Not since World War I has Canada been governed by a coalition government, but that’s starting to sound like a very possible scenario as the Liberals and NDP are in talks to form one. The next couple weeks will be interesting…
Enough results are in that the CBC has predicted a minority Conservative government led by Stephen Harper in Canada. This is great news; the previously dysfunctional parliament can now be re-organized into something that can effectively lead the country.
I predict Michael Ignatieff will become the new Liberal leader, parliament will be as dysfunctional as before and in two years, we’ll have another election.
A game of politics is being played out over the dieing people in Myanmar. I won’t take sides, but it’s atrocious and shameful no matter what position is taken.
For the past several days, I’ve been fascinated by a FRONTLINE series on the war in Iraq, entitled “Bush’s War”. I’ll leave the pro/anti-war discussion out of this snippet, but regardless of position, the internal political power struggles that occurred are very interesting.
I’m very glad this series was made available for consumption on the web.
I just across this link while perusing my RSS feeds: P.E.I. Liberals win big. When I was still living on the Island, they were a small little group – only 4 members of the Liberals formed the opposition to the dominant Progressive Conservatives, led by Pat Binns. Robert Ghiz was seen as too young, too inexperienced. But my, it’s been many years now and soon he’ll be following in his father’s (Joseph Ghiz) footsteps as the Premier of Prince Edward Island.
If thereâ€™s one thing thatâ€™s very clear to me in Ontario, itâ€™s the fact that thereâ€™s a huge disparity in the wealth distribution in this province. While the average income here is quite a bit higher than say, Prince Edward Island, the cost of living is even higher. On PEI, there were those few that were very wealthy, but the average household could still live pretty comfortably in a middle class neighborhood. The cost of land was relatively low, unless you went towards the waterfront properties. Most places were well-kept.
But when you come to Ontario, youâ€™d probably notice the shocking amount of derelict buildings, poorly maintained neighborhoods and a general â€˜poorerâ€™ feeling in many areas. Thatâ€™s not to say there arenâ€™t rich people. Far from it; everywhere you look, you can see fancy cars, huge houses and thousand dollar handbags (okay, so you canâ€™t really see the last one everywhereâ€¦) Thatâ€™s the problem though. The average income is higher because there are so many well off people. The majority of people are still only making $30-40K a year. On PEI, you can get away with that. In a big city in Ontario, where the cost of a decent condo is easily double a nice house on PEI, itâ€™s pretty difficult to get by on that sort of salary. Meanwhile youâ€™ve got a ton of people who trying to decide what luxury car to buy next.
Iâ€™m not complaining about my current living standards at all. I live very comfortably. If I want something, I can probably afford it, within reason. (No, I canâ€™t go buy a car on a whim) What Iâ€™m saying is that there is a disproportionate amount of people who are not living comfortably. In fact, theyâ€™re hardly living at all. They work very long hours at mediocre paying jobs just to get by in the big city. Just how bad is it? If my co-op jobsâ€™ salaries were annualized, Iâ€™d be making more money than a lot of people out there (in Ontario). Just think, Iâ€™m merely a first year university student.
