Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider And The Montreal Baseball Connection

The house where Jackie Robinson and his wife lived in Montreal on De Gaspe ave. is being recognized by the U.S. government.

If you're a fan of baseball history and of Montreal history in particular, the story of the Montreal Royals is a fascinating one. Baseball was a big part of Montreal's sports landscape until economics ruptured it in the 1990s.


Now this is a sad story for baseball fans who listened to live Expos broadcasts in the 1980s. Brooklyn Dodgers legend (and one of the best sluggers in history) Duke Snider has passed away. He and Dave Van Horn remain one of the best broadcast team I've ever listened to in any sport, anywhere.

A strong Montreal flavor on ESPN today.


Small World

Or stated otherwise, six degrees of separation.

I found out that my director's sister is dating a boyhood friend of mine. We grew up in the same school system from kinderarten. A red-headed French-Canadian "legend" (who was in the English school system) to some of us Italian guys in the crew. The classic super smart kid screw up known for some of his "skateboard" parties living a dreamy Bohemian existence of sorts.

Maybe one day soon I'll tell the story of a little jam he and I found ourselves in high school. Reminded me of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny caught under the dish cover in Jack and the Beanstalk.

We always got along. Maybe because we didn't quite fit in scholastically. Who knows? We were in awe of each other's "talents." He once told me, when he decided to learn to play soccer (he's extremely talented and was always teaching himself something new), after observing all the players, he wanted to emulate my style and cerebral play. I was flattered considering I wasn't the best player. Maybe top five but not the best.

I wished I had his agile smarts. He's one of those guys who can write a poem, do a science experiment, perform 30 chin ups, and learn to play Italian cards without skipping a beat.

Of course, she told me some things he said. One that came up was, according to him, I was the "sharpest dresser" in school bar none.

I did put effort in the threads I have to admit.

More importantly, he put in a good word for me.


Small world.

The Will Of Quebecers

"...La plupart des francophones qui ont exprimé leur appui à Maxime Bernier, dans les commentaires sur son blogue ou ailleurs, l'ont fait pour une raison bien précise: ils déplorent qu'eux-mêmes ou leurs enfants n'aient pu faire au moins une partie de leurs études dans une école anglaise ou bilingue, ce qui leur aurait permis de vraiment maîtriser cette langue. Même certains parmi ceux qui l'ont dénoncé concèdent que les jeunes francophones sont défavorisés parce qu'ils ne peuvent apprendre l'anglais correctement à un jeune âge, alors que les enfants anglophones peuvent aller à l'école française et devenir parfaitement bilingues.

Selon un sondage paru l'an dernier, 61% des Québécois francophones souhaiteraient avoir ce choix de la langue d'enseignement..."

"...C'est justement parce qu'ils comprennent la force d'attraction de l'anglais que les nationalistes veulent mettre des barrières à l'attrait de cette carotte. La carotte française ne pouvant concurrencer dans l'absolu avec la carotte anglaise, ils croient que la seule façon d'assurer la survie du français est de recourir au bâton."

"...Derrière le vernis de sophistication intellectuelle et culturelle qu'ils peuvent exhiber, les nationalistes linguistiques ont encore des réflexes de brutes du Paléolithique qui manient le gourdin. Recourir à la violence pour imposer la volonté de la majorité ou du plus fort à des citoyens pacifiques qui font des choix différents dans leur vie privé est un signe de barbarie. C'est cette façon de penser qui est responsable des guerres ethniques, de religion, des persécutions de toutes sortes. Ce n'est pas parce que nos nationalistes ont la décence de ne pas préconiser l'expulsion ou l'extermination physique des anglophones qu'ils sont pour autant civilisés.

"On impose nécessairement ces restrictions linguistiques par la force; si quelqu'un refuse de s'y conformer et tente de les contourner, il recevra éventuellement une amende, une poursuite, sa propriété sera saisie, il se retrouvera en prison. C'est la violence ou la menace de violence qui maintient ce système en place.


"We impose these restrictions necessarily language by force if anyone refuses to comply and attempted to subvert it will eventually receive a fine, prosecution, his property will be seized, he will find himself in prison. C'est la violence ou la menace de violence qui maintient ce système en place. It is violence or threat of violence that keeps this system in place.

The libertarian philosophy stems entirely from the principle of non-aggression: you can not use force to defend themselves against aggression. For libertarians, use the stick to enforce its desires to others in a field such as the language is immoral.  This is not a matter of familiar history or the situation of French in Montreal. We know them or not, is immoral, full stop."

Here's the full text I've translated from French.

The language debate in Quebec is living on borrowed time. Ironically, it's actually hastening the fall of Quebec's ability to progress. It's about acquiring personal assets and knowledge now. As the author explains, 61% of Quebecers want second language instruction but our anti-democratic, archaic, anti-liberty, anti-choice, draconian, language laws desigend by romantic nationalists from a time long gone prevent this. Their whole rationale is increasingly being challenged.

Meanwhile, back at the Bat-Cave, Quebec elites send their kids to American schools.

C'est le temp de repensee nos affaires.

News Bits

Canadian boomers delaying retirement.


As I wrote not too long ago, a pension fund analyst friend of mine said, "it's a fucking disaster. Some of these people making investment decisions are total idiots."

Each time one of his guys sits to analyze a fund he just nods and says, "day of reckoning today?"

The powers that be simply promised money that's not there. And in the panic they took risks to try and make up the shortfall.

It's a type of 'pay it forward' only that someone is going to be stuck with something they don't want.


Tea Party vision in Montana taking shape.



Charlie Sheen really pulled a good one on Alex Jones. Now there's a pair. I would hang out and have a beer with them in a jiffy. Just to see.

That's a lotta people outta work though thanks to one man.


Obama no longer defends "Defense of Marriage Act."

Hey, he says he's "evolving." Give him a break.


How Public Employees and Taxpayers got scammed.

Plenty of blame to go around in Wisconsin.

Manson's Lawyer Seeks Pardon

The intricacies of the law notwithstanding, this should shake anyone with a soul.

At this point, anything is possible I reckon. I mean, we let Karla Homolka free because a "deal" she cut with prosecutors.

Camels On Ice

Real bright. I gotta say. I want to meet the meathead on The Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) who came up with "hey, you know what would be swell? Let's bring in a desert animal into the dead of winter! It sells itself!"

Reminds me of that classic scene on WKRP when Mr. Carlson, Les (to whom this blog is dedicated) and Herb hatched the turkey drop campaign. In Arthur's immortal admittance, "as God as my witness, I thought turkey's could fly."


Ethanol's Inflationary Cost

Ethanol's ramification from The Daily Reckoning:

"The corn-based ethanol craze is probably not being shown the door, but may be getting handed its hat. The costs for farmers in mounting food inflation is creeping up quickly: seed costs, fertilizer, fuel, irrigation, transport and leasing of acreage, etc. Costs of renting acres (for farmers who lease the land) have doubled in only a year. Most farmers I spoke with on my trip say it simply will reach a breaking point. They’ve seen it before."

I don't digest corn that well.

Libya's Connection To Lockerbie

While it's still not conclusive proof, would anyone be surprised that weirdo in Libya was behind Lockerbie?

