Autonomous Source

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August 31, 2005

Robbing Peter to elect Paul

I received a blogspam email from retired pro basketball player Mike Riordan today, alerting me to a comment made by our reformed-separatist Transport Minister, Jean Lapierre. I normally don't do anything with these types of things, but I'm so thrilled to still be considered a part of the cranky Canadian conservative club after my long absence that I'm going to post it. (It's a pretty revealing quote too.) It's in French from the Canadian Press and translates as:

"I don’t think anyone can transform Quebec’s economy without government help,�" stated Jean Lapierre. "I think the government will have to be extremely active.�"

Alberta's prosperity could even be called upon, suggested the minister.

"The federal government has the duty to be a real partner, especially since as a government we benefit from the West's wealth,�" he stressed. "So we have to redistribute the wealth. After all, the good fortune of the West could become a disaster for the East. That is why we need a pact that will allow us to even things out.�"

Riordan ends his email with some questions:
1) Is Jean Lapierre nuts, or brilliant? He wasn't able to break up Canada in the Bloc; has he returned as a Liberal with the successful formula?

2) Why hasn't the mainstream media, aside from this passing mention on a French website, thought to mention this?

3) Why hasn't Paul Martin taken down one of his ministers for promising Quebec the proceeds of NEP-II? Or is this the official line, at least when the victims aren't there to hear it?

4) Where's Stephen Harper on this? Why hasn't he spoken out, where does he stand these days?

5) When I bleed $1.15/l to fill up my car, does this now count as a transfer payment?

Good questions all, but I'm going to ignore them. What I'm wondering is how we as Canadians can tolerate someone so obviously economically illiterate being in cabinet? I don't think anyone can transform Quebec’s economy without government help? The good fortune of the West could become a disaster for the East? I mean, what the hell? Alberta's booming economy not only increases the flow of cash the feds suck from the province, but also helps drive the economies of the other provinces. Money made in Alberta is spent on manufactured goods made outside the province. Businesses that are not tied geographically to Alberta that see their labour and infrastructure costs increase, will be encouraged to move elsewhere in the country and move jobs there. High oil prices -- while they may seem to hurt individuals filling up the family SUV -- are a net benefit to Canada because our country is a net exporter of oil.

But of course this isn't about economics, fairness, or 'duty'. It's about keeping the Liberal party in power in perpetuity. That's all. Each of these acts of fiddling with the levers of economic power in this country is to maintain their position as the sole distributor of all that is good on this Earth. And of course they can't do all this giving without some taking, so some parts of the country become involuntary 'donors to the Liberal cause', but they somehow manage to cover enough of the population to stay in the driver's seat.

This cynical strategy has kept the Liberals in charge of Parliament for a long, long time. And with the help of the spineless media in this country, they'll likely keep it going a lot longer. Until the West secedes -- which is the inevitable result of this tactic. I give this country just five more years -- unless Canadians can screw up the courage to throw these bums out.

August 24, 2005

Talia's favourite toy

Max.

(He doesn't always look this cheery when she's playing with him, though...)

August 23, 2005

The Editor came back, the very next day...

I was evidently too confident that my harsh measures would have been enough to permanently rid me of The Editor's presence. Like some particularly powerful Buffy foe, he has risen from his grave and returned again to torment me some more. And as he's justifiably angry at me for my treatment of him, he's not being quite as easy on me as he once was. To the right you can see what he looks like. As you can imagine, having him in our home is quite unpleasant. It's a full-time job cleaning up the bits of rotting flesh he drops.

We've determined that we'll have to find ways to accomodate each other in the future. Over the past week, we've been holding meetings to try to find a compromise arrangement that will reduce the current level of friction. As a start, I've agreed to not kill him any more, and he's agreed to occasionally let me write something. But we still have much to work out. It would be a lot easier to get this done if we weren't continually interrupted by shrieking toddlers every five minutes. But we're confident we can find a solution.

But that will happen another day. Yesterday I arranged for him to "win" a all-expenses paid Carribean Cruise, so right now I'm blissfully free of his presence. He's away for the next ten days. How shall I spend the time?

