Grewal Strikes Back

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal has finally released full tapes of the conversations he had between himself, Prime Minister Paul Martin's right hand man Tim Murphy, and the Health Minister, for a patronage appointment in return for his vote on the crucial budget vote last month.

This may be grounds for criminal charges. The Liberals were ready for this, the spin is already working overtime claiming that Grewal approached them for an appointment. I expect little to come out of the RCMP for reasons previously said.

Unfortunately I think the Liberals might spin themselves out of the problem. I'd like to remind people that something else about the Grewal affair seems very fishy: Grewal, around the same time, was brought up on corruption charges by the Liberals. Was it a pressure tactic designed to get Grewal to make a choice? The Ethics Commissioner is controlled by the Prime Minister, so their would be little doubt what the findings he would come to would be.

I hate giving into conspiracy theories, but my personal opinion, and this is only my opinion mind you, was that the Liberals figured they could intimidate Grewal into jumping ship. The evidence is circumstantial however - just like the Prime Minister's office would want it.

Space Terrorists

More from The Space Review on why it's time to ditch or amend the Outer Space Treaty.

Though an interesting thought is brought up that I had never considered before:
Furthermore, there is the additional danger of terrorism. One of the lessons of the 9/11 attacks on the United States is that terrorist activity has become increasingly sophisticated and it stands to reason that, eventually, terrorist groups may gain the technical ability to affect US space-based assets or even use space itself as a launching point for their attacks. To that end, it is necessary to develop the means to impede that activity but that would require more military activity in space, something the res communis doctrine of the Outer Space Treaty discourages and eventually looks to eliminate.

It would be a damning thing for the Outer Space Treaty if the next terrorist attack would come from some sort of space based operation. The first thing the targeted nation would do, would be to tear up that treaty and start claiming regions in space as their own in order to better protect space assets. It may not be feasible now, but given a decade it could become a real possibility if space hotels start sprouting up.

Also what better target could there be for terrorists than a budging Space Tourism Industry? It could be very feasible for a terrorist to place a bomb on sub-orbital flight. Most crew complements of the first flights will be the wealthiest of society from all around the world... I'd be surprised if they didn't try.

What don't we know? has a piece on Canadian Space Tourism ventures.

A point of clarification: The Canadian Arrow team does have a funding source, even though it's not mentioned in this piece.

What's interesting is that Dr. Chrinjeev Kathuria, the funding source of the Canadian Arrow, chose the Arrow to fund, and not Feeney's Davinci Project team. Feeney's team needs only $800,000 to $1,000,000 to complete it's first launcher. The Arrow team needs 5 to 6 million. It would seem that the most surefire bet is to fund Feeney's team as an investment since they are closer to the goal. He didn't do that. Is it possible that Kathuria knows something we don't know?

Surprise at Surprise

I'm surprised at the surprise of many around France's no vote on the European Union.

I was even less surprised when the racist LePen and his fascists party made it to second place in that legendary French presidential election long ago. Having non-political cousins in France I had the opportunity to talk to them about 5 years ago. Based on those conversations nothing of this surprised me.

French people are particularly concerned about immigration. It was the number one sleeper issue that the French populace, especially older French people, have a problem with. It was also the prime concern for many French heading into that referendum. Fearmongering that the EU would expand immigration may have been the killer bullet that brought the NO side to victory.

A great deal of the problems the French have stems around the fact that they have a huge welfare state. Welfare states tend to be a magnet for those that would abuse it. In the case of France, although the majority of immigrants may be good natured and hard working, there is a large vocal minority which literally scares the French people.

Immigrants are plastered as the prime suspects of crimes all the time on the news. French people in urban areas get nervous going around in certain Cartiers that through French laws have become ghettos for the worst types of characters whether they are immigrants or not. In the end most appear foreign that live in those areas, so the conclusion most French come to is that it's the immigrants causing the trouble.

And it's a hard perception to brush off. The last time I was in France I can remember a similar situation where it literally felt like I was in Baghdad while going through one Cartier. It was hard not to want to walk faster when the people there would start utter threats at you like "Saddam will kill you." This was a year before 9/11 mind you.

I know better since my mother is an immigrant here to Canada that stereotyping doesn't help. But it's definitely an issue there that their are many immigrants that have come to France to take advantage of its large welfare state, and aren't the most friendliest of people.

LePen took advantage of those fears. What the French government should be looking at is the policies that have lead to France receiving an influx of immigrants that aren't the same type of immigrant that would come if France didn't have that huge welfare state. Also the laws that lead to immigrants getting stuffed into Cartiers has created a huge problem in urban areas.

It's the French government and it's own penchant for tinkering that has left a bitter taste of anti-immigrant sentiment in the French. It's also sown the seeds of this defeat.

Knife Ban

It was bound to happen. Doctors are calling for a ban on pointy kitchen knifes.

This society has become all about risk avoidance. Everything has become measured in terms of risk. There is no such thing as a reasonable level of risk. It's almost as if people think that we can become immortal if we never do anything. If we live in a plastic bubble we live forever right?

Live under your bed sheets and never leave your house if you want... Because studies have proven that the place you are most likely to die in is your bed.

How about some bed control?

Tip o' the hat to Joseph Hertzlinger .

Lion Mutilates 28 Midgets

I thought at first it had to be a joke. But apparently it's true. In Cambodia a ring fight was set up between 42 midgets and an African lion.

The lion won.

Part of me wanted to laugh, but this is just sad.

Forgot to mention

I've gotten some flak from some for not mentioning this other piece on Canada's contribution to spaceflight in terms of research on Space Farms.

Let me frank about this. I've never really believed this was important. I don't know what people are thinking sometimes. Food and oxygen aren't heavily expensive. They don't represent a barrier to spaceflight. Space stations, particularly in low earth orbit, and I would argue even on a Lunar settlement, could be provided oxygen and food from eath at a reasonable price if the cost per pound of chemical rockets reduces enough that Lunar settlements and commercial space stations become feasible in the first place.

What I can see happening is space farms eventually popping up in orbit after years of a settlement being supplied resources from home. These space farms could produce the food and oxygen needed at a fraction of the price, and hence it would become profitable.

Unless the cost of chemical rockets go down dramatically the costs of food and oxygen are insignificant. In other words the Space Farming from the University of Guelph here in Canada doesn't impress me.

Complete Nonsense

Mindless In Ottawa has some issues with Born Again Christians. It's interesting that he chooses to specifically single out BC's, when I know from firsthand experience that in some ridings the primary group of social conservatives is not a BC. But I can only guess what personal issues Mindless has with BC's in the first place.

Now this is interesting:
Have you ever met a BC? Tell me, weren't you just a little scared? Be honest.

Ya, I've met a BC (At least I'm pretty sure). And no I wasn't scared. I've met many Conservatives that religious, and so far I haven't been scared by any of them. I wonder how one tells if you are looking at a BC without asking him first. This is the worst type of stereotyping I've ever seen. Actually I get more afraid when I meet someone that can't give me a single valid reason why he's a Conservative - but that's another story.
The Conservative Party is dominated by BCs.

Don’t even bother to pretend this is not the case. I’ve been to the nominating meetings where 100 white guys with that glassy eyed look show up with their non liberated wives. Wives who look lobotomized and struggle to keep six kids under the age of six from killing each other while their pompous blow hard of a husband rails against “argent et le vote ethnic”.

"Non-Liberated wives?" You know BC's aren't the Taliban people. They might have different views than you do, but that does not make them crazy people. I'm not a BC. But I don't appreciate any attacks against people of faith because I know I could easily be put in exactly the same situation.

The Conservative Party is not dominated by BCs. A couple riding associations in Ottawa maybe, but from what I've seen the party is a lot more diverse than that. If you want to say that the party is dominated by senior citizens then that's valid. But I'm pretty sure when you look at the long term members of the Liberal Party you're going to find a lot of senior citizens as well. It's not that there is a conspiracy of senior citizens trying to take over either party.
Criticizing BCs is no fun. ItÂ’s a bit like shooting bunny rabbits. They get that puffy look in their eyes, and they wail like a new born baby.

Nonetheless, I am convinced the only way we can renew the CPC, and by extension save Canadian democracy, is to start blasting away. The Party cannot be dominated by any one group and expect to win at the Polls, it's simply impossible. The sooner we acknowledge this 800 Lb Gorilla in the corner, the sooner we can find a reasonable approach that accomodates a diverse enough group of Canadian ideas to win.

Well it seems to me that Mindless is having a lot of fun criticizing BCs. And I'm sorry but if you want to talk about discrimination, Mindless you've given birth to it. People of faith, not just BC's, but Devout Catholics, and evangelicals are all being discriminated against by a society that is increasingly hostile to them.

