Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

New Vote For This Post System

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A new vote for this post system has been implemented to allow you, dear readers, to vote for this post and thus help boost it up the rankings at Progressive Bloggers. It's a democratic way of picking what news and editorial items gain prominence.

Voting makes a post move higher on the PB website, making it popular and getting more people to read the post. So if you think it's worth recommending to others, click the "vote for this post" link in the upper right corner of this post.

The idea is the same as at, except without the terrible privacy issues that exist with Digg.

Another way to help make posts popular is to bookmark them on and to share your bookmarks with other users. Boomarking in has the same effect as voting for a post, namely to move it to the upper front page of the website where it will get more exposure and more peolpe will read it.

Thankyou to all of you who vote and/or bookmark any of the posts here on Centrerion Canadian Politics.

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Alternately, consider some suggested posts (links below) or pick your own reading from the archives.

Here are some related articles: 3 Step How-to and Explanation amateur explanation and Digg's privacy policy exposed
Get involved with our Green Party Interview Contest!

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Quebec Separatists Dissed and Dissmissed by Time Magazine

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Quebec has been left off a list of places in the world with "separatist anxiety", in a recent filler piece by Time Magazine. Relatively tiny (population-wise) groups in Bermuda, New Caledonia (where is New Caledonia?) got mentioned ahead of the [Wood] Bloc and the PQ.

I say Time is right on the money. Consider some of the factors in Quebec separatism.

The federalist Conservatives, the party in power in Canada's federal goverment, are popular in Quebec. The Conservative Party of Canada is thus likely to win more of the Bloc's supporters over the next time $300 million is spent on a nation-wide poll. Indeed, a recent poll commissioned by French newspaper La Presse found the CPC polling neck and neck with the Bloc, which currently holds the vast majority of Quebec's seats.

The Parti Quebecois is beholden to a far-left fringe that is going nowhere in Quebec's 2008 elections. Andre "The Cocaine Was Just A Youthful Mistake" Boisclair has recently suggested that the provincial government cut funding to private schools that have admissions requirements based on - gasp - achievement and religion.

This, after recently saying that the PQ would only reveal its platform after gaining independance. Boisclair's a clever chap, but this reversal is possible his finest strategic move yet, being a subtle move to confuse everyone so that if/when another referendum is held, everyone will vote yes to the very clear question: Do you not not want Quebec to not have separation with association but without economic partnership, perhaps but not necessarily in the not so distant immediate future? Like I said, Boisclair's a smart fellow (which is why he's not going to be influenced by the money and ethnic vote).

This statement on cutting private school funding reinforces, of course, the image the PQ is trying to give itself of a very open and tolerant political party. Hey, at least French Canadian nationalists have stopped giving the Nazi salute in huge sports stadiums, right? And there's no taboo on hiring historians rightfully denouncing this racist past, right?

Well, that's all got this private-school educated 'ethnic' willing to vote Yes, and convinced that his fellow Quebeckers are all raring to do the same. The federalists are popular, the provincial separatists are lead by a confusing buffoon and the PQ is continuing its "tradition" of openness and tolerance.

But enough digressions, let us get to the point. Bravo, Time!

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Alternately, consider some suggested posts (links below) or pick your own reading from the archives.

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NDP active in Quebec says Mount-Royal riding association President
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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why The New Left HATES Western Civilization

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The New Republic has an excellent article explaining why the New Left hates the West. You see, the New Left loves Edward Said. Edward Said wrote his book Orientalism in 1968. In it, he argued that the West, Western civilization, and particularly Western academics were all practicing Orientalism, which was essentially another word for bigotry vis-a-vis the Arab world.

Said said (sorry, I couldn't resist) that Western academia could "atone" for its "sins", as it were (not his words, I'm just using quotation marks to denote the nonsense inherent in the comment) by wholeheartedly sympathizing with the Arabs. Et voici, mesdames et messieurs, la Nouvelle Gauche.

Translation from the French: And here I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the New Left (no coincidence that I first wrote it in French). Anti-Imperialist, anti-Capitalist (capital I and C because of their power ;) ), anti-Israel, anti-West, anti-Self.

The article, whose context was a criticism of a ridiculous inanity on the supposedly all-powerful Jewish Lobby (note to the capital-l Lobby: if we control the world, I want three months a year in Aruba, minimum), concludes on this incisive note:
"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" in fact reveals little about the conduct of U.S. foreign affairs. It does, however, afford a disquieting look into just how far the pernicious ideology of Middle Eastern studies has penetrated the humanities and helped render the academy irrelevant. Gripped by absolutist theories that quash all opposition, some of America's finest universities provide environments in which partisan and shoddily documented screeds like the working paper can pass as serious research.
Italics mine.

The New Left HATES Western Civilization because Western Civilization is bigotted, racist, and Orientalist (can't forget the capital).
I think I just wrote a summary of Noam Chomsky's politics.

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Alternately, consider some suggested posts (links below) or pick your own reading from the archives.
I'd like to note that 'New Left' is in no way synonymous with 'progressive', 'liberal', or 'leftist'.
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US Bi-Partisan Centrist Ticket: Unity 08

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"Just as Linux lets users design their own operating systems, so 'netroots' politicos may redesign our nominating system," according to Jonathan Alter of Newseek.

A new American political group is looking to revolutionize the way Presidential candidates are selected by moving primaries online. The primaries are the regional voting sessions where the Americans pick their party candidates, and usually the main decisions are made in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Unity 08, as the centrist group is calling itself, is a group founded by "three veterans of the antique 1976 campaign," Alter writes. "Democrats Hamilton Jordan and Gerald Rafshoon helped get Jimmy Carter elected; Republican Doug Bailey did media for Gerald Ford before launching the political TIP SHEET Hotline."