Plastic Bags Fight Back

Truth about plastic bags.

I pay rhe five cents and move on with my life.

Historical Quotes And Wisconsin

I love American politics.

Whenever something happens, quotes from the past usually follow. Now these quotes are going around:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1937: “All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”

Bumming around I came across this:

"Prior to the late 1950’s, not a single state in the union allowed public employees to unionize and collectively bargain. The reasons were simple. Public employees, just like every other American, have the right to petition their government in how to best spend taxpayer dollars. Few saw any reason why public employees ought to be given collective bargaining rights, including the AFL-CIO Executive Council which explained in a 1959 statement that “government workers have no right to [collectively bargain] beyond the authority to petition Congress- a right available to every citizen.”


If Quebec didn't get transfer payments it would be in a similar situation as Wisconsin. But we get to sweep things under the rug longer.

No matter how you argue and dice it, there's a money crunch. It's a wave started in Europe and it has moved here. Someone will have to pay. Right now, it's the middle-class propping up things.


Politifact does some researching about Walker's plan.


50/50 looks like support in Wisconsin.


From Motherjones.


Well that's cute. Senators fleeing to avoid voting in Wisconsin.


I got a tip Red is ready to run for office.

White Man's Tax Burden

Dunno how France does it with the highest tax burden in the world.

Fair Tax

Website adovcating abolishing personal income tax in the USA.

How Much You Make?

Nothing right now.

Personal net earnings by city.

I have to admit I was surprised to see Toronto and Montreal that close. I wonder how significant the spread really is.

Holy Cross Coach Lands In Trouble

This was one of the most unique sports videos I've ever seen. Especially the last couple of minutes where former Holy Family basketball player Matt Kravchuk turns down coach John O'Connor's apology.

I don't know if his commitment to the phrase "it was an accident" helped his cause.

Makes you wonder how Bobby Knight got away with it all those years.

Athletes are less willing to tolerate abusive coaches these days.

More Firearms Stats

International Firearms Statistics.

"Total deaths involving firearms" stat for Canada stands at about 4% or right around the average. Meanwhile, the U.S. (10 times the population with more guns) is at 14 and seven times the average.

Both are above European rates.

Snoozing On The Beat

This is hilarious. SQ cops caught sleeping and then issuing a ticket!

Reading Comprehension

It's a bit silly of me to do this since the majority of my readers are an intellectually elevated and well-informed bunch - more so than me - but still wanted to go over something.

Reading comprehension is part of the critical thinking process.

Let's take one of my posts on Wisconsin. In it, I asked a question to readers about whether they felt there was an 'assault on unions.' I didn't offer my own opinion yet the responses were directed at me as if I did. Saying "I don't understand' or that 'I'm a piece of shit' is beyond lacking critical thinking. It's a failure of proper reading comprehension.

I love the "you don't know anything" line. That's the point of this blog. People who think they know and cling to their positions, know little in the end.

That I link about it is not a reflection of my opinion. That's projection. It's very possible to link to things one may not agree with.

If you don't make a connection or something is unclear, it's not a signal to go beserk with all sorts of accusations, counterfactuals and ad hominen attack. Sometimes it's a mistake, sometimes clarification helps to maintain integrity.

I welcome, heck yearn, for challenging debating. It can even get heated. However, debating is an art form and commands a certain marriage of passion and logic. Anyone can "debate" and still suck at it just like "anyone" can "play" soccer and suck at it.

Read, assess, answer while staying true to the content of the question.

That's the hard part.

As you were.


Neo-Liberalism In Britain

Article on British Neo-Liberal democrats in The Liberal.

Spirit Of Montreal Art

Montreal's music scene doing a-okay.

From The Atlantic:

"Though Montreal may not have the commercial punch of Nashville, its musical assets extend far beyond Arcade Fire. In a study of Montreal's creative economy I conducted with Stolarick and consultant Lou Musante in the early-2000s, we found musicians from around North America relocating there to take advantage of the city's historic and cultural heritage, openness (when the nationalists remain under their rocks), and affordable real estate. Montreal is also home to Cirque de Soleil, a cultural force in its own right.

Upon accepting the award for best record, Win Butler, the leader of Arcade Fire--who hails originally from Texas--noted the bond between music and his adopted city. "I just want to say thank you, merci, to Montreal, Quebec, for taking us and giving us a home and a place to be in a band." Talking with reporters after the show he added: "There's such a beautiful arts scene and music and dance (and) a lot of creative forces there." This is clearly a guy who thinks a lot about place: his band's award winning album is titled "The Suburbs."

True, the rise of Nashville and the smaller but influential scenes in Montreal and elsewhere will not threaten the position of LA, NY and London atop the pop commercial music hierarchy. But intriguing and influential indie rock scenes have grown up in far flung places, from Austin and Seattle to Portland (home to The Decembrists) and Omaha (home to Conor Oberst), not to mention the rise of Atlanta as an R&B and hip-hop mecca - where the much-talked about meeting between Bieber and Usher took place.


Quebec Blog

Coalition pour L'avenir du Quebec (Coalition for the future of Quebec) up and running.

Always good to see the population engaged. Therefore, ergo, hence, it gets a plug here.

Man Beats Ticket Rap

I've seen this particular trap many times and that's exactly what it is: A trap. It has nothing to do with "public safety." In fact, they often do it in morning rush hour thus ensuring the people they pinch are late for daycare and work.

Things are so poorly indicated on the Met service road it's easy to "catch" people for infractions. I often have to do a double take to make sure I'm not breaking a road law due to poor urban configurations.

Police Injustice

Don't try and tell me it doesn't happen. It does.

Police brutality article in The Mirror.

The question is, how frequent is it and does it matter?


Hey, just following orders. It's just my job, right?

"The crops we grew last summer weren't enough to pay the loans

Couldn't buy the seed to plant this spring and the farmers bank foreclosed
Called my old friend Schepman up to auction off the land
He said, "John, it's just my job and I hope you understand"
Hey, calling it your job, ol' hoss, sure don't make it right
But if you want me to I'll say a prayer for your soul tonight."


The problem? Speaking of credit. It's that there's an over reliance on these magical ratios the number crunchers focus on. "B-b-but our ratios show..."

The human element? Whoooosh.


Hardest Sports To Play

Espn's Page 2 generally comes up with good stuff. For example, this one about ranking sports by their degree of difficulty.

Soccer is ranked #10 and top 8 in endurance. As a guy who dabbled in swimming and has been known to ride a race bike  for 100km (about 3 hours), I was surprised to see long-distance cycling ahead of swimming. Swimming is hard.

The amount of running and jogging on a pitch by soccer players averages to about 10-11 km per game. Getting hacked and knocked around for 10ks takes its toll for sure.

Boxing and ice hockey are 1 and 2. Can't really argue with that.

Assaulting Unions

Is what Governor Walker in Wisconsin is doing an "assault on unions" as President Obama has said?

Aside from that, and this question is best directed at my American friends, does Obama interfere in local and state matters more than past Presidents? I always understood that state independence was important and for that reason most Presidents tended to shy away from commenting on state issues.


