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100 Years Ago Today…

Merkle’s Boner, one of the most famous plays in baseball history.

New Ben Folds!

Way to Normal will be released September 30th, his album of new material in 3 1/2 years.
Here is the video for the first single. The song is called “You Don’t Know Me”, and I quite like it after a couple of listens. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but why mess with a winning formula?

You can also listen to the song, along with a few other tracks off the new album on his MySpace page.

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Good Advice of the Day

Never get too comfortable, courtesy of retiring Medicine Hat MP, and Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Monte Solberg.
Leaving aside the blatant, and false, partisan shot in the sixth paragraph (Conservatives stay in government a long time too, Monte), this is well worth a read, and I fully agree with his summation.

Canadian Politics in Flux

Christopher Flavelle of Slate, also a former speechwriter for Stephane Dion, on Canada’s political climate.

First Election Prediction

Taking a cue from Mustafa, I submitted my prediction to the James Bow Federal Election Pool.
I will probably revise it in a week or two, but for now my gut says this:

We’re Better Off With Harper and His Sweater Vests: 142
The Green Shift: 100
The Socialist Sovereigntists: 34
Jack Layton, of the NEW Democrats: 29
Without Party Affiliation: 2
The Liberal Candidate for Central Nova: 1

Voter Turnout: 56%

By early October, the Conservatives will flirt with majority territory, but in the end the Bloc will hold enough of their support in Quebec. Add in the Liberals continued strength in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, and Harper will get closer, but not quite there.

The Liberals and NDP tread water, which is probably the worst case scenario for them. Well, not the worst case, and certainly better than being decimated, but it leaves them in limbo. Dion and Layton both hold the fort, more or less (Dion up 5 seats, Layton down 2), so it’s not a ringing endorsement of their leadership, but it’s not a defeat, so they won’t be compelled to resign.

The outlook will probably change, but through 3 1/2 days I see a pretty similar landscape to the one that was just dissolved. Nobody’s had a really good first week, except for Elizabeth May, and as Andrew Steele of The Globe has pointed out, getting into the debate is actually a mixed blessing for the Greens.

On Debates…

In light of the decision to exclude Elizabeth May of the Green Party from the national leaders debate, I think there are a few issues here:

Who’s to Blame?
If you oppose the decision, I think there are three groups at blame here:

1. The media outlets for not calling the bluff of the Conservatives and the NDP. Were they really going to skip the debates? I find that hard to believe.

2. Messrs Harper and Layton, while entirely within their right to oppose Mrs May’s inclusion, should have a real good reason for doing so.

3. The electoral system is at fault, since there is no regulation regarding the debates.

What Should Happen This Election?
In the short term, if the networks want Elizabeth May there, I think they should call Harper and Layton’s bluff. And if they decide to sit out, it’s their loss.

What Should Happen in the Future?
There should be an amendment to the Canada Election Act which provides for sanctioned debates.

Participation should be open to the leader of any registered political party who has achieved any of the following benchmarks:

1. Election of a Member of Parliament (under that party’s banner) in the previous general election, or a by-election since.
2. Official party status in the House of Commons.
3. Earned 5% of the vote in the previous general election (or other vote benchmark that would demonstrate support).
4. Having candidates in a specific number of ridings, say 75%.

To me, any of those would demonstrate a national presence, and merit inclusion in a debate.

Hopefully someone will run with this concept so we don’t have these issues in the future.

Now THIS is an Attack Ad

Great work by the DSCC here. I think they should have used the concept to go after McCain, but it’s brilliant regardless of the target.

Football Season = RUINED

Tom Brady looks to be done for the year.
I think it was a cheapshot, but judge for your self.

Jack Layton Wants To Be Our Barack Obama

Just read the text of Jack Layton’s kickoff speech, which seems to read like a “best of” list cribbed from the various Democratic primary candidates. You might as well call it “The Campaign to Bring Change We Can Believe In to Canada on Day One”.

Overall it’s not a bad speech, probably because it feels like a blatant ripoff of Senator Obama’s speeches from the past two years, especially phrases like “doing things the way they’ve been done for the past 25 years” (Obama says 8 years) and “don’t let them tell you it can’t be done”, variations of which appear in almost every Obama speech. How about some original material?

And Mr. Layton, you’re no Barack Obama.

Also, I’m curious if the constant refrain of “Stephane Dion is not the change we need” in their policy section was introduced before or after that slogan made its debut south of the border.

But on a more humorous note, I agree about The Simpsons reference being thrown in as well.

Update: More from Aaron Wherry.

Sir Charles on the Issues

I really don’t mean to write about politics all the time, but any time Charles Barkley is interviewed on the subject, I have to pass it on.