From the AP's top news stories of 2004, (which I linked to from LGF)

A sports story almost cracked the Top 10: The Boston Red Sox' World Series victory, their first since 1918, finished No. 13 and was among 10 stories that received at least one first-place vote.
I was in St. Louis for games three and four ... it was unbelievable... it still is. I never thought that I would see it.

The Sox signed David Wells and they just inked Clement , so I guess it's so-long to D.Lowe. I hope not. Lowe had a tough year, but he was money, yet again, when it counted. His playoff performances have been outstanding. I say sign him right now. He eats innings and he has been in the top ten in wins for 3 straight years. He will be entering the season with a lot of confidence. Please Theo, sign Lowe. And while you're at it, get the Varitek deal done.

Of course if Randy Johnson is on the market....
-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/22/2004 01:06:00 p.m. TITLE: Recovering Liberal ----- BODY:
The return of Recovering Liberal is a good thing because of posts like this.
-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/22/2004 12:51:00 p.m. TITLE: Pimp My Government (or is it my government the pimp?) ----- BODY:
Officials at HRDC were intimidated into the immigration exemption for strippers. You know the one that has Judy Sgro in so much trouble. The National Post is reporting the following:

A senior government official said intimidation by organized crime in the adult entertainment business led HRDC to set up the fast-track program for foreign strippers.

Human Resources Minister Joe Volpe finally cancelled the special exemption on Dec. 15, but he had to battle his own officials who feared HRDC field officers could face retaliation from organized crime.

Senior HRDC officials informed Mr. Volpe's office the special exemption was given to foreign dancers because they didn't want their front-line officers to deal with strip club owners on a case-by-case basis.

Organized crime may well be better than the arbitrary, unorganized kind. The organized criminal has a tendency to keep to his own crowd and of course they provide the vices that the government does not. Government has the alcohol & gambling rackets, organized crime has the drug & prostitute rackets, the police have the protection racket.

The only way to get rid of organized crime is for the government to take over the drug and prostitution rackets or to legalize the same.

The government has legalized limited gambling and booze sales, controlling access and content. The mob are pretty well out of that business. One could assume that legalizing limited solicitation and pot would sure put a damper on the business of the mob as well. These activities would become legitimate businesses, paying taxes and the like.

All that would be left would be hardcore drugs, but they may well go the way of bookie betting, guns, the unions and the protection racket. I do not think that some police officers will be that happy with the competition.
-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/22/2004 10:12:00 a.m. TITLE: Big Doctor is Watching ----- BODY:

Fat is bad, very bad. The Heart and Stroke Foundation moved fat ahead of tobacco as the number one cause of heart disease. Now more news from Ontario. Apparently it is an epidemic. Fat people are costing the health care system millions of dollars.

In the hysteria following the announcement there were calls for separate sections in restaurants for fat people, a ban on fat people in airplanes and even a complete ban on fat people in public places.

These hysterics are misplaced. Fat people are not evil; they are the victims of capitalism, trans-national corporations such as McDonald’s, and globalization in general.

Through a conspiracy of deception, the Fat Guy’s food was not properly labelled; his food content was not properly regulated; documentaries on body image problems made his parents feed him potatoes; the X-Box was addictive; cable TV ran B-Movies, the NHL expanded the number of teams and the baseball playoffs were awesome.

As a child, the Fat Guy was enticed by Happy Meal advertisements and we all know how addictive a McDonald’s fry is. Some have suggested that the fries are cooked in fat to make them even more addictive.

There is no easy solution to this problem, but one is necessary or there will be a “death by chocolate” for millions of Canadians. If the fat die at the same rate as Health Canada claims smokers die, soon there will be no one left in the country. The fabric of the country is unravelling.

The State is much more interested in people than profits. The State loves children. The answer lies with the strong State action to regulate weight and exercise levels for Canadians. This can be accomplished in the following ways:

These simple changes will ensure that we live healthier and happier lives. Big Doctor loves you. You love Big Doctor. Fall Down Mayor McCheese. Hail Big Doctor.

-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/21/2004 10:37:00 p.m. TITLE: Canadian Spies ----- BODY:
The Globe & Mail is supportive of CSIS increasing its "foreign intelligence-gathering". One of the core functions, perhaps the core function, of any government is to protect its citizens from hostile outside forces. This is particularly true for rights based democracies. The majority of people in the world do not have rights vis a vis their governments which act exclusively to the benefit of the government, not the citizens. They use force and only answer to force.The threat to these governments is freedom, otherwise they would simply allow the same. (see also The Globe's editorial Demoting Russia). The same is true for non-government groups such as leftist and religious terrorists.

Since the enemy is freedom, then we are the enemy.

The Canadian Government then has an obligation to gather foreign intelligence to protect us from those that would attack our freedom.

