Thursday, November 27, 2008

Let the Big 3 Automakers Go Broke

First off, let me say that I have shares in both GM and Ford, so I will be personally affected if the Big 3 automakers go broke.

I still say "let them go broke."

What would it mean to Ontario and Canada if that happened? Would all the jobs and auto manufacturing disappear? Of course not! Anyone who says otherwise is either foolish or purposely misleading.

Scenarios After they Go Broke
1. Restructure.
They declare bankruptcy, rip up their union contracts, close un-productive plants, then continue to make only the most profitable and successful lines of cars.

2. Sell off Assets.
GM, for example, could call itself Chevrolet, and make just Chevrolet models, and sell off Buick, Hummer, etc. to other parties. Ford and Chrysler could do similar things. Maybe Shelby would put together some investors and buy Dodge. Whatever happens, we would have maybe a Medium-Sized 10 instead of Big 3.

3. Many other possibilities.
Look, people in the U.S. and Canada will continue to want/need cars and trucks, and wherever there's a need, the free market will step up and provide.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Those crazy CTV kids!

So, a few weeks after totally humiliating Stephane Dion, those crazy kids at CTV decided to have fun with another Liberal.

Here's a transcript (from memory) of a bit of an interview with Paul Martin, about his new book, Hell or High Water:

Reporter: In your book, your comments on the sponsorship scandal were: "Jean Chretien left me a time bomb" and "a big mess in my lap".

Paul Martin: Those are your words, not mine.

Reporter: No, it's from your book.

Paul Martin: Oh, in that case, I'm glad you read my book.

Good for you, CTV, for not sugar-coating some of the idiotic things Liberals say.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congratulations to Peter Braid!

As I write this, Peter Braid is leading Andrew Telegdi in Kitchener-Waterloo riding by only 100 or so votes. Even if he doesn't quite make it, he needs to be commended on doing so well against Telegdi, who has owned this riding since 1993.

Congratulations, Peter!

Even if you don't wind up beating Telegdi, you've done an amazing job running against him, and I think you should get another shot next time!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Say goodbye to Stephane Dion and Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae too!

So, in the 2006 election, the Liberal party's anointed god-king, Paul Martin, crashes and burns at the polls. Paul Martin won his seat, then chose, for the most part, not to sit in it. Yes -- he's still an MP!

Anyway, it was time for a Liberal leadership race. The A-Team for leaders, with people such as Bill Graham, John Manley and Brian Tobin, decided to sit this one out. They sized up Stephen Harper and decided that they didn't want a fair fight, so they just whistled and looked around whenever the topic of Liberal leader came up.

So that left the B-Team, with people like Ralph Goodale, Sheila Copps and Scott Brison. They took one look at Stephen Harper and quietly shit their pants. If the big names are sitting this one out, then why wouldn't they? Besides, they're still young, and they can wait an election or three before making a bid for Liberal leader.

But at the end of the day, someone had to be leader. It was all up to the C-Team:

1. Michael Ignatieff, the blowhard from Harvard, who hadn't even lived in Canada for 25 years. He probably figured, hell, how hard can it be to sit as an MP? At least he wouldn't have to mark any more papers.

2. Bob Rae, the former Ontario Premier, and probably one of the most hated men that Ontario ever produced. It's going on 20 years now, and people still talk about Rae days! Union people! Bob Rae pissed off the unions so much that to this day, the CAW still supports the Liberals. Can you imagine the fun that the media could have had with that? I mean, if they weren't such humourless leftists. The man ran a labour party that lost the labour vote!

3. Finally, Stephane Dion. Jean Chretien's environment minister! Except that Chretien never had any intention of implementing Kyoto, so naming Dion as environment minister was on par with telling him to "pull my finger."

4. OK, one more: Martha Hall Findlay. She seemed to be quite intelligent and capable, which really doesn't go as far as you think in Liberal circles. And the Liberals, like their Democrat brethren, are obviously just not ready for a female leader.

The leadership battle was on! Close to 1/3 favoured Ignatieff, and almost another 1/3 favoured Rae, while a little more than 1/3 hated Ignatieff and Rae equally. The delicious irony of the Liberal's decidedly un-democratic delegate system allowed Dion to triumph by collecting just over 1/3 of the Ignatieff/Rae haters!

Any way, I've wandered a bit. The point of this post is that when the Liberals get trounced on October 14, Dion will be looking for a job. And so will Ignatieff and Rae! I don't know if the B-Team or the A-Team will step up, but either way, the C-Team is history.

Hey Stephane Dion, tell your buddies to keep it down over there!

