2011/2012 JDTVAs
Best Drama Programme
Breaking Bad
Doctor Who
Game of Thrones
Mad Men
Person of Interest
The Newsroom
Best Comedy Programme
30 Rock
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Modern Family
Parks and Recreation
The League
Best Actor in a Drama
Bryan Cranston - Breaking Bad
Aaron Paul - Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall - Dexter
Matt Smith - Doctor Who
Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones
Damian Lewis - Homeland
Jon Hamm - Mad Men
Jim Caviezel - Person of Interest
William H. Macy - Shameless
Best Actor in a Comedy
Alec Baldwin - 30 Rock
Danny Pudi - Community
Joel McHale - Community
Louie C.K. - Louie
Ty Burrell - Modern Family
Aziz Ansari - Parks & Recreation
Best Actress in a Drama
Karen Gillan - Doctor Who
Anna Torv - Fringe
Lena Headey - Game of Thrones
Claire Danes - Homeland
Emmy Rossum - Shameless
Best Actress in a Comedy
Tina Fey - 30 Rock
Julie Bowen - Modern Family
Amy Poehler - Parks and Recreation
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Jonathan Banks - Breaking Bad
Colin Hanks - Dexter
Edward James Olmos - Dexter
John Noble - Fringe
Alfie Allen - Game of Thrones
Jack Gleeson - Game of Thrones
Mandy Patinkin - Homeland
Vincent Kartheiser - Mad Men
John Slattery - Mad Men
Michael Emerson - Person of Interest
Denis O'Hare - True Blood
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Tracey Morgan - 30 Rock
Chevy Chase - Community
Jim Rash - Community
Glenn Howerton - It's Always Sunny...
Rob McElhenney - It's Always Sunny...
Charlie Day - It's Always Sunny...
Rico Rodriguez - Modern Family
Nick Offerman - Parks and Recreation
James Spader - The Office
The Cast - Workaholics
Jason Gann - Wilfred
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Jessica Lange - American Horror Story
Morena Baccarin - Homeland
January Jones - Mad Men
Kiernan Shipka - Mad Men
Joan Cusack - Shameless
 Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Kaitlin Olson - It's Always Sunny...
Sofia Vergara - Modern Family
Jillian Bell - Workaholics
Best Guest in a Drama
Denis O'Hare - American Horror Story
Alex Kingston - Doctor Who
Charles Dance - Game of Thrones
Jerome Flynn - Game of Thrones
Rory McCann - Game of Thrones
Tom Wlaschiha - Game of Thrones
Best Guest in a Comedy
Ben Swartz - Parks and Recreation
Best New Drama
American Horror Story
Person of Interest
The Newsroom
Best New Comedy

Eligible Candidates and NotesCollapse )

International Friendly: England 1:0 Belgium
EURO 2012 - Coverage of Poland/Ukraine

FriendlyEngland1 : 0BelgiumWembley
2 June 20124-4-1-1 4-1-4-1London
Welbeck  36' Att: 85,091 

 GK1Joe Hart  
 RB2Glen Johnson 
 CB5Gary Cahill  19'
 CB6John Terry  70'
 LB3Ashley Cole
 RM7James Milner  
 CM8Scott Parker
 CM4Steven Gerrard  83'
 LM11Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain  66'
 SS10Ashley Young  66'
 CF9Danny Welbeck  53'
 GK13Robert Green
 GK23Jack Butland 
 DF12Phil Jones 
 DF14Leighton Baines 
 DF15Joleon Lescott 19'
 DF16Phil Jagielka 70'
 MF17Jordan Henderson 83'
 MF18Stewart Downing
 FW19Jermaine Defoe 66'
 FW20Wayne Rooney 53'
 FW21Andy Carroll 
 MF22Theo Walcott 66'
 Roy Hodgson

In preparation for EURO 2012 this month, I'm going to be covering England matches for this blog.

And with that in mind, this past weekend England played in its second of two preparatory friendlies.  Much like Roy Hodgson's first match in charge of the Three Lions, it was not a bad game.  England played a solid defensive game, they created a few good chances, and most importantly—they got the win.  However, the same issues that were present in the first game, continued to turn-up in this match.

