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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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2/28/2004

While I've been blathering

Darren Barefoot of Vancouver, British Columbia, created the site Flowers for Al & Don, which allows people to contribute anywhere from $2 to $150 to an online PayPal account. The volunteers then pay for the flowers and bring them to City Hall, avoiding florist delivery fees.

In about a week, Barefoot said the site raised more than $9,000 from more than 600 people -- so much cash that he was considering donating a portion to a gay rights legal defense fund.

``I'm certainly no gay activist,'' said Barefoot, who is straight. ``But I support that a couple, regardless of gender or sexual preference, should be able to get married.''
new york times
Outstanding Darren.

An Unnecessary Debate

The Globe and Mail editorializes:The best way to resolve the divide in Canada over same-sex marriage is to argue it out, not pretend it doesn't exist. The arguments for taking this step are compelling, but they have to be made, not taken as given. Let the debate begin.The argument the Globe wants to have is not about same-sex marriage; rather it is about whether or not specific groups should be excluded from full equality under the Canadian Constitution.

The decisions of the Courts which have lead to legal same sex marriage in Canada were never about homosexual marriage per se, they were about whether government could deny a benefit it confers upon some individuals to other individuals. It may well be that opponents of same sex marraige are willing to make this argument; but so far they haven't citing instead moral and religious grounds upon which to condemn gay marriage.

The debate which the Globe is proposing is unlikely to be fought on the dry constitutional grounds of equality. If it was it is unlikely that any serious opposition to equal rights for all Canadians would develop. Instead the debate would be framed within the context of religious values which rarely, if ever, have much to add to political discourse.

The Globe cites President Bush's decision to re-ignite the culture wars by supporting a startling prejudicial proposed ammendment to the American Constitution which would deny equal rights to gays. This, in my view, is one of the crassest pieces of pandering to the religious right I have ever seen and it is one more reason for many Americans to look for alternatives to re-electing Bush. The debate in America begins with a distinctly anti-gay flavour. It has been created by the "pro-Family" religious right in order to defeat judges who, reading the American Constitution, are taking the equality of gay people seriously.

Canada does not need and should not have a culture war over equality merely because an American President is willing to pander.

2/27/2004

And Speaking of Constitutional Amendments

Because of Johnson's arrogance and love for white women, many whites considered him a serious threat to racial order. After Johnson married Lucille Cameron (a white woman), two ministers in the South recommended lynching him (Gilmore, 1975, p.107). In a reaction to the Johnson-Cameron marriage, in 1911 Rep. Seaborn Roddenberry of Georgia introduced a constitutional amendment to ban interracial marriages. In his appeal to congress, Roddenberry stated that

"Intermarriage between whites and blacks is repulsive and averse to every sentiment of pure American spirit. It is abhorrent and repugnant. It is subversive to social peace. It is destructive of moral supremacy, and ultimately this slavery to black beasts will bring this nation to a fatal conflict" (Gilmore, 1975, p.108).

Influenced by Roddenberry and others, miscegenation bills were introduced in 1913 in half of the twenty states where this law did not exist.
The Importance of...
Of course gay marriage is completely different....

Short Division

Now here's a stat which can be worked a number of ways. CFP reports that since December 1, 1998 2.9 million police queries have been made. With the 2.2 billion cost this means that each police query cost $758.00. Yikes!

The other way to look at it is to consider how weird 2.9 million queries actually is. Over five years that is 600,000 queries a year. Now, according to Stats Canada there are just under 60,000 police officers in Canada. That means that every officer is making, on average, 10 queries a year.

This is interesting in light of another bit of data from Stats Can: the total number of proceedings brought under all categories of crimes of violence in Canada in 2002, the most recent year for which there are stats online, is 126,600. If we exclude the 85,000 charges for minor assaults, uttering threats, harrasment and the like we are left with 41,600 which could conceivably involve a gun. So the ratio of $750.00 queries to the maximum number of cases potentially involving a gun is about 15:1.

Hmmmm. Perhaps our friendly police officers are rather overusing the system. Or, and this might explain it, as a matter of routine, everytime a cop pulls up to a house on a domestic they run the address in the data base.....

