Friday, March 31, 2006

He what?

Actually, I find this kinda funny... (from this article)

Even Harper acknowledged that he's not exactly one for small talk. In fact, he hinted that he swore during discussions with Bush.

"As some of you may know that sometimes I express myself, believe it or not, not only directly but also colourfully and not suited for public television," Harper told reporters. "We made our points very clearly on several different issues."

I'm practically laughing just imagining the fun that Air Farce, Mercer, or 22 Minutes could have with this one.

Yep, just a regular hockey dad (who happens to be PM).

Oh yeah, it also appears we're screwed as far as the border-crossing-i.d.-requirement and the softwood settlement are concerned. I'm not surprised; that must be what made Harper swear.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Just do it.

I haven’t posted in a while; instead choosing to read others offerings while working my way through Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone. However, one post that I felt needed some response was Jason Cherniak’s from earlier today on the ‘heckler’s veto.’ I left this as a comment on Jason's blog today, but since it's the most I've written in a while, I'll post it here too:

Jason, I think you should reconsider your reasons for not standing up for that position in your riding. I’ve only been around the Liberal blogging scene for a short while, but it is apparent to me that you have done a commendable job in helping organize the on-line community of Liberal bloggers, and that level of effort and commitment is what the party needs, especially now.

You did raise some concerns over how your holding that position might be perceived by supporters of one of the other leadership candidates, and that they may choose to exercise their own ‘heckler’s veto’ to prevent you from taking said position. To that I would suggest that you need to examine your own motivations and commitment to impartially performing the duties that would be required of you, and your ability to balance them with your own personal views.

It’s only reasonable to assume that any party member holding that position is going to have their own personal preference for a leadership candidate, with the only difference being that they may not have stated so publicly in a blog. Does that necessarily make anyone else more suitable for that role?

One of the aspects of the Liberal party that is going to have to be healed is our ability to openly support different members for leadership, riding nominations, or other roles within the party without fear of the backlash or attack (an unfortunate legacy left behind in the wake of the last leadership campaign). A large part of party politics is the discourse that occurs at these times; it’s a conflict, but one that is supposed to develop strength within the party, not divide us.

Another thing to think about is the value of being a political blogger. It seemed to me that you feel that your blogging history would serve as a detriment or a liability to further involvement in politics. Am I missing something? Did I fail to notice some scandalous, embarrassing career limiting diatribe? Was it worse than Mike Klander’s gaffe? That gaffe could arguably be said to have cost the Liberals one seat in the last election, if not more.

I guess the point I’d want to make here is that blogging is just a form of publishing, and should perhaps be considered an asset instead; if you had written a couple books (or, for example, published an essay, even one that had been widely misinterpreted), should that prevent you from running for some position within the party? Again, you’l have to examine your own record here, and decide for yourself. Have you published anything that you don’t feel comfortable being scrutinized over?

Just don’t count your self out unnecessarily.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Doublespeak

It's spooky to read some of the coverage and comments from the conservatives and their supporters since Harper visited Afghanistan... it's almost as if they're trying to convince Canadians that we've been sitting on the sidelines doing nothing until February 6th of this year.

To add to the sheer bizarreness of the situation, some are claiming that Harper was the first Prime Minister to visit Afghanistan, and others still will say Cretien's visit was a joke.

Almost as disturbing is the way some people are rising to their baiting, and taking a stance that could almost be construed as being against our efforts there.

The Tories shouldn't be allowed to claim the high ground on this people... Canada's leading role in the world is not a brand new gift from the Conservatives; furthermore, everyone needs to remember that when the Liberal government committed our forces to Afghanistan, it was the Conservatives calling for a debate in the house.

Stirring? Nice try.


I realize that 'Doublespeak' wasn't a good title for this post, as it's not really refelctive of the issue of the Tories and their 'straw man' battle.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Partisans!