Before I begin in earnest, I have to admit that while I took a wealth of detailed notes and observations during the game, my computer crashed and I lost them.  Unfortunately this means my detailed analysis of the game won't be able to be shared.  I believe it involved many paragraphs reviewing all the tackles Scott Parker was involved in.  All that I can really remember is that he won some, he lost some.

In my review of Norway v England, I spent a lot of time talking about the team's formation and style of play, both negatives and positives.  Many of those observations remained true through this game.  Defensively, England were rigid, they played a responsible game.  However, this rigidity in defense meant a lack of offense.  If everyone is being kept most occupied with staying in position in case the team loses possession, there were little in the way of attacking break-outs when England did have the ball.

After substitutions in the second half, however, this style of play changed a bit.  Wayne Rooney initially came in for Welbeck and played as the lone striker, but once the two substitutions 13 minutes later came in, he pulled back to play in the hole whilst Jermaine Defoe went ahead to play as the lead striker.  These changes, plus Theo Walcott coming in on right wing (Milner switched to play on the left wide position Oxlade-Chamberlain had occupied), managed to change the way the team played.  Theo Walcott is used to playing on the wing in Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 formation, in which he is expected to cut in and go in on goal alone if the opportunity presents itself, and to pack up the striker down the centre if need be.

Jermaine Defoe had to could-of-been, should-of-been goals in his time on the pitch, both of which were created by or saved by Theo Walcott cutting in and playing down the centre.  If Walcott hadn't have ignored the team's rigid formational play, neither of those chances would have happened.  Compared Walcott's play to James Milner, who occupied the right wide position for over 66 minutes.  During that time he was, again, virtually invisible.  Simply put: in today's game, wide midfielders are a waste offensively if they won't cut in and create chances for themselves or others.  Just putting in the odd cross is unlikely to create much.

Gary Cahill was forced to leave the match after being shoved from behind into Joe Hart while chasing the ball.  This was a pretty dirty move, and unfortunately resulted in Cahill basically destroying his jaw, taking him out of the tournament before it had even begun.

It should be obvious that I have my doubts about this formation and this style of play.  But, the fair observation is that even if we did play the kind of football I think teams should play, would we have the talent in our squad to out play the "teams of the tournament"?  And the answer is no.  We could win, we could lost—that's football, but I certainly think we would be much more likely to lose that win.  So, as many militaries learn, if you can't win on an open playing field, change the style of play to suit you.  This very defensive, grinding out victories, style is exactly how you beat teams you are not better than.  This is how we beat champions of Europe and the world Spain last year, this is how Greece won EURO 2004.  This style is far from pretty, but it could be precisely what we need to claw out victories against giants.

EURO 2012 began today and England's first match is Monday, June 11 at 1200 EDT.

International Friendly: Norway 0:1 England
EURO 2012 - Coverage of Poland/Ukraine

FriendlyNorway0 : 1EnglandUllevaal Stadion
26 May 20124-1-4-1 4-4-1-1Oslo, Norway
 Young  9'Att: 21,496 

 GK1Robert Green  
 RB2Phil Jones   88'
 CB5Phil Jagielka
 CB6Joleon Lescott
 LB3Leighton Baines
 RM7James Milner  
 CM8Scott Parker  56'
 CM4Steven Gerrard  46'
 LM11Stewart Downing  85'
 SS10Ashley Young  72'
 CF9Andy Carroll
 GK13Joe Hart
 DF12Martin Kelly 88'
 MF14Jordan Henderson 73'
 MF15Gareth Barry 46'  73'
 MF16Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 72'
 MF17Theo Walcott  56'
 MF19Adam Johnson 85'
 FW18Jermaine Defoe
 Roy Hodgson

In preparation for EURO 2012 next month, I'm going to be covering England matches for this blog.

And with that in mind, this past weekend England played in its first of two preparatory friendlies.  It was also Roy Hodgson's first match in charge of the Three Lions.  It was not a bad game, England played a solid defensive game, they created a few good chances, and most importantly—they got the win.  However, a number of issues were pretty clearly visible.

A number of the presumed starting lineup for EURO 2012 were missing from the game.  Glen Johnson is still nursing a potential injury and all the players from Chelsea were allowed extra time to celebrate their recent winning of the UEFA Champions League.  This allowed players who weren't necessarily sure starters for England's EURO games a chance to play (Joleon Lescott, Phil Jones, and Leighton Baines) and also gave the chance for players who are not in the official 23-man squad to play (Martin Kelly, Jordan Henderson, and Phil Jagielka—who has since been added to the squad).  Scott Parker and Steven Gerrard's fitness and condition were tested, and the results were overall positive—Parker played for 55 minutes and Gerrard the entire first half.

