Thursday, September 20, 2007

Political Horserace

Over the past few days, I've been observing with some amusement the fallout from the Outremont by-election. A setback for the Liberals? Sure. The end of the world as Dion knows it? Oh most definitely, according to the grave assessment of the "pundits". Forgive me if you catch me stifling a yawn.
Christopher Flavelle at the Walrus takes a much more sanguine view of these events. He notes, quite correctly, that media coverage of politics has been reduced to little more than the manic run-on commentary of horse race announcers. Who's winning? Who's losing? Who's gaining? Who's not?

...It’s hard to fault anybody for looking at Monday’s Quebec by-elections like a horse race. Not only are by-elections all about winners and losers. Even better, these by-elections were a double-shot of excitement, a race within a race: the Conservatives win a seat, so Stephen Harper must be pulling ahead for the upcoming election; the Liberals lose a seat, so Stéphane Dion must be falling behind.

But what about the issues? Major media coverage has become almost completely devoid of this. In a sense, perhaps we have all become too accepting of political talking-points, mistaking them for actual policy. It's much more fun, it would seem, to speculate about political fortunes based on bold assumptions and the knowing winks of anonymous "insiders".
It’s worth remembering that Dion won the Liberal leadership, at least in part, because he was the guy who stubbornly insisted on talking about ideas — specifically, how to make Canada’s economy successful and sustainable at the same time. After winning the leadership, he kept busy, making speeches and releasing policy papers full of new policy proposals. Of course, you wouldn’t know it. The amount of time spent covering Dion’s ideas pales in comparison to the amount of time spent covering the state of his leadership. What are the broad strokes of Dion’s plan for regulating carbon emissions from Canada’s heavy industry? Who knows. But unnamed sources, predicting his imminent demise? Again? Now that’s news.
And what's this? A new poll, showing the Libs and the Cons are running neck and neck! Heading down the stretch....Gentlemen, place your bets!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Weekend Musings

Sorry for my brief blogging hiatus. Been busy with real life and all. Anyhoo, here are some of the things that have been running through my head today.

Rumors have been floating around that Hollywood is gearing up to make a Magnum, p.i. movie, and that actor Nicolas Cage has been offered the role of Thomas Magnum. I have serious issues with this for a number of reasons. First, do we actually need or want this movie? I grew up watching fact, it was one of my favourite shows. Interesting characters, a great car, and the kind of idyllic tropical life that we could only dream of. So why ruin all of that with a cheeseball remake? Unfortunately, transforming good '80's TV shows into bad modern-day movies seems to be a mistake that Hollywood is intent on repeating. As if Dukes of Hazzard wasn't bad enough. Second, Nicolas Cage??? Nicolas Cage??? Are you kidding me? This guy has made a career of playing morose, monotonal cynics. And the last time we saw him, he was sporting a flaming skull in the insufferably painful Ghost Rider. Maybe he needs the work. Third, Nicolas Cage??? I know, I hate to keep ragging on the guy. But aside from the fact that he bears no resemblance to Magnum, either in looks or in character, he's also, well, old. I mean, if you're going to cast an older actor in the role made famous by Tom Selleck, why not just cast Tom Selleck? The issues abound...

In other news, O.J. Simpson may have run afoul of the law once again. Las Vegas police have arrested a man for armed robbery of sports memorabilia. Simpson is being questioned for his involvement in the robbery and may face arrest. The former NFL star claims he is innocent, and has vowed to spend the rest of his life searching for "the real robber".

Update: The Juice is in jail.

If you thought that being a child with leukemia was bad enough, think again. China has ordered the recall of tainted leukemia drugs produced by the Shanghai Hualian Pharmaceutical Company. Honestly, what is it with these guys? According to the report in the G&M, the drugs methotrexate and cytarabine were contaminated with a third chemotherapeutic agent, vincristine. Some children receiving the drugs experienced adverse side effects from the contaminants, leading to the crackdown.

And finally, this gem (courtesy of the Hill Times)