Friday, August 29, 2008

Federal polling numbers

New polling numbers from Nanos have the Liberals and Conservatives gripped in a tie. I'm no pollster, but I did take a look at the numbers* and there are a few interesting bits.

-----------May --Aug
Libs: ------34 ----35
Cons: -----33 ----33
NDP: -----15 -----17
Bloc: ------11 -----8
Greens: ---8 ------7

Overall the numbers haven't shifted out of the statistical margin of accuracy since May. Regionally, however, there have been a few interesting changes:

1. In Atlantic Canada the Liberals jumped from 42 to 54%, gaining from the Green mostly who dropped from 10 to 2%.
2. The NDP rose from 5 to 13% in Quebec, largely at the expense of the Bloc, who dropped from 40 to 31%.
3. The NDP also gained in Ontario, from 17 to 21%, while the Conservatives sank to 29 from 33%.

I'm no analyst, but I have a few ideas about the results: The NDP have been pushing hard for gains in Quebec, and it's working. However, will it translate into seats? Difficult to say, but combined with their first breakthrough in the last election, things are looking good for them. The Bloc seem to have lost the struggle for ideas in the province. I would never predict their downfall, but I will guess that the three major federal parties will be looking at Quebec with hungry eyes.

As manufacturing jobs leave Ontario, support for the NDP grows?

The Green Party seems to be absent from the media. I don't follow the party federally at all, so I have no idea why they may have lost 8pts in the Maritimes. I suspect it's because people know there's an election coming and Green support is always highest between elections.

*poll was of 1000 committed voters. 16% were uncommitted. Margin of error of committed voters was 3.4%.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Geography of Hope cont'd

I have decided that after the November elections I am going to give each new (or renewed) member of City Council a copy of The Geography of Hope. It's an inspiring and utterly practical book about how small projects will be how we reach our sustainability goals.

Vancouver is doing a pretty good job, but more can and should be done. New developments could be held to the LEED Gold standard, as has been proposed. The fleet of vehicles could be downsized and fully converted to biodiesel. Our system of bike lanes could be heavily expanded, with routes entirely free of cars. Translink could further increase bus access. And, from reading the book, some industries could collaborate on energy use/production to greatly reduce waste/expenditure.

I am excited to put into practice some of the ideas from the book, but don't have a focus. I live in an apartment building with a landlord that doesn't seem so open to ideas of spending to save on energy. I'm pretty sure we can't install a garden on our roof, or even solar panels. I wonder how much effort it takes to put up some solar panels and hook them into the circuitry of the house. Research, anyone?

I'm a tool. Solar energy on such a small scale is not worth it at all. Boo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Some interesting stories

Not much to say, just a few links to interesting stories I read today:

Frances Bula's four page story on the two mayoral candidates in September's Vancouver Magazine. An interesting comparison, mostly using their backgrounds as indicators of how they might govern if elected.  

Tony Clement is ridiculous, again. This time he was telling the CMA that they are unethical if they support Insite. How does he still have his ministerial post? A couple weeks ago he told an AIDS conference that he supported the WHO's harm reduction strategy but not supervised injection sites, which are part of that strategy...SMRT...(if the links don't work, thank the Globe and Mail's ridiculous policy of restricting access to older stories). 

London (Ont.) just banned the sale of bottled water on city facilities. Is this something Vancouver would consider? City Councilor Tim Stevenson supports it.

Chinese protesters have to apply to protest at the Olympics (and any time, I guess). Not surprisingly, no applications have been approved yet. 

When was the last time you read a story about Rwanda? Facing a tuberculosis problem, the Minisrty of Health is building hospitals with better natural ventilation, with help from designers at Harvard and the Clinton Foundation. 

Fantasy Football Week One

Ouch. I'm sitting in 10th place (of 14) after the first round of games. I had a few players really come through, and I had a few come up short, but my biggest mistake was in team selection. I ended with 10 pts, while two of the players I left out got 11 pts between them. Here's the thing, though: Do I get more involved, and spend some time researching the players, the opposition, etc? Doesn't seem like a good use of my time. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Frances Bula is back

I was quite happy to see today that Frances Bula has launched her own website recently. For those that don't know, Ms. Bula wrote about Vancouver politics for the Vancouver Sun, but recently left to pursue other interests. From her site:

"Currently, I am the city columnist and a contributing editor with Vancouver Magazine and an instructor in the journalism program at Langara College. I also write for other publications in the city, including the Globe and Mail and B.C. Business magazine."

Welcome back, Ms. Bula, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on our fair city. 

Pay raise for top bureaucrats

Outrageous. Up to 43% increase after a 25% increase two years ago. Story here: Liberal deputies' pay jumps. Great cartoon by Raeside (though I'm not sure if I should reproduce it here or just provide a link. Anyone?).

Bill Tieleman smartly points out that Gordon Campbell's top aide will make more in a day than people on disability will make in a month. 

Newspapers vs. the blogosphere

David Eaves wrote an interesting little blurb about the decline of newspapers. I love newspapers, and I think they play an interesting role in how communities relate to themselves and others. I find myself reading more and more news online, though it's still mostly generated by traditional news sources: the Globe and Mail, the BBC, the New York Times, and so on.

Anyway, I left a few comments on David's post that I was going to recreate here but for some reason I can't cut-and-paste into this dialogue box, and I don't want to type out the comments again. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fantasy Football

I joined a Fantasy Football league this year, complete with transfers, bidding, etc... 14 members were each given £75 million to bid on and buy 16 players in several rounds of blind auctions. I bid quite high in my first round and secured 13 players, probably the most of anyone in the league, but was left with only £5 million for the remaining three. Some astute bidding secured me two more in the second round, and I'm left with £500,000 for one player in the third round. My team so far:

GK - Tim Howard, Everton - 10m
DF - Jose Bosingwa, Chelsea - free (in the second round, even) 
DF - Sol Campbell, Portsmouth - free
DF - Sylvain Distin, Portsmouth - 8m
DF - Lucas Neill, West Ham - free
MF - Ryan Babel, Liverpool - 4.5m
MF - Francesco Fabregas, Arsenal - 15m
MF - Luka Modric, Tottenham - 6m
MF - Martin Petrov, Man. City - free
MF - Theo Walcott, Arsenal - 7m
MF - SWP, Chelsea - free
FW - Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa - 14m
FW - Dean Ashton, West Ham - 10m
FW - Darren Bent, Tottenham - free
FW - Michael Owen, Newcastle - free

So, it's easy to see that I got many on free transfers, meaning no one bid on them that round, allowing me to overspend on those I really wanted. And I did overspend. No one else bid for a few players I spent a good amount on. That's what happens in a blind auction, I guess. I was also lucky to get a few players that had equal bids; the system makes a random choice. 

Edit: I finished my team off with a .5m bid for Kevin Kilbane. Not a superstar by any stretch, but a solid defender, albeit on a team that will struggle.

Bent's been hitting the net in the pre-season, and Berbatov is off to ManU, so he should get playing time. Owen will be my sub, I can't see him hitting too many this season. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vancouver Pride Parade

I attended the Pride Parade with Vision Vancouver and had a great time. Great ol' time. Lovely. And fun. I highly recommend it. I think I'll try to post some pictures on here.

That wasn't very hard at all. I've got more, though none are as good as this one.

The Vision crew was pretty big and chanted and we gave out fruit. (How perfect is that?) Next year I'm going to suggest a huge banner that reads: 
Vision Vancouver loves local fruits! 

I would have liked to see better costumes and less clothes, though. There was plenty on display, but our contingent didn't get great cheers for our display of Pride-ness.