As I said, the team was very solid defensively.  Off-the-ball, the players knew where they were supposed to be in order to defend, in order to stay in position to eliminate chances being created against them.  At just about any point in the game (at least until the substitutions started and the positions of players became more fluid), off-the-ball you could freeze play and clearly see their 4-4-2 formation (I'm aware it says they played 4-4-1-1 up top, we'll get into that later).

Ashley Young's goal—the only one of the game—something quite impressive.  He managed to take on two defenders and just walk right around them.  He's creativity, pace, and dribbling were top-notch stuff.  At another point in the game, Stewart Downing fed in a beautiful cross for Andy Carroll to head into net, but the header just went wide.  Leighton Baines came close to besting Ashley Cole's goal tally (Cole has 93 caps but 0 goals) with a solid free kick effort.  Phil Jones, playing at right-back (where can't that kid play?), made a good run in on net and almost managed to get himself a goal.  Keeper Robert Green had some good moments and some bad, but either way it's unlikely to make any difference as Joe Hart is sure to start all of England's games at the tournament proper.

On the negative side of things, this formation is worrisome.  And with that, I begin what I know will be a long discussion on football formations.

I called it 4-4-1-1, but it could easily be called 4-4-2.  Ashley Young was not playing as an out-and-out striker, but was pushing forward and defending like one at times, and wasn't coming back deep enough to really be described as an playmaker or attacking midfielder.  This is why I described his position as second striker (SS) above, opposed to attack midfielder.  So, while this formation was 4-4-1-1, you can, for most intents and purposes, consider it 4-4-2, it was absolutely not 4-2-3-1 or any of the other single-striker formations that are popular today.

After the failure at the 2010 World Cup, Fabio Capello was lambasted in the press and by supporters for many things (the English were not pleased), but one of the big ones was his reliance on the "outdated" 4-4-2 formation.  I remember going on in great detail why his decision to stick to the formation was a mistake.  The truth of the matter is that most of the top teams today use some sort of single-striker formation (4-2-3-1, 4-5-1, 4-3-3 though that is probably better described as 4-1-2-2-1 so as not to make you think there are three strikers), and there are distinct advantages to doing so.

Single striker formations allow for more fluid play, shifting positions to complete a play is less likely to ruin the overall positioning of the team.  Granted, that has as much to do with a team's style of play as it does with the actual formation itself, but teams play 4-4-2 tend to be very rigid in their positioning.

For example, for 4-2-3-1, you have two wingers to provide both width and back-up for the striker.  A right winger can send a cross to the striker and left winger (who's cut in to play in a striker-role), or can cut in himself and play as an additional attack leaving the fullback to come forward and provide width if need be.  With 4-4-2, wide midfielders (generally they aren't considered wingers in 4-4-2) are not encouraged to cut in, they are simply there to provide the width, which reduces the number of attacks to get into the box and leaves the fullbacks without a role to play in the attack (not bad if you need to play defensively, but you'll score fewer goals).  This flaw was very clear in England's game, other than the one good cross by Stewart Downing, both wide midfielders (Downing and Milner) were virtually invisible during the game.  I'd like to think if Theo Walcott had more time, he'd be able to cut in and play as more of a winger (which is the role he fills at Arsenal).

Another crucial problem with 4-4-2 is a lack of central midfielders.  With traditional 4-4-2 you have two, one more attack minded and one more defense minded (though for many, many years, England has primarily played Gerrard and Frank Lampard—both attack minded players—in central midfield), and that's it.  With almost all the single-striker formations, you have three.  Sometimes it's two defensive and one offensive, two general midfielders and one playmaker way up the pitch, sometimes another combination; their roles may change but their numbers do not.  And simply put: the centre of midfield is where games will be won or lost.  If you can control the centre of the pitch, you control possession, you control the speed of the game, you control the flow of the game, and that's how you win matches.  Are Steven Gerrard and Scott Parker going to be outplay the triplet of Xavi, Xabi Alonso, and Cesc Fabregas?  No.  We can debate the comparative talents of the players if you'd like, but three good players are going to best two good players any day.  Norway played with three central midfielders and despite losing, they did win out on possession.  We scrapped out a win against a team who out numbered us in the centre, what are the chances we can do the same against world class opposition?

