Monday, December 29, 2008

Politics and the English Language

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a "party line." Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases -- bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder -- one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find -- this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify -- that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

- G. Orwell

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Scientific Polling on the Issues that MATTER

In times of economic crises and rampant North American federal elections, it is not entirely uncommon to see the various manifestations of popular media covered in all manners of charts, graphs and figures based on the most scientifically accurate data regarding the opinions of the terminally ignorant.

The ability to quantify thoughts, behaviours and pieces of the vast emotional mosaic that defines the human experience is perhaps the greatest achievement in the history of science and thought - let alone politics! - and it is an unfortunate tendency of society's prevailing biases that it is largely wasted on tracking such mundane phenomena as political approval ratings, potential election results, and modeling the variety of ways in which global markets are currently imploding.

What I have undertaken here for you, gentle reader, is a painstaking study and analysis of some of the major areas of political and economic activity that, for reasons unknown to yours truly, have been neglected by the so-called "credible" researchers. Using the skills I was taught in the process of acquiring a highly-employable Bachelor of Arts from the prestigious Memorial University of Newfoundland, I have presented my findings in a chart format that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

If you wish to use these findings in future research or reports, please cite the source as Richard Raleigh, MD., t.i.a. [thanks in advance]

he is a bad premier

this one is fun for the whole family

trust me on this

Unfortunately, as provincial politics has been somewhat slow lately (understandably, as it is functionally irrelevant to the government if the House is sitting or not), we turn now towards to the federal scene, which has been substantially more interesting as of late.

 don't forget he's electable, though

as for premier williams, even a broken clock is right twice a day

is this the best graph in the world? it may be.

It's almost as if you could say... a picture was worth a thousand words... ?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Urban Candidates of 2008: A Field Guide

Elections are tough times for the committed voter. That single vote you can cast on October 14th is your only way to let your political overlords know how you feel, and it's an integral part of a functioning democracy that this vote is cast based on in-depth research and intense spiritual agonising over which candidate to support.

That said, doing your civic duty is extremely hard, especially in situations where none of the candidates are especially appealing and complicated issues like environmental sustainability and the economy dominate most political debates.

For times like these, the best idea is usually to let someone else do all the research for you and then tell you how to vote. Residents of St. John's/Mount Pearl, I am here to help you with just that.

So after weeks of painstaking research into the candidates vying to represent the urban portion of the Avalon, I have crafted such a perfect guide to this election that to simply look upon it may physically be too much for small children and the elderly.

Without further ado, here is the only information source you will ever need to consult before heading into the ballot box on Tuesday morning.


Siobhan Coady (L) - an ardent believer that "third time's the charm" is more than just folksy wisdom, perennial Liberal candidate Siobhan Coady is again running for a federal seat in the hopes that during an election where the premier of the province is actively registering third parties with Elections Canada in order to defeat her Conservative opponent, she may finally have a shot. Not that Siobhan is especially unqualified - she has smashed through a few notable glass ceilings in her business career, which is no small feat - and while she wouldn't necessarily make a bad MP, voters in the riding have consistently shown they have trouble swallowing the Siobhan Coady package. While there are a number of valid arguments against voting Liberal in this election, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Siobhan's main issue in this campaign is herself.

Shaking hands with Siobhan Coady is like shaking hands with the captain of the team who you just beat at soccer in 5th grade - he's smiling and saying "great game" but you know in the back of your mind that it's so tremendously insincere that it comes off as grating. This is Siobhan Coady's problem - she's so firmly trapped in the Uncanny Valley that every time she reminds you that she will "never give up, never give in" and flashes that insidious little smile, you can't help but feel like 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper in They Live after he finds the magic sunglasses. If you get that reference, congratulations, you've got as bad a taste in movies as I do.

Merv Wiseman (C) - Merv Wiseman is the only candidate running in this election that I have absolutely nothing to say about. That's how much I know about Merv Wiseman. Presumably, this is reflective of how hard Merv Wiseman is trying to win this election.

Ryan Cleary (NDP) - when I first heard that Ryan Cleary was running in Mount Pearl for the NDP I was honestly intrigued, although I brushed it off with "he's far too abrasive, he'll never win the nomination." Then a cohort of mine who attended the nomination informed me that Cleary delivered a passionate speech that sealed his nomination and I thought "my God, he might have a chance." I hadn't heard Cleary speak since the Trust and Confidence Rally in 2007 at Confederation Building where he delivered a heartfelt polemic on the injustices facing Newfoundland within our union with Canada that was so intense I almost felt my heartstrings flutter; considering that his main competition is a woman whose speeches sound more contrived and superficial than the dialogue you'd see on Springer, I figured that Ryan Cleary may legitimately find himself with a real job.

This is before Ryan Cleary was forced into a crash-diet of nothing but his own words right from the beginning of the election, and now he seems so intellectually malnourished that his only talking points on the campaign trail are lame protests against the Green Shift and quasi-incomprehensible monologues about his new-found love for Jack Layton that usually sound as if they're being delivered by a Will Farrell character. The only way to describe Cleary's entire campaign so far is "half-assed", which is disappointing because while I don't care for Cleary himself I know he's capable of doing a much better job. If I was Ivan Morgan, I'd put down the Purity biscuits and start cracking the whip at this point, because as far as I've seen there is no legitimate reason to vote for Ryan Cleary.

Ted Warren (Green) - Ted Warren is the best candidate in this riding by a long shot, and probably one of the best candidates running in the province. But you've never heard of him and you're not going to vote for him, so the fact that Mr. Warren is one of the most brilliant and eloquent minds I've seen run in politics for years is completely moot.

Greg Byrne (NL First) - ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.