The Liberal Party has pushed anyone of faith out of the party. The Conservative Party is only not closing the door. That's inclusion. That's a big tent party. If you shut the door Mindless, to be quite frank, I wonder how long before you go after religious pro-life, anti-SSM Catholics such as myself.

Oh and by the way, if the party really were dominated by BC's or people of faith in general, how does anyone explain the pro-abortion policy resolution that was passed at the last convention? The policy resolution now makes it impossible for the party to introduce abortion legislation. How does Mindless In Ottawa explain that?

Stronachian Protest

Courtesy of NealeNews :
NEWMARKET, Ont. (CP) - A handful of protesters greeted newly minted Liberal MP Belinda Stronach with catcalls of "Shame" and "Boo-linda" on Thursday at her first public event in her home riding since last week's dramatic defection from the Conservative caucus.

Those guys deserve a beer.

Mad as heck is just for starters...

Are you tired of hearing Warren Kinsella complain about how extremist the Blogging Tories are?

Warren must be ignoring this Liberal extremism courtesy of
A Catholic media monitoring group is furious over an animated cartoon that depicts Pope Benedict XVI giving a statue of the Virgin Mary a Nazi salute and muttering "Heil Mary!" in a slight German accent.

And the Citizen offers this history of the current Pope's involvement with the Hitler Youth:
The current cartoon is a reference to the Pope's past. As a 14-year-old, he was drafted "against his will" into the Hitler Youth in 1941, according to his memoirs. He served in the army from 1943 to 1945. He was never a member of the Nazi party. Last week, in a major address, the Pope condemned "the genocide of the Jews."

No where does it mention that the current Pope's father was forced to move several times because of his ouspoken nature against the Nazy regime. And neither does it explicitly say that the Pope, along with every other German youth at the time, was forced into the Hitler Youth and the army. Instead it gives a quotation from his memoirs stating that fact, yet leaving it suspisciously open for people to conclude that that may not have been the truth.

To top it all off, gets funding from the government:
The website is an independent project of Alternatives, a Montreal-based non-governmental organization funded by the Canadian International Development Agency, said Ms. McGarry. One World Canada, also a project of Alternatives, is a partner of

I don't see the Blogging Tories getting funding courtesy of the Government by the Liberal Party of Canada. Is Elections Canada keeping track of how much pre-writ spending the Liberal Party is doing?

Ironic that the people behind that have a cartoon criticizing the Pope for being Nazi, and frequently criticize the Catholic Church for getting tax breaks, are getting pay backs from the Liberals and freely discriminate against religion.

Where's Warren's outrage?

Rumours in the CPC

Everybody loves rumours. And apparently so does the Globe and Mail:
Some Conservatives argue that the selection of a large number of candidates from the religious right is an unfortunate turn for a party that was accused in last year's election campaign of harbouring a socially conservative "hidden agenda."

This is a rumour that has truth to it. I have talked to more than one Conservative that shares those views.

Personally I can't see the problem with it. Social Conservatives have been taking the hammer in federal politics the past few years, and they need to re-exert themselves somehow. Dissafected so-con Liberals were no doubt going to leave the Liberal party and push for Conservative candidates that believed in their views. And quite frankly I think the party might, in some ways, just be better off for it.

My problem is that I see a disturbing pattern in nominations in some places. Most candidates will be pro-life, and against SSM, but they will still loose. They will loose to another candidate who is pro-life and against SSM. What is the difference between the two candidates? Well one might be more experienced in politics, while the one that wins is not. And what's worse, the rumours are already circulating that those socially conservative Catholic candidates are finding it harder to compete against evangelicals. We don't need those types of divisions.

The Party isn't concerned about social conservatives taking it over. They got that all wrong in this story. I think the party brass is more concerned about having a whole bunch of inexperienced candidates, that are socially conservative, possibly getting themselves into trouble in a campaign.

Burt saves the children

Ok So Burt is all about saving the children:

"I think the big thing we need to do is to inspire our present generation of kids, because, if we don't, what are we going to expect in the future?" Rutan asked rhetorically. "The folks that were inspired by the invention and quick development of the airplane turned out to be - every darn one of them turned out to be on my list of the top ten mentors and heroes."

Now this response is just funny:

Of course, suggesting that mass space tourism could possibly inspire the next generation of Alan Sheppards is to suggest that Carnival cruises have been inspiring the next generation of Jacques Cousteaus. It's a preposterous claim. But Rutan seems intelligent enough to discern the glaring differences between, say, Ferdinand Magellan on the one hand, and a pleasantly-drunk tourist wandering about in what amounts to a floating Vegas hotel, to whom the sea is the single least noticeable feature in his vicinity, on the other.

He's right. The Backstreet Boys getting a ride into the dark beyond is going to inspire no one. It'll generate some publicity, but that's about it.

What does inspire is Burt Rutan himself. If he is successfull, an entire generation of young people will be inspired to do as he has done.

Because it will show one thing: you can make dreams come true. And when it comes to space exploration, that's one field where dreams have a habit of being shattered.

Garneau weighs into Canada's place in space...

Marc Garneau, NASA Astronaut, and President of the Canadian Space Agency has written a piece on Canada's place in space.

I've never read so much dribble in a while:
Our forays into space suggest that it is both a classroom and a science laboratory of immense proportions and of largely untapped potential. In a world of finite resources, many of which are diminishing at an alarming rate, space could and should be recognized as a strategic global asset that is critical to the protection and preservation of our planet.

I think that pretty much sums up how Garneau sees what humanity should be doing in space: science. Spaceflight, and the plight of extraterrestrial colonization isn't even on his radar screen. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the impression I'm left with after reading this article. I like the mention of finite resources... Maybe he's come to conclusion that we could use resources in space to make things better on Earth.

Garneau also talks about the excitement people have been experiencing concerning finding life on Mars. I've said this before and I'll say it again: no one will care. If we find a germ under some rock on Mars the public will not all of sudden start clamoring for an increase in spending on space exploration. No matter how much it might mean to NASA buffs and scientists.

He then goes on this diatribe about how space research can help us save the planet from the ravages of global warming and the rest of like.

The only real inspiring part of his little eco-obsessed rant was this:
History commands us to be bold. Experience teaches us that we are most ingenious when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We are at our best when we make the most of every opportunity.

This is especially true from a uniquely Canadian perspective. Having carved a country from a wide array of landscapes and climatic conditions, CanadaÂ’s relatively small population of 32 million people is well aware of the challenges posed by nature and distance. Forging links to one another, no matter how far the thread must stretch, is a national preoccupation.

Garneau's only real compelling case for a Canadian space presence can be found in these two paragraphs. Canadians have a unique experience when it comes to frontiers. Our place in space should be based on our history of breaking those barriers boldly and with confidence. However that requires for real people to be given the chance to get into space. That requires average grassroots Canadians to be able to go into space just like Garneau did. And the only way that will happen is if launch prices decrease dramatically. It requires us to believe.

The X-prize, space tourism, and the alt-space community has been all about doing just that. He fails to mention either. He doesn't mention the new sub-orbital tourism effort being pushed by the Canadian team participating with PlanetSpace. It's both disappointing and annoying that he would fail to mention the ingenuity of the Canadian Arrow team in getting that far.

I've always been afraid of that Garneau shares the same opinions that his fellow Canadian NASA astronaut Chris Hadfield shares about space tourism. When Dennis Tito became the world's first space tourist Mr. Hadfield claimed that Mr. Tito had not earned his way there.

It seems no Canadian astronaut out there seems open to ideas that could actually lead to a powerful future of fulfilled dreams and new beginnings.

Fearmongering courtesy of the Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail's piece on a recently released poll is interesting:

Quebec — The Conservative Party's inability to overtake the Liberals may have more to do with its agenda than with Stephen Harper, according to a new opinion poll.
"The problem isn't the leader, it is the party and its social policies," pollster Jean-Marc Léger said in an interview yesterday.

Jean-Marc seems like a smart guy. Then maybe he can explain these very same results from his own poll:
When respondents were asked whether they were "afraid" of Mr. Harper's positions on "abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage," 39 per cent said yes and 43 per cent said no. The remaining 18 per cent said they did not know or declined to answer.

Forgive me for being a little confused, but a majority said they weren't afraid of Harper's stand on social issues... So what in the heck is Jean-Marc and the Globe and Mail talking about?

Fearmongering must sell more newspapers nowadays than anything else.

Take your rads today?

According to a University of Toronto study a little radiation ain't so bad after all.

Of course the study is being sponsorsed by Atomic Energy Canada, I wonder how much truth there is to any of this.

