Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mid-Week Post

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

The trick is to make it harder for the Liberals to reward their friends:

The federal Liberal government says a "significant number" of Conservative appointees have offered to step down after being asked to quit, while others will be called before parliamentary committees to explain their credentials.

But the Prime Minister's Office is refusing to provide even a numerical breakdown, citing privacy concerns for the individuals involved.

That's a sharp reversal from earlier this month, when government House leader Dominic LeBlanc announced he'd sent letters to 33 people who had been given pre-election appointment renewals by the former Harper government, which the Liberals said amounted to an "abuse of process."

LeBlanc said he wanted their voluntary resignations and gave them until Dec. 18 to respond.

"Generally speaking, a large majority of the 33 appointees answered, with a significant number of them offering to step down," PMO spokeswoman Andree-Lyne Halle said Wednesday in an email.

(Sidebar: and those numbers are?)

Or do the Tories want this government and the morons who voted for it to own everything that ruins this country?

Who knows what goes on in the mind of a man?


As the Senate expense scandal hit a crescendo earlier this year, the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper commissioned a poll that revealed only about one-quarter of Canadians want the upper chamber abolished, internal documents reveal.

Instead, nearly a majority of Canadians surveyed said they would prefer to see the scandal-plagued Senate reformed — with changes such as elected senators and improved accountability.
Trudeau wants to keep the Senate because it benefits Quebec.

Carry on.

Ontario is in financial ruin but one already knew that:

The numbers tell the story. Ontario is the largest sub-national debtor in the entire world, just one alarming distinction. Its debt is more than twice that of California, a state with three times the population and one that has its own severe fiscal problems. Its debt is $294 billion, or over $21,000 per capita. Net debt to GDP is up 48 per cent in the past 10 years to almost 40 per cent, second only to Quebec. Last year’s interest obligations totalled $11.4 billion, about the same as the cost of community and social services. I doubt many Ontarians realize how much they are paying just in interest on the provincial debt. It averages $840 per person every year and rising. Not surprisingly, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Ontario’s bond credit from AA- to A+, citing a very high debt burden and very weak budgetary performance

The province’s plight cannot be blamed on the previous federal government, which increased transfers to Ontario by 88 per cent since 2006 (compared to an average of 62 per cent to all provinces). Health care, most people’s number one concern, was up 70 per cent, but the Province did not spend all the money it received for health care on health care. As an Ontario resident, I take no pleasure that my province receives equalization payments from the federal government because it became a ‘have not” province in 2009. What a change from when, out of pride, Premier Bill Davis declined equalization between 1977 and 1982.  Still, since 2009 Ontario has been complaining loudly it received too little, at least until the Liberals took power in Ottawa.

Obama would rather spy on Israel than stop Iran:

In 2011 and 2012, according to a Wall Street Journal revelation Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama were in sharp conflict over what to do about Iran’s emerging nuclear program. Netanyahu was preparing to take a page out of his predecessor, Menachem Begin’s play book on the Iraqi nuclear plant–although striking in Iran would have been far more formidable–while Obama was engaged in secret talks with the Iranians, and by secret we mean without letting Israel know.

According to the WSJ report, the White House was petrified that Netanyahu would blitz Iran without alerting the Americans, thus bringing down the house on the negotiations that were still at their most tender phase. And so US spy agencies enhanced their surveillance of Israeli political targets, for which they had approval from congressional intelligence committees.

This was all predicted in 2008.

How migration changed a country's genes:

Just over 5,000 years ago, there lived an Irish farmer with black hair and dark eyes. Her DNA spoke of ancestors mostly Middle Eastern in origin, and she would have looked more like a southern European woman than a red-haired Irish lass.

But just 1,000 years later, her world was full of blue-eyed easterners. This quick transition to Ireland as we know it, genetically speaking, is likely due to a massive migration that occurred sometime during those 1,000 years. The evidence comes from a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen’s University Belfast sequenced the genomes of four ancient citizens of Ireland to unlock the secrets of their origins. ...

Study author Dan Bradley, professor of population genetics at Trinity College Dublin, explained that recent technological and methodological advances in ancient DNA analysis allowed his team to produce full genomes for the four skeletons used in their research. They were surprised to see how different the Neolithic woman, who was found in Belfast in 1855 and lived over 5,000 years ago, was from the three male skeletons analyzed, who were found off of Rathlin Island in 2006. With just 1,000 years separating them, their genomes shouldn’t have looked so strikingly different – which suggests that some major migration really must have occurred.

“It was a surprise to see several genetic elements typical of the modern Irish genome, both of interesting genes but also of more anonymous DNA fragments, appearing in the Bronze Age specimens,” Bradley said of the more recent skeletons. “These genomes when taken as a whole are more like modern Irish, Scottish and Welsh – insular Celtic populations. This suggested some large degree of establishment of the genetics of these populations 4,000 years ago.”

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