Sunday, 27 May 2007

Absinthe - how to drink it

By request, here is my favourite way to drink absinthe.

The absinthe I get in Canada is Hill's Absinthe.

To drink it, you either need a special "absinthe spoon" or, you can use a fork.
Get a small drink glass. Place the absinthe spoon over it. Put a sugar cube of demarara sugar on it. Pour a shot of absinthe over it into the glass. Wait a few seconds for the fumes to dissipate (or you will light everything on fire). Then, light the sugar cube on fire. Let it burn for a bit until it starts getting bubbly on the surface. Then pour a shot of warm water over it into the glass, putting out the fire. Dump the remnants of the cube into the glass and stir it into the drink. Gulp it down or sip it, whatever your preference.

If you really want a good wormwood buzz, have at least 5 of these.

Pleasant dreams!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Proportional Representation - Looking at New Zealand

Mushroom brings to light a good point about coalition governments in New Zealand. That they CAN work.

Support for proportional representation from a Progressive Conservative.

Why electoral reform will work, from democraticSPACE.

And, another from democraticSPACE

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Bush the Dictator?

"The Bush administration has released a directive called the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive. The directive released on May 9th, 2007 has gone almost unnoticed by the mainstream and alternative media. This is understandable considering the huge Ron Paul and immigration news but this story is equally as huge. In this directive, Bush declares that in the event of a “Catastrophic Emergency” the President will be entrusted with leading the activities to ensure constitutional government. The language in this directive would in effect make the President a dictator in the case of such an emergency."
Read on at Rogue Government.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

News Roundup

I've been busy lately, but I wanted to bring a few important news items to your attention:

Undermining Canada, Undermining the World
A post regarding the behind the scenes work going on that will shift decisions from the people and their government, to the corporations, making the people and the government answerable to the corporations (instead of the other way around).

An Open Question for Heather Stilwell
From Scott's Diatribes:
She’s the school trustee in Surrey, BC trying to either get Al Gore’s documentary on global warming and climate change banned from being viewed in Surrey public schools, or at least to also offer an “alternative theory” to global warming showed; which for the dwindling few members of the Flat-Earth Society would be the documentary “The Global Warming Swindle”. We also find out that she’s a co-founder of the Christian Heritage Party - which according to its own website, wants to govern Canada according to biblical teachings.

NDP Leadership
from Devon Johnston
With the amendments in place, the Conservatives decided to stonewall the legislation by not allowing it to come to a discussion and vote in the House of Commons. So, Jack Layton invited the other opposition parties to demonstrate environmental leadership by using their opposition days to bring the bill in front of the House for a vote. The Liberals declined.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Reform Party, Again?

There are a group of Conservatives pondering re-forming the Reform party. And, I think the Conservatives should go back to using the previous name: Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CRAP!). And, what about a Bloc Alberta party?

Friday, 11 May 2007

Stephen Harper's Scandal Sheet

The NDP site has a great summary of the major Conservative party scandals.

For a party that campaigned on improving accountability, it sure seems like they changed their minds on that topic.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Treason Anyone?

This nonsense from Mike Harris, Preston Manning at The Fraser Institute borders on treason. The document "International Leadership By A Canada Strong & Free" promotes giving up our sovereignty to virtually become another state of the USA. It should be titled "Giving Up and Selling Out; Engulfing Canada in the USA"

I've seen a couple of good posts on this already.
One is How To Kill A Country. By The Fraser Institute at The Galloping Beaver. One of the labels tagging this post sums up Harris and Manning nicely: "Dorks With Pens".

Another is "Why Do Conservatives Hate Canada?" from Scott's Diatribes.

Blog for Peace In Iraq

If you have a blog, whether your country is involved or not, go to One Million Blogs For Peace and sign up to help use your blog to withdraw foreign troops from Iraq. One of the main reasons why there is so much continuing violence in this country is the presence of foreign troops (which are mainly American, but there are many other countries involved directly).

Mother Earth's Revenge By Hurricaine

Mother Nature continues her karmic response to the harm wrought by the USA - the biggest polluters of Earth.

Stupidity & Misguided Belief = Child's Death

Stupidity and the mistaken belief that omnivores can properly sustain themselves on a herbivorous diet resulted in a baby's death. I've seen something similar with pet owners who try to keep carnivorous pets on a herbivore's diet.