Long Division

How big a scandal is ArmsGate (which is a barefaced attempt to set a meme in motion). Consider this: according to the Canadian Firearms Programs website 6.8 million firearms have been registered. Now, if the registry has cost 2.2 billion so far, that works out to $323.50 a gun. Of course this is offset by the registration fees.....free if online, $18-25 if on paper. So, back of the envelope, every gun registered has cost the Canadian tax payer $300.00.

Update: Tony Olekshy has the letter of the week over at Mark Steyn's Mailbag. He runs the numbers from a different perspective:
How the hell can a database fundamentally designed to store and retrieve 7 million gun records distributed across 3 million person records take 7,500 man-years to develop? What is this, the Pyramid of Cheops?
How the hell indeed?

The real scandal

AdScam - and yes, Andrew, your royalty cheque is in the mail - is getting messier by the instant with "lady friends" and Montreal love nests and all the usual trappings of business as usual in the federal advertising biz in Quebec. But, hey, its only 100 million max and it is just barely possible that a) Martin really was so dozy that he didn't clue in to what was going on, b) that there was some value recieved for the commissions paid.

Contrast and compare to the gun registry: how a relatively limited project could hit 1000 times its initial budget calls for investigation.

My more tech savvy friends suggest that the data base required could be run on my old Celeron using off the shelf software - call it $1000.00 if the private sector was doing it. Then layer on security and access and, with a tailwind, the actual hardware/software should never have cost much more than a million bucks. Basically a rounding error on 2.2 billion.

Sooooo....What did they spend the other 2,200,000,000.00 on? I have to bet boondoggle. But my suspicion is that more than a few well connected hight tech and consulting firms were pulling $500.00 an hour taking meetings with each other and beta testing software. And I also have to bet that some of those bills were more than a little padded.

100 million in doubtful commissions is chicken feed compared to the possible corruption which has attended the creation of the Gun Registry.

2/26/2004

Big Money Blogging

If you go over to InstaPundityou can't help bu notice his blogads. Now the amiable Prof charges $375 a week or $1000 a month for his space. Even after blogads modest commission that would run around $1500.00 a week on the weekly rate for the five he has up. Nice work if you can get it. Meanwhile, if you want to buy me a beer wander over to www.libraryfilter.blogspot.com. My webfiltering adsense is back up and are actually worth whacking.

Nader

There is an excellent analysis of Nader's potential impact on electoral college votes up at TechCentralStation. The thinking there is that Nader will not do as well as he did in 2000 because the Dems are more strongly motivated to concentrate on defeating Bush. But Nader could still matter.

My own sense is that whatever impact Nader had on the plus side for Bush was entirely destroyed by Bush's feckless decision to support the anti-gay marriage ammendment to the American constitution. But, and it is a big but, I have no idea how the homosexual population in America maps onto electoral college swing states. And I am not at all sure how one would go about finding out.

Official Secrets??

British intelligence agents spied on UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in the run-up to the Iraq war, a former member of Prime Minister Tony Blair's Cabinet said Thursday.

Mr. Blair refused to say whether the allegation was true but said the minister, International Development Secretary Clair Short, had been "deeply irresponsible."
globe and mail
Clair Short is a real piece of work. she has only the dimist notion of Cabinet secrecy. She apparently has not at all about the Official Secrets Act. I hope Blair has the stones to have this scold charged forthwith.

Culture.ca

It seems that the bureaucrats who run culture.ca have embrace the net and are running ad sense ads. Whack 'em coming and going I say. And remember the golden rule, if there's adsense give a click on your way out.

About Time

Immigrants and refugees should be put on "probation" upon their arrival in Canada, Conservative leadership candidate Tony Clement said yesterday. "Residence in Canada is a privilege, not a right," Clement told a meeting of The Toronto Sun's editorial board.

Clement said the probationary period would last several years, during which time new arrivals would have to prove themselves worthy of Canadian citizenship.

