Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Lessons from the past

George Bush, yesterday:

[President Ford] assumed power in a period of great division and turmoil. For a nation that needed healing and for an office that needed a calm and steady hand, Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most.

During his time in office, the American people came to know President Ford as a man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts.

That sounds to me like a pretty good want ad for 2008.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

I didn't get you anything. Except this creepy, creepy card.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reading the tea leaves

Calgary Grit anticipates a small shuffle that's going to get Rona Ambrose out of the Environment portfolio, to be replaced by Jim Prentice. Although I strongly suspect the Clean Air Act proposed in October and widely reviled shortly thereafter was not so much Rona's proposal as it was Rona and the department's details painted onto some Harper/Tory guidelines, she's the lucky Ayn Rand fan who gets to eat it, and that's okay by me.

If Jim Prentice in fact ends up with the position, is that a signal that like the Liberals at their leadership, the Tories are ready to step forward and take the environment seriously in deed as well as in word? There's been a whole lot of ink given over to writing elegies for the NDP in the wake of Dion's win (though the typists like to pretend the Green party is an influence as well, to which I dismissively say, "yeah, right"). Will a serious environmental effort from the Tories add nails to the coffin?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Socks are okay, too

Bear604 has some last minute gift ideas.

As for me, I spent a portion of last night in West Edmonton Mall, a place I generally avoid. You know that shortage of workers they have in Alberta these days? Good news when one is negotiating for more Christmas spending money. Bad news when one is attempting to spend it. I'm with Bear about skipping the gift cards, but I can't recommend the big malls or big box stores, either. Is it too late to celebrate the new, Ukranian-ruled Alberta by putting off Christmas to January 7?

Monday, December 18, 2006

You're either with us, or you're with the Visitors

Dave Bouchard has been fired from the Saint John (NB) Seadogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for not signing a Canadian flag for the troops in Afghanistan. He claims it was a mistake, though perhaps he doesn't believe in the justice of this war, war in general, or the desecration of flags. Who knows or cares? He's a left wing (insert joke here), not the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Oh, well - I'm sure Don Cherry will approve.

Hit the road, hippie!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Now the game is afoot!

It's too early to say anything for certain, of course, but I have to say that leaving one-time Liberal Gene Zwozdesky and famously moderate Gary Mar off the front benches of the government today suggests Premier Stelmach might just be steering a course for the provincial Tories rightward.

On the other hand, politically, Ted Morton had to get a cabinet post, and perhaps his placement in Sustainable Resource Development will render him relatively harmless, unless he decides that the best way to deal with the mountain pine beetle is with some sort of firewall.

Nonetheless, it isn't a cabinet that inspires any confidence in me.

(Also: Oberg? Finance? Talk about pulling his political life out of the fire with the quick Stelmach endorsement during the runoff week - I figured he was headed to the back bench to stay after his campaign of bizarre accusations.)
Another Criminal Mastermind

Forget the much-sweated-over fake "Dumb Criminal" sketch on the Studio 60 show-within-a-show. In this marginally interesting story about police using YouTube to help them find suspects comes this paragraph:
Another YouTube video posted in July depicts a person trying to break into a surveillance camera store in California. The video, recorded and posted by the store's owner, allowed police to nab a suspect wanted for auto theft, burglary and bank robbery.
First, how dumb to you have to be to break into a surveillance camera store undisguised? "It's the perfect plan, so long as they don't have some sort of device to capture my image." But actually, it's even less perfect than that. Who's going to buy a security device out of the trunk of a car? It's not exactly an advertisement for the effectiveness thereof, is it?

I'm guessing they don't have any sort of entrance exam for the Robbery Guild, or Thief Union, or whatever it is.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lucky thirteen

Welcome aboard, Premier Stelmach. You've inherited a divided caucus, an economy that can't help but slow, and a party that by its own admission lacks direction.

On the bright side, you seem to be likable enough, the economic slowing that is bound to come shouldn't be along too soon (barring some radical and external force), and the federal government doesn't seem to be of a mind to constrain the provinces from doing pretty much what they want. So there's opportuinity there, too.

You have my sincere wish for all the best in governing Alberta well, right up until the next election and the surprise NDP sweep to power.

Ralph, thanks for fourteen years of public service. Enjoy your retirement - you must have some grandkids by now, right? They'll appreciate seing more of you, I'm sure.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Help me

Some pundits think the federal election will come fast, before Dion has a chance to settle in to the new job. I'm not sure I agree, but just in case, please keep your eyes open for bad Dion headshots for use in the next Gaffeometer - links or shots can be e-mailed via the address to your left.

(Note the new address - I have finally surrendered the old one to spam. Here's hoping for another spam free year before I have to move on again.)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bedtime, and still no Premier

But it seems pretty damn close. After the second, week-delayed ballot, Stelmach has a marginal lead, but people who picked Morton first aren't headed to Dinning. Ballot number three is going to go to Stelmach huge.

I won't, however, change my prediction about his future. He has nearly zero charisma. Judging from the debate, policy is a little thin as well. I heard one cabinet minister suggest they were going to wait at least a year for an election, without saying "to give this guy a little seasoning." But I get the feeling Mr. Stelmach's going to require a whole spice rack.