Everyone in the West knows there's a financial crunch. We can waste time and energy playing a blame game but it won't solve anything. At some point, cutting back on spending (of whatever kind) will be the great challenge for modern economies.

A quote on demographics from Current History:

"Most nations are failing to come to grips with demographic challenges despite advance warning. Washington seems dysfunctional in the face of looming costs associated with baby boomer retirements. The problems of aging populations are even worse for Japan (which still discourages immigration), China (which retains its one-child policy), and Europe."


The Black Line Shrimp

I hate shrimp.

Calvin And Hobbes Part Quattre

I wish I was this smart.

Calvin And Hobbes Part Tre

Aw, man. Totally agree with Calvin on this one.

Calvin And Hobbes Forever Part Two


Calvin And Hobbes Forever

I've mentioned on and off I consider Calvin & Hobbes an iconic cultural comic. It's so good I can't explain it. In fact, since Bill Watterson stopped no comic strip has captivated me since.

The next few posts are an hommage to the strip based on this site.

I agree with the selections. Let's begin with poor farmer Brown. Pretty much summarizes my internal imagination:

Townshend's Open Love

John The Commentator McEnroe

I was watching Mr. Deeds earlier. John McEnroe was in the movie. I realized I share (d) a couple of things with McEnroe. One, he's a lefty. Like me. Two, once upon a time, I had a wicked temper on the sports scene. Although it softened quite a bit in my mid-to late 20s. Injuries do that to you. Yes, I was known to hurl a tennis or squash racket or two. That being said, you couldn't goad me into any Zidane-esque idiocy. Three, I have a similar build as McEnroe; slender. Four, I have a similar technique on my drop shot as my buddy - a tennis pro - once told me.

Despite these similarities, McEnroe was nuts. I never went quite that far. Except for one or two episodes. I once kicked dirt on a ref as he wrote in his notebook after cautioning me with a yellow card. I was then shown a red and asked to leave the pitch. It was my last year in elite soccer; a miserable season it turned out.

Not sure the point of this post though. Maybe I secretly yearn for you all to know me better. Or maybe it's the friggin gin tonic.

Corporate Taxes

There's a misconception about what companies will do from savings as a result of a lower corporate tax rate.

Politicians and I guess some economists, believe it will encourage businesses to hire. Not it won't. Companies, of any size, don't think that way. What it does, and should do, is allow corporations to reinvest in their operations thus allowing to explore new markets in an effort to increase revenues. Only then can it lead to more hiring.

Modern Governments Have Serious Choices To Make

From Current History:

Excerpts with Lucien Crowder on global trends:

"...This is what history might say if it could talk (and fancied itself a wry wit). History might also observe, regarding the rich-world quandary that involves economic stagnation and fiscal imbalance, that governments are not very good at engaging dilemmas. They excel instead at crisis response...."

"...The International Monetary Fund estimates that advanced-world growth in 2010 was a mere 2.7 percent...Yet prospects for the year to come look less inspiring still. Businesses have finished restocking their inventories after letting them run down at the depths of the recession. Real estate markets remain critically weak. Many government stimulus programs are expiring or have expired. Central banks have expended their traditional options for sparking growth. The euro is forever on the verge of or in the midst of a crisis. Fiscal retrenchment is under way in several large economies and is inevitable in others. For all these reasons, advancedworld growth is projected in 2011 to decelerate to 2.2 percent."

"...Thus governments still must promote growth... At the same time they must reduce spending and increase taxes—though doing so will suppress the very growth they mean to encourage. Governments must also, for the sake of their countries’ long-term prosperity, increase expenditures in areas such as education and green-energy innovation. Alleviating a little human suffering might also be a nice gesture.

On the question of how to pursue these contradictory aims, reasonable people can disagree...If austerity is enacted now, is it just in time, somewhat too soon, or far too late?...

Indeed, how to determine that? Unless a politician is endowed with conviction to solve problems, most will just defer the problem until it simply explodes.

The United States, so proud of its separation of powers and deliberative legislative process, cannot achieve even the vaguest consensus on how to pare its deficit, and now pursues shortterm growth almost exclusively through budgetbusting tax cuts. Each of these economies—three of the world’s four largest—faces a different variety of the growth-and-retrenchment dilemma. Has each identified a unique path to failure?"

On China:

"...The boundless masses of poor Chinese who have ascended to the middle class, and for those who still can expect to do so, this is excellent news. It is also good news, generally speaking, for the country’s trading partners. To be sure, China faces stiff challenges. These include long-term problems like negative demographic trends and profound environmental degradation; medium-term economic concerns such as how to invigorate moribund domestic consumption and reduce reliance on low-wage manufacturing; systemic issues such as official corruption and excessive government interference in the private sector; and appalling deficits in democracy, transparency, and individual rights. Still, now and for the foreseeable future, the Chinese production line hums."

He also mentions India and Latin American as part of that expanding growth trend.


Coke Recipe Revealed

They make it sound so healthy.

Nutmeg? Coriander? I love nutmeg and coriader!

Teachers Can Play Rough Too

Wo. I mean, what happened to all we're supposed to be "civil" thing?


God bless teachers. Really. They play a vital role in civil society. But spare me the "quality will suffer if you don't get this" crap.

And let's face it, there are a lot of teachers who don't deserve squat. They in fact should be fired.

Final Jeopardy With Watson

Watson has some work to do. But he sure knows how to wager.


Wisconsin Tackles Entitlement

Speaking of entitlements in North America mentioned by Zeus in a comment, Wisconsin is starting to address the issue. A domino effect?

Arcade Fire Can Sing - En Francais

They say "La Fete Nationale" is for "all" Quebecers. I never believed that. And with stories like this, it confirms my suspicion. Until they prove it to me, I don't celebrate June 24.

We usually go to Vermont on that day. Who needs the the bull?

In my opinion, Arcade Fire shouldn't even bother. Separatists could care less they won an Emmy. I mean, we're dealing with people who gave grief to uber-legend Paul McCartney - a fricken Beatle.

Taxi Driver Loses In Court

I understand this taxi driver is subject to transportation laws, but who damn cares what he puts in his car?

I don't. But that's me. I guess some people take offense. I'd be asking the guy all sorts of questions, then I'd pay him and move on with my life. If I took cabs that is.

Once again, to play this broken record, it's called freedom of expression.


I mentioned this in the past, and now actively seek opinions.

Anti-tax sentiment seems to be growing across North America. Taxpayers pasee more and more taken but less and less in return. It helps little to see it go into places like bail outs for corporations and into hidden departments and subsidies that have little or no impact on their immediate lives.

It got me thinking. It's time to democratize taxes. People should get to pick and choose where their taxes are spent. How to achieve this?

I'm not sure but, simplistically, I thought of presenting a taxpayer with a form each year where they can check out a box they feel their money should go. On that list you could find anything from foreign aid in whatever form, animal shelters, charities - whatever. It would reflect the general values of a nation. If you feel an environmental group deserves some money, then check the box.

Of course, certain things won't be up for debate. Areas identified as "necessity" to a civil society would have to be taxed. I'm not a nut about it. The traditional paying taxes for roads, police, security and other things like even public education (although I'm tempted to put it on the list) and health. The last two could also be a choice or they would have to pay less into it as a "compassion" contribution. If people choose to opt-out of the public system, let them. If they can afford private services God bless them and let the state take care of those who can't.

