Classy Move

.. or political move?

Stephen Harper extends a state funeral to Jack Layton, former leader of the NDP.

A state funeral is traditionally offered only to current and former governors general, current and former prime ministers and current members of cabinet; however, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the PM offered Layton’s wife MP Olivia Chow the option of the state funeral and she accepted.

On Monday evening, Harper confirmed the state funeral through Twitter and added that “Canadians will have an opportunity to salute Jack Layton’s contribution to public life.”

Either way, he will be remembered.

2011 Results

Conservative majority government, large NDP opposition party, devastated Liberal party and a vastly diminished Bloc presence (thanks to the NDP).

Thank you Quebec for collectively taking your heads out of your asses and actually voting for a Federal Party. I’m happy you’ve realized that voting Bloc really doesn’t further any agenda – not even your own. For all the passion and pride Duceppe had for Quebec, he was unable to do anything with the limited number of seats.

I am a bit disappointed that there is a majority, but it’ll save us from having another election in short time.

Message sent to the Liberals?

There are a number of interpretations.

1. Stop fucking us around with elections every couple of years. It’s clear you had a new front man and wanted to try again to see if he would be able to win it for you. (Yes, I realize there were other issues)

2. We don’t want arrogant people for our leaders. Be respectful – “neener neener” is not something we expect one Canadian leader to say to another. I don’t know how much Ignatief’s dismissal of Jack Layton and NDP during the debate hurt them. I do remember how devastated the PC Party was after mocking Cretien occurred.

There are probably a few others that I’m too tired to mention because I was up watching the results and waiting for Harper’s speech.

For the record, I didn’t vote Conservative. I voted for a party despite being in a riding that has voted Conservative several years in a row.

I have to agree with some of what Ken says over here.

Crazy Times

Lots of news.

Osama dead. Good. It was a clear act of cowardice that he targeted innocents and worse, used other people’s beliefs to do what he wouldn’t do himself. If he would have done it, do you think he’d have stayed hiding away for so long?

Canada Election Day. I’m still not sure. Fortunately it won’t stifle the TV shows I usually watch tonight, but you can rest assured I’ll be watching.. or at least have it on the TV while I’m at the computer. I’m having a hard time with this one. I don’t think the lack of communication, openness and accountability of the current government warrants a majority for that party, but on the other hand, if someone doesn’t walk away with a majority, we could be facing another election. My other options likely lead to higher taxation – I’m already having to hand over about half my income in taxes. We have provincial and HST/GST or whatever the fuck it is ST (sales tax). I don’t need another tax – really. We’ve already got a Political Stupidity Tax – which we eat every time there is another election. Grr…

Castle looks like it’ll be good tonight. Swimsuits help. I’m curious as to why they’re changing locales and are they bringing the rest of the crew? Esposito and Ryan, I’ll miss you! /manlove I’m guessing more information on Beckett’s mom’s case. Or maybe they’re going over there for Ryan’s wedding and something comes up? It’ll be on right after the Election stuff so I’ll be watching it for sure.

WoW stuff is going. Smaken is geared up to 347 so he can start queuing up for the troll instances. I ate through all of my heroic randoms on the weekend – and wife faction too. I don’t think I’ll be doing that again anytime soon. I did managed to work through Zul’Gurub with a guild group. That was good fun. Did a bit of Zul’Aman with a guild group as well, but didn’t finish because people had to crash for the night.

For the Heroics, my DPS is rocking 13-17k on heroic bosses. I admit I carried a group through GB, well, me and the Paladin healer. They were either speaking Italian or Spanish and were REALLY slow to move or pull. And the tank (a Gnome) would bitch if you didn’t loot a corpse that was skinnable and hop up and down until you did. We got to the last boss and had one attempt in. Amazingly, we wiped but we got further than I thought. We got to the second phase of adds which released some whelps – our healer healed through them. On the third add phase we didn’t get one of the adds down before it healed. Really, there was only so much I could do when the next DPS is doing 7k and 6k to my 14k.

I love Marksman spec.

