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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another









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3/05/2005

Competing for Dumb

Marijuana production is a violent, organized scourge that judges must battle with firm sentences, says Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan.

McLellan, speaking a day after four Mounties were killed during a raid on a marijuana grow op in Alberta, said society must recognize the dangers posed by a countrywide boom in such operations, which are often backed by organized crime.


McLellan said Friday that judges who don't penalize traffickers according to the severity of their crimes should be called to account.

"I would say that all of us - including the judiciary - need to understand what is at stake here. And I think yesterday was a horrible and tragic reminder."

Judges who don't put major producers behind bars will have to offer reasons under the proposed legislation, McLellan said during a national Liberal policy convention.
cp
Ah, it's the judge's fault.

And it's about pot. Colby Cosh puts paid to the pot argument here.

What is really dumb here is the idea that stiffer sentences for grow-operators would somehow have mitigated the tragedy of the deaths of the four RCMP members. The shooter had nothing to do with organized crime. He was a crime wave unto himself.

We are seeing the weird phenomena of politicians, in the face of tragedy, feeling they have to do something...blame a judge, stiffen sentences. The last time this happened we were blessed with the gun registry when too many people were being shot dead on the leafy streets of TO.

Harper gets this, (I quote from Colby's post,
The truth is, he said, there is no real way to protect people from every possible situation if a dangerous or disturbed individual lashes out. "We can't just run out on the basis of a single tragedy and make up a bunch of laws."


In fact small time grow ops are not terribly likely to lead to violence unless the laws are tightened to such an extent that, in the impaired calculus of the grow operators, it makes some sort of sense to be ready to shoot it out in the event of a bust.

Where organized crime is involved is in the large ops and in the shipping of the bud to the vast markets of drug obsessed America.

Now, think seriously for a moment, do you really think the wise guys are sitting in dark, humid basements adjusting the lights and the feeds? Or driving trunkloads of pot across the border? No? Gee, neither do I.

But McLellan, knows that if you take a tragedy, stir in the assertion of organized crime's involvement and shake vigorously there is every chance the average Canadian will conflate the two. If you can do a drive-by dump on judges whose sentences reflect the reality that no one gives a damn about grow ops you have the perfect political moment.

You appear to be doing something without actually, er, doing anything.

Smoke, mirrors, lies - yes, its the Liberal Party in action.

3/04/2005

Fun for Tories

The good Doctor points me to this:

The prevention of same-sex marriages has been given the highest priority of all policies to be debated by federal Conservatives when they meet this month to establish the first agenda of their new party.

And, despite warnings that it will kill the party's chances in Quebec, delegates to the Montreal meeting will also consider a resolution to ban third-trimester abortions.

The fact that social concerns place so high among Conservative interests worries some party members who say the focus will damage chances of winning the next election.
globe and mail
Yup, these guys are geniuses. Now, in the CPC's defence they have a system in place which allows the riding associations to determine the agenda item's priority. Which means that party activists who tend to be rather dedicated socons are going to ensure that the Tories really do sound like a bunch of rural fundys...Bye, bye Quebec.

Between that and the move to support the Liberal budget one might almost think Harper has a side deal to throw the next election.

Dumb.

(And to forestall the CPC zealots: yes, it is all very democratic. Great. As the Liberals are proving this week, policy conventions are for setting out a vision. they are managed and the whackier fringes are allowed to debate any resolution they want in a small room a very long way from the plenary. With a little luck they will debate long enough that the final resolution will never make it to the floor of that plenary.

One of the reasons why I don't fly a CPC flag on this blog is that the poor bastards are just sooooo clueless about how political hardball is played.

Here's a hint: you don't actually go out of your way to alienate large segments of the voting public at an essentially meaningless policy resolutions.

The horror of all of this is that there is every chance that Mr. Dithers will be able to continue to succker punch the CPC to the point where when he decides to call an election - because, Lord knows the Tories are too polite to, er, force an election - he'll beat the CPC hollow.

"You thought they were scary before....now I need your help to fight for the rights of every Canadian. The Harper Conservatives want to take away your equality rights and the rights of Canadian women. I need your help to stop them." Oh God, the speech writes itself.

No, really, dumb.

Sack of hammers dumb.

This should not have happened

His voice tight with grim self-control, Alberta's commanding RCMP officer groped for a way Thursday to describe a catastrophic drug raid that left four young officers lying dead in a quonset hut.

"I'm told you have to go back to about 1885 in RCMP history and the Northwest Rebellion to have a loss of this magnitude," said assistant commissioner Bill Sweeney. "It's devastating. We're all in terrible shock and mourning." Also killed was the man believed to have shot the officers, a 46-year-old loner.
cp
This is first a horrible tragedy. These were our guys. Our Mounties. The RCMP is part of and at the heart of communities throughout Canada. To lose one member is an outrage. But four men? To a loner busting a grow op?

For the moment the senseless waste of lives will be the story. As it should be. Then there has to be an investigation of how four armed and trained men could possibly have been put at such risk.

This is not the time for that investigation; but the deaths of four Mounties suggests something is fundamentally wrong with the force which sent them into harm's way.

Pace Minister McLellan - this is not about grow ops. It is about a police operation gone horribly wrong. The gun which killed them was fired by a man who was known to the police, who had been in prison. This was not, or should not, have been an operation undertaken without full intelligence, proper surveilance and enough planning to ensure the safety of the members involved.

The memory of those members demands a full inquiry.

3/03/2005

A Working Politician who gets blogging....almost

Monte Solberg, Conservative, Medicine Hat, has taken to blogging and seems to have a natural feel for the medium. Check him out at Monte Solberg - Official Blog.

(Now he does need to enable comments and putting up a few links wouldn't hurt either; but the content is solid.)