Wouldn't it be a good way to manage money? It would make the goverment be more diligent with the money they receive since that can't arbitrarily increase taxes and/or waste it on things like arenas. Money will be scarce for them - as it should be. Like the rest of us.

Anyway. I welcome more enlightened ideas or thoughts.

Man Runs Things

I keep hearing about how it's "necessary" the state regulates, well, human behavior.

I reject this notion outright. I have no issue the government acting as a "concious" voice but to actively seek legislation against our personal will is immoral - to me. There's a wide gap between their good intentions and the unintended consequences of their actions. For if they're going to legislate laws they'd better be the best and the brightest. The state is only as good as the people who run it and these days I'm not impressed.

Years ago, my father-in-law, a pious man, told me something interesting. He had been part of various Churches most of his life starting as an Alter boy all the way to being President of his Church. A decent, smart and honest man, he was also pragmatic.

We talked about organized religion and theology many times. I asked him, one day (as opposed to many), what he thought about the state of the Catholic church and he replied, "Always remember, the Church is not run by God but man."

That sentence tells many truths and reflects many realities. He didn't have to delve further into it.

It can be transferred into the political organ known as the state. Man runs the state. I don't believe a politcian has my best interest at heart. As such, it is vulnerable to all the vices men of the Church face. Corruption, sex scandals and waste all take place within the state.

Why would anyone who questions the authority of the Church not do the same for the State?

Mistaking The Real Deal For An Imitation

At a country fair there was a Buffoon who made all the people laugh by imitating the cries of various animals. He finished off by squeaking so like a pig that the spectators thought that he had a porker concealed about him. But a Countryman who stood by said: “Call that a pig’s squeak! Nothing like it. You give me till tomorrow and I will show you what it’s like.” The audience laughed, but next day, sure enough, the Countryman appeared on the stage, and putting his head down squealed so hideously that the spectators hissed and threw stones at him to make him stop. “You fools!” he cried, “see what you have been hissing,” and held up a little pig whose ear he had been pinching to make him utter the squeals.

The Buffoon and The Countryman, “Men often applaud an imitation and hiss the real thing.”

I know it's not a perfect example, but this Aesop Fable reminds me of food critics. More often than not, it's subjective and it wouldn't surprise me if they reject an authentic dish for an imitation.

We've all heard about how wine or beer snobs get fooled or people who think they can tell the difference between tap and bottled water. Even stock pickers get fooled. How many, to take another track, singers have made it big despite not having a voice that matches their fame while someone with an angelic one is almost destitute? People get fooled by all sorts of things.

A critics report (and to be sure, some critics are valuable) is usually accompanied with a numerical rating; to try and bring some objectivity to something subjective. I'm not big on "ratings." That a restaurant has 'four Michelin' stars means squat to me; even less when a Chef commits suicide over them. Seems to me we put too much emphasis on what critics think. How did they get so powerful? Chefs critiquing other chefs I can digest better. But listening to a 25 year-old writer from The New Yorker is a little much for me. 

Sometimes I've watched movies where I feel a 'group think' mentality sets in deeming it "great" but when you see it you wonder what the fuss was all about. It happens from time to time. Place like Rotten Tomatoes reduce the "volatility beta" of subjective rating by taking a global average from many critics. Food, and in particular channels like The Food Network, have yet to perfect their craft. I mean, I'm not there to taste the food myself therefore I'm left to put complete trust into a complete stranger. That they are "famous" is not comfort to me.

Furthermore, that a blog post gets 4 stars means squat to me also. Is the person rating it on the content or do they disagree with it? Makes a difference to me. I can rate something favorably even if I disagree with it as long as it's properly supported and coherent, but I doubt it's like that for some.

That a student gets 90% in history means squat to me. All it tells me is they were able to ace the curriculum but it's possible they come understanding little about history as an artistic discipline.

Throwing A WMD Curveball

Originally, part of the German intelligence agency, 'Curveball' eventually provided intelligence on Iraq WMDs to the United States. Turns out he lied and has been lying his ass off ever since about everything.

The last 10 seconds of the report is hilarious.

'Curveball' is more like 'Spitball.'


Concussions Takes Its Toll

A major injury in sports threatening careers are concussions in sports - particularly hockey and football. Soccer has its share but they haven't begun facing that reality.

There has been a proliferation of cases in the last 15 years or so namely because diagnosis has evolved and

One of the first, if not the first, athlete I can remember calling it quits because of repeated concussions was Pat Lafontaine and since then it seems as though more and more and more people are afflicted with it.

Today we found out about a hockey player - someone we know through friends of ours - who suffered his third concussion.

He's 16.

Not good. In fact, he has to strongly consider pulling the plug on any dreams he may have had. It only gets harder and more vicious from this point on.


Despite my intense interest in them, I don't miss team sports at all. I got sick of hearing coaches say stupid things like "be aggressive!" for its own sake or "first on the ball" even if it had little impact on the development of a particular play. We were taught more to be instinctual than to be thoughtful; to waste rather than conserve.

More often than not, coaches loved the aggressive lunatic who could barely control the puck, pass a soccer ball or bounce a basketball but could deliver a severe physical hit that put the fear into opponents.

I got a little fed up of watching those guys be praised.


The NHL is heavily criticized for its perceived lack of will in dealing with concussions. On some levels, the criticism is fair and justified. A few suspensions they've doled out have been a complete and utter joke and lacked any consistency. But it's not really their fault players like Matt Cooke, Bryan Marchment and Ulf Samuelsson unleash their dirty play on the league. The NHL is not in the business of developing individuals or teaching morality.

For that, it starts with parents and coaches. It begins at the lower levels where sport is being taught at a young age. Somewhere along the line we're not teaching A) kids properly to play a sport and B) to play with any values. Somewhere along that line, someone is not taking a kid aside and saying, "hey, that's not cool."

One can even assert, probably, the opposite is happening.

Most kids can't even execute a slide tackle efficiently. Anyone can bulldoze someone and call it a "tackle" but there's an art to the slide tackle; and it can be achieved without injuring someone. Indeed, I used to pick the ball clean from players with little or no contact.

Not only that, even simple drills and skills like sending a through ball to a striker was lacking. If I were to guess, in both organized or non-organized sports - at least three quarters of people in them didn't know the art of the game they participated in. Someone can play a game and even look reasonably good at it and still be deficient.

It's at that point we fail to teach kids.

So it's not surprising I'm hearing what's happening at all. Kids are told to focus on an opposing player of high caliber and to pummel them. A good, clean, solid bodycheck should not result in a concussion anymore a slide tackle shouldn't result in a blown out knee (excluding bad luck of course).

It's not sport but bloodsport at that point.

Weight Coalition Weighs In

Just more tyrannical solutions to a social problem.

It still amounts to one person coercing another.

I'm surprised this wrongheaded approach is still being used.

This crap it will "save taxpayers" money holds no water. Know what will "save"money? Stop spending, and wasting on tenuous projects that, in part, lead to higher taxes thus eroding personal wealth.

Leave. People. Alone.