Update: Daimnation also has a post about freedom being the enemy. (I have not figured out how to link directly to the post so I'm just sending you to his site. Once I figure it out will change the link. What can I say? I'm new.)
-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/21/2004 02:59:00 p.m. TITLE: It has been a long time coming ----- BODY:
Congrats to Canadian skier Thomas Grandi. 12 World Cup seasons, first and second victories in the past three days.
-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/21/2004 10:00:00 a.m. TITLE: Canada Choking on Sharia Law ----- BODY:
In yesterday's post I opined about sucking and blowing when it comes to rights & freedoms. It would appear that Canada is in the process of suffocating. A report by former Ontario AG Marion Boyd on the use of Sharia Law in Ontario has concluded that it is A-OK for Muslims with regard to family law.

Canada is a rights based democracy, operating on the rule of law. Everyone is equal under the law. At least that is the theory. In reality we have created a series of citizenship, those of us with individual rights and the rule of law and those who have collective rights that operate outside of the law. Muslims women may see themselves subject to the Sharia law. I'm sure the men are not complaining and the women will not either if they know what is good for them.

I would like to say that this is the first crack in the rule of law, but aboriginals in this country have already seen their individual rights trumped by collective rights, where culture and the tribe is paramount.

In Canada we must soon decide the road that we are going to follow. Will all individuals be granted the same protections and benefits under the law or will we create classes of society where the interests of the collective (read the leadership) are more important than the freedom of the members?

I understand that the report does not recommend the imposition the Sharia on any individual Muslim, but it would be naive to suggest that once it becomes an option the cultural pressure will make it mandatory for those who most need their rights protected.

Update: Apparently LGF is on this, quoting the Montreal Gazette.
-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/21/2004 08:24:00 a.m. TITLE: Seven Will Get you One ----- BODY:
Stan Koebel was sentenced to a year in jail. According to the Globe & Mail the sentence is "too meagre for some, too rich for others, and irrelevant to many who continue to suffer regardless."
The public service apparently gives you job security for life while ensuring that you can avoid hard time.

-------- AUTHOR: Little Tobacco DATE: 12/20/2004 05:17:00 p.m. TITLE: Notwithstanding? Not Now. Not Ever? ----- BODY:
In Canada the debate over same sex marriage continues and with it the threat of the notwithstanding clause. I use the word "threat" deliberately. Use of the notwithstanding clause has the effect of turning individual rights and freedoms into privileges subject to the whim of the state. Any legislature in the country can, within its area of constitutional competence, negate a right or freedom by a majority vote. In effect, any province or the feds can amend the Charter without having to go through the amending process.

Once used, particularly by the Feds, the notwithstanding clause ices the slope. Proponents of the notwithstanding clause for gay marriage are most likely not proponents when it comes to other cases and vice versa. Take for example the challenge to the Canada Health Act (CHA).

There is a chance, if the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has the courage, that portions of the CHA will be struck down as a violation of the Charter. Why? Because the effect of the CHA, and similar provincial legislation, is to eliminate the choice of health care services for an individual. No government would ever do that directly, a clear Charter violation, so they have done it through the back door by attacking providers of the services.

If the universality component is found to be a Charter violation, who will be calling for the use of the notwithstanding clause? Not those calling for its use on gay marriage. The reason is that "progressive" thinkers, like Jack Layton, who care about rights for gays do not actually care about individual rights and freedoms. They are socialists. They want equality of result for individuals relative to the state. Gays are an oppressed minority, the law must give them an equal result. It is the same for abortion rights. Socialists see abortion as an equlaity issue, not an idividual rights issue petaining to the inviolability of the person. Essentially the abortion cases have determined that your body is yours and, provided that you are competent, the state cannot regulate it. That it why consuming an unapproved drug like prepulsid is not illegal. It is a question of individual rights, not collective rights. The CHA forces everyone to cross the finish line at the same time. The result is equal.

On the other hand, the Randy Whites of this world also want equality, only it is equality of morality. We will have a state imposed moral standard. He no more cares for the rights of individuals than Jack Layton. It is simply the particular Charter violations that cause the differences.

However, you cannot suck and blow. A right is a right. If the notwithstanding clause is used on health care because we like the motive but not on gay marriage because we do not like the motive, the use of the clause will depend entirely upon political expediencey. The Liberals and the NDP will be screaming about "American Style Health Care" and the values of Canadians, however, once subject to the whims of the plurality a right becomes a privilege; it can be revoked.

Thus, no use of the notwithstanding clause today or tomorrow. If we want a change then we should have a constitutional amendment according to the process that is laid out in the constitution. This will not be a mere whim, the amending process has a high threshold.

The other option would be for governments to require super majorities to use the notwithstanding clause. A bare majority would not cut it. Or have a referendum where the government funds the opposing campaign and the requirement has to be 75% of the populous. At least then the electorate will be shooting themselves in the head rather than having the government or interesst groups pull the trigger.