When Harold Bloom got busy defining the Western canon for us some twenty years ago, his short list of the main men and women in literature included only one figure from the high eighteenth century. That was Samuel Johnson, whom Bloom later admitted he read all the time “because he is my great hero as a literary critic and I have tried to model myself upon him all my life.” No Voltaire, Diderot, or Rousseau. No Defoe, Fielding, or Sterne. And no Swift. But the ship has sailed, and now even Johnson can do little more than cling on to canonical status in the place where it really matters most—the corpus of student texts. Like Pope, he didn’t write anything deemed worthy of admission to the Norton Critical Editions—a publishing decision no doubt based on canny sales forecasts. Only Swift holds secure, thanks mainly to Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal. These remain living classics, influential on writers and readers alike. Gulliver morphs easily into popular culture and science fiction. And Swift sometimes manages to rate among the British authors on whom graduates are writing the most dissertations, not too far behind Shakespeare and Angela Carter. He’s almost become Swift Our Contemporary.
The first computer I ever worked with was a LEO 326 owned by Britain’s telephone monopoly. LEO was a bungalow-size behemoth with 32 kilobytes of memory. That was in 1969, which is 29 Moore’s Law cycles ago; so applying the law, an equivalent machine today should sport 17 terabytes of memory—not far off for a comparable installation. Other technological indices—processor speed, channel capacity, price—show similar trends (inverse, in the case of price).
Kipling’s poems show the lack of introspection of a man seemingly without an inner life. He had an inner life, often a movingly sad one (his son was killed on the battlefield at Loos), but the poems have the emotional range of a schoolboy. They were written, unlike most poetry now, for purposes other than the display of private disappointments and despairs. Even when the subject was love, the poems are derivative or wearyingly sentimental, as if written by committee — but then, in a way, Kipling was a committee. The world that adored his poems is not our world, its prejudices no longer our prejudices. That world is gone and not likely to return.
The progress we made in all four by-election ridings wasn't a stroke of luck.
We elected two new Liberal MPs because of you - your hope, your hard work, and everything you've done for this movement.
I can't thank you - the candidates, campaign teams, and Canadians across the country who made this possible - enough.
So saith Justin's e-mail.
The only thing that last week's by-elections revealed was that even when nothing happens, Justin is still winning. I lost track within a few hours of the number of articles, blog posts and TV blurbs reassuring the good people of Canada that their future King had "momentum."
How is winning a statistical tie with the governing Tories momentum? Because it is.
It's a cliche as old as Parliament that by-elections are informal referenda on the government of the day. Considering the MSM shellacking that has been delivered to the Tories these last few months, you'd think the public would have revolted. The Boys and Girls in Blue should have been despised. Yet no. For all the valiant efforts of the hacking class, the public has essentially yawned off the whole Nigel Wright thing.
That slender thread upon which so much of the Left's hopes hang is this: That some firm evidence will emerge that the Prime Minister knew that Nigel Wright was taking out his cheque book. That would imply that the PM was condoning what is, very technically, an illegal act. Members of the executive cannot hand over large personal checks to members of the legislature. Even if they are Senators and even if the Senator in question is Mike Duffy. That is the form of the thing. The substance, by contrast, is remarkably innocuous.
Duffy was living high off the federal hog. The PM told him to stop and pay back what he took. The Duffster balked at $90,000. Nigel Wright, who apparently swims in the stuff, just decided to solve the problem in the traditional manner of the obscenely rich: Pay the problem to go away.
The core of the matter is that a very successful businessman and lawyer decided to save the taxpayers $90,000. After eight years of nearly heroic efforts to find something rotten in Harperland it comes down to a Tory operative giving money back to the people. That this scandal has had such legs is a testament to the Press Gallery's unwavering Harper-Hate. There are, by contrast, entire graveyards filled with Liberal skeletons that remain entirely undisturbed by those valiant seekers after truth. Some would call this hypocrisy.
This is the remarkable thing, the thing that should not be forgotten: The MSM has tried very hard to destroy Stephen Harper and they have so far failed. That nationally the Tories are in a statistical three way tie after so long in office, with an economy that is still moving sideways, is something of a triumph. That Rob Ford, the self proclaimed three hundred pounds of fun, is still cruising with strong popular approval is another sort of triumph. Whatever you think of these men and their accomplishments, both have weathered the media storm.
For decades those on the Right complained bitterly about how the MSM could frame stories and sway public opinion. It appears that a large section of the public has, at long last, figured out that they were being played. When the media say that it's raining, they think twice about bringing along an umbrella.
This wasn't an accident. The internet has played its part. So has the Sun News chain and network. But what has really sunk the media's credibility is their own arrogance. They have lied, distorted and manipulated so often that they are simply not trusted. In time that will be a catastrophe for the MSM.
Canadians of all ages, whether it is those paying down student debt, saving to buy their first home or planning their retirement, often feel overwhelmed when they try to set short or long-term financial goals. Today, the Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance), and Lucie Tedesco, Commissioner of theFinancial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), unveiled the Financial Goal Calculator; a new tool that will help Canadians of all ages plan and reach their financial goals.
FCAC’s free, easy-to-use, interactive online Calculator helps Canadians meet their financial goals in three areas:
I've been calling for similar reforms since forever:
A Conservative MP is set to introduce a bill that would give party caucuses significant powers — including the ability to vote out their leader.
Michael Chong has been working on the private member's bill for years, and has become a standard-bearer for rebalancing the power between the Prime Minister's Office and Parliament.
His proposed legislation would also give party riding associations the ultimate say in electoral nominations, removing the leader's signature from the equation for the first time since 1970.
One measure would entrench in the Parliament of Canada Act that the different Commons caucuses — also referred to as parliamentary parties — have the power to trigger a leadership review vote, as long as 15 per cent of the caucus applies in writing for one.
After that, a simple majority of MPs, 50 per cent plus one, could vote to turf the leader and have a leadership race.
In other words with one bill our traditional system of responsible government would be restored. I'm stunned that anyone still remembers how parliament is actually suppose to work, and did work, until modern party conventions were developed after World War One. This bill doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell, but that doesn't mean it won't spark debate and provide a template for future legislation.
After these reforms the party leader would be beholden to the caucus and not to the nebulous extraparliamentary party. Today the election of a leader hinges to a great extent on the ability of a candidate to sell party memberships, or in the case of the Liberal Party obtain the practical equivalent of Facebook likes. Many of these Instant Tories and Instant Grits have little interest in party politics. They do not represent a core of engaged citizens willing and able to hold their party representatives to account.
It would not, however, completely spell the end of the Imperial PMO. Modern government is so large and complex that some kind of strong central authority is required, otherwise the Public Service would completely degenerate into fiefdoms constantly fighting turf wars. The ideal solution is to scrap the modern regulatory and welfare state. That ain't happening anytime soon. Michael Chong's bill is a pretty good step toward reigning in the Prime Ministerial fart catchers.
This legislation might, just might, prompt some better qualified people to enter Canadian politics.
A massive deficit and we're spending money on this:
An investment of $50,000 under the Western Diversification Program will be used by the Saskatchewan Milk Marketing Board (SaskMilk) to purchase equipment needed to develop a vaccine for heel wart, a highly infectious condition that occurs in cattle. Also known as bovine digital dermatitis, this disease significantly decreases dairy and beef production and results in approximately $50 million in losses to the Canadian industry every year.