Obama's Budget Fails The Youth

Andrew Sullivan ain't too impressed with the President's budget:

"To all those under 30 who worked so hard to get this man elected, know this: he just screwed you over. He thinks you're fools. Either the US will go into default because of Obama's cowardice, or you will be paying far far more for far far less because this president has no courage when it counts. He let you down. On the critical issue of America's fiscal crisis, he represents no hope and no change. Just the same old Washington politics he once promised to end."

America appears headed towards stagflation - low growth and inflation.

State Of Public Health In Quebec

It's not pretty at all.

And they want to build a superhospital before fixing the mess we already have? The superhospital, mark these words, will be a superdisaster.

But we need a hockey arena! Don't these doctors get it?

It was bound to happen that doctors would begin to take matters into their own hands. Lasalle Hospital is the first. It hasn't been renovated since 1983. That's what happens when the purse strings remain within the bureaucracy.


If I were to signup on Ashley Madison or some other dating service I'd use the following username:


As you were.


"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

Cesare Beccaria

But it was a different time!


Banks On The Other Side Of Free Enterprise

In an earlier post, I mentioned BP is not an example of free enterprise. Neither are banks.

Timeless Bastiat

If there's one historical thinker I completely connect to it's Bastiat. His whole thought process mirrors what I have observed. To me, no one speaks more logically than he. Look beyond what you see.


"The essay applies the same reasoning to other situations in which people often focus only on the immediate impact of economic behaviour, such as military spending, art subsidies or public works programs. What is seen are the jobs of the soldiers, artists or labourers and the ripple effect of their spending. What is unseen is the economic activity foregone by the taxpayers who finance those operations. They would have used those funds to consume other goods and services, thereby spending the same total amount as the state – without wasting resources to collect, budget and spend the money."

Taxes work in the exact same way. People need to start thinking about its ill-effects. Not questioning the unseen consequences of taxes is not only foolish but a dereliction of our responsibility as citizens.

Personally, FDR and the "war led to prosperity" theories weren't meant to be taken at face value. Especially the latter. You can't decimate a civilization that way - twice I might add - and make back all that was lost. Sometimes I wonder if they regained everything.

"Economist Robert Higgs has persuasively argued that while mobilization ended chronic unemployment, actual prosperity only returned after the war. But even without the empirical argument, does the idea that war is economically beneficial make any sense? Can devoting resources to building weapons – goods that destroy other goods (and people) – really make us richer? What if, in order to save lives, the Axis and Allied powers had shot their bullets into the ground, bombed empty fields and sank their own ships at sea? And in that case, could we trigger a boom by simply paying people to dig holes and fill them up? Of course not, even if John Maynard Keynes himself wrote otherwise.

This argument is truly the mother of all broken window fallacies – and one wonders if anyone really believes it. After all, just as no one would tell the hero of Bastiat’s parable to smash more windows, no one would think it makes economic sense to intentionally demolish a city, flood a neighbourhood or start a war. Otherwise, vandalism would not be a crime but a civic duty! As Bastiat explained, “To break, to spoil, to waste, is not to encourage national labour; or, more briefly, ‘destruction is not profit.’” And yet Paul Krugman, among others, insists that spending almost $1.2 trillion on the Iraq and Afghan wars has boosted the US economy (most Americans disagree). Good news, America: a few more terrorist attacks, a couple more invasions, and happy days are here again! If only this kind of thinking were limited to satire."

Same with 9/11. It makes little sense to go through that kind of trouble to make some money. Seems to me there are better less sinister and messy ways to achieve that when you have the resources to do so.

Profits are not tied exclusively to a boom and destruction type of cycle.

Watson Debuts On Jeopardy!

I watched Jeopardy! earlier. One of the contestants was a computer named Watson.

The next frontier in computer technology courtesy of IBM.

Valentine's Day Iranian Style

Buoyed by the events in Egypt, Iran - who has been at it for some time - is giving protesting another go.

The only thing is the thugs that run Iran wouldn't think twice before unleashing the full force of its military on its own people.

Valentine's Day Part Deux

Tunnel of Love is probably one of Bruce Springsteen's most under rated albums. From the lyrics to the melodies, it's a remarkable album.

Valentine's Day is one of those wicked songs. Heck, it easily ranks up there with any thing in my collection when it comes to romance songs:


I'm driving a big lazy car rushin' up the highway in the dark
I got one hand steady on the wheel and one hand's tremblin' over my heart
It's pounding baby like it's gonna bust right on through
And it ain't gonna stop till I'm alone again with you
A friend of mine became a father last night
When we spoke in his voice I could hear the light
Of the skies and the rivers the timberwolf in the pines
And that great jukebox out on Route 39
They say he travels fastest who travels alone
But tonight I miss my girl mister tonight I miss my home
Is it the sound of the leaves
Left blown by the wayside
That's got me out here on this spooky old highway tonight
Is it the cry of the river
With the moonlight shining through
That ain't what scares me baby
What scares me is losin' you
They say if you die in your dreams you really die in your bed
But honey last night I dreamed my eyes rolled straight back in my head
And God's light came shinin' on through
I woke up in the darkness scared and breathin' and born anew
It wasn't the cold river bottom I felt rushing over me
It wasn't the bitterness of a dream that didn't come true
It wasn't the wind in the grey fields I felt rushing through my arms
No no baby it was you
So hold me close honey say you're forever mine
And tell me you'll be my lonely valentine...

This is why they call him The Boss.

Valentine's Day

Nothing says love like a...tire.

Stigmatizing Mental Illness

What bothers me about any type of prohibition (gun being the latest and marijuana the dumbest) is the utter lack of real thinking that goes into it. It seems we like to delude and fool ourselves with illusions than actually solve a problem. As if alcohol prohibition isn't enough of an air tight example of the folly of such nonsense. Criminalize something and you push it undergroung and then you end up arresting all sorts of people who pose no real threat to society.

Taxes is another measure we seem to believe achieves specific stated goals. They rarely do. Got a problem with the environment? Tax somerhing. Got a problem with obesity? Tax something. And so on.

When you think of it, there's no stopping how far we can prohibit things; all at the expense of personal liberty of course. Is there any other way?

It doesn't take a genius to figure out it's an inefficient way to solve problems.

From Psychiatry Online:

“...They are lumping people who have received mental health care in with criminals,” said Steven Hoge, M.D., director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York and a member of APA's Council on Psychiatry and Law.

“...There is no simple answer” when searching for ways to prevent gun violence, said Howard Zonana, M.D., a professor of psychiatry and a clinical adjunct professor of law at Yale University. “It needs multiple approaches.”

All we do is stigmatize.

That's the misguided approach we cling on to now, for what, 60 years?

What really gets my Calabrese goat is in cases where people defend their property because the cops were nowhere to be seen, say in a riot, with guns they're the ones who get arrested.

How is that justice? In what planet do you live to think this is right?


It's all about the illusion of doing something. Anything.

Day Care Update

I recently purchased quite a bit of items from a company who shall remain nameless and had the stock delivered to my daycare. When they arrived, the delivery guys asked me where to bring the stuff. I politely told them upstairs.

We're talking 10 lousy boxes here of average weight.

Later, a worker who was upstairs told me that one of the guys asked him to give them a hand.

