Tuesday, September 30, 2008

At least free speech is alive, and, .. umm .. well ..

A fight that's currently going on between a diverse flock of people here could rival the Arab-Israeli conflict. It's over a local actor's "new" lambasting of a politician from the shores of a local beach. If there's any entertainment value to this story, it might be the comments themselves. Right now there are 350 back-and-forth jabs, kicks, and smacks between touchy political people of all stripes or non-stripes. Walsh revives her abrasive, annoying and rude character, and many people who find that role funny, and not humiliating, have loudly written their support. She's certainly riled up the warriors.

Take a Hike

.. and take a camera with you. It will take many more years for this NL resident to see the thousands of corners, points, coves, hilltops, valleys, beaches, etc. of this province, but it's nice to look forward to. An Alberta couple visiting Cape St. Mary's mentioned the beauty of the place, and correctly added, that every province has it's particular splendor. Here, it is a hiker's paradise, off and on the beaten trails. One of the advantages of this south eastern Canadian province is that the population is low, and there still remains vast areas of largely unspoiled, i.e., undeveloped, expanses. So when you're up to it, take a hike - good for the heart, lungs, legs, and soul (another blog topic perhaps).

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Greatest Cape

Is Cape St. Mary's.

Even without the 1000s of birds, the place would still be interesting to visit, hike and photograph. It's located at the Southwestern tip of Avalon Peninsula.
The most scenic way to get there is by turning off the TCH at the Placentia road intersection (click on the map below for a larger view).The Cape Shore drive is along Route 100. That drive on a clear day is spectacular.

For about 50 or more km, just on the way to the Cape, you will feel inclined to stop and just look

at the many million dollar views. Your trip becomes more pleasurable with scenes of beaches, barasways, rolling hills, pasture lands, meadows, and quaint communities. Oh yeah, watch out for moose at all times.

It's a good idea to phone ahead to the Cape St. Mary's visitor information centre (709-277-1666) to see if the coast is clear, that is, fog free - quite often it is foggy there.

Regarding weather conditions, if it's wet or very windy, be extra cautious hiking the hilltops. As you can see, get too close to the edge, and your sightseeing will have ended permanently.

There is about a 1.4 km walk from the information centre to the bird sanctuary.

This is a peaceful, beautiful, and an amazing part of the province.
To get a relaxing taste of mother nature, the great escape is indeed , Cape St. Mary's.

(In this picture, the Northern Gannet, one of six types of birds that nest here. For more information on the bird sanctuary, click here).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

1st Presidential Debate

Fairly even. The debate's focus was supposed to be foreign policy, but the first 40 minutes were taken with discussions around the economic crisis and bailout plan. Both candidates were impressive in different ways each. McCain who earlier this year admitted his weak points were on the economy, gave reasoned, prepared responses, agreeing with moderator, Jim Leher, and Obama, that there had to be spending cuts, to especially deal with the $700 billion proposed bailout. Obama generally agreed but notably differentiated with McCain on the method of program/spending cuts by saying, I propose we cut using a scalpel rather than a hatchet - a poke at McCain's supposed simplistic method of spending and program cuts.

On foreign affairs, Iraq and Afghanistan, McCain certainly appeared to be comfortable, though his experience, credibility, and voice of conviction did not knock the ball out of the park. Obama showed that he has been studying, and was knowledgeable of foreign affairs, been advised on "new" approaches to foreign relations by more immediate Presidential talks with enemies (according to him, from McCain's advisor Henry Kissinger). He even criticized McCain on his and Bush's stalwart emphasis on Iraq while, as he contested, the real focus of the war against a Taliban-lead terrorist war, was in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have grown and gotten more aggressive. Obama's arguments sounded valid, and not like someone who was as naive as McCain's team would have liked for him to appear.

Overall, there was no clear winner. At first, Obama came out swinging more so than McCain, but McCain's coolness acted like a rope-a-dope.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Too bad there was no "Anything But" campaign in 1932

Like it or not, the "Anything But" (or "Anybody But") phrase has a ring to it. Too bad it wasn't branded before some other world leaders' rise to power. For example, in 2000 there could have been the ABB campaign, Anybody But Bush; in 1922 Russia, the ABS campaign- Anybody But Stalin; ABC, Anybody But Castro for Cuba; or, ABA for Iran - Anybody But Ahmadinejad.

Germany and the world could have used a "Anybody But Hitler" campaign in 1932.
Hmm, I wonder what future leaders the world will regret seeing in positions of power.

Friday, September 19, 2008

To Axe Ritz or Not

Last month Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz made a couple of tasteless comments in a conference call. Upon learning of a listeriosis death in PEI Ritz said, "This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts." He also said, he hopes that the victim was Wayne Easter, his opposition critic from PEI. When news of this broke a few days back Ritz didn't take long after that, to apologize to families of victims of listeriosis, and to Wayne Easter. Now as you might imagine, families are outraged at Ritz, some have accepted his apology and others want his head. The pressure is on PM Harper now to keep him or heave him.