Walter Noel (L) - Walter Noel blows. If I were a Liberal in St. John's East I'd be tempted to hang myself if Walter wasn't so cartoonishly terrible he looped around and became hilarious. There are no questions directed at Walter Noel that don't end with him giving long winded explanations about why spending 8,000$ of public money on alcohol is completely justified because "there was no law against it at the time", and his only pet cause in this election is seeing to it that a 92$ million dollar tunnel is built to an island with a population of 200 that hasn't seen the creation of a single new job since Joseph R. Smallwood stalked the corridors of Confederation Building. On the rare occasion that Walter Noel is asked about something other than his personal flaws he usually responds by reading a few pages out of the Liberal platform book and then rambling on about how the Liberal Party of Canada is the only way to stop the NDP's stealth communism and that Jack Harris is a crook. Considering that Walter Noel looks and sounds like a '50s newscaster was molested by a Dick Tracy villain voiced by Skeletor from He-Man this doesn't even seem that out of place. Walter Noel really, really sucks.

And yet, he was still a better choice than Debbie Hanlon.

Craig Westcott (C) - you can live to see the days where the sun shall be darkened and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken loose, and I can guarantee you that you will never see someone look as uncomfortable running in a federal election as Craig Westcott. When asked to explain why his party holds policies even the Golden Horde would balk at he will usually mumble a few lines from Conservative briefing notes into the nearest mic, and the entire time Stockwell Day was giving a press conference about the need to crack down on young offenders in order to stop a coming epidemic of gang violence in outport Newfoundland Westcott looked more uncomfortable than the Premier did in whatever garbage luxury car he owned before he traded up to his current 250,000$ Maserati. He's not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination but no amount of prefacing his public appearances with "I disagree with my party over everything they stand for" can erase that not-entirely-unfounded sensation we all have that at the first opportunity his leader will drive the nation headlong into a reactionary dystopia.

But it's important to bear in mind that Westcott's not running for Stephen Harper; he's moreso running against the ABC campaign and its mastermind, Premier Danny Williams. Westcott has been the Holmes to Williams' Moriarty more than enough in the past for his candidacy to take on an almost cinematic feeling, especially since all of Westcott's public statements make a point of highlighting that his candidacy hearkens back to the battles of the National Convention in the 1940s. Stephen Harper is - regardless of whether or not it's a good thing - about to win another (probably majority) government, and if we elect to follow the pied piper of the ABC campaign through this storm, the province will be shutting itself out of having any representation in the cabinet of a federal government that already disdains Atlantic Canada. Considering that the alternative is that we'll be left at the beck and call of a comically inept provincial government here in Danny Williams' Hermit Kingdom, Westcott's pleas for us to swallow our revulsion at Harper's regressive policies in order to get a seat at the control panel of government before we end up like Quebec in 1995 shouldn't be discarded out of hand.

I'd go on but I can't bring myself to explicitly endorse a Conservative, even if he does occasionally sign my paycheques.

Jack Harris (NDP) - Jack Harris is really the only "good" candidate running in the city in this election. I say "good" because he has everything going for him you'd expect to find amongst anyone running for a major federal party. While he may not be quite as sharp on resource economics and concrete policy issues as someone like Craig Westcott, he also doesn't look visibly uncomfortable whenever he has to tow the party line. While he may not have quite the same level of money backing him like Siobhan Coady, he is also able to interact with his constituents in a non-robotic manner. And while he may not have the same level of executive experience as someone like Walter Noel, he also isn't scum.

In fact, the only real problem I can see with Jack Harris' campaign is that he's such a good candidate for his party and his riding and that his election is such a shoe in that it's boring. There's nothing interesting or noteworthy about Jack Harris, his campaign, or anything he'd do in the House of Commons. This is probably great for most people, but I'll be deep down in the cold, cold ground before I vote for someone sensible.

Howard Story (Green) - Much like his counterpart in St. John's South/Mount Pearl, Howard Story is a great guy with brilliant ideas and pointed conviction about the environment and systemic problems that none of the other candidates or parties seem to be taking much note of. But unfortunately for him his party is relegated even further back in the depths of leftist irrelevency than the NDP in the minds of most Newfoundlanders, so there's little point even discussing him. If nothing else, fans of Lost will appreciate him for his uncanny resemblance to popular anti-hero John Locke; if I may hand him some helpful advice via the internet it would be to start talking about how important it is to do whatever it takes to "save the Island."

Les Coltas (NL First) - his grammer are good!

Shannon Tobin (PC) - I have nothing bad to say about Shannon Tobin. He's the little candidate that could; he's a twenty-something fresh out of university who has too little experience to grasp basic policy issues, let alone the complex economic development issues (i.e. the Lower Churchill) that he's crusading for. He's got no district association and his federal party is only running a handful of candidates across the country, most of them are older than Tobin by half a century. His entire campaign is to appeal to the disaffected elderly who have been writing "Joe Clark" on their ballots since 2004 and who will live and die by the letters "ABC." He goes to public functions up against professional business people, journalists and politicians who have more years of experience being knowledgeable public figures than he's physically spent being alive, but he doesn't lose his nerve and he'll quote historical figures like Edmund Burke and Peter Cashin and spew Danny Williams' talking points like the best of provincial cabinet ministers. Say what you will, this kid has balls.

Shannon Tobin is running in the 2008 federal election powered only by his love of Newfoundland and Labrador, and by proxy its Glorious Premier Danny Williams. If you don't vote for Shannon Tobin, you hate Danny Williams. I hope everyone keeps that in mind this election day.

So as we move through the next 12 days before the day where you make your monumental decision to give a federal party 1.75$, I hope you'll consider my expert analysis and general words of wisdom about the candidates vying to represent you, the urban Newfoundlander, in Parliament for the next 4 years. Unlike Danny Williams, I won't tell you how to vote; all I will say is that I wish the Conservatives would drop this talking point because it's the dumbest thing in the world and that "not telling you how to vote" would invalidate the entire premise of campaigning and make this whole election an exercise in foolishness.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rumour Milling 2: Mill Harder

I have it on extremely good authority that today at a luncheon in Holyrood Premier Danny Williams will formally endorse Liberal candidate Scott Andrews as he ramps up his ABC campaign against Fabian Manning in the Avalon riding.