Vegan parents jailed for baby's death.

Good News, Bad News for Canada

Canada is trading more and more with Europe and less with the U.S. This is a very good thing as the US dollar is dropping, and if Canada is tied too much with US trade when the bottom falls out of the US dollar (when the creditor countries come calling on the US' huge foreign debt, and when oil-trading switches more to other currencies), Canada will fall with the US, unless we have established a more diversified trading network.

And the bad news? Conservatives are working hard to increase trade with the U.S. We need to fight these conservative forces on this issues or Canada will be decimated when the bottom falls out of the U.S.

Another Reason To Stop Supporting the War In Afghanistan

The Afghani government wants us to stop. Let's stop killing Afghani civilians and start helping them (like we used to do when Canadians were peacekeepers).

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Who is the Worst Canadian? Vote Now

Choose who you think is the most despicable Canadian of all time. You can vote up to 3 times.

Canada joins the Climate Axis of Evil

Read the story here at ecoFraud.

Climate Change Updates

In today's Toronto Star, experts are saying that the Arctic Ocean is melting much faster than even the worst predictions. And this faster melting could cause an acceleration of global warming.

There is also an excellent post from Monbiot about how governments are using outdated science in calculating global warming issues, and how this is going to affect us.

EcoFraud - check it out before it's gone!

There is a new site up that takes a humorous poke a the Conservative government's latest "green" plan. Check it out before it gets taken down.

Cutting Corners: The Conservative Climate Change Challenge

Take the NDP's quiz on the Conservatives new environmental plan. Fun and educational.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The Canadian Afghanistan Torture Scandal

If you haven't been following this in the news, and maybe you haven't as some major news media haven't really been covering it, there is an excellent post about it on by Derrick O'Keefe.

Basically, Canadian soldiers have been handing prisoners of war over to local Afghanistan military and the local military have been torturing prisoners and doing other nasty things all in violation of the Geneva Convention, and the Canadian government has known about it since at least last year. Stephen Harper and the defence minister have basically denied that there has been anything wrong and that everything is a Taliban lie.

Here are some key quotes from Derrick's article:

On Wednesday, The Globe and Mail delivered the knockout punch to Harper's and the Conservatives' evasions and denials. The headline summed it all up, “What Ottawa doesn't want you to know: Government was told detainees often faced 'extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture and detention without trial'.”

A 2006 report on Afghanistan compiled for Foreign Affairs Canada provides proof that the Conservative government knew about all of this, contrary to everything O'Connor and the PM have been saying for months - and what they, incredibly, continued to assert in the House this week. Key passages of the Afghanistan report were blacked out, but The Globe and Mail obtained an original copy. The censored content, what Ottawa didn't want us to know, includes the following passages:

    Despite some positive developments, the overall human rights situation in Afghanistan deteriorated in 2006.

    Extra judicial executions, disappearances, torture and detention without trial are all too common. Freedom of expression still faces serious obstacles, there are serious deficiencies in adherence to the rule of law and due process by police and judicial officials. Impunity remains a problem in the aftermath of three decades of war and much needed reforms of the judiciary systems remain to be implemented. (The Globe and Mail, A1, April 25, 2007)

... Canada was in violation of the Geneva Convention by handing over detainees to almost certain torture and abuse.

This includes, lest we forget, handing over prisoners to U.S. authorities, who have established their own facilities for “enemy combatants” at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and the infamous Guantanamo base on occupied Cuban territory.

Those who have defended the current NATO mission as a “humanitarian intervention” have lost a lot of credibility this week.

It's time to stop the lying and killing and support our troops and the people of Afghanistan and bring our troops home. In the past, as Canadians, our troops would have been helping to stop the fighting and help rebuild infrastructure. Instead, our current and previous government decided to end our historic and proud tradition as peacekeepers, and make us warmongers - killers for hire for an oil pipeline - instead. Now we are war criminals. Remember who decided to make us war criminals next federal election time (the Conservatives and Liberals).

For more information on the recent history of the conflict in and about Afghanistan, check out James Laxer's series on

More cover-up here.
The Conservatives signed a deal regarding prisoner transfer, but won't say whether they are being transfered to Guantanamo or where.