I almost brought him to raid instead of Kremus, but I’m going to hold off. I mentioned I was switching in the Guild Meeting, but I don’t think people believed me. That’s what you get for being a prankster.

Raid was good. We downed Atramedes but struggled with Chimaeron. That’s a tough fight to heal and we put our Guild Leader on the spot to switch to Resto Druid spec. He is usually Feral Tank/Boomkin so he didn’t really have the gear, enchants, gems or reforges for healing. Still, he did surprisingly well. (nerf durids!) We’re going to be looking at the Council raid in Bastion of Twilight on Tuesday.

I played some of my Druid with my son’s DK. Then we made Trolls – the whole Jamaican shtick stuck with the LBO. This morning he was ending every sentence with, “mon.” Yay. Then we made Goblins, again. He really likes driving around the goblin town running over citizens. Yes, it worries me.

For reading, I’m 200 pages into Horus Rising, part of a Warhammer 40k novel series of The Horus Heresy. I’m actually quite impressed. The reading seems more mature than what I’d expect from novels based off a game system – I’d say it’s written a cut above Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms type novels – even though DL, FR and Eberon novels have great stories, the writing is a bit more common and accessible. I’m enjoying it so far.

Leaders Debate 2011

Wow.

I’ll go over a couple of highlights, paraphrasing mostly.

Liberals

Ignatief to Layton, “At least we have been in power” – well neener neener Jack Layton! There’s my side of the debate. Despite the many good answers he had, the one thing that stuck with me was his ‘neener neener – we’ve been in power recently’ statement. Oh, that and some of the items he was pushing we things the Conservatives have already done.

The thought of raising corporate taxes is scary (given that I work for a corporation) but having seen how much other countries tax corporations, I know we could bump it up to 18% and still be far more competitive the several other major countries. But there was no talk of tax relief other than things that are already in place – subsidies for renovations to make our homes more green? It’s already in place. I am curious about this School Pass item mentioned.

One point he brought up continually was the plans for budgeting money for ‘jets’ and prisons. I won’t talk to prisons yet because I can’t fathom how he can be so against budgeting for military upgrades, like “jets.” Not budgeting for upgrades (or updates) to our military’s equipment is forcing our military (fathers/mothers, uncles/aunts, brothers/sisters, and sons/daughter) to do their job with aged equipment. And when your job deals directly with situations involving death – do you really want them flying around in vehicles that are nearing the end of their life expectancy?

We need to plan for these things. Ignatief suggested we put out a competitive demand for the vehicles – no kidding. That should be done, but you still need to budget and plan on how much you can spend. You don’t say, “We want to buy jets… but don’t know where we we’re going to get the money for it because we haven’t planned for it. Let’s talk cost then we’ll try to raise the money for it.” Where do you think that money will come from? Either more taxes or digging a deeper deficit.

Remember, these aren’t obscure people fighting for your freedom – they are fellow Canadians. Family members of yours or your friends or neighbors (currently fighting for freedom and peace outside of Canada). I’d rather see money going towards keeping them safe and well equipped than funding language police in Quebec or being wasted on gun registries that govern types of guns rarely used in crimes.

Prisons. I agree that there should be better systems in place to prevent crime, education and rehabilitation being main areas to improve this. Citing that most of the offenders didn’t have high school diplomas was interesting but the real question is – why didn’t they? Is it something Canada could change? Knowing several of the kids that dropped out of High School or turned towards crime – no, I don’t think it was something the government could handle unless they adjusted our education system and allowed it to be more flexible.

NDP

Layton on healthcare, shortage of doctors, “We will implement more doctors…” – seriously? I thought they took years of education, internship and a certain type of person willing and capable to do the remarkable things doctors do. They’re not something you ‘implement’. This isn’t a software service solution – these are highly trained and educated people. Another beauty was calling out how the Bloc has 17 seats while the Green Party has none, yet the Green Party had almost as many votes as the Bloc – why does our election system work this way?

