October 31, 2004

In a manner of speaking ...

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. But other times, you can get your fill just from words ...

"The big question about Kerry is, Will he pull the trigger? And the big question about Bush is, Can he aim? With Bush, we know he can pull the trigger, but it's like he shot himself in the foot - and the tiger is still out there. It's the tiger who needs to be shot, not us."

According to the New York Times' Thomas L. Friedman: "In British politics there used to be a standard test for candidates for prime minister: Would you want to go on a tiger hunt with this person? That is, would this candidate kill the tiger or try to reason with the tiger?" Friedman goes on to relate a relevant observation by Prof. Graham Allison, a former professor of mine at the Kennedy School.

"We don't need to bus. Most of our people have cars."

William R. Scherer, a "Fort Lauderdale lawyer working for the Republicans," commenting on the "stunt" of the Democratic Parties' early voting rallies, where buses are made available to take voters to early polling stations [Source: NYT].

"John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr. -- where are you now that we need you?"

Charlie Brooker, a columnist with the U.K.'s The Guardian, crosses the proverbial line ... at a sprint. The Guardian served up a half-hearted "apology".

To some of us, homosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism, and hellishly difficult to control. Why some folks can take or leave alcohol -- while others can enjoy it in moderation, and others cannot stop drinking without help and must swear off it for life or it will kill them -- remains a mystery of nature. Homosexuality seems to be like that.

To some of us, Pat Buchanan is a mystery of nature. If you care to stomach it, you can read the rest of the column in which he takes on John Kerry's debate mention of Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter.

"We haven't seen anything good from Democrats [...] We do not desire to see Democrats take over."

Hasan Rowhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council, Iran's top security decision-making body, supposedly "endorsing" George W. Bush for President. [Source: Globe and Mail]

"They Googled him and then went onto a web site - either his own or his book publisher's web site, I don't know which one - and saw that he was who he was, and that was instrumental in letting him go, I think, or swinging their decision."

Mike Carey, executive producer at Australia's SBS network, talks to the Associated Press about how Google probably saved Australian freelance journalist John Martinkus.

"We didn't have to come all night. We came only early this morning, and there was nothing to peel."

"If anybody had said to me, 'You'll be in the funeral business,' I'd have said, 'You're crazy.' But you run into this thing called culture, and it's not so simple."

Funeral volunteer Gloria Khanyile and Owen Porteus, McCain's [Foods] managing director in South Africa, respectively, talking about McCain's involvement in catering South African funerals. The company is using unorthodox channels to break into a tough market for frozen foods. Tasteless behaviour, if you'll forgive the pun? Full story. [Source: Globe and Mail]

"Let me tell you what else is wrong with taxing the rich. The rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason, to slip the bill and to pass it on to you."

U.S. President George W. Bush at a rally in New Port Richey, Floriday. Richey, indeed. [Source: whitehouse.gov]

"And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad. [...] And I wanted to -- I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't -- it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America. [...] So I wanted to come here today and say... Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys... Stop. [...] Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.

Jon Stewart, on CNN's Crossfire with Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson, bemoaning the show's complicity in the theatre of mainstream U.S. politicals. [Source: CNN Transcript]
Posted by anatole at 09:58 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2004

Raw fish and portable digital storage ... together at last!

In the "what will they think of next?" category, check out this rather unique product offering from Dynamism.com.

(c) Dynamism.com

Thanks to my friend and undergraduate thesis supervisor who forwarded along the tip from his son.

When I shared this with some friends, Alasdair wisely asked:

What effect do you suppose the new rules for freezing sushi in Ontario will have on data throughput?

Interestingly, as I searched for a good link for the "new rules" to which Alasdair referred, I found that the Ontario government is backpedalling after an outcry from sushi afficionados and a collective "what's the big deal?" from many doctors and hospitals.

Which leads me to wonder ... is any of what the government has learned in the last few weeks actually new information? How did they not see this coming? And if they did, are they just irresponsibly bowing to public pressure now, or were they just being ridiculous from the get-go in designing the ban?

Posted by anatole at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

See you again in March 2007!

Full moon eclipse

Posted by anatole at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

Getting them to take the bait ... priceless.

Internet polls are generally goofy, but this one has the added bonus of laying one of those "are you better than average?" statistics traps -- and it working.

