To be a Tory or not to be a Tory?

VANCOUVER (CP) - Trade Minister David Emerson says he will run again in Vancouver-Kingsway in the next federal election despite the continuing uproar over his defection to the new Conservative government just days after leading the Liberals' B.C. campaign attack on the Tories. (link)

Is the man bigger than the party in Vancouver Kingsway? I doubt it. We will see what happens in any event. If previous election results for turncoats are a legit basis for extrapolating how future election results for turncoats will be, then Emerson looks a good bet to be re-elected. Afterall, Canucks returned Stronach, Brison, Dosajnla;lskdk(or whatever the heck his name is), and Lapierre didn't they?

Then again, maybe Emerson isn't as hot as he thinks he is... The NDP was the only contender in that riding - not the Tories. He may in the end regret his decision to run again - as a Tory. Politically, it may have been a better idea to be an "indepent" Cabinet minister and run again as such.

Anyhoo, only another election will tell.

Will it?... Or won't it?

I'm starting to wonder if even one shuttle flight will happen this year.

Judging the Judge

Up here in Canuckland we finally get to question just who the PM appoints as a judge to rule - errrrrrr - I mean to judge over all. Here are some highlights:
"It goes without saying that judges must be neutral arbitrators in disputes that come before them... They can have no personal agenda, and they must be independent."

That's the biggest fallacy ever. Everyone has an agenda. There is no such thing as a "neutral abritrator." There are only agendas.

Oh, by all means people call themselves "neutral." Like journalists, or reporters call themselves "neutral." Then they try to sell newspapers by jazzing up stories. Wanting to sell newspapers may just be an "agenda" wouldn't ya know? Neutrality, or at least the concept they are describing, doesn't exist either. A judge has opinions just like anyone else. It's just that people fool themselves into believing that their "opinions" don't have an affect on how they do their job.
"Critics of the new process have warned that it runs the risk of politicizing the country's highest court."

Would appointing these characters as a judge be considered "politicizing?":
....Cotler's executive assistant and policy adviser, Cotler's former chief of staff, the former legal counsel to the Ontario Liberal Party, the wife of a close Cotler friend, a senior Alberta Liberal fund-raiser and close friend of Alberta Liberal cabinet minister Anne McLellan, the former co-chair of the 2004 Alberta federal Liberal campaign, an unsuccessful Liberal candidate in the 1997 and 2000 Alberta elections, a twice-defeated federal Liberal candidate in Alberta, and a former Liberal minister of finance in New Brunswick.(link)

Because all were Supreme Court Nominees.

No, it couldn't be. Liberal appointments to the Supreme Court? Believe it. These are the "neutral arbritators" they talk about that don't have an "agenda."
"He cannot tell you how he would decide a hypothetical case," he said. "He might eventually be faced with that case.

"For the same reason, he cannot tell what you his views are on controversial issues, such as abortion, same-sex marriage or secession."

I expect that rule to change, and soon. Oh, it won't be done officially. But as these hearings become tradition in the Dominion, I bet some politicians will decide to dance on the lines and not-quite-so-ask-but-quasy-ask those questions.
As an alternative, the Canadian Bar Association has recommended that new Supreme Court judges be questioned by a leading journalist in a televised interview conducted under the CBA's supervision.

"There is no need to create an appearance that judges are beholden to those members of the very government they will undoubtedly be required to judge," CBA president Brian Tabor said.

"There is a better, safer approach to introduce a Supreme Court nominee to Canadians without creating doubt as to the independence and impartiality of our judges."(link)

I think a touch of doubt just might already exist... But far from me to disagree with the big Lawyer dude, with the suing and the "hey defamation lawsuit" thing...

What a flap-crappy way of selecting a judge - but at least it's an improvement to what we're used to in the True North Strong and Free.

Apparently the next election is already over...

Moreover, Liberals are also looking at the real possibility that Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) will "in all likelihood," win at least a minority or a majority in the next election which is affecting the whole dynamic of a Liberal leadership run. (link)

Stupid doesn't begin to describe this. Whatever Liberals are openly musing about these things with the press are doing the same harm to that party that was done to the Tories for years by Tories. Never pre-judge the outcome of the next election - no matter the situation. Because anything can happen. All you do is discourage supporters by musing about defeat. Remember Ralph Klein's election prediction at the outset of the last federal election? How wrong/stupid/arrogant/presumptious/"out of his mind" was he when he said the Tories didn't have a chance?

But heck, if the Whigs want to shoot themselves in the shoot, they can go ahead and do it.

Are they for real?

Part of the problem, said the seasoned Parliament Hill columnist, is Mr. Harper's press secretary Carolyn Stewart Olsen. "She's not a good influence for him because she affirms his worst prejudices about the media," the columnist said. "It's not particularly healthy for him."