That would mean living up to a higher standard of conduct than that expected of those who are already citizens, Clement added.
toronto sun
If you walk down the meaner streets of Vancouver you will see crack dealers. Lots of crack dealers. And a substantial portion of the street crack trade is run by immigrants, legal and illegal, mainly from Central America. They are arrested regularily on what might be described as a "catch and release" program because they are rarely dumb enough to be in physical posession of a significant quantity of their merchandise.

In due course, often after several convictions, they may be deported.

If I understand Clement's program, one strike and you're out. Which would be a very good idea.

Er. About that Election Paul

I still think Martin is going in May; but this story suggests that the Liberal caucus is getting an earful from the voters on Adscam. And, the Andrew Coyne Adscam roundup this morning suggests that the scandal is beginning to expand. If a few hookers and some restaurant bills can be rounded up Martin might be looking at seriously declining polling numbers for the next few weeks.

The one thing he has going for him is that the Conservative leadership race has yet to capture the interest of even the Conservative Party. But he can't count on that lasting especially if he's being hit with Montreal love nests and $100.00 bottles of wine.

Pushing the blame back onto Chretien will work for a while; but if the allegations that Public Works was in a panic in 2000 prove out then Martin, as the then Finance Minister, will begin to look either willfully blind or simply careless. Not places he wants to be.

2/25/2004

Go read Paul

No, seriously, I am still laughing about the Argentinian Beaver story.

2/24/2004

Sullivan on Bush

The president launched a war today against the civil rights of gay citizens and their families. And just as importantly, he launched a war to defile the most sacred document in the land. Rather than allow the contentious and difficult issue of equal marriage rights to be fought over in the states, rather than let politics and the law take their course, rather than keep the Constitution out of the culture wars, this president wants to drag the very founding document into his re-election campaign. He is proposing to remove civil rights from one group of American citizens - and do so in the Constitution itself.
andrew sullivan
Bush lost the last election by several hundred thousand votes on the popular count. At a guess, if there are between 20 and 30 million homosexuals in America and they skew 60/40 Democrat, Bush supporting the stupid idea of a constitutional ammendment banning gay marriage, has lost on the order of 2 to 4 million Republican votes. The only question is whther they will stay home or whether they will be angry enough to hold their noses and vote for Kerry.

It is rare to see a sitting President make so many boneheaded political errors. Leave aside the fact Bush's stand on gay marriage is contray to every single notion of equality before the law, leave aside that he proposing to pass an ammendment which would actively discriminate against gay people, what he has done is as politically goofy as anything I have seen in the last thirty years.

The fundys would have voted for Bush with or without his support for a Constitutional ammendment affirming marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman; but the gay Republican supporter will stay home or vote Democrat and that may very well cost "landslide" Bush the election. Dumb.

Too Much Diversity

David Goodhart, originally writing in Prospect Magazine, but here reprinted at the Guardian, asks some troubling questions about the compatibility of the European welfare state and significant ethnic and cultural diversity.
It was the Conservative politician David Willetts who drew my attention to the "progressive dilemma". Speaking at a roundtable on welfare reform, he said: "The basis on which you can extract large sums of money in tax and pay it out in benefits is that most people think the recipients are people like themselves, facing difficulties that they themselves could face. If values become more diverse, if lifestyles become more differentiated, then it becomes more difficult to sustain the legitimacy of a universal risk-pooling welfare state. People ask: 'Why should I pay for them when they are doing things that I wouldn't do?' This is America versus Sweden. You can have a Swedish welfare state provided that you are a homogeneous society with intensely shared values. In the United States you have a very diverse, individualistic society where people feel fewer obligations to fellow citizens. Progressives want diversity, but they thereby undermine part of the moral consensus on which a large welfare state rests."
This is a long and tough essay which may well be the first shot in a revision of Enoch Powell's "rivers of blood" jeremiad which, of course, no "thinking person" could have done anything other than dismiss when he made the speech.