Now, don't get me wrong. I never want to see Stephane Dion as Prime Minister of this great country, because I'm sure it would be an absolute disaster. However, I can't help but feel sorry for how badly the Liberal Party has hung this guy out to dry.

He's obviously the 'rebound' candidate, but does it have to be so obvious? Where are John Manley, Brian Tobin, Sheila Copps and Ralph Goodale, to name just a few of the Liberal heavy-hitters? I guess they are too busy planning their leadership bid to bother helping out with this election.

And what does that say about the Liberal Party in general? That they only make an effort when they are guaranteed to form the government? That they can't even try to win a fair fight against a tough competitor?

It's pathetic.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Where is the majority/minority option on the ballot?

Andrew Cohen is not the only journalist to speak of the Canadian electorate as if it were one person, able to choose between a minority or majority government. He's just the one I'm going to pick on today, after reading his "Don't go sleepwalking to the polls" column in the Ottawa Citizen.

How would one possibly go about choosing a minority or majority government, given the fact that each person has only one vote? All anyone can do is look at the platforms of the parties of candidates running in their riding, pick the one that they think is best, and vote appropriately.

In order for a single person to be influenced by other people's votes, that person would have to know what the other voters were going to do, then change their own vote. But even then, we're still just talking about a single vote. So, to have a group think as one, votes could not be secret, and could not be cast simultaneously.

That situation does exist, for example, in the Liberal party nominations, where all the delegates can look across the floor and see which candidate other delegates are supporting. Once aggregated together, they tend to stay together, so as candidates are dropped off the successive ballots, mobs grow greater in size, and pick people like Stephane Dion as leader. (In contrast, the Conservative leadership contest was by secret, simultaneous ballot, and chose Stephen Harper.)

In five weeks, when the 2008 Canadian election is complete, and Canadians have chosen a government by secret, simultaneous ballot, then the Liberal party might want to move away from mob rule at their next leadership convention, which probably won't be too far off.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Conservative Platform = We're Not Dion!

For the 2006 election, the Conservative platform was comprised of 5 major points.

But so far, the Conservative platform for the 2008 election is basically this: We're not Stephane Dion's Liberals, and we're not going to try to tax carbon dioxide. (Yes, the stuff you're breathing out right now, unless you're a plant, in which case you're breathing it in.)

Now I'm all for avoiding The Green Shaft, but I'd also like to see some additional election promises, too. At least that way, when the Conservatives form the next government, there will be at least tacit agreement from the populace that they should get to do a few things too.

An Australian's view of Canada before the 2008 election

A common literary technique is to imagine what a "man from Mars" would think about a given situation. Well, as far as we know, there are no men from Mars, but there are men in Australia, and they even have the internet down there, and not only that, but they have interesting opinions about Canada in the early days of Election 2008.

Canada's Vote on Green Taxation

I especially like his comparison of Stephen Harper and Bill Clinton, noting that Harper is well to the left of Bill Clinton in every way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Complaining about Rogers DNS and URL Hijack

If you are as mad as I am, then here are some things you can do.

1. Login to rogers.com and fill out their online complaint form.

2. Complain to the Commissioner for Complaints for Telecommunications Services Inc.

3. Sign this petition: http://www.wrequest.com/7

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rogers is now Hijacking invalid DNS requests

Firefox has a great feature for finding web pages. It tries to load whatever you type in the URL bar, then if that doesn't work, it passes off what you typed to Google, and clicks the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button. This lets me type "apple" to get http://www.apple.com/, or "costco canada" to get http://www.costco.ca/ , etc. Great! I haven't used bookmarks for years.

So this morning I discover that Rogers has decided to over-ride this feature and piss me off to no end.

When Firefox tries to load something you typed in the URL box, like "apple", it gets a DNS error that says, in effect, there is no site called "apple", which is technically true, because it would have to be at least apple.com to be valid. Rogers has decided to hijack this behaviour by re-directing your browser to their own search page, instead of displaying the error. Of course, their search page is full of ads, which they are paid to run.

Imagine that the next time you dialed a wrong number, instead of getting an automated message that informed you the number didn't exist, you were instead sent to a telemarketer who tried to sell you lawn-care service. Now imagine that your phone used to automatically fix up wrong numbers for you, but now it can't any more because your phone company is hijacking all your wrong numbers. That's basically what Rogers is doing.

I've been mad at Rogers before, and even took steps last summer to make leaving Rogers really easy. (I stopped using my Rogers email address, and switched everything over to an email address on one of my own domains.) So, my first instinct this morning was to leave Rogers and switch to Bell Sympatico.

