banner photo:

"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope


Banner photo
Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Send in the clowns

The whole country is shocked and repulsed by the details emerging from the case of Luka Rocco Magnotta, the erstwhile porn star and former friend of Karla Homolka who is wanted for a violent murder in Montreal. Everyone except New Brunswick NDP MP Yvon Godin, who apparently thinks Stephen Harper and the Conservatives are to blame.

The details of the case are sickening - read them here if you have the stomach for it - but suffice it to say that Magnotta apparently brutally tortured and killed a man, sexually assaulted the body and dismembered the corpse all while videotaping the entire episode. He then mailed the victim's foot to Conservative headquarters in Ottawa and one of the hands to the Liberal Party.

Most reasonable people would conclude that Magnotta is a depraved lunatic whose violent crimes are inexcusable by any conceivable standards. Most people except Mr. Godin, who had this to say to an American reporter:
"It's very upsetting," Opposition New Democrat member Yvon Godin said. "It could be just one crazy person that did it, but at the same time we have lots of people unhappy in our country, the way the country is going."
What the hell? Is he seriously blaming the Conservative government for this? Magnotta might have been "unhappy with the way the country is going" so he killed a man and sent his foot to the party's head office? You know, I was pretty unhappy with the way the country was going when Paul Martin was Prime Minister, and I managed to resist the temptation to videotape myself killing and dismembering someone and then sending body parts to Ottawa.

Yvon Godin is an idiot and an embarrassment to the country. If he doesn't stand up in the House of Commons and personally apologize for this outrageous remark, he should be turfed from the NDP caucus and publicly ridiculed for the remainder of his hopefully short political career.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blues for a Saturday Night

Tonight's selection - Slide Over Backwards, a 2008 release by the late Donna Summer. Better known for her 1970s disco hits, Summer actually had a great voice for the blues.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gay Republicans & the US election

Richard Grennell, the openly gay Republican who recently quit as Mitt Romney's foreign policy advisor amid a storm of criticism from the religious right, has re-affirmed his support for the GOP in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). He makes an important point about the role of gay conservatives in politics:
Anti-gay extremists not only dismiss a plethora of serious issues confronting America and the world, but they fail to recognize the consistency of living by the conservative ideal of limiting government involvement in our lives.
The claim that gays should be barred from conservative activism is not only bigoted but is a bipartisan view. The intolerant assault comes from the far right, who object to Republicans who are gay, and the far left, who object to gays being Republicans. When the extremists on both sides are the only ones speaking up, the majority suffers.
…Thousands of Republicans privately voiced support for my appointment and were disappointed by the events that led to my resignation earlier this month. Some did so while admitting they disagreed with my support for gay marriage. But they too are passionate about a strong America, personal responsibility and independent religious institutions—issues that should be at the forefront of this year’s presidential election.
…While there are many reasons not to vote to re-elect President Obama, gay marriage is not one of those issues. …
Well said. The Canadian conservative movement has largely moved on from the gay marriage issue, and religious opposition to homosexuality from the social conservative wing of the Conservative Party of Canada has mostly been sidelined. This is as it should be; morality issues like this are private matters to be worked out in families and churches, not in Parliament. There are many things that unite us as conservatives and can be the basis of a platform that has broad political appeal: fiscal discipline, individual responsibility, the rule of law, and support for human rights and democracy abroad to name a few. As I've said before many times, making morality issues the subject of public policy debate is a political dead end, and only alienates so called "moderates" who are our natural allies.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Idiots in Chicago

On CTV News last night I watched a story about the protests surrounding the NATO summit taking place this weekend in Chicago. The main grievance seems to be NATO's involvement in the war in Afghanistan - the same war that was authorized by the UN that leftists fetishize so much, and the same war that in 2008 Candidate Obama vowed to concentrate US policy on once he had pulled out of Iraq.

A reporter at the scene interviewed one of the protesters who, with a straight face, stated "I don't think US intervention can ever liberate another people."  Seriously? This would come as a surprise to the millions of Europeans liberated from Nazi tyranny at the end of the Second World War, or to the millions freed from the yoke of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War, or ... oh, why bother. These people are idiots.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Here we go again

This was predictable: Pride funding in peril as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid plans to march:
Toronto’s Pride Week is at risk of losing its city funding now that Queers Against Israeli Apartheid has confirmed its intention to return to the parade this year. Council is slated to vote next month on providing a $123,807 grant to Pride Toronto, a decision that would have been routine if not for QuAIA’s plan to apply for a spot in the parade before the June 1 deadline.
Every summer, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid raises a big stink by trying to march in Toronto's Pride Parade and make their ridiculous political statement, and every year nervous gays and liberal politicians twist themselves into pretzels trying to figure out which is worse: being perceived as homophobic or antisemitic.

