Friday, September 29, 2006

Country Music

I grew up on Country music and would aggressively fight anyone who dared try to change the dial from my local country station (BX93). Straight through high school and university nothing but country music would do. However, when I met my wife I started to appreciate other kinds of music so that I started listening to classical, pop, soft rock, oldies, etc. In the last couple years I've discovered some talented Christian artists, talk shows and radio drama (my current favourite).

In the last five years or so Country music has apparently become more popular. There are a lot of radio stations offering it, but so much of the new stuff was artificial, patronizing and loud. When a Toronto country station started playing Jan Arden, I just tuned out. I couldn't listen to a "New Country" station for more than 2 - 3 songs before something incredibly annoying like the Dixie Chicks or Toby Keith (who was fun at first, but is just a jerk) would force me to turn the dial.

I was travelling a lot for work this week, and I tuned in to a few country stations. There are two songs that really stick out. The Truck Got Stuck, and I'd Rather be Lucky are both great new traditional sounding country songs. Last Wednesday I tuned into a country station about a half hour away from home, and I never changed the dial. I hope this is a sign of things to come.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Stephen Harper's speech to the UN General Assembly was truly remarkable. Stephen Harper is not only a brilliant strategist, but a great statesman. Who knew?

Stephen Harper eloquently set out the justification for the UN mission in Afghanistan, and while praising the accomplishments of the UN made it clear that it must be more effective and accountable. It was well done, and if you haven't seen it, read it.

Here's our man in action:

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bob Rae - The Next Liberal Leader

I think it will happen. The Globe and Mail / CTV poll of Liberal party membership shows a very close race for Leader of the Liberal Party. Of course, delegates elect the leader of the party and not members, so you can only read so much into the poll. Michael Ignatieff, being the perceived front runner and having the advantage of organizing since the last election, most likely has a stronger position among delegates than among the general membership.

But, the poll results are interesting 19% favour Ignatieff, and 17% Bob Rae. Bob Rae is significantly stronger when you add second and third choice responses. Add it up and you have to come to the same conclusion as pollster Allan Gregg, "if you had to put money on it, you'd bet Rae right now." It makes sense to me, I can't see Liberal Party members who actually swallowed all the soft power pabulum fed to them by Lloyd Axworthy and the rest of the Chretien Liberals would ever be able to vote for a pro-Iraq war leader like Ignatieff.

Conventional wisdom, which is on display in the comments on the Globe's article, has it tha Bob Rae can't win because he has too much baggage from his time as the NDP premier of Ontario. I don't think that's the case. Even after the devastating deficits, social engineering, and unfocused leadership from his government, I still remember people saying Bob Rae was "the right man in the wrong party." If he can keep that reputation in Ontario even after severely damaging the province's economy, the man can obviously sell himself.

An election with Bob Rae as leader will also give Canadians a clear choice between a Liberal party that is solcialist, pacifist and socially progressive, or a Conservative party that promises to improve Canada's reputation on the world stage, and make the country a competive place to do business and a safe place to raise a family. This is an honest choice that Canadians deserve.

I think Bob Rae will win, and I hope he does.

On the other hand, it would be way more fun if Ignatieff won. Half the Liberal party would bolt over to the NDP, and you would be looking at one of the largest majority Conservative governments in history.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I'm a Radical Christian

This is craziness. On ABC's The View, Rosie O'Donnel said, "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam." What's even more sick is her studio audience applauded loudly at her statement. I've never been more glad that I don't own a TV, if this is the kind of crap that's out there.

MSN has interesting coverage and a follow up discussion, with a panel that includes two female "media analysts" who defend Rosie and one white male Republican trying to help people understand how utterly ridiculous this is. Left wing extremists like Rosie are equating "radical" Christians with terrorists who deliberately target civilians and who would kill us all given the opportunity.

In the discussion, the two female analysts defined radical christians first as isolated individuals that would blow up an abortion clinic, but then they expanded the definition to include people who hold up signs with offensive slogans, then included people who don't believe in widespread distribution of condoms. It's a good thing the discussion was short or they would have had two thirds of the country described as radical Christians.

I happen to be what they would call a radical Christian. No, I haven't blown up any abortuaries lately, but I believe in Jesus Christ and that in itself is radical. Canadians will remember how the mainstream media tore up Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day several years ago, calling him scary because he believed in creation. But it doesn't matter where you are, if you press a secularist left winger, they will have to tell you that believing that God created the world, lived among us in the person of Jesus, then died and rose again is totally radical and contrary to everything they believe. Catholics who believe that God makes himself present in the Eucharist, must be just plain nuts to them.

I think its fair to say, Christ himself was a radical. He basically said as much:
Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law." Luke12:51-53

It's OK that crazies like Rosie O'Donnell think that we're extreme. I have a similar opinion of her. The real insanity is that she and others could try to make a link between murderous Islamic terrorists and those Christians who merely disagree with mainstream public opinion on some issues. That Ms. O'Donnell would make the link is intolerant, offensive, and has no value in a civil discussion.

ABC should take away her soap box.