The trio intends to bring the primaries to the Internet with

The idea is simple: have people call/email/vote online to vote for their favourite candidate. Same principle as American Idol. The goal is to avoid giving the extremes the power conventional primaries give them, and to empower the middle.

I love it!

If you enjoyed the post, you may want to take 30 seconds to subscribe to our newsletter. Alternately, consider reading some related posts (links below) or pick your own reading from the archives.

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Foreign Affairs and the Media
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Monday, May 29, 2006

Green Party of Canada Leadership Interview Contest!

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I'm quite honoured and pleased to announce that Green Party of Canada leadership candidates Elizabeth May and David Chernushenko have agreed to do interviews for Centrerion Canadian Politics.
May has made a career of environmental activism with various groups, while Chernushenko's background is within the Green Party itself. Both are intelligent, well-spoken individuals, and I'm sure it will be a pleasure to interview them.

Which is why I want you to interview them too.

I'm having a contest asking for suggestions as to the questions you'd like to see asked of the two candidates. Write your question out in the comments. The topics most asked about will be included. You can also just type something like: "I vote for Commenter X's question."
Topics of interest include Green Party policy in important areas, such as the Canadian economy, health, education, industry, trade, federalism and foreign affairs; their vision for Canada; specific issues in the areas named above, or related areas; anything else that fits into 'Canadian politics'.
Winners will have their question included in the interview, and a link included to their site in the transscript and in a separate post on the issue.

Update: The deadline for submissions is Wednesday May 31st at 11:59 PM. If participation is great enough, I'll see if the interviews (currently slated for June 1st~2nd) can be delayed until later, so as to give an extension to voters. - UPDATE: The contest is extended.

If you enjoyed the post, you may want to take 30 seconds to subscribe to our (free) newsletter. Other options (links below) include reading some suggested posts on related subjects or picking your own related material to read from the archives.

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The Canadian Political System A guide
Green Party leader in Quebec out of his league in immigration debate
Why Stephen Harper is Winning the Race - Written during the recent federal election, before the Prime Minister was ahead in the polls

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

NAFTA, Canadian Purchasing Power, and Canadian Households' Savings Rates

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Update: Purchasing Power's actual definition is different than what is written here. To avoid confusion, it is necessary to read the correction post (linked above) that discusses criticisms of this post that my economics professor wrote me when I asked him for feedback. Savings' rates definition remain unchallenged, however remuneration may also be different than what is stated below; my prof has cited different groups who may have different methods of calculation.

In previous articles on NAFTA, I pointed out that the savings rate of Canadian households was down significantly since the implementation of NAFTA, from a rate above 10% in 1993, to -0.4% in 2005 (according to the OECD's most recent stats; the OECD is an organization that compiles statistics from most of the developped world's national stats agencies, such as Statistics Canada).

At the time, I argued that a likely cause for the drop in the household savings rate was the series of cuts in spending that the Liberal government made in the 90s. This, according to my argument at that time, likely caused Canadians to pick up the tab for much of what government used to pay for.

More recently, I have been thinking about purchasing power and I believe I have found another possible cause for the extreme reduction of the Canadian Household Savings Rate since NAFTA came into place. My new hypothesis explaining the decrease in private savings suggests that Canadians purchasing power has declined, causing them to use up savings and go into debt.

GDP's Disconnect With Wages
Since NAFTA was implemented, Canadian GDP has been increasing at a rate of approximately 3% annually, after adjustments for inflation. In principle, this means Canadians ought to be wealthier.

In practice, however, Canadian remuneration has only been growing at the pace of 1% annually, after adjustments (according to data from the OECD's Economic Outlook No. 78). Furthermore, the term remuneration refers to more than just salary, or hourly wages; remuneration includes benefits such as health care insurance and all the other costs a company has for an employee. Wages themselves have only increased 10 cents/hour in the past 10 years, or about 150$/year, according to a Vanier Institute of the Family study published in February.

Effect on Purchasing Power

What this means for purchasing power is that Canadians can now purchase a lesser percentage of their GDP. The result is a decrease in purchasing power, if we accept to measure purchasing power as the percentage of GDP that Canadians can buy. Consider the following example.

In year one, Joe Canadian earns $10.
Canadian GDP is $10.
Joe can buy 100% of GDP (10/10).

In year two, Joe Canadian earns $11 (I'm looking at it as though the 1% increase in remuneration mentioned above was a 1% increase in salary).
GDP has grown 3% to $13, however.
This means Joe can only buy about 85% of his GDP (11/13).

In year 3, Joe's remuneration is up another 1% to $12.01 (101% multiplied by 11).
GDP is up to $16.09 (103% multiplied by 13).
Joe can buy 75% of GDP.

The percentage of our GDP that Canadians can buy is decreasing, because of the disconnect between the growth in GDP and the slower growth in remuneration (let alone wages and salaries!).

Resulting effect on Household Savings Rates

Since Canadians can purchase a lesser percentage of GDP using their wages, I suggest that the Canadian Household Savings Rate has been decreasing because people are dipping into savings or going into debt to maintain their purchasing levels.

If Joe had $10 saved in the bank, he would have taken $2 out in year 2 to make up the difference between his earnings and the increase in GDP (13-11=2). The following year, he would have taken out $4.08 (16.09-12.01=4.08). So Joe would have used up about 60% of his savings (6.08/10).

The Canadian Household Savings Rate hasn't decreased that rapidly, though. There are two explanations that I can see for the discrepancy between the speed of the savings cuts according to the OECD, and the speed in my example. The first is that my gross simplification of the data explains the difference. The second is that my theory is nonsense. I'll ask my economics professor to consider this and get back to you.

If you found this interesting, I encourage you to comment (link below), and express your opinion on the subject. Alternately, you can subscribe to our free newsletter (takes 30 seconds), or read some of the related articles below.