The Spanish, the Dutch, the Germans, and the French all use 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-2-1 (aka 4-3-3).  England either has to show it wants to be a modern, top team, or cling to the outdated system of the '90s.

Countdown to EURO 2012
EURO 12 Qualifiers Coverage

I just did an online poll thing where, by picking the winners at each stage, you picked who won at EURO 12. I lied to myself a bit and said England would win (something only 2% of respondents said). But in looking at the four groups, I was sort of stunned. Obviously I know the groups, or at least I thought I did, I remember the draw back in December, I remembered that England got Ukraine (testing my ethnic allegiances), I remembered that Denmark got screwed in the group of death, but I guess I had forgotten just how much strength there was in these four groups. So, to refresh everyone's memories, here are the four groups, ordered by their seeding pools:

Group A
Czech Republic
Group B
Group C
Republic of Ireland
Group D

I mean look at those nations, look how many strong, powerful countries are in this tournament. There are only, maybe, 2, 3, or 4 that could be considered push-overs. Though considering Greece won just two tournaments ago, it's probably safe to say that all of these countries have good shots.

I suppose, ultimately, so much strength is what is to be expected when Europe hosts a championship with only 16 nations. UEFA sends 13 teams to the World Cup, this tournament is just three more, however at the World Cup there are 19 other teams, and other than the likes of Brazil and Argentina, most of them can't hold a candle to the elite of Europe. So while England may not have done well in their group stage, we only had to face Algeria, the USA, and Slovenia; at EURO 12 we have to get past Ukraine, France, and Sweden.

The optimist can look at this draw very easily: Ukraine and Sweden are crap teams, and France has been painfully underachieving since they lost in the final of Germany 2006. But that's... not really true. While France did finish 29th out of 32 at the last World Cup, they have been on a rather terrifying unbeaten-streak recently. They have gone 18 matches without a loss, including a 2:1 victory over Germany in February. Sweden, while England did just beat them last fall, it was the Three Lions' first win over Sweden since 1968. And Ukraine, they're the home team in ever match, so that can't be discounted, and further still, at their last international tournament in 2006, they finished eighth overall, one spot behind England and one ahead of Spain. None of these teams can be discounted. Despite what happened in 2010, if England fail to win two of these games, there is virtually no chance of them making it through to the next round.

But ultimately, that's the nature of this tournament. In qualifying, teams were able to face 4 or 5 other teams home and away (a total of 8 or 10 games) in order to show their talent and ability to go on to the next round. One bad game did not doom a team. Just five of the 14 qualifying teams went undefeated (and this included the likes of Greece, but not the Netherlands), only two of them recording all wins. At the tournament proper, however, teams will have just three games to prove they are good enough to move on or bad enough to be sent home. And three games is enough for anything to happen.

Ultimately, that's the beauty of this sport. Matches that are expected to be one-sided end up being shockingly competitive, the underdog often managing to actually win (take Chelsea overtaking Barcelona or Bayern Munich in this year's Champions League). Matches that are supposed to be completely competitive, end up being dreadfully one-sided (take Man United failing to show up in either recent Champions League final against Barcelona).

Since the last World Cup, Spain has lost to England, Portugal, and Italy. Germany has failed to beat both EURO hosts and lost to France. Netherlands have lost to Sweden, Germany (an embarrassing 3:0 loss), and Bayern Munich (a club who couldn't beat Chelsea).

The opening round will come down to every game. If a lower-ranked team can scrape out a win, or even a draw, against one of the top teams, it could mean their advancement in the tournament. If Republic of Ireland can get a win against Italy, or Sweden a win against England, it could mean they move to the next round.

In the Group of Death, for the two teams who will be desperately fighting for advancement, Denmark and Portugal, their match against each other will be huge. The loser will have no realistic shot of advancing, and the winner will still have to get something out of Germany and the Netherlands, but at least they'll have those three points. And the two are not strangers, Denmark and Portugal drew each other in the qualifying tournaments for both this competition and the previous World Cup. In each competition, Denmark won the group for direct qualification and Portugal just managing to get through in the play-off. In EURO 12 qualifying they split their matches, 2:1 for Denmark and 3:1 for Portugal, in World Cup qualifying Denmark won away 3:2 and drew at home 1:1. After four years of playing each other, their match at EURO 12 will truly be a culmination of this rivalry.