And by extremely good sources, I mean straight from the horse's mouth.

Keep your eyes open today, the "battleground" riding of Avalon is suddenly going to start looking more like a Cold War-esque war of proximity.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rumour Milling

There's nothing like a good election hey? It's been so long since we had to go to the polls to give a personally abhorrent conservative another term of being drunk with power behind the machinery of the State that I was almost starting to go through withdrawal.

Also, I really just wanted and excuse to put up a placeholder post here to replace that poorly thought out John McCain sight gag from July.

Sabbaticals are rough, let me tell you.

But in the meantime, I'd just like to throw out an unsubstantiated rumour relayed to me by a confidante who made the questionable life decision of being involved with the New Democrats: namely, that Ryan Cleary's campaign manager (or similarly frivolous position) is none other than my good friend Ivan Morgan! I have no idea if this is true but I really hope that it is - if only so that Cleary's coffers will be filled with complimentary Purity pastries.

Feel free to spread that rumour around anyways - there's nothing like a good self-fulfilling prophecy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I, dwarf

As usual, Ed Hollett is quicker than yours truly on actually putting things on the internet with real relevance and import to things that matter.

But anything related to Ray Guy bears repeating, naturally.

It is always good form to pay occasional homage to the giants upon whose shoulders we stand.

Friday, July 4, 2008

We Are (not) Devo!

The Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are-



Just for argument's sake, sir, let's imagine for a second that abortion isn't a hot-button issue for millions of Canadians who define themselves and their political identities entirely around opposition to the subject. Let's also imagine that federal elections are not decided by single-issue swing voters who put the issue of abortion above every other issue facing Canadians every day.

I trust this shouldn't be very hard.

No, let's get right down to the utmost basic flaw that permeates every discussion of abortion (and a host of other issues) that has ever taken place all across recorded history.

Are we not men, Mr. Doyle?

Could be possible that - maybe, just maybe - the fact that we are physiologically precluded from ever experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, and any of the accompanying issues, mean that the issue of abortion is entirely a woman's issue?

Could it be that regardless of our respective opinions on abortion, whether "pro-life" or "pro-choice", and no matter the validity of our points, we should both butt out of the discussion because it is fundamentally not our issue, and never will be our issue, in any way, shape, or form save the very periphery of a woman's consideration?

Dr. Henry Morgentaler did not dedicate his life to pontificating on the glories of abortions, nor did he dedicate his life attempting to subvert the moral fabric of Canadian society in an effort to increase 'business' in some nebulous abortion 'industry.' Dr. Morgentaler was simply the most vocal actor for the only real role any man has to play in the issue of abortion - that it should be left entirely up to women, the only people on earth even physically capable of having an abortion, to safely and legally choose what they want to do with their bodies.

Frankly, the only controversy that should be surrounding Dr. Morgentaler's induction into the Order of Canada is why it took so long to happen.

This is not your war, Mr. Doyle. It's not mine, and it's not Patrick Hanlon's; it is not the field of anyone who produces sperm. It is for women - and only women - to decide, for or against, "life" or "choice", and this is understood by anyone who isn't trapped inside an intellectual prison of latent sexism and regressive social attitudes.

Kindly get out of politics, sir. You - and all men like you - are an embarrassment to your constituents and an affront to any Canadian with a working moral compass.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Richard Raleigh Spin/Approval Matrix

Apparently, according to a local political scientist, Tom Rideout's exodus from politics won't hurt Danny Williams politically.


All the real political scientists at MUN must have been out on summer vacation or writing some esoteric journal articles they could later tout smugly at academic conferences, because Mr. Temelini doesn't really seem to have any deep or poignant insight to offer on the topic.

To anyone who has been paying attention to provincial politics since 2005, this development isn't really a surprise; if the findings of the Cameron Inquiry didn't make the Premier's approval rating falter on its ascension to 90+, then his cartoonishly villainous attempts to discredit the process probably should have. Naturally, of course, this didn't happen, because that would make sense, and this is Newfoundland and Labrador.

This leaves us with only one reasonable thought on the topic: if none of this will hurt the Premier's poll ratings, what will?

Allow me to soothe all your curiousities - in harkening back to the skills I learned as a young, wide-eyed and idealistic political science undergraduate, I have constructed this handy reference list. These conclusions are highly scientific so feel free to cite them in casual or professional conversation, as the knowledge they imparts will make you the envy of your friends and co-workers!


SCANDAL: Danny Williams steals candy from small child and/or infant
EFFECT: Child spun as to be from the mainland and the candy was Purity brand, Premier seen as standing up to the feds and getting 'our fair share', approval rating +2%

SCANDAL: Danny Williams crosses floor at the House of Assembly, punches out Roland Butler
EFFECT: Premier seen across the province as "total badass", young children abandon backyard wrestling to re-enact Question Period thus creating new generation of career politicians, clip appears on YouTube overdubbed with the solo from Metallica's "One"; approval rating goes to 99%

SCANDAL: Danny Williams revealed to worship Satan and perform ritual human sacrifice
EFFECT: Premier uses dark magicks to erase the memories of everyone in the province like an arcane version of the flashing stick in Men In Black, approval rating still goes up 1%

SCANDAL: Danny Williams' Viper runs red light, kills cyclist
EFFECT: Running red light spun as the Premier always working on a go-forward basis for the people of this province, killing a cyclist with luxury car spun as not allowing development of properous oil industry to be hampered by burdensome environmental regulations; approval +6%

SCANDAL: Danny Williams involved in sex scandal with subordinate(s)
EFFECT: Approval ratings increase in accordance to how public ranks the woman in question on a scale of 1-10; an increase of at least 8% is assumed

SCANDAL: John Efford becomes leader of the Liberals
EFFECT: Premier's approval ratings drop drastically as people realise Efford would be a greahahahahahaha I can't even finish this sentence

Rick Hillier, if you're reading this, yes, I am interested in becoming the new head of Memorial's political science department, thank you for asking!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Leave Britney alone!" *cries*

In a shocking twist that is completely out of sync with all past trends, it turns out that the provincial government's nebulous Department of Economic DevelopmentEnergy Corporation will be shielded from prying eyes in the interests of safeguarding "commercially sensitive information."

