Friday, January 27, 2006
Prof offers students a B-minus to drop his class
"Red is the new libertine" - Galliano rolls out revolution
Sydney Ferry race
Roger and doubt: Observations on tennis strategy
Marcos living a dream
Australian dust storm
Gore accuses big oil of bankrolling Tories in Canadian election
"Many Americans on the left and the right aren't interested in the truth, but simply want news that confirms their viewpoints."
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Internet Strengthens Rather Than Replaces Offline Friendships
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
The Boys of Baraka
One Red Paperclip: He started with a paperclip; now he owns a large cube van
Zero Sugar or Zero Coke?
Optus Tennis Challenge
Wonderful Adidas soccer ad
RODDICK vs PONG
Local papers can't get enough of his story
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Cats know the difference: Clever ad
Stephen Harper wins Conservative minority in Canada
Sharapova accused of "legalised cheating" with her high-pitched squealing during points
Canada: The times they are a changing
British expatriates find these funny
Rookie filmmakers snag $10M deal at Sundance
Said to be President Bush's finest speech
The New Yorker: Cartoon Caption Contest
Too weird: Group Hug // anonymous online confessions
iTunes Signature Maker: Who you are and what you listen to
Monday, January 23, 2006
The missus is away with the dog and I sure miss him.
Bundarrah Days: Life in the Australian Bush
Forest fires knock tennis off Australian headlines
Stosur was hoping to join 2005 quarter-finalist Alicia Molik as only the second Australian woman in almost two decades to reach the last eight at Melbourne Park.
But the 21-year-old Queenslander was left to rue an erratic display of serving and a definite missed opportunity in the tense second-set tiebreaker as the Swiss Miss advanced after one hour and 32 minutes.
Stosur twice looked gone when the former world No.1 served for the match at 5-3 and then again at 6-5 in the second set.
Twice, though, Stosur broke back before building a 5-2 advantage in the tiebreak.
Hingis recovered to establish match points at 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 in the breaker, only for Stosur to gallantly stay alive on each occasion.
Stosur finally surrendered with a backhand in the net after a second set lasting 69 minutes.
Hingis was delighted to have booked a quarter-final showdown on Wednesday with US Open champion Kim Clijsters, but also expressed praise for her vanquished opponent.
"She's still only young and she's got this amazing kick serve," Hingis said of Stosur's second service delivery.
"I think she has a great future ahead of her."
NYT ahead of Canadian election
In From the Cold
AN outsider watching the Canadian election today may be forgiven for wondering what the fuss is about. A centrist Liberal government is about to be replaced, if the polls are correct, by a centrist Conservative one. Like its predecessor, the new government will probably hold only a minority of the seats in Parliament, meaning it will have to work with the other parties to pass legislation. Small earthquake in Canada; not many hurt.
But beneath Canada's placid surface, the tectonic plates are shifting.
Slowly, by stages, rather than suddenly and violently, the Western world's most enduring political dynasty is cracking up. The Liberal Party of Canada, it is often noted, held power for more years in the 20th century than the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It has governed Canada, with occasional Conservative interludes, more or less since the First World War. Not for nothing is the system sometimes called "one-and-a-half-party rule."
Since the election of 1993, especially, the Liberals have ruled all but unopposed, the opposition having fractured into several regionally based parties. But you know what they say about absolute power, and sure enough the Liberals were implicated in a series of scandals, including a huge kickback scheme in Quebec.
At the same time, the party was beset by internal divisions, culminating in the sitting prime minister, Jean Chrétien, being forced from office by his own party. His successor, Paul Martin, came to power with enormous expectations, owing to his success as finance minister in taming our national deficits.
Mr. Martin quickly fell short of the mark. In 2004, the once-invincible Liberals were reduced to a minority, thanks in part to the scandal in Quebec, in part to disappointment with Mr. Martin, and in part to the resurrection of a united Conservative opposition led by Stephen Harper.
A dour economist from Alberta, Mr. Harper is no one's idea of a natural politician. But he is blessed with both a first-rate mind for policy and a sure strategic sense. Though decidedly from the (libertarian) right of the party, Mr. Harper has learned to temper his ambitions to reshape Canada's federal system and rein in its sprawling government. It isn't that he has suddenly been transformed into a moderate, in the mold of the party's hapless past leaders, but he has been converted to incrementalism.
Mr. Harper bet the election on this strategy. The Conservatives had been so far from power for so long, he calculated, that they had become an unknown quantity to many voters. Fear of the unknown was the Liberals' last remaining political weapon, their sole defense against widespread public fatigue with their government. Deny the Liberals that, and they would collapse.
Whatever his ideological objectives, Mr. Harper has as his first goal to make his party into a permanent contender for power: to end one-and-a-half party rule, forever. That is a matter not only of building a lasting electoral coalition, but given Canada's peculiar political history, of reforming its institutions. Conservative predecessors had won smashing victories, only to be overwhelmed in office by the vested interests of Liberaldom.
To avoid the same fate, Mr. Harper will have to confront the entrenched apparatus of Liberal rule, including the vast network of dependent client groups the party has cultivated over the years: big businesses, small businesses, activist groups, ethnic organizations, all on the federal dole and close to the ruling party.
He will also have to make reforms to Canada's outmoded democratic institutions, notably the appointed Senate, in which the Liberals, quelle surprise, hold a majority of the seats.
Last, he will have to set aside some of his own privileges, placing limits on the powers of patronage with which prime ministers have consolidated their rule. The Conservatives must plan for when they are again out of power and remove the instruments by which they were kept out.
Previous Conservative prime ministers aspired only to run the Liberal machine for themselves, leaving the motor running for the Liberals when they returned. Mr. Harper wants to dismantle it, piece by piece.
Andrew Coyne is a columnist for The National Post.
Can you imagine North American political leaders so relaxed?
A blog on TV advertising: Duncan's TV Ad Land
Sunday, January 22, 2006
NBC Cancels 'West Wing'
Conservative view of Canada?
"In America, conservatives have long dismissed Canada as a vast,
bleak landscape of pinko, peacenik homosexuals debilitated by a
socialist medical system, are starting to see vitality."
The Times of London on the eve of the Canadian election.