Calgary Herald columnist Don Martin in his column last week reiterated the sentiment. "Sidekick Carolyn Stewart Olsen, in the junior position of press secretary, has become more powerful than any director of communications by telling Harper what he wants to hear and feeding his lifelong paranoia of the press," Mr. Martin wrote, just after Mr. Harper fired William Stairs, his fourth communications director since becoming the leader of the Alliance Party and then the Conservative Party. (link)

Even former Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella admits that the media tend to have a Liberal bias. I honestly find it a little funny that some members of the press still think they are "neutral."

Most reporters tend to come from schools. Schools that tend to be Liberal. Hence, most reporters will tend to be Liberal. There, I said it.

This smearing of Carolyn Stewart Olsen is ridiculous. I sense a little bitterness on behalf of the press about all this. The truth is if you're a Conservative and you've fought in at least one election campaign so far, you know the media is biased. All Olsen is doing is telling the truth.

I've been to too many political events and seen how they were covered by the press afterwards on the 6 o'clock news. Parrallel universes doesn't begin to describe the differences between what I've seen in real life, and what I've seen getting reported by Peter Mansbridge. It's scary to think that we all get our news from media filters that can so distort actual events.... The media unbiased? Please. But that's Canuckland eh?


Some meanderings on taking L1. It's interesting though, Chair Force Engineer doesn't mention one big huge piece of infrastructure in his return to the moon plan: The ISS.

The International Space Station is noticeably absent. I guess he must be assuming that the white elephant will be retired in his scenario. If so I'm on onboard.

"L1" refers to "Lagrange Point 1". It's a point in space where the gravity between the earth and moon exactly cancel each other out. So, a space ship could hover there and always be in the same position relative to the earth and the moon. The other possibility of course is to actually have a space ship in "orbit" around the point. Theoretically it is possible.

So the idea is put a space station at L1, and we have a way point to the moon essentially.

I understand the need of having an L1 space station for easy quick returns from the Moon. Though I can't help but snicker at all this. Following Chair Force Engineer's plan would have a small, lean, space station at L1 that would actually serve a purpose: a gateway to the moon.

The ISS's purpose?... I'm still trying to figured that one out.

If this is unfair my life must be a beating fest...

Awwww.... NDP doesn't want to play with Buzz more, so Buzz won't play with NDP:
"Buzz Hargrove, Canada's most prominent labour leader, says he won't try to rejoin the New Democratic Party after being suspended for supporting some Liberal candidates in the recent federal election."
"'There was no notification, no evidence presented to me and no hearing. I don't want to legitimize that sort of process...'

Buzz seems to think that this was unfair. Wow. Buzz was an NDP member. He endorsed the Paul Martin Liberals. For that the NDP said "sorry Buzz, but you aint a Dipper no more." Wow. That was so unfair.

What about Buzz's right to be a member of the NDP? It's a human right I tell you! NDP membership should not be exclusionary. It's an affront to the principle of equality of the NDP. Making a "no Buzz's allowed" rule is discriminatory. Just because he doesn't meet the definition of a "member in good standing of the NDP" by not supporting the NDP is not fair. My definition of what it means to be an NDP member is not the same as your definition. It's all relative.

What's next for the NDP? To start excluding gays and lesbians from marriage! Tommy Douglas would be ashamed!

I have an amazing idea...

"One is a judge who approved a patent on a living animal, another supported Charter rights for gays, and the third is an academic married to an New Democratic Party strategist."(link)

Hey!... Just brainstorming here! How 'bout we appoint really Conservative judges now that we're in power? You know, get someone that might vote against SSM and abortion... Someone that believes in a strict, traditional interpretation of the Charter?

Just using the ol' nogging there.

Or better yet, we could actually do Conservative things now that we are in power. Oh, I know! We could appoint people to Cabinet that are really Conservative.

And hey, we could have elections for senators just like we said we would.


2 Launches in 2006?

"...Despite the placeholders on the schedule, there isn't expected to be more than two launches in 2006."(link)

More than two?... At this rate I'd be surprised if there was more than one. Especially considering this differing timeline.

It was Belinda in the Dinning Room with the Candlestick...

"...But won't appointing a blatantly opportunistic turncoat, the Prime Minister asks, spark wide public outrage? Sure, says a savvy backroom boy, but that's the beauty part -- naming Emerson will generate so much resentment around floor-crossing that it'll foul up any chance Belinda Stronach has of winning the Liberal leadership."(link)(via)

What a conspiracy theory this is. Although I think what makes this story so appealing is the morcel of flatulating truth it points to.

Belinda Stronach is a threat. It's as pure and simple as that. And, in the course of strategic meanderings and navel gazing in the PMO, it wouldn't surprise me if at some point or another that thought hadn't crossed the mind of at least one bucko.

