Sunday, October 31, 2004
More at Daily Kos.
Canadians at Risk
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A key U.S. anti-terrorism law threatens the privacy of Canadians and rigorous steps are needed to protect private medical and financial information, a government study said Friday.
Current safeguards are not sufficient to prevent the FBI from using the USA Patriot Act to force U.S. firms and their foreign subsidiaries to turn over private data even if doing so violates Canadian law, the province of British Columbia's privacy commissioner said.
VICTORIA - B.C Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis says the USA Patriot Act violates provincial privacy laws, because it can order American companies to hand over information on British Columbians in secret.
Summary of the report here and the full report here.
This is some very unsettling news. I'm glad the Canadian government is at least attempting to protect its citizens but it may be too little too late. If the Patriot Act can infringe upon the rights of non-Amricans, I wonder how much power it yields at home?
At least he's doing well.
Nice story from the NY Times on Somali refugees seeking asylum in Italy:
For the conservative government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, this movement from Italy to other European countries proves his government's central point: that Italy bears a disproportionate burden of migration given its closeness to Africa, and that there must be a unified European immigration policy. One such proposal is deeply dividing European governments: Italy, Britain and Germany support the establishment of so-called reception centers in North Africa so asylum cases can be processed outside Europe.
Reception centers are also known as "camps that would allow Europe to distance itself from its legal obligations to provide asylum - and to, in effect, subcontract that obligation to nations without the same laws or respect for human rights." Excellent read.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
2. Average minds discuss events.
3. Small minds discuss people.
With few exceptions, I think people can safely be categorized into one of the above principle groups based on what they most enjoy discussing. Most of us are fed our thoughts by the media, and since we are what we eat, it follows that we are also what we read/watch/follow in newspapers/magazines/TV etc. The majority of us would fall under the third group, the People group. This is the one that enjoys discussing people around us and people we are totally unrelated to, but strive to be like them for materialistic reasons. The Events group is the one that enjoys active discussion of world and local events. Lastly, the Ideas group is the group of people who discuss new and old ideas and ideologies.
The triangle below shows how each group fits with the media.
The higher you are in the Triangle, the more intellectual you probably are. I will now describe each group in greater detail.
Those who follow the People sector are, for the most part, too preoccupied with their trivial lives that they can no longer find time to take a peek at the other side of the wall. It has been discussed numerously before; they are usually sufferers of AAD (RealTM, August 2004.) The underlying symptom behind their juvenile behaviour is their incapacity to original thoughts. Their opinions are usually driven by what they hear from the mainstream media (the People sector of Nab's Triangle) and they have the misled impression that if everyone else believes in something, it must be true. As the Third Principle implies, these people excel at discussing people (i.e. gossip) because such a form of discussion requires little-to-no original thinking, because the majority of the discussion involves reiterating speeches and stories that are of very small Mind Nutrition Value. They avoid unconventional topics because they are not accustomed to the depth involved in them. As a result, the People sector of the Triangle does not cover unconventional issues. The result is a narrow minded, blurry scope that lacks originality and appeal. It can be said that such people are so preoccupied with their soap opera lives and TV that they no longer have time to create their own thoughts. Therefore, they must use pre-packaged thoughts and ideas manufactured by the mainstream media. This sector refuses to accept changes because change would involve rethinking and reforming ideas.
The Events sector might be the most complex because it contains the most diverse people, in terms of interests, intellect and backgrounds. The Events sector of the Triangle shows us that the media coverage here focuses on, well, events mostly. Events from around the globe that deal with politics, society, sports and so on. What distinguishes this group from the previous is the fact that Events people can reflect over what they read and they have the capability to comment on the events with their own thoughts. In a way, the Events people are the mediators between the people and the ideas.
Finally we come to the group of people of which we have the least individuals. These people are capable of discussing anything, but what they enjoy most is discussing ideas that can have a direct effect on events and therefore can affect people. These people are more intelligent because they realize how the Triangle works. Their thoughts are unformulated, they question everything they see and hear, and they are not easily influenced by people who fall under the Events and People groups. Their speech sounds original and moving. Oftentimes, the Ideas people are not appreciated by the People people, because the originality of the Ideas people is unconventional, and small minds are incapable or processing unconventional info.
Clearly, ideas shape events that shape people. This top-down process gives the greatest amount of power to the fewest number of people. Remind you of something?
In feudal societies great power was in the hands of the few. But we live in the enlightened society right? The society of individualism, property rights and representative democracy. That's about as true as this. Obviously, we aren't as enlightened as we thought. When the majority of the people can fit into the Events bracket we can truly say that society has advanced.