Screen capture from http://www.globeandmail.ca

UPDATE: With 10,198 votes cast, it turns out that a mere 76% of Canadians think that the average Canadian is dumber than they are. :)

Posted by anatole at 10:11 PM | Comments (1)

October 21, 2004

Defending America from a fowl threat

(c) AP photo via CNN

For those who say that there is no difference between the U.S. and Canada.

BOARDMAN, Ohio (AP) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry went on a politically targeted hunt Thursday, looking for waterfowl and voters who might harbor doubts about him.

Wearing a camouflage jacket and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun, Kerry left on a hunt of ducks and geese on a supporter's farm outside of Youngstown. Kerry adviser Mike McCurry said it's important in the final days of the campaign that voters "get a better sense of John Kerry, the guy." [source: CNN.com]

Can you imagine Paul Martin or Stephen Harper running off to Northwestern Ontario, with the press in tow, to bag a moose a few days before the federal election in Canada?

If you believe in the high stakes of this election, then there's at least a chance that the poor goose gave its life, albeit unwillingly, for a better cause than random sport (you know, the reason Kerry normally shoots birds). Still, you have to think that if Kerry's election prospects really depend on going out to kill a bird, that's pretty disturbing.

Posted by anatole at 08:33 AM | Comments (3)

October 20, 2004

Here, there, and everywhere

If you are a fan of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show, you should immediately watch this followed by this. Tell it like it is, Jon. (Thanks to Lana for the tip.)

Also, on the subject of arboreal rainbows, scientists have apparently began to unravel the real reasons for all that colour. Stay tuned.

In other news, today's globeandmail.com poll prompted me to look at the CBC's "The Greatest Canadian" website. Don Cherry is one of the top ten finalists. Also, all the finalists are men. So Don Cherry beat out not only a series of great Canadian men, but also all the great Canadian women. I will cry if he wins.

In other news, check out this interesting and surprising article about how Canada's "famous five" might not fit the (new $50) bill, if you'll forgive the pun.

A number of newspapers around the world got together to run similar polls about foreign preferences for the U.S. election. The results aren't exactly shocking. It does make you wonder, though, as some of my friends have suggested, what's going to happen with regards to foreign perceptions of the U.S. citizenry if they re-elect (and I use the term loosely) President George W. Bush.

Last but certainly not least, check this out:


Posted by anatole at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

Fall colours, Gatineau Park

Posted by anatole at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Arboreal Rainbows

It's that time of year again. I managed to get up to Gatineau Park twice so far this fall -- the past two weekends. I'm always wondering when to go to get the maximum foliage colouration effect, and I recently discovered a way to find out. The Weather Network website tracks the progress of the leaves changing colour at a number of locations. Quite a handy site.

While I'm on the subject, a new Gatineau Park master plan is apparently in the works:

Public discussions of the Gatineau Park master plan are scheduled in French at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 27 and in English at the Canadian Museum of Nature from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 28.

The public has until Nov. 30 to comment on the proposed master plan. A summary of the plan and maps illustrating how the NCC hopes to develop the park are available on its website, www.canadascapital.gc.ca.

You can read the full Ottawa Citizen article for more details.

Note: Continue reading for more photos.

Until next year ...

Posted by anatole at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2004

"Abridged" 2004 Vice-Presidential Debate

An Abridged* Version of the Vice-Presidential Debate

Moderator Gwen Ifill: You know the drill from the Presidential Debate last week. I don't, of course, which will become painfully obvious when I botch the rules later on. Ready?

Ifill: Let's start with the war on terror. Is there a connection to Iraq?
Vice President Dick Cheney: Iraq represented the greatest possibility of a nexus between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.
Senator John Edwards: Only after you invaded ... with too few troops.
Cheney: This is going to be a long night.


Ifill: How about Osama bin Laden specifically? Any connection to Iraq?
Edwards: We weren't attacked by Iraq on 9-11. Everyone but the President and Vice-President know that.
Cheney: If I spend the next 90 seconds talking about al-Zarqawi in menacing terms, will you forget what he just said?


Ifill: The President changed his mind about the 9-11 Commission and the Department of Homeland Security. Senator Kerry changed his mind about the war in Iraq. What's wrong with a little flip-flop once in a while?
Cheney: Are you trying to pre-empt my main line of attack?
Edwards: Objection. The Vice-President used the words "pre-empt" and "attack" in the same sentence.