Though it forgets one important point. Belinda is a threat - but she's also a liability.

When Belinda first ran for the leadership, I disagreed with her on social issues, but that was not the foremost concern I had about her managing a 711 let alone a federal party.

Belinda Stronach just didn't have the political experience. It spoke volumes when I felt I could deliver a better response to press questions than she could... Brother, most young PC's could offer better awnsers to policy questions than she could.

Belinda as a leader, would have had to have been educated pure and simple. That's not a slight against her, that's just the reality that Belinda was starting from a 0 point IQ politically. She embarassed herself too often. She would have embarassed the party as well.

The only thing she has is ambition. She doesn't have a principle that I can name except for her own ambition. That became clear in the Conservative leadership race when she failed really to give a single reason why she decided to enter federal politics. If she really had the "political bug" so to speak, why hadn't she been involved otherwise?

She's as much of a liability to the Liberal Party as she is a threat to the Conservative Party. Belinda as leader of the Liberal Party could very well be a gift to Stephen Harper.

So... It's Ansari Vs Branson?

It's the battle of the super rich space nutsos apparently now:
Three telecommunications entrepreneurs from Texas have joined with Space Adventures Ltd., the company that sent the first paying passengers to the International Space Station, to develop passenger spacecraft for suborbital flights.

The vehicles would be designed by a Russian company, and the first ships could be ready before 2008, said one of the entrepreneurs, Hamid Ansari, who with his wife, Ansousheh, and brother, Amir, helped finance the Ansari X Prize competition — the one that resulted in the first private flight to the edge of space, in 2004.(link)

So the Ansari's are going to compete against Sir Richard Branson. We have two companies... I guess that counts as competition in a so far non-existent sub-orbital space tourism industry.

In all this apparently Branson's got 157 clients lined up. Not bad considering they're selling tickets at $200,000 a pop. The original idea was to sell it at half that price. And I highly suspect that once this other venture gets it's wheels turning that $200G price tag will drop like... something that drops fast...

Anyhoo, we got two "surefire" bets for competitors for future space tourists. "Surefire" meaning we have two groups funded by millionaires that have more money then they know what to do with and that are probably crazy enough to fund these little projects to conclusion.

Hurrah for space nutsos like me everywhere!

"US Style..."

OTTAWA -- Stockwell Day is considering a U.S.-style armed border patrol to stop "bad guys" getting into Canada.(link)

Those two letters are treated with absolute disdain in the media... "US" Styled anything is automatically supposed to indicate that the worst possible of all hells is just around the corner: Canada becoming like America.

For those that don't know, in Canuckland, we don't have armed border guards. Instead we give them a quarter and tell them if anything happens to call the police.

So when armed men go past the border, they just show their rifle at the Canadian guards, and they just take off and call the police while the armed culprit truts into Canadian territory and shoots someone.

At the immediate suggestion that we do what border guards have requested and actually arm them, the whole suggestion becomes "US styled..." In other words it's stupid, uncivilized, bigoted, racist, and Red Neck- just like our friends to the south.

This is hogwash.

First of all, the media needs to yank the pickle out of it's rear, and stop with the prejudice. The letters "US" are not something negative. In fact sometimes they can be something dowright positive.

And also, how many other countries in the world arm their border guards? How come they don't call this "French Styled" or "Chinese Styled" armed border guards? It's press anti-American bias.

Get over it, and grow up.

NASA's Valentine...

Chair Force deserves some sort of medal or badge or some such thing for this post:
...One of NASA's most stressing requirements is limiting the loads placed on a crew during an abort. Because Delta and Atlas fly "lofted" trajectories, these loads will exceed NASA's limits while the second stage is firing. Instead, NASA wants a booster with a lot of thrust on the first stage so it can fly a depressed trajectory that avoids the unacceptable abort loads. The 5-Segment SRB that now forms the first stage of Stick puts out around 3,272,000 pounds of thrust; Atlas V has 931,000 pounds in vacuum, and Delta IV a wimpy 743,000 pounds in vacuum ...Still, Stick will probably have the thrust excess needed to fly the depressed trajectory NASA wants.

I find this whole abort load requirement to be really interesting. So much work and engineering going into a scenario that has never really happened to my knowledge ever. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember a launch abort ever being done in the second stage of any NASA manned launch vehicle.

Colonization: State Driven or otherwise...

During a chat with the Sentinel several weeks ago, Feeney said he heard some interesting details from the retired three-star general who runs Jiuquan. Among them: China is working on a larger version of the Long March rocket they will use for future manned missions. ... And China plans to send a number of robotic probes to the moon, including a lunar rover and a sample return mission.(link)

One wonders if the rhetoric surrounding Chinese plans for the Moon has an ayota of will-happeness. Yikes, I think I just made up a word. Oh well we're going with it.