Kerry's "Top 10 Bush Tax Proposals"
10. No estate tax for families with at least two U.S. presidents.
9. W-2 Form is now Dubya-2 Form.
8. Under the simplified tax code, your refund check goes directly to Halliburton.
7. The reduced earned income tax credit is so unfair, it just makes me want to tear out my lustrous, finely groomed hair.
6. Attorney General (John) Ashcroft gets to write off the entire U.S. Constitution.
5. Texas Rangers can take a business loss for trading Sammy Sosa.
4. Eliminate all income taxes; just ask Teresa (Heinz Kerry) to cover the whole damn thing.
3. Cheney can claim Bush as a dependent.
2. Hundred-dollar penalty if you pronounce it "nuclear" instead of "nucular."
1. George W. Bush gets a deduction for mortgaging our entire future.
Friday, October 29, 2004
UPDATE: This report seems to have used a method that skews the data. Here is a breakdown of what is wrong with it.
"Whatever It Takes"
UPDATE: This video is hilarious. I guess it was before Bush was a "born again."
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
What a Deal
Monday, October 25, 2004
Sunday, October 24, 2004
You're kidding me right?
Base Price -- $643,000
Horsepower -- 650 @ 7800 RPM
Gear Type -- 6-Speed Manual with Automatic Shifting and Clutch
0-60 Miles Per Hour in -- 3.3 seconds
0-100 in -- 6.6 seconds
Top Speed -- 209 miles per hour (limited)
2004-2005 Aston Martin Vanquish S V12:
Base Price -- $228, 000
Horsepower -- 520 @ 7000 RPM
Gear Type -- 6 Speed Manual
0-60 Miles Per Hour in -- 4.8 seconds
0-100 in -- ??
Top Speed -- 200 miles per hour
It may be the most challenging but rewarding paper I will write this term. If only I could get started. I will entertain ideas on how and what to write about in the comments section of this post for those who are interested.
The election is also creeping up on me and I know there will be a lot to cover leading up November that will be blog worthy.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
"China set to buy up Canada's resources"
In an exclusive interview with The Globe and Mail in Beijing this week, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing made it plain that the controversial $7-billion takeover of Noranda Inc. is just a small element in a much more ambitious strategy of investment in Canada's resources sector to feed China's voracious appetite for raw materials.
"Given our rapid economic growth, we're facing an acute shortage of natural resources," the Foreign Minister told The Globe.
"No matter how plentiful our natural resources, when you divide them by our population of 1.3 billion, the figure will be very small," he said.
"The Chinese government is encouraging Chinese enterprises to make investments in Canada, particularly in the field of resources exploitation."
Exploitation? Not the word I would have used. I guess something was lost in the translation.
The other side of the coin.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
I really don't know where to start with this one.
Tom is a conservative who can "barely tolerate most Republican policies", does not share the same values as George W. Bush on key issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research and thinks George W. Bush is a "moron".
As a "cautious-spending, modern-thinking guy" the fiscal conservative is bewildered by the "big-spending, stone-age-thinking, pseudo-moron" Bush.
So why would this man throw his support behind Bush?
The answer is simple: I like his spirit.We'll get back to that.
In a related story, George Bush was "One Guy in a Bubble" during the entire initial phase of the Iraq war. Today's Washington Post ran an article by Harold Meyerson that pretty much sums up the entire faith based presidency of George Bush.
"I have no outside advice" in the war on terrorism, President Bush told Bob Woodward in December of 2001. In an interview that Woodward revealed to Nicholas Lemann in last week's issue of the New Yorker, Bush insisted that, "Anybody who says they're an outside adviser of this Administration on this particular matter is not telling the truth. First of all, in the initial phase of the war, I never left the compound. Nor did anybody come in the compound. I was, you talk about one guy in a bubble."Tom realizes this. He's not stupid:
At the end of the day, we all know that John Kerry would make an acceptable president of the United States. We know that Kerry is capable of making careful decisions, weighing his options and asking other people for help, advice and opinions.He goes on to state that:
Regardless of which values and policies are important to a particular candidate, they must possess the ability to lead and take decisive action.Even if those actions are based on a gut feeling, or faith, or how the President is feeling that day.
