To professionalize, we must federalize

If U.S. government contractors had designed the iPhone:

The device she had strapped to her hand was a Harris HTC, which looks either like the ugliest cellphone you’ve ever seen, or a Palm Pilot designed by the US government. We scrolled through bad, inaccurate maps of the area, which looked like they’d been dumped from an early version of MapQuest, wondering how the ridgeline behind my house had magically been transformed into a navigable road, and talked about the device.
Here's a hint, it was the second one:
Well, Harris is a huge government and military contractor, which recently announced its intention to swallow Tyco Wireless, another huge government electronics contractor. Given that all their customer testemonials come from military personnel, my guess is that they don’t have much of a consumer products division. Neither do the folks who lost out on the bids, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman.
Okay, as you read the article on thing stands out. How pathetic must you feel if you work on one of the losing big companies? You couldn't beat the HTC discussed in the article? Ouch!

Commenter Faffnir wants to justify the decision by stating:
Having worked in procurement for the Air Force many years ago, the question of why the Census Bureau didn’t buy an off-the-shelf unit is answered easily.
There is a Federal law, and sorry, I’ve forgotten the citation, which basically says that everything that the Government buys must be made to Government specification and cannot be used for any other purpose. Even the machinery to make the government part can’t be used to make an equivalent civilian piece. Something simple like combat boots must be made to MIL spec and you can’t make the same boot for the civilian market. The government spec for a glass ashtray was something like 24 pages. Those $600 hammers? Close to 100 pages of spec. We had to hand make two custom circuit boards for an electronic switch at a cost of $5,000 each. IBM’s civilian price? About $300 for the pair. This was in the late ’70’s.

Your Government at work.
Now the MIL-SPEC argument is one that I've heard before, mostly from beleagured OEM manufacturers watching their perfectly suitable off-the-shelf technology miss out on its biggest applicability because they don't feel like spending millions auditing to conform to some obscure frequency-modulation protocol. It seems a solid argument (well, solid in the explanation at least. "Because the law we write says we have to be dumb" maybe doesn't work when you dig too deep), until you notice one obscure fact that seems to have been missed.

The U.S. Army already uses the iPod Touch.

(Those who find the post title vaguely familiar can swing over this way)

Google Street View comes to Edmonton!

Just a couple days ago I saw one of those silly looking Google Street View cars puttering around near South Edmonton Common.

Well, in a Third Edge of the Sword exclusive, I can report that you can now see Edmonton on Google Street View.

Here is Miller & Brown's used car lot

A little sneak shot of the water tower

And here's my personal favourite: the hustle and bustle of downtown.

Bonus Google Maps discussion: I noticed this a month ago, but I didn't realize it was a change. Google Maps has blanked out all of North Korea.

Update; October 7 2009, 8:31pm: If you were looking for the Google Street View launch everywhere but Edmonton, I cover it here.

WISPTIS.exe may not be a virus, but the name still sounds too creepy to keep on my system

Fortunately, this here website helps you get rid of this XP menace. It turns out Microsoft is good at making programs start running. Stop running? Not their forte.


He's a friend of these long haired hippie type pinko fags, I bet you he's even got a commie flag hanging up on the wall inside his... White House

Actually this song is stuck in my head not because the description of the green-teethed guy meets Obama pretty good, but instead because I spent the morning getting my tire fixed.


The Janet Napolitano Game

Above is a photo from The Canadian Press showing a press conference between Canada's Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan, and United States Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Without clicking the link (that would be cheating) answer this simple question.

Is Janet Napolitano the one on the left
or the one on the right?


Whyte Avenue dumb ass (hot ass coming soon, I promise)

With the news that the City of Edmonton is cracking down on loud motorcycles and rice rockets, some coworkers asked me about what the noise bylaw actually says. After the computers came back online today, I got them their answers. Sort of. First let's skip to the end:

(1) If a motor vehicle is the cause of any sound that contravenes a provision of this bylaw the owner of that motor vehicle is liable for the contravention.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the owner, on a balance of probabilities, satisfies the court that, at the time the motor vehicle was involved in the contravention, the owner was not present in the motor vehicle and no other person was operating the motor vehicle with the owner’s express or implied consent.
Basically we've established that it is this law pertaining to loud cars and bikes. The only question is what the law actually says about sound. Since the crackdown was on Whyte Ave, and not on 83rd ave, we must look at the non-residential neighbourhood section:
(1) A person shall not cause or permit any sound exceeding 75 dB(A), as measured at the property line of a property zoned for use other than residential, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
(2) A person shall not cause or permit property they own or occupy to be used so that any sound coming from the property exceeds 75 dB(A), as measured at the property line of a property zoned for use other than residential between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
(3) This section does not apply to sounds up to:
(a) 80 dB(A) lasting for a total period of time not exceeding two hours in any one day; or
(b) 85 dB(A) lasting for a total period of time not exceeding one hour in any one day.
Okay, now things get a little confusing: first off, the measurement is to be taken at the property line of the local businesses. Specifically, this means on the far edge of the sidewalk. This is not what was happening: the police officers were standing directly behind the vehicle and instructing the driver to rev up. Between 7am and 10pm (when the crackdown was taking place) you cannot exceed 75dB (they call it dB(A) which we shall get to later). Now for periods less than two hours (cumulative, not consecutive) you may exceed 75dB but not past 80dB, and for periods less than 60 minutes (cumulative, not consecutive) you may exceed 80dB but may never exceed 85dB. So if you're driving up and down Whyte Ave for three hours, you can only hit 75dB. If you're only cruising down the street in your 6-4 for an hour, you can go up to 85dB without running afoul of the noise bylaw.

Now remember I said that the cops were located wrong when listening to the sound. Now if the measurement is taken in the wrong place, that's okay. Every time you double the measuring distance, the decibel count goes down by 6. So if the property line is, say, 2 metres from your bike and the cop measures 88dB standing a metre away, you are not in violation of the law. Sounds good, eh?

Its at this point when clever readers may notice something odd in my choice of words. "the cops were located wrong when listening to the sound" - "the police officers were standing directly behind the vehicle and instructing the driver to rev up." Notice that I wasn't talking about any measurements. That's because the police officers weren't measuring anything. If the corrupt EPS cop says you're too loud, you're too loud. The Hell's Angel with a couple of buddies and a 119dB screamer is magically "not too loud". Joe KnownCopHater and his 28dB Honda Insight hybrid just got themselves a big fat noise violation.

Now, doesn't the law specify something about measurements? Yes, in fact, it says two things. Firstly it states:
In this Part:
(a) “dB(A)” means the sound pressure measured in decibels using the “A” weighted scale of a sound level meter set to fast response;
(b) “decibel” means a unit for expressing the relative intensity of sounds on a scale from zero for the average least perceptible sound to approximately 130 for the average pain level;
(c) “holiday” means January 1st, Alberta Family Day, Good Friday, Victoria Day, July 1st, the first Monday in August, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, November 11th, and December 25th of every year;
(d) “noise” means any sound that is reasonably likely to disturb the peace of others;
(e) “sound level meter” means a device used to measure sound pressure which meets the International Electro-Technical Commission Standard No. 123 or the British Standard No. 3539 Part l, or the U.S.A. Standard S1.4-1961.
It helpfully explains the dB(A) measurement standard which is to be followed, and even quotes the relevant quality standards for the sound meter. Wow, that's pretty good...er, but doesn't that mean that the absence of this fancy sound level meter means none of these tickets add up?