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Salaries and wages since NAFTA
1% Wages Growth Commentary
Unemployment since NAFTA

Friday, May 26, 2006

CCP Tops 4000 Page-Views - You can too

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Centrerion Canadian Politics has topped 4000 page-views in a month for the first time in its short history! Based on sitemeter statistics, traffic of approximately 2200 visitors has led to a little over 4000 page-views. Thankyou to all of you who have helped make this happen.

As you know, my goal and my co-blogger's goal is to give a greater voice to moderate and centrist Canadian politics, so this is really good news... flattery, I'd say. There's a caveat though; we used a promotional tool that may not necessarily have led to more influence for moderate politics, though it has increased the readership. I think many of you may nonetheless be interested in emulating the experience, so I'm going to tell you how it was done.

I added links on Wikipedia to this website. Of course, it wasn't links to anything; the links brought wikipedia users to what blog entrepreneur Yaro Starak calls Pillar articles. That is, the top content on your site that really is the product of some hard work and serious research.

Thus, for example, people are coming here from Wikipedia to learn about my research on NAFTA's effects on the Canadian economy (links to the introduction, which links to other pages with the raw data). Others are reading my guide to social bookmarking tool, my advice on how to be influential, tax tips and more.

So the caveat is that much of the new traffic is not necessarily coming to read editorials on , , the , etc. Indeed, the rate at which these readers 'bounce' (or leave the site before it fully loads/within a few seconds) is relatively high, suggesting they may not have expected to come to a political website (though in my defense I have made an effort to label the links as going to Canadian politics site). This especially applies to the advice on how to be influential, since the link is not on a page explicitly about politics.

If you want to use Wikipedia to boost your traffic in the same way as I boosted Centrerion Canadian Politics' traffic, here's what you'll need to do.

1) Write useful content, preferably in your field. That way, if you do market your articles through wikipedia, people won't see your site's title, be surprised and leave. For fellow students, big term papers that required some reserch can probably be used, and that's indeed what I did for the NAFTA material.
2) Find the relevant page on Wikipedia, and link to it under "external links." If no such section exists on that page, you can add it. If you want to link to your site from another part of the page, be sure to mark it as an external link, and make sure the content is not debatable.
Note that blog links in the main body of text (i.e. not in external links) will mostly be deleted, because Wikipedia doesn't consider them valid sources (which is ironic, since Wikipedia itself is snubbed by most established media and educational references, as regards being a source). The exception in my case is because I have hard facts published on NAFTA, which is what I linked to (and because I politely said as much in the discussion page). I couldn't, for example, link to an opinion piece on whether NAFTA is good for Canadians, in that same area of the page.

Again, the key thing to understand here is that you're welcome to contribute in ways that will be of service to the wikipedia reader. Keep in mind that they are mostly in search of information (and not product pitches, which wikipedia-breathing-eating-and-sleeping editors with too much time on their hands will delete), and have a short attention span. So make sure you're providing worthwhile information, and try to keep the paragraphs short.

Thanks again!

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Open Letter asking you, the readers, to interact with us
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Freedom Abroad Research Report - Freedom House

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Freedom abroad isn't any old broad to be taken lightly. Freedom House has a fantastic study of freedom in the world. Read the whole report and classification of various countries:
Freedom House's Freedom in the World Report.

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Green Party's May: Run a Full Slate

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Green Party of Canada leadership contender Elizabeth May has denied speculation that she would not run a full slate. May says she intends to continue current the Green Party policy of running a full slate of candidates in all of Canada's ridings. She also says that electoral strategy is not the party leader's prerogative, which suggests that if the grassroots doesn't want to run a full slate, the Greens may yet revert to pre-Jim Harris policy.
This will bring comfort to many in the Green Party grassroots (pardon the pun). Had May not run a full slate, the Greens would have faced a constitutional crisis.

May's rival for the leadership spot is David Chernushenko. Green bloggers such as Sudden Sage have favourably compared her campaign's PR strategy to his. It is more media-savvy, and carries several big name endorsements. Former CBC host and environmentalist David Suzuki is quoted as saying it is a good thing she is in the race (though it doesn't explicitly state support, which suggests either that May and co. didn't cite the right part of his speech, or else they are trying to cultivate an incorrect notion in people's minds). Quebec Green Party lieutenant Claude William Genest is also named as a supporter.

If you enjoyed the post, you may want to subscribe to our newsletter. Other options (links below) include reading some suggested posts, picking your own related material to read from the archives, or commenting.

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Greens: Seats or Official Party Status The dilemma posed by not running candidates in all ridings.
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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hockey Night in Canada, Don Cherry, racism, and the CBC

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Here's a little something I added to the Canadian Policy Wiki's Hockey Night in Canada policy. I thought it was already there in the policy's page (and said as much in a university admissions interview), but when I checked today, Don Cherry wasn't mentioned. So I've added what needs to be said about the intolerant fool and his remarks on French Canadians and Europeans. Check it out, and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Don Cherry Notes
Don Cherry is the host of Coach's Corner, the show between periods on Hockey Night in Canada. With his flamboyant suits and opinionated comments, he has become a symbol strongly attached to HNIC.

Unfortunately, the Coach has repeatedly made rude remarks bordering on racism about French Canadian and European players. Don Cherry needs to apologize for this behaviour. The CBC should tell its star commentator to apologize and retract himself or else be fired. This should not be mistaken for coercion, since Cherry is being given an alternative, and if he doesn't like it, he can leave and vent his intolerance privately.

His remarks are a pulsating stain to the credibility of Canadian public television. They certainly decrease viewership in Quebec, and contribute in no small way to the two solitudes, to say nothing of what European immigrants to Canada must feel. Of course, Cherry does no service to federalism when young French Canadians hear what he has to say about them.