So far, Harper has accepted Ritz's apology. The opposition parties are not so forgiving. Harper was looking solid to win a majority government this time around. However, his support among Ontario swing ridings has fallen from 45% support to 35%, according to a CTV news clip. Ontario is always the maker or breaker. It Harper's overall support declines further, then he might reconsider firing Gerry Ritz.

It's easy to understand the viewpoint of someone who just lost a mother or father to this tragic bacteria. It's a shock, and a very sensitive time for the families. As well, as former Liberal MP Sheila Copps said, it is a very irresponsible example from the top of a department, where behaviours, attitudes and words, ripple down through the bureaucracy.

From another view some families have accepted Ritz's apology. By the PM's account, Ritz has otherwise been a good Minister, and no further chastisement is needed.

There are no happy consequences from this affair. It's sad for the suffering families whose grieving did not need to be compounded. It is sad that a man who is a Minister representing the nation, be inconsiderate, unthinking and cold, himself. It would also be sad to see a man step down from his position over his own human weakness. Imperfection is a quality of being human. Though it was an attempt at a joke, it was done in an unpremeditated way, an attempt at quick wit, but unthinking at the time. As opposed to a crime of prolonged theft from the public purse or other malicious scheming, this was a crime of poor taste rather than a crime of public trust. In Ritz's case, getting the axe might be a punishment exceeding the crime.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sick as a Dog - A Dog with a Flu

Twenty months and flu free, thought that was doing pretty good. All that hand washing helped to avoid billions of the microscopic fellers. Oh well, one of those stray, colorless bugs is bound to cross your path from time to time, and you just have to ride it out. Though, you still wonder, just how did I get that. It makes you wonder could it be symptoms of listeriosis, whose malicious work doesn't appear till up to 90 days after consuming that bacteria. Don't think so at this point, but just in case, nice knowin ya.

Today, people who have diabetes and heart disease might also be wondering after hearing more news about that man-made villian, our dear dark friend, Bisphenol-A. It's been in the news frequently in the past two years, because the chemical which is linked to cancers, is found in plastic bottles with the number 7 on the bottom. Now BPA is linked to diabetes and heart disease.

British researchers, who published their findings on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, analyzed urine and blood samples from 1,455 U.S. adults aged 18 to 74 who were representative of the general population.

Study subjects whose BPA readings were in the highest 25 per cent had three times the odds of developing cardiovascular disease and 2.4 times the odds of developing diabetes compared to subjects whose BPA levels were in the lowest 25 per cent.

If you drink from plastic containers or a water cooler at work, you might want to have a look at the number at the bottom of the bottle. If you can reduce the risks of something potentially harmful, why not... One moment, this flu is calling again. Better give it some attention or this house arrest will go on indefinitely.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Local Artist Produces Parody for Prostate Awareness Week

Sept. 15 - 21 is Prostate Cancer Awareness Week, and St. John's artist, Vic Noseworthy, very coincidentially produced a humourous look at the digital rectal exam, done as a music video parody to Tom Petty's "Into the Great Wide Open".

Noseworthy's tune is called "The Prostate Song" and is freshly placed in the You Tube library. Vic wrote and produced it, and filmed on location in St. John's. Listen to the words closely as he has a message that's very true.

If you would like to comment or forward to friends, copy this address:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Would Sarah Palin be Ready to be President if Needed?

In an interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, VP candidate Sarah Palin had a George Bush moment when asked a defense policy question.
"Do you agree with the 'Bush Doctrine' regarding anticipatory self-defense?"
"Well I don't know much about the Bush Doctrine I'm afraid,
but I do love little kittens:)"
Ok, it didn't quite go that way, rather, this way:
(the "I do love little kittens" line was from comedien Harry Enfield)
"Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?"
"In what respect, Charlie?"
"The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?"

"His world view."

Gibson: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

After Palin gave a general answer, which dodged the question she wasn't sure of, the interviewer explained to her what the Bush Doctrine was.

GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

The full interview is here in video, and text.

In other respects during the interview, Palin gave the appearance of confidence but some U.S. media are wondering does she have substance? Certainly the job of U.S. VP is not taught in in "VP101" classes usually, but she will need a great deal of tutoring soon.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Puff Danny Raps the ABC

"Give me a beat. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. That's it, just like that. Here we go."

Ya know my name is Dan, and I have a plan,
To cleanse the nation of that lyin' man.

He wuz gonna change the lay of the equalization,
And man a vow like dat caused a big sensation.

Then he pledged his word, and in that I trusted,
Even signed his name, but the letter got dusted.