Ohh, wait, I told you there are two parts. Here's the second: (all emphasis mine)
(1) A person shall not cause or permit any noise that disturbs the peace of another individual.
(2) A person shall not cause or permit property they own or occupy to be used so that noise from the property disturbs the peace of any other individual.
(3) A person may be found guilty of a contravention of this section whether or not the decibel level:
(a) is measured; or
(b) if measured, exceeds any limit prescribed by this bylaw.
Well isn't that a hole big enough to drive a (very very quiet) Mac Truck through?

Heaven forbid the City of Edmonton should have any sort of actual objective standard in their laws. After all, how do you know if your motorcycle or 1985 GMC Sierra is too loud and needs to be quieter to be operated on city streets? Why, you'd get a sound test, and they'd say not to worry, your engine clocks in at a perfectly reasonable 71dB(A) at a distance of one metre. Therefore you will always be below 75dB(A) and therefore within the legal limits in nonresidential areas of daylight hours. Oh, but wait, when it comes time for the testing phase, the cop tells you your engine is "too loud". How loud? "Too loud".

In other words, if the cops are told to crack down on at least 400 people per day, and they find themselves with only 35 tickets at the halfway point, you the unfortunate bugger who happens to be driving a loud but legal machine are gonna get a ticket. Once you start throwing in "anybody who disturbs the peace of another individual" crap, you end up with a bad law that will merely be the heavy hand of any corrupt Edmonton cop with an axe to grind. If he's a racist, don't be surprised when a bunch of black guys start discovering that their pimped rides aren't as quiet as they had thought. If he's mad at his wife, you'd be surprised how many loud soccer-mom-owned minivans there are in this town.

Ultimately this creates far too much grey area that I guarantee you will be part of successful efforts to fight these tickets. Had EPS only bothered to grab themselves a S1.4-1961 compliant sound meter reader and stand on the sidewalk while the bikers revved their engines, they could have indicated actual information on these tickets and at the very least let people know where they failed.

Probably the most disgusting thing about this bylaw is that you can be ticketed even when you are proved to be following the law. Where else in our legal system could they get away with deciding after the fact that you would be charged as in violation of a law you hadn't violated? What would the courts look like in this bizzaro-world the City of Edmonton seems to operate in? "You're honour, we find the defendant 'not guilty' of all charges." "Good, good. Bailiff, lock this man away, I sentence you to six years in prison."

Update, 11:58pm: It may be invaluable here to say that I don't actually own a motorcycle, and actually don't like the noise from them. I maintain that loud motorcycles are exclusively owned by ugly men with small penises, and that its a cheap "look at me" stunt. If they rounded up all motorcycles and put irreversible 55dB limiters on it, I guarantee you that 80% of motorcycle riders would never jump on their hog again. As we noted to coworkers who follow the "loud pipes save lives" principle, if they really wanted drivers to see them they could wear safety vests while they rode with far greater results. Meanwhile, the safety argument holds no water with me: my hog is the quietest thing on the road [or it would be, if you got those shitty squeaky brakes replaced on it -ed]. I don't even wear a helmet, and somehow without letting every driver/pedestrian/corpse within 600 yards hear my precise location I manage to survive the mean streets.

Update, June 30 2010, 5:18pm: Readers visiting from the Harley Davidson HD Forum (and/or others!) might be interested in knowing a "tough new law" has been passed about noisy motorcycles that is actually weaker. As well, feel free to try out Third Edge of the Sword's "Loud Pipes Save Lives" challenge!

"Inevitabre! Things are inevitabrey going to change! Goddamnit, open your fucking ears!"

The Daily Telegraph says that Kim Jong Il is putting "Barack Obama to the Test".

Ever since the Clinton administration concluded an agreement in 1994 that was supposed to prevent the Stalinist state from building nuclear weapons, a dismal pattern has been established.

North Korea tramples on the rules of international behaviour, so America bribes the regime with concessions in order to make it stop. North Korea then breaks the deal and behaves even more badly. So America offers more concessions. Then North Korea reneges on the agreement again. And America offers yet more inducements.

So the circle continues, with Kim Jong-il's regime managing the extraordinary feat of being rewarded for its delinquency. North Korea's first nuclear test in October 2006 was followed by a supposed diplomatic breakthrough the following year.

Under the agreement reached in February 2007, Mr Kim was supposed to give up his atomic arsenal and dismantle his nuclear reactor at Yongbyon in return for fuel, food and North Korea's removal from America's list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Needless to say, Mr Kim broke the deal, neither sacrificing his weapons nor dismantling Yongbyon. But America kept its side of the bargain in a fruitless effort to keep him on the straight and narrow. Last October, North Korea became only the second country after Libya to win removal from the State Department's terrorism list - and unlike Col Gaddafi's regime, Mr Kim did nothing concrete in return.

In familiar fashion, North Korea has simply behaved even more outrageously. Hence Mr Kim's latest nuclear test, combined with yesterday's missile launches.

There's only one problem about Kim Jong Il putting Barack Obama "to the test".

Uh.... Barry don't do so well on those test thingies.


Above is a screenshot I took of this page regarding GM closures. There's me in the 8th spot down. Everybody wave to me!

Um, notice something odd about the other tweets?


Are all the names of guys with the same 2 pictures and the same message repeated ad nauseum. It's probably not against the terms of agreement for Twitter. But it should be.


More GM dealerships closing in Alberta

GM Insider News tells us the following Alberta closures:

Originally Posted by Dixie View Post
you guys can add these alberta dealers to the list

Ponoka Chevrolet LTD, Ponoka Alberta
Murray Chevrolet Leduc, Leduc Alberta
Sundre Motors LTD, Sundre Alberta
Rempel Chevrolet Oldsmobile, Hardisty Alberta
Shaganappi Chevrolet, Calgary Alberta
Stedelbauer Chevrolet, Edmonton Alberta
Schwab's Wetaskiwin Chevrolet, Wetaskiwin Alberta

and the ones already mentioned

Devon Chevrolet LTD, Devon Alberta
Three Hills Pontiac Buick GMC, Three Hills Alberta

Edmonton arts scene deaths

This is probably a good time to point out that Gilbert Bouchard has died.

Wes Borg also died earlier this year. I only today learned that he was a member of Three Dead Trolls, which shows roughly how impacted I am from all this.

As for Bouchard, uh, who the hell is he again?


CTV tricks people into being pawns

Lovers of local news protested Saturday all over Canada to save small television stations.

The stations are in danger of being shut down over costs, which their owners blame on CRTC rules preventing them from billing cable and satellite companies.

At the rally in Ottawa, J.P. Foo was among the more than 1,000 protesters who came to show their support for the city's CTV newscast.

Er, in Edmonton at least these "protesters" were believing they got free food and a tour of the station (and a chance to meet local TV personalities) in an "open house".

It looks like my instincts were bang on:
I love a free BBQ. But if I went to the CTV #yeg "save local TV" open house, I'd be taken to support 1 of 2 wrong sides in the CRTC fight

More reasons closing down the Edmonton Municipal airport makes absolutely no friggin' sense

Earlier this month I noted a (very large) derelict building in the Westmount area. Naturally I asked two key questions:

  1. Why, if there are derelict buildings in the area, do we so critically need to develop the land on the nearby Edmonton City Centre Airport?
  2. If the airport is "keeping buildings from being built up" particularly in the northwest quadrant of the city, why isn't that building surrounded by other buildings of the same size? Clearly that height is acheivable in the area, but there isn't a 4-story condo to be found
Well I finally found what it was: the Charles Camsell Consumption Research Hospital.

Waking Up on Planet X has information about the hospital, and you can view photos of it here.

Note that my questions remain unanswered. If Mayor Mandell and the airport-teardown proponents can't explain the Charles Camsell Hospital, then they have no business making changes to the airport.

