Jack! Jack! He's our man! 

Latest poll:

Approval of the job Jack Layton has done as NDP leader has risen by five points to the current level of 57 percent, making him the only national party leader who is approved of by a majority of Canadians.

Picture courtesy of Lose the 'Stache via ALW.

Two articles I read recently 
Both of these articles are not 'politically correct'.

1. Bourque pointed out this one on the 'root cause' of Islamic Terrorism - classical and modern Islam. Warren Kinsella says it's consistent with his views - not something many public figures would want to admit even if they do think it.

2. Jay Currie linked to this one on African Aid. "The Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati, 35, says that aid to Africa does more harm than good. The avid proponent of globalization spoke with SPIEGEL about the disastrous effects of Western development policy in Africa, corrupt rulers, and the tendency to overstate the AIDS problem."

Volchenkov to play in Russia? 
Via Hockey Hearsay:
The Ottawa Senators may have created some salary-cap room without even trying. According to a Rusian news site, the Ottawa Citizen reports, defenceman Anton Volchenkov will stay at home next year and play with Lada Togliatti of the Russian Elite League. His three-year entry-level contract with the Senators ended this year. Although Volchenkov's departure would provide some financial relief, it would also be a huge loss on the blue-line, because he plays a bruising, aggressive game. Under
the new CBA, he would have had to take a 24-per-cent pay cut that would have dropped him below $800,000 U.S.

The Sens defence looks like this:
While I like Volchenkov and the Sens would miss him - having him develop in Russia might not be that bad. Who wants to pay your sixth defenceman $800,000?
Those top two pairings can eat up an entire game.
As long as the Senators would still own his rights next year (when Chara might be lost) or the year after. Would they?

Come on 
Today on the rumour site:

Ottawa making a run on signing Pronger.


The idiot speaks again 
Carolyn Parrish:
True to form, Ms. Parrish couldn't resist a little demonstration of her outspokenness in yesterday's interview, criticizing Canada's new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, for his recent comments.
She called him "dangerous" and a "testosterone-filled general," and added that "somebody should put a clamp on his mouth."
Ms. Parrish, a self-described "peacenik," said she was particularly offended by Gen. Hillier's aggressive comments this month that the job of Canadian soldiers is "to be able to kill people."
He had been speaking to reporters about the Canadian troop deployment to Kandahar, where the troops will target terrorist "murderers and scumbags."
"They talk about me being outspoken," she said. "I'm speaking on my own behalf. This man is purporting to speak on behalf of the government, and I think he's
"I'm totally offended by him. ..... We are also not a country that is going to easily throw away 100 years of peacekeeping reputation and noble reputation in the world by a testosterone-filled general, and I think somebody should put a clamp on his mouth."

Bob Tarantino:
Where to begin? Does Canada's "100 years of peacekeeping reputation" include our participation in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Gulf War I and the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan? Like many on her side of the aisle, Parrish displays, again, her nearly complete historical illiteracy. Which, of course, makes her a perfect match for a party headed by a PM who thinks we stormed the beaches of Norway on D-Day and a former Defence Minister who can't quite grasp the difference between Vimy Ridge and Vichy France.

Parrish's warped thinking is far too common. It's not hard to imagine that she would push for our soldiers to be given whistles instead of guns - it's much more in line with our peacekeeping tradition.

Martin's Norway gaffe was worse than some might first think. It wasn't a text issue - the speech he was reading at the time was correct. And he made the mistake twice in the same speech. He might actually have thought our troops had found a northern shortcut to Germany.

Say what? 
Eklund's site today:
Monday Morning Rumors
Everywhere I turn someone is telling me that Modano is seriously considering Ottawa. Also Gary Roberts and Joe Niewendyke may both move to Ottawa.

Um - unless these guys want to play for a million each, I don't see how in the world Ottawa can sign them and be under the cap.

Modano would have a huge impact on this team. We haven't had a legit number 1 centre since Yashin left - hold the jokes - and while Spezza could run with it, the team would love to have him in the number 2 spot.

I just don't see it happening though - they have $23,624,894 committed already to 10 players. Fisher, Martin Havlat, Marian Hossa, Chris Neil, Martin Prusek, Jason Spezza, Antoine Vermette, Anton Volchenkov, Todd White, and Langfeld as restricted.

Hossa $4 million
Havlat $2.0 million
Spezza $1.5 million
Fisher, Vermette, Volchenkov about a million per.

Add 7 more players at $500,000 per to fill the roster and you have about a $38 million payroll.

Buying out Smolinski will give you a couple million to play with but Modano's going to command at least $5 million if he's picking his team and more likely 6 or more on the open market.