The Soviets once crashed a satellite into the Canadian north radiating a 120,ooo square kilometer area. Has any studies been done on the effects of local wildlife there? Apparently Chernobyl's ecosystem shows no signs of mutans running around.

I've always believed that the public's knee jerk reaction to anything nuclear had to be slightly exagerated. But I won't be camping out under power lines any time to soon.

Tip o' the hat to Deep Space Bombardment.

Environmental Space Nutsos?

Bruce Gagnon continues to refer to project Prometheus as a nuclear rocket when it isn't.

But T.L. James finds this comment to that post disturbing:
Thomas H. (Wisconsin, the State of Ethanol Refineries' Wasteland and Corporate Welfare Snake Oil) said...

You can already tell where this guy is coming from.

Thanks to you, Bruce, for forwarding the 5/20/05 article from the Baltimore Sun ("Space Junkyard").........

Important....... and very overlooked dangers...... you can't get boy or girlscout troops to go on roadside cleanup trips out yonder.... that is one pristine environment that can't be restored.....

Space a pristine environment? I'd like him to step out of a spaceship wearing nothing but his birthday suit and well see how pristine and natural the environment of space is to him then. An environment that is filled with naked radiation, huge variations of temperature, micrometeorites - and that's an environment that some space junk is going to destroy?

We throw up and blow up our *^*#$% out there...... and forever after it will KEEP HITTING THE FAN...... it can only get worse. Onward we go., digging ourselves ever deeper into the quicksand of greed and power-lust......... we are enshrouding ourselves in a net of deadly shards, insuring our status as a "Devil's Island" in our sector of the galaxy...... unapproachable, surrounded by a vast barbed, shrapnel fence of disastrous proportions, and, of our own making.......

Because we all know that we've been having pesky space debris problem lately that's so bad we can't even see the stars... Wait a minute that's greenhouse gases... Sorry I can't keep up with the environmentalist propaganda anymore.

No safe rapture for Bush and the revelation folks. Sorry. Soon, if we don't stop this space race to self-extinction, no one will be able to enter or exit the space envelope around planet Earth without colliding with orbiting space trash. Just booby traps for the whole human race...including the boobs that planted "space-mines" en route to delusional, mythic star wars.

One Giant leap......... we come in PIECES for all mankind.

Well thanks Thomas H. for once again explaining to me why we haven't managed to go anywhere in space exploration since the Apollo days. People like you that believe that a space race is "a race to extinction" and that it is somehow linked to greed drive the excessive government regulations that have strangled the aerospace industry. You could focus on environmental problems on Earth. Maybe this planet isn't big enough for you anymore.

Here's an idea: Let humans have an actual real presence in space before you throw the hammer down on them for destroying an environment that is already a radiated vacuum of dust and rocks...

You should be proud Thomas. You take the whole meaning of "Environmental Nutso" to a whole new level. Somehow I don't think I'm as much of Space nutso as you are an Environmental Nutso.

Desperate times require desperate measures...

Paul Martin must be desperate if he's thinking about giving Anti-American crusader Carolyn Parrish another chance to screw up Canada-US relations. But he already has the "stability" in parliament he was looking for after the Stronach defection and the win in that bi-election yesterday. Now the socialists and the Liberals together have a majority of seats... So why does he want to tie himself down with the likes of Parrish?

RCMP to investigate Grewal tapes

Grewal will hand over to the RCMP the tapes that suggest that Tim Murphy, right hand man to Prime Minister Paul Martin, made him an offer for a patronage appointment in return for his abstention on the budget vote that could have toppled the government last week.

It was the separatists in parliament that requested the RCMP investigate. The Tories would never make the request themselves, for reasons previously said. The separatists must figure it's not their skin on the line, but the Tories, so why not let them deal with the consequences?

I'm not a soothsayer, but I'm willing to bet that the RCMP will find that the Liberals have done nothing wrong, and that if anything it was the evil Tories trying to stir up trouble... The RCMP is biased you say? No. It can't be. That would mean that the whole justice system in this country is a joke.

Then again how do you explain this?

Artists should have say in spaceflight?

No really. I'm not kidding. That's what the ESA believes.
"The International Space Station is a great achievement of human ingenuity and international cooperation, as well as a cutting-edge research facility. But the European Space Agency believes strongly that the cultural world too should have a say in the future of space exploration. We therefore want to open the ISS to a new community of artistic and cultural users..."

I have to ask the question, why do a bunch of sniveling, cocky, pretentious, socialist, navel gazers from the art community, that has stuck their nozes up for so long at the Science Fiction community as not being an art form, deserve any say in spaceflight? (My apologies to all non-sniveling, non-cocky, non-pretentious, non-socialist, hard working artists everywhere - you are a rare item indeed)

If you're really interested in thoughtful input get in a panel from the leading contributors of the Science Fiction community - because as we all know that is the true art form of today's day and age...


I can still remember reading NASA propaganda back when I was a wee lad, and I can remember looking at those jazzy paintings of wheel space stations the size of cities, and underground lunar complexes... Give it 20 years it said, and I'll probably be breaking eggs on the Moon. And from that moment on I was hooked.

Well, it's been 20 years, but I don't think I'll be breaking eggs on the Moon anytime soon. Peter Diamandis disagrees:
The personal spaceflight revolution now underway is spawning a suborbital travel market that will lead to passenger traffic headed into Earth orbit, Diamandis said. “In the next five to eight years we will have the first private orbital flights occurring,” he predicted.

Diamandis added that something very natural will happen when private orbital flights arise. “When you’re in orbit you are two-thirds of the way to anywhere,” he said.

“I predict that within about three years of private human orbital flights…you’ll have the first private teams of people stockpiling fuel on orbit and making a bee-line for the Moon,” Diamandis said.

“They’ll not ask for permission…maybe cryptically hiding what they are doing…but there will be somebody making a bee-line to the Moon,” Diamandis said. The first private team to reach the lunar landscape will stake out the ground. “They’ll say this is ours. Stay away. I claim this for my company…my new nation,” he said.

First of all, it's said that low earth orbit is the halfway point to anywhere in the universe. I don't know where Peter comes up with this 2/3'rds stuff. This whole idea stems from the fact that technically you've achieved half of the energy at low earth orbit that you will need to get anywhere in the solar system.

I know that the disappointments of NASA shouldn't be thrown on to its cousins in the alt-space movement, but I find it hard to believe that we'll be starting orbital flights in 8 years. From what I've read, Rutan doesn't think so either. I do agree though with the assessment that as soon as we start orbital flights, it will be a real space race to get to the Moon.

And this time it won't be governments chasing after it. This time it will be private citizens.

Taking the old rule of NASA timelines, you have to double the time of any prediction. That means we'll probably really have orbital flights in 16 years. But again that was NASA, with these private space companies we really don't know if they know how to meet their own propaganda.

Government Money Well Spent?

At least that's what I think about NASA's new Centennial Challenge. These Centennial Challenges are prizes modelled after the 10 million dollar X-Prize that was awarded to Burt Rutan for getting 3 people (1 person and the equivalent of 2 other people balast) into orbit twice in two weeks.

The prize will be awarded to the first team that can extract breathable oxygen from simulated lunar soil. The way I look at it if given a choice between spending money on this, or on testing dead frog legs in space or how old men sag in zero-g, I pick the first one.

If someone wins this prize by finding out a way of extracting oxygen from Lunar soil, then we have something we could really use - if we ever really get to the moon that is.

And that's the kicker. Unless some sort of permanent settlement on the moon arises over the next 100 years, it's nice to know that we could live off of moon dirt, but until we do it'll just sit in the dust bins of NASA archives or whatever they have.

That being said this is one of the rare exceptions I can think of where a government is actually spending money on something that is practical and usefull in the general sense. Then again, if we did find a method of cheap transportation and settlement on the moon wouldn't non-governmental bodies have come up with the technology themselves? In which case was this Centennial Challenge really neccessary?

It's a great idea, but I still don't think we needed a government to spur it's creation.

Liberals 4 Harper

Apparently I wasn't the only one disgusted with the behaviour of the Liberals this past week. Some Liberals apparently agree with me. Harper Liberals kind of harks to me of another movement in the US: Democrats for Bush. Let's hope they have the same success.

Tip o' the hat to the The Comment.

The Grewal Affair

The Liberals are trying to spin the Grewal tapes into the dustbins of politics.

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal has repeatedly suggested that he was approached by the Liberals in the lead up to the vote last week that nearly toppled the government. They offered him a senate appointment or another patronage appointment in return for his vote on the budget. In Canada the Prime Minister has the sole authority to appoint Senators, Judges, and Supreme Court Justices. There are no filibusters in Canada, only directives from the supreme Leader. No checks and balances here.