Gardiner Highway soon to be home to Velupillai Prabhakaran funeral procession

Tamil Tiger rebels acknowledged the death of their leader Sunday, nearly a week after the Sri Lankan government said it had recovered the body of Velupillai Prabhakaran and declared victory in the country's 25-year civil war with the rebels.

Prabhakaran "attained martyrdom fighting the military oppression of the Sri Lankan state" on May 17, according to Tamilnet.com, a rebel Web site, citing the group's international affairs spokesman.

On Tuesday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared victory against the Tamil Tigers.

"We are celebrating the defeat of terrorism," he said in a nationally televised speech before parliament. "We have won and restored democracy in the country."

The president declared a national holiday for the following day to celebrate the war's end and begin a new phase in the country's history.
Well, its confirmed that for better or for worse, Toronto traffic can get back to normal.

North Korea nuclear tests

North Korea has detonated a second nuclear warhead:

The North’s official news agency, KCNA, said “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea successfully conducted one more underground nuclear test on May 25 as part of the measures to bolster up its nuclear deterrent for self-defense in every way as requested by its scientists and technicians.”

The test was safely conducted “on a new higher level in terms of its explosive power and technology of its control,” the agency said. “The results of the test helped satisfactorily settle the scientific and technological problems arising in further increasing the power of nuclear weapons and steadily developing nuclear technology.”

Word of the test sent a shudder through Asian financial markets and clearly caught South Korea off guard. The news hit just as South Korea’s government and people were mourning the suicide of former President Roh Moo-hyun.

The test also came against a backdrop of uncertainty about North Korea’s reclusive leader, Kim Jong-il and speculation about who might succeed him. Mr. Kim suffered a stroke last August, which prompted him to step up preparations to transfer power to one of his three known sons. Analysts believe the favorite son is his youngest, Kim Jong-un, who is in his mid-20s.
So, er, how's that new President working out for you guys?

With this North Korean news, its perhaps time to remember Kim Jong Il vs. Hans Blix on Team America: World Police:


The best ninja question

How to Kill a Ninja:

At least this one only advertises in-house things. One episode advertised Little Man, the Wayans brothers movie that never should have ever been made. At that point, "Ask a Ninja" lost me

They say local colour may save newspapers

As a followup to my GM dealership post below, I notice that the Red Deer Advocate doesn't bother to contact any Red Deer or Red Deer-area dealerships before putting up a story about GM dealers closing. I'm sure Red Deer area readers are engrossed about southern Ontario dealership and plant closures when their uncle is a mechanic at Kipp Scott Pontiac Buick.

President Monkey See, President Monkey Do

The Montreal Gazette begs Obama to remember to dance with the girl who brung him: specifically not harming Canada after all the adulation they showed him:

Dear President Obama, Like most Canadians I rooted for you madly and cried when you were elected President-of-The-World. So far, I think you've been a great leader, reaching out to the whole planet
Ohh, good call. Kiss up a little bit first, try to see if that helps.
On June 1, you will officially defend the "world's longest undefended border," a border I've crossed hundreds of times. From now on, we Canadians need passports to enter the U.S., a major hassle for truckdrivers, boaters and shmoes like me who can no longer cross to buy cheap Polo shirts without remembering to pack passports for the whole family.
Not by any means defending either Obama or this program, but it was actually one of the few actual bad policies enacted by George W. Bush. Obama, who took a blowtorch to any Bush program that might actually cause a benefit to anyone [is that why "No Child Left Behind" is still intact? -ed], left the June 2009 border requirements alone. Hence the title of this post...

So what other insights does Josh Freed have to offer?
Meanwhile, your new Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, told CBC the reason for the new passport law was that the 9/11 terrorists "entered our country ... across the Canadian border."

Hello? Fact check - or as CNN always says, "time to keep'em honest." Sorry Mr. President, but none of the 9/11 terrorists came across the Canadian border. You let them all in yourselves with your lax security - so if anything we should be toughening our border against you.
Other than the fact that the last bit makes no sense, clearly Freed hasn't been paying attention. Obama picked Napolitano. She's his guy. Certainly she is a far poorer choice than any single member of Bush's cabinet could have been -- Colin Powell included. Besides, don't bother Obama with facts. He doesn't know anything about them. He doesn't care.
Our only would-be Canadian terrorist was Ahmed Ressam back in 1999 and they caught him at the border. But somehow the idea Canada was Jihad Training Central for 9/11 bombers became an urban myth - part of a "blame Canada" list that includes mad cow, SARS and any U.S. blizzard.
Speaking of Mad Cow, wasn't there a President who defied powerful interests in his own party and his own bureaucracy to defend Canada against protectionism? What's Obama's track record on that file again?
Yes, Mr. President, I know your border policy is just a continuation of Bush-league ones you inherited. But you don't have the excuse Bush did: He was dim and you're brilliant. So why blame us? Are you trying to show Americans you're not as liberal as you look?
Ah, suck up some more Freed, that might work. Problem is that your precious "fact-checking" has somehow failed you. Obama is stupider than Bush. Obama is stupider than liberals claimed Bush was. In fact, President Monkey is probably a stupider choice of President than an actual monkey. [its like TSN discovering a monkey picks playoff winners better than its own analysts -ed]

As for the last bit, Obama is in fact more liberal than he "looked" to the MSM, and now he doesn't really cover it up very much. That's the thing Freed can't wrap his head around: Obama's liberalism is at the core of what he does. He isn't doing things because they are right, he's doing things that give him more power, more influence, more control. He's not interested in letting "schmoes like you" cross the border unimpeded. He's interested in controlling your life. The sooner the Josh Freeds wise up to that fact, the better off they'll be.
Adviser: Well, sir, you're looking a bit soft on foreign policy. You've opened up to Cuba, offered to talk with Iran's "I'm-a-dinner-jacket" and negotiate with Hamas and the Taliban. You've got to show some toughness somewhere, sir.
Oh come on, he did shoot all those pirates (without any regard for the Geneva Convention, one may note). If you want to talk about who Obama is tough with, as noted above, its his own people: if you're an investor, or a shareholder in a TARP-assisted company, Obama hates you and wants you to suffer. The people in the tea party protests all understood exactly where Obama is willing to be tough, and that's the part that scares them.
Sorry, Mr. President, I understand America's frustration. Eight years after Sept. 11, you still can't find Osama, you're fleeing Iraq and your banks are broke. But why take it out on Canada?

Do you really think demanding passports from 35 million Canadians will stop terrorism, any more than seizing elderly ladies' shampoo at the airport? Professional terrorists don't arrive at the border with a crumpled Canadian Tire card, then plead to get in. They have real fake passports.

Europe has gone the other way and eliminated all borders - you can drive from Spain into France without noticing. Meanwhile, we need a passport to ski in Vermont, which many Quebecers consider part of Canada.
The fact that:
a) A Clinton-nominee came up with the idea of searching shampoo bottles

Protectionist border enforcement with regards to everything except illegal Mexican immigration has long been a standard plank of Obama's party
never seem to occur to our Monsigeur Freed.
Exactly right. In fact, we're way too busy listening to Tonto to go and make bombs - or carry passports. So President Obama, hear this: We're not going to take it anymore!
Fortunately while Freed is right that we don't make bombs, we do use them. But this again speaks to the wussified world of Frenchmen and/or liberals: if you don't make and/or carry bombs, then its going to be awfully hard to be taken seriously when you say "we're not going to take it anymore!" It's like the British police officer in the old Robin Williams sketch:
In England, if you commit a crime, the police don't have a gun and you don't have a gun. If you commit a crime, the police will say "Stop, or I'll say stop again."

