Monday, December 29, 2008

$35 is Way Too Much for a DVD

The other day, I was walking through the video store doing some Christmas shopping and I bought a DVD, Journey to the Centre of the Earth for $17. Unremarkable except that it was 50% off. There were all kinds of DVDs at the store for $35, I just rolled my eyes and dismissed it because I was in the mall. Just this past weekend I was strolling through my local video store and I saw new release movies on sale there for $32.99. It appears these prices are the real thing, someone in Hollywood actually thinks that's the price they can charge for a new DVD. Guess again, you guys are pricing yourselves out of the market. I've bought more new DVD's than I need and I'll often buy a DVD even after I've already seen the movie. I don't need to buy them and at $35 I promise you I won't. Give your head a shake, no wonder so many people download movies instead.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Disgusting Politics

I'm often disappointed when I hear average people run down politicians as crooked. I have the highest regard for many of them who I know personally and I know they bring integrity to their own lives and their political careers.

Unfortunately days like today make it easy to understand why people are cynical. The Democratic Governor of Illinois appeared in court today after being arrested on charges of corruption. Federal Investigators taped his phone lines and reportedly have evidence of him attempting to sell Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. It's absolutely disgusting, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was right when he declared today is a "sad day for government. . . Gov. Blagojevich has taken us to a new low, this conduct would make [Abraham] Lincoln roll over in his grave."

I hope this guy does jail time.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Very Good Day for the Conservatives

If you're Canadian, you surely know that Stephen Harper survived and will continue to be the Prime Minister until at least January 29. This is good news because it will give cooler heads a chance to prevail.

I thought the odds that Michaelle Jean would prorogue Parliament were better than even. First, it would have been a huge constitutional precedent for a Governor General to refuse the request of the Prime Minister. Second she would have opened herself up to a torrent of personal criticism as a Liberal patronage appointee and wife of a prominent Quebec Separatist, prematurely handing power to the Liberal - Separatist coalition would have looked awful.

I never expected that the 'coalition' would start to fall apart so quickly. The Canadian Press reports:

Liberal resolve to topple the Conservative government began crumbling today almost immediately after Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a stay of execution. Within an hour of Governor General Michaelle Jean agreeing to suspend Parliament until Jan. 26, some Grit MPs were pulling back from the idea of trying to replace the Tory regime with a Liberal-NDP coalition propped up by the Bloc Quebecois.

Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis bluntly asserted that Liberals blew their chance to take down the government.“We did have that. It didn’t work. Who are we kidding here?” said Karygiannis. “I think it’s over.”

So the government survived, and if the Conservatives continue to appease a large enough segment of the opposition they will likely survive the Winter session. The stability is probably the best thing that could have happened in the short and medium term.

I hope that Stephen Harper is humbled and that the Conservatives and the willing members of the Liberal caucus focus on governing. Had I written anything yesterday, my advice to Stephen Harper would have been stack the Senate to make sure there aren't any vacancies for Dion to offer to Liberal insiders. I've changed my mind now I say hang back and just stick to the business of governing. You don't often get a second chance in Politics, Stephen Harper should use it wisely and recognise that he'll need to be conciliatory if he wants his minority government to survive.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Truly Shameful Actions

Here's an excellent post about the people who trampled a WalMart employee to death last Friday. Cory Heildeberger has a way with words and sums up my thoughts exactly:

The facts: about 2000 bargain hunters lined up at the Valley Stream Wal-Mart on Long Island in the wee hours Friday morning. They started pushing, busted the doors open a few minutes early, and trampled Mr. Damour to death. The sale-crazed shoppers put four other people in the hospital, including a pregnant woman. The rushing crowd also pushed aside workers who tried to assist Damour and others. Minutes later, when the store announced everyone had to leave due to the death and injuries, shoppers complained that they had been in line since Thursday morning and kept shopping.

The meaning: this is what unbridled consumerism gets us. 2,000 people participated in mass murder... or murder by the savage masses. 2,000 people killed a man, not for justice, not in some understandable (excusable?) panic from fire or flood, but for greed. It is sufficiently idiotic that in their burning desire to accumulate more cheap plastic junk from China, these Long Islanders—these fellow Americans—sacrificed sleep, family time, and even in some cases the entire Thanksgiving holiday. But Friday morning, they sacrificed a life, and their own humanity.

I truly hope that all those responsible take time to reflect on the gravity of what they've done. They are responsible for killing someone because of their selfishness. Unfortunately they probably won't, if they were disposed to reflection they would have been spending the time giving thanks for what they already had. Those of us who are disposed to personal reflection have an opportunity examine our own consciences even if we didn't stampede anyone. I can think of an example from just a few weeks ago where I was ready to jostle my way into the line to get on an airplane before my wife said no it's pointless.

Lord, help me be more courteous and forgive me for the times when I have let my selfishness make me less of a person.

No Good Can Come of This

I'll admit it's taken me a while to digest this news of a potential coalition government led by Liberal Leader Stephane Dion. When I first heard the news last week, I just discounted it believing there would be absolutely no way those 3 parties could work together. As it sunk in that these guys could be serious a creeping sense of panic has ensued.

I can think of nothing worse for this country than to have a laundry list of socialist hand outs, bail outs and cop outs. The resulting fiscal mess and uncertain political environment will only further discourage investment in our economy and drive risk averse businesses away. I maintain that the only thing that is unifying these 3 leaders is frustration of being constantly out-witted by Stephen Harper. Once they get beyond their cynical power grab and financially crippling spending spree, the 'coalition' will be incredibly unstable full of infighting and it will fall apart in months.

That said, I can't help but admire the opposition leaders for this power play. Regardless of the outcome they have seriously wounded Stephen Harper. He deserved to have his wrist slapped after talking all Fall about being conciliatory and cooperative, and then pushing forward with a legislation to cripple his opponents. I'm not happy that he pulled that stunt, it would have been fair game if he was transparent about his plans to govern as if he had a strong mandate, but the move seems dishonest after all the warm-fuzzy, 'let's all get along' talk.

My message to the opposition leaders is this. Congratulations! You've made your point and you've humbled Stephen Harper. You've won the day and by retaining the right to topple the government at any time you'll be able to keep the government in check. But please give the Conservatives a chance to govern, they won a solid minority and the people of Canada deserve to have their voice respected. and with all the economic uncertainty stability is in the Canada's best interest.