So, whether it is right, wrong or just plain stupid, I would rather endure four years' worth of a misguided, profit-driven war in Iraq than four years' worth of discussions and committee meetings.I think that last comment speaks for itself. I rest my case.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
First glance tells us that the aging man above is… well, simply aging. He minds his own business, unaffected by the fact that I am watching him. But is he really unaffected by my observance? Could his actions be, to a certain degree, influenced by my action, namely, watching him? Oh but wait, what is he doing? Is he smoking? What is that, tobacco? Is he even smoking? Maybe he’s simply checking what paper tastes like. But regardless of what he’s doing, why is he doing so? Was he doing that when I were not looking at him? Could it be that my remote surveillance has an effect on his behaviour, such that it is never truly possible for me to know or see what he’s doing at a given instant, because looking at him would change that. Nab’s Uncertainty Principle.
So besides that, I also occupy myself by silently criticizing commercial advertisements that plague my journey. One I’ve noticed today is LifeStyles condoms. “They come in 12 different styles that will keep you in style.” I’d love to meet the imbecile who decided in favour of publicly advertising condoms. So what are we going to see next? Sex toys? How about pistols and weaponry that come in 12 styles? “12 different styles to kill yourself and your neighbour.” I don’t like this, stop it.
Next I have those people that talk to me for reasons beyond my understanding. I had the misfortunate chance to sit next to a man, who I’ll name Teddy, that works for an internet firm (I could tell by his badge and company shirt), who tried to act like an average-commuter-who-engages-in-small-talk. This is my encounter:
Nab: Enters subway train, sits in the nearest available seat, placing his bag between his legs for maximum security.
Teddy: Looks towards Nab, begging for an eye contact.
Nab: Feels intruded because a middle aged bold man is staring at him. Glances towards Teddy, makes a mistake!
Teddy: Smiles inefficiently. Had a good Thanksgiving?
Nab: Unimpressed. Yes, thanks. Shifts back to critical thinking mode.
Teddy: Seeks another approach. Looks at Nab's bag, moved by the “Stop War!" badge. Are you against the war?
Nab: Yes, I’m against the war. Thinks: What’s this guy’s problem now?
Teddy: Oh that’s good. But you’re only –
Nab: Interupts. What do you sell?
Teddy: Oh you want to buy something?
Nab: Definitely not. Thinks: But I definitely have something you should buy. Please go buy the LifeStyles condoms, the world doesn’t need your genes in the pool.
Teddy: Pauses. I’m from –
Nab: Good to know, my stop is here. Walks away, points at the LifeStyles ad. Consider that.
Nab 1-0 Teddy.
My next installment will feature the Missionary Who Almost Cried.
So I was watching the debate...
SCHIEFFER: Anything to add, Senator Kerry?
KERRY: Yes. When the president had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, he took his focus off of them, outsourced the job to Afghan warlords, and Osama bin Laden escaped.
Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, "Where is Osama bin Laden? " He said, "I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned. "
We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror.
The President of the United States said that?
SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?
BUSH: Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations.
Right, he never said that.
Q But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?Ok, so what. He lied right to our faces.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.
Let The Show Begin
Republican's are furious about John Kerry bringing up the sexual orientation of Dick Cheney's daughter. She's gay. Gay. Gay. Gay. Everyone knows that. John Kerry brought it up to infuriate Bush's base and try to divide the party. It won't work, but whose to say he can't try?
The New York Times ran a piece today about the "big controversy".
As for what was said on Wednesday night, perhaps the most emotional reaction was from Mary Cheney's mother. "I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more," Lynne Cheney said at a post-debate rally in Coraopolis, Pa. "And the only thing I could conclude is this is not a good man. This is not a good man. And of course, I am speaking as a mom and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."
DICK CHENEY'S WIFE is probably the last person I would expect to say anything about dirty politics. That's like John Gotti's wife saying she doesn't know anything about the mob.
Ofcourse, the Kerry camp had Mrs. Pretend-to-be-naive's counterpart do a little dirty work too.
Senator Edward's wife, Elizabeth, said in an ABC radio interview that Mrs. Cheney had overreacted. "I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences," Mrs. Edwards said. "It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."
Great. Why don't we just get them to mud-wrestle until the election. Throw in the Bush Twins too.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
The End is Near
The debate was on domestic policy. Interestingly, only two-thirds of the debate covered anything domestic.
I don't care anymore. I just want to see the end. This election can't come soon enough. The rest of the blogosphere has already done a good job covering it anyway.
Ann Althouse gets the ironic statement of the night award for her use of the word platitudinous in reference to the "wordy liberal senator from Massachusetts".
Kerry's closing statement: something about "ideers" and reaching higher and grabbing dreams. "Embark on that journey with me." Pretty platitudinous. Bush: there's painting in the Oval Office that has something to do with seeing the sunrise and hence with the way things are getting better in the U.S.