You can't help but getting all tingly about the prospects of another space race. Tingly and mildly painfully scared. Scared because we have two states seething to go on a billion dollar spending spree for what... National Pride? If it's just pride all will end up with an extra couple flags planted into the ground. That's the worst case scenario. The best case scenario is that the end result of another space race is a colony or two on that gray rock in space.

Precedents are bountifull. Afterall it was governments that colonized North America. The state came in, and brought people along with it. And they also tried to bring a whole bunch of problems along with. Thankfully that wasn't entirely successfull.

But now here we are looking at the prospect of two spacefaring nations getting ready to take the great plunge by the looks of it. Some people are no doubt giddy about all this. But I'm untrusting.

Think of it this way. China or America will decide the future of a new frontier. Which one will win? History doesn't always play out the way we think it.

The Left's Right To Life

"...the principle behind the different reactions is clear: You have a right to life if your death can be somehow blamed on capitalism."(link)

Reminds me of Louise Slaughter:
"If ever we had proof that our nation's pollution laws aren't working, it's reading the list of industrial chemicals in the bodies of babies who have not yet lived outside the womb..."(link)

I tried to make sense of that comment at that time considering Louise Slaughter's total support for abortion. Apparently "babies who have not yet lived outside the womb" don't have a right to life... unless they are polluted?

Though Hertzlinger's theory seems about right. The Left's right to life is conditional on the death being the cause of the capitalist military industrial complex Rush Limbaugh League of red neck heartless religious nutsos.

That was week one...

Harper got through one week of governing.

Well, I guess you could say he survived.

Harper once said that the practice of floor crossing "causes cynicism." I agree. And this Emerson ordeal has made me even more cynical than I already am. I still trust Harper. I just don't trust him like I did before. He's going to have earn a little bit of that back with me by actually doing what he said he will do.

Funny thing is in all the brouhaha I've been wondering if I were a confidant for Harper what I would advise him to do given what he's done. Unfortunately I would tell him to do nothing.

It's a mistake. Doing anything will just confirm that mistake. And the damage has already been done. Harper can't magically undo these appointments without undo damage to Government.

That means do nothing. Let this thing blow over. Though I would call a caucus meeting and I would do two things: assure MPs that Senate elections would come in the coming year, and that any future "entries" into caucus would require a vote by caucus.

Oh, and I would tell Harper something else: watch your back. Emerson is not to be trusted. He shouldn't even be in those caucus meetings. The fact that he has a government portfolio has to be somehow insulated from the rest of the party apparatus. He isn't a supporter of Harper's or anyone else. Emerson is only there for himself, although I'm sure he tells himself otherwise.

That's my two cents anyways.

When Cartoons Cause Riots

So I've been hearing about these cartoons mocking the Muslim faith. I debated even posting a link to them at first. However I've posted links to cartoons linking Pope B16 to the Nazis although I felt them revolting as a certifiable "Papist." So, I don't' think I'm treating Muslims with any less respect by including a link here. In other words I figure it's proper to do it.

Now I've avoided talking about this whole issue for a while. But now that things have settled down a bit, I figured I'd get myself into more hot water than I'm already in by commenting on this hot PEI potato.

The first cartoon is funny. And I don't see what is offensive about it. The second however showing Muhammad's Head as a bomb is completely inappropriate. The third, I quite frankly just don't think is funny or offensive.

I was expecting something a lot worse than I saw in those cartoons. They aren't really that bad. Although the second cartoon is disrespectful, it's far less worse than cartoons I've seen of the Pope or otherwise.

So yes, I think the reaction is far over the top, and I'm surprised riots would happen over these.

However, that does not make that second cartoon less disrespectful than it is.

I have never said Cartoonists, or papers, or anyone for that matter, should be censored. If they want to be disrespectful - fine.

However, there used to be this idea of "Journalistic Integrity." There were high ideals in journalism. High ideals, that would have said to these cartoons, and to cartoons being overtly disrespectful to anyone, that they are disrespectful and shouldn't be published.

They wouldn't be published because they were people of high ideals, and this was not proper.

However people will continue to publish these cartoons regardless. Which is fine - it's their right. I just don't have to like it. It's not right when it happens to Muslims - and it sure aint right when it happens to Christians either...

Fortier?.... Fortier?!??

"Members of Parliament who bolt from their parties and cross the floor of the House of Commons should have to quit and face their voters in a byelection, says new Public Works Minister Michael Fortier."(link)

I could not make this up if I wanted to. Fortier was Harper's "other" controversial appointment. Garth Turner was given the what-who from Harper's office for saying the same thing. So I'm expecting Fortier, Harper's best bud, to get a similar "discussion".