Ifill: What are your thoughts about a Constitutional ban on gay marriage?
Cheney: I think people should make their own choices, but when it comes to the government sanctioning those choices, I think it should be up to the states. As for the amendment, though, the President sets policy for this administration.
Edwards: I think the President is using this as a wedge issue ... but I would like to say that the Vice-President loves his daughter, and I respect the Vice-President for being able to talk about his daughter being gay amd embracing her.
Cheney: That was sly.


Ifill: Let's talk about your records.
Cheney: The President and I have experience fighting the war on terror.
Edwards: A long political resume is not the same thing as good judgement.
Cheney: My opponent never attends the Senate. I'm President of the Senate and I never met him until tonight.
Edwards: Actually, you've met me twice before. I have the photographs to prove it.
Cheney: [coughs] Well, my opponent has voted for tax increases roughly 67,253,251 times.
Edwards: The Vice-President voted against a holiday for Martin Luther King.
Cheney: Don't make me come over there.


Ifill: I'd like you to talk about how you're different from the other candidate here tonight without mentioning the other person on your ticket.
Edwards: Well, with the Vice-President, you get four more years of the same. Senator Kerry and I -- oh, wait, I broke your rule ... are you ... enforcing --
Ifill: Yes, I'm enforcing the rule.
Edwards: O.k., o.k. I believe that I bring a fresh perspective and energy to this job, and just like Senator Kerry -- dang, I've done it again ... your rule -- [laughs]
Ifill: Yes, you have.
Edwards: Right, o.k., um [pause] we [pause] believe that --
Ifill: I didn't just mean don't use his name, for God's sake, I meant talk about yourself -- just you. Unbelievable ... were you seriously a successful trial lawyer?
Cheney: Nice.


Ifill: Senator, you have 30 seconds to respond.
Edwards: I thought I already ... do I still have ...?
Ifill: Yes, you have 30 seconds.
Edwards: O.k., well, here's the thing. The "No Child --
Ifill: O.k., I lied. You already used the 30 seconds. Oops.
Edwards: I got in way more trouble when I broke a rule.


Ifill: Mr. Vice-President, how do you respond to Senator Edwards' allegations with regards to Halliburton?
Cheney: I could respond, but it would take a lot longer than 30 seconds. [laughs]
Ifill: I'm not laughing. Thirty seconds is all you have.
Cheney: Someone call Dan Rather, please.


Ifill: What qualifies you to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency?
Edwards: My charm and natural good looks.
Ifill: I said heartbeat, not heartthrob.
Edwards: Oh.
Cheney: I've already been "a heartbeat away" a few times, if you know what I mean.


Ifill: Closing statements?
Edwards: I'd like to tell a long and personal story to connect with the average American and thus fulfill the reason that John Kerry put me on the ticket. [90 seconds later.] And I'd like to thank you for moderating, and thank the Vice-President for being here.
Cheney: I'd like to thank you for moderating. I don't particularly want to thank Senator Edwards.


Ifill: Thank you, Senator Edwards, Vice President Cheney. And that's a wrap. Mr. Vice President, there's a car waiting outside to return you to your undisclosed location. Senator, we're off the air. You can wipe that smile off your face now.

[*] And, you know, completely abstracted from what was actually said. For the actual debate transcript, click here.

Posted by anatole at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)

October 07, 2004

Who's winning the debates?

By now, everyone knows who won the first 2004 Presidential Debate on foreign policy and homeland security.

Only one man had a clear command of all his material.

Only one man had prepared deeply and comprehensively for the debate.

Only one man posed as many challenging questions as he answered.

Only one man kept resolutely to his convictions, refusing to sway with the tides of public opinion.

Only one man gave away little that could be used against him for the remainder of the campaign.

And only one man appeared Presidential, maintaining his composure in front of the American people last Thursday night.

That man was Moderator Jim Lehrer.

As for the Vice-Presidential Debate ... well, stay tuned for an abridged version of the debate -- coming Thursday!

Posted by anatole at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

"Abridged" 2004 Presidential Debate I -- Foreign Policy and Security

An Abridged* Version of the Debate

Moderator Jim Lehrer: You have two minutes to speak followed by a ninety-second rebuttal. The light will flash yellow when the Long-Winded Response Alert Level is raised to "high" and red when it is raised to "severe."

Lehrer: Senator Kerry -- isn't Osama bin Laden just itching for you to get elected?
Senator John Kerry: No, Jim, and I would like to answer that question, but first I would like to thank each member of the audience individually in alphabetical order. [10 minutes later] Now, let's get back to that important question that everyone watching has already forgotten.
President George W. Bush: Could I just interjectorate here? [Long pause.] I would like to thank ... [Long pause.] Florida as well.


