Budget, Dos and Gritty Reality

What an interesting coincidence! A denial of service attack the very same hour the federal budget is released.


Anyway: wk.com’s Team Propellerhead™ has been busily tinkering in their Digital Demons© workshop for weeks, and building a More Robust Platform® for the website (all contents © protected, 2010, BTW). It’ll be unveiled this weekend.

Reformatory DOS stunts will continue unabated, I suspect. Or as long as I’m involved with the federal Grits, that is.


The Bear Hunt

In the mid-nineties, when I still worked as a political staffer for a federal cabinet minister, we decided to introduce the two dollar coin – the one that would come to be known as the toonie.

The toonie budget was going to contain big, big changes. One of our deputy ministers, a nice but naïve fellow, thought no one would pay attention to the new coin whatsoever. He thought the other budgetary measures would dwarf the media coverage of the toonie.

I told him that, with the greatest of respect, he was dead wrong. “The media will always pay more attention to stuff like this,” I said. “You may think it’s trivial, but they don’t. Same with the public.” We made a gentlemen’s bet about the outcome. I won it.

History repeats itself: the Harper Reformatories have floated their anthem-change trial balloon, fully expecting that it would kick-start a lot of chatter around the water coolers of the nation – and thereby provide cover for the big-ticket items to come, which will almost certainly include massive program cuts. They’ve been wildly successful with this day-old gambit: check this out – dozens of iterations of the anthem word-change stunt.

Personally – speaking only for myself – I’m all for making the anthem gender neutral. (That’s not all: I also favour removing references to God in the national anthem. And I say that as a devout and church-going Christian-type guy.)

But what I think is totally irrelevant. What matters is what the government is really doing, here. That is what we need to pay attention to, but many won’t.

When you are hunting bear, I always says to my war room kids, don’t get distracted by rabbit tracks.

Or, depending on the circumstances, toonies.

Fighting Hate

Kudos to all concerned here – the CJC, my brother Bernie Farber, AG Chris Bentley and his officials and whip-smart staff, the OPP’s Julian Fantino, and the enterprising Stewart Bell, who the Post is damn lucky to still have in their newsroom. Kudos all around.

This is how you deal with vile, despicable expressions of hatred: not by arrogantly shrugging libertarian shoulders, and saying it’s just words. By taking action.

We can now all look forward to Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Jonathan Kay dancing on the head of a pin in the next day or so, as they simultaneously attempt to explain why they favour unfettered free speech, but not necessarily unfettered free speech. Break out the anti-nausea pills, etc.

Image to Gladden the Heart of Globe Marketing Director

Middle son, on way to school yesterday morn. Started with the sports pages – he was concerned about what is happening with our beloved Raptors – and ended up on news pages.

You’ll notice he wasn’t reading the Post opinion pages.

He’s a smart kid, what can I say.

Not Good. Speaks for Itself.

Winter Olympics Cool Heat Placed on Harper:
Diversion Gives Harper’s Tories (37%) a Boost over Ignatieff’s Grits (29%)
Ignatieff Tumbles to just 21% who Believe He’d Make the Best Prime Minister, Far Back of Harper (46%) and Badly Trailing Layton (33%)

Toronto, ON – The Vancouver 2010 Games have given Olympians and Canadians alike the gift of a renewed sense of pride and patriotism, but they also have imparted on Stephen Harper a gift of his own – a diversion from the heat placed on him over the detainee issue and his subsequent decision to prorogue parliament. This diversion of attention has resulted in a boost in the polls for the reigning Conservatives, according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television.

If an election were held tomorrow, the Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper would receive the support of 37% of decided voters (up 3 points from one month ago), while Ignatieff and the Liberals have lost some ground in the polls and would now receive only 29% of the vote (down 2 points) nationally. The Liberals (40%) and Conservatives (37%) are now statistically tied in the seat-rich province of Ontario.

Jack Layton’s NDP would receive 16% of the vote (down 1 point) across the country, while the Green Party would garner 7% support (down 1 point). The Bloc rests at 9% nationally (unchanged), which represents 39% of the vote in the province of Quebec (up 2 points).