More importantly, the CBC MUST take action to correct the situation because of what it would mean if it didn't: that the CBC condones bigotry, and considers it acceptable to hold such discourse in a family environment. If Cherry himself is too obsessed with his stereotypes to change, the least the CBC can do is prevent children being indoctrinated with such nonsense.

Children in the Muslim world are taught to hate Jews, Christians and the West generally, which indoctrination has been showed to instrumental to terrorists' recruitment efforts, as demonstrated by terrorism expert Stewart Bell of the National Post, in his book The Martyr's Oath. Will the CBC help foment divisions in Canada?

If you enjoyed the post, you may want to subscribe to our newsletter. Other options (links below) include reading some suggested posts on related subjects or picking your own related material to read from the archives.

Here are some related articles:

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Foreign Affairs: NSA vs IRS vs DC, Iraq

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Antimedia of our politics club has a very interesting couple of posts on the US. The uproar over the NSA's wiretaps? Qwest telecoms sells phone service and more, and does much more research, so why no complaints about them? Besides, much of the personal information people are worried about is given to the IRS when Americans file taxes. Another post is an anecdote from a supermarket where an Americangave a fascinating rebuttal to a stupid comment from an Iraqi lady ahead of him at the cash.
- NSA wiretaps mild compared to Qwest Telecoms; where's the outrage over Qwest's data mining? - no worse than taxes... - The US offers you freedom you couldn't imagine in Iraq, so please, think before you talk.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

McDonalds Causes Global Warming Quip

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Global warming can't be caused by SUVs, because SUV's aren't global. You ever seen the Dalai Lama in an Escalade? Global warming has to be due to something global.
Obviously then, the real evil is caused by the global superbrand, McDonald's. If their junk food didn't make people fart so much, there would be less CO2 going into the atmosphere.

If you enjoyed the post, you may want to subscribe to our newsletter. Other options (links below) include reading some suggested posts on related subjects or picking your own related material to read from the archives.

Here are some related articles:

Quip Archives Ready - See all our past quips!
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Karl Marx is ex-Liberal Carrolyn Parrish - Quip I can't stand anti-Americanism and other dogmatic inanities. Here's a roast of two of the left's nuttier thinkers.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Quip of the Day Archives Ready!

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Quip of the Day (aka QOTD, Quoted, and Quote it!) archives are now available. You can see every humorous quip (and the not-so-funny ones too) that has been posted to Centrerion Canadian Politics since the site was created 6 months ago.

You can type 'quip' into the search bar above and to the left, to see them all, or just click the word quip below.

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Quip: The NDP cares about Quebec Yeah, sure they do.
Osama's Jihad on Starbucks Damn infidel coffeemakers!
Debate on Afghanistan Widens and our politicians are none the better for it.
The meaning of having beautiful friends Quip.

Carnival of the Capitalists Trackback

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Carnival of the Capitalists is up. The topics include philosophy of business, management techniques, ads and sales, etc. Besides, the layout is easy on the eyes. We submitted our article on the ethical problems of Adsense publishing.

Just before linking to it, we want to let you know you can participate in blogging carnivals too. A carnival is a post on a specific theme (in this case the theme was Capitalism) that links to several other blogs and their posts discussing that issue. We host Mediocre Media and Moderate Circus. Here are details on how to participate in those carnivals and others (which will get you traffic and improve your spot in the search engines, which calculate results based mainly on links).

Here's The Carnival of the Capitalists

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Carnival of the Insanities reaches Legal Drinking Age

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Doc Santy's got another top quality edition of the carnival of the insanities up. We're now at edition 21, or legal drinking age in the States. Topics of the newly adult carnival include immigration, the official 'shitlist' and other relevant current issues.

Just before linking, I'd like to explain what carnivals are, and offer you the opportunity to participate. A carnival is simply a blogpost on a specific topic, where a variety of bloggers submit posts on a topic, (in this case, insane happenings and things taking place in real life politics) and the carnival host creates a post linking to the submitted posts, and describing them. That said, you can participate in CCP's Mediocre Media and/or Moderate Circus carnival, or other people's carnivals. Here's how to participate in our carnivals (or others for that matter).

That said, check out the carnival of insanities:

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Crazy Carnival
Media reports Declining Body Count in Darfur
Terrorists Hezballah are in Lebanese Government

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Announcing Centrerion Canadian Politics Newsletter

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The newsletter saves you time and brings you the latest.

If you need your fix of Canadian politics, but can't be bothered to read the papers daily, CCP can send you a newsletter wrapping up what's going on in Canadian politics (including foreign affairs, economics etc.). It is sent out approximately every two weeks daily. It used to be sent out every two weeks, but then I found it took up too much time, so that now there's an RSS newsletter that publishes to your email inbox daily, and does so automatically, requiring no extra work from myself.

Guided Tour: Carnivals (Previous) - Privacy (Next) | About | Rewards | Join | Interactive| | Contact

The old newsletter contained:
- summaries of our best recent material, such as commentary, research and quips;
- upcoming interviews and news;
- newest editions of the carnivals we're involved with (i.e. Mediocre Media);
- the latest updates to the site to improve your experience;
- ways you can give us feedback, and improve the site, content, or other ideas.

Now, it contains an RSS feed of our latest material.

How to subscribe:
If memory serves, the "new" newsletter (actually been in place for a while) works the same as the old one. Enter your email in the box above and to the right. You will then be sent a verification email. Clicking on the link in the email will validate your subscription. This prevents other people signing you up for something that you didn't request.
Note that depending on email filters, the verification email may be in your junk mail folder.

As part of our reader rewards program, we interview and offer links to our loyal readers's websites (with permission, naturally).
Our privacy policy keeps your private information... private.

If this interested you, you may care to take the guided tour.
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Friday, May 19, 2006

New Centrerion: Kerry

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Please give a hearty welcome to Our team's newest Centrerion: Kerry! Kerry has been a section editor of her university's newspaper, written her own blog, and is generally a hard-working member of the blogosphere. As well, she used to write her own blog.