Conservative MP Inky Mark had suggested before Grewal that the Liberals were doing this to him. It's not a wild stretch of the imagination to assume that the Liberals, if anyone they would approach, would be Inky Mark. He has had a history of less than dedicated loyalty to the party he belongs to - whatever party that is from day to day.

Gurmant was smart enough to record his conversations. And the Conservative Party released 8 minutes of conversation where Tim Murphy effectively asks, without explicitly saying, for Grewal to abstain, or vote with the budget, in return for a patronage appointment.

The Liberals are demanding all 4 hours of conversation be released. They are also spinning this as a conspiracy by the Conservative Party to muddy the Liberal Party name. Of course an HRDC boondogle, a Gun Registry Billion dollar accounting error, and a multi-million dollar Sponsorship mess later, the Liberal Party is still more concerned about other people muddying its name rather than itself muddying its own name.

The Tories are not calling an investigation. The Liberals are claiming this is proof that the Tories don't want to get to the truth. Confused? Don't be. I understand perfectly why the party won't call for an investigation headed by the Mounties.

It's been a concern for a while now that the Mounties have become too politicized in recent years. It's gotten so bad that some members of the separatist Bloc Quebequois have called on the Mounties to stop investigating the Sponsorship Scandal and to turn over files to the Ontario Provincial Police, or another provincial police force for fear of bias.

I have no doubt that there are concerns that the Liberal friendly Mounties are probably seen by more than a few members of the Conservative Caucus as a wing of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party spin has been that Grewal was the one asking Murphy for the appointment, not the other way around. Although by listening to the tapes you wonder how the Liberal Party can have any credibility at all after hearing the blatantly incriminating comments Tim Murphy makes on the tape in question. Grewal makes a good point in all of this:
Although the Liberals have insisted they repeatedly turned down Mr. Grewal's requests, the Conservative MP said that is false.

"Does it take four hours to say no? And if they said no at one time, why would they start talking to me again?" he said.

Good point. If Grewal was really the one initiating the request, and it was turned down by the Liberal's then why did they keep on talking to him for 4 hours? Even if Grewal did initiate the request it tells me one thing: Tim Murphy, if he didn't break the exact letter of the law, he did break the intent of it.

The tape is littered with vague comments from him, that could easily mean what Grewal says it means, but it's just vague enough to place some reasonable doubt to cover his own behind.

Weaponization of Space

Curmudgeons lampoons Helen Caldicott and her piece on the weaponization of space.

If any of this is true, regardless of what you think about the weaponization of space, this will be big for the cause of space exploration.

Heatlh Vs. Religion?

I don't' understand why Curmudgeons thinks that this girl has to choose between her health and her religion.
It seems that a nine year old Catholic girl is being forced to choose between her health and her religion. It's this sort of nonsense that helped to cause the Protestant Reformation.

Strong words. However she's been given three good alternatives for receiving communion: "...low-gluten host, drink or touch her lips to consecrated wine or drink or touch mustum, which is a partly fermented grape juice." That doesn't sound to me like a slight against anyone. Receiving God one way or another I'm sure makes little difference to God.

Apparently it makes a difference to this family. Why they would reject all these options is a mystery to me. She's allergic to gluten, but that still leaves the option of the wine. And they make it sound like she will get drunk off of communion wine. The amount consumed is so small that it wouldn't have any effect. Also, it's my understanding at least, that the Church allows people to make what is called an act of spiritual communion. It's my understanding that this is just as valid as receiving communion by any other method.

I don't know the whole circumstances of this case, but I can't help but think that perhaps this family may just be from the Reformist end of the Catholic Church trying to stir up trouble. Not to say that there isn't a traditionalist faction on the other end of the spectrum frequently doing the same.

Bishops can make bad decisions just like anyone else. Though I doubt that it this is one of those cases.

There is no right to receive Communion in Catholic Church anyway anyone demands to have it presented to them. That completely misses the point of going to receive communion in the first place. And if you believe otherwise you can create your own church and join the over 30,000 other Christian denominations that are out there.


Daifallah's defeatist Harper sentiments are coming out once again. Harper can't win. Silly me for thinking so. I guess I was just out of my flipping mind.

Here's what Daifallah had to say:
Criticism was hurled my way after I claimed Stephen Harper would likely never become Prime Minister of Canada. When the Brault revelations at the Gomery Inquiry came out, Tories were gleefully expecting their man to easily soar to 24 Sussex. Looks like they spoke too soon.

Well Daifallah kind of sounds a little gleefull himself. It kind of sounds like an "I told you so" paragraph. Well who can blame him for being a little vain?
Take stock of what's happened. The government responsible for the biggest or second-biggest corruption scandal in Canadian in history (it's a toss-up between this and Sir John A.'s Pacific railway scandal) has survived a non-confidence vote. They manoeuvred brilliantly in the last three weeks with a PR blitz and some top-notch hardball politics.

Brilliantly? They have recordings of members of Paul Martin's inner circle offering patronage appointments for votes, they've had members from Liberals defect, Paul Martin was put in panick mode, but I guess that's just silly me going ahead and using my stupid memory again. Don't worry I'll be shutting my brain off shortly.

So now there's no election, even though it seemed almost inevitable as late as last weekend. The Tories under Harper are mired in the 25-30% range in most polls. And now the knives are ... well, let's not say they're out, but they're at least being sharpened.

The Tories are mired in the 25% to 30% range? My that is selective reading of polls. Just after the vote a Compass poll showed the Tories at 38% nationally. Weren't most pollsters showing numbers that varied up to 10% every couple of days? Ahum what about all that talk about the "volatile" electorate? But hey there I go again using my head, and that's a dangerous thing.

Let's be clear: The Conservative Party is no further ahead today than when the merger occurred. Amazing, but true. I'm at a loss to explain it other than to say the problem must be Harper himself.

I guess uniting the party that consisted of the most bitterly divided right wing factions after 10 years of political war is not considered an improvement for Daifallah. Or that Harper managed to bring it all together in less than a year. Think of that a political party built in less than a year and ready for an election. The party coming to within striking distance of government... No Daifallah's right, even a monkey could do that.

Harper just doesn't seem to appeal to voters in central Canada. And no, I don't think it is because he's from Alberta. It's just that he's not an appealing person. He comes across as cold and uncaring. Call him charisma-deprived.

This is just funny. Because I don't believe that Harper needs to appeal to voters at all. Former Ontario Premier Mike Harris, that Daifallah loves so much, never really appealed to anyone. It was his policies and his dedication that did. He was not an overly charismatic man at all. He wasn't eloquent, he wasn't inspiring. But he was honest and straightforward and he stuck to his guns.

Harper may not be a beer guzzler, but I don't believe that those that supported Mike Harris and Ralph Klein were only voting for them because of their appearence.

I didn't support Harris because I thought he was charismatic. I supported him because I believed that he would do what he said he will do. And I'm sorry, but I don't see anyone else but Stephen Harper that can provide that leadership on the federal stage right now.

Outer Space Treaty Woes

Dan Schrimpster has figured out that Articles II and VI of the outer space treaty are silly.

Article II of The Outer Space Treaty makes it impossible for anyone to claim and have any authority over an asteroid, or territory in outer space as property. Now the way I've read the treaty that it only talks about governments laying claim and not private citizens. That being said some say it bans any claim whatsoever.

Now Article VI says that nations will be responsible for the activities of anyone in outer space that are registered with them. So if an American company sets up shop on the moon the US is responsible for anything they do. It also says that it would be the US's responsibility to ensure that the company abides by the articles of that treaty. But Article II says that the US has no authority to enforce any of this. Am I, and Dan reading this wrong?

Another way you could read this, is that the US would be responsible to ensure that any company that sets up shop on the moon would never have any property rights... That would effectively create a Communist utopia on the Moon. My thinking though is that the first to colonize the moon will be the first to ignore this treaty in the first place.

StarWars ~ Meh

I've always really not liked all those mindless critics that dismissed the first two episodes of the Starwars pre-quels as not being sexy enough, and not having enough violence. Because let's be honest people, most of the criticisms were really about the lack of those two things. Yes the dialogue needed a little work, and Jar-Jar was not the best character addition Lucas has made to the series, but people just went to far.

I thought Episode I was carried by the Qui-Gon character. Episode II was carried by Yoda and Mace Windu. I just watched Episode III last night, and now that I've watched all six episodes I'm a little disappointed.

The last 3 episodes, or the original 3 movies were great. I've watched one of the movies over again recently. They were great because they all had to with this struggle of good vs evil. The force was an analogy for faith. When Luke said "May the Force Be with you," he might as well have been saying "May God be with you." Having faith in the force was a central theme in the movies. It was this idea that there was this force beyond all of us that we could depend on. But there was also a dark side. It was good vs. evil in space. That struggle ends up being centralized in Darth Vader. Really Vader's internal struggle was the story, and the rebellion and everything else was just a representation of what was happening in Vader himself.