Goodhart's position is of a thinking progressive who is watching his own society buckle under the strain of radical diversity. There is no hint of racialism in his writing; rather he recognizes and respects differences but is prepared to ask if those differences are becoming incompatible with a progressive state. It is critical to read the whole thing a couple of times because it is neither glib nor simplistic. Another snippet,
Politics and language: multiculturalists argue that the binding power of the liberal nation state has been eroded from within by value diversity and from without by the arrival of immigrant communities with other loyalties. But the nation state remains irreplaceable as the site for democratic participation, and it is hard to imagine how else one can organise welfare states and redistribution except through national tax and public spending. Moreover, since the arrival of immigrant groups from non-liberal or illiberal cultures, it has become clear that to remain liberal the state may have to prescribe a clearer hierarchy of values. The US has tried to resolve the tension between liberalism and pluralism by developing a powerful national myth. Even if this were desirable in Britain, it is probably not possible to emulate. Indeed, the idea of fostering a common culture, in any strong sense, may no longer be possible either. One only has to try listing what the elements of a common culture might be to realise how hard it would be to legislate for. That does not mean that the idea must be abandoned; rather, it should inform public policy as an underlying assumption rather than a set of policies.
Read it here.

The Guardian commentary is interesting as well. So is the editorial.

How to lose in Iraq...or anywhere

Again from Belmont Club
This is the liberal clarion call. No determination to carry the fight to the enemy heartland, but a declaration of war against energy wastage and intolerant ideas, borne forward by a network of European alliances, where it is presumed that terrorists will lose heart because "we will not run". It is the same kind of message-sending, political-positioning and self-deluding claptrap that made Vietnam -- the war that never was -- into a nightmare. While Lyndon Johnson may never have believed in American victory, Vo Nguyen Giap certainly believed in American defeat. That is asymmetrical warfare at its most fundamental and its roots are in the liberal mind.

While we were sleeping

Ever wonder how Pakistan first acquired and then began to export the technology for making atomic bombs. So did Wretchard at Belmont Club. Read it and weep.

JewBusters

I have never much liked Adbusters magazine. Adapting groovy graphics to an anti-consumption message was funny, er, once. And, apparently Kalle Lasn has realized the mag was going nowhere....soooo. JewBusters!
Here at Adbusters, we decided to tackle the issue head on and came up with a carefully researched list of who appear to be the 50 most influential neocons in the US (see above). Deciding exactly who is a neocon is difficult since some neocons reject the term while others embrace it. Some shape policy from within the White House, while others are more peripheral, exacting influence indirectly as journalists, academics and think tank policy wonks. What they all share is the view that the US is a benevolent hyper power that must protect itself by reshaping the rest of the world into its morally superior image. And half of the them are Jewish.
adbusters
Lasn is clever enough to wrap his anti-semitism in a lefty package of neo-con bashing; but anti-semitism it still is. The test is simple - is Lasn attacking the position or the religion? His jaunty asterisks beside half of the names on his leading neocon list are straightforward. These are Jews. He could not have been clearer if he had Photoshopped up a few yellow Stars of David to identify the policy intellectuals, journalists and statesmen on his list.

Here's the trick - imagine if for example, rather than simply attacking Naomi Klein's looney positions I threw in the comment, "We have to face facts, only a Jew could possibly manage to make Iraq about her own guilt." or some such nonsense. I would be arguing ad hominum and I would be, rightly, castigated for being anti-semitic.

Our Tax dollars at Work

The Canadian government presented a two-page submission to the court strongly denouncing Israel's barrier.

While the government recognized Israel's obligation to defend its citizens, it described the building of the barrier on occupied West Bank territory as a unilateral action that could predetermine a final peace settlement.

"Canada considers the expropriation of land to facilitate the construction of this barrier to be unacceptable," Ottawa's submission says. "We are moreover concerned with the highly prejudicial impact this barrier may have on the already flagging prospects for peace," says the brief, signed by Colleen Swords, a legal adviser to the government.

It will adversely hit "the ever dire humanitarian and economic situation in the occupied territories," and undermine "the hopes of the many who yet yearn for peace."