I have to say where's the Stephen Harper that I knew 4 years ago? Where is the man that would have been Garth Turner fighting against this type of hypocrisy?

I want him back.

Underestimating The Base

Garth Turner has some cohoones that's for sure:
"I am a democrat who believes everyone in the House of Commons, including the cabinet members who make up the government, should be elected. They should sit in Parliament as they were elected. If they decide to change parties, they should go and get re-elected."(link)

Even better is that Myron Thompson has now joined the Emerson should resign bandwagon:
"Without the legislation in place to force it, I wouldn't suggest that has to be the case. I would say if he did it it would be the honourable thing to do."(link)

I hope Harper learns one thing from all this: don't underestimate the base. And Emerson do the right thing already: RESIGN.

The Never Ending Emerson Saga...

Another day, another Emerson quote.

On quitting over his whole ordeal Emerson had this to say: "Oh, I've thought about that many times. This is just another day when I've thought about that."

hmmm...Maybe that's a thought you might want to contemplate some more.

On running again as a Tory and actually getting a mandate from the people: "I may be so disillusioned that I won't stand anywhere. I have to be honest. If I knew politics would be as it has been, I wouldn't have run to begin with... But I'm into it and I'll finish the job."

You're disillusioned? You just stabbed your supporters, and your party in the back... Sorry but you aint the victim in this buddy. You're just experiencing the consequences.

On the reaction to his betraying his supporters and voters:"I thought that that was a very logical move to make, to serve the riding and to serve the province and the city... The kind of reaction I've been getting -- well, it's ... I find it surprising."

No doubt. You get elected as a Liberal. You were in government as a Liberal. You use the resources and the party apparatus of the Liberals. You use Liberals to organize for you. Then you turn around at a moment's notice for a Cabinet appointment. Someone that makes that type of decision to turn his back on all the loyalty everyone else has shown him is no doubt not going to understand the reaction to it.

On his move being arrogant: "If you want to call it arrogance, go ahead, fill the newspaper with it. I don't really care. I am pursuing the very agenda that I got involved to pursue when I was in the Liberal Party supporting Paul Martin. I'm continuing to pursue it. So if that's arrogant to you, then so be it."

Ok I'll call it arrogance then.

The more he opens his mouth the more painfully aware I am that Harper screwed up.

Rocket Man Blues...

Just watched The History Channel's Rocket Man. It chronicles the Canadian Arrow team's attempt at winning the X-Prize and beating Burt Rutan at kick starting a space tourism industry.

My favourite part was where they had astronauts trainning in a cardboard mock-up of their V-2 rocket capsule... Can you say "Rocket Barnstorming?"

I'm left with the impression after having seen that documentary about just how amazing it would have been if the Canadian Arrow team would have won. It would have really been the little guy underdog coming out of nowhere for a win...

Also I have to mention the part where the head honcho is having problems with his mortage was telling... He has one forgiving wife I'll say that much.

I'm Sorry...

Apparently Emerson is upset. Tough buddy.

Emerson says that Paul Martin knew he was never a "partisan."

I can't understand the logic that Emerson is using, especially given his past "partisan" comments. And if he wanted to run as an independent, he should've ran as an independent.

For all those that are saying that this whole Emerson thing "isn't a big deal," or that "it's a strategically brilliant move" I would ask them to consider one single thing.

I want you to walk up to the face of Kanman Wong, and say it to his face. Kanman was the Conservative Party candidate than ran against Emerson.

Say it. Then look into his eyes.

Watch as he backs up the party line. Watch as that slight pang of pain runs through him only to be hidden behind his own loyalty.

I've never met him. I don't know if that's how he would react. But I bet you anything that either him, members of his family, or Tories that worked their butts off in the last election for him would have something to say to it "not being a big deal" and that it was "it's a strategically brilliant move."

It may not mean much, but to Kanman Wong, I would like to apologize. I'm sorry. This shouldn't have happened. This wasn't right. You worked hard, and you got the short end of stick.

To the Tories in Vancouver-Kingsway: I'm sorry. This was wrong. It shouldn't have happened. You worked hard with little hope of a victory, and you still fought. The party should've honoured that.

Putting out the Fire?

OTTAWA—A day after stunning many Western Conservatives with the appointment of a party organizer to the Senate and then to cabinet, Prime Minister Stephen Harper moved to soothe their feelings, suggesting the Tories may hold Senate elections in conjunction with the next federal vote.(link)

He's forgetting the obvious problem - Emerson. The senate vote is appreciated - however not neccessary as far as I'm concerned. We had forewarnings that Harper may do something like this when he appointed Josee Verner from Quebec to be a member of his shadow cabinet despite not being elected. She was given an MP's salary and all the perks provided by the party. The appointment was to be temporary until she was elected to office. I agreed with her appointment then, and thought it was a brilliant move on Harper's part to expand the profile of the pary in Quebec. She is now an elected MP from Quebec, so I guess the strategy you could say has paid off with 10 new Quebec MPs.

