Flaherty Dies, Canada’s Contemptible Finance Minister

Most people are quite cautious about what they say, but a few people have said to me, ‘Do you have cancer? … What’s going on? Are you going to die?’ That kind of thing,” he told the Globe. “And, obviously, I am not. I mean, I will die eventually, but not over a dermatological issue.” – Flaherty 2013

“The treatment involved taking a strong steroid called prednisone, which is often accompanied by serious side-effects.”
It’s always unfortunate when a human being has health problems. I too have had to take steroids for a serious allergy.

Flaherty said in his [resignation] statement that he is “on the road to a full recovery” and that his departure from politics is “not related in any way” to his health.

Unfortunately for Mr. Flaherty, he was as bad at predicting his future health as he was at managing and predicting Canada’s economy. “[March 2008 budget] will also protect the fiscal framework from a Private Member’s bill that risks plunging the federal government back into deficit.”

Canada’s former Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, died suddenly today of a heart attack. He was the only Finance Minister of the Commonwealth countries, to have been in office while his government was found in Contempt of Parliament (for hiding financial information).

The second ruling found the Cabinet could possibly be in contempt of Parliament for not meeting Opposition members’ requests for details of proposed bills and their cost estimates, an issue which had “been dragging on since the fall of 2010.”[4][7]

Concerning the Speaker’s second ruling, on March 21, 2011, the committee tabled a report[9] that found the Government of Canada in contempt of Parliament.[7] As such, a motion of no confidence was introduced in the House.[10] On March 25, 2011, Members of Parliament voted on this motion, declaring a lack of confidence by a vote of 156 to 145 and forcing an election.[11][12] The contempt finding is unique in Canadian history. In a wider context, it is the first time that a government in the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations has been found in contempt of Parliament.[13][14]

For those who say I’m being too harsh, “a man has just died”, might I note that I didn’t know this man, and in most Canadians’ case, neither did they. He was a figurehead of a very deceitful and disastrous government for our country. He presided over actions that were ruled in contempt of the Canadian people’s representatives, why should we the Canadian people not hold him in similar regard? I do not feel sympathy for Flaherty, only his family. Why should I pretend otherwise? The chances of his family surfing along and finding my unkind words this year are negligible, and if I’ve managed to offend one of his friends, I’ll note that you should have picked better friends. (Fun Fact: Flaherty picked Rob Ford as a friend.)

“Canada would not be where it is today without Jim Flaherty,” said Ford. “

Could there be a more damning epitaph?

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Fix for Windows XP not updating on Windows Update

I recently reinstalled Windows XP SP2 on a Dell Vostro laptop, and Windows Update wouldn’t work. I knew malware wasn’t the cause, it’s a bug in Microsoft’s Windows Update and how it refuses to interact with older Internet Explorer 6 or 7, and if you try to update to IE8, it hangs if you let the install file check for updates before installing the browser.

In summary:
I had to update to IE8 without checking for updates at time of install, then manually apply
IE8-WindowsXP-KB2898785-x86-ENU.exe
and reboot, then it finally began updating automatically.

This is a clean install of XP SP2 updated to SP3 by manual download, but it wouldn’t show any updates for Windows Update, it would never finish checking.

The checking for updates, never completes.

To fix it I first tried a manual download of SP3 and installed it. No change.
I tried Fix It (because .NET wasn’t on this computer yet), but had to do the commands manually because of the missing .NET. They didn’t help after stopping and starting the WU service after doing proxycfg.exe -d and other things.

What finally worked days later when I went back to it, was manually updating IE8 with three patches.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41404

I’m not sure if the combination of patches fixed it, or the last of the 3 I tried. The last one was IE8-WindowsXP-KB2898785-x86-ENU.exe

Downloading updates has been at 7% for the last half hour, so I hope that it hasn’t stalled out, but at least the little yellow update shield has returned to the system tray.

How to Meet your Resolution Goal

Have you made a financial or fitness resolution to meet this year?

Meeting a goal isn’t like buying something. You don’t have to shop around for it, and you can’t buy it anyway. It takes time, and a little bit of effort added up. The effort only seems like a lot, when you’ve reached the goal, but it’s small in the moment.

Government House Levee 2014

Start so small, you will crave doing more. The first effort will be so small that you don’t feel like bragging about it once complete, but this is okay. As the steps in Lifehacker point out, remaining positive and giving yourself a break is important. The point isn’t to run a marathon or save $1000 on the first attempt, it’s to create the new system that makes it possible for you to do one of those things. Start by doing 1-5 sit-ups or push ups, or walking for 5 minutes outside the first day. Or if you’re saving, put away $5 the first time.

Now that you’ve made time for change and aren’t discouraged by the amount of effort or money each attempt takes, just repeat until you’re good at it and ready to grow into bigger efforts. If you find you’re stopping altogether, scale back your effort to whatever level it takes to get started again, even if it’s smaller than where you started.

Shoplifter busted ; Sundog ; Bugs

A shoplifter stealing hair dye among other things was nabbed at the Extra Foods at Golden Mile. 2 cop cars. Ladies, dyeing your hair is a gateway to a life of crime.