According to the Department of Natural Resources' spokeswoman Kathy Dunderdale, this is necessary in order for the Energy Corporation to
"function in the world of business [...] [and] be accountable to the people of this province. What we are doing with [the Act to Amend the Energy Corporation Act] is giving the Energy Corp. the tools to be able to do that effectively."

At first glance, these two aims seem almost contradictory and Dunderdale initially looks like she has no idea what she's talking about and is just blurting out government buzzwords as a default reaction to being called on in the House of Assembly.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Constant questioning and incessant scrutiny directed at government initiatives ultimately slows down the march towards giving us, the people, our Fair Share. And if journalists and opposition parties had access to "commercially sensitive information" like "details respecting revenues" and "costs" relating to potential projects, well by God people might complain about things being a "waste of money" or "totally non-feasible" and we'd never get anywhere.

Frankly, anyone who is worried about the prospect of shrouding the information relating to the Energy Corporation's activity hasn't been paying attention to the provincial government's track record. Time and time again, history has shown that if there is anything that government-driven energy development initiatives need less of, it's transparency. Can you imagine where we'd be as a province today if BRINCO had been scrutinised to death?

Actually, on second thought, don't answer that.


Some gems of wisdom passed down to us from the Greatest Generation turned out to be slightly more useful than "duck and cover."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Riddle Me This

If CBC is to be believed, apparently Danny Williams has renewed confidence in the abilities of his cabinet now that former Premier Tom Rideout has tendered his resignation.

Of course, any true Newfoundlander knows CBC is not to be believed, as the Premier courageously demonstrated recently when he (rightly) pointed out that David Cochrane was unfairly attempting to undermine the mastery of our own domain by doing unnecessarily subversive things like asking questions in media scrums.

But, for the sake of argument, let's take the CBC story at face value and assume that when Yvonne Jones asked the Premier if he had any certainty in the ability of his ministers to do their jobs, he did in fact respond with "I have certainty now that Tom Rideout is gone."

Let that sink in for a moment.

According to Danny Williams, Tom Rideout - a man whose political career stretches back to 1975, who is a former Premier with a cumulative decade of ministerial experience - is incompetent.

On the other hand, Joan Burke's revolutionary "well if the Liberals hadn't screwed everything up during the 1990s, I wouldn't have problems to ignore, now would I?" approach to the Department of Education is positively sublime in its genius.

Kathy Dunderdale's performance in her role as "spokeswoman" of the Natural Resources Department is downright enviable.

And of course, the Honourable Ross Wiseman continues to display stunning prowess in the position of Minister of Health and Community Services, up to and including astonishing four month spurts of illiteracy.

Although, upon further reflection, the question that Jones asked was whether or not the Premier had confidence in his ministers' ability to do their jobs. Which, in his defence, he did answer truthfully: every minister who wasn't Tom Rideout was doing a spectacular job.

This is because in Williams' cabinet, the job isn't managing your portfolio with any degree of competency.

It's towing the Premier's line.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

e.e. cummings on Budget 2008

spiralling downward into an abyss -
not a path that could continue

we wrestled down the fiscal dragon,
a turn of fortune has not happened by accident;
it has happened by design

standing tall as powerful contributors to the federation -
as masters of our own domain.
nothing will hold us back
achieving our goals and fulfilling our dreams

a deep sense of betrayal,
frustration over the federal government;
working against us as partisan foes..

will do nothing to prevent us,
acheiving our goals on our own steam -
the threshold of another great milestone..
in the history of this great province!
a significant turning point..
in the history of this province!
no longer the poor cousin of Confederation,
an economic driver of Canada -
a day for great celebration!

a clarion call to young and old,
expatriates and immigrants from far and wide,
to usher in a period of inspiring economic growth;
the cranberry industry [...] $2.95 million

proven successes to secure a brighter future;
realizing their dreams~

stand on our own two feet in this federation -
as masters of our own domain.
this future we richly deserve -
masters of our future.

beholden to none who would chart our course for us -
free to choose our own path
to promise and prosperity




ownership of a bright future -
Newfoundland and Labrador

(forever and ever,

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just out of curiousity...

Yes, it's late.

Yes, I was out tonight entertaining a visitor from the federal government on George Street as part of my job.

So, yes, maybe I'm wrong with the following point which has drawn my attention.

But to the best of my knowledge, it's been the Premier's official line that he was unaware of the ER/PR testing problems before October 2005, even if people in his office knew about it.

And, alright; let's assume that this is some kind of crazy bizarro universe where dogs walk people and McDonald's is considered part of a balanced diet and everyone in the Premier's office can know about something as important as messed up breast cancer testing results and somehow keep it a secret from the most controlling head of government since J.R. Smallwood.

For the sake of argument, let's pretend this is Economics 101 and make this fairly unrealistic assumption.

Wouldn't this following exchange then put a hole in the entire line of argument?

MS JONES: [...] the first account of this issue known in the Department of Health was under your government in July of 2005. That is the facts.