Here at CCP, Kerry will be writing on Canadian federal politics, Western separatism, and more. Additionnally, she's generously offered to help with promotion, and thus will be looking at having us partner with ... well, I can't give away the whole strategy, now can I? But I assure you, we have some great ideas for partners that will bring you plenty of great content and ideas.
Stay tuned!

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Karl Marx, Carolyn Parrish Quip of the Day

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I was thinking about former Liberal MP Carrolyn Parrish's anti-Americanism and her stupid remarks to that effect. Ever notice how similar she could sound to Karl Marx? Birds of a feather, I say.

That being said...

Centrerion Productions presents: Carrolyn Parrish as Karla Marx in the new film: Struggle Against the Capitalists ! Comrade and Comrade give it equal fingers up.
Sample line: "Damn Yankee imperialists! Blue collar unions unite! Destroy the capitalists and their evil Factors of Production!"

Crazy Karalyn!
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

New Centrerion Azuelosn: Smart Analysis of Israel

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I'd like you all to give a warm welcome to a new Centrerion who's joined the team, Azuelosn. He's a friend, an electrical engineer, and a well-spoken, intelligent analyst. He has written for the Dateline: Middle East analysis newsletter as well as other publications and appeared on TV as an invited panelist.

He's completely bilingual (trilingual actually; he speak Hebrew too), though I've only seen him write in French. At any rate, I guarantee he'll provide insights and commentary that you will come to value very highly, not to mention raise the level of your french vocabulary. In particular, expect the new Centrerion to be writing analysis and commentary on the Israel, the Mid-East, and related topics.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Harper's Appointments Commisioner - Quip of the Day

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PM Stephen Harper scrapped the idea of an appointments commission in light of strong opposition from, well, the opposition. The opposition's problem wasn't with the idea, but with the candidate, because he said that much violence and drug has come with Carribean immigrants... Anyways, small-time partisan politics aside (I think Harper just wants to make them look bad on ethics, and they want to make him look bad on tolerance), the funny stuff is in what they said, and what it sounded like:
From CTV's coverage:

Nash, a Toronto MP, told Morgan: "You said and I quote: 'The social side is too evident with the runaway violence driven mostly by Jamaican immigrants in Toronto'."

Morgan denied he was intolerant, saying: "We basically love the Caribbean.We tend their churches. In fact, in January we were at an all-black church."

Those of you with a quick mind probably see where I'm going with this:
"We love the Caribbean... [Thought bubble: "We love it... My wife and I cruise through it at least once a month!"]

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Manning and Bouchard Significantly Similar - Hebert

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In a fascinating piece on the provincial comebacks of two former federal leaders, Chantal Hebert of the Toronto Star digresses from her main topic to draw links between Preston Manning and Lucien Bouchard. The two are conservatives whose politics in the 90s ironically ended the reign of the Progressive Conservative Party on the federal stage. Manning founded the Reform Party while Bouchard founded the Bloc.

Read it at:
Manning and Bouchard aren't so Different.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Green Party: Seat or Status? Analysis of a Constitutional Dilemma

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If the Green Party elects Elizabeth May to its leadership, Greens could find themselves sitting in government while simultaneously losing their status as an official party. The Green Party leader would sit in government as an independant.

At least, that's a conclusion that could be drawn after reading the provocative news/analysis/commentary piece written by Murray Dobbin at Rabble News. The odd position the Green Party might find itself in can be explained by the goings-on in the Green Party and by Canada's constitution, which defines the functioning of the Canadian political system.

1. Current Green Party leader Jim Harris has announced he is stepping down because of the Green Party's lack of improvement in its results over the previous election. (Personally, I was surprised, by their negligeable improvement from 4.3% to 4.5%, given that they were polling over 8% at certain points in the race, but I digress...) The result is that the Green Party is having a leadership race that will culminate in an August leadership convention. May is considered by Dobbin to be the front-runner in the race (the only other candidate to date is Ottawa Centre Green candidate David Chernushenko.

Still with me? (So far, Murray Dobbin has written an editorial/news item that says Elizabeth May will succeed Jim Harris as leader of the Greens.)

That's good, because here's where it gets strange. And I don't mean strange like the story of my friend who walked his neighbour's two male dogs for years before finding out they were gay when one mounted the other on a downtown sidewalk. No, this is stranger than that, this is strange in the sense of constitutional peculiarities on the order of a constitutional law professor's wet dream.

2. A party needs to win at least 4% of the national vote to earn the status of 'official party' and the funding associated with that status, according to the Canadian constitution. For that reason, Jim Harris ran candidates in every riding in the country; Harris was giving voters in every electoral district ('riding') the option of voting Green. This optimized the Green Party's chances at attaining the 4% bar for official party status, since the 4% is counted as a percentage of the total national vote. Harris succeeded in this endeavour, and in fact earned 4.3% of the vote in 2004, as mentioned above. Editorialist Dobbins says this garnered the party 1.1 million dollars.

3. A riding is represented in Parliament by the candidate in an election who wins the most votes, still according to the Canadian constitution. Candidates who don't win the riding's seat in Parliament still see the votes they earned go towards their party's count for official party status. This is why the Green Party could be an official party without having seats in Parliament: many people voted for it, but they weren't concentrated enough in any particular riding to win the party a seat.

- So where am I going with this you ask? Dobbin writes that May might change Harris' electoral strategy, and the result is that the Greens might lose official party status and yet win a seat in Parliament.

4. Let me quote Dobbin here:
"While May would probably not replicate Harris's approach of running in every seat — in the process helping elect Conservatives and defeat NDPers — she will minimally want a seat in the House of Commons for herself. Would the NDP, in return for the Greens avoiding ridings where the NDP has a chance, facilitate her election by not running against her?"