I'm sure we'll hear more tomorrow. Sleep well, Alberta - not sure what kind of Alberta you'll be waking up to. Does anyone know?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

And on a completely different sort of broadcast

Sadly, the best broadcast of the evening election for Premier of Alberta seems to be CTV's two minutes per fifteen. Stelmach is running second behind Dinning, and CTV seems to believe that this spells trouble for Dinning. Alternatively, if Morton can get to second, Dinning should win.

Dinning - 30100, Stelmach - 25500, Morton - 21800.

But the big loser is me, who has to put up with Whistler during the other 48 minutes this hour. I don't watch a ton of television, so I had no idea what a sad excuse for programming it is. Also, the women on it need a ham sandwich, stat - I think they might actually be starving. But at least part of my point is, after the Newsworld examination of all of the minutae of the Liberal convention, this seems a disappointing degree of coverage. I need my fix!
Oh, oh

Bob Rae, my prediction to win, doesn't even have his name on the final ballot. Could I have missed badly with the Tories as well? Congratulations, F.L. Ted! You scare the crap out of me!

"Paul" a commenter at Calgary Grit, breaks it down thusly:
I'm interested in the mood among Kennedy and Dryden voters: if they split +50 to Iggy, +400 to Rae (including many of Dryden's), and +550 to Dion, we could get a three-way tie (give or take a few ballots).
This ain't over.
Political crack cocaine

Anyone who, like me, grooves on the politics is enjoying a big day today - a Premier and a federal leader of the opposition all at once!

I write this two ballots into the Liberal convention, and Warren Kinsella has picked it for Dion. I begin to think he's right, despite yesterday's prediction.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The end of one member one vote leadership contests?

Two signs that one member, one vote leadership elections might finally start being seen for the folly it is:

The Liberals have voted to reject it.

People in Alberta are treating the Tory leadership vote like a general election with a cover charge. Liberals are apparently buying memberships and voting with wild abandon for Dinning (though Wild Abandon voted for Morton in an advance poll). Will Tories be satisfied with the final result? Even Klein was elected leader with one member, one vote pro-rated by constituency. That's got to be an improvement, since that's how you eventually have to get your guy made Premier - one constituency, one vote.
Interesting elsewhereness

Warren Kinsella notes that many elected delegates didn't make it to Montreal due to weather, and others are "bumping up" into those spots. Are those delegates first-ballot committed to the selections the people they fill in for would have been? Once home from work, I'll write Warren and ask. Who knows if he knows.
(Update - 4 pm MST: via Kinsella again, MacLean's explains more. This will in fact change the first ballot counts.

The Alberta Spectator argues that Ted Morton is a seperatist. I think that's too strong. Rather, I think he'll be looking for an "Albertans are a Nation" resolution, and that'll satisfy him.

You know, people don't give me enough credit for having my finger on the pulse. Perhaps what I need is a Stephen Colbert-style celebration complete with "I called it" graphic once in a while, when I, er, call it. Here I go sticking my neck out once more.

Provincially, I think those who are worried about the Morton revolution should relax - Dinning will take this by default, probably requiring two ballots. Notwithstanding the ousted candidate endorsements, the value of which I think is not what it would be in a single room with twenty minutes between ballots (as Liberals will discover in Montreal), Stelmach has done nothing this week to pull himself out of third place. As I said last night, I suspect that virtually none Stelmach's ballots are going to list Ted Morton as the second choice.

In advance of the speeches tonight at the federal convention, I think it's tough to be certain about much in Montreal, but that never stopped me before. I wish Dion or Kennedy had enough to come up the middle, because I think both of them have proven themselves ardent federalists (Kennedy in the past weeks, Dion over a proud career) but I fear they don't. I think Iggy's carrying way too much baggage to swim far after the first ballot - the Quebec as a Nation debate this country has stupidly involved itself in again is the freshest and heaviest of these albatrosses (albatrossi?) no matter how much he attempts to pretend the resolution early this week was a 'proud' moment. (If he brings it up tonight with almost any emotion except contrition, he's going to be that much worse off. Alternatively, he might try to spin it once more, but where's the evidence that anyone on Ignatief's campaign team understands the fundamentals of spin?)

This leaves Bob Rae, whose baggage comes from a term as Premier of Ontario. I argued then, and continue to argue, that he got stuck with a shrinking economy and serious government financial problems that derailed his early attempts to do anything but stop the bleeding, and by the time he got things back on the rails, the media was having so much fun piling on that the book on Rae's government was already written. I liked Bob - as a moderate NDP who found himself in conflict with his own civil service unions, he never forgot that his first duty was to the people, and to the financial well-being, of the government he led. A left wing government who gives labour the tools to fight on a reasonable footing has done enough - it isn't the government's job to give away the farm to the people who work for it.

I digress, which I tend to do. My point is that Bob Rae will win unless he completely stinks it up tonight, possibly at least in part because he's carrying less trouble with him than Iggy. And if Bob does bomb, it might just open the door for Dion, which would be just fine by me. Despite Iggy's running first right now, I don't know how much growth Ignatief can expect on subsequent ballots against almost any of his seven opponents.