Then I thought about it for a minute, and decided that instead of doing that, I would just stop paying my Rogers internet bill.

How do you like me now, Rogers?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Blogger Thinks I'm Dutch

My last name is Dutch. I'm Canadian.

But, apparently Blogger thinks I'm Dutch, because there are Dutch ads in the sidebar.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Tim Horton's new Chocolate Brownie Iced Capp Supreme

I don't like coffee. It smells OK, but to me, it just tastes burnt, so I never drink it.

Today I was feeling drowsy, even after drinking two Coke Zeros, so I decided to go out for an ice cream treat. As I was driving by a Tim Horton's, I noticed the sign for the new Chocolate Brownie Iced Capp Supreme, and thought: "Hmm... ice cream that keeps you awake. Why not?" Also, my little boy has been watching the live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks movie lately, and I couldn't help thinking about the scene where the chipmunks enjoy some sort of iced coffee.

So I decided to try one and I freakin' loved it! It was really good, in a totally junk-food kind of way, and I was wired for several hours afterward. (A habitual coffee drinker, with a much higher caffeine tolerance, probably wouldn't feel the same.)

It's probably not the last Chocolate Brownie Iced Capp Supreme I'll have, especially since I'm going to be spending some time in the maternity ward later this month...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kudos to local teen scientist

So, I fire up Slashdot, and the latest post points to a Kitchener-Waterloo Record article about a teenager from Waterloo Collegiate Institute whose winning science fair project was developing microbes that eat plastic shopping bags. Kudos to Daniel Burd!

And as far as I know, this is the first time that therecord.com ever got slashdotted.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don Martin hates Stephen Harper

Okay, Don, we get it! You hate him! Are you still burned over your girlfriend, Belinda Stronach, losing the leadership contest to Harper? Because, dude, she wasn't really your girlfriend. She's totally into married hockey players.

I only need a headline and the first few words of a column to know that it's Don Martin laying into Stephen Harper again. Today's example: Harper looks to woo soccer moms

I guess Don Martin crossed the floor to the Liberals the same day that Belinda did. He's now using 'soccer mom' as some sort of insult. So any moms out there with kids in soccer should take note: Don Martin thinks you're all losers. Apparently, he also thinks Tim Hortons customers are losers too, saying that Harper's recent moves are catering to "Tim Hortons sensibilities".

From where I'm sitting, there's nothing wrong with driving your kids to play soccer, and picking up something at Tim Horton's on the way back. But then again, I'm not trying to impress Belinda Stronach, and I'm guessing that Stephen Harper isn't either. I think that Don Martin has confused 'catering' with 'appropriately serving the interests of Canadians.'

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another bogus late fee from Bell Expressvu

Am I the only one getting gouged by Bell Expressvu every month? Or does your Bell Expressvu bill have a "Late Payment Fee Unregulated" entry too?

My bill dated May 12, 2008 has a $0.31 charge for "Late Payment Fee Unregulated". Last month, I was charged $1.03. These charges are completely bogus, since I always pay my bill as soon as it arrives.

If they're getting an extra $0.31 to $1.03 out of everyone each month, then that's a lot of cake.

Monday, May 5, 2008

chokechain.com

What should I do with the domain chokechain.com?

Look at it the way it appears today: http://chokechain.com

And at the archived version from 4 years ago: http://web.archive.org/web/20040403173742/www.chokechain.com/

I used to do a radio show called Choke Chain, and always planned to do something related to music with chokechain.com, but never got around to it.

Meh.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Google == Internet

My account with my ISP, site5.com is going to expire in a few months, and I'm going to let it. I just spent the morning setting up Google Apps to host my email. And now I've moved my blog to Blogger.

It started with Gmail. Not only was it a handy web application, it was actually superior to a lot of traditional email clients due to the way it showed a series of emails as a conversation. Instead of scrolling to the bottom of an email message, and reading backwards, ignoring all those > signs, you could start at the top and read normally.

But the clincher is Apple's fault. I pre-ordered an iPod Touch last fall, and soon after I got it I was hooked. Partly because it was so slick, and partly because I configured it to connect to my Gmail account via IMAP, then configured my Gmail account to collect several other email accounts.

That means that checking all my email accounts is as easy as firing up the mail client on my iPod Touch. And due to IMAP, if I file or delete an email on my iPod, the next time I look at email on my MacBook, it's already filed or deleted, without me having to tediously handle it again.

In my next post, I'm going to have even more to say about Apple, Google, iPods/iPhones and the internet.