I doubt it, because President Bush said "the world is better off without Saddam Hussein" and he's never wrong. Hans Blix is just a washed up, internationally respected former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations. His insight is meaningless.
Note: Tonight's debate should be interesting. And by interesting I mean completely boring and pointless. Nevertheless, I will blog it.
Friday, October 08, 2004
The 2nd Presidential Workout
Did Kerry stumble? No. But he did slow down.
Did Bush stumble? Sorry, stupid question. When did Bush stumble? A few times, most notably: "The National Journal named Senator Kennedy the most liberal senator of all". If it even mattered what The National Journal labelled Kerry, I would have something to say about this mix-up.
My favorite question to Bush: "Can you tell us of 3 mistakes you've made as President?" (More or less) Answer: "I don't make mistakes. I've never made a mistake. Grrr." (More or less)
Overall: As I said, both men had a good workout on the bike. Didn't get anywhere. I'd give "The Most Reasonable Player" award to Kerry. Bush gets the "Most Likely to Become a Successful Stand-Up Comedian Among Slack-jawwed Yokels" award. That's the second time he's won the award and his 4th consecutive nomination.
In my honest opinion these debates are not getting anyone anywhere. It's a loss for the American public everytime. They might as well have the election tommorow, because I don't see any Kerry/Bush supporters changing their minds and I'm pretty sure those undecideds will just toss up a coin.
That debate almost made me want to scowl. Almost.
Bremer Misleads About His Own Comments
Paul Bremer, said on Monday that "We never had enough troops on the ground" in Iraq.
Today, in the New York Times, Bremer attempted to limit the damage to the administration. Bremer - in a piece entitled "What I Really Said About Iraq" - claimed he only said it "would have been helpful to have had more troops early on to stop the looting."
And I can almost assure you this never happened: (From today's New York Times)
A year and a half ago, President Bush asked me to come to the Oval Office to discuss my going to Iraq to head the coalition authority. He asked me bluntly, "Why would you want to leave private life and take on such a difficult, dangerous and probably thankless job?" Without hesitation, I answered, "Because I believe in your vision for Iraq and would be honored to help you make it a reality." Today America and the coalition are making steady progress toward that vision.
And another thing from today's New York Times:
Questions for Bush
ANA MARIE COX, editor of Wonkette.com:
Personal experience can often change political opinions. So, just hypothetically: Let's say your vice president's daughter was gay ... Oh, wait. Umm ... What if you were responsible for the biggest deficit in American history - oh, ha. O.K.: Let's say you invaded a country based on faulty intelligence ... Er, oops ... No, we got it: How did "The Pet Goat" end, anyway?
Thursday, October 07, 2004
All animals are equal...
Every once in a while, I get the urge to form my own society of people who hold the same beliefs as I do, or at least concur with them. But then I realize how corrupt it would be, not because I am corrupted, but because politically-oriented societies are always corrupt. No exceptions. Even something as innocuous as a Student Administrative Council is a corrupted society. Our own S.A.C., for example, advertises by telling the students that “any student can be run and hold any position on the council, by being nominated for it by fellow students.” In reality, however, holding any position other than a “commission member” (lowest of all standings) requires that the nominee be voted for by people who are already part of the council. In other words, the only way one can be raised to a higher position, is by being nominated by members higher than you in the hierarchy. In effect, the council is dominated by people who themselves decide who should be on the council, by definition, that is autocracy.
Amplify the above example and you have an outline of how democratic governments operate in reality, one way or another. I think it’s a given that true democracy can never exist unless the leader is prepared to give away his leadership to any candidate at any given time. But that can not happen if the leader’s job is overly luxurious and the decision he makes are not openly decided upon by the people. The leader’s life should be no more than a gift to his people, given voluntarily for the sake of leading the people, not being fed by them.
“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
The Scotsman, Scotland's national newspaper, has an interesting article online about a bribery scandal involving Saddam Hussein and the French government. Apparently, the former Iraqi president "was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war." Instapundit is shocked, very shocked.
But there's more.
[T]he Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which returned its full report last night, said Saddam was telling the truth when he denied on the eve of war that he had any weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He had not built any since 1992.Instapundit has this to say:
Personally, I find it hard to fault the Bush Administration for thinking this way. And had they failed to engage Saddam, we'd be hearing -- from many of the same critics of the war -- that their failure to do so was evidence of ineptitude ("How could you leave such a vicious dictator free to cause us trouble, smack in the middle of the mideast?") along, probably, with claims that it was somehow a way of enriching Halliburton.I agree it's hard to fault the Bush administration for thinking that way but I wouldn't say war critics would find another way to bash the president. Any war critic that I would trust would not criticize the president for thinking about the safety of his nation, rather the that critic would be questioning the methods and way in which the president chose to keep his country safe.
