Archive for the ‘Politics. Not that I know that much about it but…’ Category

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John Tory, Please run for mayor.

June 18, 2009

John Tory is apparently considering running for mayor of Toronto.   He seems to be the only person currently considering it who would actually have a shot.  He was a businessman before entering politics and lord knows we could use a businessman running our city right now.  John Tory is the man for Toronto.

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Scienceless Science Minister?

March 29, 2009

I have been waiting a little while to weigh in on this one.  My good friend Matt, not to be confused with other Matts, who has become my most regular commenter here asked my thoughts on this.  For those who don’t know about it, Canada’s minister for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, refused to say he believed in evolution.  His response was that he didn’t feel the need to discuss his religious beliefs.  As someone who has spent 88% of his life in secular education I can understand playing your cards close to the chest when it comes to a question like this.  There are two fundamental issues with his answer though.  The first is that evolution is an undisputed fact of science.  The (legitimate) dispute is over degree.  This is where clarification over macro and micro evolution comes into play.    As someone who is not in science I can only say that I sit somewhere between the camp known as Intelligent Design* and a secular understanding of evolution.  The fact that Goodyear didn’t have an appropriate answer for this question means that he had not thought about the question except to decide against evolution.  

The second issue is that Goodyear has now given ammunition to those who think Christians are a bunch of idiots.  This is unfortunate on a large scale because there are theists, atheists, and many in between who are not happy with where evolutionary theory is being used.  Where Popper’s idea of the ideological revolution has replaced the scientific revolution it rightly was.  On a smaller scale this story is unfortunate because it ends up downplaying Goodyear’s credentials as a chiropractor (who go through the same anatomical training as doctors), and his studies in Biomechanics and Psychology at Waterloo.  By not thinking through his position he ended up allowing himself to be cast as antiscientific.  There is a lesson in this for all of us.

*Intelligent design is not the same as creationism.  If you haven’t bothered understanding the difference it breaks down quite simply.  Creationism sees the world as 6,000 years old, static, and divinely ordered on a literal biblical model.  Intelligent Design generally encompasses viewpoints from Macroevolution to Creationism, focusing only on the difficulties of accounting for the beginning of life, the cambrian explosion, and complexities of the cell as happy accidents and instead explaining them as the products of intelligence.

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Canadian Banks, Something to be proud of.

March 22, 2009

I had been thinking about this a lot recently.  Some of the more right wing people I read from the States have been arguing that this crisis does not mean that the markets need to be regulated.  While I have tended to agree with this I’ve often wondered about what regulations mean.  Then I read this article from the Globe and Mail and could not help but think maybe I’m wrong.

Former central bank governor David Dodge agrees. Canadian bank executives keenly remember that period, “and there was therefore perhaps a degree of prudence, a lack of aggressiveness, in comparison with major banks around the world,” he said.

And he gives top marks to the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, Canada’s banking regulator, for being more conservative than those in the U.S. or Britain. “I think that, from a regulatory point of view, you can say that the Canadian banks were more appropriately regulated.” (Emphasis mine)

The idea of the free market only really makes sense if you do not have powerhouses, like the American banks, that can manipulate the system.  When it comes to corporations or the Government having controls I’ll choose the Government; at least when they screw up the little guys can fire them.

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And so it begins…

March 13, 2009

If you didn’t already know.  China is the largest holder of US debt.  This strikes me as the first time in a long time that another country has the power to make suggestions about US domestic policy and know that they will be heard.

China’s premier didn’t say it in so many words, but the implied warning to Washington was blunt: Don’t devalue the dollar through reckless spending.

Premier Wen Jiabao’s message is unlikely to be misunderstood at the White House. It is counting on Beijing to help pay for its stimulus package by buying U.S. bonds. China already is Washington’s biggest foreign creditor, with an estimated $1 trillion in U.S. government debt. A weaker dollar would erode the value of those assets.

via The Associated Press: China ‘worried’ about US Treasury holdings.

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Harper may have trouble

December 11, 2008

I should be studying, and I feel like hell with a dratted head cold that came at the worst possible moment, but I feel the need to comment for some unknown reason on Iggy.  Which is apparently the nickname for Michael Ignatieff.

I like him.

I know what he’s got going against him, and a quick read anywhere will list those things in a negative or apologetic light.  But in the few interviews I’ve watched him in he exudes something that until recently only Harper had in Canadian politics: leadership.

This means that Harper is going to have to be a bit more careful, Ignatieff doesn’t look like someone easily pushed around.  Which means we might actually see some sort of give and take in politics, which is critical in a minority parliament.

Oh, and Ignatieff is a Toronto MP.  Which means he could be a Toronto Prime Minister, we haven’t had one of those in a long time.

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Brant’s Back!

December 9, 2008

Yay!

I’ve never met the guy, but I can’t explain how excited I am to be reading new things from him again.  If you haven’t read him yet you must.  From his latest, on Europe:

Study much, and you’ll see:  A sure sign a culture is finished is when children are viewed in cost/benefit terms, rather than a blessing from God.  And guess what?  Kids usually fail the cost/benefit analysis, when your Volvo is setting you back hundreds of Euros a month.  Plus, they really cramp your Euro-cool lifestyle.

Americans who love Europe, who want to emulate Europe, who admire Europe, need to cram in all the love and admiration quick-like.  Europe doesn’t work.  It’s not going to be around much longer.  This is not my guess, this is the simple math:  They’re not having kids, folks.

No kids, no culture.  And the math — they’re WAY below replacement rate, and have been — is the future.  Last one out, turn off the lights.

This is why I love the guy.  Brilliant analysis, but in other posts he can be bitingly funny.  So now that he is blogging again, I recommend you read him.

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You know a converation is over when…

December 4, 2008

A money quote from the Canadian Press.

Liberal MP Derrick Lee, meanwhile, compared Harper’s move to suspend Parliament to the burning of the Reichstag in Germany by the Nazis.

Yeah, that seems balanced.