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Bev OdaSo it seems that we’re on the verge of an election.  An election that we’re told is going to be a referendum on the Harper government.  A referendum that’s going to decide whether or not Canadians want to live in Harper’s Canada.

Harper’s Canada that includes thousands of well paid, well educated and well qualified public servants who are specialists in what they do and are worth exactly nothing to Canadians because his ministers routinely reject their advice and make unilateral decisions.

Why do we have a Chief Statistician when the Industry Minister feels himself more qualified to decide what makes for good statistics? Why do we have a CIDA if Bev Oda can obviously decide on her whim where to spend our tax dollars (or NOT as the case may be)?

CIDA has an annual budget of 3$ billion and employs more than 2000 public servants with Canadian taxpayers money.  Does the Conservative government really believe that Bev Oda – of all people – knows better than those professionals in the public service?

The members of the public service are paid to serve the public.  The Harper Cabinet is paid to get Harper a majority – who do you suspect is the more objective body?

Originally published at Terry McGinn's Blog - 15 years of Canadian politics, current events and opinions. Please leave any comments there.

I have been doiCalendarng back through the annals of my blog(s) and reading through the entries and deciding whether to keep them or not.  There are a number that are inconsequential posts that include links that no longer go anywhere or are Internet memes that are no longer relevant (if they ever were in the first place).

But a great many of them are true journal/blog/diary entries and reading them reminds me of the way that I used to write; and I miss it.

Not the style in which I used to write, of course, because that was terrible (and perhaps still is), but rather what I used to write about.  I used to explore my feelings and write about the minutiae of the day and whatnot.  Whether for better or worse as far as the reader goes I enjoy being able to go back to those old entries and recall the bygone days and their pursuits.

I don’t write like that anymore.

Now when I sit down to write a blog I feel that there is some standard or level of wit that needs to be met in order for the post to justify its own creation.  Back in the day, as we’re going to call it, I used no such benchmark.

Granted I also had a 24/7 webcam that was running in my apartment and thus opening ones self up and writing about minutiae when it was being broadcast to the Internet seemed to go hand in hand.  It seemed silly to keep anything unsaid when it was all being shown.  I often said that the only privacy that I needed existed between my ears – which was misstated because I also wrote about my feelings, but the point stands.

I want to write like that again, to be able to have these entries to look at 10 years from now and see what it was that I was doing or thinking or thinking about doing today.  Reading the text of the entries from blogs gone by, for example, I was reminded that tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the day my mother’s website went online (designed by me).  And that I was dating a guy named Robin whose last name I have forgotten but of whom I still have a picture.

August 19th will mark the 15th anniversary of my blogging career and I hope that 10 years from then I will still be blogging – or whatever we’re calling it then: my hope is that we’re using stardates at least!

Originally published at WebDesign (and a Blog) by Terry McGinn. Please leave any comments there.

Sometimes the dog makes me feel bad because it seems like every time I talk she thinks that I’m getting mad at her.

We spend a lot of time together just the two of us and she does lay at the foot of my desk chair.  Which, also, causes her to leap up when I roll backwards (else I would run her over); but the dramatic way in which she jumps up makes me feel like I’ve scared the life out of her each time.

She was somewhat mistreated before we got her when she was a pup, so she has some of that still affecting her, too.

She is an extremely well behaved dog, with the few notable slip-ups that all dogs have.  The other day, for example, she ate some small pots that I had planted early seeds in, but they are pots made out of cow poop, so I’m sure they smelled quite intriguing to her.  I didn’t get too upset (I didn’t catch her at it), but she always knows when she’s done something wrong.

I wish I knew a way to make her less jumpy seeming, though, while still being mindful.  It definitely makes me feel bad when she drops to the ground like she thinks I’m going to wail on her or something.

Then I end up talking baby-talk to her in order to reassure her that she’s okay – which makes me want to wail on myself.

Originally published at WebDesign (and a Blog) by Terry McGinn. Please leave any comments there.

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I don’t watch much television – aside from the news and Discovery channel – but just recently I read about the announcement of two upcoming releases of old television series.  TNT is continuing the Dallas saga and Charlie’s Angels is being renewed by ABC.  I liked both of these series when they originally aired.