I think we all know who the top teams are in this tournament, the teams to be, the teams most likely to win: La Roja, Oranje, and Die Mannschaft. But Germany has failed two overcome Spain in two consecutive tournaments, as I stated earlier Spain has lost to three "lesser" teams in this tournament in the past two years, and the Netherlands lost to Sweden in qualifying. None of these teams are unbeatable. And really, any nation in this tournament could win.

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A Simple, Non-Proportional Solution to Make Our Electoral System More Proportional
Proportional representation in our electoral system is essential.  This is a fact that likely cannot be overstated.  The fact that a party can win a "majority" with less than 40% of the popular vote is not just a joke, but is seemingly tantamount to fraud.  To highlight this, take a look at the results of the 2011 federal election, the popular vote percentage, the seat count, and the percent of the seats in Parliament that seat count represents:

ConservativesNew DemocratsLiberalsBlocGreens
39.6% p.v.30.6% p.v.18.9% p.v.6% p.v.3.9% p.v.
166 seats103 seats34 seats4 seats1 seat

Simply put: this is not democratic.  Sure, we might all vote, and our votes may be counted, and maybe our votes even all count for something, but it's not democracy.  Democracy is the people directly choosing who leads the government.  Democracy is not 39.6% of the vote getting 53.9% of the seats (and thus, unstoppable control).
The problem with proportional representation is that, well, it's confusing.  There are all sorts of options: party list, transferable vote, mixed member proportional, alternate vote, and more.  Now, by no means am I saying this confusion should stop us from pursuing a proportional system, like I said, PR is essential, I just understand it could be difficult to get us from where we are now to where we have to be.
An interim solution I thought up, one that works with our Westminster system of government, is multi-member constituencies.  Like I said, this fits into the Westminster system: up until (I believe, I'm not completely certain on all my history here) the 1950 UK election, there were multiple ridings that elected more than one MP.  Examples of this would be Bolton or Blackburn, or one of the many university ridings, such as the Cambridge University electoral constituency.  I don't exactly know how these multi-member constituencies worked, a quick look will show that at times one of them would elect two people of the same party, indicating that the same party ran multiple candidates, other times two people of different parties.
Now, allowing for the election of two people from the same party hardly does much to make the electoral system any more proportional, but allowing two people from the same riding to be elected, under our current one-candidate-per-party-per-riding rules could.  I became curious as to how the last election's results would look if each riding returned both the winner and the runner-up.
Now, I intended to separate ridings where the winner won over 50% of the vote and the ridings where the winner took less than 50%, but unfortunately Wikipedia's riding-by-riding results only show that information for one province and no others, and since I cannot do the kind of internal math that would be required to work that all out on my own, I was forced to abandon that plan.  I also made a little error, after counting up all my numbers, I only came to 306, instead of 308... instead of starting over completely, I decided to just give the Liberals and NDP one extra each (since these numbers are for the runners-up, I went for the two parties who didn't come in first overall).
The results turned to be rather interesting.

 ConservativesNDPLiberalsBloc GreensInd.
2011 pop. vote39.6%30.6%18.9%6%3.9% 
2011 seats166 seats103 seats34 seats4 seats1 seat 
% of 2011 seats53.9%33.4%11%1.3%0.3% 
Dif. between p.v. & seats+14.3%+2.8%-7.9%-4.7%-3.6% 
# of runners-up65122+1=12374+1=754311
% of runners-up21%40%24%14%0.3%0.3%
Winners + runners-up166+65=231103+123=22634+75=1094+43=471+1=2 
% of 616 seat House37.5%36.7%17.7%7.6%0.3% 
Dif. to real House-16.4%+3.3%+6.7%+6.3%even 
Dif to real pop. vote-2.1%+6.1%-1.2%+1.3%-3.6% 