Let me ask this question, Mr. Speaker. The Premier stated yesterday that he could not recall whether senior staff in his office briefed him on the ER-PR testing issue in July of 2005. So I ask the Premier: Have you since asked your staff, did they brief you at that time or did they not?

PREMIER WILLIAMS: I have had that conversation with my staff, and council for the commission has also had that conversation with my staff when my staff were interviewed by Mr. Coffey at the commission and we willing went down and undertook those interviews. Quite frankly, my staff and myself do not remember a conversation.

Now, I will repeat it again. That does not mean it did not happen. I have thousands and thousands, as you do, conversations in the course of a year and some of them cannot be remembered. I can tell you something, if there is something of major importance that was put before my staff and presented as a major issue and then was presented to me, I would certainly remember it, but I certainly cannot remember it. I can tell you that the practice of my staff, who are extremely professional, when critical matters come into that office to our attention, then they come to my attention. This particular note that came in on that day at 2:30 in the afternoon said that this matter required no action.

So, he was told about this in July 2005, but since it "required no action" he conveniently forgot about it until October. This makes perfect sense.

Frankly, I'm not sure I could have come up with a more doubleplusgood answer if I was paid to write it.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Lost Emails

In case you've been living under a rock for the past year or so, the Cameron Inquiry is fully underway into the breast cancer fiasco currently rocking the Provincial government.

The most recent development that is making the headlines right this second relates to a number of newly discovered emails that may or may shed some light on when exactly it was that Danny first found out about this whole mess.

Of course, most of these emails are being scoured from the archives of emails sent on the government network. While this is all well and good, a truly ethical and well-respected journalist such as myself note: not actually a real journalist knows that in order to really blow the lid of this scandal the place you'd want to look is the Premier's personal email account, because if he was going to write anything down that was even half-incriminating about anything at all ever, it would be there.

So, I did the honourable thing and used my insider knowledge of government secrets and ELITE TECHNOLOGICAL PROWESSTM to find and crack open the account and get a glimpse at the Premier's hotmail conversations. What I found, once I weeded through absurd amounts of spam, was astonishing.

Here, unedited, are two shocking exchanges between the Premier and the health minister(s) that I uncovered in my investigation. I will present them to you without any further commentary so you can make up your mind as to its true significance on your own:

fr: "The Honourable Danny Williams" []
to: "John Boy" []
re: re: where are you

the reason im ignoring you is because we are trying to organise a giant conspiracy here to swindle the public and your RUINING IT by sending me emails about it in a way that can be publicly accessed YOU IDIOT

god i didnt think it was possible but your more useless than ross

i was going to help you on this but now since you have made me angry i am going to make you take the fall if/when this breaks

you know

because i am an all powerful puppetmaster and i PULL ALL THE STRINGS AND DONT YOU FORGET IT

- d

ps. yeah man i saw big brother the other night!! you should get in our pool, its gonna be pretty good (im gonna win tho :P)

----original message----
fr: "John Boy" []
to: "The Honourable Danny Williams" []
re: where are you

okay seriously danny what is the deal here ive sent your office like 40 million emails already about this eastern health thing, what am i supposed to do?!?!

man ive tried messaging you on your myspace a bunch but you arent replying, get back to me man i need your advice on what my legal and political options are because apparently i am incapable of figuring it out myself despite the fact that i am the minister and also a lawyer!!

anyways did you see big brother the other night?? haha it was crazy!

fr: "The Honourable Danny Williams" []
to: "Ross" []
re: FWD: FWD: FWD: new poll out today




----original message----
> fr: "Ross" []
> to: "The Honourable Danny Williams" []
> re: FWD: FWD: FWD: new poll out today
> hey dan have u seen this cbc just did a new poll on our popularity and we got 96%!!1
> heres the link u should check it out:
> pretty good job for us dont u think??
>----original message----
>> fr: "Charlene" []
>> to: "Ross" []
>> re: FWD: FWD: new poll out today
>> lol ross i cant believe u rickrolld me!! rofl i fall for these everytime lol :P
>> hey u should try sending this to danny i think he'd find it pretty funny!! lol
>>----original message----
>> fr: "Tom Rideout" []
>> to: "Ross" []
>> re: FWD: FWD: new poll out today
>> ross why are you wasting time with this shouldn't you be doing something useful
>> j/k man your cool this was funny i lol'd
>>----original message----
>> fr: "J. Kennedy" []
>> to: "Ross" []
>> re: stop emailing me
>> i hate you
>>----original message----
>>> fr: "Ross" []
>>> to: "big kenny j" [], "Charlene" [], "t. rider" []
>>> re: FWD: new poll out today
>>> hey guys you should see this, cbc just put out a new poll of our popularity and we got like 95% or something
>>> here check out the link:
>>> i think we should part ourselves on the back 4 this one!!1
>>>----original message----
>>>> fr: "Ed Byrne" []
>>>> to: "Ross" []
>>>> re: new poll out today
>>>> hey ross, you should see this, cbc just released a new poll showing how good you guys are doing, you should probably pass it along to some of the peeps up in cabinet, its at
>>>> anyways hope you guys are doing good way to wreck the LIEberals in the last election lol it ruled
>>>> give my props to dan
>>>> peace out,
>>>> the byrnenator


However, it would be neglectful of me to only focus on the negative emails I found: it also turns out that the Premier is working on projects to ensure our economic success! Just take a look at this covert business deal I discovered that is guaranteed to provide a much-needed influx of cash to this province:

fr: "The Honourable Danny Williams" []
re: Business Transaction

Dear Mrs. Koffi,

I am sorry to hear about your husband; it really is too bad. That said, thank you for offering me this excellent opportunity. The province of Newfoundland and Labrador is a great place to invest as we are headed for economic prosperity within the near future and now is the time to get in on the ground floor.