The hopes were high in this provincial "nation",
But Steve dissed us with his, fabri-cation.

I'm a hopin' and a prayin', that you'll all agree,
That there's no other way but da ABC.

So listen up bro's, I'm no doubtin' Thomas,
I'm just rappin' for my homies, coz he broke his promise.

He fooled me once but it won't be two,
And if ya elect him again, then shame on you.

Vote ABC, is the message I give,
Trust Anyone else But a Conserva-tive.

"Yo. Yo.
Break it down for me fellas .."

(repeat same monotonous chord endlessly to fade)

Hat tip to Susan Evans for "Puff Danny" name!

Tely Poll on ABC Campaign Support

As of 2:40 p.m. Sept. 10, here are the Telegram poll results. It does not show how many people have voted, or how long that poll has been there. This type of politically related question usually gets an avalanche of attention when VOCM does an online poll. For what it's worth, it shows an almost even split of support for the ABC campaign. How do you feel about Williams' campaign? Support it, or not?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Kim Jong-Il, ill, Possibly Dead for 5 Years

Today marks the 60th anniversary of North Korea's founding. It is being celebrated by suffering masses of people who would be afraid not to celebrate. A possible sign that something is wrong is that Jong-Il did not appear for the party. U.S. intelligence agencies think that Kim suffered a major stroke. Another suggestion from Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Japan's Waseda University, is that Kim died five years ago, and four stand-ins have took his place at public appearances, and party officials have been the puppet masters.

Believe it or not, schools in North Korea have deified Kim and his late father Kim Il-sung, the original dictator, where students are taught that they don't even urinate or defecate like mortal humans (Wikipedia). Now that's a cult of personality dictator. There's way too much of it slung around in our society to qualify anyone for deity status.

In any event if his death is announced in North Korea, the grief or fear will create a wail so loud that it will make Ayatollah Khomeini's 1989 funeral in Iran look like it was just the hamster that died. If his death is a fact then perhaps there is hope in that country which let 2 million people starve to death in three years - military build up was the priority. Well, duh!

If a new leader allows human rights, he could "dictate" some sense back into the country. In that case, people will be chillin'. If a new leader is another Kim Jong-Il, people will be illin'.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Monday of Surprises - NL First Party to Run Candidate

At Our Place in Canada, BNB bounced this news, and because different candidates make elections interesting, I'll bounce it as well. Wayne Bennett, will be the NL First Party's candidate in Humber-St.Barbe-Baie Verte for the October 14th federal election. Bennett served for some 32 years in the Navy and with the Royal Nfld Regiment, and is now heading up business developments. The story originated here.

Surprise St. John's East Candidate Craig Westcott Makes Valid Points & Case for Himself

Just a short while ago a seismic announcement registered 8.5 on the political richter scale.

A journalist not afraid to voice his opinion, Craig Westcott, publisher of the Business Post, will run for the Conservative Party in the October federal election. It's a surprise but in another way, he's a fitting candidate. He has voiced his criticism of the Premier in the past. Now, Westcott has some valid reasoning behind his own choice to run.

On several sites this morning he says that Premier Danny Williams is steering the province toward a dangerous situation with his ABC campaign.

It's just — I think it's unconscionable on the premier's part to put Newfoundland in that very, very weak position. (CBC)

Westcott tells Meeker on Media that Williams could hurt the people of the province.

We have to think about what ABC really means for our province. It could mean spending four years with no voice in the Government of Canada. Do we really want an MP from another province serving as a part-time regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador? Isolating ourselves from the rest of Canada is not a goose egg, it's a rotten egg, and it will hurt the people of our great province.

His interview with Geoff Meeker is interesting because it gives the reader more insight about the person, who has the respect from others who know him, and by his own account is a man of principle, and has proven it.

Westcott's candidacy will probably make a sizable number feel a sense of being torn, or just scratching their heads at the ballot box. After all he is a weighty contestant in this race, appears to be a man of integrity, and he knows how to communicate, and likes to freely express himself.

This observer looks forward to hearing what he has to say and how the public reacts. Congratulations Mr. Westcott and good luck in your campaign.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Bologna sold in N.L. added to Maple Leaf recall

(from CTV's site)

OTTAWA -- Another recall has been issued involving meat from the Maple Leaf Foods packing plant in Toronto linked to a listeriosis outbreak that has killed at least 13 people.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning the public not to serve or consume Canex Maple Leaf Bologna with best before dates up to and including Oct. 10.

The CFIA says the bologna, a product recalled earlier by Maple Leaf, may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The affected bologna was sold in vacuum packed packages of various weights at Canex Retail Supermarket in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L.