I hate it when my father is right

"Most of the GM dealerships between Edmonton and Calgary will close" he told me last week on the phone. He does know a lot of the GM dealers in rural Alberta thanks to his job, and he's more aware of the industry than most. Of particular certainty to close, he predicted, were Ponoka, Sundre, and Drumheller.

CTV News has learned that Ponoka's Chevy dealership will close in part of General Motors restructuring plans.

For now the dealership remains open for business, but it has been told it is not in GM's long-term plans.

In a town of about 6,300 people, the dealership is only one of three in the area. The timing of the closure with the unstable economy could make times even more difficult for residents in the community.
How about my father's other predictions? Check out this page:
Ponoka Chevrolet Ltd 6305 44 Avenue Ponoka, AB
Sundre Motors Chevrolet Address: 104 Main Avenue East, Sundre, AB
Rempel Chevrolet 4601-49 Street Hardisty, AB
Shaganappi Chevrolet Shaganappi & Crowchild Tr NwCalgary, AB
Stedelbauer Chevrolet Inc 13145 97 Street NW Edmonton, AB
Schwab's Wetaskiwn Chevrolet 4710 - 56 Street Wetaskiwin, AB
That's 2/3, and he talked to me after Three Hills was announced, so that was a gimmie. Stedelbauer surprises me, though. I expect of the three southside Edmonton dealerships (Lakewood, Wheaton, Nicholson), at least one and perhaps two will close. Don Wheaton seems the safest bet, though Nicholson might pull ahead. Lakewood is closing for sure, mark my words. Southgate GMC seems confident, though perhaps he hasn't heard about Stedelbauer yet:
Gerry Lorente with Southgate Pontiac Buick GMC said he would be surprised if any of the 12 metro Edmonton dealers are among the hundreds of dealerships said to be closed.

"For the most part, we're not really that concerned, we live in a great province, a great city, we're the City of Champions, we do well in our industry, we always have in edmonton," said Lorente. "The guys who are making the decisions are smart guys from General Motors."
Alberta dealerships are very good for volume as a whole, my father notes, though even strong dealerships like Camrose and Hinton may be on the chopping block.

Here's a list of Chevy dealers in Alberta.

And here's the GM dealerships. These maps are incomplete, as Stettler has a dealership as well (for now, that is: Dad says its another Three Hills-area dealership that may close with both Red Deer and Drumheller so close by)

You'll miss her when she's gone... which won't be very soon

Ruby Dhalla has secured the Liberal nomination:

OTTAWA – Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla, though embroiled in controversy, has managed to gather up enough party members and donors in the past two weeks to seal her hold on the riding of Brampton-Springdale.

All 77 Liberal MPs are facing a strict June 1 deadline to have a minimum 400 paid-up members in their ridings and at least 10 "Victory Fund" donors – people committed to monthly contributions to the party.

MPs who don't meet these targets – which were set by the veteran Liberal campaign chief, Senator David Smith – will have to fight to get the party nomination in their ridings before the next election.

As Angry in the Great White North puts it...
And let's not be naive. Had Ruby Dhalla been forced into a nomination fight, and those allegations still dogged her, I'm sure the Liberal Party would have made certain the right contender beat Dhalla.

Had it played out this way, the Liberal Party could have maintained that the reason that Ruby Dhalla was no longer the candidate was simply that she failed to meet those donor goals, and then lost her subsequent nomination battle. In the next election, the Ruby Dhalla problem would have been largely neutralized.

But no such luck. Ruby Dhalla has met those donor goals, and so her nomination won't be contested. Ruby Dhalla is here to stay, at least for the time being. That in turn leads to three possible outcomes, the most likely of which is least appealing the Liberals.

One possibility is that Ruby Dhalla is totally exonerated, and she competes in her riding on a solid footing.

Not likely.

Another possibility is that the worst of the allegations are proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and so Ruby Dhalla is forced out of politics before an election.

Also not likely.

But those two scenarios are preferred by the Liberal Party because, either way, the Ruby Dhalla problem goes away without the Liberal Party getting too deeply involved.

The third possibility is that Ruby Dhalla enters the next election as damaged goods, having been unsuccessful at shaking the allegations. Based on what we've seen so far, I think this is the most likely outcome, unless something changes dramatically.


Lessons from Godzilla 2000

"Before you kick the tiger in the ass be sure you have plans on how to deal with its teeth"
-Tom Clancy

Before you adjust our atmosphere to better conform with your own requirements be sure you have plans on how to deal with super-omega firebreath!

The 57 state gaffe and how it will lead America to Sharia Law

Diana West finds some odd coincidences in President Monkey's gaffes:

From Day One we've seen an accelerated elevation of of the Islamic world by this administration with its repeated mantra of "mutual respect," its pattern of Islam-first in presidential phone calls (#1 went to the PA), interviews (# 1 went to al-Arabiya), and audiences (no time for Netanyahu?). We've seen the weirdest succession of Islamic symbolism so laughably crude that it has to be coincidental or it has to be not-at-all hidden messages: Candidate Obama saying he'd been to "all 57 states (the OIC has 57 member states); President Obama giving his economic policy speech containg "five pillars" (there are 5 "pillars" of Islam); talking about a new "foundation" (Al Qaeda translates as The Foundation).


Low low low gas prices

With the news that Las Vegas expects 80% of visitors this weekend to arrive by car due to low gas prices, I thought I'd evaluate.

Currently in Edmonton, its 95.9 cents/litre at most stations. What's that translate to? Take it away Google:$3.23 dollars per gallon (in US dollars).

So whats the current gas prices in Las Vegas? As low as $2.15 dollars per gallon! As much as $2.58. How about Los Angeles, where most of the Vegas traffic will come from? As low as $2.43 and as high as $2.85.

If Edmonton gas was the equivalent to Las Vegas, it would cost 63.8 cents per litre. Gack

Unofficial start to summer

Memorial Day in the United States is the "unofficial beginning of summer". Victoria Day in Canada is the "unofficial beginning of summer".

Daily highs/lows (in Farenheit) in Edmonton, Alberta during the unofficial start of summer:
Friday May 15th: 35.1 - 55.4
Saturday May 16th: 42.8 - 64.4
Sunday, May 17th: 46.4 - 68.0
Monday, May 18th: 28.4 - 53.8

Daily (expected) highs/lows (in Farenheit) in St. Louis, Missouri during the unofficial start of summer:
Friday, May 22nd: 46 - 67
Saturday, May 23rd: 47 - 72
Sunday, May 24th: 44 - 70
Monday, May 25th: 51 - 73

Maybe we need to drop this "start to summer" label

Shorter Dallas Green

City and Colour: Coming Home.

"I've been a douchebag in this city.
I've been a douchebag in this other city.
I've also been a douchebag in that city.
Here's a list of all the cities I've been a douchebag in."

Possibly racist history question of the day

If its really true that the human populations of the world began in Africa and that therefore Africa is the location of the beginning of human civilization, why is it that there was there a Scramble for Africa? Shouldn't the Africans have already been well established there? Even if the Asian and European populations had better conditions for growth after the Dark Ages, why wasn't Africa already pretty much carved out? Why did they "lose" it again. As the unspeakable question goes, is it a defect in the native African population?


Maybe Quebecers are stupid enough to deserve fascism?

The post title is the question I can't help but ask if there's so little outrage over this story:

A woman is outraged after she was handcuffed and ticketed for not holding the handrail on an escalator at the Montmorency metro station.

In fact, we now have a followup:
The Société de transport de Montréal says it will not change its escalator policy in the wake of a controversy over a woman who was fined for not holding a handrail at a Laval métro station.