After discussing it with my cabinet I have decided that this investment of $2.4 million is exactly what our telecommunications sector needs, and as a result I will gladly accept your offer on behalf of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I'm out of the country currently but as soon as I return I'll email you all the necessary financial information for you to make your deposit. And again, thank you for choosing to invest in the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. You will not be sorry!

The Honourable Danny Williams
Premier, Newfoundland and Labrador

----original message----
>fr: "Mrs. Deborah Koffi" []
>re: Investment Opportunity
>From Mrs Deborah Koffi
>11, Rue des Jean Paul
>Côte D'Ivoire.
>My Dear,
>It is my pleasure to contact you for a business venture which I and my son Rashid intend to establish in your country. Though I have not met with you before but I believe one has to risk confiding to succeed sometimes in life.
>I want to confide in you for the brighter future of my son since you are a human being like me. There is this huge amount of two Million Four Hundred Thousand US Dollars. ($2.400.000.00) which my late Husband deposited in a bank here in Cote d' Ivoire before he was assassinated by unknown persons.
>Now I and my son Rashid have decided to invest this money in your country or anywhere safe enough for security and political reasons.
>We want you to help us to claim this money so that the bank can transfer it into your personal account in your country for investment purposes on these areas:
> 1). Telecommunication
> 2). Transport Industry & Equipment Leasing
> 3). Real Estate
>If you can be of an assistance to us we will be pleased to offer to you 15% of the total money.
> (
>I await your soonest response.
>Respectfully yours,
>Mrs Dborah Koffi.

And there you have it. If this is any indication, the only thing the Inquiry is going to find out is that even while on vacation, Danny Williams never stops working for us.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Un-Happy Birthday

I don't understand how anyone could possibly say anything about today that is even remotely positive.

Fifty-nine years ago, Joey "Stalin" Smallwood cemented his victory over the people of this province and officially put the last nail in the coffin of Newfoundland and Labrador as we sold ourselves into the servitude of the self-serving politicians in Ottawa, the fiendishly arrogant French Canadians and the greedy plutocrats in Alberta, all of whom regard us as either a joke or a resource to be exploited.

It was our darkest day as a people; unlike the battle of Beaumont-Hamel, there were no free and independent Newfoundlanders left standing when the smoke cleared on April Fool's Day, 1949.


So if you'll excuse me, I'm off to spend the rest of the day mourning the advent of social programs, economic development and increased standards of living, proper medical services to those dying of tuberculosis in the outports, and breaking the power of the self-serving, arrogant and greedy plutocratic merchants who ran the show out of St. John's.

Way to screw us over, Joey.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Premier: Stephen Harper Responsible for Winter Storm

Executive Council
March 17th, 2008

Government continued to fight for the betterment of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians today by outing the party responsible for the blizzard currently blasting most of the island portion of the province. Through advanced meteorological and divination techniques known only to the province’s most elite soothsayers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was determined to have caused the storm.

“Our government has determined that Stephen Harper is actively directing the blizzard that is shutting down most of our province currently,” said the Honourable Premier Danny Williams. “We’re not entirely sure how he is able to control the weather, but we are absolutely certain that he is using this storm to send a message that he is intent on continuing his campaign to undermine this province in all its endeavours.”

The storm began for the eastern part of the province on Monday and is expected to last until sometime Tuesday, dumping as much as 60 cm of snow in some areas. “Monday of course is St. Patrick’s Day, which also indicates to us that Prime Minister Harper likely distrusts the Irish. Quite frankly, I can say we are not at all surprised that the Prime Minister holds such a regressive attitude,” the Premier added.

St. Patrick’s Day is viewed by George Street as one of the biggest nights of the year for business outside of George Street Festival and Mardi Gras. According to a preliminary study by Memorial University economist Greg Locke, the storm is likely to mean lost revenue for the city of St. John’s and by proxy the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador of up to “a lot of money, I guess.”

“Rest assured that the Prime Minister will absolutely not have the last laugh in this situation,” Premier Williams said. “While he may currently have in his possession some kind of advanced weather control device, I have ordered a crack team of archaeologists from Memorial University to retrieve the Ark of the Covenant, which as far as I know is proceeding on a go-forward basis.”

“While we’re waiting, however, I have decided to expand the ABC program to ABCD: ‘Anything But Conservative & Druid.’ Ideally, this will allow the people of the province to send a powerful message to Ottawa and put an end to a government of frauds and black wizards.”


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don't Stop Believin'

Hold on to that feelin'~

PRO TIP: Secret Nation, while very entertaining, is a work of fiction.

Ironically, the funniest thing about this picture may not be the numbers themselves but that the 'Yes' bar is red and the 'No' bar is blue.



Tuesday, March 4, 2008


7 And so it was that Loyola returned to the people with tidings of joy; 2 for he had seen the works of the LORD Most High and had been so commanded to again bring news of His Glory unto them. 3 He went into the holy city of Saint John's and found there a throng of the people in wait for his emissary from the LORD, and he went before them and spoke:

4 "O Peoples of Newfoundland, I bring to you these sacred mysteries of Our Father in Ottawa, who loves you so much as to shower you with gold so that you may fix your bridges for skidooing." 5 The people cheered at first but then grew restless, as many had grown wary of Loyola's prophecies. Ross Wiseman Iscariot was the first to speak, saying:

6 "Why does the LORD send you to preach these things to us as if they are new when they are in fact as old as time itself? Surely this is further proof that your God is not so holy as you say He is!" 7 The people at this point began to get restless and threatened to overwhelm Loyola, who fell to his knees in supplication to the LORD so that his seat may be protected. Suddenly a light from Heaven shone down upon the land and an Angel of the LORD appeared, saying:

8 "Lo! I am the Archangel Peter MacKay, who sits at the left hand of the Father in Ottawa; why do you heap scorn upon this holy man before you? He is a prophet of the LORD and he speaks the truth! Who are you to question His Divine Plan?" 9 And the people did pause to think, and realised that the Archangel Peter MacKay probably had a point. Had the ancient holy men not said it is better to have one prophet in the Cabinet of the LORD than to fill the Shadows with false ones?

