Saturday, September 30, 2006

Status Update: The Big Three

Kennedy's performance thus far (and it's only Saturday evening) has been disappointing, at best. At worst, it seals his loss. He is a full seven points behind Rae and Dion at this point, and seventeen points behind Ignatieff. At this rate, I think it's pretty fanciful for Kennedy supporters to expect that he will somehow pull through at the convention.

Unless his numbers change, that is.

As of now, here's the numbers as they stand:

1. Ignatieff - 29.7%
2. Rae - 19.9%
3. Dion - 19.3%
4. Kennedy - 12.4%
5. Brison - 5.9%
6. Dryden - 4.9%
7. Volpe - 3.9%
8. Hall Findlay - 1.5%
Undeclared - 2.4%

Status of the Candidates:

The Big Three: Ignatieff, Rae and Dion
It's pretty clear to me that the only three people who stand a realistic chance to win this convention are Ignatieff, Rae and Dion. I've felt as much for some time, but these numbers confirm it. (Again, unless Kennedy makes a breakthrough, in which case he could join this echelon.) Ignatieff and Rae have met expectations, with Rae surpassing Dion to take second place. Dion has exceeded expectations.

The Middle Power: Kennedy
Kennedy will become everybody's best friend very soon. As it's clear he's not going to win, he is going to be the first drop-off whose support could yield enough delegates to win. Kennedy is going to be very important at the convention, and whoever he endorses will probably win. Expect Rae and Dion especially to cozy up to him, since they're the two who would probably be the recipient of his delegates.

The Bit Players: Brison, Dryden and Volpe
Brison had a worse day today than yesterday. Yesterday I would have said he had a long shot of winning, but with more numbers in, it seems that he's likely not going to be a major player at the convention. Which is bad news for Ignatieff to be sure. As for Dryden, his performance has probably been the most disappointing of all. He can't have any realistic hope of victory after this weekend, and he was considered one of the big six at the beginning. Disappointing indeed. Volpe's support is lower than expected, but very few people are complaining about that.

And Also...: Martha Hall Findlay
No one gave Hall Findlay any serious odds of winning this convention - even Hall Findlay supporters. They all know they're running to boost Martha's image, get her into the cabinet, and make her a major player next time around.

To Quebecois, Dion =/= Sponsorship

Granted, it is hard to know whether or not we ought to take it seriously. After all, they could just be trying to influence the leadership. Then again, it could be completely honest and an actual leak.

But it is useful insofar as it contains some results from their focus groups. To me, the most relevant finding is that Quebeckers don't consider Dion to be tied to the sponsorship scandal. This is actually contrary to the received wisdom many people have been spreading - namely, that since Dion is a Quebec Liberal who is linked to the government that started the sponsorship program, he could never win Quebec.

It actually seems as if he stands a better chance of winning Quebec than any other candidate. Just something to keep in mind.

Early Results - Dion still 2nd!

I'm not going to count my chickens before they're hatched, but this news is very good for Dion. With Friday's delegate selection meetings held (and Saturday and Sunday's yet to come or coming in now), these are the results. (Finally, some hard numbers!)

1. Ignatieff - 27.6%
2. Dion - 18.5%
3. Rae - 18.1%
4. Kennedy - 14.3%
5. Brison - 7.5%
6. Dryden - 5.8%
7. Volpe - 3.8%
8. Hall Findlay - 1.8%
Undeclared - 2.7%

Granted, Dion is still nine points behind Ignatieff. And granted, Ignatieff's performance certainly meets expectations at this point. But Dion has thus far succeeded expectations - early on the campaign he was considered a middle player, a potential kingmaker and not much more. Now he is the runner-up behind Ignatieff, a position the media has been ascribing to Rae, and the bloggers have been ascribing to Kennedy. This means that Dion, again at least for the moment, is the most likely to be the recipient of the anyone-but-Iggy delegates - and there will be a lot of them.

I'll comment further later, but as it stands:

Ignatieff's lead is not unexpected.
Dion has exceeded expectations.
Rae remains a player.
Kennedy meets expectations, those of the media at least. Could still win, though it's less likely now.
Brison has about as expected - probably not enough to win, but he's got a long shot.
Dryden is toast. He's far from even meeting expectations.
Volpe is (mercifully) going to be a marginal force.
Hall Findlay won't be a player this time around.

Volpe fined $20000 by party

Seems Volpe's sleaze is having some consequences.

Friday, September 29, 2006

How Belinda Saved the Conservatives

According to Don Martin's new Belinda bio, Stronach may be the biggest reason for the Conservative victory. Conservative backroom strategists were delighted with her floor-crossing, as it gave them time to prepare for an election, which they were not ready for in May of last year. Add to that the fact that her entry into the Tory leadership race generated much-needed publicity, her bankrolling of Peter MacKay's successful 2003 leadership bid, and her orchestrating the meetings between Harper and MacKay in the summer and fall of 2003, Belinda is pretty much the "Liberal godmother" of the current Conservative government.