That's why I'm reluctant to tip sometimes. People don't want to work anymore. As if the construction guys working my place don't have enough to do, the delivery guy feels compelled to ask him for help?

*Shakes head*

I think we're close to the day where a waiter or waitress will ask us to get our own dishes in a restaurant.


Obama's Egypt Performance

Military historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson has this conservative take.

Hanson once wrote:

"The Democratic Party reminds me of the Republicans circa 1965 or so – impotent, shrill, no ideas, conspiratorial, reactive, out-of-touch with most Americans, isolationist, and full of embarrassing spokesmen."

Hanson is a wonderful read when it comes to ancient warfare and history.

His politics, despite being a registered Democrat, is neoconservative. So he does call for aggressive American interventionism.

Nonetheless, I agree Obama has been less than inspiring and unconvincing when it came to Egypt. I can't quite put my finger on it but it just isn't jiving.


"In a change of government the poor change nothing beyond the name of their master."


Now I Can Take Out My Real Wardrobe

I suddenly feel empowered.

Bill-C 389 will change my life for-evah.

Only the NDP.


Sound And Film History

Still sounds better than Christina Aguilera singing the anthem.

Early French film:

Mubarak Steps Down

Geez, one minute he's staying, next he's going.

Who does he think he is? Brett Favre?

Now the real fun begins in Egypt.

More Clowns

I always like to remind Quebecers and Canadians so busy bashing Americans and characters like Palin and Beck that we have our very own right here.

Oh, shut up already.

Nasty little piece of work this guy. Reminds me of Cotton.

There I go again referencing American culture. The nerve.

Meh. Quebec TV once had a man call Canada "a nation of assholes" on prime time TV during a sports show no less. Not one person challenged him for his remarks. I know, I checke for two days. Nothing. Niente. Rien. Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nyet. Negative.

Truth is, you hear a lot of crap like this on the air. Worse, the dude you see listening? That's Mario Dumont (who went to Concordia University) and was once the leader of a party (ADQ) here in Quebec.

*Face palm*

In the States, fifty blogs go up within seconds of any little thing Palin says. Here? You hear nothing but excuses for what amounts to insipid racism.

And they have the poutine balls to insult Americans?

At least in the United States, people call each other out.

It's too easy to say guys like this are in the minority. Maybe it is indeed up to bloggers to expose what basically is ignorance and racism hiding behind an ugly veil of cultural nationalism.

By the way, we  moved to Laval in 1976. I represened this city when it decided to create its first elite soccer team.

I gave my knees to Laval!

$2000 for blogging in English, chalice de tabernak!

The Pseudo-Multi-Linguist Commentator

Perché non ho blog in francese o in italiano?

Tout d'abord, mon français (l'italien encore pire) écrit est faible. J'ecoutais pas a l'ecole.J'ai manqué les leçons sur...de toute façon. Deuxiemement, mon ordinateur n'est pas correctement équipé avec des symboles de grammaire (diacritiques etc.) française.

Maudit. Enfin, les Américains se sentent perdus.

Alora, a questo punto, cambiamo linqua per va vedere o illustrare io sono un pazzo linquistic. Mi dispiace, ma che poi fare? Sono tropo vecchio (non, aspetta, lenta) per insegnare a me stesso. Comunque, chesenefreg i Italiani?

Waste, Waste, Waste

Maybe we should rename Premier Jean Charest, Jean Wasteme.

So what does a have-not province, with all sorts of social problems with its welfare infrastructure- including a struggling public health sector and recently Crown prosecutors looking to go on strike) and swimming in a $400 billion debt do?

Why, build a $400 million arena - with public funds! Bring back the Nordiques, tabernak!

Notice how not one private investor stepped up. That's a red flag right there. Shoot, not even the Feds have stepped into the mudicehole. Though, I think that may change. I've never seen two without three when it comes to having a chance to waste money.

Mind you, we have such a parochial business class here they couldn't be bothered to buy the Montreal Canadiens over a decade ago before being snatched up by an American  - true to our colours, we complained about that - and we all saw what transpired with the Montreal Expos when an American carpetbagger taught our boys a business lesson.

I'm a sports fan. Probably more so than the average person. To me, public funds shouldn't be used to build anything of this sort. If the private sector wants this, let them pay for it since they feel they can profit. In this instance, I don't see how we will profit. I mean, there's no evidence the Nordiques will even come back. Sure, some may see this as a stepping stone in that direction but only a fool would drop coin on uncertainties.

In the States, the American sports fan is constantly ripped off by sports owners who take zero risk and reap 100% of the profits all on the taxpayers dime.

Sorta like how we get misled out of personal income tax to pay for stuff we'd likely never pay for if we had a say.

DLC Folding?

The Democratic Leadership Council looks like is in trouble.

Libel Suit Filed

Global warming scientist sues GW skeptic.

Should be interesting.

Lord, imagine the lawsuits on the politics side!


American-Egyptian History

I haven't gone through them but here's an excellent resource on American-Egyptian relations.

Not every single article covers the relationship.

The CIA once backed the Muslim Brotherhood.

Send In The Clowns

Hey, American friends, wanna see a clown pretend to be a politician?

You may have your share of nuts but we have a few up here too.

Pierre Curzi (he so hates me for referencing decadent American culture) once threatened to remove the vote from Anglo-Quebecers living on the West-Island. He also wasted precious breath - doesn't he know we need to preserve, erm, oxygen? - claiming there was a concerted conspiratorial effort on the part of the Montreal Canadiens to purposely keep French-Quebecers off the fabled hockey club.

He's an elected official.

*Face palm*

Mubarak Hangs On

Stubborn guy.

Gadhafi's Petro-Canada Threat

He's a laugh a minute this guy in Libya.

Mind you, it would probably please many people in this country. Nationalization is a-okay round these parts.

CBC's Anti-Americanism


Daycare Update

The woulda, coulda, shoulda's are starting.

BP Not An Example Of Free Enterprise

I wish people would stop citing BP as an example for "failed capitalism." BP was nearly from the onset a public corporation. Closer to home, same thing with Air Canada or any other former Crown corporation gone private. Over the years, I've known quite a few people - friends in fact - who haved worked and still work for AC.

One friend of mine, an engineer, took over a calcified division of AC on the aircraft maintainance side. Some of the characters he talks about remind me of those POWs or lost soldiers who still roam the jungles of Vietnam unaware the war is over. They were so conditioned under hopelessly inefficient management while being overpaid, they literally rebelled when he came in with a mandate to clean up the division.

As for Enron, that was an anomaly; an exception. Not the rule. Still. Be prepared. There will be others. Here in Canada too. Bre-X anyone? However, it's not a reason to go all nutty on the concept of capitalism. We can use it to discuss it's shortcomings, sure, but not as an example of its alleged evils.

Over 5 000 companies (if not more) across several indices in the United States and Canada are publicly listed. And still more not listed. The overwhelming majority are not Enron's in the making. Sure, some are unprofitable and backed by subsidies and others are propped up by government cronies but as a whole, the army of small-medium sized (and true free-standing large ones) businesses keep capitalism sane.