The Greens would likely see their national vote count drop, if the Green Party runs less candidates in order to accomodate the NDP. This drop would be significant enough to reduce the Green Party's total percentage of the nation-wide vote below 4%, causing the Green party to lose its status as an official party. By extension, this would cause the Greens to lose their 1.1 million dollar funding that they get for being an official party.

On the other hand, due to the NDP's "reciprocal" accomodation (I put it in "quotation marks" because I feel the Greens would be giving much more to the NDP than the NDP would be giving in return), the Greens might finally get a seat in Parliament... provided May can beat the Conservative, Liberal, and other candidates in her riding.

I'm as conflicted on this as I was on the ethical issue I posted about yesterday concerning what I perceive as the sneaky online advertising techniques promoted by Google Adsense experts.

  • On the one hand, I think the Green Party does a good job raising issues and getting politicos to at least pay lip service to the environment (which they weren't before the Green movement). So I want Greens in Parliament.
  • Yet if there's only one Green in Parliament, who isn't even recognized as a Green but rather considered an independant, and the cost of getting that Green there is to lose official party status... well, I don't think having a Green in Parliament is such a great idea. One step forward and two steps back, as it were.

I should note also that May is founder of the well-known environmentalist Sierrra Club. More importantly, she wants the Green Party to grow beyond being about the environment only. This in turn might keep the Greens above official party status by getting votes from people who wouldn't vote Green since they were a one-issue party.

It comes down to crunching the statistics and seeing which approach is more beneficial electorally and financially to the Green Party.

May is definitely going to increase my interest in the Green Party, at any rate.
I'll hopefully have a comment on this development (in the near future) from Quebec NDPer Nicolas Thibodeau .

Related articles in the categories of: , the , , , the , , and last, but not least, the :

  1. Murray Dobbin's article on the Green Party
  2. Canada's Political System The Queen, the House, the Senate, the PM, the MPs etc.
  3. Stereotypes of the Official Parties's tax policies
  4. Platforms of the parties with official status

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ethical Dilemma Facing Google Adsense Publishers, Bloggers

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There's an inherent ethical dilemma with Google's Adsense service. It encourages bloggers (and all other Adsense publishers) to trick their readers into clicking on ads they may not otherwise click on. Also, it encourages publishers to decrease the value of their site to readers by putting ads in the website's most-viewed areas.

How I came to writing this:

I was reading a post on optimizing Adsense ads, over at . Well-respected ProBlogger Darren Rowse analyzed PBS' use of Adsense ads and suggested that since they stuck out like a sore thumb, and weren't in a prime position, they wouldn't perform to their full money-earning potential.
Studies have shown that Adsense ads work best when their colours blend in with the rest of the site they're on. Also, placing the ads in the upper left part of a site gets more people to click on the ads and thus earns more revenue for the website publisher (Adsense revenue is mainly based on clicks).

Here was my comment on the topic (material in [] was added here, after posting on Problogger):
"Of course this probably would take the blending thing too far for PBS who are obviously trying to walk a fine line between raising money and retaining their values," [wrote Darren Rowse.]
That's the core of the problem with Adsense "optimization." You're tricking your readers to click on an ad by making it look like something natural to the site.
I've tried to optimize my ads on Centrerion Canadian Politics to the extent that I've tried to make the colours similar, so I'm not an angel in this respect.

But I feel that it's a severe ethical disadvantage to Adsense that for it to perform well, you need to use psychological gimmicks aimed at fooling someone into making a subconscious association between your content and the ads, based on colour. [The point of blending the ad colours with your site colours is to make the ads look less like ads.]
For better or worse, my ugly blog design prevents the blending to work too well.

The topic had a fair number of comments, but Darren's post wasn't explicitly about the ethics of Adsense blending. What do you other bloggers and Adsense publishers think?

My Ethical Debate and Dilemma
To be fair, Google has a line of text above all their Adsense ads saying that the following are "Ads by Google." So it would be possible to argue that if someone clicks on an ad and didn't realize it was one, it was their own fault for not reading the fine print (and it truly is fine print, being smaller relatively to the text of the ads themselves).

In response to that, however, it would be equally possible to argue that the blending of ads is a 'predatory' business practice. The Adsense publisher is taking advantage of his readership's trust and leading them into thinking that the ads they see are genuine content. In children's words, it's being sneaky.

My conclusion:

There's a boundary between having relevant ads on a site and fooling the reader into thinking those ads are actual content from the website the ads are being hosted on. So what's my response to this ethical dilemma? Until I have time to get back on the right side of the boundary, I'm removing the Google Adsense ads from Centrerion Canadian Politics. Mea culpa.

So PBS hasn't "optimized" their ads... hopefully, they'll "retain their values," as Darren has written, and not optimize them. I learnt a lot from watching PBS as a kid, and it seems I'm still learning.

Note: I'm not attacking Darren's ethics or those of other publishers who blend the ads. For all I know, there's a sound bit of ethical reasoning that can defend blending ads with content. I just don't see it.

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Back Tuesday Evening - LeCentre

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I know I've said it before, but now I mean it more than ever: I need to study. I'll be back Tuesday evening when my exams are over.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Left's Call to Arms Fizzles - News Report Quip

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The left's call to arms to oppose Canada's Stephen Harper is fizzling for lack of arms, say reports. "Our protest action bombed because lefties are afraid of guns," said a spokesperson. "At any rate, only the Americans amongst us would know how to use them, and they're all pot-smoking draft dodgers anyways... giving them guns would just result in accidental beaver shootings."

That was today's Quip of the Day, aka QOTD, aka "quote it!" because QOTD sounds like quote it. I'd still like to make these into stickers... anyone know how?