These pre-quels were supposed to be dante's inferno. It was about Vader's start and fall from grace. Lucas destroyed the idea of the Force with his "medichorines" or whatever their called. Apparently the force isn't a spiritual thing anymore, now it's some sort of bacteria. Also he had this prophecy of Darth Vader bringing balance to the force. What balance? Why do we need balance? Then there was in Episode III this line where Obi-Wan says "Only the Sith deal in absolutes..." What? Aren't the Jedi's the good guys and the Sith the bad guys? What is Obi-Wan trying to say? What I think he's trying to do is to incorporate the Buddhist idea of needing both good and evil.

I've heard that Lucas has become a real admirer of eastern religions. And it's completely his right to incorporate that into this movies. But this insistence on this ying-yang analogy I've seen destroys the soul of the Starwars series. It was good vs. evil pure and simple. I don't understand how "bringing balance" in this ying-yang analogy fits into any of this. Actually hearing stuff like that kind of scares of me. You don't need evil. There is no need for "balance." This was Lucas's opportunity to comment on the nature of evil. I was left wondering if Lucas has issues himself.

But hey, they are plenty of armchair critics. I still loved the movies. And I'm sure everyone thinks they could have done a better job. And Buddhists are probably loving the analogies, although I'm cringing.


That's the only word that comes to mind.

The final vote in parliament on whether to kick these criminal Liberal bumbs out of office came down to 152 nay and 152 yay. The Liberal speaker of the house voted in the first tie breaker in parliament in years predictably for the government.

I'm disgusted. I'm disgusted with how my Canadian government threw around 4.6 billion dollars of my money to buy the socialist NDP support. I'm disgusted with the way Paul Martin used his powers of appointment to try to wiggle himself out of this crisis. I'm disgusted with the way they denied it even after tape recordings caught them in the act. I'm disgusted with the way the government ignored a clear vote of confidence not a week before. I'm disgusted with the way the government cleverly held the vote the day after some opposition MP's surgeries. But I'm most disgusted with the morally bereft turncoat Belinda Stronach that sold her soul for her own ambitions.

This parliament is a sham. It has no right to be there. It ended a week ago as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you Chuck Cadman. Some say you may have given the deciding vote. Now we have more socialism, more government, more corruption, more taxes, more dithering, and more lies all thanks to you.

Liberals should be afraid. You can delay, and bribe your way out of your problems for only so long. Eventually these things will come back to haunt you. Unlike Paul Martin, Stephen Harper is not afraid of an election.

You should be.

Recording Made Public

Here's a recording of Tim Murphy the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister offering Grewal a patronage appointment in return for his abstention on the budget vote. This is most direct evidence so far that the Prime Minister is trying to buy himself out of this crisis by using his powers of appointment. So much for him curing the "democratic deficit."

A Smoking Gun? I sure think so. My question to Peter Paylor and the rest of the Lefties at the Not-So Progressive Bloggers how do they explain this one away?

Addendum:Andrew Coyne sums up the recording pretty well.

Grewal Smart enough to Make a Recording

This hot off the newswire Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal made a recording of senior Liberals offering him a patronage appointment in return for his support on the government's budget:
Grewal had told media earlier Wednesday evening that the Liberals offered him a diplomatic post or a Senate seat for his wife in return for scratching their crucial budget vote.

The MP from Surrey, B.C., alleged he made an audio recording of an offer from Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff.

"I was approached early this week by Ujjal Dosanjh and asked to abstain or vote with the government on the budget vote," said Grewal, a three-term MP.

Let's get that recording released to media and posted on the internet please. I'm thinking of a Tory ad in the next election campaign already.

Liberal Commemorative Pin

The Liberal Party, on the heals of the Stronach defection, has just released a commemorative pin:

I figure the pig on the right is Martin because he has the biggest derriere. The other two must be Stronach and Brison, but they could easily be Goodale and Lapierre for all I know.

Canada: First in The Space Tourism Frontier?

Apparently the Canadian team that failed at winning the X-Prize is now part of a new space tourism venture called PlanetSpace. They may even have a trasportation system operating before Burt Rutan, the man who won the X-Prize, can do the same. The Canadian Arrow was a good idea, but I never saw any real funding backing them up which is the clincher in these things.

I always thought it was ironic that they would choose to name their bird after an airplane that was build over 40 years ago, and was so revolutionary that it was scrapped by the Tories at the time. I guess you could say it's all part of the amazing Canadian legacy of shooting ourselves in the foot whenever something good comes along.

The other thing I always found interesting about the Arrow team was the belief that they would finish what Von Braun started with the V2. The V2 and it's succesors were notorious in WWII for their ability to terrorize the Allies. Many will no doubt shudder at the thought of using the same designs for space tourism because of their links to Nazyism.

But now they have funding from Chirinjeev Kathuria, a Republican from the US.

Now comes the tough part that I have to say even it it pains me: don't build it in Canada. First of all you have the curse of this thing being called the Arrow. I don't believe in curses, but I do believe in history repeating himself. Trust me, the government will find some way of scuttling this private venture easily. Also keep in mind the designs are linked to WWII facism and Nazyism. I'm expecting at least one Liberal legislator that will have nothing better to do than attack them for that. Then there is the clincher: the main source of funding is from a Conservative. The Liberals would tar and feather every Conservative inside this country and out if the law would let them.

If you build it in Canada, it will have a better chance of dying. This friendly Liberal dictatorship cares little about Canadians, or about space exploration, it cares more about power and control.


Firstly I never thought that calling Belinda a "Blonde Money Bag" was sexist, but apparently some disagree. Now that I find ironic, considering that I thought that those words were if anything a moderate choice. I've heard women in the party call her by names that I don't think I would ever imagine saying on this blog.

The truth is that Belinda is just re-inforcing the view that many Canadians have that all politicians are just looking out for themselves. And quite frankly right now, Belinda has done that for me. And apparently, I'm not Alone. I find it interesting that people are picking on me, when her own supporters are saying far far worse. That being said if I said something to offend anyone I'm sorry. But the message is still a valid one: Belinda is too rich and beautiful, and not smart enough to be in federal politics. That may be harsh, but it's true.

The Toronto Star reports from a Ontario Tory source this little tidbit:
"There was no outreach for a year after the leadership contest. There's an old saying in politics: Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I don't know if Harper read that chapter," one senior Ontario Conservative strategist said yesterday.

First of all Harper reached out to Belinda and MacKay by putting them in serious roles in the party. He even gave MacKay the deputy leader's role. But people try to re-write history too quickly in this instant news world.

I have this to ask of Peter Paylor: Are you telling me that Belinda really deserved to be where she was? What I mean is that if her father wasn't as rich as he was, and Belinda wasn't as gorgeous as she was, would she have made it anywhere? I've always tried not to let such things be factor in my decisions. I'm wondering if you're understanding what that post was really about...

Lois Brown Vs. Belinda

I never thought of Lois Brown until I read Toronto Tory's latest post.

Lois Brown was the Conservative nominee that ran against Belinda Stronach in the Conservative nomination for the District Newmarket-Aurora. The vote, although I don't remember the exact numbers, was significantly close. At the time I remembered thinking two things.

The first was that if I was a Conservative party member that lived in that riding I'd be pretty upset at that point. Belinda was not active at all in politics in that riding. It's frustrating to see people come in from nowhere that jump in and want to take the nomination. Although that's the way it usually happens, the best candidates I believe are those that have been active volunteering and fighting for the Conservative brand in that riding - that is if you can find someone like that. I completely understood where people that supported Lois Brown were coming from.

The second thing I thought, was that all things being equal, I would have rather have had seen a Belinda win. A Belinda loss would have made it appear as if Belinda supporters and Red Tories were not welcome in the party. So I pretty much looked the other way when I noticed Belinda buying memberships like mad - and let's not kid ourselves folks that's how she won that nomination and defeated Lois Brown.

This time around Lois Brown will be a shoo in.

The question is how will Belinda fare against Lois Brown as a Liberal vs. a Conservative? It's money vs. honesty and integrity in Newmarket-Aurora.

Stephen's Happy

On the eve of the most important vote in Canadian parliamentary history, former Tory leadership candidate Rich Kid Belinda Stronach defects to the Liberals... And this is the reaction of the Conservative Leader Stephen Harper:

I guess you could say Harper isn't exactly deeply sadened. And quite frankly neither am I. I feel a little bit more at ease now that I can voice some of the things that I've seen lately that are completely stupid coming out the blonde money bag. My favourite is when Harper's office released an instruction to all MP's not to speak to the media about the timing of an election until after they've had their caucus meeting. So what does good old Blonde money bags Belinda do? She stumbles over to the cameras just hours before and does exactly that generating a bad headline for the party the next day. I'm not sad she's gone. I'm jubilant she's gone.