“It’s a basic security rule that we have no intention of changing,” STM chairman Michel Labrecque said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters after a speech, he said there’s a reason “all public-transit authorities and many public buildings” make holding escalator handrails obligatory: not doing so can be dangerous.
I know that headline and byline writing isn't always accurate, but in this case I think that it is:
"People have to use handrails for safety reasons, chairman says"
Have to use them. "Chairman" is an oddly ironic title. Why on earth do we "have" to use them?

For those keeping track, the proper response to a police officer telling you to put your hand on a handrail on any escalator is fuck you. The cops have no special right to order you to do something that you aren't already obliged to do, and despite STM's attempts handrail holding cannot be a statutory requirement. If a police officer orders a woman to flash her breasts in public, is she similarly handcuffed if she angrily refuses to obey?
Laval police said yesterday they issued three separate warnings to Bela Kosoian that she was obliged to hold onto an escalator handrail in a métro station before they handcuffed her briefly and issued two tickets totalling $420 against her.

They acted only after they got three separate refusals from Kosoian to grab hold, Lt. Daniel Guerin said of the incident. “The third time, she crossed her arms.”

Kosoian also refused, initially, to provide identification, Guerin said.
Wow, not arm-crossing! Dear Lord, she's out of control! She crossed her arms at a worthless asshole!

She also refused, initially, to provide identification. What would happen if she wasn't carrying any? You don't have to carry ID while you are not driving. People forget that a lot, but its something that as a cyclist I am well aware of.

The more you read this story the more you see the clear signs of a police state out of control. Look at "Bob"'s quotes on the original CTV story:
According to her own words, this woman is the author of her own misfortune. Only $100 of the fine is for not holding on to the hand-rail, and she could have avoided that by complying with the lawful instructions of the peace officer. Instead, she chose to continue to put her own safety at risk, and that of those below her on the escalator. The $320 fine is for obstructing the peace officer in the performance of his/her duty. Yes indeed, the police have more important tasks, and the people who keep them from those tasks should pay the price for their deliberately obstructive behaviour. In this case, that will be $320 please.
Or look at Barry's:
Funny there is a part of this story that for some reason wasn't published. The woman in question after being asked to "PLEASE" hold the handrail, was so caught up in digging through her purse that she answered the cops "What, you want me to grow a 3rd hand out of my a...?" THAT is when they finally issued her the ticket. The police are here to protect us and they do that job the best they can, the least people can do is listen to them when they ask us something, you worried about germs? carry around in you pocket a small bottle of germ killing stuff, take your pick, there are tons of them on the market.
See? All you have to do is obey idiotic commands from strangers, and be polite to them when they make unreasonable requests, and they won't cause you physical harm. Isn't that easy?

The best comment still has to be "Muffy" on the Gazette story where she notices that nobody in the article photo is holding the handrail.

Egyptian Obelisk Barges

"There's more miles of shoreline in Greece than in all of the United States" says a current show on History Television.

Er, how would you measure that?

Alberta Teachers Association: Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic teachers demand protection

CBC Edmonton covers a story on the infamous Bill 44

On the weekend, delegates to the annual general meeting of the Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) passed a resolution asking the province to delete the section of the bill that contains the amendments. On Tuesday, ATA President Frank Bruseker sent a letter to Premier Ed Stelmach notifying him about the resolution and the teachers' concerns. "Representatives of the teaching profession in attendance at the meeting are concerned about the negative effect the legislation will have on their lives as teachers," Bruseker writes. "Our members continue to believe that existing legislation, the Guide to Education and the provisions established in the Code of Professional Conduct are sufficient mechanisms to ensure that teachers are respectful of their students and parents."
Last week on Twitter I was addressing how Alberta leftwingers (and teachers) are up in arms about being subject to onerous HRCs:
The left now agrees nobody wants to be subject to frivolous HRC complaints http://twurl.nl/g6gy2b They gonna help Rev. Boissoin now, right?
The more the #Alberta Teachers ASSociation squacks about Bill 44 the more I'm convinced wise parents should ort out of the entire curriculum
Meanwhile, Colby Cosh was attacking the issue in the other direction:
I love that there are journalists in Alberta who apparently think that human-rights law should apply fully to journalists (and bloggers and Twitter-ers) in their work, but not teachers in theirs.
Ultimately, its odd to be reading this passage:
Teachers worry the amendments will have a "chilling effect" on the classroom and could put teachers and school boards at risk of being prosecuted under the provincial Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act, according to an ATA submission on the Act sent to the premier earlier this month
Um, I thought that the "chilling effect" of HRCs was all a bunch of Ezra Levant/Mark Steyn hooey. Why should teachers not have to live in mortal fear of being hauled in front of tribunals that don't require facts (which Alberta Teachers are notoriously short on anyways) while everybody else does?

You know I've spent too much time on Wikipedia when...

Above is the screenshot from this page about the Rainmaker Rodeo this weekend in St. Albert:

Rodeo Announcer Emery Erickson comes to us from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan bringing with him a long list of accomplishments.

2007 marks the 25th anniversary of his announcing career. In this time he has been chosen for over 100 finals in 21 various associations across Canada, the United States and Australia. In fact, three times he was chosen to host the Australian Professional Rodeo Finals, and for the past five years he has hosted the Badlands PBR Circuit Finals in the United States.

Emery is the only announcer in the world to have announced major finals in three countries.

He grew up on rodeo and cowboying on a PFRA pasture, so eight years as a bull rider came naturally. His enthusiastic commentary is truly genuine from his lifelong experiences.

Holly Erickson provides complete digital music coordination on dual laptops throughout the performance. This music provides pageantry, professionalism and excitement to our rodeo events. Her job is to match the music to the moment. Together, their knowledge and expertise allows them to make a performance into a 'production'.
I'm sorry, I just couldn't let it pass without making one small change...


NCIS plot question and Cote de Pablo photos

Damn. Didn't I have a plot question or something?

Oh, yeah... now that Jenny Sheppard is dead, will they ever resolve if her father is still alive or not?

By the way, the above question contained massive spoilers, you shouldn't have read it.

I'm the last person to link to the Star Trek Onion video

Trekkies bash new Trek film as fun, watchable:

Stelmach swings right; from far left to moderate left

Seriously, there's probably two, maybe three actual facts in this Edmonton Journal article about Ed Stelmach. Its a subject that yesterday I only had time to briefly Twitter about (twice!), mainly about how an op-ed was on the front page passing as news. Here are some snippets from the article in question:

But since the March 2008 election, Stelmach appears to have shifted to the right. Party faithful, who thought they'd voted to contain the right wing by rejecting Ted Morton, must now be scratching their heads.

The task forces and citizen consultations are long gone, as the government, backed by a massive majority, gets on with the job. These days, Albertans see a premier who gives his ministers wide latitude to make public policy.

Powerful individuals have quickly emerged, notably Health Minister Ron Liepert, Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett, Infrastructure Minister Jack Hayden and Justice Minister Alison Redford.

All have brought individual agendas to the table -- often dramatic new policies -- and carried on with little, if any, public consultation. In many cases, the public first learned about legislation only after it was tabled.
Wow, powerful ministers bringing about dramatic policies. Why, they have to be right-wing! "Powerful". "Dramatic" "Wide latitude". Well let's just declare Stelmach a right-winger right away. Should we perhaps take a gander at some of these "hard right" policies, starting with Health Minister Ron Liepert? A bunch of medium sized health regions are replaced with a provincial superregion. Massive centralization of government power is one of the most right-wing policies around, isn't it?

