This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.
One Damn Thing After Another
Specs: This blog is currently built to work with Mozilla Firefox.
Time to go and get a modern browser... Get Firefox here.
Ottawa-area MP Scott Reid, who was Harper's critic on the official languages portfolio, announced he would step down after telling the Moncton Times and Transcript it's time to consider ending the federal obligation to offer bilingual services from coast to coast.It is long past time for the failure of official bilingualism to be addressed in Canada. Reid was utterly right to bring it up and Harper was, frankly, rather dumb to have accepted his resignation.
He also told the newspaper that the requirement that senior public servants speak both languages should be lifted.
"That does not mean that you should (not) try to offer services better where you make a promise," Reid was quoted as saying.
"But it also means you ought to try and make realistic promises and try to deliver on them, as opposed to making a proposal that looks good on paper."
Something of the sort is already happening on the ground in Iraq. There are some 8,000 towns and villages in the country. How many do you hear about on the news? For a week, it's all Fallujah all the time. Then it's Najaf, and nada for anywhere else. Currently, 90 percent of Iraqi coverage is about one lousy building: Abu Ghraib. So what's going on in the other 7,997 dots on the map? In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way.There is a great post over at the Shotgun making much the same point.
That policy of ad hoc, incremental, rolling devolution needs to be accelerated. Towns and provinces should have as much sovereignty as they can handle, on the obvious principle that the constituent parts of ramshackle federations rarely progress at the same pace. In the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is now an advanced Western economy, Kosovo is a U.N. slum housing project. If one were to cast the situation in rough British terms, the Kurdish areas are broadly analogous to Scotland, Dhi Qar and other Shia provinces are Wales, and the Sunni Triangle is Northern Ireland.
And tomorrow, a genuine risk, perhaps one too easily underestimated: John Crosbie will come out of retirement to take on John Efford as the candidate of a conservative party whose merger Crosbie fought to the wall six years ago.
BW&BK: "So you don't see the Bush regime as being cultural imperialists? You don't see them as trying to force the American way of life on to a nation that maybe doesn't want it?"
JS: "No. If you think that's true, then why are 70 or 80 percent of the people are thrilled to have us there. Have you not seen that? And it's not a regime, by the way. You keep up that kind of language I'm going to end the interview right now."
BW&BK: "Well, sometimes Americans believe they're very free, when they're sometimes not. There are a lot of authors, especially a guy like Noam Chomsky, who believes a lot of consent in the US is manufactured by politicians and corporations --"Of course, naive me, I would have thought a political science degree would make Chomsky rather transparent....Apparently not.
JS: "Talk about one of the fuckin' ultra leftist spin doctors of the world, Noam Chomsky. You buy into that crap?"
BW&BK: "Well, I read a lot of his stuff."
JS: "But do you believe it all?"
BW&BK: "I have a degree in political science, so I believe some of it."
JS: "Hmm. Yeah. Well. And how old are you?"
From my experience writing for and reading TCS, I gather that I am not alone in sensing a certain disconnect between my cultural and political affinities. That is, I am a cosmopolitan conservative, residing in that nebulous region distrusted by both coastal elites and the populist sages of the heartland, Purple America.
Purple America is not so much a place as an idea, or more precisely a confluence of values from Red America with tastes from Blue America. It believes in personal responsibility, discipline, civil society, spontaneous order, ordered liberty, and that the best thing government can do is not get in the way. Yet it craves independent films, fine cigars, Belgian ales, and South American fútbol -- along with a good baseball game (preferably without the designated hitter).
Ilya Shapiro, Tech Central Station
Within minutes after Martin stopped speaking in Belleville, Ont., reporters' Blackberries started buzzing in Fredericton with emails from the Liberal war room.Spinning at the speed of the internet is really not going to do the Grits much good if the spin is published in seconds on campaign blogs without the official filter of the Toronto Star.
I refer, of course, to the "firewall" letter after the 2000 election, in which Harper and four other wise-ish men urged Ralph Klein to build a bunch of distinct Alberta institutions.
Ooh, scary firewall guy. Now watch this: "Outside Quebec, in ads that appear in English — and only in English — Paul Martin and the federal Liberals attack me because I defend the rights of provinces," he said in French. "Because I defend their right to run their health system, their programs for the elderly, and their police."
This resonates in Quebec because Quebec runs all the programs Harper listed in the firewall letter. It was a very clever speech.
File-sharers continue to fight the law — but despite its best efforts, the law hasn't won yet. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported Monday that it has sued another 493 individuals for swapping songs on peer-to-peer networks, but more people than ever are logged on to these networks to share and copy music and other files.The remarkable thing about the RIAA suits is that not one has yet - so far as I know - gone to trial. So they have suednearly 3000 people, seen no reduction in P2P network use and have yet to go before a judge to determine if they can actually win against the file sharers.
According to the market research and marketing consulting firm Big Champagne, up to 9.5 million Internet users were simultaneously using file-sharing networks in April, compared with the 7.4 million logged on in September 2003.
The federal sponsorship scandal has affected how almost half of Canadians will vote in the June 28 general election, according to a poll conducted for CBC.Of course the Mother Corp will argue that this poll was commissioned before the election....yeah, right.
Between May 12 and 18, telephone pollsters asked 2,100 people whether their voting intentions would be influenced by the Auditor General's findings that officials had broken normal accounting rules while spending millions of dollars promoting the federal government in Quebec during the 1990s.