Good Riddens!

All I can say about Belinda Stronach's defection to the Liberal Party is Good Riddens! I wonder how much dirty money the rich kid got from brown paper bags to clinch this deal?

You're now Paul Martin's problem. I've resisted the urge to critize her on numerous occasions for her complete lack of political brains, but no more. That rich kid won't win her ultra-conservative riding come the next election.

This is a betrayal that goes deeper than being Conservative or Liberal. This is a betrayal of Canada.

We will not forget.

Addendum: Angry in The Great White North wonders what info Stronach took with her? It reminds me of a post I made a while ago about moles in the CPC... The pieces are starting to fit together on some of the problems Harper has been having of late. And on another note Peter MacKay's political future is as of this second dead. I'm sorry, maybe it's the cynicism of all this, but I don't believe the spin.
Addendum II: "Ask not what you can do for your country - ask what the Liberal Party can do for you." - Belinda Stronach.

The Unanswered Question

Republicans in the US have the biggest hurdle approaching them I can think of: who will replace Bush?

Bush's legacy not only in American politics, but on the world stage is already sealed. He will be remembered. Some will hate him, some will revere him. The question Republicans really should be fretting about is who will replace him.

Bush wasn't elected by so-called "moral" or "social" conservatives, but he was brought over the top by those same groups in my opinion. Bush was successfull in creating a wide coalition that included religious conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, neo-cons, and even paleo-cons if you would believe. If anything Canadian Conservatives have something to learn from the Bush presidency.

That being said whoever replaces Bush will only be a shadow. Who can possibly contain that coalition and build on it? I can't see anyone in American politics that could do it. Bush had the ability to appeal to faith based groups, and at the same time not completely annoy the heck out of the rest of US Conservatives.

Issues of Morality have become a prime issue in America. The Bush presidency has been the foremost beneficiary of this. Will the next Republican Candidate for the Presidency continue to be able to capitalize on this? Many of the possible contenders mentioned don't seem particularly eager to talk about so-called "Life issues" like abortion, euthenasia, human cloning.. At least not the way this President has.

I can't help but think, as a Canadian viewing American politics from afar, that the next President of the US, even if he is Republican, will never be able to outdo what this President has accomplished already let alone what he has left to do.

Liberal Trial Balloon #4,394,093

Desperation must breed stupidity. How else can you explain this obvious trial ballon of the Liberals getting rid of the GST as a strategy to win the next election? This is yet another example of just how devoid of principles the Liberal Party is. The Liberals promised over a decade ago to get rid of the much hated Goods and Services Tax. They never did.

For them to start putting out trial balloons like this one 10 years after they broke their promise reaks with the stench of a cornered rat.

Let's put them out their misery already.

NDP Fairytales

Now this is just funny. Let's hope that people out in BC don't make the mistake of buying into NDP fairytales once again.

Nuking NASA

Project Prometheus is getting a lot of attention these days. Dan Schrimpsher has documented the latest episode of un-informed congressmen making hay out of nothing.

Project Prometheus is a NASA project meant to test the use of a Nuclear reactor in space. It's not nuclear propulsion. Nuclear propulsion, like the kind in the NASA project called Orion involves using nuclear detonations to create thrust. However Gas Core Nuclear Rockets were also developed by NASA that were a lot more practical but still used nuclear material.
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, representing the 4th District of Georgia, is spearheading an effort to find like-minded lawmakers to question the building and deployment of a nuclear propulsion rocket and to protect the public from the potential of a catastrophic nuclear accident posed by the Prometheus Project.

Project Prometheus involves the use of a Nuclear Reactor, not a Nuclear Rocket. Cynthia is not the only one this confused. I wish I could say Canadian politicians are more aware of space related issues but they aren't. We just had a Premier of an Atlantic province, a multi-millionaire cable king, that jumped at the 1 in a million chance of an ABM test striking an offshore oil platform.

Then the good Congresswoman mused about Solar Power being a suitable replacement. This got this response from Dan:
What? Solar power? What does she think NASA uses, unleaded? I think somebody needs to point out to Congresswoman McKinney the farther away from the Sun you get, the less solar energy you have. Solar power requires a star fairly close by. In this case, nuclear is an alternative energy source.

Nuclear reactors are the only way we could power long duration, long distance probes. Nothing, ruling out an act of God, will ever change that.

These Leftist hippy flower power fanaticals need to get it through their skulls that the cold war is over and no matter how hard they try to find an anti-nuke cause in Project Prometheus all they do is embarrass themselves and expose how little they infact know.

Why We Won't Go Into An Election...

The vote on the clear confidence motion in the government this past week that the Liberal Party ignored was 153 to 150 against the government. We should be already in an election now, but apparently the Liberal Party has no respect for Democracy. Normally a vote of confidence, if lost by the government, forces the Prime Minister to call an election. Apparently the Liberals don't consider a motion asking the Liberal Party to resign a vote of confidence. They only consider votes on the budget a matter of confidence. And have proposed a budget vote, that they will recognize as a vote of confidence, for Thursday.

During the last vote two Liberals were absent. Two Conservative MPs were ill but still managed to get in for the vote.

With those Liberals back in on time for Thursday, and Conservative MP Darrel Stynson's absence due to surgery on Wednesday, It will mean the vote will be 152 to 152. In the event of a tie the speaker of the house, a Liberal, casts the deciding vote.

That's why we won't be going into an election folks. The Liberals didn't choose Thursday for the new confidence vote for no reason. That's why Harper and the opposition wants to have the vote before Wednesday. The Prime Minister is playing the politics of desperation by using procedural loopholes, and people's illnesses to keep hold of power.

That is unless even one Liberal gets in a car accident, or gets delayed on a flight, or God messes around a bit...

Trudeau's Shadow

Trudeau's son Justin has made it clear that he thinks the Liberal Party should spend some time in the wilderness.

It's impeccable timing from the son of the former Liberal Prime Minister. His father being the most notoriously Leftist Prime Minister of Canadian history, daring to visit Communists before anyone else, being a suspected Commie himself, and now his prodigeny is giving Conservative leader Stephen Harper new ammo.

Of course we have to think though about Justin's own personal leadership ambitions. Trudeau's name is remembered with either ire and hatred, or reverence. His son has always been touted as a potential future Prime Minister. If he isn't playing politics it is certainly dumb luck that this works out so much to his favour for a potential leadership run himself.

Once the Liberals are trounced, he would come in as the outsider there to save the Liberal Party. It's the stuff the media just goobles up.

Beware the Trudeau.

Starchaser Still Alive

I'm glad to hear that these guys are still alive and plan to enter the sub-orbital tourism market.

I find it slightly ironic that Starchaser stresses it's "Brittishness" at every opportunity. Especially considering that it plans to do all of its launches from New Mexico.

This situation brings up an interesting dilemna for private for profit space ventures. The decision of where to base your launch operations is one of the most critical decisions you can make. Locations closer to the equator are easier cheaper launches. Locations in non-populated areas with lots of open space make for less hassles.

But what happens if this takes off? Take the tiny town of Mojave California where Burt Rutan's Space Ship One was built. Let's say this town becomes the spaceport of the world. Right know it's ideal because its remote location far away from skyscrapers and residents who will no doubt complain. But if we assume that space tourism explodes in the next decade, some tiny towns could become burgeoning frontier cities. Will people in this new huge Mojave be happy with all of these rockets flying overhead? Or will they do as those in big cities would typically do: lobby government to regulate the industry to death?

Either way at least Starchaser hasn't given up. And who knows they may give Burt and Sir Branson a run for their money.

SFU Prof Thinks Vote was a Confidence Vote

A Simon Fraser University Prof believes the vote taken yesterday was a vote of confidence:
The current motion is also strikingly similar, in procedural terms, to that proposed by H.H Stevens on June 26, 1926. That motion also recommended that a committee report be amended and precipitated the whole King-Byng crisis, when the Governor General refused a dissolution to King on the grounds that he should not avoid a confidence motion then before the House but not voted on; this was the Stevens' motion. For information on those events, see: House of Commons Debates, 1926, Vol.V, June 22 to June 25.

In light of the past precedents, and especially the relevance of the 1926 motions on the Customs Affair, the current motion appears to be clearly a vote of confidence which would normally require the government to resign or call an election after losing the vote. It is a fundamental blow to the government's authority for a majority of the House to agree on a motion that it should resign.