Still, while such unilateral action outside of Israel's territory "clearly raises serious matters of international law," the Canadian government argued a ruling might do more harm than good "in this highly charged environment." It called on both sides to return to the negotiating table, and asked the court to refuse the request for a ruling.
toronto star
If there was another reason needed not to vote for the Liberals the continued presence of Our Lady Peace in the Foreign Affairs portfolio would be it.

First, why is Canada even filing this sort of mealy mouthed brief in the talking shop which is purporting to be a World Court in the Hague. All that filing this brief does is confer legimacy on an outfit which lacks any authority or mandate at all. (To render a non-binding decision at the request of the United Nations is an invitation to propogandize which would make a kangaroo blush.)

Second, who authorized this brief. What part of Canada's interests in the world are being served by slagging the one democracy in the region? Why are we lining up with the Palestinian Authority which flat out refuses to restrain and dismantle its terrorist elements? Which failure has meant the road map has been scuttled and the Wall built.

Third, why blame the Wall for the "the ever dire humanitarian and economic situation in the occupied territories". The Palestinians utterly corrupt and incompetent regime has produced these conditions all by itself. The Wall merely ensures the more explosive members of this pathetic society don't blast their body parts and shrapnel into the innocent people of the successful society next door. Nothing in the Star's report mentions Canada suggesting that, perhaps, the Palestinians absurd, but deadly, terrorist war has had anything to do with the Israeli decision to disengage.

Finally, by filing this brief who the hell are we sucking up to? The French? The EU? Our Muslim population? The Palis? The UN? I suppose it could just be a random act of inane goofiness caused by the antic spirit of St. Lloyd as it capers down the halls of External. I hope so -- because if this is an actual, calculated act of Canadian foreign policy we are in worse shape than I thought.

Adscam's MO

Andrew Coyne points to an article in today's Toronto Star about how a chap in Victoria went through David Anderson's office to obtain a grant for Rootsfest. In general, this sort of grant is pretty routine. Though why it would come from Public Works is troubling.

But the real corruption is right here:
As far as Kelley can recall, no public servant contacted him to review his request or to ask for more information about the festival.

Instead, he next formally heard about his application from Media/I.D.A. Vision, a Montreal advertising agency. "The call basically came out of the blue," he says.

Kelley was told he would be getting $50,000 in two instalments and that he should not worry about paying a commission on the money as that was being taken care off by Public Works Canada.

According to the auditor-general's recent report, Media/I.D.A. Vision was also commissioned to transfer sponsorship funds to five crown corporations.
toronto star


What this commission was for, how much it was and how it flowed back to the Grits is what the political and criminal investigations need to be about.

Moving On

The next time Bill, my collections officer from Revenue Canada, calls looking to collect on a disputed tax bill which is ten years old here is what I am going to say:

"Mistakes were made. I am mad as hell. I personally had no knowledge whatsoever that I made nearly as much money as you are claiming I did. But, that was the past, I am planning for the future. So let's move on."

Yep, that will work for sure.

Galiano Pics

Paul, who I assume is thawing in Montreal, wanted to see some pictures of the Galiano house. Here they are.

2/23/2004

Early Adopters

Ray Tomlin over at Vancouver Ramblings points to this article in the New York Daily News:
eventeen, which Hearst bought last May and later turned over to ex-CosmoGIRL! editor in chief Atoosa Rubenstein for an overhaul, slumped to an average of 315,000 copies - a newsstand falloff of 35% from late 2001.

Seventeen still leads the field, with total circ of 2.3 million, but it too has cut the guarantee, from 2.35 million to 2.1 million.

Factors cited in the declines include the proliferation of teen mags in recent years and the boom in other diversions, such as instant messaging and music downloading.
Combined with the reports that young men are simply not watching television this all hints at a sea change in old media.

As more and more kids grow up online they are less likely to buy dead tree magazines or passively watch junk television. Moreover, there will always be a skew in the online demographic towards the more affluent families. Which may mean that the most desirable advertising demographic is tuning out.