Arabian dissent 
Hab fan and Blogging Tory 'Arabian Knight' from Montreal commented below which led me to his new blog. In his profile:
Random rants from a 23 year old Arab-Canadian on, American, Canadian and Middle Eastern Politics. Here come the shockers: I'm a big supporter of George W. Bush and his anti-terrorism efforts. A strong believer in small-government and Reaganomics (while residing in the most left-wing location in North America, Quebec), and a supporter of the Conservative Party of Canada. Started this blog hoping to refute lefty myths on Economics, Conservatism, Terrorism, the Middle East and the US.

I found his post on racial profiling at airports to be interesting - maybe as I've been flying more often. I wonder if he'd feel the same way if we were talking about Montreal buses, the subway, or even the workplace?

Great start to the blog. One thing I should mention - if any of you Blogging Tory folks want to take on some lefties - drop into the E-Group - leave a few comments and after a while, if you think it would suit you, ask Jim if you can join the group. I haven't been able to contribute to the debate from a conservative perspective lately and it would be a shame if the E-Group becomes a leftist only site.

Crosby a Pen 
Nice to see him going to Pittsburgh. Tickets for their away games should be a hot item - Mario's swan song and Crosby's rookie season.

I should also say congratulations to Michael and Yoda - two big Penguins fans.

The Enemy 
I after reading about the finest news writers the University of Waterloo has to offer at SDA yesterday, I read this today - from NealeNews:
But Duffy admits a Liberal bias at some media outlets makes it difficult for Harper and the Conservatives to get their message out.
“I’ve just been speaking to a couple of young journalists and I was shocked,” he said.
“One young journalist in New Brunswick said to me, ‘when I see Stephen Harper I see the enemy.’ It’s not journalists’ place to have enemies.”

Shocked? I'm shocked he's shocked.

And the first pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft... 
...goes to ??????

Four more hours.

Final Four 
Hottest MP - Rona, Ruby, Helena, or .... Tom?

Looks like we have a right wing vote split happening here - THE FIX IS IN! THE FIX IS IN! Damn cheating Liberals.

Sticking with Helena - I'm glad they've gone back to the good photo.

Who saved the NHL in Canada 
On the front cover of Maclean's there is an article teaser called something like "You'll never guess who saved the NHL in Canada"

My first reaction was - if they say Bettman I can't wait to read the reaction of Bettman-haters Tom Benjamin, Alan, and Fenwick.

Sure enough - Gary is our saviour according to Maclean's.

Round 2 
Ding ding ding

Round 2 of the Hottest Canadian MP contest is back - and the NDP and Bloc are still ugly.

Ruby's got a much better picture up and I'll say that she's the one to beat. Helena's glasses don't help her unfortunately. Rona's got a better shot - that's a great look. Peter Mackay got into round 2 from write-in votes in the first round.

I'm going to stick with Helena and Rahim - yeah, I'm partisan.

Place your votes here.

Globe and Mail online poll 
What do you think of this poll?

Has the world's Muslim community done enough to stem the tide of terror arising from its ranks?
Yes 656 votes (9 %)
No 6804 votes (91 %)

NHL all-nighter 
The NHL and PA have been negotiating all night into this morning.

So, if there is a couple sections in the new CBA like the following we'll know why:
After expiration of the CBA, and during negotiations for the following agreement, should there be only one piece of pizza left and both Bill Daly and Ted Saskin want it, the piece shall be cut into two and not lead to the issuing of threats to see other persons in hell.

Could it happen? 
For some reason, I think Howard Bloom's a bit of a joke in the hockey world but this tidbit was nice to read:
Bloom predicts the agreement will include a salary cap "and that's extremely good for the Canadian markets."
"I would be very, very surprised if in the medium term we didn't have teams back in Winnipeg and Quebec City," he said.
"It didn't work in those places the last time because it couldn't work economically, not because there wasn't enough fan support."
In order for the NHL to survive, it's going to have to make the game more fan-friendly, Bloom says. It is also going to have to re-evaluate the hockey markets.
"Hockey was never going to work in the American southeast, and the sooner they get rid of those franchises, the stronger a business they'll be."

Gretzky may have helped kill Winnipeg by helping to end their seasons year after year in the 80s, drive up salaries, and by having success in LA it helped lead the Jets to Phoenix.
Maybe he'll be the guy to move the Jets back home?

Looking for something to read? 
Go read the last half dozen entries at Let it Bleed.