The data also reveal that the underlying fundamentals of leadership favour Prime Minister Stephen Harper over his opposition rivals. Further, leadership issues for the Liberals may continue into the future as Jack Layton has overtaken Michael Ignatieff in every category of leadership attributes studied.

Nearly one half (46%) of Canadians believe that Stephen Harper would make the best Prime Minister of Canada, an increase of 3 points since this question was last asked nearly one year ago. By comparison, fewer than half as many (21%) believe that Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Opposition, would make the best Prime Minister, a dramatic drop of 12 points since last year. The biggest gainer is NDP Leader Jack Layton as one in three (33%) believe that he would make the best Prime Minister, up 10 points from last year, now making him second-choice among Canadians.

Stephen Harper also has a leg up on his rivals when it comes to some more specific leadership traits:

• Someone you can trust: Harper (40%, unchanged), Layton (35%, up 10 points), Ignatieff (19%, down 9 points), Duceppe (6%, down 1 point).
• Someone who will get things done: Harper (43%, unchanged), Layton (30%, up 8 points), Ignatieff (21%, down 7 point), Duceppe (6%, down 1 point).
• Someone who has what it takes to lead Canada: Harper (45%, up 2 points), Layton (29%, up 10 points), Ignatieff (22%, down 13 points), Duceppe (4%, up 1 point).
• Someone who has a vision of Canada that you can support: Harper (40%, down 2 points), Layton (32%, up 8 points), Ignatieff (24%, down 6 points), Duceppe (4%, unchanged).
• Someone who knows when to compromise for the greater good: Harper (37%, down 1 point), Layton (35%, up 10 point), Ignatieff (22%, down 10 points), Duceppe (5%, down 1 point).
• Someone who is best to manage during tough economic times: Harper (46%, unchanged), Layton (26%, up 9 points), Ignatieff (24%, down 8 points), Duceppe (5%, unchanged).
• Despite trying to shake the label of being someone who has a hidden agenda, Harper (45%, down 3 points) continues to lead in this attribute, although significantly more Canadians now believe that Ignatieff (34%, up 13 points) has a hidden agenda, while fewer feel the same way about Layton (16%, down 9 points) and Duceppe (4%, down 2 points).
• Finally, Layton (41%, up 12 points) leads when it comes to someone who is open to the ideas of others, while Harper (32%, unchanged), Ignatieff (22%, down 12 points) and Duceppe (6%, unchanged) trail.

UPDATE: …and their competitor says it’s a tie. People will pick the poll that corresponds most to their bias, I suspect.

The Smoker in Chief

Barack Obama: president, smoker.

I’m not sure why, but I thought he’d quit. I guess he hasn’t.

It’s weird, too. Every politician I’ve worked for, pretty much, has been a non-smoker. Few of them get enough exercise, and some of them are obliged to occasionally eat fast food, but the vast majority of them avoid tobacco.

A photo of a smoking politico looks really, really bad, of course. But the fact is that the clichéd smoke-filled backrooms aren’t so smoke-filled anymore. Politicians have, in this case at least, generally practiced what they preach.

Libertarian conservatives will be torn by the Smoking Obama Story. On the one hand, they viscerally despise him. On the other hand, nutbar conservatives actually regard smoking as a manifestation of personal freedom and liberty and all that hooey. When it’s just a dumb and dirty habit.

As anyone who reads this web site knows, I love all Democratic presidents (except Jimmy Carter) – and I really love Barack Obama.

I sure wish he wouldn’t smoke, however. Among other things, he’s setting a bad example.

Quit, Obama, quit!

The Targets: God-Like Geniuses

Last night SFH played at Mitzi’s Sister and raised a couple hundred bucks for Chilean earthquake relief. A fine time was had by all. Rayman wasn’t arrested, so that’s an improvement.

We also opened for this group of teens from the UK – The Targets. These guys – lead singer Conrad in particular – have the spark, you know? They’ve got it. They blew everyone away.

Check out the vid for one of their hits, ‘Wake Up’and watch for them as they move towards a town near you.