Does anyone still wonder why Rob Ford won't march in front of this mess? Cut all public funding to this clown show and let it sink or swim on its own.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

"Gay for Pay"

Obama reversal on same-sex marriage comes just days after donors threatened to withhold funds

As the Church Lady used to say on SNL: "How conveeeeeeenient!"
President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage less than 48 hours after the Washington Post reported that prominent political donors were threatening to withhold donations over the president’s position on gay rights. “[A]t a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,” Obama told ABC News in an interview. Left-wing blogger Greg Sargent reported on Monday that “leading gay and progressive donors” were angry with Obama over his increasingly convoluted position on gay rights and same-sex marriage, and were refusing to donate any more money to Priorities USA, the pro-Obama Super PAC.
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, is furious:
“This calculated announcement comes too late to be of any use to the people of North Carolina, or any of the other states that have addressed this issue on his watch,” Mr. Cooper said. “This administration has manipulated LGBT families for political gain as much as anybody, and after his campaign’s ridiculous contortions to deny support for marriage equality this week he does not deserve praise for an announcement that comes a day late and a dollar short.”
Elliot Abrams at the Weekly Standard points out that Obama has supported gay marriage in the past only when it's been politically expedient:
In fact, Obama has not “evolved”—he has changed his position whenever his political fortunes required him to do so. Running for the Illinois state senate from a trendy area of Chicago in 1996, he was for gay marriage. “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages,” he wrote in answer to a questionnaire back then. In 2004, he was running for the U.S. Senate and needed to appeal to voters statewide. So he evolved, and favored civil unions but opposed homosexual “marriage.” In 2008, running for president, he said, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” Now in 2012, facing a tough reelection campaign where he needs energized supporters of gay “marriage” and has disappointed them with his refusal to give them his support, he is for it. To paraphrase John Kerry, he was for it before he was against it before he was for it again.
Gay activists are rejoicing over Obama's Road to Damascus conversion. It took him long enough - he's only had three and a half years in the White House to make up his mind, and I'm sure it's just a coincidence that polls show him neck and neck with Romney with the election six months away. Obama gives panderers a bad name.

The Skyhawks have landed

The RCAF's parachute team the Skyhawks, based at CFB Trenton, Ontario, kicked off their demonstration season today with a show in their home town. They jumped from a CC 130 Hercules which was circling over the town, and landed in front of an appreciative crowd on the football field of the local high school. Trenton is very supportive of the military and they love their local men and women in uniform - it is, after all, the place where Canada's fallen soldiers returned from Afghanistan and were taken down the Highway of Heroes to Toronto.

I was able to watch the show and took a few pictures.