10 Now the High Priest of the day was also there in the same crowd and did not follow with the rest of people in their reasoning, saying: 11"Quite frankly, I am not convinced that we are in the favour of the LORD; how can I believe the words of His prophet when He has cursed our Atlantic Covenant so?" 12 The people then again became rowdy, asking similar questions of the holy emissaries. The Archangel Peter MacKay was prepared for this line of questioning and spoke again, saying:

13"You must remember that the LORD moves in mysterious ways; while it may seem that He has dishonoured many of His covenants to the layperson's eye, He has never done any such thing and in fact all his actions are line with the sacred vow of 'promise made, promise kept' He made during His days on Earth before His ascension to the golden mansion of 24 Sussex Drive." 14 But this answer did not satisfy the people or their High Priest, who spoke again, saying:

15"That doesn't make any sense; how can the LORD be said to be progressing on a go-forward basis by consistently doing the opposite of what He vowed to do at an earlier time?" 16 To this the Archangel Peter MacKay stated simply "I have no further comments at this time" and ascended once again into the light of Heaven. The people, seeing this, soon dispersed, for they had learned of late that attempting to understand the rationale behind the holy mysteries of the LORD proved too taxing on the faculties. 17 And Loyola did bend his knees again and praise the LORD, for he knew that he was no longer in danger from the people. He further praised the LORD for the results of the Liberal nomination which had just happened, 18 for as any wise man knows, barring the emergence of a local Open Line host as a candidate in the next election, since Creation it has been a given that incumbent prophets always win contests against those who believe in "best three out of five."

- The Book of Hearn, Chapter 7

Friday, February 29, 2008

Independent's Day

As someone writing inflammatory opinion pieces both in print and on the internet, I was legitimately shocked and personally upset when I opened up a copy of The Independent this morning and found out that someone doesn't like me.

Ivan Morgan, I am undone.

In an open letter to yours truly Mr. Morgan has gone to great lengths to convey how dismayed he is that someone out there has the audacity to give opinions on politics using a pseudonym. It's cowardly and dishonourable to the entire profession of journalism and roughly on par with allowing AIDS patients to die untreated or ordering the massacre at Beaumont Hamel.

With smarm and self-righteousness, Mr. Morgan has singlehandedly exposed me as a loathesome fraud, too pathetic to publicly reveal myself for fear that Danny Williams will personally come to my house under the cover of darkness and kneecap me.

I am a disgrace to journalists everywhere and I admit defeat.

This is, of course, what I would say in response to Ivan Morgan assuming his point had any merit or relevance and didn't read like someone gave Comic Book Guy print space and deep-seated insecurities about his place in his chosen career.

I hate to break it to you Mr. Morgan, but I'm not actually a journalist. I know, it's really difficult to make the distinction between an objective and scholarly investigative report and what is essentially a satirical political weblog adapted for print media, so I can understand that this is probably a fairly common mistake. It's cool, I won't hold it against you.

I like your assumption that I am hiding behind a fake name because I fear that were my true identity revealed, I would be put up against the wall. I'm not entirely sure where you got this from, because I don't really remember saying anything of the sort. I'm not even sure I've ever said this is a pseudonym. Why do you assume I'm not legitimately a man named Richard Raleigh? Why do you assume my employment is such that posting on a blog I (apparently mistakenly) assumed no one actually read would get me fired?

What if I actually was Danny Williams and this whole thing is just one big meta-joke? More importantly, why does this even matter? Slow news day? I'm going to assume it was a slow news day.

But since you were so nice to write me a letter, I'll fill you in on a secret, Ivan - the biggest secret of them all. My real, honest-to-goodness reason for being a dishonourable coward (or, if you prefer, a "despicable twerp") isn't because I live in fear of losing my job, but because I think it's funny. I know, a comedy writer doing/saying something because it's perceived as funny - we're through the looking glass here, people. I would make a "stop the presses" joke at this point but I'm afraid if I besmirch the good name of journalism anymore you might have an aneurysm.

I'm also impressed you drew the analogy between publishing monthly opinion pieces in a free newspaper and refusing to treat AIDS patients - I know that the logical acrobatics you need to undertake to draw that kind of parallel are no small feat. A better analogy would probably be an individual from a totally nonrelated profession is a doctor as a hobby and who treats AIDS patients using a different name. Or something like that - you're the professional writer, man; help a brother out.

All in all, your letter reads like a hit piece from J. Jonah Jameson raging about SPIDERMAN WHY DOES HE WEAR THAT MASK RAAARGH - not that I'm complaining, of course. I started doing this to ruffle feathers so I was, in all seriousness, flattered when I opened up the paper this morning. By rights I should be thanking you - by getting angry enough at my mediocre satirical musings to devote a column to me you've actually legitimised the very thing that's making you so upset. Also the free publicity was great, too. Thanks!

Your outrage is silly, Mr. Morgan. Relax - it's not like this is serious business or anything.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Much ado about Freudian Slips

It must be a slow week for the Department of Education because apparently Jokegate 2008 is the only issue the Minister of Education has to deal with at the moment.

There isn't much point in repeating myself over the merits of the Minister's complaint, but it's worth pointing out that she's brought up an interesting new point: Hearn's joke about an overweight woman is actually a manifestation of underlying sexism present in the federal Conservative party.