Well, Mr. Layton, the Conservatives held a referendum to get this changed years ago but Canadians foolishly voted it down. Where was your voice and your party’s efforts in backing the Conservatives and ensuring the proper message of what this change was got out to the voters? You ducked behind the Conservatives and let them take the bullets of ignorance and fear over ‘making this country in the U.S.’. Really, that was one of the overarching tones of being against the election changes. You did nothing to clear that up then, but now you’re complaining?

Most of the ones I talked to didn’t understand it so they went with the status quo. Worse were the ones that wanted the new system but didn’t understand that it was exactly what they wanted. It really was sad.

I agree with Harper when he suggested you cannot just set metrics for green action without planning for how to meet this metrics. I love your ideals, but there is little substance behind them. They’re ideals, not plans or measures to implement them. On the other hand, he’s looking to implement people – how do you ‘implement’ doctors? Maybe they could help the Liberals implement teachers to sort out the School Pass idea.

I think his heart is in the right place but can’t help but feel he lacks the means or know how. Now, it might not be fair to suggest he needs to know everything – that’s why you have ministers of various areas.

Conservatives

Harper.. I can’t really quote anything from him *half-grin*. He did his best *smile* to keep his nose clean and *grin* stick to the message of his *smirk* party. Even if he hasn’t learned when *smile* to slip a smile into a *smile-no-wait-no-smile* his dialog, er, I mean *grin* defense.

Because it was like his government was on trial – it was a debate, not a hearing. The questions often got lost as which ever candidate was talking attempted to smear the current government.

To be fair, the Conservatives upset a Liberal party majority that was getting away with far too much and platformed on accountability. We haven’t seen so much of that yet from the Conservatives. This wasn’t quite a point brought up in a tangible fashion.

I did think they defended themselves well enough, but still wish there was data backing their defense and even the attacks against them – more so the attacks against them. If the others had valid points, they needed to qualify them because they were getting lost on the fact that Harper was a target.

“Okay, this question is up for one on one debate between Mr. Layton and Mr. Ignatief. Roll the tape for the question.”

This was followed up with more negative comments about Harper and the Conservatives. Why wasn’t this an actual debate between NDP and Liberal viewpoints? Harper and the Conservatives weren’t part of the question – the question was how would YOU address it. The mudslinging made you (other) parties look bad, petty even, and gave Harper the opportunity to turn the other cheek or show himself as being a better man.

You handed him this.

When asked about Immigration, Layton couldn’t help but sling mud at the Conservatives. Instead of saying, “We recognition there is a significant backlog of immigration applications and here are our plans to improve this process to ensure Canada brings in good people and their families in a timely, cost effective way,” he went on the attack, looking for pity and sympathy for immigrants who are waiting for the rest of their families to be allowed to join them. Yes, it’s sad… what are YOU going to do about it? Details.

Bloc

Duccepe? Again. I don’t understand why he was there. I can’t vote for him and his agenda is to milk Canada for all he can, directing those tax dollars towards Quebec until he can somehow managed to tear Quebec out of Canada … while still getting federal funding. His party has some pretty awesome plans… just for Quebec only. Instead he played the role of the devil who’s made deals with each and every party member.

For the record, when I mention ‘candidate’ in this post, I exclude Duceppe and May. Again, Duceppe can only be voted for in Quebec so there is no way in hell he can be Prime Minister unless the rest of Canada simply doesn’t vote.. May is excluded from ‘candidate’ only because she wasn’t present for the debate and I’m discussing the debate.

General

I was pleased to see the candidates appeared to be against coalitions working over existing minority governments. Even though Harper pointed out the wording used implied the Liberals would go this route. On the other hand, the other parties made it sound like Harper (and the Conservatives) were refusing to compromise with the other parties on some of their items. Though he said he did.

While no one directly said the other was lying, they did point out that most of what was said wasn’t the truth.

So what do you believe? What can you believe? No one really provided any evidence of anything they claimed. Can you believe any of it or was it all just a waste of time?

I think it was rather ineffective and next time, candidates should be allowed to prepare and bring data forward. Back up what they’re saying with hard data and not hearsay or, in some cases, incoherent rambling and clever double speak.