I am much more interested in the continuation of Dallas than I am for Charlie’s Angels.  I remember watching Dallas when I was a kid and have since seen every episode of the series.  I honestly can’t wait to see what happens and while I know that it will be moving on from being centred on the original characters, so as long as the maintain the original stories and dramatic elements then I’ll be hooked.

A bonus, of course, is the fact that the original actors – a lot of them at least – have signed on to play their original characters.  So far the casting doesn’t seem to include any characters named Barnes, but I’m sure that will be sussed out before the series airs; in the Dallas universe the Barnes’ are almost as important as the Ewings.

Charlie’s Angels, on the other hand, holds very little interest for me.  I’ll wait to see how the series shakes out but I just can’t imagine getting excited about it.  Also, I’m not entirely sure that the series can effectively make the jump to the 21st century.  The only thing that even remotely interests me about this series is Drew Barrymore’s attachment as a producer and hearing Robert Wagner just one time say “Good morning, Angels.”

Are you interested in either one of these series coming back?

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Originally published at Terry McGinn's Blog - 15 years of Canadian politics, current events and opinions. Please leave any comments there.

Last year I upgraded the size of my fish tank after the GuppygeddonTM killed all my guppies.  I had decided before the GuppygeddonTM that I was going to go back to collecting and keeping native fishes.  I had done so many years before when I kept a half-dozen sunfishes that were caught at my mother’s place.   I had those fish for years and they were a lot of fun.

I caught a half-dozen minnows at my mother’s place in Inverary.  The little minnows were no bigger than an eyelash when I got them.  They are, as far as I can tell, Sand Shiners.

After two months in the tank they had grown substantially.

For the past eight months the Sand Shiners have been the only fish in the tank, but just recently my dad gave me a bucket of minnows that he got for ice fishing that he wasn’t going to use as bait and were, therefore, surplus.

In the bucket were three Northern Redbelly Daces and seven Spottail Shiners.  One of the shiners didn’t make the slow transition from outside-temperature (38o water) to inside-temperature (68o water) even though I stretched it out over three days.

I haven’t added them to my main tank yet, I want to ensure that they’re healthy before I do.

Originally published at Terry McGinn's Blog - 15 years of Canadian politics, current events and opinions. Please leave any comments there.

I take part in a collaborative YouTube channel in which 5 people from 3 continents post a video each week, my day is Wednesday.  This is my video from this week:

For more videos visit: The Vloggers Of The Week.

Originally published at WebDesign (and a Blog) by Terry McGinn. Please leave any comments there.

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Yesterday I wrote about my wish that the government would make moves to reduce the personal tax rate rather than continue to lower and already low corporate tax rate.

Today I’m at it again.

It seems that overnight, a bunch of people have jumped on the bandwagon in agreement that corporate tax rates aren’t the best solution available to the government right now.  Including, according to The Montreal Gazette, the Department of Finance.

“…a Department of Finance estimate of the impact of various measures on growth and employment. Support for the unemployed and low-income earners tops the list, followed by infrastructure investment. Corporate tax cuts rank last.”

So there you have it.

Well, not exactly, I support the government in its goal to reduce its revenue by 6$ billion, which is estimated to be the amount this tax cut would cost, but I think that giving 320$ to every adult Canadian is a better solution.

Sooner or later someone is going to have to make the decision that helps Canadians bank a little money, pay down a little debt or feed, clothe and house themselves.  All we know for certain, at this point, is that that is not going to come from the Conservative-led government.

And, because I can’t stop writing without this nyah, nyah moment, even if the Conservatives do manage to roll out the full extent of their corporate tax cut plan; that is lowering the rate from 21% to 15% as they have planned.  It will still be a percentage point less than the roll out of tax cuts by the previous Liberal government who made Canada’s tax rate competitive in the first place.  The Liberals lowered the corporate tax rate from 28 percent to 21 percent from 2000 to 2004 – a reduction of 7% compared to the Conservatives’ 6%.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Originally published at Terry McGinn's Blog - 15 years of Canadian politics, current events and opinions. Please leave any comments there.