And read Jay Currie's comments over at BlogsCanada at this post and this one.
Jim, I think we agree that Saudi has a revolting government - however its citizens are hardly the poster children of poverty which you argument would require. While the majority of Saudis do not live like the 30,000 princes, Saudis willing to work do quite well. (Of course the 27% of Saudi males who are unemployed in a nation which has had to import millions of guest workers have not done so well.) Every Saudi citizen has free medical care and free education up to and including university for those who can make the grade. On a scale of 1-10 Saudi would be about a 7 (Kuwaitis and citizens of the Emirates being 10's) and Gaza about .5.
I think it is important not to try to use the well worn Palestinian template when dealing with the jihadis. The Western left sees the Palestinian struggle through the Marxist lens which the inventors of the PLO, knowing who their friends were, imposed. Accurate or not that is how the Palestinians have managed to evoke sympathy. While bin Laden has been perfectly willing to claim that his jihad is, inter alia, on behalf of the Palestinians it comes from a very different place.
Unfortunately the left in the West tends to feel very, very uncomfortable - as they should - with the root causes of the bin Laden heresy and so try to squeeze it into the Palestinian mold.
bin Laden has been quite explicit about what he wants. The removal of the Jews and the Crusaders from all of the Muslim lands broadly defined. The restoration of the Caliphate.
Likey the best way to understand bin Ladenism is to treat it as a cult: its analogs are the Moonies and Hare Krishna and death cults like Jonestown. Certainly, the evidence of how it recruits and how it targets recruits - intelligent, middle class kids who are somehow alienated from the cultures they are living in - mirrors Moonie and Hare Krishna tactics.
Seen through that lens bin Ladenism becomes a lethal, lunatic offshoot from the more bizarre end of the Islamic fundamentalist spectrum. And through that lens it may be possible to see means of intervening well before the bomb belt is strapped on.
There is no question that a wellspring of the impulse to bin Ladenism has been the pathetic performance of so many Muslim states and their amazing failure to participate in the twentieth century world. That, however, is being addressed through regime change and the communications revolution which not even the Iranian mullahs have been able to stop effectively. No question that it is critically important for the West in general and the United States in particular to apply pressure for regime change and for the creation of increasingly fair, prosperous and democratic states in place of the corrupt, backward and tyranical states much of the Islamic world has been saddled with.
The root causes of a cult tend to be personal rather than political. The tiny fraction of Islamic individuals attracted to al-Qaeda and its franchises are not necessarily motivated by any sense of justice or desire for greater prosperity so much as by the sense of belonging which a cult creates.
Peace and prosperity could break out in the Middle East - as I believe it is - without the bin Laden cult being in any deflected from its anti-materialistic goals. For bin Laden, like most religious fanatics, it is the promise of the next world which justifies creating hell in this one.

David Warren 
Rich and poor alike: and there is no good reason to be rich in summer. I have myself been reduced near to penury by events beyond the ken of the reader, but this is the least of the things I have lost. “Great riches are a great burden,” and in summer we may walk in sandals. Clothes we need only for modesty, food in this country is plentiful and cheap. The roads beckon in every direction, God has filled all the earth with beauty. To stand a moment, in the rain or the sun -- this is how we receive our birthright, which no man can take away.
To be free, especially, of the burden of envy -- a weight people carry like their own gut -- is to begin to have everything. The less you seek to own, the more of the earth seems to belong to you.
Full column.

It was a very busy week.

I don't know what to say about the London bombings. This article in the Washington Times was a very interesting - it's a very difficult topic to talk about:

"Until we hear the voices of the Muslims condemning attacks of this kind with no words [of qualification] such as 'but' and 'if,' the suicide bombers and the murderers will have an excuse to think that they enjoy the support of all Muslims.

"The real battle against the enemy of mankind will begin when the 'silent majority' in the Islamic world makes its voice heard against the murderers, and against those who brainwash them, believe them, and fund them."

Amir Taheri, Al-Sharq Al Awsat columnist

Closer to home - very sad to read James Bow's last entry - a tragic event in his family.

Expect few posts this week - life is hectic.

Hot, Hot, and I mean Hot 
Oh baby - got the summertime blues?

Go to "The Ultimate Hottest Canadian MP Besides Ken Dryden" contest here and vote!

I'm voting for Helena Guergis and Rahim 'The Dream' Jaffer. In the FAQ, they explain...
Why not Ken?
The Minister of Social Development would have an unfair advantage because of his status as one of the best goaltenders of all time, so we're excluding him from the contest and naming him "Hot MP Emeritus."
Of course.

Renegades win 
So, they only had 19,000 fans at the game but there was a wicked storm just before kick-off which probably scared away many.

I found this bit from the game report to be really interesting:

After a pair of Duval field goals, from 49 and 40 yards respectively, made it a
20-point game, the Renegades drove the ball to the Montreal two-yard line only for their drive to stall with seconds remaining in the half.

When Renegades head coach Joe Paopao sent out the field-goal unit, the crowd jeered the decision so loudly that he called a time-out and sent Joseph back out to successfully scamper into the end zone on third down and it was 23-10 at the half.

Only in the CFL.

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