\








Leadership lessons from Canada

Thomas Mulcair should read Obama should go to Canada for leadership lessons before he starts spouting off about "Dutch Disease" and killing the west's resource sector while raising corporate taxes to finance bloated bureaucratic social engineering schemes:
Canada may be as bland as butter tart, but the country’s economy has been anything but. From 2001 through 2010, it grew faster than any other G-7 country and, alone in that group, it quickly recouped the employment and production losses suffered during the recession. Unemployment today is just over 7 percent – lower than in most developed countries. Though the government’s popularity has sagged with budget cuts of late, Prime Minister Harper continues to enjoy high approval ratings.
Canada’s growth was not built on financial wizardry -- the country boasts some of the soundest banks on earth. (A recent report has accused the government of providing local banks with a “secret” bailout; there was apparently some temporary extension of liquidity at the height of the panic to keep credit flowing, but since then the loans from the government have been repaid.) Nor did it stem from reckless government spending. Chastened by a fiscal crisis in the 1990s, the country cut spending and posted 11 consecutive budget surpluses pre-recession. Consequently, Canada was able to enact a sizeable stimulus program without upending its fiscal stability. That’s how it’s supposed to work.
...
Some may dismiss the Canadian experience as pertinent only to a small country. But Canada is the tenth largest economy in the world – bigger than India or South Korea. No, the Canadian lesson is applicable to the U.S. and it is also simple. Some years ago, Canada set out to attract businesses large and small and it has succeeded. 
It starts with taxes. In the past several years, Canada’s federal corporate tax rate was cut five times; the most recent reduction was in January of this year, when it dropped to 15.0 percent. Together with a provincial tax of 10 percent, the combined corporate tax for Canadian companies is the lowest among the G-7 nations. In the past decade, most developed countries have engaged in a race to the (tax) bottom, with the average OECD rate tumbling six percentage points. Over that period, the U.S. rate barely moved – from 39.3 percent to 39.2 percent. It is true that not all American companies pay taxes at levels that high; but the high rate and complexity of our code is widely viewed as uncompetitive. Also damaging our position, the U.S. is the only OECD country to tax profits earned abroad. 
In addition, Canada boasts the lowest tax rate on new business investments in the G-7; the lowest overall business costs, according to accounting giant KPMG; a tariff-free zone for machinery imports; R&D tax credits; low import tariffs; excellent infrastructure and superb educational opportunities. The upshot of all these efforts? A doubling of foreign direct investment in Canada over the past decade, an inflow more than twice that moving to the U.S. 
It is notable that corporate tax revenues increased during this period, despite the rate reductions. Though there was a recession-induced hit in 2008, revenues quickly rebounded to levels above those taken in under the more onerous tax regime.
Credit where credit is due: much of this happened under the Jean Chretien Liberals, but an NDP government would bring everything to a screeching halt.  Just like what is about to happen in France.

Monday, May 07, 2012

This is why proportional representation is a bad idea

Our "first past the post" electoral system may produce lopsided representation in the House of Commons that doesn't accurately reflect the popular vote, but it does have this going for it: we don't get a legislature like the one that the voters of Greece just elected:
As the night wore on it gradually became clear that the sickly pro-bailout parties Pasok (left) and New Democracy (right) failed to gain a majority between them. Though they fell short of a majority by only two seats, their combined votes add up to only one third of the total and it’s hard to see a pro-bailout government staggering on for very long.
Yet the two thirds of the voters who rejected the pro-bailout parties didn’t produce a mandate for any coherent alternative policy. That’s because there isn’t one. The only thing worse for Greece at this point that sticking with the euro and accepting the pain that austerity brings would be to leave. Given Greece’s huge burden of euro denominated international obligations, its need for external finance and the complicated situation of its banks, leaving the euro now would reduce living standards even faster than the austerity plan. 
More, the two thirds of the Greeks who voted against the bailout voted for an incoherent mix of parties who hate one another and have nothing in common. The extreme leftist parties are bitterly divided by longstanding factional, doctrinal and historical disputes. And the neo-Nazis of the Golden Dawn party are unwilling to work with the reds.
In our system, flawed though it is, parties have to meet a certain threshold of support and concentrate that support in ridings to earn representation in the House of Commons. It's not easy to do this, but at least it keeps out nutbar fringe parties like the Nazis, who now sit in the Greek Parliament for the first time:
The dawn was anything but golden for everyone but the Greek Nazis today. Although they got less than ten percent of the vote, it was enough to get seats in Parliament for the first time. As Wikipedia tells us, the party’s charter declares that “only Aryans in blood and Greeks in descent can be candidate members of Golden Dawn.” Their flag proudly advertises their heritage, though as we understand it, the original Nazis would have held them in utter contempt. (The real Nazis believed modern Greeks weren’t ‘Aryans’ at all, but were degenerate, mixed-race untermenschen sunk in corruption and sloth who needed a strong German hand to keep them on track.)
It took years for the Green Party to muster enough support in one riding to get Elizabeth May elected to Parliament. That's a good thing.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Butterflies

I don't recall this happening around here before - maybe it has something to do with the unseasonably warm weather we had in March - but the area where I live (Hastings County, Ontario) is swarming with beautiful Red Admiral butterflies. They're everywhere, making good use of the dandelions which have just flowered. I took this picture near Madoc, Ontario:







































UPDATE: It's not just me - this appeared in the May 8 National Post: Red Admirals leading full-scale butterfly invasion into Ontario

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Blues for a Saturday Night

Tonight's selection:  Since I Met You Baby - a duet by B.B. King and Katie Webster.

To Onefineguy: ditto