PS. If this seems a bit contrary to my recent post on free speech, it's not. Rosie has every right to her opinions no matter how deluded, however, she's not adding anything useful to public debate there's no reason for her to have a rant on a major televison network. Maybe she should try blogging instead; It's easy.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Scandal - Canada to Send Tanks to Afghanistan

War-Mongering Prime Minister Stephen Harper will single handedly lose the next election, cause Quebec to seperate from Canada, and allow the Taliban to retake Afghanistan. Experts warn his insensitive decision to send tanks to Afghanistan may also cause people's feelings to get hurt.

Maybe it's just me but I don't have the same desire to panic as Murray Brewster, whose article for the Canadian Press has been widely republished. Here are some of his choice observations:
A Montreal political scientist said if there are casualties from Quebec, Stephen Harper and his Conservatives could end up paying a heavy price in political support in a province already deeply opposed to the war.
Members of the famed Royal 22nd Regiment - the fighting Van Doo - are scheduled to ship out to Afghanistan next year as part of a planned rotation. Moving up the deployment of other Quebec units could create a political problem for Harper, if there are casualties among them.

That would bring the war more sharply into focus for Quebecers at time when Conservatives are trying to win their support, said Pierre Martin, a political science professor at the University of Montreal. "It will hit home much more strongly."

Umm, Quebec soldiers, like all Canadian soldiers have volunteered to serve and are well trained professionals. Any suggestion that they should not see the same action as soldiers from other provinces is disrespectful and foolish. Hey wait there's more:

But there is a danger that the appearance of heavy armour in the chalky, mud-walled villages and towns will backfire in the battle for Afghan hearts and minds.

"If you see tanks in your streets it's hard not to think about it as an army of occupation," said Gavin Cameron, a specialist in counter-insurgency wars at the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.

By buttoning down inside a tank, Canadian soldiers could also end up losing personal contact with locals, which is crucial in building public support.

This is just silly. I don't think the tanks will be used to patrol the marketplaces. The military commanders will naturally use the tanks in targeted operations, i.e. in traditional battle. Why a so called expert would suggest otherwise just doesn't make sense. Here's my favourite line:
Calls to Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor's office were not returned.

Why not just say, hey I waited to the last minute to call the minister's office?

There's no scandal here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

United 93 the Movie

Well, today's September 11, and I've been intentionally avoiding reading any news coverage or blogs, or commentaries about how the world has changed in the last 5 years. I was stuck in a room forced to watch "the National with Peter Mansbridge" on Friday night, and I cannot bear taking the risk that I might be exposed to any more CBC-esque retrospectives.

Fortunately, last night I rented United 93. It's an excellent film about about how events were unfolding on the morning of September 11th. The movie is simply an historical account how things were unfolding at civilian and military aviation headquarters, and of course on United Airlines Flight 93. The movie pulled me in instantly and I was so involved I remember noticing how my heart was racing and my hand was shaking each time I tried to take a sip from my coffee cup.

The director was absolutely committed to realism, contacting every family of the victims of the plane crash. The acting was incredible especially at the FAA headquarters, I noticed why when the final credits listed "as himself" at least a half dozen times.

The film completely steers clear of social commentary and simply presents the facts in an engaging and gripping manner. It's a fitting tribute to the victims / heroes on flight 93. If you haven't seen it, rent it, its well worth 2 hours of your time.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dangerous Precedent - Hate Crime Sentence

A 63 year old Alberta man is going to jail for 16 months followed by 36 months probation for having an offensive website.

I'm going to sleep better tonight knowing that the world is a safer place with an old crank who wanted to spout off online behind bars.

Seriously, Reni Sentana-Ries' website, the Federation of Free Planets, and his opinions are outrageous, vile and disgusting. Anyone who denies the holocaust has more than a few screws loose. I shouldn't even need to state that, but I will lest anyone get the wrong idea.

I do have a major problem with the fact that he was arrested and jailed for simply stating his opinion, however misinformed that might be. I'm especially concerned about the words of the crown prosecutor:

Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau said outside court that the conviction and sentence sets a benchmark for similar Internet hate-crime cases.

"The Crown wanted a strong message because it's the first hate-crime conviction
involving hate on the Internet," said Bilodeau, who handles technology and
Internet crimes.

"Putting hate on the Internet means everyone can see it, not just the people you run into on the street corner and it's really hard to get rid of."

The crown did send a strong message, freedom of speech in Canada is not as safe as we may think. Hate Crimes are often fake crimes. Our criminal code is full of laws to protect society from nut cases like Reni Sentana-Ries, if he were uttering threats or defaming individuals he could have been prosecuted under any number of laws. In this case he's only being jailed for holding a disgraceful opinion.

It's probably just as well that nobody will read this man's diatribes any longer, but a dangerous precedent has been set for the next person who posts an unpopular viewpoint on their website.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Neat Idea: A Conservative Cruise

The Western Standard is hosting a cruise for its readers. Sounds like a great idea, fun in the sun and some great conversations. The only question I have is security. With all these sharp conservative minds in one place, what's to stop the Iranians from having a submarine lurking around in the Pacific just off the coast of Northern Mexico?