Itâ€™s also why Iâ€™m against what the Harper government has done. Before the Liberals went out of power, they decreased the lowest tax bracketâ€™s tax rate by one percent. However, when the Conservatives came into power, they reversed that 1% decrease and meanwhile lowered the GST by 1% instead. Now letâ€™s think about this for a moment. Who does the 1% decrease in income taxes benefit the most? The people who need it the most; the people who make the least. Who does the 1% GST decrease benefit the most? The people who spend the most, or, in other words, (generally speaking here) people who make the most money already. This has always been the fracturing between the three main parties in Canada. The Conservatives favor the rich, the NDP favor the poor and the Liberals stick themselves somewhere in between. Fortunately, the majority of voters are not wealthy. The majority of voters are average Joe Schmos. While the Conservatives put on the front that theyâ€™re accountable and responsible, not scandaling it away like the Liberals, how much did we really lose with the Liberals? Yes, they got complacent in their position of power for too many years, but in reality, they only blew, what, a couple hundred million. Meanwhile, the Conservatives are spending billions on projects that many protest again. For example, the $100/month child support checks. Instead of providing the daycares subsidies, to lower the cost, the Conservatives thought it a good idea to send that money directly to the hands of the parents. While youâ€™d like to believe so, not all parents are responsible. With the Liberalsâ€™ plan, the money was going to child care and child care only because it was going directly to those facilities. But when you mail a check out to a household, you no longer have any control over what happens with that money. Maybe itâ€™ll be used for the childâ€™s daycare or other care costs, but thereâ€™s also a big possibility that it could be used to buy cigarettes, alcohol or that big screen TV? Add on top of that the fact that many daycares are raising their monthly fees by that exact $100/month and it seems like those billions mailed out in nice government envelopes are for naught. So is it more right to spend money legitimately, but completely wastefully, than to cheat it from us? Or what about the softwood lumber dispute? Canadian lumber companies were forced to forfeit $1 billion to our neighbors to the south in the most recent deal. Now that in itself is bad enough when just about all the rulings were coming in our favor. To add insult on injury, the Conservatives crowed about how great of a settlement we were getting. How great was that settlement Mr. Harper? Why did we not get that other $1 billion if we were in the right? Why was it a good settlement if we in the right? Whether it be the Liberal scandals or the Conservativeâ€™s irresponsible spending, I believe we, the citizens, are being cheated.
I wonâ€™t speak about it too much at length, but I just have to comment on Steven Harperâ€™s recent comments in light of the difficulty going on around the world. Be it the North Korea or Iran or Iraq or Israel-Lebanon conflict, Harper has been in step with the United States and George Bush the whole way. I want a government who can speak for the country. I donâ€™t want a lapdop thatâ€™s willing to do anything to get some table scraps from the United States government. I actually feel disgusted at the way Steven Harper has handled himself. While just about every nation except the United States has called on an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Lebanon conflict, Harper thought it would be nice to put on a show of solidarity with Mr. Bush. Earth to Harper, we donâ€™t need a miniature Bush here. And whatâ€™s even worse is that we have one who can merely repeat after the real one. I mean whatâ€™s all this crap about a new Middle East coming from the United States? The Bush administration even went so far as to essentially call the people who donâ€™t want this â€˜newâ€™ Middle East terrorists. Who the hell asked the United States what the Middle East should be? What gives them the right to define what it should be?
Enough of that. What started off as a small discussion about the financial state of Ontario compared to PEI really degenerated into politics. But if I learned one thing in economics in high school (aside from the fact that options are both awesome and evil) is that politics and money are joined at the hip.
Well it seems like the ‘kidnapping’ (Israelis like to call it that while Hamas is calling it a ‘capture’… semantics) of the Israeli soldier late last month was just the beginning of what could potentially turn into a regional flare-up. Another two Israeli soldiers were captured recently by Hezbollah, which drags Lebanon back into the sights of Israel. Since Hezbollah and reported to be supported, funded, and armed by Syria and Iran, the entire Middle East region has now been thrown into the thick of things directly or indirectly. While Israel is categorizing its
incursions invasion of Palestinian territory as ‘self-defence’, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to convince the rest of world on this matter. Already, the UN Secretary General has called on Israel to at least allow humanitarian aid through the region. Due to the Israeli bombings of the main power station and the destruction of numerous bridges, the humanitarian situation is becoming worse and worse.
And now that Lebanon has been pulled into the mix, it’s hard to imagine this dieing down before it first escalates. Both sides are being extremely stubborn. Israel is refusing to negotiate whatsoever and Hamas and Hezbollah are unlikely to give up their bargaining chip without at least some prisoners being freed by Israel. Neither side is in a favorable position. Hamas and Hezbollah do not have the capabilities to participate in an all out war against the Israeli army, but at the same time, Israel is painting a huge target on themselves. Many people are shocked at Israel’s extreme overreaction to the captures and is definitely not changing its ‘bully’ status in the Middle East…
But enough of that serious stuff… I’ve been neglecting this blog too much recently. I mean look at it, 3 posts so far this month. How terrible is that? I finished up my work for this week pretty early (no, I didn’t even leave my calculus assignment until the last day) and so I’m really trying to make the most of the free time. Extra sleep is definitely first on my list, which is why I have to power through this post and wash up.