More often than not, companies (we forget oil companies are largely owned and backed by governments. None of the major ones could possibly exist abroad without government backing) that blow up are the ones that were merged with state interests thus leading to a monopoly or even an oligarchy.

The two shouldn't mingle.

Just a perception.


Canada Lacks Transparency

Well, as a blogger who researches and looks for information regarding Canada, I've been frustrated since it's very hard to gain access to information. It's a recurring theme here about the lack of transparency here. It may have something to do with how Canadians tend to comment so much more on anything related to the United States.

I'm not surprised by this at all.

Canadians don't exert enough pressure on our political establishment to demand better access to information.

Edit Ourselves Out Of Existence

I'm still waiting for someone to edit out the word "faggot" that appears several times in Aesop's Fables.

Edit history and just be done with it.

And then we can all get together and feel alright...la, la, la.

Amazing Stunts With A Football

This is just plain sick.

At the very least Johnny McEntee deserves a serious look and shot.


Years and years ago I was at Montreal Impact game. Or was it the Supra? I can't remember. It was the early 1990s. Probably the Impact. Whatever. My friend had tickets and so I went along. At halftime, there was a guy from Poland who did all sorts of amazing things with the soccer ball including juggling it with his feet - my record is 557 without a bounce...fyi.

Oh, how could I play. I'm ready for my close-up Mr. DeMille.

Anyway. While the crowd was in awe (as I was), I told my friend, "Yeah, but can he play?"

I'm sure a lot of people want to find this out with McEntee.

Hey, Guido!

Just wanted to make mention of this. Not to be sensitive or anything, but given the politically charged atmosphere, I'm surprised this writer got away with thr following. Can you spot it?

"'...A&E reality show featured Victoria Gotti, the middle-aged daughter of a famous mob boss -- John "the Teflon Don" Gotti, head of the Gambino crime family -- and her three lustrously-haired Guido-esque sons, Carmine, John Jr., and Frank. It lasted three short seasons, of a highly -- what’s the polite phrase here? -- “stylized” version of reality, before succumbing to general indifference..."

Guido-esque? We call them "Gino's" or "Joe Mignone" round these parts.

I wonder if we replaced that word with another to describe a different ethnicity, say, Asian, black or Hispanic, what the reaction would have been?

As far as I've been told (and scolded), these terms are a "perjorative." So how does "Guido" to describe Italians not one?

Speaking of ethnicity South Carolina state senator Robert Ford has caused a stir.

I don't have blue eyes. For the record.

Regulating The Internet A Matter Of Time

What fascinates me is how people who build their wealth freely or in an industry that was at one point or another free of state intervention, turn around and then turn all governmental on the rest of us?

If the government gets its hands on the internet it'll be the greatest shill game yet. It's not a matter of "if" but "when." If they're talking about it then they're scheming to further control you. This time it won't be under the guise of "saving costs" or something but to protect us from our web misbehaviors and, well, national security. There's always an excuse to expand forms of tyranny. Too bad people just can't get too excited over these things.

I mean, these are the same dolts who want to arrest (and in some circles execute) Julian Assange.

Despotic tyrants. Every single one of them.

Paf! Whack! Bif! Shlock! Shlack!

Oh, sorry. Right. It has to be beaten into me every once in a while. It's for the "betterment" of mankind and for my own good.

I apologize for my insolence and ignorant stab at independent thought. I kneel before you...Leviathan.

*Throws dead flowers*


If taxes were increased back then, those short-sighted morons could have saved the Kraken! 

Speaking of which...observe the picture. That's what excessive government (not government itself as an overall entity but constant intrusion) regulation is capable of doing: Capsizing free enterprise and free flow of innovative ideas.

Personally, I think the ship has already sunk. When you put an 80 year-old barber out of business for an expired barber license forcing him back to school, you know you're sunk. Check it out at SE. It's for true. In Oregon. No one factors in the negative consequences of such actions not just on an economy but on the population.

For cutting hair!

What part of leave people alone don't we grasp anymore?


Liberal Bias In Academia

More talk on "liberal" bias in academia.

I've seen a few of these over the last few years. Martin Kramer spends some time on this issue as well.

My personal experience in University? I think on a whole, most professors may have swung "left" (one in particular flat out admitted it) but I never really sensed any intolerance towards any particular beliefs held by students. They may have been a tad over-zealous from time to time but nothing that left me annoyed.

In other words, I doubt a professor failed someone for holding a different view. As long as they supported their claims, professors were open. That's my recollection. Maybe it's different for others.

I was hardly "liberal" and still did very well. In fact, I challenged the very professor who admitted his liberal stance (which I respected) and he graded me fairly with my "on the other hand" approach and opinion. Again, the trick was to present a well-reasoned and researched idea supported by facts and creative writing.

These days, I have a couple of buddies who have taught and currently teach in Universities. One was of the belief not only was liberalism rampant but a sorry version of socialism infested its halls. All they wanted to do was go on strike; en greve as it were in French. The other is not in politics but in architecture and takes a more measured stance. Nonetheless, he feels, if push came to shove, a leftist mentality is more prevalent than any other. In his discipline, for example, unions have a negative impact on his trade and, well, unions are...? Anyone? Bueller?

There Is No God

Act like a leftist, but profit like a rightist.

$315 million for The Huffington Post?

Ok. Nikk, you win. I'm an atheist from now on.

If you pay close attention, that's some exclusive circle of cash and friends. Looks like a neat shill game to me.

Loyal readers aren't happy about it either.

And I thought it was "evil" to not pay your workers - in this case bloggers. Shit, they have a President who keeps blabbing on about "sharing the wealth."

Anti-corporate and sweatshop article on Huffington in 3-2-1...

Article Linking Vaccines To Autism Removed

Remember Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s irresponsible article linking vaccinations to autism? Major news outlet carried it and many people erroneously believed it.

Now Salon is removing it from its website.

Does this go under "Faux news?"

This happens more often than not with science articles specious in nature.


Reagan In the News

If Obama inherited a bad economy, so too did Reagan when he took over from Carter. Inflation hovered around 13% and unemployment flirting with 10%. By the time he was done, it was down to 5.5% and 4.5% respectively. Though such stats can mean anything. For example, what was its impact on poverty?

Reagan's term, as is usually the case, is filled with contradictions. As a Republican conservative, spending exploded under Reagan (blamed on tax cuts) but offset by an expanding GDP. By his second term, spending was drastically scaled back while GDP increased further. Yet, despite this, the wealth didn't seem to spread.

And so the debate about this rages.

Now, of course, his policies have left a legacy filled with debate. On one side, he laid - so conservatives argue - the foundations to American econmic expansion of the 1990s, and on the other, he was the perpetuator of "trickle-down" economics that allegedly increased the income inequality gap - likely attributed to a process beginnin in the 1970s.

There's still much to consider as this study attempts to show.

"What is surprising is the apparent lack of progress against poverty throughout the 1980s. In a decade that featured one of the longest peacetime economic expansions in U.S. history, the share of all persons in poverty actually rose moderately. It appears that the benefits of robust economic growth "trickled down" to the poor in declining measure."

Thus, the question becomes - and it ties to the opening of this post - why then did poverty rise with unemployment decreasing and GDP expanding? One way is to not measure poverty against only income but to consumptions instead.