Bush said he took a "hard look" around the world at where terrorists might get weapons of mass destruction and concluded that "one regime stood out" -- Saddam Hussein's. "There was a risk, a real risk, that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons or materials or information to terrorist networks," he said.Like John Stewart said last night on The Daily Show, "There's nothing better than 20/20 blindsight."
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Ankstotle's Inaugural Address
A boring work environment is very unfortunate, really, I used to think that work is work, no matter what, as long as you are doing your own thing, being independent, its all well and done. For those of you who are annoyed by the run on sentences, feel free to correct them at work, think of it as something to do while you are bored at your work.
As evident by this piece of writing, I am at work and I am bored, not bored because I have no work, bored because I have irrelevant work. I am given projects to do that have no relevance of any kind to the operations of the company. They just expect me to make pretty charts and I am given a week to change the font of the title to bold and underline. Yesterday, I spent about an hour deciding whether Arial or Times New Roman is the font of choice, it was like deciding between Coke and Pepsi. I can swear its the exact same thing when going down with a slice of pizza. Just a fun fact though, I opened a can of coke the other day and that thing fizzed for a good hour after I opened the can. They pack more CO2 in that thing than a small tree and then some.
Its not helping me that its colder inside my cabin than it is outside and I live in Canada where cold weather has the same relation as the TAJ does to MJ. It just makes sense. Heres the crazy thing, I have no windows in my cabin, yet I feel the cold air hitting me harder than the Waterboy (Adam Sandler) himself. Just then, I realized, theres an air conditioner installed on the ceiling, one of those centrally air conditioned. I just found a way to pass some more time, find the guy who controls the central air conditioner and tell him to turn on the heat. I mean cold weather, boring work, and a fizzing coke can are the recipes to a ,drool all over your desk, kind of sleep. Why do you think polar bears sleep in the winter; because its cold and they are bored, thats just a proven fact.
Despite all these minor distractions, it is important to maintain focused and keep on working, hoping that the next time you stare at the clock, the Gods will smile upon you and finally move the minute hand. The other day, I was excited when the PR lady, who is quite a looker, announced coffee truck. I ran harder than a kid running after an ice cream truck and I dont even drink coffee. I got my chocolate chip cookie, said my daily hi to the PR lady, made small talk about how traffic in Toronto is getting worse everyday and back to my seat. It doesnt help when you have 3 supervisors and all 3 of them assigning the same task to you. The work is interesting but there is just not enough to go around but I can not break the code of an employee and ask for more work. Thats like a kid who hates broccoli asking for more broccoli just because his parents think its good for him. It just doesnt make sense.
I spent half an hour the other day looking at gross pictures of my supervisors new born baby just because it was better than sitting in front of a computer, entering useless data. I mean, sure, if I had a kid, Id love it to death, take pictures of it everyday etc and all that good stuff but do I really need to show everyone how sticky kids are when they are born. My first thought was, is that baby sick or just ugly or both? I felt bad thinking that but the thought still holds true. The lesson learned is, no matter how ugly, your kid would always look the best to you. I can really connect with that because the philosophy with babies and cars is the same thing. If its yours, you better get used to it and make the most of the situation.
Now, I just hope my seniors at work dont read this.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I've Got 3 Dimensions
These characters lack a sense of realism. They seem to transcend reality. I am befuddled by their existence and their ability to survive in my "real world". Someone like Donald Trump, aka The Donald, aka The Dude with the Funny Hair, aka The "You're Fired!" Guy is a cartoon character that should have never made it in my world. He seems to be "unreal". How did this goof get that rich, I ask myself daily.
But the answer hit me suddenly, like a craving for cocaine. I realized, people are not born as cartoon characters, instead they turn into them. This is my naive theory about these one dimensional individuals. Currently, my theory doesn't hold water. It is actually a work in progress. I am convinced The Donald was Mr. Trump, the really good business man and smart executive who takes his life seriously, before he decided to whore himself on TV and become a cartoon character. But I'm not so sure about Paris Hilton, or any of her pseudocrackwhore friends. I think they were born as cartoons.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Report Reveals Disturbing Details
Here is an excerpt:
Military Notification And Response
NORAD: We have a report the dogs got out. Can you confirm?
ASPCA: Repeat, please.
NORAD: CENTCOM is telling us the dogs got out. Can you confirm?
ASPCA: Let me check. [8 second silence] Yes, they got out.
NORAD: Who let the dogs out?