Fortier's situation is markedly different. Harper's using a senate appointment to do the same thing so that Fortier can take a minister's portfolio and awnser questions in the house. I revolt the idea of having taxpayers pay for this - this is something that the party should be paying for itself. Fortier's salary should come straight from our overflowing Conservative treasure chest. It should not come from taxpayers back pockets. Also, the fact that they are using a senate appointment to do this enters into a certain amount of moral fuziness when it comes to Harper's pledge to elect Senators and not appoint them.

And again, this whole issue forgets Emerson. That political opportunist should not be a Conservative without winning a nomination of Conservative members in his riding. Harper should've known well enough, that he could have drastically improved the situation morally, by asking that Emerson sit in Cabinet not as a Conservative, but as a Liberal. Such appointments have been made in the past in so-called "unity-cabinets" during war time in Canada. If Emerson had sat as a Liberal, understanding that he was there for the Olympic games, then Canadians, and Conservatives would be willing to accept this.

But given that Emerson made a complete turn around in parties - this is morally wrong. His constituents hired a Liberal, so they should get one. And Conservatives never hired Emerson to represent their banner in Vancouver, so they shouldn't have to live it.

Harper's got one extra Cabinet minister that is questionably loyal to him. Obviously he never quite learned from his Stronach experience at all.


Have to admit about being torn about this:
'To make up a projected multi-billion-dollar budget shortfall in the shuttle program over the next five years, NASA is proposing to scale back its science projects by $2 billion and trim another $1.5 billion from design and development of its replacement launch system.
'NASA is "essentially transferring funds from a popular and highly-productive program into one scheduled for termination," said Planetary Society president Wesley Huntress, a former NASA associate administrator for space science. "This seriously damages the hugely productive and successful robotic exploration of our solar system and beyond."(link)

Taking the money away from projects like seeing how maggets breed in zero gee to other more worthwile projects is a good thing... Giving that money to the Shuttle is like transferring it from one waste to another though as far as I'm concerned.

$13 Billion

That's how much two shuttle flights cost.

I'm just hoping Elon Munsk pulls it off and manages to fly after only having spent $100 mill. It'll create a sea change in attitude in space exploration. Everyone will know that drastically lower costs are not only possible but it can be done by a teeny-weeny company.

Emerson: Conservative?

"We've already tried Harper's vision: cut taxes and wait for the jobs to come flowing in. It doesn't work."

Who said that? Why none other than our new Cabinet Minister Emerson who just jumped the ship from the Liberal Party to the Conservative Party. Oh, there's more.

To anyone who works in Harper's office, and I know some of you do perude through this blog from time to time, this move was a big booboo.

And just when I thought I was alone in all of this.


Guess what? More: "I'm going to be Stephen Harper's worst enemy... We're going to stir the pot and you better believe we are going to make a heck of a lot of noise."(via)

Emerson said this on election night... Barely 2-1/2 weeks and Emerson goes from being Harper's worst enemy, to being... loyal Tory MP?


Harper is Wrong...

Apparently the only party in the country not to accept traitors in it's mist without forcing them to have win their nomination in their respective riding has just sold out.

On a day when Harper swears in a Cabinet without noticeable social conservative Jason Kenney, and instead chooses to put in a populist of questionable loyalty in the form of Chuck Strawl, and a Liberal traitor who jumped ship for a cabinet post, I have a deep profound sense of loss.

I just hope Emerson has to win a nomination vote from local Conservatives in his riding. If Harper has given him a nomination lock "guarantee" I may just get even more depressed than I already am.

How is this playing out in the press?
' "I think a lot of people in the Conservative party came from other parties. There wouldn't be a Conservative party today if people hadn't come from other parties," Powers said.

Political analyst Joan Crockatt said Emerson's flip-flop does raise some ethical questions, as his riding elected him as a Liberal.

"But it's something that shows that Stephen Harper is taking to heart some of the criticism when he didn't win any seat in three of the major cities in Canada," she added.

This is insane. The press should be hounding Emerson. The constituents of his riding were wrong I believe to elect a Liberal, but in the end they DID.

This is travesty to democracy, and it was quite frankly the wrong decision for Harper to make. I'll say it again, and I may take a beating for this, but it's the truth: THIS WAS WRONG, WRONG, WRONG...DEAD WRONG.

It was wrong when Belinda Stronach did it, it was wrong when Scott Brison did it, it was wrong when Keith Martin did it, and it's wrong when it benefits my side.

