Monthly Archives: November 2008

Backpeddling begins…

So the Tories have furiously begun to back-peddle away from their budget, nixing the controversial cut in public subsidies for political parties and ban on public servant strikes. They’ve also scheduled an early budget announcement in January in attempt to assuage this coup. Doesn’t appear to be enough though- the opposition smells blood and is going for the jugular. It’ll be interesting to see if Harper will be willing to make the ultimate 180 and introduce some sort of stimulus plan. It would amount to a huge loss of face and might not even deter the opposition’s non-confidence case.

Thankfully, the coalition leader will not be Dion (who probably regrets resigning at this point). Smart move, considering we just voted 6 weeks ago AGAINST HIM. So the question of the hour… who will it be? It certainly won’t be any of Ignatieff, Rae or LeBlanc- the liberals will wait until May to hold their leadership convention. It looks more and more likely like Goodale or McCallum will hold the coalition leader position if this thing comes together. I’d be more inclined to support McCallum, as he’s the current opposition finance critic- plus he has a solid economics/finance background from his days as an economist at RBC and an econ prof at McGill.

As exciting as this is for arm-chair amateur pundits such as myself, I can’t help but think this is horrible timing. Stability in a time of crisis is essential- and this type of turmoil detracts from every politician’s ability to actually do his job- i.e. run the country. In addition, if this coalition is successful, we’ll be essentially introducing a “lame-duck” interim Prime Minister to a newly minted President Obama. Not the best way to start an important relationship. But, I suppose the blame has to lie at the feet of Harper et al. for their hilariously bad miscalculation. This also makes the liberal leadership race all the more important… as it becomes the election for the next PM. There’s something so very undemocratic about that.

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Prime Minister Dion?

2008-02-26-mackay-i-dare-you

(This comic is actually from Feb 2008. Funny how the tables have turned).

Oh, how interesting the last 48 hours have been. A few things I never thought I’d ever say in my life:

1. Canadian politics are kind of exciting.

2. Dion might become the next Prime Minister.

3. Jack Layton might have a place in cabinet.

Finally some excitement on the Canadian political scene. At exactly the wrong time! While the rest of the world tackles the economic crisis, our sage old elected representatives have decided to put partisan politics first. This just makes everyone look bad.

Harper’s budget was clearly asking for it. How did the conservatives manage NOT TO talk about an economic stimulus package? Boggles the mind. At the same time, it’s hard to see all this Liberal-NDP wrangling as anything but a pure power grab. I’m not sure what’s more scary- the prospect of  Dion/Layton government during the financial crisis or a crazy power-mad Stephen Harper. I suppose Harper should have to pay for his hubris, but aren’t there any other options?

On another note, despite the politically motivated nature of the cuts, I agree with Stephen Harper’s decision to get rid of the public voting subsidy. The last thing i want is my tax dollars supporting the Bloc Quebecois.

Human-Computer Interaction

Human-Computer Interaction: A branch of technology that deals with designing intuitive interfaces. This stuff is so very awesome (yet so very geeky, I know). I really think this stuff is going to revolutionize the way we use computers. it’s hard to explain in words, so just check out these videos:

Multi-touch screens: you’ve seen it on the IPhone and also on CNN, but this is the original:

On a sidenote, HP just released one of the first multi-touch laptops on the market! Reviews are good, but not stellar. My next laptop purchase will definitely have this technology.

Foldable display surfaces:

Virtual-Reality head tracking:

G-Speak “minority report” program:

Foldable input devices:

SETTLER’S OF CATAN:

Things I Love, Vol. 3

So Halloween and Thanksgiving have come and gone, which means the holiday season is here! In celebration of Starbuck’s festive drinks, I give you a venti-sized Things I Love: Gift Giving edition.

1. Give the gift of random chotchkies. Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade art items, i.e. useless junk! Perfect for that annoying friend who won’t tell you what they want. The coolest part of this site are the creative viewing interfaces.The Time Machine lets you “travel through space and time” while browsing items. The Geolocator puts all Etsy sellers on a 3D globe. The showcase features best-selling items, in an interface where you can move the blocks around like a puzzle. It’s pretty awesome. Babushka dolls, anyone?

babushka

2. Give the gift of time. Internet resources for people who measure time by the second.

a) Tinyurl lets you shorten ridiculously gargantuan URL’s into manageable packets to send in emails.

b) Stinto lets you create disposable chat rooms for group discussion. Save friendships by avoiding the inevitable gchat vs. msn discussion.

c) Dodgit lets you avoid Internet spam by creating a fake “receive-only” Internet address for all of those pesky online registration forms.

d) Grand Central is a cool little program that gives you one special phone number that calls all your phones. It also gives you one voicemail box and has a handy visual voicemail function. Google recently bought the program, which is still in private beta. I signed up a while back, but still haven’t heard anything. Only US availability right now.

e) LifeHacker: The ultimate resource for people who shave time in five second increments.

3. Give the most generic gifts ever…in the least generic way possible:

Chocablog: All sorts of obscure and not-so-obscure chocolates described in tantalizing detail. They save you the calories by reviewing the chocolate. Warning: I had to physically restrain myself from running to A&P at 3AM after reading some of these descriptions. On a whim, I recently bought Lindt’s 99% cocoa (NOT CHOCOLATE), which comes with this funny disclaimer:

foil_warning

If you REALLY want to give a gift card, check out Charity Choice Gift Cards, which offer fully tax-refundable philanthropic gift cards. Or trade-in your Sears gift card for something a bit more useful at Leverage Card or Giftcardrescue both of which offer insurance policies against bankruptcy. Or if you really want to be a creative, give the gift of the Best Buy Gift Card with built-in speakers.

An unspeakable tragedy

Will someone tell her to shut-up?

Arianna Huffington, the Queen-bee of blogging has made no secret of her friendship with President-elect Barack Obama… in fact, she never let’s us forget it! She recently commented:

I only text three people – my two teenage children and Barack Obama.

And  the prize for most insufferable Internet personality goes to…

Bebes phoques, continued.

Nigel Barker, America’s Next Top Model judge/resident hunk/photographer extraordinare leads the protest in front of the Canadian embassy in Washington.

Something about seals… does anyone else find this totally random/incongruous?

Please tell me this wasn’t inspired by Palin’s little radio show comment.

dcseal2