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Categories: , , , ,

Environmentalists Against Evolution, Evolution Supporting Christian Right

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Environmentalists, or conversationalists as they are sometimes known, want to preserve nature as is. The right-wing and its Christians support Big Business, whose Big Pollution contributes to evolution (evpollution?). Can someone help me understand this?

How is it that normally left-wing scientists who are anxious about global warming advocate against letting evolution continue? Why do normally right-wing Christians, by the right's traditional support for Big Business, effectively support evolution, even if they're against teaching it?

Am I just misunderstanding something here?

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Victory... but for what?

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(Cross-posted at BlueGrit)

I'm not a huge fan of Maurice Vellacott. I can't say that I'm particularly bothered by the decision of the opposition majority to remove him as chair of the Indian Affairs committee. Frankly, his general unsuitability for that role given his less-than-stellar reputation among native communities should have been enough for them to do so.

This is the first victory for the Liberal party since losing the election. But that's not saying much. That we can destroy what remained of a loose-lipped Conservative MP's reputation is not only a given, it almost feels like bullying to be picking on such a small fry.

But even more troubling is that Stephen Harper actually made a good point:

"The prime minister, however, has been pointing out in the House the hypocrisy of the Liberal complaints and to a degree media coverage of Vellacott's comments, when similar statements have been made by Liberal MPs in the recent past without great fanfare."

I couldn't agree more. Sure, this is a victory for the Liberals, but we won in the wrong way. We've won through hypocrisy and with a double-standard, and to someone who hates both of those things, that's a lousy way to win. For the Liberal party to be truly consistent on this, it should be censuring Dan McTeague and Tom Wappel etc. every time they say something outrageous or ridiculous, and there's plenty of things they've said, and done, which meet that definition. Frankly, it might expedite the process by which we can rid ourselves of those Liberal poseurs, but more to the point, it would be the non-hypocritical thing to do.

Logo for Centrerion Canadian Politics

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Cooked this logo up for Centrerion Canadian Politics. How do you like it?

It's the top of a centurion's helmet (centurions were officers in the army of the Roman Empire). Why a centurion? Read the About page.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Liberty Carnival 44 - Life Liberty Property

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The carnival of liberty is on at Robot Guy. The round up on liberty includes censorship of the media, criticism of the media, a fair tax plan, and something akin to modern day crusades, whereby Muslims who have converted to Christianity are being threatened by other Muslims. This time, though, it's not in Afghanistan, but in a Western democracy. Makes me laugh at the people who asked how we could support the Afghan government when similar stuff happened there.
Check out the 44th carnival of liberty at Robot Guy's.

You want to know what a carnival is, and how you can get attention fr your site by participating in one? Well, we have a carnival information page that also lets you participate in the carnivals we host, Mediocre Media and Moderate Circus, respectively about media criticism and promotion of moderate viewpoints.

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Mediocre Media 2
Mediocre Media
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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hamas Plan to Kill Abbas Thwarted by Israeli Intelligence!

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Hamas wanted to kill PA president Mahmud Abbas, and his ally Mohammed Dahlan. Considering Dahlan has Israeli blood on his hands, it's ironic Israel intervened (though probably more for Abbas than Dahlan).
The report comes from the Times UK, and a writer calling his soapbox Protein Wisdom.

I invite you to view Abba Gav's poking fun at the Hamas-Fatah (Abbas' faction) fight.

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Carnival of Comedy Up

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The latest round-up of the online funny pages has been posted. I'm referring, of course, to the Carnival of Comedy. Yup, the carnival of comedy's up.There's discussion of free gas, dumb government, the new White House press secretary (not quite as good as Stephen Colbert's lampoon though), and something that was hidden in a cute little ceramic camel for Aunty Whatserface.
Go read Abba Gav's Carnival of Comedy.

Related articles are in the categories of: , , .

You can be part of a carnival too. Just check out the carnivals we host: Mediocre Media and Moderate Circus.

Carnival of Insanity

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Doc Sanity's got the carnival of Insanities posted. With topics like advertising, drunk scandinavians, the Bolivian president nationalizing oil, and the legitimacy of accumulation of wealth, you have a varied and generally quality festival. Check it out:

Carnival of the Insane Insanities.

Related articles are in the categories of: , , .

You can be part of a carnival too. Just check out the carnivals we host: Mediocre Media and Moderate Circus.

Liberals: Anti-American and Close Minded

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The federal Liberals (as opposed to Quebec PM Jean Charest's provincial Liberals) are close-minded and anti-American. That's the conclusion I've come to after reading the latest newsletter from their Quebec youth-wing.
I had signed up for it a few years ago, prior to the sponsorship scandal, and it keeps coming to my junk box ever since. Usually it's the Liberals announcing some get-together, and telling me how great it would be if I spent x dollars to come hear some bobble-heads yada-yada. But this time... Whoa, this time...

The Liberals are organizing a "symposium in regards to the Canadian counteraction [sic] of American hegemony in regards to drugs. The symposium's goal is to realign the debate on drugs and to offer an alternative to prohibition."
Besides the obviously poor translation that speaks to the concern Quebec Liberals have for both of Canada's official languages, two messages come out of that. They are that:

1) The Liberal grassroots are as anti-American as many of the Liberal MPs. 'Hegemony' does not have positive connotations, needless to say.

2) The Liberals have some close-minded leadership. If it were really a debate, you wouldn't start with the preconceived notion that drug prohibition is bad. No, starting there just suggests you want to reaffirm your left-leaning dogmas and have a ball at the expense of those who disagree with you. They won't be debating, they'll be reacting to 'American hegemony'.

My message to the Liberals is this:

1) The Anti-Americanism is cliche, stupid, and entirely unproductive. Consider how Stephen Harper resolved in a few months what you couldn't do in several years: he resolved the softwood lumber dispute not by giving the American the bird, but by being open-minded and compromising. (Maybe that's also why he took power... the fiscal imbalance comes to mind. Oh wait, you don't recognize the fiscal imbalance.