The internet, in any recognizable shape turns ten in 2005. It is still very much a baby. But for kids up to, say, ten the internet is computing. My three year old simply assumes that even with a slow connection Dad will be able to find him pictures of Emperor Penguins, Mars and Bob the Builder. He asks for Google by name. (I often think he understands all the screens and wires and hardrives as simply a rather complicated way of getting to Google.)

Were I a newspaper proprietor or a magazine owner I would be looking at places like National Review Online's Corner, the New Republic's all blog, all the time online presence and the overall rise of dynamic content as a way of bringing in the audiences which are deserting old media in droves.

Deference to Authority

Laurent at La blog de Polyscopique has written a really first rate piece of analysis of the nature of the central state's authority in Canada and how heavily invested many Canadians are in the continuance of that state.
Being a Catholic means believing that a single source of authority, namely the Catholic Church led by the Pope, holds the key to the correct interpretation to God's word. In contrast, Protestantism usually believes that there should be no middleman between the believer and God's word. While Catholicism uses a transcendant moral order to legitimize centralized authority, Protestantism uses it to legitimize individual defiance of authority. There is a good deal of historical evidence to prove that, while some French Canadians like Laurier really cherished individual liberty, the antistatism of most French Canadians stemmed from their wanting to preserve the authority and prestige of the Church from state interference. Their antistatism was still increased by the fact that, as opposed to the Church, the State did not hold in their eyes any particular moral legitimacy. The Church ran most of Quebec's social services up until the 1960s, including health care, education and welfare.

The best way to summarize what happened in the 1960s is to say Quebecers massively transferred their strong loyalties from the Church to the State. They suddenly became big believers in Big Government and the growth of governments in Quebec City and Ottawa is here to prove it. Quebecers still believed in centralized authority, they only switched which authority they believed in.
Go and read the whole thing! (And thank you Debbye for the tip!)


The Ladies Hour

Over at Jim Elve's Blogs Canada Election E-Group, Vikki Smith has posted an interesting commentary on an article on why women have not been more involved in elective Canadian politics. I commented
Well I have always thought that what Canada really needed was her own handbag brandishing Margaret Thatcher.

I am not at all sure there is anything like a simple explanation for the relatively low number of women in Canadian politics. Nor am I at all sure this is a thing to be worried about.

The barriers to entry for women in politics are actually rather low. Taking a nomination for any of the political parties is a matter of putting together a couple of thousand people who are willing to support you. And that is a metter of organization which, in my experience, women are fearsomely good at.

But, and here may be the rub, it is an issue of "taking" a nomination rather than working out a non-conflictual, nurturing and non-competitive solution. Call me a sexist pig if you will, but women - even hard assed female litigation lawyers - are surprisingly reticent about initiating confrontation. The current system is predicated on a competitive model and that means a candidate has to be willing to compete.

While the system may change, it would be unfortunate if it changed in a manner whereby women were spared the rigor of competition and simply appointed to a given riding by the party leader. Because then there would emerge two classes of MP - the MPs who took their nominations competitively and those who were appointed. The appointees would always lack the basic street cred that the rest enjoyed. They would serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister rather than having their own, independent, power base.

New Place to whack an ad

Andrew Coyne has joined the ranks of bloggers using Google ads. Remember the idea that on your way out you whack and ad...Miss B has got the money.

2/22/2004

Health Technology and cost

Imagine you hace a cancer vaccine that completely eradicated all cancer when injected. Now imagine it cost one million dollars a dose. Have you got a cure for cancer?

The great political dilemma of health care is that cost actually does matter. At some point very hard decisions have to be made as to how much the society or an insurer is prepared to pay for a particular patient to gain a particular standard of care. Real innovation in heath care begins with the ability to cure or at least slow down a specific disease; but the iron laws of economics dictate that a real cure is one which works and can be worked into a given budget.

The technologies and techniques I mention in the post below range in cost from a couple of cents - an aspirin - to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is safe to say that the preventative measures, better food, non-smoking, exercise, will add many more quality days to a life than a last ditch round of chemotherapy which may slow but not erradicate a cancer.

