2005-01-31

Headline Puzzle #2 -- solution to come in two weeks

FU CSSFVBQECM BFQICPEQG EM EPBX OCUQ QPBSN CJ MRBPOG MEMR WEOOECM KCOOBPU
ELYZIYF MIPM ZGF JYDYZILP OGLMKFFGD EGDYCGS SGIS YF YLIA ODIFG NLIMW
NW SOMU ZY EKAMZBZYR OARKZIB OYRNM MWJKIF
OAHPXOQ LGJLQ AJO VHB NG OJSXD AXD - ICOOXJD LQXHS
YSZKMZKZNL AZW MEHASKZGC ESGIV SKOLKCHMHMSMHLKZG

enjoy...ank
Headline Puzzle rotate:

Solution for puzzle of January 17:


BOMBARDIER GETS FORTY-FIVE MILLION DOLLAR TRAM ORDER
THE SIMPSONS CROSS BORDER INTO MANITOBA
TSX DRIFTS AHEAD OF SLEW OF EARNINGS AND NY CLOSED FOR KING HOLIDAY
INDIAN TRAIN FIRE THAT SPARKED RELIGIOUS RIOTS 'ACCIDENTAL,' PROBE FINDS
NON-PRESCRIPTION CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING DRUG NIXED BY FDA PANEL

SETTING = SLAVE
KEY = EQUALITY
HAT = UNCLE TOM
I don't know if anyone even tried to solve it, but I'll post another one a little later today.

2005-01-20

More thoughts on "BC's Citizens Assembly recommends STV for plebiscite"

I'm not so sure now. After talking with friends and ruminating over the idea. A Citizen's Assembly has recommended an STV system for electing our unicameral legislature in BC, the vote to be held with the provincial government election in May. I'm having second thoughts about it. The concerns voiced from the northern representatives, that they wanted to "know their specific MLAs" doesn't wash now that I've thought further about it.

I would be happier if they had recommended a mixed-member-proportional system and I think it could have been done in such a way as to allow the "northerners" to "know their MLA" and more importantly, not to be rendered legislatively irrelevant by the far more populous south. Something along the following lines would have done the trick:

  1. Use the current federal riding boundaries as a basis.
  2. For ridings larger than some threshold size, split them in half (make the threshold large enough that this only happens for four or five ├╝ber-rural ridings)
  3. Each voter ranks all the "riding" candidates and votes for one list ("proportional").
  4. "Riding" candidates are elected through STV as proposed.
  5. "List candidates" are sent to Victoria based on popular vote.
I think that would serve all sides better than what is going to be presented to the electorate in May.

The only remaining question is, will eventual "correction" of the system be easier if the current proposal passes now or if it is defeated? The $64,0000,000 question...

2005-01-19

To understand all is to forgive all?

Today I understand a bit more why Dubya was so intent on taking Saddam down. I'm reading A Pretext for War (which, by the way, contains a fair bit of overlap with the later material in Body of Secrets) and Bamford's exposition of the plot against Bush Sr. and the rest of the Bush family when they came to Kuwait just after Clinton's inauguration made things a trifle clearer.

I understand now much better why he would be so motivated, and he has my sympathy though not my approval. Until now I was thinking it was no more than a little boy finishing what his Daddy started -- another honourable motive, but not a mature enough one for a national leader. And vengeance on someone who tried to kill your family is, at least in the eyes of most, also an honourable motive. My quibbles with that view aside, I submit that fulfillment of a personal vendetta should not be the animus behind the actions of any national leader.

In short, I can understand his actions, even forgive him as an individual for his actions and their reasons -- as far as that goes, to understand all is to forgive all. Still, I cannot exonerate those actions nor acclaim their reasons as valid.

26,000,000 people should not be made to pay for their tyrant's plans. Perhaps they will be better off in the end without Saddam at the helm. But democracy doesn't come by the barrel of the gun. It's a long slow process, a crop that needs to be sown -- and often re-sown many times -- that originally took centuries: like the time between the Magna Carta and the last time the British monarch over-rode the under-democratic House of Commons (Queen Anne, 18th century) -- that even took half a century with a much higher toll of blood in France. China's odyssey on that road is not yet done (farewell, Zhao, man before your time, such as you are never welcome in your own time).

But what about the post-colonial independence binge? There were some success stories there, but not very many. How many decades will it take before a government that looks democratic from the outside will take root in the Middle East? Military action hasn't brought that date nearer, and that you may tie to.

2005-01-18

Someone's thinking clearly!

The Emperor's New Clothes -- The Emperor's New Mind -- now The Emperor's -- er, Pentagon's -- New Map (and sorry, Chapters, but you just didn't list it -- I tried to be a loyal Canadian but you thwarted me, here). The interview with Mr. Barnett on Morning Edition today is quite educational and worth a listen -- follow the first link. I've requested the book from my local library already -- okay, so I'm cheap! :)

2005-01-17

Headline puzzle anyone? (I apologize -- the former version was wrong. Sorry, folks, still learning...)

PGYPNALOFA SFXC ZGAXJ-ZODF YOHHOGB LGHHNA XANY GALFA
ZIR HVBFHDCH QGDHH EDGURG VCZD BSCVZDES
UNW GFQTUN ZCPZG RT NSPH RT PZFMQMAN ZMG MV BSRNPG TRF IQMA CRSQGZV
XGYXOG EIOXG QXIH EUOE DCOIZHY IHJXVXKPD IXKED 'OLLXYHGEOJ,' CIKSH QXGYD
TCT-KBMFZBSKVSCT ZACRMFVMBCR-RCGMBSTE QBOE TSDMQ XW YQP KPTMR

Solution to be posted in this space, 31-Jan or so.

2005-01-14

Blogger-blogging by e-mail

What a disappointment! I sent some mail to my blogger and the lag-time in getting here completely defeats the purpose of using such a feature. I guess I'll be logging in instead of e-mailing here. I sent a test-post to my blog (now deleted since its content was so VERY pithy -- not) by e-mail on the 10th of January but didn't make it to my blog until this morning, the 14th. Not a very useful feature, I'm afraid. Oh well. I said this blog thing was something I wanted to "test". This time the test failed. sigh...

2005-01-11

What is the Meatrix?

Okay, so it's old, but someone posted it past me again and it was worth watching again. Grain of salt not included.