To date, there have been 38 confirmed cases of listeriosis.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised to launch a broad, independent investigation into the listeriosis outbreak that has resulted in the recall of more than 200 products.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Plug for CLCC Campaign First Posted by Fellow Blogger

Over at Our Place in Canada, BNB encourages anyone interested to participate in a campaign by the Community Linkages Concept Committee, that asks for feedback from people in communities all over the province about the opportunities, strengths, weaknesses and threats to communities.

None of NL's economic challenges will be solved overnight but credit is due this group for being interested in connecting with people in communities to ignite or re-ignite discussion about their futures.

Ray Johnson, known for his unique voice, style, accordian playing, and distinctly interesting accent, chairs the committee. He and the CLCC group are interested in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and learning about its possibilities. Those who live there, or have, or those who have ideas for rural areas are welcome to contribute their opinions.

The CLCC has posted seven questions to get people thinking:

1) What are the problems facing your community?

2) What potential do you see in your community?

3) How can the province’s new found oil wealth be used to benefit rural areas?

4) How important is culture and heritage to you?

5) How can our culture and heritage be protected or enhanced?

6) What business opportunities exist in your area and how can government help to make breathe life into these opportunities?

7) What is the state of youth in rural communities?

I would add another: Thinking slightly outside the box, what are the potential opportunities that might arise if advertising to potential tourists in Asia for example, were pursued. In British Columbia, there is already a huge Asian population, which might influence the Asian tourists, but in any case, there are very many Asian tourists who like to visit for sight seeing, and what the cities and towns have to offer. Newfoundland & Labrador might seem very exotic, open, clean, and much more easy going pace wise than what they are used to, therefore, a possible attraction angle. Just tossing an idea out there.

Summarizing long term potential for business ventures: who can get involved, what other local services and people could benefit. For example, if a group of Japanese tourists were enticed to visit the South Coast for a boat tour of the Coast during the summer season, what activities, souvenirs, amenities, services might they avail of while taking this excursion.

How about community/regional recycling? How about health education programs that promote more fit, healthier individuals. Health is the foundation of moving forward.

You can contact the CLCC in the following ways:

It’s website: www.clccnl.ca/tellus
Via e-mail at tellus@clccnl.ca

Or by mail:
P.O. Box 122
Lower Island Cove, NL
A0A 2W0

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

This is an ABC News Break

What is in it to win? I mean spending time, energy and resources on the ABC campaign, for what?

When Harper reneged on his promise it was maddening! He had given people in Newfoundland & Labrador a hope of being loosened from the shackles of debt, much sooner, and at the same time, some major compensation for the thorn of the Upper Churchill Falls deal, which according to Joey's encyclopedia, way back in 1969, PM Pearson of Canada could have stepped in to assist NL get a fairer deal.

Smallwood said that his request to Lester Pearson to use federal authority to allow a transmission line across Quebec, was rejected before he could formally present the request out of fear it would jeopardize national unity

Fine, if Premier Williams wants to remind NL voters about Harper's broken promise two years ago, sure take a very brief amount of time to do that, many will remember it anyway. But the Premier who is very energetic, successful at business, bright and talented, should concentrate all his efforts on this province's needs, rather than going to Ontario to convince Canadians who have a vague memory of NL's beef with Harper. Even if they are reminded, they won't care, and if they did care, how does taking away Harper's seat total benefit Newfoundland and Labrador right now?

At this point the Harper lie is history, and he isn't going to own up now, nor will Dion, Layton or the friend of extremist Paul Watson, Liz May of the Green Party.

I bet we all know people who will simply vote for the candidate who they feel has the best qualities to represent them, regardless of party. If they like the person, feel a certain level of trust for that candidate, then that's often where their 'X' will go. There are some true blues or reds or Dippers, and some will take Danny's lead. But what does that accomplish right now. Revenge? If there was some realistic possibility that Harper would follow through on his "unrealistic" though promised equalization bonanza, then Premier Williams would have more of a case to pursue his ABC campaign. The reality is, it's just not the case.

So what if NL votes ABC out of spite two years since Harper's fib? It won't change anything, except to make our province look negative. Who is the ABC campaign for anyway? Is it for the people of Newfoundland & Labrador? And, what will the desired outcome do for people here?

It will surely cool the already cold relations with the Feds back to the ice age. As for Harper, history has already recorded his broken promise and what it said about him in 2006. It was not a proud moment. This ABC campaign right now is a waste of time, energy, human and financial resources. It's time to move away from that episode, as it does not appear to be an profitable investment for the province, rather, just a misdirecting of energies.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gas Relief Coming Down the Pipes

Canadians to finally see some relief at pumps as crude continues decline

... "I expect gas prices to decline through the fall and winter, probably seeing the lowest prices of the year in December... I wouldn't be surprised to see gas prices go down to around the $1 per litre mark."

Jason Toews, co-founder of the price-tracking website Gasbuddy.com
(full article here)