Measured across entire populations, the health effects of clean water, sterile instruments, good sanitation, vaccination and anti-biotics overwhelm the marginal effects of this weeks' medical breakthrough. Which is not to discount the importance of the incredible strides which are being taken at the frontier of medicine; rather it is to suggest that the more people take responsibility for their own health the better the overall health of a society will become.

In the not too distant future the trade offs between ever more expensive medical technology being used to make 82 into 85 and the other things which could be done with the money are going to become very sharp indeed.

Not only do we need medical research to push back the limits of what doctors can do, we also need research into taking very expensive medicines and proceedures and reducing their costs. While medicine is becoming more scientific it should also be becoming more industrial, more dedicated to providing great care while driving down the cost of that care.

Health and technology

I posted this comment over at Blogs Canada's Election E-group in the middle of one of those classic Canadian debates about whether two tiered health care was evil or merely the spawn of Satan:
I suspect that, public or private, boomer health care if delivered using current technology and best practice will bankrupt virtually any country.

I also suspect that the next ten to thirty years will see the full scale scientization of medicine and the arrival of much promised magic bullets for a) cancers, likely in the form of vaccines, b) heart disease - a combination of much better prevention technique - exercise, aspirin, fat avoidance - and therapies which can actually change outcomes rather than merely postpone them, c) tissue engineering for no donor transplants, d)genetic medicine, e) nanotechnology for human maintains.

None of this will be cheap and all of it requires significant and ongoing research funding; but it is pretty much the only hope for boomers who want to choke on that carrot at 96.

politically, rather than getting knickers in knots over the tired and unenforceable Canada Health Act - after all, if you are actually rich in Canada the best hospitals in the world are just across the border - it might be wise to ask candidate about their position on medical research funding.

I'm so mad I'm going to hold my breath until I explode

In the West Bank, Palestinians are mounting mass protests on Monday in an official "Day of Rage" against the barrier.
associated press
The same story goes on to describe the homicide attack in Jerusalem which killed eight Israelis.

The Troll of Ramallah (tm) and his henchmen have so bungled their negotiating position that the Israelis are following a policiy of political and physical disengagement. Why bother when the Troll cannot and will not take the very first steps towards the required dismantling of the terrorist structures he helped to create in the West Bank and Gaza.

Disengagement will hurt the Palestinians. As the only viable economy in the region Israel is pretty much the only source of employment opportunities for the Palestinians and that opportunity will gradually disappear.

The Israelis are sick of having their people blown up. They are sick of having to deal with terrorists and fanatics. What they are hoping for is the short sharp Palestinian civil war which will depose the Troll and bring men of better faith to the negotiating table. Let's hope that civil war happens quickly.

1989

Is Mr. Martin doomed, then? No, but he needs to act fast. His lack of candour about the past has hurt him badly, but he can still save himself if he can make the case his government will behave differently in the future. That will take deeds, not words: not just the removal of certain corrupt individuals, but radical reforms to the structure and culture of government in which they flourished. I don't say this will be easy, and I don't say it is likely. It would mean a repudiation of the entire history and governing philosophy of the modern Liberal party. But it is the only way. There is a whiff of 1989 in the air, and we know what happened then to governments, even reform-minded ones, that could not get out in front of the marchers.
national post

"You had a choice sir, you could have said no." With these words Brian Mulroney dispatched the hapless John Turner to languish in the legacy of Trudeau's last days in office. Could it happen again?

Andrew Coyne raises the question. I am inclined to think not. Not because Martin is any less vunerable than Turner was; rather because none of the people likely to be debating him is anywhere near as clever or as plausible as Mulroney was in 1989. At best Stephen Harper is a plodder. Nothing wrong with that but he lacks the style and the bogus sincerity of Mulroney. Miss B? Yeah, right. The other fellow has still not made enough of an impression on me for it to be an issue which probably says it all. Jack Layton? He could certainly come up with the line; but could he sell it as anything but a sneer? Likely not.

It would be pleasant to think that Martin might win the next election on his merits. But I rather suspect he will win because neither of his putative rivals have much going for them.

Update and correction:
The valuable James Bow points out that Mulroney made his comment in 1984...oops, thanks James.