Well, okay, health is a bit of a conservative bust. But lets move onto Lindsay Blackett, the controversial culture minister. His Bill 44 is a polarizing cry for leftwingers across the province, so maybe this is the intense shift to the right that we're looking for. Let's see, Bill 44...
  1. Expands Human Rights legislation to protect dirty sodomites from having their sick perverse uranist lifestyles subjected to criticism, and preventing people who don't enjoy hiring cocksuckers from living the life they want to live.
  2. Does not make the anticipated alterations to the power of Alberta's infamous Human Rights Commission to hold supra-legal tribunals such as in the infamous cases of Stephen Boissoin and Ezra Levant. The free speech trammeling of HRCs will be allowed to continue.
  3. Expand HRCs to remove the exemption from schoolteachers
Er, that's it? That's the horrendous big bad evil right-wing legislation?

Maybe its Jack Hayden in infrastructure. The Alberta Green Party's former leader whoops..."current leader" Joe Anglin is in an uproar over the infamous Bill 19, which...expropriates land...from rightwing rural property owners. Damn, sounds like that's hardly a "rightward shift" either!

Well, we aren't out of rightwing standout ministers yet: Justice Minister Alison Redford was also named. Here she is applauding public transit in Calgary. Oh, well here she is again trying to collect more money for the public healthcare system. Is this really the crop of rightwing Tory ministers? Who came up with this crap?
Tory insider Ken Chapman says the government has hunkered down and centralized operations partly because of uncertainties engendered by the economic downturn.

It's back to "command and control," says Chapman, a consultant with Cambridge Strategies. "The attitude seems to be, we know what's best.

"They are broadcasting, rather than joining the conversation. Albertans want a conversation."
Ahhh... say no more. Another man with an irrational Klein fetish/hatred. The only way this article could get much worse would be a quote from David Taras, the hardcore University of Alberta Liberal who's the catchall source for yellow anti-Conservative journalism.
Political analyst Dave Taras agrees there is still plenty of anger in downtown Calgary over the royalty rates. But there's no place for the disaffected to go, says the University of Calgary communications professor, so the government knows it's not vulnerable.

After winning so many seats in the 2008 election, Taras says there's a sense among MLAs that "we can do what we want."
Oh. Never mind.
The influence of the party's right wing is certainly growing under Stelmach, Taras says.

Peter Lougheed and Klein had a sense of the political middle ground, he says.

Klein was astute in sensing when the government swerved too far to the right and he'd quickly correct his course, says Taras. Not so with Stelmach, who is making the right wingers feel more comfortable.
More comfortable? More comfortable? Stelmach has never done anything to make me feel more comfortable! What, besides the conspicuous amount of heroin a person must take to put his name to such nonsense as Taras does on a regular basis, are these people smoking?
Perhaps, but rumbles of discontent can already be heard in Stelmach's backyard. Northern Alberta helped put their man in the premier's office, but in the Grande Prairie area, they're not so sure it paid off.

Marv Moore, a former cabinet minister in the Lougheed days, now runs a 1,000-bison feedlot near Grande Prairie. Eighteen months ago, he was removed from his position as chairman of the Peace Country Health Authority when Liepert disbanded the health regions
Ohhh, news flash! Person who lost their job is mad at their former boss! Somebody give Sheila Pratt a Pulitzer!
When Stelmach took over, the party was at a crossroads, says Warrack, who is retired from the University of Alberta.

Many wondered whether he could move the party back to its founding roots, the inclusive, big tent that believed in government as a positive force. Others hoped he would continue down the Klein road to the right.
What. Move. To. The. Right?

Seriously, can anybody find a "move to the right"? Klein spent 90% of his Premiership moving to the left, and it made up 100% of his final three years. For anybody to seriously believe this is absolutely outrageous. It has no actual validity. It has no actual facts. It is not news, it is opinion. And it is a stupid opinion based on lies.

Conclusive new evidence of a theory that was laughable 10 years ago

Meet "Ida," the small "missing link" found in Germany that's created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins.

In a new book, documentary, and promotional Web site, paleontologist Jorn Hurum, who led the team that analyzed the 47-million-year-old fossil seen above, suggests Ida is a critical missing-link species in primate evolution (interactive guide to human evolution from National Geographic magazine).

(Among the team members was University of Michigan paleontologist Philip Gingerich, a member of the Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society, which owns National Geographic News.)

The fossil, he says, bridges the evolutionary split between higher primates such as monkeys, apes, and humans and their more distant relatives such as lemurs.

"This is the first link to all humans," Hurum, of the Natural History Museum in Oslo, Norway, said in a statement. Ida represents "the closest thing we can get to a direct ancestor."

Ida, properly known as Darwinius masillae, has a unique anatomy. The lemur-like skeleton features primate-like characteristics, including grasping hands, opposable thumbs, clawless digits with nails, and relatively short limbs.

"This specimen looks like a really early fossil monkey that belongs to the group that includes us," said Brian Richmond, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the study, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.
This "first link to all humans" isn't the line that "evolutionary theory" was so big on just a few years ago. Specifically, the Nitpicker's Guide to Next Generation Trekkers II describes the TNG episode "Genesis":
Barclay turns into a spider, and Data claims Picard is on his way to becoming a lemur or pygmy marmoset.
According to the evolutionary theory, the ancestors of Homo sapiens do not include arachnids, lemurs, or marmosets.
So, er, which one is it?


Fellas its been good to know you

Oddly enough, a couple days ago satellite radio played this song followed up with...



...this song:

Okay, that's just not right

"The needs of The One outweigh the needs of the many. Or in fact everybody"

I'm not sure what's more offensive: CBC Newsworld's gushing over Obama's Notre-Dame controversy yesterday, or the laughable "Obama and Spock" meme that Newsweek is desperately trying to put across. (emphasis mine)

President Barack Obama said in a report Sunday that he saw the new "Star Trek" film recently -- and not just because it was last week's top-grossing movie.

"Everybody was saying I was Spock," said the US leader, known to have a wonkish command of the minutiae of policy -- not unlike the dispassionate movie Vulcan to whom he has been compared.

Newsweek gushed however that Obama's version of the character would be "Spock with global sex appeal."

The latest in the "Star Trek" sci-fi franchise beamed up to the top of the North American box office last weekend, but slipped this week to second place.
Fortunately some of the more Trek-knowledgeable commentators were able to put this laughable comparison into context:
Typical racist Democrats seizing on the fact that Spock was only half-human on his mother's side.
Yea, but we KNOW where Spock was born
Hmmm, maybe there is a connection here. Spock is moved via [teleporter]; Obama is told what to say via teleprompter...!
I always thought of Obama as like a Vorta, not a Vulcan. (Remember the Vorta from DS9) The Vorta were the middle managers of the Dominion, who commanded the Jem Haddar. They had enormous and very sensitive ears, and were bred for their skill in diplomacy, deception, and intrigue. They could hatch plots within plots within plots, and keep everything straight for their Changeling masters. Everything Obama has done both before and after the election tells me that he is like a Vorta.

The Vorta answered to the Changelings. Who does Obama answer to?
The problem with the comparison is Vulcans don't lie....
I like the comparison. Obama talks as smugly as Spock about human inconsistency, acting as if he is somehow above it all. He had the nerve today to lecture conservatives to keep the dialogue honorable while his followers and minions of his party push for jail terms for those in the previous administration with whom they disagree. And also lecturing conservatives about economic justice while he and his fellow liberals don't hold a candle to conservatives in donating to the needy. AND, THEY DON'T PAY THEIR TAXES or their nannies as we have seen from the last two "progressive" administrations.

