Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I love elections

I love elections and everything about them.  I love the strategy and the tactics.  I love the language around elections, even the dumb bits.  I love the rules and laws which govern elections, even the strange and arcane ones.

I love the way that a competition among groups produces that which governs us.

My ideal job would be international elections observer.  That way I could see, first hand, incredible colourful images like these from the ongoing Indian election.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New blog for the policy wonks

If you are into hardcore policy analysis (and face it, who isn't?) then this new blog from AIMS will fill your boots.

I've found AIMS to be an impressive shop producing quality and thought-provoking work.  A small group of researchers, they definitely punch above their weight in producing reports on Atlantic issues from a market perspective.  More than once they have twigged this province's government with inconvenient truths on education, municipal and general economic policy.  Local naysayers will dismiss their reports by trying to paint them as a crew of right wing nutjobs at the same time steering clear of substantive rebuttals.

As Churchill noted, if you are receiving flack then you must be over the target.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

How they see us

It's comforting to know that the people of the world see us as happy and friendly, welcoming and warm.  It's comforting, but it's not true.

If you want to know how the world sees the people of the Canada (because this province is lumped into the national whole and doesn't merit a specific attack), then this piece is as good as any.

Doesn't matter if it's true or not.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bad (political) dreams

A classic bad dream is falling from a great height. Or appearing at school to find out you have to write a surprise exam. Or speaking in front of a crowd to discover you have no clothes.

How about speaking to the *wrong* crowd? A minister in the BJP government of the state of Karnataka in India, VS Acharaya, did exactly that.

Seeing an election rally under way while visiting the district of Udupi, he decided to go and put in his two cents worth as a courtesy to the locals. After delivering a blistering attack on the incompetence and corruption of the federal Congress Party led government, he discovered that he was speaking to a rally of, you guessed it, the Congress Party!

Police said the senior BJP leader beat a speedy retreat when he realised his mistake.

It's only a matter of time before that happens to some local hapless dolt.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Municipal Dance Hall - Pensions edition

Mayor Doc O'Keefe and his colleagues on council are pretty busy people. on the PR front. They take every opportunity they can to notify local media of every stray thought thought that enters their heads, every random decision or action they take. These days it's hard for listeners of talk radio to escape their gentle voices from their persistent calls thoughtfully notifying voters of their latest worthy activities.

It is election year, after all, and it is the people's right to know what they are up to.

There are exceptions, of course. When Council chose to hike their salaries retroactively they made that decision on the sly hoping nobody would notice. Of course maybe they would have been more noisy if the election was in sight. No doubt some councilors would have choosen to decline to take the increase, as was done recently.

Since Council had their knuckles well and thoroughly rapped for that self-serving escapade, you would think they would know better next time. You would hope that the lesson had been learned: be upfront or be condemned.

So what would you expect members of Council to do as the province introduced legislation to the amend the city charter to permit these same members of council to draw a pension after just two terms in Gower Street bunker instead of three?

Maybe thunderous, deafening, ear-splitting silence? Almost like they didn't want anyone to notice?

Clearly the lesson has not sunk in.

By the way, neither of the charters for the cities of Mt. Pearl and Corner Brook make provisions of any kind for pensions for members of their councils.