As the government is proud to proclaim over and over and over we have, like, the lowest corporate tax rate in the known universe so why, exactly, do we need to keep lowering it? I mean, I know that corporate muckity-mucks are cynical bastards, I’ve always admired them for that, but doesn’t else anyone think that if they have enough extra cash on hand to willy-nilly relocate their headquarters, or means of production or whatever hither-thither across the globe chasing the lowest possible tax rate then perhaps, just perhaps, they had the dough to pay the rates all along?

Furthermore, and maybe I’m just stupid or something, but wouldn’t lower personal tax rates mean more money for consumers and therefore more money for the corporations that those consumers chose to purchase from, thereby, y’know, causing those corporations to be able to hire more people, yadda, yadda.

Not to mention that more money in the hands of consumers means that they get to dictate which corporations succeed by rewarding those who provide what they want to pay for by way of their purchases.

I would prefer this to the top-down mentality of the Conservatives who would prefer to start the cycle by helping the faceless monolith, I think it would be nice to have someone willing to help me, and you, and you, and you… y’know, help Canadians. Not International Corporation In Canada.

By way of their corporate tax incentives rather than money in the pockets of the people the government is deciding who succeeds based on who can eek out the greatest tax benefits – which generally means that Mom and Pop are screwed.  Lower corporate taxes , by way of tax incentives and such, means that more money can be spent on researching ways to replace human workers with machinery as a means of maximizing profit.

Lower personal tax rates rather than lower corporate tax rates will absolutely benefit the tax paying public and put more money in the hands of those people; with which they can use the power of their democratic dollar to endorse the corporation of their choosing.

It’s a shame that this is not supported by the Conservatives in this country.

Originally published at WebDesign (and a Blog) by Terry McGinn. Please leave any comments there.

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KirpanThe question gets asked from time to time how many ways are we supposed to bend over for “foreign” religions and their traditions.  My answer is this:

As many ways as is necessary in order to be true to the philosophy of religious pluralism in an increasingly globalized world. There are ways that people can be true to their religion and still integrate into a society; but the society, as well as the religion, need to work together in order to achieve it.

I am not a religious person (“faithful”, perhaps, on my more introspective days) so it would be easy for me to howl and cry foul and immediately declare the display of such religious affects untenable to Canadian society. But that’s not the broad-minded view. It’s certainly not the pluralistic view. And it does little to solve the problem for the long term.

Religion is no longer a local phenomenon. It is no longer as easy to define the borders between one religion and another as once it was. Globalization has seen to that. And so it will be that either we endeavour to squash the presentation of religious beliefs that are not endemic to our region of the world or else we work to find solutions that will allow religious pluralism to thrive.

It has always been a surprise to me that people who extol the virtues of freedom of expression are so willing to revoke that self-same freedom at the first sign of someone with a “foreign” religious symbol.

And “foreign” is an important part of this discussion because we don’t disapprove of the symbols of all religions. We wear crosses and Stars of David and proudly display the Buddha or an Ankh without anyone making the slightest fuss. The kippah is worn and no one screams bloody murder, but someone wants to wear a turban and all of a sudden they’re accused of being on a jihad.

Religious pluralism is a tenet of our society. No government sponsored religion means all religions are welcome in our society. I believe that there is a middle ground wherein the needs of the religion and the needs of society can be met together.

Selective religious intolerance and ignorance is not a solution.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with letting people carry kirpans as religious symbols; just render them unable to be drawn from their sheath. Kirpans that are glued or fastened into their sheath, for example, still wholly fulfill their role as Sikh customs.

Originally published at WebDesign (and a Blog) by Terry McGinn. Please leave any comments there.

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Nothing stops me from reading a piece of fiction faster than bad writing.  I can slog through a bad story for a while, even predictable characters and a transparent plot, but poor quality writing pretty much turns me off immediately.

I have recently started working on a new fiction project, an online webseries, and have thus been perusing other series in order to get involved in the genre again (I have been away from the “community” for 5 or 6 years).  There are a lot of interesting stories being written but so many of them are written poorly.  Spelling mistakes, terrible grammar, getting the names of characters wrong; I just can’t handle that.  I can’t overlook it, and to me, there is no excuse.

I am not, by any means, a literary master but I can string together a sentence to two.  What is more likely to make you put down a book, click away from a webseries, or the like, bad writing or a bad story?

What's worse (in fiction)?

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Originally published at WebDesign (and a Blog) by Terry McGinn. Please leave any comments there.

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