He didn't notice that it was a all-male Carribean cruise before he left and, as he's a figment of my subconscious, I certainly hope he has a lousy time.

Max's favourite toy

The digger...

August 17, 2005

Have we heard this before?

Our GG designate, attempting to defuse the kerfuffle about her seperatist leanings:

I want to tell you unequivocally that both he and I are proud to be Canadians and that we have the greatest respect for the institutions of our country. we are fully committed to Canada. I would not have accepted this position otherwise.

We are equally proud of the attachment to Quebec that we have always shown beyond any partisan considerations. Let me be clear: we have never belonged to a political party or the separatist movement.

"Let me be clear", or more frequently, "Let me be perfectly clear" is the code phrase Paul Martin uses when he makes a blatent lie that no one aware of the facts would believe for a second. It's as if he feels the audacity of declaring a falsehood so forcefully will prevent anyone challenging him -- that would be the same as directly calling him a liar. And, unfortunately, it usually works.

The Liberal machine obviously hopes this magic phrase will work again, because her statement is an obvious lie. There's no way,

Let me be clear: we have never belonged to a political party or the separatist movement.
jibes with the same Michaëlle Jean seen in a film of her husband's:
"Independence isn't given away, it's taken," she said to a group of high-profile Quebec nationalists, including former leader of the Front de libération du Québec Pierre Vallières, former PQ cabinet minister Gérald Godin, and Yves Préfontaine, a founder of the Rassemblement pour l'independance nationale, a separatist group that was the forerunner to both the FLQ and the Parti Québécois.
or the published sentiments of her husband:
So, a sovereign Quebec? An independent Quebec? Yes, and I applaud with both hands and I promise to be at all St. Jean [Baptiste] parades.
The story is that Paul Martin's people did a half-assed job of checking out Michaëlle Jean's background before picking her. That sounds right; I'm pretty sure he wouldn't knowingly put a seperatist sympathizer into the post. But he's got no problems with liars.

August 14, 2005

The lameness continues...

Despite the death of the editor, this blog is somehow still stuck in first gear. I sincerely apologize. It may have something to do with the two people in the picture below, and I doubt I'll be able to get rid of them as easily as a figment of my subconscious mind. This month I'm even without the benefit of a couple days of daycare a week -- it's non-stop go go go around here these days.

They were very good on their first road trip. Some screaming was unavoidable, but it was fairly infrequent and so was tolerable. When we got there, they got to stay up late, ride in a motor boat, chase frogs, dig in the sand, and watch more TV and eat more ice cream than we let them get away with at home. They had a wonderful time, and because of that, so did I.

August 13, 2005

Exciting new feature! Google guestmap!

Through Gnotalex at the Blog Quebecois, I have learned of a new, way-kewl-but-completely-unnecessary blog adornment that all the hip blogs will soon be sporting: the Google guestmap. Of course, I had to have it for my site. A link to it is on the right at the top of my sidebar. Currently, the icon representing me is looking pretty lonely, but soon I'm sure it'll be joined by icons representing both of my regular readers. Remember to zoom down before placing your marker; I'd like this map to be as accurate as possible.

August 09, 2005

Head out on that highway...

We're putting the Improbabus to its first significant test over the next few days as we take toddler one and toddler two on a road trip. We're visiting a friend's cottage in the backwoods of Ontario, and presently have almost completed our preparations to go. Preparing two little people to live temporarily outside of their home rivals an amphibious landing in the organization required. But my wife is a miracle worker; with luck we'll get out of the house tomorrow by noon and be there by sundown. Will it be Max or Talia that first says, "Are we there yet?" I'll let you know on Sunday.

Canadians are earnest

Opinion Journal's Best of the Web by James Taranto is one of my favourite daily reads. He manages to effortlessly move between an authoritative command of what he's talking about to a breezy, conversational tone. One of his running jokes is to get an obvious fact wrong, or purposefully misunderstand something, and wait for the emails to pour in. A good example of this is when he mused that just as Bill Clinton was called the 'first black President' perhaps George W. will become known as the 'first Catholic President' for his efforts on some issue I can no longer remember. Of course he received hundreds of responses informing him that JFK was, in fact, Catholic. Well, duh. Taranto (who has written a book of presidential biographies) sheepishly admitted his mistake, but wondered why no one corrected him on referring to Clinton as black...