So, Harper dismisses the ethics inquiry into Emerson's floor crossing, and the efforts by constituents in Vancouver-Kingsway to have Emerson resign, as "partisan" attacks.

I guess by that token this means that any criticisms of Conservative policy that don't come from within the party are just partisan. It will be interesting to see if this trend in defense keeps up.

Meanwhile, I have to say that I kinda agree with Mad Milan on this one; why is the Federal Liberal Party going to be moving so slowly on finding a new leader?

I know a leadership convention isn't something you could pull together in a couple weeks, or even a couple months, but one year?

If funding is the issue, then maybe consider lowering the cost of entry into the fray. That would have the side benefit of making the process more democratic, but that's just my opinion.

This isn't about white-washing the corruption from the past; it's about getting down to the house-cleaning that the party needs.

One thing to consider is that without that new leader in place, the Conservatives might find a sweet spot to engineer their own defeat, and blame it on the opposition. Yes, it's unlikely, as it would be a risky strategy, but if they felt they could launch themselves into a majority then they just might try it.

March 15: Ok, I think I understand the leadership timing thing now. The candidates will be signing up new party members as part of the campaign; however, only members who have been with the party for at least 5 months can vote. If the leadership convention is set for Feb. 2007, then September is the cut-off for new memebers who can have a say, which leaves the next 5 and a half months for campaigning... kinda short on time when you look at it that way.

Friday, March 03, 2006

On Blogging

A couple of posts have popped up in the last couple weeks relating to the topic of blogging itself, and they've given me some food for thought.

This post focused on the self indulgent, "puerile" nature of the content on the blogosphere; well, what did they expect? Do they really think all blogs should be models of erudition? Or were they just feeling smug and superior? "It just had to be said," apparently.

Maybe it did need to be said; reading it made me think about the quality of product that I'm putting out for people to read, and about putting some extra effort into my posts (I tried to leave a comment to that effect, but where disappearedred to after I clicked 'submit' is a mystery).

But seriously, what do they expect?

You have the internet, this revolutionary communication tool that allows just about anyone with access to a computer to set up their virtual soapbox and start speaking, regardless of their ability to write or express themselves well, or even coherently. The variety is amazing, even if the quality isn't. Can this kind of communication or publication get any more egalitarian? We can only hope.

I could understand maybe in the early days of the internet when only the tech savvy and computer literate could create a website, that one would be surprised to find web sites or logs that didn't reflect at least some creativity or skill in writing; however, with every passing day, publishing to the web gets easier and easier. Anybody can (and likely will) have a blog.

Groups like the various political blogging affiliations help encourage participation, dialogue, and awareness. Initially they too were likely only populated by the political vanguard on the web, to soon be followed by neophyte bloggers, like myself.

What I can't understand is why anybody could think this is a bad thing; don't we want to encourage participation? You say there are some blogs out there that lack detailed and insightful content? So what? I would say the same thing in that case as I would say to someone who has found content which they find offensive: If you don't like it, don't read it (of course, illegal content is another matter and should be reported to local authorities) . Is the issue that they are taking up space on your favorite blog-roll? If you and enough people feel similarly, then the complaints to the person who manages it should rectify the problem; however, it's just as likely that another reader out there appreciates that blog entry.

If you sift through the blogosphere you will find interesting, entertaining material, and just as often you will find partisan hacks, poor spellers and crackpots. The democratic aspect of the web is that sites that are well done may eventually attract a wider audience; those that aren't likely won't. Bloggers that are determined to persevere and maybe even get better will, and their blogs may be worth reading, or not (for that matter, not all bloggers want their posts reaching a large audience) .

Along similar lines was this post from Andrew Coyne, discussing an article in the Financial Times which heralded "the obsolescence of blogging;" I couldn't disagree more. The comments for Coyne's post said it pretty well, and I couldn't add more to that, except that no other medium in history has ever offered so many people the means to share their views with such a wide audience, and with such amazing speed. And yes, some of it is going to be crap; in a mass medium, you should expect no less.