Other explanations in the link provided include demographics:

"A significant demographic shift that might have affected income povertyrates in the 1970s and 1980s was the surge in divorce and out-of-wedlock births. Because female-headed households typically have the highest poverty rates of all family types, growth in this population translates strongly into poverty growth."

And changes in welfare arrangements:

"Changes in government transfer policies(such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children) appear to be a more promising explanation. Reforms initiated by the Reagan administration in 1981 made welfare participation less attractive, which may have resulted in lower incomes for some of the poor and near-poor."

It concludes:

"A first look at the consumption poverty data suggests at the very least that the picture of increasing inequality and the failure of the 1980s' "rising tide" to lift all boats may be exaggerated. The poor appear to benefit from a vigorously expanding economy now as much as before. After considering this new evidence, it is not at all clear that a policy to promote overall growth (and hence to expand aggregate consumption opportunities) is of declining interest to Americans below the poverty line."

Of course, none of this will probably satiasfy those who simply believe it was an economy made and provided for by the rich.


30 years on and it seems like America is right back in the same mood it found itself under Carter. Then along came President Obama who was and is seen as a "transformative" figure. As such, he had and still possesses a powerful asset in his favor.

So why has his message seemingly stalled so far?

I suppose one can look at JFK and Reagan to see what differentiated him from them. One gets the sense JFK and Reagan spoke to the people. It was all about what you can do and not what the state can do as Obama espouses.

Unions Fat On Dough

I heard on the radio by a labour expert that Quebec unions pull in $800-830 million in profits.

Can't find further information on this.

If he's correct, man, that's a lot of cash.

That's too much for an entity that, in my opinion, drags down innovation and progress.


Some Recipes

My daughter adores this dish and find myself making it often enough. I like it because it combines a good dose of protein, carbs and dairy in one dish.

I make it a little differently; never used garlic. I'm going to try it next time. Also, I cook the egg with the pasta on their own and then combine it with the onion, pancetta mixture. Like Chuck, I don't use cream and neither should you. It's not a real carbonara using it. I've also been to restaurants who use North American bacon. It's not the same thing. Bacon is too smokey for such a dish. I made it with bacon once and felt it took away from the spirit of a true carbonara. I definitely use parmiggiano. I don't buy pecorino (sheep cheese) often but we often have gran padano or other similar cheeses and mix it.

Last, I try to use spaghetti as much as possible but I'm not a zealot about it. I've used bucatini, fettucine and even short pastas like farfalli and rigatoni (my daughter loves those). Hey, sometimes you just have to be pragmatic about it.

Garnish? I use whole crushed black pepper and fresh parsely.

Chef Chuck cracks another one of my favorite: Saltimbocca. You can make it with chicken or veal.

I once made a variation of this recipe that included seasonal figs. Not the biggest fig fan but in a veal involtini or saltimbocca, it's divine.

Check out Chef Chuck for many interesting takes on Italian classics.

Penicillin Shortage

Earlier today we took the little imp with a girlie voice (aka my daughter), to a private clinic (ah, the peace and timeliness of it all!) to see a doctor. Turns out she has Strep throat.

But that's not the point of the post. The point is we discovered there's a penicillin shortage and no one seems to know why.

We were given an alternative. A 'bazooka to kill a fly' medicine apparently. But what can we do? Strep is contagious and needs immediate attention. Reminds me of this scene in Team America: World Police:

Anyway. Where are all the investigative journalists?

Lessgo. Snap, snap.

Canada Needs A New Foreign Policy Act

I saw the loss of the UN security seat pretty much as explained here.

Just because we're "Canada" it doesn't mean we're entitled to anything.

And it's not just under Harper as Mr. Sands at the Hudson Institute explains (link above). One of my biggest beefs with the Liberals in the 1990s was the perception of smug, self-entitlement precluding us from speaking with any true conviction on issues. Yes, the economy boomed and a relatively stable period, but it was also matched with a valueless outlook on important issues. They were confusing if not inept in the realm of international affairs. We came off as, well, second-rate.

The PM and President Hammer Out Deal

A link to President Obama and Prime Minister Harper on their recent meeting on CPAC.

30 minutes long.

Mostly about border security, trade and of course energy. It's actually a pretty big and important meeting between the two nations. One of the challenges is fighting terrorism without disrupting trade.

For Canada, it always comes down to balancing our national sovereignty and political realities with the U.S. It's almost a damn if you or don't scenario. Canadians are sensitive to "giving" too much of our national interest.

Mind you, this is a reoccuring theme in our history. The "sell-out" of Canada has been with us since the BNA Act in 1867.

Obese Canadians Exist

A couple of years ago, in response to Canadians assuming we were in better shape than Americans, I posted statistics regarding obesity rates in this country. Our picture was far from grand. In Quebec in particular, the population smokes more than anyone in the country and exercises the least.

Once again, I remind about our rates here from the Heart and Stroke foundation.

Of course, naturally, we seek a top-bottom solution:

"The Canadian government should ban trans fat, introduce new standard nutrition labels for front-of-food packaging and launch a major public-awareness campaign to promote healthy food choices and physical activity, a House of Commons committee “shocked” by the increase in youth obesity says."


Me? I'm lean and in solid shape despite various injuries.


Going Modern

And, in light (perhaps even honor) of the discovery of a lost Amazon trrrrrribe, it's a good time to mention that for my recent birthday (yes, I celebrate "a birthday") - Aquarians are the best - my family got me an E-Reader.

It's the most technological thing I own now.

Isolated Tribe Now Has Friends

How long before we, the civilized, go in and tame these savages with agricultural rules, taxes, demands for free trade and conversion to secularism?

They have no clue what just happened to them. Camera crews, Discovery, scientisits, psychologists will invade their peaceful (assuming I am), inner-sanctum.

I can just see environmentalists going in and demanding they conform to their green laws.

Ecoperson: Here are your recycled bags and twirly light bulbs. Oh, and don't even think of using energy. Besides, you've lived without it up until now. Ha, ha. We must do our part to save the planet.

Tribespokesperson: ?

Translation: But...you can't get more "green" than us!


Castle Doctrine Should Go Canadian

I like the 'Castle Doctrine.'
Each time I read a story like this it leaves me scratching my head.

“I hear some people, some being police officers, some being Crown attorneys, some being ordinary people, say we don’t want vigilantism, to which I can only give an emphatic pardon me?” Mr. Burlew said. “When you’re under attack, it’s not a vigilante act. Vigilantism talks about vengeance and retribution. This is about saving your life and saving your property."

How is it vigilantism to protect one's property and life? And what the heck does using "reasonable" force even mean in the heat of the moment?


Sometimes at night, I think about what I would do if someone tried to come in to my house. If I were to protect my family using what the state refers to as "excessive force," it would be me explaining myself to the cops.

Patently absurd.

To me it can't get any clearer or simpler: Enter another man's house unlawfully be prepared for the consequences. And that's where the law should end and begin. See how fast "home invasions" disappear. You think for one second punks wouldn't think twice knowing citizens are ready to fight back and with the law on their side?

Anyway. This guy shouldn't spend one day in jail. I don't buy the vigilante crap. He's not going out into society looking for trouble.