He cast another lure in the pond last week, this time hoping to catch a nice, juicy Canadian. He was writing about the non-migration of Americans to Canada following Bush's re-election and commenting on an proffered explanation that perhaps Canada is too cold in the winter:

The winter temperatures? How about the summer temps? According to the Globe and Mail, the expected high today in Toronto is a bone-chilling 28 degrees. This almost sounds appealing when you're in sweltering New York City (current temperature: 97), but then if we wanted subfreezing temperatures in the middle of August, we'd move to the Southern Hemisphere.

Of course, it turns out it isn't really that cold in Toronto. Weather.com gives today's high as 82, not 28. The trick is that Canada is on the metric system, in which temperatures are read backwards. What a clever way those Canucks have found of keeping undesirable immigrants out.

Granted, it's almost too easy catching smug and sensitive Canadians, but even with this very obvious lure, he manages to land a whopper. Canadian Chuck Morris responds and patiently explains how the metric system works to the poor insular Americans that read the Wall Street Journal's web page...
Ouch! I'm afraid you made a rather basic factual error in your explanation of why the expected high temperature in Toronto for that day was indicated as 28 on the Globe and Mail Web site, while Weather.com indicated the high would be 82. The explanation given was that "Canada is on the metric system, in which temperatures are read backwards," and while that may seem to be true, we learned otherwise in elementary school.

As is the case with most countries which have adopted the metric system, Canada uses the Celsius scale for temperatures, rather than the Fahrenheit scale used in the U.S. To convert a temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius, you subtract 32 from it and multiply the result by 5/9. A temperature of 82 Fahrenheit thus translates to 27.7 Celsius, or 28 after rounding, and the fact that this is 82 backwards is purely coincidental.

Canadians pride themselves on their sophisticated senses of humour. Obviously there are a few exceptions.

August 07, 2005

Zero

When I started the countdown ten days ago, I wasn't sure what would happen when it reached zero. I knew, however, that something had to happen to this blog, or it would just fade away. Some bloggers give up their blogs consciously and announce their retirement and make their goodbyes, but others just let their blogs drift into oblivion without even realizing it. That's what was happening to Autonomous Source. I was finding it easier and easier to ignore my blog, and wasn't really enjoying working on it. I gave myself ten days to work on the problem. At the end, the blog would either be revitalized or taken to the glue factory.

To help towards revitalizing it, I had the editor killed. Again. The editor was the undead ghoul that lived in my superego and mercilessly critiqued everything I wrote -- usually with the cutting taunt: "Who cares?" He constantly smothered ideas before they had a chance to develop and guided me towards mediocrity. He's dead for sure this time, I think. A stake to the heart took him down, after which he was decapitated, his head boiled in vinegar and his body burnt and buried at a crossroads. He's not coming back again. Really. I hope.

With him dead, I hope to write more about what's interesting me at any moment, not what some subconscious hack thinks I should be writing about. That means more about the kids, crackpot economics, movie reviews, random thoughts, and links to oddball cool stuff I've stumbled across in my infrequent surfing adventures. I'll still interested in Canadian politics, but mostly I'm pretty disappointed in it right now, so I'll probably be restricting my blather on that topic. I also may be a little more inconsiderate of the views of my readers. The editor had me worrying about offending some people and prevented me from writing on some topics. From now on I'll be writing what I think. Maybe. We'll see what happens.

I've also buffed up a few things on the page, but not as much as I'd have liked. I actually toyed with the idea of overhauling the whole page and giving it a crisp new look, but that just ain't gonna happen. I remember the headaches when I set this thing up originally, and don't want to go through it again. Beside, I kinda like the present look. A pleasing layout encourages me to write, for some reason.

I've added a few new blogs to the blogroll. The old roll was a little stale, and now I have some interesting blogs from a wider range of the political spectrum. It doesn't mean I agree with them, but I'll be looking at what they have to say. I hope to read most of them regularly, but time for me is in short supply right now.