Yeah, hindsight and all that...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Darkness Descending

It could be that the Bush legacy will not be the Iraq war, as so many have speculated, but rather the beginning of the end of the centuries-old and nearly universally revered (at least in the west) principle of habeas corpus.

"The bill allows this president to continue torturing detainees (and possibly innocent ones). But it doesn't actually authorize the torture methods. And it doesn't formally breach Geneva. So "the program" continues in the shadows of Bush's shadow government. The truly disturbing part is that the only criterion for detaining anyone without charges - citizen or non-citizen, at home or anywhere in the world - is the president's discretion. If Rumsfeld decides you're an enemy combatant, you can be whisked away into a black hole, tortured, or have to prove your innocence in a military commission while he insists on your guilt. The "battlefield" is everywhere; and the war is endless. This is not, to put it mildly, what the founding fathers had in mind. It is one of the darkest hours for Western liberty in a very long time. And most conservatives are cheering. Watching habeas corpus go down the plughole is not something I ever thought I would have to contemplate. Well done, Osama. You won this one big time."
- Andrew Sullivan

Indeed, it is rare that western civilization experiences a moment so dark. The most despicable acts of the most despicable dictatorships in the history of the world - in particular the Soviet Union - are now, or soon will be, completely legal in the United States of America.

In the United States of America.

Even the most strident anti-American tendencies I may possess never permitted me to imagine for a second that it would ever come to this.

Stalin's ideology may not win the battle for the heart of the west, but by the looks of it, his evil is on the way to doing just that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Surplus of Hypocrisy

Remember when the Tories used to bitch and complain about the huge surplus, about Ottawa hording cash from the people? Remember when they'd pontificate about what they'd do with that money (give it back to the people, I believe is the way they put it) and how the Liberals were greedy, corrupt, big-government tax-and-spenders who didn't trust people with their own money for not doing it?

The federal surplus this year is $13 billion.

Monday, September 25, 2006


"When asked if he would welcome Mr. Volpe's support in the same way he had welcomed Ms. Fry's, Mr. Rae replied: 'Let's not talk about hypotheticals.'" (Translation: No.)


Lesbians can be refused treatment (3)

Technically I didn't skip yesterday - I posted two pieces of anti-gay bigotry two days ago, thus fulfilling my quota. But enough bean counting! Apparently, being a lesbian is sufficient cause for doctors to refuse treatment.

Will Rae Take It?

What once seemed incredibly unlikely is now seeming increasingly likely. Not only is Rae the only candidate who rivals Ignatieff in popular support, he is also the only one picking up endorsements from drop-out candidates; Maurizio Bevilacqua, Carolyn Bennett, and now Hedy Fry. Also, if the numbers are correct, and Rae can expect the support of 25% of delegates on the first ballot, and then 27% consider him their second choice (as opposed to 17% for Ignatieff,) we could be looking at a Rae victory on the fourth or even third ballot.

I will say that I would prefer Rae over Ignatieff, but I'm still voting for Dion.

Either way, Super Weekend is fast approaching (only 5 days to go!) and after that we'll have a much clearer view of the battlefield, with hard numbers instead of polls and guesses (though there will inevitably and unavoidably still be a healthy amount of the latter.)

Double Standards

So, if the Muslim community gets an apology from the pope, as well as his "total and profound respect," why not the gay community? It's a good question, and I think it deserves an answer. After all, according to the Catholics, the Muslims are just as hellbound as we sodomites - rejecting Christ and loving people of the same gender are both hellfire-able offences - and therefore, one assumes, just as sinful.

What about the bigotry he encourages every time he refers to the biblical belief that homosexuality is sinful and ignores disease, poverty and war to set up conferences particularly to address the life threatening issue of gay marriage?

If Pope Benedict XVI is going to apologise to the Muslim community he must be consistent and apologise to the gay community for every hate crime he encourages."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Credit where credit is due

Never let it be said that I don't give it. The Tories get kudos for this.

Massachusetts court makes gay marriage mandatory

The Onion, with some shocking new developments. The right was right - marriage is being destroyed!

In other news, Chinese employers have granted pregnant mothers a 15 minute maternity leave in order to, "Expel the child from their body, adjust to being a new parent, wash their hands, and return to work."

Volpe drop out?

I think not. It would take a lot to get Volpe to drop out of this race, and I'm afraid his second scandal of the race isn't it. This guy is way too egomaniacal to drop out now. I could be wrong... but I doubt it.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What's wrong with Pete's couch?

This is beyond pathetic. The only thing that allows an anti-pot message to be effective is ignorance. The only thing that allows any argument made by anti-pot nutbars to be effective is ignorance. Anybody, and I mean anybody who has ever used the drug will tell you that it's effects are overblown.