While the federal Tories have made some blatantly regressive policy decisions regarding the status of women in the short time they've been in government ("You can go home guys, women are pretty much equal" - Bev Oda, 2006), the last time Hearn's joke could be considered even remotely edgy or sexist would be sometime in the 1930s, and contrary to what Joan Burke might have been told to believe by her bosssay, it really is a leap of faith to assume that because of an incredibly lame joke, Loyola Hearn truly believes women belong barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen as little more than glorified baby-producing machines.

But, all that aside, Joan Burke's comments raise an interesting question: can such seemingly innocuous statements act as Freudian slips to reveal the deepest, darkest secrets of people and governments?

Why don't we take a look:

Statement 1: "...[it involves trying to] balance the responsibility of the patients who needed change and the responsibility of protecting the interests of [Eastern Health] in the event of a litigation." - Health Minister Ross Wiseman referring to why Eastern Health did not inform patients of inaccurate breast cancer test results

BURKEAN SLIP: "We are greedy misogynists." - Health Minister Ross Wiseman

Statement 2: "I think I represent, in my heart and soul, the hearts and souls of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians..." - Premier Danny Williams, explaining why he feels his party enjoys overwhelming popular support

BURKEAN SLIP: "If you vote Liberal, I'll cut you." - Lord Daniel Q. Williams I, God-Emperor of Newfoundland and her colony Labrador

Statement 3: "I think we have a clear example here of a government that does not respect women." - Education Minister Joan Burke, referring to a joke Loyola Hearn made about an overweight woman

BURKEAN SLIP: "God please let the media keep going with this story so I have time to come up with a way to blame the Liberals for stealing information on children or whatever it was that happened and can therefore continue to avoid actually being knowledgeable about my job in any way." - Education Minister Joan "Psychoanalyst" Burke

Of course, this is purely a thought experiment - I mean, I don't think Ross Wiseman is evil so much as he is inept, and I doubt that the Premier intends to put dissenters up against the wall anytime soon.

Joan Burke, however, is definitely clutching at straws here.

Relax, Minister - sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Minister Burke, the joke is on you

Do you like jokes? I like jokes. In fact I heard a really good one recently that I feel compelled to share with you:

So there's this tourist travelling across Canada, and he decides to visit one church in every province that he stops in. So he gets off the plane in British Columbia and visits a church, and they have a phone line directly to heaven that costs 100 dollars to use. He doesn't use it, of course, because that's an obscene price for a phone call, period. So he heads out to Alberta and finds that at the next church they have the same line to heaven, but this one costs 80 dollars. Thinking there might be pattern to this, his next stop is a church in Ontario and sure enough, there's another phone line to heaven and it costs 50 dollars. He heads to New Brunswick next, where it costs 20 dollars, and finally he runs out of room to head east in Canada and makes his last stop in a church here in Newfoundland, where he discovers that the line to heaven is only 25 cents - the reason being, of course, that he's already there.


But wait, it gets better:

While he's stopped over in Newfoundland he hears someone mention that they've got the same thing over in Ireland; so obviously, he jumps at the chance to continue his investigation of these bizarre heavenly phones. Of course, when he gets there, he realises they have a totally different pricing scheme on the other side of the pond, and he's told that it'll cost him about 300 pounds to use their line to heaven. Naturally, he makes the call and then leaves his wife behind.

Hah, I love that one. Unfortunately I can't take credit for it though, since I got it from federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn. Or maybe I didn't. At this point, I'm not really sure if I did or not, and apparently neither is Mr. Hearn or Education Minister Joan Burke.

Honestly I'm not entirely sure Joan Burke is in any position to criticise anyone for over their choice of comedy (or lack thereof). Based on everything I've ever heard her say both in and out of the House, I can only assume that she is the sort of person who enjoys Mallard Fillmore unironically:

Also applicable: Ross Wiseman

That aside, the joke in question - which apparently neither CBC or VOCM will reproduce in print medium - is pretty tame as far as sexist jokes go, to the point where I firmly believe that anyone finding it legitimately and/or offensively sexist desperately needs to get out more (Lorraine Michael, are you reading this?). If it makes you more comfortable, feel free to imagine the protagonist as a woman and replace the word "wife" with "husband" and it's essentially the same joke, although this might make it somewhat more difficult for the Education Minister to claim moral outrage about it.

Also, claiming moral outrage over a joke you never actually heard except through hearsay seems like an extremely frivolous and hilariously trivial thing to do that no sane government member would ever actually follow through on. Or at least, you would assume as much, until you remember that our provincial government has gone completely overboard in its grudge match with the federal Conservative party to the point of being so desperate to come up with something to offset recent spending announcements that they've resorted to trying to make a mountain out of what they heard might be a molehill (but aren't really sure).

Ironically, what Joan Burke and the provincial government don't seem to realise is that by blowing up at the federal Conservatives over everything they do and actively trying to make sure none are elected to the House from this province, they'll create a situation in which the only jokes they'll be hearing from federal Ministers in another (likely) Harper minority government will all start with "so, there's this Newfie..."

Friday, February 15, 2008

We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia

Well it sure has been an intense week here in St. John's as the Premier finally stepped in to decisively state that there's no real problem with Andy Wells keeping his job as mayor and taking the job of chair of th-

Wait, hang on a second, I'm seeing something else here. Wha-


Well it sure has been an intense week here in St. John's as the Premier finally stepped in to decisively state that Andy Wells can't keep both his job as mayor of St. John's and the job of chair of the PUB and that it has to be one or the other.

It's very refreshing to see a reminder of the proud, strong and determined will of the Williams Administration every once in a while; as a single-issue voter who was wowed entirely on the Premier's uncompromising stance against Prime Minister Stephen Hitler, no matter how detrimental to provincial-federal relations that may have been, I am pleased to see that the man I helped give a Smallwood-esque mandate will not crack in the face of public pressure or otherwise waffle on his stances.

I mean, if he had, someone in the media would have called him on it, right?