Or maybe our candidates are ineffective?

Clearly our system is ineffective or out of balance. Two out of three candidates appear to agree – I couldn’t really see where the Liberals stood on that regard but I think they stood to benefit from overall votes. I know in my riding, it was pretty damn tight.

Again, I’m excluding Duceppe. It’s clear that if we moved to a system that tallied total votes, his party wouldn’t have much of a voice.

I’m not sure which way I’m going to vote this year. Obviously, I can’t vote Bloc. I don’t like Ignatief’s less than humble (and somewhat childish) attitude. Layton has great ideas for Canada, but not a whole lot in the way of plans. Harper hasn’t shown the firm accountability he promised during the first election. Did he word it as “other parties and governments other than our own”? And I haven’t the slightest idea of where or how May would have presented herself or represented her party on the various topics.

Sad thing is, I don’t feel I can spoil the ballot.

FTC and Me…

Interesting. I just saw this post over on Tobold’s (I lurk and skim) and my first thought was; I’m not American – neener neener!

Of course, things are never that simple. I see in some of the comments that Tobold believes that because the hosting site is American he has to abide by the FTC or they can force his site to have the plug pulled. Now if the host wasn’t on American soil that would be a different story.

I have a hard time with people telling me what I can and cannot say, especially when it isn’t even some aspect of my elected government. Now there are some things just don’t say because it’s completely idiotic or might cause harm or panic; I wouldn’t do that sort of thing. But this isn’t about what you can and can’t say, it’s more about what you should say.

I don’t have a problem with saying the following:

I have never recieved any endorsements, up front previews or beta access with any known agreement to review it.

All contents of these posts are thanks to applying to betas and getting lucky (mass invites or open beta access) or they show up after a game is released and I’ve bought it with my own money.

I have never been approached with any deals to review a game, I do so out of my own interests and when the mood strikes me. I have been asked to advertise someone’s site with promise of money but I ignored it because, quite frankly, their site sucked.

All that said, my current addiction is WoW and I get no benefits or perks or what ever for talking about WoW. If I can hang on and resist hopping to MMOs, it’ll likely continue to be so for awhile longer.

I’m Jealous…

I just watched Obama’s speech and have to say that I wish Canada had leaders like him to pick from. He spoke with clarity, conviction and feeling. I suppose the closest choice we have to him is Jack Layton, but Layton comes off feeling more like a salesperson than a leader. I can remember waiting for him to say, “And if you act now…” where as you don’t get that from Obama at all.

Obama had a lot of good things to say and made me feel a little sorry for Bush having to sit there, almost like he was rattling off things Bush should have done.

I’m jealous you Americans had a chance to vote for this man and I shake my head at the current state of Canadian politics. I cringe at having to vote again in such a short time for, most likely, the same candidates.

“… time to shed our childish ways…” I hope the Canadian political parties were listening to that.

Canada’s Politics…

I’ve been a little quiet on the recent “Canadian Politics Crisis” mainly because I think the actual Economic Crisis is more important a topic.

There is no political crisis outside of Canada not having any decent politicians who are willing to see past thier own party agenda and who can’t see past their opportunity to cease power – no matter the cost to Canadians.

That is finger shaking at all parties.

The bottom, political, line is that Canadian’s spoke not too long ago and voted in a MINORITY Government. Each party with seats cannot form a majority on their own. What this means is that Canadians WANT all the parties with representatives to WORK TOGETHER.

I realize “working together” is not the definition of “opposition”, but right now, is not the time to oppose everything and inject political instability in with our current economic instability. RIGHT NOW, is the time to work together and table a plan for Canada. It’s time for the politicians to work together, compromise and do the right thing for all of Canada.

This is what the voters voted for. A JOINED effort led by the Conservatives, not some coalition of the even smaller parties that garnered fewer of Canada’s votes.

That isn’t democracy. That’s being opportunistic. And not by the just the Liberals as it seems to be believed. The ones that stand the most power to gain from a coalition are the NDP and the Bloc.