Apparently, the American government has (finally) realized this. So now they're trying a different approach - cede all of the points to the opposing side. While it's good to see the US government admitting that pot doesn't cause death and chaos, it does sort of undermine their argument when they acknowledge that their primary argument for keeping it illegal is a blatant falsehood. (And in fact, they say right in the ad, and quite explicitly, that you have a higher chance of dying if you don't smoke weed! I'm not even being facetious, that's what it says.)

So basically, all they're left with is the argument from personal preference - which basically goes like this: I don't like marijuana, therefore it should be illegal. I don't like pot, therefore people should go to jail for being caught with it. I don't like weed, therefore people should have their lives ruined if the crown decides to press charges.

It's absolutely outrageous, and it really reveals the craven depths of the administration's arrogance. They're willing to flat-out admit that they're wrong, but are going to stay the course. It's Orwellian in the worst possible sense of the term.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Has science fiction taught us nothing?

Apparently, the Universe is to be destroyed next year.

"According to one scenario tiny black holes could be produced which hopefully would decay into what is known as Hawking radiation (the tinier the black hole, the faster it evaporates). If these black holes fail to decay, however, the consequences could be disasterous."

At least I'm not the only one who finds this a bit scary.

I couldn't decide (2)

Well, perusing the morning news for what to post today, (see here) I honestly couldn't decide between your classic gay-bashing, and your classic red-state stupidity, so I just chose both. The first one is a beating, the second one is a case of a couple being denied reproductive freedom; they want to use a close female friend in order to start a family. I guess their mistake was wanting to do that in Florida.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Every day... (1)

Something I should have noticed earlier, but just noticed now, is that incidents like this happen pretty much every day. Is it a big deal? Yes and no. It's not earth-shattering, but nevertheless, it shouldn't happen, and it's an insult to every single gay person when one of us is demeaned and degraded in such a way.

I've thus decided to just keep a running tally. My goal will be to post one every day (or so...) until I get bored, and see how high I get. (Trust me, I can get pretty high.) If anything, it might just force me to get off my lazy ass and back into the swing of blogging again.

Rae's NDP donations

I don't find them so shocking. Now, I'm a pretty partisan individual, and I've made it apparent in the past that I loathe the NDP. But let's consider this - Rae wasn't a Liberal until 2006. This is not news, everybody knows this. Anybody who now claims to be shocked or angry at Rae's donations - who wasn't already shocked and angry at him for becoming a Liberal only this year - is not being fair.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I heart Rick Mercer.

"When Harper exits a caucus meeting it’s not entirely clear if the title “smartest guy in the room” immediately shifts to his parliamentary secretary or the jade plant."

Given that his parliamentary secretary is Jason Kenney, I think the answer to this question is pretty obvious.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Purge

A common argument in the gay rights movement is to equate the struggle for sexual equality with the struggle for racial equality. A fair argument.

A common argument on the other side is that gay people never suffered the level of indignity that black people suffered. This is a myth. Here's a good example. It's horrifying.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dictatus Papae

A fantastic piece in the Star compares today's pope's attempt to bully politicians into accepting his view of the world to the numerous popes in the past who attempted to usurp temporal control of the world from secular rulers.

"It took centuries of struggle against theocracies of many kinds to establish the modern separation of church and state. Most lay Catholics heaved a sigh of relief that papal delusions of grandeur seemed to have finally been set aside with the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. The council, the Church's highest teaching authority, affirmed the rightful independence of the secular sphere and the primacy of conscience even if it runs counter to Church teaching.It also endorsed the right of lay Catholics to have input into the formation of Church teachings in areas such as politics, where their expertise outweighs that of the clergy. But under John Paul II, aided and abetted by then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in the Holy Office, hierarchical control of the Church over all spheres of life was reasserted, and the influence of the laity declined. The Vatican then set its sights on undermining the autonomy of secular governments by bullying individual Catholic politicians. Witness the threats of excommunication swirling around U.S. presidential candidate John Kerry, the suspension from the sacraments of MP Charlie Angus and the attempt to bring Prime Minister Paul Martin to heel over the same-sex marriage bill."

The Front-Runners

With Carolyn Bennett now endorsing Bob Rae, it would seem to me that the conventional wisdom amongst the media that Michael Ignatieff and Rae are the two front-runners is finally starting to seem a bit more credible. Rae has now had two endorsements from leadership drop-outs (Bennett and Maurizio Bevilacqua) and even if they don't bring a lot of followers his way, that still creates the perception of momentum, which as any strategist will tell you, is extremely important. People are more likely to jump on a band-wagon if others are doing the same.

I estimate that Ignatieff and Rae will be in the first and second slots respectively when it comes to delegate selection, followed by Dion, then Kennedy, Brison, and Dryden in that order. I predict that the numbers will reflect that Dion is the only other candidate who could possibly squeeze up the middle. I can't wait to find out whether or not I'm right.