3/02/2005

Fun with Lefties

Stewart: Do you think they're the guys to--do they understand what they've unleashed? Because at a certain point, I almost feel like, if they had just come out at the very beginning and said, "Here's my plan: I'm going to invade Iraq. We'll get rid of a bad guy because that will drain the swamp"--if they hadn't done the whole "nuclear cloud," you know, if they hadn't scared the pants off of everybody, and just said straight up, honestly, what was going on, I think I'd almost--I'd have no cognitive dissonance, no mixed feelings.

Soderberg: The truth always helps in these things, I have to say. But I think that there is also going on in the Middle East peace process--they may well have a chance to do a historic deal with the Palestinians and the Israelis. These guys could really pull off a whole--

Stewart: This could be unbelievable!

Soderberg:---series of Nobel Peace Prizes here, which--it may well work. I think that, um, it's--

Stewart: [buries head in hands] Oh my God! [audience laughter] He's got, you know, here's--

Soderberg: It's scary for Democrats, I have to say.

Stewart: He's gonna be a great--pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, "Reagan was nothing compared to this guy." Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it.

Soderberg: Well, there's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope for the rest of us.

Stewart: [crossing fingers] Iran and North Korea, that's true, that is true [audience laughter]. No, it's--it is--I absolutely agree with you, this is--this is the most difficult thing for me to--because, I think, I don't care for the tactics, I don't care for this, the weird arrogance, the setting up. But I gotta say, I haven't seen results like this ever in that region.
Best of the Webvia instapundit
It really is beginning to look as if the neocons were, er, right all along...

3/01/2005

Competition in Adwords

It seems that Google Adsense - which you can see to your right - is going to have some fairly hefty competition. Yahoo is testing a "long tail" ad scheme.

This is interesting purely in the sense that it is going to tend to force Google into a more transparent system. At the moment, Google's terms of service prevent publishers from disclosing pretty much anything about the program. (They may even purport to prevent a publisher from disclosing what he is not permitted to disclose.)

There is no due process here...As a company Google can choose to do business with whomever it wants and on whatever terms it wants. But Google, to this point, has pretty much owned the small publisher end of the pay per click ad business. So its decisions, shareouts, and time to pay were not subject to any competition.

It will be really interesting to see if Yahoo has learned much from this Google model. There are more than a few publishers who would love to have the option to switch.

What would Yahoo need to do?

Offer Paypal and other fast transfers of funds along with regular cheques. This is, afterall, the internet age.

Make the publisher shareout transparent.

Recognize that despite the groovy technology involved in placing context sensitive advertising on webpages the actual role of a search engine is closer to an advertising agency than an actual publisher. Typically (except of course if you are a Liberal friendly ad agency in Quebec) an agency will charge 15-20% of the ad buy. This compares rather unfavourably with the current 60-80% it appears Google is charging.

Reward quality publishers. While there will be an army of sales people out trying to get adsense advertisers to switch to Yahoo, the real stuggle will likely be for the tens of thousands of small to very small publishers who actually make the adsense model work.

Publish the bids for particular key words in an easy access format. Yahoo's company, Overture, already does this to a degree giving somewhat accurate prices and statistics for keywords you type in. But why not be as close to entirely transparent as possible? the more information publishers have about the value and traffic attractiveness of particular keywords, the more keenly they will compete to build sites which attract valuable traffic.

Choice brings change and there is no question that the keyword/adsense/adwords market could use a little competitive instability.

More on Syria

There is a genuine ... ripple of change at the moment but it is happening throughout the Middle East and it is important that we encourage it because it is out of [the Middle East] that so many of the issues that we grapple with in the international community arise," Mr Blair said.

He described as of "huge significance" the announcement of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, at the weekend to hold multi-party elections for the presidency, the Palestinian elections in January, as well as changes in Kuwait and the Gulf states.

Syria yesterday came under diplomatic bombardment over allegations that it was linked to the recent suicide bombing in Israel. The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, last night said there was "firm evidence" that Islamic Jihad based in Syria had helped plan the Tel Aviv bombing.
guardian
Blair who has been under constant attack for Iraq from the left of the Labour Party and the rather nastily anti-American English and European chattering classes, took a huge gamble backing the invasion. It looks as if that gamble is paying off.

The english, and parts of the rest of Europe may be waking up to the implications of their declining birth rates, faltering economies and growing Muslim populations. It is not clear what that will actually cash out to.

What is clear is that Blair is more than likely to win re-election in the face of his lefty opponents and the envy embittered anti-Americans in England. This is partially because the British Conservative Party seems so tired; but it is also a tribute to Blair's capacity to stay the course in Iraq.

The Turn of the Screw

"Syria found itself increasingly isolated yesterday as the US and France stepped up their pressure for withdrawal of its forces from neighbouring Lebanon.

"The Syrians are out of step with where the region is going and out of step with the aspirations of the people of the region," the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said at a joint news conference with the French foreign minister, Michel Barnier."
the guardian
The syrians can't afford to pay the French off so out of Lebanon they go...

It is fascinating how the defeat of Saddam and the subsequent succesful election in Iraq have begun to act as a model for Middle Eastern people sick of the corruption and tyranny which their so called "elites" have foisted on them for the last fifty years.

Even the Palistinians are beginning to realize that a good deal of the mythology which surrounds their cause has been shattered by the willingness of some of the West, post 9-11, to actually work for change throughout the region.

Unlike the Troll of RamallahTM the present Palestinian leadership may have realized that terror is simply never going to work against Israel and that it really is time to talk. If that issue can be solved the Middle East will begin to look rather rosy.

(Which is, of course, impossible because Bush is an idiot and neo-cons are always wrong...)