I've supported Harper from day one. I've supported Harper when no one else would. I still think he will show what he's made of as Prime Minister. But this wasn't the way I wanted to start, and it has shaken my faith a bit.


I've just heard that Harper is appointing a Senator unilaterally breaking his promise to elect all appointments to the senate.

I'm still reserving judgement until I hear what Harper has to say to explain all of this, but Harper must know he is about a millimeter from a Grassroots revolt if he doesn't have a hellavullah good awnser to all of this.

Addendum 2:

Apparently Fortier was appointed as Public Works minister by being appointed to the Senate. Though Harper has vowed that this is temporary, and Fortier has vowed to run for parliament in the next election. I remain irritated, but not in schism with Harper over this brouhaha. I don't think this was necessary, but apparently Harper thinks it is.

Though the Emerson debacle is still wide open. I've heard that Kenney is Parliamentary Secretary to Harper, however there are still many other more loyal MP's that could be in Cabinet instead of him. Like for example Diane Ablonczy?...

Just when I think Paul Martin couldn't get any lower...

It's as if the man can't bow out with any class at all...
' "I did not envisage being the Prime Minister where one of the prime issues that one had to deal with was the whole question of sponsorship," Mr. Martin told reporters, before joking, "So I didn't go to bed at night dreaming about that." '(link)

Lo' and behold Paul Martin is ringing the "I knew nothing about the sponsorship scandal" tune... Ironic, that on the very same day I read about these comments, that we find out that Paul Martin's government came to agreement with controversial former President of the Canadian Mint David Dingwall (who was notorious for having charged huge office expenses including stuff like $1.29 gum) on his "severance" package 3 days before the election...

'NDP MP Pat Martin told CTV News from the Manitoba NDP's convention in Winnipeg: "Dingwall's laughing at us as we speak. If the Canadian public needed any confirmation they did the right thing in throwing the Liberals out on Jan. 23, this is the confirmation right here."
'The arbitrator, George Adams, ruled Dingwall's resignation last fall was involuntary and therefore the government has a legal obligation to pay him. The Liberal government had maintained that Dingwall had resigned.
'"This just compounds the whole sordid Dingwall mess, that the Liberal government knew on January 20 the arbitrator's final result and they wouldn't tell the Canadian public until after the election was safely over," Martin said.(link)

Involuntary?... Involuntary?... I guess that whole "resigned" thing was said by some other evil Paul Martin double from an evil Liberal Party masquerating as the real thing?...
'"After months of evasive answers in the House of Commons, we have now learned that David Dingwall's departure from the Royal Canadian Mint was involuntary," Harper said in a news release.

'"This is contrary to the information given by the Liberal government. I am very disappointed that Parliament was misled on this matter."

'Conservative MP Jason Kenney went further, telling CTV: "They lied to Canadians about the fact that he was fired and didn't resign. It's very strange. They just didn't tell the truth."

So my question is, when Paul Martin says that he knew nothing about the sponsorship issue before coming to power, is that the evil Paul Martin double speaking, or the real Paul Martin? If Paul Martin wasn't politically dead after Jan 23, he sure is now... Is it possible for someone to be deader politically? Maybe King Paul has just proven it.

The Man Who Will Be Forgotten...

Paul Martin is clearly in denial...
'The Liberal party leader expressed his pride in the "great deal" his minority government accomplished since it received its mandate in the 2004 election and he highlighted the signing of a $5-billion agreement to address aboriginal health, education and poverty, a 10-year, $41-billion health-care deal with provincial governments and funding agreements to build a national child-care program.'(link)

This is a sad thing to say, but Paul Martin will probably forgotten if anything. His time as Prime Minister will likely be overshadowed by Jean Chretien - who's only accomplishments were in his last few months where he frantically searched for a legacy. In the end Jean Chretien will be mostly remembered for holding on to power for so long, and for the sponsorship scandal. Paul Martin will be more remembered for balancing the budget more than anything else.

And what of Paul Martin's highlighted accomplisments? First off, that $41 billion was mostly recycled spending commitments as far as I heard. And that Child Care program will never come to fruition with the Conservatives in power. Also his money for aboriginals I'm willing to bet will never be remembered because I doubt it will solve the problems on reserves or make any difference at all in the lives of aboriginals.
'...historians will look back in several decades and marvel that a sparsely populated nation had so well positioned itself in the world at a time of massive change.'

In an age where the rise of global terrorism sparked massive change people may very well look at Canada with surprise. That anyone could ignore that threat that changed so much will seem flabbergasting to say the least. Neither Paul Martin or Jean Chretien wanted to deal with that threat in an real way - And they wouldn't have needed to go into Iraq to do that. What's worse, the cronic underfunding of our military has decreased the respect Canada has abroad. We have Dane's claiming that Canadian territory is their own. We've left the defense of Canada's skies up to the Americans...