Lehrer: Mr. President -- do you have a plan for winning the war in Iraq?
Bush: I do have a plan. That plan is a lot of hard work. Iraq is a lot of hard work. Quite frankly, this whole job is a lot of hard work. I understand hard work. My opponent ... he's for hard work, then he's against hard work. Hard [Long pause.] work.
Kerry: I will hunt down and kill the terrorists, wherever they are.


Lehrer: Senator -- you've talked about asking the last man to die for a mistake. Tell us about war.
Kerry: Well, I've been there, in Vietnam. I know what it's like to go into a place and not know what's around the corner.
Bush: I understand how terrible it is. I've seen the images on T.V.


Lehrer: Mr. President -- could you comment on John Kerry's character and his fitness for leadership?
Bush: Not really, but I will take this opportunity to talk about our daughters. [A minute later.] And I do respect Senator Kerry. But I believe you can't change your mind about your beliefs and values all the time.
Kerry: I agree with the President. And rather than take advantage of this opportunity to correct the public's views about my being a flip-flopper, I'd like to instead leave you with this terrible soundbite: "certainty can get you in trouble."
Bush: Speaking of trouble, would it trouble you if I interrupt you to crack a joke about trying to put my daughters on a leash?


Lehrer: Senator -- would you say that the President is a liar?
Kerry: It depends what the meaning of "is" is.
Bush: Sweet.


Lehrer: Mr. President -- what do you think about President Putin and democracy in Russia?
Bush: [Long sigh.] Jim --
Kerry: O.k., look, the President totally sighed just now ...
Bush: Listen, Vladimir and I have a great relationship. And I would like you to take special note of the fact that Vladimir and I are on a first name basis. Vladimir.
Kerry: I can't believe this is happening to me.


Lehrer: Senator -- would you tell us what you would do differently in Iraq?
Kerry: I would bring back our allies. I would build a real coalition. The President went in with just the U.K. and Australia. We can do better.
Bush: You forgot Poland.
Kerry: You've got to be joking.
Bush: Would you like to hear me pronounce the name of Poland's leader? I can do that.
Kerry: But Poland's hardly committeed any --
Bush: Aleksander Kwasniewski. Po-land. Poland.
Kerry: But --
Bush: Poland.


Lehrer: Mr. President -- can we talk some more about your international approach and pre-emptive war?
Bush: Yes. We have to be able to defend ourselves. And I didn't go to the U.N. because anybody told me to. I decided to go. And I won't make a decision because it's popular. I make a decision because it's right.
Kerry: Well, Jim, I'd like to botch this answer badly by suggesting that while the President always reserves the right to take pre-emptive action, that action should "pass a global test."
Bush: I don't know what that means, "pass a global test."
Kerry: I can't believe I said that.


Lehrer: Senator -- North Korea has gone nuclear. What do we need to do?
Kerry: We need to engage North Korea in bilateral talks.
Bush: That won't work. The multilateral talks with China will collapse.
Kerry: No they won't.
Bush: Will.
Kerry: Won't.
Bush: Will.
Kerry: Won't.
Bush: China, China, China.
Kerry: You can't believe this President when he says that it won't work. This is the President that --
Bush: Poland.
Kerry: What?!?


Lehrer: Mr. President -- could you do be doing more in the war against terror?
Bush: Jim, I think about it every morning. I talk to FBI Director Mueller about it every morning. It's hard work. And we're changing the culture of the CIA, the FBI --
Kerry: The FBI is sitting on 100,000 hours of unlistened-to terrorist tapes.
Bush: [Long pause.] It's hard work. Hard work. Very hard work. Listen, we're still going after Saddam Hussein, er, I mean, Osama bin Laden.
Kerry: Sorry, could I just squander this latest opportunity to drive home one of my main messages by saying rather awkwardly that perhaps another resolution would have done the trick with Saddam?


Lehrer: Final comments. Senator Kerry first. You have five words.
Kerry: We only get five words!?!?
Bush: War ... on ... terror. Hard ... work.


Lehrer: Thank you, Senator Kerry, Mr. President. Now if you'll please parade your identically-dressed wives on stage for the cameras.

[*] And, you know, completely abstracted from what was actually said. For the actual debate transcript, click here.

Posted by anatole at 08:16 AM | Comments (3)