2) If you want to renew your party, perhaps you might consider that having a debate whose starting point is not a clean slate means you're slanting the debate. You won't renew any philosophy that way, you'll just become more stuck and close-minded in your beliefs.

You can write these bumbling morons at '" and pass it on. Oh, and if you're surfing porn before or after this, you may want to consider letting their email be spammed instead of yours...

Related articles in the categories of: , (the difference is that I classify things as being part of 'federal politics' if they come from the parties and ordinary Canadians are not involved... here it comes from them, but I'm involved), , :

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Harper's Budget - does it really take 60 days to make 7 6?

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Harper announced the cut in the GST in the budget, but decided to wait until Canada day to implement it. While the bill has to pass, does it really take 60 days to do so. By waiting to implement it, high end products are going to stay on the shelves unless stores can offer enough of a sale to move them, everyone wants to wait for the GST cut before dropping a large wad of cash.

Perhaps Harper should look at puting his cut in faster, as retail is dead for the next 60 days!

Friday, May 05, 2006 How-to User Guide in 3 Easy Steps, Plus Explanation and Tips

Save this online in [?] Vote For this Post How-to User Guide and Explanation
compiled and edited by LeCentre
Guided Tour: Interactive (Previous) - Privacy vs Digg Privacy (Next)
I read an article by Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur's journey suggesting that for people to increase their RSS readerships, they ought to write How-To guides, explaining how they're used and why. Figuring that that's also applicable to and other ideas, here's a how-to user guide on Most of the information comes from' website, but wikipedia (the free online encyclopedia) helped out on this one too.

Now, like when you play a game, before you learn how to play, you need to first know what the game is and the purpose. That said, here's the what and the why of using (courtesy of' website).

Oh, just one more thing before we begin. If you find this helpful, you can bookmark it with th link at the bottom of this page.

What is is a collection of favorites - yours and everyone else's. Use to:

* Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, restaurant reviews, and more on and access them from any computer on the web.
* Share favorites with friends, family, and colleagues.
* Discover new things. Everything on is someone's favorite - they've already done the work of finding it. Explore and enjoy.

Main Use
The primary use of is to store your bookmarks online, so you can access them from anywhere.

Other uses is an open-ended system. You decide how you want to use it. Here are some examples:

* Research - writing an article? Researching an industry? Slaving away on your dissertation? Use to keep track of all your source materials and commentary that you find online.
* Wishlist - go to any commerce site, find what you like, post it to and tag it as "wishlist". Then just tell people to check it out at
* Podcast - want to hear some great podcasts? Visit and start listening. also offers RSS feeds that you can import directly into iTunes. Are you a podcaster? Start posting your mp3 files to and we will create an RSS feed for you.
* Vacation - planning a trip? Post links for hotels, activities, and transportation to and use tags like "travel", "vacation", "tovisit". Collaborate with friends and family by using the "for:username" tag.

So now that we know the aim of the game, how do we play?

Here's how to use

1) Register for an account. They're free, and only ask for a user name and password; providing an email is optional! If you think you might forget your password, though, you should provide it to them. In my analysis and comparison of their privacy policy with Digg, a competing website, I found that had a very good, protective privacy policy. (Those of you with attention to detail will note, in the picture, the smart-aleck "it's not delivery, it's delicisio" username, parodying the ad campaign of frozen pizza brand Delicisio. Update: The pizza brand is Delicio, not delicisio... I was tired when I wrote the post. There's also apparently a similar brand with the same slogan, known as DiGiorno's. Thanks to Jon Maloney for the tip.)

2) Drag and drop the buttons onto your browser's top bar. You're now ready to save your favourites online.

3) When you come across a site you like, or a webpage within a site that you like, you can just click the tag this / post to buttons. A box will pop up, you type in a description for you to remember what it's about, and then hit save.

Now, whenever you want to access your bookmarks, you just click the my button in your browser, and you can get see them. The beauty, however, is that since your favourites are saved online, you can now also see your favourites at a friend's house. You just go on the internet, head over to, and sign in. Then you'll see your bookmarks.

Here's' official explanation, plus a tip on organizing the bookmarks:

"Your bookmarks

This is where all your saved bookmarks reside. You can get to this page by visiting, clicking on the "your bookmarks" link at the top of the page, or using the "my" browser button.

Your bookmarks are ordered chronologically, with the latest bookmark listed up top. You can choose to view 10, 20, 50, or 100 items per page. This can be set at the bottom of the page.
On the right side of the page, you will see your tags and bundles. You have the option to sort these alphabetically or by frequency of use. You can view these as a list or cloud. To see all the bookmarks with a certain tag, click on the tag."

Reminder: If you found this guide useful, you can bookmark it with the link at the end.

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Privacy Policy for subscribers

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Carnival of the Crazy; New Politics Club Members

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I'd like to invite you to check out a few new websites that we're teaming up with. The first hosts the carnival of the crazy, the others are centrist blogs. One of them discusses - get this - art, NYC, and... Polish Corean [sic] diplomacy.
The entertaining File it Under 2.0 hosts the Carnival of the Crazy, about shocking truths in politics that are sometimes difficult to believe. For example, we submitted our post about the media's declining body count on Darfur. Check it out: Carnival of the Crazy 21.
The Pole and his Corean girlfriend are blogging over at Poland-Corea Relations.
Other interesting moderates and centrists you would do well to read are:
Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds. Absolutely brilliant, erudite analysis. Try and argue with him, I dare you.
Donklephant. He ain't a Dem, nor is he a Republican. He's a genetically modified political activist.
Dr Sanity. She's actually a right-winger, but she writes so well and with such precision and clarity and logic, that I figured she would interest those of you looking for a little variety.

You can be part of a carnival too. Just check out the carnivals we host: Mediocre Media and Moderate Circus.

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