The Cadman affair

Prime Minister Stephen Harper took the unprecedented step of suing the Liberal Party of Canada for libel over statements made by the party on its website. After the release of a taped interview with Harper from 2005, Liberals began accusing the Conservative party in general, and Harper in particular, of bribery with respect to Cadman. To refresh readers on the basic story, on May 19th 2005, a crucial vote was held in Canadian Parliament, a vote that was specifically a motion of confidence (or non-confidence) in the sitting Liberal minority government of the time. In a recently released book, by author Tom Zytarek, Cadman’s widow Dona is quoted as saying her dying husband told her of a $1 million insurance policy offer, made by the Conservatives before the vote. Its important to note as well that Cadman’s vote on this non-confidence motion was beyond crucial … he was literally the deciding vote between the government holding, or falling.

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… works in Absurd and Ironic ways …

The more I look at the world, the more I think God must have a supreme sense of the absurd, and an edge of irony sharper than the sharpest razor. As my year end post for 2006, I wrote an entry on the absurdity of some of the major news events of the year, but absurdity and irony pop up in more mundane places as well. Today, one of the “big stories” on Newsworld involves the sale of some rabid puppies from a flea market in Toronto over this past weekend, and the ensuing health scare to ensure anyone who had contact with the puppies got medical attention. Initially, it seemed to be a pretty normal story about a local health crisis.

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Mounties always get their man

The title words for this post have taken on a stark new meaning in recent times in Canada. I’ve been trying to write about the Robert Dziekanski incident from Vancouver International Airport in October for a week or so now, and haven’t been able to find the right words. I’m still not sure I’ve found them, but I’ve decided to soldier on anyway.

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Upgrades …

The new version of WordPress, the software that powers the main version of this blog and many others, was released yesterday, and I took the opportunity today to upgrade to the latest and greatest. If the blog was offline for you for a bit, thats probably the reason, but I must say its a very quick and painless process that involves very little disruption in access. In fact, while I haven’t really blogged much about how the underlying software of this blog works, it really is a remarkable set of self-publishing tools, the like of which were unimaginable even a decade ago. In future, I plan to write in more detail about the revolution that ubiquitous blogging represents, and the impact of WordPress and similar systems in realizing one of the promises of the internet … democracy of ideas.

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50 years of space @

Scale model of Sputnik 1, from the Muzeum Tekniki, Warsaw, PolandBy Lyle Bateman
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant events of the 20th century. Technology never exists in a vacuum … no matter what technical advancement we think of, there are always social, political, and ideological currents swirling around it as well as the technical currents. But, from time to time, a technical achievement happens that is so significant, it makes others pale in comparison. Such is the story of Sputnik 1, the first human object ever to orbit the earth.

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Meditations on betrayal

This past Wednesday (Sept 26, 2007), the US House of Representatives voted to condemn because of an ad they ran in the New York Times. The Senate had also voted to condemn move on the previous week, so its now clear that all three branches of the US government (the White House has expressed its displeasure from the start) now “condemn MoveOn and the ad.” For the most part, the rationale used by senators and congresspeople to justify the decision to support the condemnation was fairly understandable. I can sympathize with notions that we need to be careful how we treat active soldiers in a time of war, especially ones in leadership roles whom we address by name. Senator Mitch McConnell (R, Kentucky) expresses the concerns fairly concisely with the following quote …

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The parody sweet spot …

There is a point at which parody becomes sublime, when it is so well done, so accurately portrayed, that it is indistinguishable from the real thing. It is at this most sublime moment that parody transcends the notion of a “joke” to truly show us something fundamental about our beliefs and the contradictions inherent therein. Watchers of the web were treated to just such a sublime parody this past week with the website Marry Our Daughter (

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