I’m currently going through Entourage withdrawal. I finished the first two seasons in about 3 weeks of watching the show and I watched the first 4 episodes of season 3 in one night. I watched the 5th episode of season 3 just the other day. Now I’m without any Entourage until this Sunday. To fill the gap, I’ve been watching some of The Office and I downloaded season 1 of Star Trek: The Next Generation last night.
It’s just about time to start studying for finals as well. Most of the courses are starting to wrap up as there’s really just slightly more than one week of classes left. I’m currently caught up in 4 of my 5 courses so I feel pretty good. (Although I did get back a midterm today, which I got only 82% on. It really wasn’t that difficult of a midterm and I’m extremely disappointed in myself. It seems like circuits just isn’t my forte. Sucks that it has to be the double-weighted course too…) I was aiming for a 90% average, although with the way calculus is going and how I never seem to be able to do well in circuits, I’m not too sure how realistic that is now. Oh well, I’m definitely going to start studying earlier this semester. Hopefully, that’ll be good for a couple percentages.
I also (semi-)decided to buy a desktop this coming work semester. I don’t think I can stand the thought of not having something to game on when I’m bored as heck after work. I can just see that Conroe system with a 20″ LCD already. It would be so nice, but I’ll have to look at the financial situation when next semester rolls around. Speaking of work, I really need to do some research of those analysis tools that my employer sent me…
Well, we had no 3 hour lab this morning and one of the engineering buildings had a little spill in it (read something toxic) so it was closed down and we had no circuits tutorial. As a result, my regular 8 hour day got turned into a nice 2 hour one. I definitely didn’t mind. It’s nice to have a day off every once in a while. It really makes you appreciate the free time when you rarely have any.
In unrelated news, the US is powering up its anti-missile defence in the Pacific. This is due to the rumour that North Korea will be test firing its long range missile that has the potential to hit the western United States with a small payload. At this point the only thing more embarrassing for the US would be if they intercept and miss. 😛
This cracked me up. Have a read:
Better believe it (First) lady.
Lenovo, a Chinese company purchased the desktop and laptop business from IBM quite some time ago. The idea was to enter the worldwide market with a strong brand quickly. They did so for $1.25B. Fast forward to the present. The US government wants to purchase about 16,000 Lenovo computers. Okay, a big order, but what’s the big deal? Well, recently the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission has requested that Lenovo be probed into concerns about placing spy equipments into those computers. After all, the big red machine (no, not Russia anymore) is out to get the Americans.
Now, the United States appears to pride itself on competition, the free market, and capitalism. Yet when the government gets involved, it seems like all this gets thrown out the window instantly, without second thought. The Dubai ports deal was just another example of America’s recent barrier against what they apparently stand for. Read it and decide for yourself.
Speaking of politics in tech business, this one comes from the corporate politics side. ATI Technologies uses ULi chipsets for its peripherals chip (South Bridge which provides things such as SATA, USB, etc). NVidia recently purchased ULi and is announcing that they will stop production of the chipsets ATI has been using. Of course, it would be awfully weird for nVidia to continue producing chipsets for a competitor, but nonetheless, it really puts the pressure on ATI to produce a good south bridge of their own, and soon.
On that note, ATI annouced its earnings for its second quarter. They came in quite a bit above analyst estimates, but net income dropped around 40% from the same time last year. Sales of lower margin chipsets pushed down those earnings despite a rise in overall revenue to $672.4 million. Stock’s up strongly in pre-market trading.
One stock that definitely isn’t up, but is falling in pre-market is Google. With recent worries about growth rates and earnings-per-share, Google’s stock probably didn’t need the announcement that they would be issuing another 5.3 million shares of stock. This only serves to dilute the stock, infusing more equity into the market, which in turn causes everyone else’s stock to be worth slightly less, assuming earnings and such remain the same. It’ll be interesting to see if Google can still hit its earnings estimates even with this sale to the market (worth around $2.1 billion!). The stock’s down around $10 pre-market.
[tags]Lenovo, US Government, nVidia, ATI, Google, business[/tags]