If anything history will remember these years as one of the near dismantling of Canada as a sovereign nation, and the drastic reduction of respect for Canada as a nation abroad. Historians may very well look back at the last decade as a time of an "apathetic" Canada that sat by while the world turned .

A knack for propaganda?

How else do you explain this?
'Consider this:

'Just five years ago, tourist Dennis Tito's ride to the International Space Station cost him $20 million.

'In 2008, a private firm -- Virgin Galactic -- will take you to space for just $200,000.

'In seven years, that's a 99 percent drop.

'Scott says prices should keep dropping faster than a capsule coming back from orbit.

' "Ten years from now, that may be another order of magnitude lower, 20 years, may be two orders of magnitude lower than that. So the price -- just like the price of airlines -- is going to continue to come down," he said.(link)(via)

Of course he's forgetting that NASA used to be able to launch cargo at $8000/pound. With the space shuttle it's at $16,000/pound now. So, if you take that logic he's using... You see the picture I'm drawing. Also many made the mistake of assuming that since it took 60 years to get to the moon from a crackety old wooden piece of crap flying machine that flew barely a foot off the ground, that over the next 60 years we would be... well... a lot farther ahead than we are now.
'He pointed to one company that's already drawing up plans for an inflatable space station where tourists could spend a few hours or a few days floating weightless.

'Scott sees folks like you and me flying in space -- as a moment as significant as the first passengers paying the Wright Brothers for a ride a hundred years ago.

Assuming that "one company" is Bigelow and his inflatable habitats I think it's fair to say he's overstating the case. I hope Bigelow manages to pull it off and we have a space hotel in space in the very near future, but there are just too many assumptions that this guy is making. Any one of these "forecasts" he's making could be wrong, and in which case everything else becomes a crap shoot.

Turncoat vs. Turncoat

The Daifallah makes one good point:
'Simpson appears to have no clue how Stronach operates and how good she is at bringing people to her side. She will run for Liberal leader and I'd give her a better chance than not of winning it. Indeed, the next Liberal leadership could be a Brison v. Stronach race.

'It was clear to anyone who knew Belinda or had had any sort of interaction with her that her only goal was 24 Sussex; Stephen Harper himself said just as much in his post-defection press conference. Scott v. Belinda. That'll be fun for Tories to watch.(link)

Now I don't usually quote the Daifallah because he aint on my happy list. The final straw came for me during the SSM flare up last year. But it didn't come from nowhere. For a while Daifallah had shown signs to me of being a Harper defeatist. I suspect secretely hoped for a Mike Harris take over of the federal party with a couple of blog posts I read. In any event, he didn't think Harper could win, and I was sick and tired of reading his negative comments. Obviously he was wrong. Harper did eventually win.

I guess time heals, so I've been reading his stuff again. He made a good point here, I'll say that much.

With all the apparent successors to Paul Martin bowing out of the race one by one you wonder if the only contenders for the leadership will be turncoat Tories that jumped ship, and former NDP premiers. Crap, they might as well add in Lappiere in that mix to have all the parties represented.

One Word: UGANDA

AIDS rates are up:
'Despite education campaigns and increasing collective knowledge of the causes and effects of HIV, it continues to spread, and in Ontario the rise is especially alarming.

And what are the supposed causes attributed to this rise?
'A chief cause, he believes, is that many gay men are experiencing "safe-sex fatigue," and they're simply tired of being bombarded with the safe-sex message.
'Another factor is what Remis calls "treatment optimism." He believes that with the development of anti-viral agents that reduce the symptoms of HIV, people have begun to look at HIV as a readily treatable disease, and are less cautious as a result.

So basically the cause is too much condom talk, and not enough scaring the living daylights out of people about HIV. And how do we solve this little problem?
'Remis said he expects the problem to continue to grow, and said it will only be slowed by increasing research and education dramatically. Ontario's problem, he said, could be a microcosm of what can be expected to occur across the nation.'

In other words the cure is more condom talk, and more scaring the living daylights out of people.

You'd think that people would learn from trial and error in the medical community. First off, we should look at the successes out there in fighting AIDS. Namely we should look at Uganda. How did they deal with AIDS? Abstinence. They didn't do anything coersive or forcefully. They just promoted abstinence. To this day they have the lowest AIDS rates in Africa. And to this day radical leftist groups attack the country as "barbarian hordes" for not pursuing our North American "enlightened" AIDS fighting strategy. Namely, condoms, comdoms, and more condoms. Condoms being thrown out of airplanes. Condoms for all, and condoms for any.

If Ontario is a gauge on which to base the effectiveness of our AIDS strategy, I'd rather stick with the Uganda model quite frankly.

h/t to a whole bunch of people.