Time is the biggest roadblock this blog's continued existence. Max and Talia are extremely demanding of me. The days go by with one crisis following quickly on the heels of another. It's busy, busy, busy around here, and thoughtful blogging just doesn't fit in very well. I've determined that trying to write in the brief moments of calm is a recipe for insanity: I'm inevitably interrupted and always wind up frustrated. I've decided I won't be doing it any more. Writing will be confined to evenings, nap-times, and the two days a week they're at day care.

I want to keep this blog going. I have no delusions of becoming a famous writer, but I want to have something to show for these years that I'm spending away from the workforce. Sure, two smart, healthy, confident kids are great, but it doesn't compare to an archive of blog posts about Paul Martin, the American trade deficit, the Most Annoying Canadian competition, and the Teletubbies. So Autonomous Source is now officially out of stasis, hopefully I can find the enthusiasm to keep it alive.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate every hit, link and comment (well, except for the spam). I couldn't do this if there was no one paying attention, so thanks for spending a bit of your time checking out what I have to say.

August 06, 2005

I don't know why I do this to myself...

I finally was able to track down a couple of smalls trikes for my tikes and proudly brought them home. After seeing the boxes, they convinced me to assemble them right away. What a mistake! I can think of only one thing that compares to putting togther two tricycles in front of their new owners, and that's defusing a bomb. Except with a greater sense of urgency.

Trying to decipher the mimeographed instructions from a factory somewhere in China while two new-toy-crazed toddlers clung to my legs is not an experience I want to repeat. They barraged me with questions, whined, fought with each other, whined, broke down in tears of despair, whined, and ran off with parts or my tools whenever I turned my back. And they whined. Whined, whined, whined, whined, whined. I'm lucky to be alive, really; that much concentrated whining is usually fatal. But it was all worth it in the end.

Who am I kidding? I'm going to need years of therapy to recover. I'm a broken man and will never be the same again.

August 03, 2005

Vignette II

It's past bedtime and Mama is out of the house. Talia has demanded a trip to the potty and I'm sitting with her, impatient because I'm not sure if this is just another stalling tactic. The power is out because of a storm, so the light in the bathroom is gloomy grey.

She looks up at me, strokes my arm gently, and says in the sweetest voice, "You're nice, Papa. You're vewy nice. I wuv you. When I get big, I be just just like you."

Who could resist that? I smile at her tenderly, and she continues. "Because then I can have a big wed toofbwush like you! Or a geen one! I want a big toofbwush but Mama says I have to be big, so when I get big I can have a big toofbwush, and it's a wed one and then I can bwush my teef mysewf and..."

August 02, 2005

I got claim-jumped!

I thought I had squatter's rights to the term 'Most Annoying Canadian', but Aaron at Grandinite has compiled his own list of the '40 Most Annoying Canadians'. It just goes to show that intellectual property rights mean nothing on the internet.

He did give me my props, however, and it's a pretty good list, so I'll forgive him. His choice of #1 Most Annoying Canadian is the Helpful Canadian Tire Guy, who would surely have won my competion last year if it wasn't for a hacker with a grudge against Antonia Zerbisias. A good pick.

But... there are vital names missing from the list that tell me it's not definitive. Names like: George Stroumboulopoulos, Mary Walsh, Peter Mansbridge, Alanis Morissette, Belinda Stronach, Avril Lavigne, Bob Rae, Heather Mallick, Rick Salutin, Inky Mark, Buzz Hargrove, and -- what's that guys name again? -- oh yeah, Paul Martin. Those are just off the top of my head; I'm sure there are plenty more. And some of the names he does have are a little dated. Names like Sheila Copps, Corey Hart and Svend Robinson. And why's Alan Thicke there? Isn't he dead?

I don't think this Most Annoying Canadian thing is settled. The people have to have their say. I'll be running the competition again this year, and will be hosting the poll myself, to prevent the ballot box stuffing that happened last time. Who's going to take it? My money's on Carolyn Parrish, but you never can tell. Canadian Tire might decide to bring back 'Scrooge' for their Christmas commercials...

History's Greatest Appeaser

I always appreciate a good shredding of Jimmy Carter. Stephen Green provides.