record for making a mistake about the year. Fixed now.

:: posted by issachar, 9:42 AM | Permalink | 6 comments | Links to this post