More About Ethanol

Here is an update to my last post about Ethanol.

Murray Dobbin's latest column on is entitled Last Stage Of Denial: ethanol will save us!
In the article, Murray sites more evidence about how ethanol is not the answer and will not only NOT reduce pollution, but will threaten our food sources. A quote that caught my attention from Fidel Castro: More than three billion people in the world are being condemned to a premature death from hunger and thirst ... The sinister idea of turning foodstuffs into fuel was definitely established as the economic strategy of the U.S. foreign policy on Monday, March 26th last.

Sympatico Email Server Problems

In case anyone was wondering what happened to their email on April 30th...

For those of you using Sympatico as an ISP in Canada, you may have experienced problems today receiving email. Sympatico's email server system was on the fritz today, at least for the Toronto area, if not other parts of Ontario and/or Canada as well.

The problems began in the middle of the day Monday April 30th and lasted until just after midnight (and hopefully it won't go down again, as I am writing this just after midnight the morning of May 1st).

You could send email, but not receive it (unless you logged onto the Hotmail web site for your Sympatico email account. So, the problem was not with the MSN hotmail server, it was with some Sympatico process.)

Every once in a while, something like this will happen. But, the funny thing is, Sympatico usually doesn't notify it's customers or admit that they had an outage. To see if they had listed anything about this email server problem, I visited their old Outages & Maintenance page. But, instead of that, it said the page had moved, and to visit the main page as they had rearranged their web site. So, I went to the main page. And, as suspected, there was no link for an outage page. After extensive searching, I found that there is no longer an outage & maintenance page. Go figure.

I'm sure there is something in the agreement relating to how they can have outages and maintenance, and totally deny that they are having any outage and maintenance, even with proof, and that you can't get any credit for the downtime, let alone get them to acknowledge that there was any downtime.

Anyway, remember these key points if you ever find that you can't connect to the internet via Sympatico:

IF you know that your computer is working fine and you didn't change anything that could affect you getting on-line, then
1) Shut down your computer, unplug your modem and router
2) Wait a few minutes, then plug in your modem, then router, then start up your computer again
3) If you still can't connect, DO NOT call Sympatico. Wait until they fix the problem (as it is a problem on their end, not yours).
4) Waiting could be an hour to a couple of days

If you DO decide to call Sympatico, just politely tell the operator to tell their supervisor that you are experiencing an outage in your area, give them your area code, and hang up if they continue to try to get you to do unnecessary things to your computer. Hopefully, he/she will mention this and your area code to the supervisor and they will get the problem fixed. The operator is not to blame. It is Sympatico policy that before they can listen to you, they MUST put you through the ringer of a bunch of basic things, whether the problem is at your end or not, whether they know there is an outage or not. Operators are NEVER told of maintenance or outages.

Yep. I was right about there being something in the agreement about all this:

e. Loss of Service Due to ... Internet Service ... Failure. You acknowledge and understand that ... in the event of an outage ... you will continue to be billed for the Service ...


f. Service Subject to Maintenance or Other Service Outages. You acknowledge and understand that Bell may perform maintenance on the Service from time to time without notice to you, ...

When I first switched to Sympatico, they used to give you advance notice of regular maintenance - when there would be an outage, and, you would be credited with time if there was an unexpected outage. But now, not only do they not give any advance notice, they won't admit that there is or was an outage. It would be nice if they would at least say "yes, we have maintenance in your area and service should be up again soon". That would be nice and that is what I would expect from someone I am paying money to for a service every month.

Now, after all that, I have to say I am generally happy with the service from Sympatico. It still seems to be about the most reliable ISP around (for a while I thought another large ISP was better, until I read that they limited bandwidth for anyone using any sort of sharing software or sending or receiving any encrypted files - they have less outages, but they secretly limit bandwidth (so, while you pay to have a high bandwidth, they give you a low bandwidth)). From my experience, Sympatico doesn't do this, so they are still tops in my book.

It was down again off and on in the evening of May 1st, so I guess they are aware of and working on the problem. So, maybe there will be more intermittent outages in the evenings for the next few days. Or, maybe not. Hopefully they will have the problem fixed soon.