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I saw a huge sundog a couple days ago south of Moose Jaw. It had a secondary rainbow to the west of it, as far away from the right side sundog as the sundog was from the Sun.
The Sundogs extended to the horizon, as did the rainbow. They didn’t meet over the Sun though.

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It’s extremely cold out right now. Someone moving out piled their old sectional in front of the dumpster, so it got moved to the side, into my parking space (fortunately vacant). I took off a few of the feet on the sectional, and in the thin wooden crevices were dead bugs. Ick. The furniture owners were called back to properly dispose of the pieces.

Food Over 3 Decades Old

Yesterday I ate fruit cake my Mum made for her wedding, and it still tasted good. Few people get to eat food older than they are, and can say they enjoyed it.

Fruit cake from '78

One of the greatest things to come out of the 70s was me. Another of those great things was this cake. Both made, in part, by my Mum.

Bengough Water Tower Disaster
I learned more about the 1970s too by looking in a photo album. Here’s Bengough’s water tower accident. Mum said a vehicle was crushed, and the rink got clipped, but no one was hurt.

Blog Action Day 2013 – Human Rights #BAD13

On Friday I was invited to talk about blogging, on Regina’s community radio station CJTR. The show was Human Rights Radio by Jim and Gord, and we spent the hour going over what a blog is, why it’s useful to have one, and how it could be used to promote human rights. You can give a listen to it!

The second half of the show is on YouTube too, if you want to look at the ceiling for most of it:

Also, if you’re in Saskatchewan, check out the “Get Active with Amnesty” 2013 conference. I was a guest speaker for it last year when it was in Regina. This time it is in Moose Jaw.

This is the conference site.
And there is also a facebook event page you can use to invite friends.

Don’t Commit Sociology When It Makes Sense

Don’t talk about the dark if it’s still night.

Don’t talk about the oil while it’s spilling.

Don’t mention a war that’s still being fought.

Don’t talk about a drought while it’s still dry.

Don’t talk about a flood if it’s still wet.

Don’t talk about the day if it’s still light.

Don’t mention guns while children are shot.

Don’t look at famine when food is wasted.

Don’t mention fires while they’re still hot.

Don’t talk about terrorism, as towers are smoking.

Don’t worry about Climate Change, I’m buying a Range Rover.

Overtired pilots after a plane crash; you must be joking?

That’s all I’ve got.

Regina, Saskatchewan

Dark Sky Preserve at Wood Mountain

Dark Sky Preserve Sunset

I found a new way to appreciate my home town through the eyes of astronomers this weekend. Also, I used the astronomers’ telescopes, which is a great way to look from their perspective on the universe. Wood Mountain is the gateway to the East Block of the Grasslands National Park which is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. The Park and the RASC Regina branch had Peter McMahon from SkyNews Magazine come out to check out the park and give a presentation.
Dark Sky Preserve

As the presentation ended, uncommon noctilucent clouds lit up on the northern horizon, illuminated by the set Sun.

Noctilucent Clouds at Dark Sky Preserve

RASC
RASC had people from Regina, Saskatoon, and even Port Hope, ON attending the star party.

As everyone was eagerly photographing the clouds, I saw a satellite zooming up from the west, and it was soon confirmed to be the International Space Station. It made another pass an hour and a half later.

Dark Sky Preserve
I lost count how many satellites I saw. There was a binary pair, someone explained were US Military. There was an Iridium, known for its magnificent flare overhead. And I saw a meteor too.

Saturn
Saturn

The skies stayed perfectly clear for the next two hours, then some clouds and fog rolled in just before it started to rain around 2am Sunday morning.

If the rain on the tent hadn’t been so noisy, then these Leopard frogs would have been the noisiest background noise.
Leopard Frog

Meadowlarks
Meadowlarks sing very loudly and distinctively. I enjoy imitating their tweeting with a whistle.

I’ll be going on next year’s Dark Sky Preserve tour of southern Saskatchewan, that’s for sure! The weather looked rainy from Regina, but it cleared up as soon as Saturday afternoon hit in the Park. The campers who tried Friday night too, ended up a little rained on, near Val Marie. You never know what the weather will hold until that hour hits.

Thawing Out

The world’s deep freeze in the north is thawing out quickly. As a result we’re making interesting discoveries as bodies get uncovered. There are two big problems. We’re losing thousands of years of preservation in short years, giving scientists only in our time period (and before) access to direct collection of this unique and precious data. Two, it’s an indicator of climate change being well under way.

As I explained to a friend the other day, if you’re not at least a little worried about climate change, you betray ignorance of the subject. I contend there’s no way an educated, and rational person could not be worried about the impending deadly situation which has few solutions, and most of those are not attainable by individual (only global) action.

We’re triggering a massive die-off, the extinction of countless plants and animals when we change their climate around them. The mutants which are adapted to the changed situation will survive as those species lucky enough to have adapted mutants always have throughout evolution. Humans have the luxury of adapting quickly in a lifetime to many environments, but most plants and animals do not. It’s going to be a difficult future to survive in, or rather it will be for most of the lifeforms on Earth at this time.

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GE scientists in as early as 1956 realized global warming (climate change) was being caused by pollution.