I also note a new CTV poll showing the Tories moving ahead once again. I find that most interesting because I thought the Tories didn't do particularly well handling the media at the beginning of last week when they started this latest poll. I think they started to do better when they started to talk about the Inky Mark/Reg Alcock affair later on in the week. It'll be interesting to see the results of polls taken this week in light of this vote and the new material coming out of the sponsorship scandal.

Vote Passes

A motion asking the Liberal government to resign has received a 153 to 150 vote majority in the house of commons. The Liberals have decided to ignore it and the will of parliament once again.

In Canada we have so little checks and balances built in to reign in the power of the executive branch of government. It's nice to know that the principle of responsible government that is accountable to Canadians has just been thrown out the door.

Some have suggested that the opposition could appeal to the Governor General to force Paul Martin to call an election. I've always contended that you could sue the Liberal Party. Either way both are self serving Liberal patronage appointments anyway so the result would only be the same.

Delay. That's what the Liberals want. Delay until the public forgets. And trust me - the public will forget.

This is definitely a sad sad day for Canada.

Want to know why the poll are as they are?

Want to know why the Tories are trailing the Liberals right now? It's because of stories like this one:
Desperate for any chance to topple the minority government, the Opposition has tabled a motion calling for the Liberals to resign.

The Liberals have been throwing around money, and offers for plum patronage appointments all in a desperate quest to hold on to power. And now they want to ignore the results of a vote, that all other parties except the Liberals see as a vote of confidence in the government. And most agree that the Liberals are waiting for a bi-election to start in late May that could give the Liberals an extra seat. That could bolster their chances of not going into an election.

The Conservatives, who by all indications would stand to gain nothing from an election according to the latest polls, are somehow portrayed by the media as being the desperate ones... Only in Canada.

King Paul

Chantal Hebert is, as usual, right on the money.
Indeed, at this rate, Martin may well go down in the history books for putting the cart of backroom manoeuvres before the horse of governance.

He's bought Ontari Premier Dalton McGuinty's support, he's bought the socialists support, he's bought David Kilgour's support, he's been trying to buy Inky Mark's support, and he's trying to buy voters support with his $6 billion dollar spending spree... All with your money.

Something Scam, or another something...

I just watched the CBC. They reported on some more cash changing hands in brown envelopes - this time with elastics wrapped around it. Apparently there is now direct evidence that the Liberal Party received $50,000 in cash that was funneled through Jean Brault. The money apparently paid for 9 party workers. This new witness "what's his name" is claiming that disgraced Liberal Alfonso Gagliano gave him a threatening call. Alfonso for his part says he called this guy to console him.

I would apologize about the lack of details, but I won't. I'm tired. I'm fed up. What does it matter who said what or did what anymore? Paul Martin says he never knew about the unity fund. Jean Chretien says he did. One of them has to be lying. Some guy said that at the inquiry. Another guy said something else. More money passed around in brown paper bags. Oh but wait the sponsorship program was necessary to save the country! Yes we need to save the country from the seperatists! Because saving the country means violating election laws. So many contradictions. So many lies.

If Canadians are afraid of the Tories, if they're worried about them being crazed with a drive to power, they really have little clue what they're talking about. It's the Liberals they should be worried about.

Worry about the Wolf herding you, not the mouse trying to save your behind from the Wolf reading a sheep cook book.

Confidence or No Confidence

This is absolutely incredible. How can a motion that asks the Liberal Government to resign not be considered a vote of confidence in the government?

Who are these parliamentary experts anyway? Liberals? It's like some horrible joke from some comedian has just become true.

The First Space Naturalists...

This is just a whole new level of naturalist environmentalist extremist. God save the Russians.

Shuttle delays, the never ending story...

I've been meaning to comment on the space shuttle's delay for days now but haven't found the time.
NASA managers today decided to stage a second tanking test next weekend or shortly after to troubleshoot problems with the shuttle Discovery's external fuel tank. The shuttle then will be hauled back to the Vehicle Assembly Building where engineers will attach the ship to a different set of boosters and a fresh external tank, officials said late today.

The external fuel tanks I think showed more problems than just ice buildups that caused this last delay. Apparently there were reports that sensors that detect the level of fuel in the external tank were malfunctioning. What's interesting is that this spaceflight now article is suggesting that a new set of boosters will be attached. I can't understand the intent here. The SRB's and the External Fuel Tank as far I understood were completely seperate systems.
During the tanking test last month, two of four hydrogen sensors inside the tank, which are used to control the main engine shutdown sequence when the shuttle reaches space, failed to operate properly. Engineers have not yet pinned down what caused the problem, but all four must be operational for a launch to proceed.

There were some suggestions that the new heater system installed on the external fuel tank may be interfering with these sensors. If that's true when they connect the new tank in a week's time they may see the same problems. In which case it would be back to the drawing board and the shuttle flight would be delayed further.
The launch window is based on an internal NASA requirement to launch at least the first two post-Columbia missions in daylight. But the issue is complicated by a requirement to also ensure the external tank separates half a world away in enough light to allow documentary photography.

This requirement I think was seen as being the easiest solution to the problem of tiles falling off the shuttle. However I still believe NASA could have easily used some sort of magnetic sensors to detect the presence of every tile on the Space Shuttle. I'm not sure if it would be easier or harder than what NASA is doing now, but I bet if the Shuttle were to be redesigned that's exactly the approach NASA engineers would take to solving this problem.

Daifallah's Lapse

Daifallah has decided to pre-judge an entire election campaign based on a single poll result.

Daifallah's a really smart guy. I wish I could have half the brain that guy has. But for whatever reason he's decided to bark the "Harper will probably loose" message.

Lately, Daifallah's back on the defeatist Harper mantra again:
Is it Stephen Harper? Is he that unpalatable to people in central Canada they will again hold their nose and vote Liberal? Is it that Ontarians are still scared of some "hidden agenda," even though the Tories have it in their policy manual that they will not legislate on abortion? Or is it just proof of the old wisdom that the only time an electorate is motivated to change governments is when the economy heads south?

Of course, the Tories could run a brilliant election campaign and still win government, although likely only a minority. But given their past performance, I'm not betting on it.

Let's be honest about this people: Canadians don't really understand what's going on. All they've heard is that some dirty business was going on. They really don't know the full depth of Liberal corruption. In a 54 day election campaign, I hope that by the end most do. Also keep in mind that the polls are literally shifting by 7% or more by the day. Anything is possible. That to me suggests that Harper is not unpalatable to Ontario. If anything it suggests that Harper is seen as a real choice.

As to the performance of Harper's team in an election campaign, I think Daifallah should be a little more generous than he is. Everyone loves to be a Monday morning quaterback. If you have problems with Harper, then those problems are with Harper. I don't think it's usefull for people to start defeating themselves before we're even in an election.

More Smog Please...

I wonder how David Suzuki would respond to this. My guess is that he would dismiss the report as being part of the vast right wing corporate military industrial capitalist bible thumping disease/conspiracy.

One of the things that scientists, for the most part, won't admit is that most models produced so far on climate change for the planet can't predict a thing. They can't even explain previous increases and decreases in the average world temperature. Also over the last 2000 years the average world temperature was a lot higher than it is now. Especially during a period called the medieval warm period during the medieval age. That would indicate that a world rise in temperatures of a couple degrees Celsius would bring us a little bit closer to that climate in our history. According to the Kyoto projections, if CO2 emissions double, at most a 2 degree celcius rise should accord. I don't remember hearing about any environmental cataclysms happening at that time in history do you?

Yikes! Bruce Gagnon...

T.L. James is not impressed with leftist anti-nukes in space crusader Bruce Gagnon.

Apparently he's found out that Bruce has a newfound friend in his crusade.

Project Prometheus is a project meant to use a nuclear reactor in a space probe. If successful, nuclear reactors could increase the lifetimes of probes significantly. Also, this technology would be usefull for missions where solar power becomes impractical... Like say a mission to Alpha Centauri? Of course that's probably a century or more away, but there are practical gains to be made by making the public more confortable with the idea of nuclear reactors in space. The foremost I can think of, is to make the public more confident with the idea of using nuclear technology for peaceful purposes in space.

Naysayers like Bruce Gagnon have really done a diservice to the cause of space exploration. Instead of using technology, which typically has been used to destroy, for something good, Gagnon and his types would rather scuttle it.

This has nothing to do with nuclear rockets, or the weaponization of space. When Bruce Gagnon uses the domain "" he's really fooling himself. What he's doing will ensure that space isn't used for peaceful purposes or non-peaceful purposes. He's ensuring that space won't be used at all.

Don't Count on Peter Miliken

If it comes to tie-breaker decided by the speaker the Liberals will win. This vote on May 18th may really come down to the decision of independent MP Chuck Cadman. His single vote, or absence, could make the government fall.

