Friday, December 19, 2008

Civility, trust and honour.

A “POW Rolex” Recalls the Great Escape by Alan Downing
Underlined in Wilsdorf’s letter to Nutting are the words, “…but you must not even think of settlement during the war.” The news that Rolex was offering watches on a buy-now- pay-whenever” basis must have spread through the camps like wildfire. More than 3,000 Rolex watches were reportedly ordered by British officers in the Oflag VII B POW camp in Bavaria alone...Wilsdorf hedged his bet further by making this offer available to British officers only, in the belief that their word was their bond.[emphasis mine]
Great story.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gimme a break, Olivia...

From Olivia Chow's website:
The poll-rigging behaviour sometimes known as “freeping” is a common tactic used by right-wing groups to get public opinion in their favour. “If you have to rig polls in favour of your opinion” said the administrator, “it says more about your core ethics and the weakness of your position, than it does the issue.” [emphasis mine--ed]
Olivia, rigging online polls has been done by zealots on both sides of the spectrum. Trying to spin that behaviour as solely owned by right-wing folks is just stoopid. Or dishonest. Or both. Additionally (given internet history), the tactic is only known as "freeping" if right-wing folks do it. Otherwise, it's just plain garden-variety vote/ballot stacking.

But let's keep this straight: an online poll is just a poll of site visitors: it's not scientific in the slightest. If a site happens to get more lefty visitors, the poll will generally reflect that. If it gets more righty visits--same-same. And sometimes [gasp!!! who'da thunk it??] folks from one side or the other will suggest visits to a site they don't usually frequent, just to influence the poll.

In other words, online polls are as true a reflection of reality as your outrage.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I couldn't be more impressed...

"Please pray for him not to suffer from this accident," a distraught Dong Yun Yoon told reporters gathered near the site of Monday's crash of an F/A-18D jet in San Diego's University City community.

"He is one of our treasures for the country," Yoon said in accented English punctuated by long pauses while he tried to maintain his composure.

"I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could," said Yoon, flanked by members of San Diego's Korean community, relatives and members from the family's church.
Man who lost family when jet hit house: I don't blame pilot.

My sincerest condolences and respect.

There is an eloquence that comes naturally from honesty, from who you are:

"I know there are many people who have experienced more terrible things," Yoon said. "But, please, tell me how to do it. I don't know what to do."

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A couple of quick jots...

This one caucus:
One of the Caucus members said that the Taliban were able to put out better videos than Dion's staff. (Western Standard)
Ooooh. That's gotta hurt ;-)

Me at SDA:
Lesson: Bailouts support identifiable voting blocs is all. They're bribes.
People who support the bailouts don't give a rat's ass about the at least equivalent number of jobs scattered throughout the economy that will be lost, caused by the dollars consumers don't have to spend because they're funding the bailout.

And an interesting tactical thing:

Let's say there's an election in the next while, and you're still thinking wrongly enough about economics and philosophy to want what the coalition wants. Two way split, anyone? The best communicator? The most experienced governing party? I mean, who do you vote's not like there's a huge ideological difference. And the Bloc? Lotsa Quebec folks kinda like them, even knowing they won't govern.

Fun times.

Oh. And this:

Evidently Oprah was talking to some reporters about a gathering some time after the election,
"I said I would be happy to talk to Sarah Palin when the election was over… I went and tried to talk to Sarah Palin and instead she talked to Greta [Van Susteren]. She talked to Matt [Lauer]. She talked to Larry [King]. But she didn't talk to me.”

Winfrey’s comments came in response to rumors she refused to invite the former vice presidential candidate on her popular daytime show.
But why would a daytime talk show host not want a vice-presidential candidate on the show before an election? Fear of poor ratings?

Just askin'...

They may be right...

Harper put it to the other parties that they should stand on their own two feet when it came to raising funds and operating as parties.

Without exception, the other three parties screamed "we'd die".

OK. Maybe they're right.

But that's not Harper's fault.

If the conservatives went broke today, they'd have money by Monday; they're used to raising their own.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Time for an Election

If the Coalition is as great a deal as its supporters say it is, then I'm sure they'll also trust Canadian voters to recognize that fact.

If the Harper Conservatives are as great a deal as their supporters state, then I'm sure they'll trust Canadian voters to recognize that fact.

It's really quite simple: the folks who don't want to, or won't, put their preference up to a vote don't trust Canadian voters to make the right decision.

All else is just puffery, grandstanding and self-serving rationalization.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Not beyond me...

The Prairie Wrangler poses this question (probably rhetorically) over at his blog:
how the opposition can play the “the Conservatives haven’t spent enough” card not a week after the “the Conservatives have spent us into a deficit” card is beyond me
Easy. Politics Without Principles.

Wanna know how much sense a bailout makes?

Read this: "Autoworker chief pleads for government to save his job by stealing others' money to give to him".
If you want to know how well an American automaker bailout will go, look no further than AIG, which made the very same claims: "too big to fail," "bridge loan," "we need time to reorganize." The government gave AIG an initial $85 billion infusion, described as a "loan" -- which doesn't make sense, because loans are made to be repaid, and AIG wasn't expected to pay it back. It does make sense when one realizes it was all a bait-and-switch: the government didn't intend to make a real loan, but to buy out a strong controlling portion of AIG. And as scary as it should be to any liberty-loving person, it was merely a prelude to nationalizing the rest of the major insurers and other big industries.

And by the way, do the math: if you get 79.9% ownership for the initial $85 billion, then what does $152.5 billion get you? Doesn't it seem like the investment is effectively throwing money into a black hole? If you were a private investor who put $X into a badly performing company for 80% ownership, and suddenly you had a capital call for another 79.4% of your initial investment, wouldn't you start wondering if you should pull out while you can and write off the losses?

AIG claimed it would sell off "assets" to repay the loan, and the loan is necessary to keep it afloat because there's insufficient income to meet its debt obligations (in no small part from credit default swaps). If this were done by an individual, the situation would be someone who has a sudden cut in earnings, gambled away the next several months of pay, owes money right now to a great many people, and has been refused by banks for a loan to repay his existing debts. He just doesn't have the income to repay the latest loan. AIG effectively said it needed a payday loan for the next six months, which it will use to pay off the people currently breathing down its neck, and it will repay the latest loan by selling its furniture. Ask yourself: who in his right mind would become the next creditor to such an irresponsible person? No rational person would.
H/T Billy.