Victoria Day, 2009

Well, I'm too busy to post much else, but here's a quick pair of internal links for Victoria Day 2009:

My award-winning post for Victoria Day 2008

My post from last week about how Thursday's weather wasn't even the worst May 14th weather ever. Today is so far not the worst May 18th weather either.


Well, good to see that's over!

Well, it looks like the brutal oppressive Sri Lankan government has won its civil war against the brutal oppressive Tamil Tigers.

COLOMBO–Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said Saturday that his country had defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels on the battlefield and emerged victorious from its quarter century civil war.

"My government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation finally defeated the LTTE militarily," he said referring to the rebels by their formal name, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

"I will be going back to a country that has been totally freed from the barbaric acts of the LTTE," he said in a speech at an international gathering in Jordan that was distributed to the media in Sri Lanka.

The military reported that fighting continued to rage in the war zone along the northeast coast. Huge explosions could be heard across the battlefield as rebels detonated their ammunition stocks and artillery dumps, military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said.

On Saturday morning, troops seized control of the island's entire coastline for the first time in decades, sealing the Tamil Tigers in a tiny pocket of territory and cutting off the possibility of a sea escape by the rebels' top leaders, the military said.

The rebels, who once ran a de facto state across the north, had controlled a formidable navy and sea smuggling operation.

Thousands of civilians fled intense shelling in the 3.1-square kilometre patch of land still under rebel control. More than 23,000 civilians have fled since Thursday, Nanayakkara said.
Of particular note is this bit:
Government forces have been hunting for the reclusive Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his top deputies for months, but it was unclear if they remained in rebel territory or had already fled overseas.
We can only hope that Prabhakaran hasn't escaped to Canada. If he hasn't, then hopefully these people can go home and leave us the hell alone.

(These people too)


Depending on who you want to believe, in the upcoming Calgary-Glenmore provincial byelection the Conservative candidate (and most likely the shoo-in to win the riding) will either be a prominant Liberal that will disable the Alberta left for a generation or a prominant Wildrose Alliancer that will disable the Alberta right for a generation.

Much as I like to see how David Swann is an unmitigated Grant Mitchell-style disaster for his party, I can't say I like the idea of Fischer joining the Conservatives (even if it does take away one of the Lib's last sources of stable financing). On the other hand, having a principled voice like Danielle become neutered like what happened with Ted Morton doesn't sound like my idea of fun either.

Are they sure she can't win under a Wildrose banner? It would either cement her for the leadership or guarantee that she'd best go back to being the hottest voice for property rights around!


The demise of a shared culture

Today at work, I caught a lot of flak for using the phrase "jaundiced eye". Apparently nobody knew what it meant, and thought it meant "yellow" in the literal sense. Here's Wikipedia's take:

It was once believed persons suffering from the medical condition jaundice saw everything as yellow. By extension, the jaundiced eye came to mean a prejudiced view, usually rather negative or critical. Alexander Pope, in 'An Essay on Criticism' (1711), wrote: "All seems infected that the infected spy, As all looks yellow to the jaundiced eye." Similarly in the mid 19th century the English poet Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote in the poem 'Locksley Hall': "So I triumphe'd ere my passion sweeping thro' me left me dry, left me with the palsied heart, and left me with a jaundiced eye."
The fact that nobody in an office environment knew this really upset me. Almost as bad, a few days earlier a rather unpleasant former coworkers was hospitalized. One of his few friends started a collection, and I mused if the required emergency surgury was nicknamed "The Tin Woodsman".


Nobody seemed to get that either. It's not exactly obscure, here... its a Best Picture nominee with a sizeable legacy and what's called the best film soundtrack of all time. A reference to it? Forget it!


Liberals don't surrender power

OTTAWA–Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla is stepping down from her job as critic for youth and multiculturalism, as part of continuing fallout over alleged mistreatment of two nannies she employed – first reported in the Star this week.

"This morning I called the leader to personally tender my resignation as multiculturalism and youth critic in order to focus my attention on clearing my name," Dhalla said in a statement.
Now we all know full well what a statement like this means in real life: Ignatieff forced her out of caucus to ensure that if she's guilty the party doesn't pay the price.

Now contrast that with this story:
CP24 is reporting that protesters are set to clear the Gardiner Expressway after hearing from Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's office. Police are currently in the process of opening the Dundas and University corridor as well. According to one protest spokesman, Mr. Ignatieff's office has promised to bring up the issue of economic and diplomatic sanctions against Sri Lanka with the government in Ottawa. "It was a spontaneous event," the Tamil spokesman said in an interview with CP24.

So if you're with a terrorist organization disrupting Her Majesty's highways, Michael Ignatieff is there for you. If you're an MP in his own party facing highly questionable accusations, Michael Ignatieff cuts you loose. Does this make any sense to anybody? Ignatieff was publicly backing Dhalla just two days ago, and then the about-face. What happens when the Tamil Tigers learn that their boy was just stringing them along?

(Canada Free Press is already on this from a similar but different angle)

Incidentally, check out this story about how the protesters may not all have been willing participants. Also this bit:
It’s just about impossible to tell how many Tamils, both in Sri Lanka and around the world, are members of the Tigers. It’s even harder to tell how many support them, and what that support actually speaks to. Most sources report a majority, and the Tigers have claimed 99.9%, but when I speak to local Tamils their support is often conditional or simply pretended, so they and their families are left alone by the militants. Most Tamils I’ve known certainly support the notion of a “national struggle”, and dream of independence from Sri Lanka. But most also quietly confess revulsion at the Tigers’ tactics. I was in a taxi with a Tamil driver last week, and I asked him why the flags were flown even though the Tamil community knew that would hurt their cause. He responded with no humor, “Why don’t you go and tell them to put the flags down? I dare you.”


The climate she is a'changing

Residents across the province might have been surprised to look out their windows yesterday and see white stuff flying around.

Temperatures plummeted throughout the day in Edmonton, hovering just above freezing by the evening, shocking residents who enjoyed a high of 21 degrees on Monday.

But only Peace River was unlucky enough to see snow actually accumulate on the ground. Around 3 cm piled up throughout the day, said Ralph Bigio, a meteorologist for Environment Canada.
May 14, 1986: A spring blizzard with winds up to 80 km/h surprised residents of southern and central Alberta. In Calgary, 500 homes were without power for up to a week. Telephone service was also interrupted when more than 2,300 telephone poles were downed across the province. The Alberta government asked the public to make as few phone calls as possible.

May 13/14 1986 was one of Alberta's memorable storms. 24C during the day, it started to drop and rain in the early evening. By 9pm it was hail, and that dropped the temperature significantly. By 11:30 it was snowing, and by 6am we were drifted into the house and couldn't escape. We got slightly over 3 feet of snow over a 6 hour period, plus the high winds causing aforementioned drifting: it was the only time I've seen the front door blocked with snow. Three days later it was in the 20s again.

Here's the month of May, 1986 in weather history. If you really want freaky, look at May 1987 where Alberta again got a mid-May snowfall on the 18th. We thought an ice age was coming! (Al Gore having not been invented yet)


The return of Mason-the-Moron

You may remember about a month ago I noted a curious fact of Brian Mason's NDP and their intense desire for taxpayer dollars to go to a bunch of self-delusioned queers: namely that for a big proponent of government-owned healthcare, Mason seemed very unaware that it means the government could just take ownership of it, and that he personally may not always like what that means.

Anyways, on Saturday there was a rally held at the Legislature in support of public healthcare, and none other than Brian Mason was in attendance. If you note the second picture, there is a giant photograph of Health Minister Ron Liepert where he is taken as the evil face of Stelmach's government run healthcare system.