You have to love minority parliaments.

Forget Parliament, the courts may decide if we go into election...

If the Tories pass a non-confidence motion the Liberals will ignore it according to Valeri. It wouldn't be the first time the Liberals used procedural back doors to ignore the will of parliament. This though could set off a constitutional firestorm that could lead straight to the Supreme Court of Canada.

The only recourse the opposition in parliament would have if the Liberals chose to ignore this vote would be to sue the government for breach of Parliamentary tradition. This is at least the way I read the laws of the land.

That would mean that whether or not we go into an election could be chosen by our famous non-elected patronage appointed Liberal judges in this country. And considering the allegations of people buying judgeships from the Liberal Party that the sponsorship scandal has highlighted, I'm sure that the justices will be less than fair. It would be a monumental surprise if the Supreme Court sided on the side of reason over the Liberal Party that they owe so much to.

Such an act by the Supreme Court of Canada would only further cement the view of the rest of the world that Canada has become a Banana Republic. It would also allow the Liberals to claim, as they have with previous court decisions, that any naysayers are just unwilling to listen to reason, and are just driven by a political agenda - no matter how preposterous that claim may be.

The only other thing I can see hapening is that the opposition could go to the Governor General, another Liberal patronage appointment, and ask her to hold an election because the vote proves the government does not have the confidence of the house.

Moon Hopes

India's getting some nice press coverage over it's launch.

As to what it's real chances at getting to the moon before the US I'm going to leave up to smarter people than me. But one this that does interest me is the possibility that as more and more third world nations emerge and develop space travel technology, what happens if one of them never signed the Outer Space Treaty? That treaty prevented among other things ownership of objects in outer space, like the moon, as property.

Imagine if a nation that never signed the treaty gets to the moon - would they claim it in their own name? I can imagine that if that happened the whole treaty would unravell. It would interesting to think that the first colonists of our nearest satellite might end up coming from a nation that is small poor and unknown today.

Brown Envelopes of Cash

The Globe reports on one of Jean Chretien's right hand men receiving over $300,000 in kickbacks:
The Quebec wing needed money to organize in ridings that didn't have Liberal MPs, he said.

He said that while the two were alone at the party's Montreal offices, Mr. Corriveau handed him about $100,000 in an envelope that held $100 and $20 bills.

"I assumed that it was money that was voluntarily donated," Mr. Béliveau said.

He then gave the money to his deputy, Benoît Corbeil, who succeeded him as director-general in 1998.

The balance, about $200,000, was given to an intermediary and was supposed to go to a riding in eastern Quebec, Mr. Béliveau testified.

He said eastern Quebec top organizer Marc-Yvan Côté told him later that "the needs had been met."

I've worked on campaigns before. I have never seen money in these sums transferred by brown envelopes. I fail to understand how anyone could not see something conscipous about a donation in $100's and $20's of over $100,000. I could understand if it were talking about $100 or even $200 dollars, but this is just bizzare.
In January of 1998, he said, he approached Mr. Corriveau for $7,000 to $8,000, to reimburse an election volunteer in Mr. Chrétien's riding for food and lodging.

He said he "never, never" told Mr. Chrétien. "And if he had known, I know how he would have reacted."

Do you? Then why did you do it in the first place? No I think Chretien did know, or atleast chose not to know.

Everybody's Racist

Angry In The Great White North expresses my sentiments exactly on Conservative MP Inky Mark's demand for an apology for Reg Alcock so-called "racist" remarks.
The Conservatives had demanded that Mr. Alcock resign -- though I'm not certain if they wanted him to resign just from the Treasury Board, or from his seat altogether. But that's not important. He has apologized, and the Conservatives should accept that apology. People from all sides have been slinging mud over the last week (some nastier than others, to be sure). The right thing to do is to put the issue behind them, and never speak of it again.

He's right. This is something you would expect the Liberals doing to the Tories not the other way around. But I can understand why those Conservative MPs are encouraging him to call for an apology.

If you've been hit long enough by Liberals with ludicrous claims of racism, bigotry, and intolerance then I guess at a certain point you're more likely to try to hit back.

Hubble Rescue Back On

Griffin has given a green light to rescue Hubble. Although he's being slightly non-committal about it.

I've always been skeptical about the need to continue Hubble. The reservations I have is that the space observatory is a huge distraction for NASA. I also believe some people justify it on false pretenses. Hubble is never going to provide a smoking gun that gets Congress and the world behind space exploration. If we found a livable planet in some other solar system somewhere there is one problem: it's in another solar system.

We can't even get our collective behinds up above 100 km. If we did find a hospitable planet out there ripe for colonization, or maybe for visiting the natives, we could do nothing about it. We can't get to LEO. So how are we supposed to get to another freaking solar system?

I don't have a real problem with Hubble on the overall. I just wish it were financed privately and had nothing to do with NASA. Because all Hubble has become is part of the bureaucracy. All Hubble has become is a media outlet for people to forget about the failures of NASA and to focus on the pretty pictures of places where we will never go.

Tip o' the hat to Curmudgeons.

Sailing to the Moon... reports on new testing on solar sails:
"We have everything we need to do this," he said.

Good now we need to ask ourselves the question do we really want to do this? The accelerations on these sails are miniscule. Also the accelerations they do produce decrease the farther you go out from the sun.

It's interesting though to consider what it could mean in terms of travel from the earth to the moon. With no fuel the costs are nothing except what it costs to support the astronaut's life. If you could maintain a continuous 1 m/s2 acceleration using a 100m x 100m sail, you could lift about 1000 kg payload to the moon in about 40 days. So I guess it comes down to which costs more: fuel or food an oxygen? I'm thinking the shear cost of supporting an astronauts life for that time period would overcome any benefits you would get from using no fuel.

I would think that these sails are probably more useful on the same types of missions that Ion engines are used on. Those would be long flight duration probes that accelerate for years.

But it still doesn't tackle the greatest barrier to space exploration: the cost to get to low earth orbit. We need to get there before we get anywhere else.

Canadian Dimbulb Numero Uno: Pamela Anderson

Well Pamela ain't so happy with the unethical treatment of chickens from KFC. She won't even meet to discuss it with the Prez of KFC at all.

I find this all a little too typical of the Canadians turned Krazyfornians. Pamela Anderson seems to be worried so much about the unethical treatment of animal like her PETA friends, I wonder where these people are to decry the unethical treatment of plants? Afterall plants have feelings too.

Pam is a self described vegeterian. How horrible.

Doesn't she have any compassion for the poor Onion that never hurt anybody else only to get diced and sliced so capriciously? Doesn't she feel for the poor carrot, that did nothing to anybody, but gets horribly uprooted from the ground without a care? And what about the plight of poor head lettuce, doused and drugged with anti-insectides?

Do you know what the cause of vegitariniasm has done make certain plant life extinct?

How horrible indeed.

Canucks Change Their Minds

Apparently Canadians have changed their minds. Now they want an election.

The Liberals and the NDP won't be able to say that the Bloq and the Conservatives are forcing an election that Canadians don't want anymore.

NDP Lobbied by Liberals

Like it wasn't bad enough that the Liberal Party itself is embroiled in a muti-million dollar lobbying scandal now there are allegations that the Liberals lobbied the NDP.

My initial reaction is how does this surprise anyone? There were no doubt people shoved aside in the Liberal caucus in deciding the last budget, they would be fools not to try to give suggestions to their NDP members of parliament... So long as no checks, or bags of money are being exchanged that is...

On the budget we are hearing reports that the Liberals, if they fall, want to fall on the budget. There's a saying, before you can learn how to win, you have to learn how to fall. In this case the Liberals are showing no tact whatsoever. They want to fall on an NDP budget? Keep in mind this is the same Liberal Party accused of being corrupt, and funneling taxpayer money to their own bank accounts. Now they want to funnel that money to taxpayers in a massive 4.6 Billion spending spree?

This budget is a dream budget for Conservative leader Stephen Harper's purposes. He gets to bring down the government on a tax and spend budget without any tax cuts to be heard of. He can go around the country saying that the Liberals are in bed with the socialists. And the Liberals want to fall on that?

Another Pub Ban Lifted

Judge Gomery lifted the ban on Chuck Guite's testimony. And boy oh boy did he name names. The real question I have is whether or not the inquiry will be shut down because of the election. Originally everything I was reading was telling me that it would. Now that's a little fuzzier. If Gomery could continue full blown into an election it would no doubt benefit the conservatives. But my guess is that the inquiry would have to go into recess until parliament re-convenes.

In which case there might be only a few more weeks of this material coming out before Canadians are forced to heed.