Friday, March 30, 2007

Free? Nothing's Free

The lawyers for the plaintiffs in the class-action suit against OLG are proposing a 'free' lottery with a jackpot worth up to $1 billion, to make up for the corruption that's been alleged.

There's a lot wrong with the OLG, beyond even the current scandal. Things like spending millions of dollars to drop the 'C' from their logo and advertising --- millions of dollars -- all those light up store signs -- everything had to be changed in order to remove that word from the name. Who got the advertising contracts? the contracts to make the new signs etc.? With that kind of stupidity going on at the top, is it any wonder that there was also nonsense all the way down the ranks.

This class action suit might seem like a great idea, but in the end, all of us will pay -- even those of us who never play. How fair is that when there can be no actual evidence that anyone who joins the suit is actually a victim of OLG fraud.

There are things that could be done to prevent this sort of corruption. Maybe a law that would disallow vendors and their families from participating in the lottery, just like when the SUN or the Toronto Star hold a contest, employees and family members and people associated with the sponsors of the contest are not allowed to play.

Using tax dollars (a billion of them) to compensate people who might not even have been affected, or to encourage people to buy more lottery tickets in order to receive these 'free' ones, is not a solution.

Much as I sympathize with those who feel they were cheated out of winnings, there has always been a way to ensure you'd be the guy to receive the money if your ticket won -- you write your name on the back.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Garth wants Dion's job

Why does the Toronto Sun persist in giving yet another venue to that tiresome bore, Garth Turner?

Garth always seems to have so much time on his hands. He spends much of it thinking up clever barbs he must believe will pierce the heart of his arch-nemesis, Stephen Harper.

Sometimes I think Garth should pilfer the CityTV tag line: EVERYWHERE because you just can't get away from the guy.

The time-wasting exercise showcased by the Toronto Sun, both yesterday and today, is Garth's recent post: 'Sixty-ways-to-dis-Steve-Harper' or '60 proofs Harper is a mean guy, na-na-na-na-na' or some such other silliness.

Garth Turner already gets more attention than he deserves and here a newspaper gives him yet another forum to vent his bitter bile. His list seems to be the product of an obsessive mind. It's like he's a spurned boyfriend or something, unable to let go of his unreciprocated love. Creepy. The list must have taken him a while and one can just sense the pinching resentment that has Garth's shorts all bunched.

He's included things that haven't even happened yet (an election in 2007) and he's taken the liberty of predicting that the GST won't be cut by another cent while Harper is in office by already calling it a 'broken promise'.

At least a couple of his points are repeated, but reworded or augmented so the list will fill out the full 60 (one point for each week of Conservative governance). For example, he mentions income trusts at least three times, with a different take on why Harper's handling of them was wrong.

Many of the points on his list are either untrue, twisted or out of context, like point 41 where he says Harper vowed to dismantle the gun registry 'after (a) fatal shooting in Montreal with registered weapons.' As though Harper's plan to scrap the registry was in response to that tragedy.

Some of the points are unsubstantiated and others are simply unfair -- pointing out how much Jim Flaherty spent on skates? What business is that of Garth's, or mine? Is Garth going to give us a listing of his personal family expenditures?

Other points are correct, and are reasons to applaud Harper -- such as number 44 -- Garth being kicked out of the Tory caucus. And if Garth is still lamenting that, then perhaps he should re-think his Liberal credentials.

The real interesting post from Garth's blog is from today. I ventured over there, spurred on by this gory curiosity that happens whenever he's been overwhelmingly Garthly, and I found this rumination:
We may be entering the age of romantic notions. Voters, at least a lot of them I’d say, are hungry for a none-of-the-above alternative to politics as usual. It may manifest itself as it did Monday night in Quebec, or last November in the London by-election. It may take form as a new kind of leadership, practiced by a new kind of leader – who consults with people using today’s technologies and opens the doors and windows of Parliament as never before. It could be one of the parties willing to forego the mushy, centrist policies of something for everything, and launches a crusade. (. . .) The man or woman who can stride outside of the establishment one day, talk directly to the people and move them to consider achieving the improbable, the noble and the slightly untamed, may find the time is precisely right.
Gosh now, who would that striding, talking, improbable, noble and slightly untamed beast be?

Garth, surely you jest -- but Stephane Dion might want to start checking over his shoulder and making sure Garth feels loved in caucus, or else the Liberal leader might regret the day he yanked the thorn from this lion's paw and invited him to the table.

Number 44 on that list looks better every day.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Threat? Interference? Blackmail?

These are some of the words being used to describe Harper's statement prior to the Quebec election that it is: "necessary to have a federalist government in Quebec" in order to proceed with promised reforms, such as dealing with the fiscal imbalance.

Should he have said it during the election campaign?

Why not?

Why pretend that if Quebec had elected a separatist party provincially, that the federal government should or would deal with that party in the same manner as with a federalist party?

Much of the problem around Quebec is the way we skirt around the issues. I don't like that Harper threw so much money at Quebec (and Ontario) at the expense of others -- but how does one take offense at honesty? The timing? Like Quebeckers aren't smart enough to realize that a strong vote for the Bloc in a federal election can be construed as a 'protest' and not an endorsement of separatism, whereas a strong PQ provincial vote is less likely to seem that way to the feds.

Harper stated a fact. Was he trying to 'influence' voters? Maybe, but I doubt it. Harper is aware that most Quebeckers are far more savvy about their politics than most people in the rest of the country. He wasn't telling them anything that they didn't already know.


Don't complain

I don't know why some things rile me so much. It isn't that I don't expect to be challenged, but sometimes I'm struck by a statement so annoying, I have to respond.

A commenter on my YTV profanity post said:
Anonymous said...
Come on, please get a grip. We live in world where this is a part of everyday life. If you don't like it change the channel.
It's a harmless statement all in all, and typical of those with a laissez-faire attitude towards life and child-rearing.

Words like 'pimp' might be part Anonymous' everyday life -- but not mine. Yet somehow he believes that I must let YTV make it part of my kids' daily lives, or tune out.

Why is questioning the emerging status quo against the sensibilities of so many people? Whether it's using bad language on television or changing the meaning of the word marriage, or questioning the morality of abortion on demand, I always feel like liberals in this society are not simply telling me that they disagree with me, but that I should shut up.

If CTV had used the word 'pimp' in its advertising, I wouldn't have complained. When the Toronto Star ran that 'Pimp Your Kitchen' contest, I rolled my eyes and though 'yuck' -- but Anonymous is not telling me to ignore a word being used on a mainstream station intended for adult audiences, but rather YTV, a station that promotes itself as child-centred with programming directed at, geared to, prepared exclusively for -- children.

Maybe Anonymous thinks its okay that the lines between the ages are blurring, but I think kids should be kids.

Change the channel? Why, because some people are too lazy to think? Because hip young programmers and apparently Anonymous think that the word 'pimp' sounds okay coming out of the mouths of toddlers?

No -- this is not a censorship issue where programming is suitable for the age level and a viewer is being overly sensitive -- this is a case of a television stations pushing the boundaries of good taste. We're not talking about the word 'fart' or some other such childish word -- we're talking about a word that doesn't belong in the realm of childhood.
It strikes me funny that Anonymous took the time to stop and disagree with my position when he could have simply left the page -- odd that. Given his advice to me to 'change the channel', you'd wonder why he bothered to comment when he could simply have moved on.

The hypocrisy of some people is astounding.