Uh, Mason, it was your idea to have a Health Minister chosen by the government elected by Albertans. It seems sort of silly to complain about his existence now. As a very wise ambassador once said, "the avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote".

Again, let me make this clear: if you don't want Ron Liepert to have a say in how you receive your healthcare then you shouldn't be campaigning for a group called "Stand up for Public Heath". You should be requesting immediate privatization so that you can get the healthcare you want, no matter what Ron Liepert or David Eggen says about it.

Drinking and driving (is awesome)

Ontario this month unveiled tough unfair new drinking and driving laws. They have met with widespread opposition.

Around the same time, the 630 CHED put out a poll about drinking and driving, which I post below:

Why on earth are those the only two options? What's wrong with "no, lets not worry about things that aren't crimes"?

I don't like that it implies if you chose the latter you aren't serious about drunk driving (though personally I'm not), and if you chose the former that you are an unsafe driver just because of your BAC.

Yeah, the new SUN works great

404 errors from articles less than a week old are only the beginning of the problems for the new relaunch of Canoe.ca's SUN newspaper chain.

Here's a screenshot of the new relaunched Edmonton SUN as my computer station at work reads it: (click to view full sized)

Notice that the link above indicates I wanted to see the "latest" stories. Nope, its still showing "popular" with javascript errors. Half of the images (ie. all the photos) don't work, and the whitespace in the middle shows other stories when viewed at home with Firefox. They pumped this redesign for two weeks. If only they could have beta-tested it.


What a difference an (almost) year makes

This is what I wrote May 18, 2008 in regards to some curious comments by Edmonton City Police:

Speaking of the biased nature in which EPS investigates themselves -- and the media lets them get away with it -- is in this byline to the story: "Police haven't determined who owned the marijuana in officer's crashed BMW" So the next time there's pot found in my car, will EPS perform an investigation to learn how it got there?

Now we see this echoed in this story:
Acting chief stresses competence of officers in fatal shooting

Edmonton's acting police chief offered support Monday for a rookie constable involved in the fatal shooting of a robbery suspect.

"She has just under a year's experience," Norm Lipinski said. "I have full confidence in the training we give at the Edmonton Police service. As far as I'm concerned, whether it's one year or 10 years, they're competent people out there."

The question as to whether or not the cop shooting was justified or not is an open one that is yet to be determined. However, in the same way its inappropriate for police officers with marijuana to get a benefit of the doubt Joe Blow (pun unintended) doesn't, its strange to hear that an EPS officer who shoots somebody gets their competance publicly complimented by the police chief while no such status was offered to, say, the so-far anonymous killer of 23 year old Mitchell Chambers in December 2008. "We'll start interviewing neighbours and hopefully pick up some witnesses, and hopefully come up with a suspect" said Inspector Terry Rocchio at the time. Suspect? Suspect? As far as I'm concerned, whether the killer has been at his current job one year or 10 years, he's a competant person out there and shouldn't be instantly suspected of anything!


Google News hiccups

So you click the main link about Jason Kenney and Ruby Dhalla, and you get this article:

On CTV's Question Period, Kenney scoffed at the suggestion, made by Dhalla's lawyer, that there may have been some sort of political conspiracy to bring down the Brampton, Ont., MP.

"I don't know what conspiracy this would be," he said. "Between the Conservative party, the NDP, three Filipino nannies and the Toronto Star? I think it undermines credibility when people start talking about conspiracies."
Then you click on the picture. Now Ruby Dhalla is pretty cute as MPs not named Rona go, but she looks pretty provocative in the motorcycle in the picture on Google News.

So you click the link, and what do you read about? Ruby Dhalla's completely unrelated film appearance, where it appears she was photoshopped onto a sluttier body:
Made in 2003 in Hamilton, with he and Dhalla as co-stars, the story is of a man poisoning his wife to collect insurance.

Its title translates from Hindi as Why? And for Whom?

When the now-MP learned of Sihra's plans, he said she asked him not to release it.

In the story, which the Sun published first in March, Dhalla said publicity photos of her with Sihra were doctored, with her face superimposed on another woman's body, wearing clothing she never donned.

He vehemently denied any photos were changed.

That's a lot of scandals for a woman with such cleavage...

Rocking the Reservation on the Communal Internet Feed

Brocket 99, the infamous 80s southern Alberta underground sensation, is now on YouTube.

What with all the drunk natives smoking pot I encountered in my day downtown this afternoon, I felt it was only appropriate. Embedding is (naturally) disabled, so just click the links for the Brocket goodness:

Brocket 99 Part 1. This featured the opening I tweeted about last week featuring "Little Willy".

Brocket 99 Part 2. This features Harvey Squirrelnuts talking about the new Brocket Bar and Grill.

Brocket 99 Part 3. Remember those "Take an Alberta Break" 80s radio commercials? They are re-created here.

Brocket 99 Part 4. Part 4 contains my favourite part: the (very lengthy) Brocket court report. "But the witness who was at the court I guess saw him downtown in Cardston there and called the cops and fuck the bastard I'll get him"

Brocket 99 Part 5. THe SeaHawks are gonna kick the Blue Jays' ass. Don't ask me how that works.

Brocket 99 Part 6. Indian calendar, but for some reason this one is edited for "copyright issues". Seeing how Brocket 99 massively rips off AC/DC albums I'm not sure why this one clip needed editing. On the bright side, it's embeddable:

Brocket 99 Part 7. THe "Reservation Business Directory" is the highlight of this clip which again is apparently edited. I'll have to compare to my originals when I have the time and/or energy.

Brocket 99 Part 8. Iris Larrat, who won a Juno in 1980 and 1982, has her interview horribly cut up and mocked, with all the dirty talk you can ask for. This is the conclusion of the Brocket 99 clips.

...and we need to tear the airport down why?

Over at the corner of 127th street and 114th avenue there stands a derelict building that I discovered earlier today.

It's a pretty tall building, surrounded by the smallish homes in the Wellington area. Er, but wait a second, why do we need to tear down the airport for new development when nobody seems interested in the current development?

Likewise over by the Fountain Tire downtown on 103rd avenue there are some empty gutted out warehouse buildings. Even with the recent boom nobody was interested in them.

I think its time people like Mayor Mandel came clean and told us exactly which developments have been hindered by the airport. Most of the new construction in Edmonton is a lot smaller than 5-6 stories. If the entire city was made up up precisely 7 story construction, then perhaps they have a case, but when condos in Wild Rose or Castledowns peak at 3 or 4 floors I'm pretty sure that tearing down the airport won't change that.

After all Mr. Mayor, if the city really wanted taller buildings and denser development they could already zone for it. This airport talk is just a bunch of crap.

Update, 10:33pm: Colby Cosh linked a tweet to this post:

why doze a busy airport when there's already acres of derelict industrial/retail space nearby?
This of course brings up a totally other interesting topic of discussion, one that I remember a pilot friend bringing up years ago when Edmonton Airports Authority had a big exciting talk about how business at Edmonton International had gone up "thanks to amalgamation". Of course the question isn't whether its gone up or not, its whether the air traffic into and out of Edmonton airports is greater with amalgamation than without, and nothing the Edmonton Regional Airport Authority talked about covered that topic.

How much busier could the City Centre airport be? Why not, with congestion being a new-ish problem, Blatchford Field can't handle some of the traffic. Why are we not utilizing a smaller airport that can handle a lot of smaller direct traffic to a location closer to downtown? Aren't we worried about carbon footprints? City Centre Airport is required to fly half empty planes, and is still staying alive.

If you want some other reasons to keep it alive, aren't we trying to be a cosmopolitan city? What's this list full of? A list Edmonton may soon find itself off.