Stephen Dion was not elected Prime Minister for a good reason. His strength doesn’t come close to his compassion for Canadians and to be a leader you need both. Compassion without strength of conviction or strength of direction is simply naivety.

One thing I find incredibly sad about our politicians is that there is one who appears to genuinely love who he represents and holds their interests at hand.  His strength and compassion appear to be the strongest of the leaders.  Unfortunately, he only looks after Quebec. Lucky them.

The Liberal and NDP parties need to repair their image to take back the votes of people that were not Conservative at heart (like I am) and show that their focus is REALLY on Canada.

They MUST work with the Conservatives and get Canada through the upcoming difficulties. They MUST show they are a party worth voting for.

The Liberals and NDP have a choice to make.

They can choose to take the opportunity of uprooting the Conservative Government and playing figurehead to the whims of the Liberal/NDP and Bloc Quebecois.

OR they can choose that they really are for Canada and work with the ELECTED Conservative Government to focus on what is BEST FOR CANADA.

I believe they should be taking an opportunity that positively affects them in the long run.

They should announce they are respecting the will of the voters. 

They should work with the Conservatives and make it well known what part they are playing in the plan for Canada.

Emphasize their party’s additions to the plan.

Prove to Canadians you’re worth voting for again.

And I think they are starting to lean this way.

Election Results and Desktops…

… weren’t really all that surprising but the actual numbers, when you look at them and think about it, should raise questions about how elections work in Canada. Darin says it best over here.

End result is that we have another Conservative minority government.

I admit, I was unsure of who to vote for until I got the the voting station. I eyed the list and asked myself if how I’d feel if each of the parties were elected – I don’t tend to focus on the representative because my issues are mainly with the platforms of certain partiers.

I also admit I voted Conservative (and that representative got in) but I don’t feel a sense of “WOOOO! Conservatives won!”. It’s more of a… well, those others didn’t really win.

I’ll leave it at that and hope things work out.

So what am I talking about when it comes to desktops?

Well, there is a site I hit up when ever I feel my desktop wallpaper isn’t doing it for me. It has a ton of wallpapers – work safe ones at that – so I swap my desktop regularly. I spotted one and just had to grab it… and share it too.

Why?

Because it’s as awesome as I am.

New Democratic Party (a.k.a NDP)…

… my biggest worry here is that they seem to be anti-large corporation. They seem down on large banks and big companies. Now maybe a lot of that is from their apparent dislike of Canada’s resources being exploited so maybe it’s directed more at the oil companies and banks, but I’m not hearing a whole lot of information from them with regards from high tech.

I hear a lot about the everything else. This is going to be a party whose plan I’ll actually have to read through because I do like a lot of what they have to say. But I’m worried about where they’re going to get the money for this.

Raising my taxes? Raising taxes against the company I work for? Fortunately, the company I work for is very ‘green’ and actually has ‘green’ office buildings all over the world. But still, will the NDP increase taxes despite that? To the point where they will move to other countries to do business?

I’m not all that worried about finding another job because after, almost, 11 years of working in high tech for who I’ve been working for with my hand in as many products as I have, I shouldn’t have a hard time. The worry comes from the unknown. Will I have to look for another job? Will I have to move? I really like working where I am now and I have to admit, I’d miss it.

Either way, I’ll be reading the NDP plan to see how it suits me. Here are the videos to The National’s interview with Jack Layton, Leader of the NDP. I have to admit, I like that Peter Mansbridge is questioning them and not giving them a lot of wiggle room.

Green Party…

… sounds pretty reasonable until I hear May suggest that Canada’s worst threat is the climate and she will be removing the term ‘Defense’ from the military.

One thought on that is: what happens when things change and some one else does become a threat?

I’m currently running checking out The National’s coverage of the leaders. In truth, it’s far better than the debate was so far.

I’ll check out the other two they have up there next. The have one for the NDP and Jack Layton and one, recent one, for the Liberals and Dion (which doesn’t appear to be up yet).

There was another video about the debate and examining the points. As expected, most leaders focused on bits and pieces of the truth that suited their ends. Although, they were mostly honest in their defenses… apparently.