(In retrospect, the results aren't as interesting, as I apparently did some math wrong on paper, which found the NDP to win a plurality of seats, it turns out this is not the case.)
I would say the goal, to restore democracy, is that the difference between popular vote and seat count should never be greater than ±2.5%.  You can allow for slight wiggle room (so long as it's not the difference between 49% and 51%), so long as it doesn't damage democracy.  If ±2.5% is the goal, than under the actual election results, only the NDP came anywhere near close to the acceptable margin at +2.8%, the Conservatives, obviously, were the most wildly off at +14.3%.  However, under this proposal, only the NDP and Greens would be greater than that margin, every other party would come within it.
Now obviously there are a great many flaws to this plan: do we really want 616 MPs, it does nothing to tackle the fact that a vote in PEI is worth four votes compared to a vote in BC, a candidate could win 70% of the vote and the runner up (getting around 18%) would also be elected isn't the same as a candidate winning 36% of the vote and having a runner up getting 30% also being elected, it's not proportional at all.  But, those flaws not withstanding, it is certainly more proportional than things currently are (at least in theory, based on these results), and that is an important plus.
The bottom line is what it always was: we need proportional representation, but in the meantime, this is probably better than what we've currently got.

Capello's Poor Communication
England National Football Team Coverage

Fabio, Fabio, Fabio, Fabio... what are we to do with you?

It's not that England boss Fabio Capello is a bad manager, he is just seriously deficient in communication. And the real shock of it, is that it's taken over three years for English supporters to realize this. From a man whose broken English is seemingly world-renowned, how is it that it wasn't until 2011 that we realize the man is a poor communicator.

Now sure, I could complain about his actual managerial skills—the 2010 World Cup was far from a success—but there are many factors that go into England's recent less-than-stellar run, it's not all Capello's fault. What has been all Capello's fault is all the controversy surrounding the team over the past month or two.

Let's recap: A little over a year ago England's captain was John Terry, who had just been outed as having cheated on his wife with the girlfriend (and baby-momma) of his club and country teammate Wayne Bridge. Bridge got himself sold to another team and quit the national team, saying he couldn't play alongside John Terry again. This put Capello and The FA in a difficult situation: what to do with their team's captain, who had just been revealed to be a sexual deviant. They came to the conclusion to remove Terry from the captaincy, but not kick him off the team. Capello actually handled this well, he talked to Terry, they got to an understanding, and the vice-captain, Rio Ferdinand, became captain.

Read more...Collapse )

Replacing the oft-injured Rio Ferdinand with a more stable and secure captain was a good idea (though choosing Terry as that replacement wasn't).
Allowing the players who don't get caps very often get in a game, to test them out and see what they can do was a good idea.
How Capello went about achieving these good ideas... that's less impressive.

Coalition Musings
Given what's been said over the past couple of days by the party leaders, it seems like a fair bit of the debate going into this election will be over the issue of coalitions, so I figured I'd get my thoughts down.

Before I go into hypotheticals and theories, let me do a full disclosure, list my biases. Simply put, I support a coalition of the left ("coalition of the losers" is an oxymoron, our political system doesn't have winners or losers, no one votes for a party, so no party can "win", we merely vote for representatives, and whatever group of representatives has the support of the House forms the government). Not because I support the idea of getting in bed with the Liberals, and not even because I think it would be a good idea for the NDP to work with the Liberals (given how support for the Liberal Democrats has dropped since they entered in a coalition government with the Conservatives in the UK, it would likely be bad for the NDP to enter into a coalition with any other party), but because I think it would be best for Canada.

Obviously looking out for the interests of my party is important, but my number one objective is looking out for the interests of my country, even if that is damaging to my party. Bottom line, is what are the potential outcomes for this election? Stephen Harper governing a majority, Stephen Harper governing a minority, Michael Ignatieff governing a minority, or [virtually impossibly] Michael Ignatieff governing in conjunction with the NDP. Which of these options do I think is best for Canada? I shouldn't even have to say. Simply put: Stephen Harper is bad for Canada. His governance is damaging to this country. To the point that any legal alternative is preferable. You might say that Michael Ignatieff would be a bad Prime Minister (and I might agree), and you might say that the NDP working with Michael Ignatieff would be bad (and I might agree), but ask yourself: are those options worse than Stephen Harper continuing as Prime Minister? If you say 'yes', then fine, you're a Conservative, you know who you're voting for, and I don't know why you're reading this. If you say 'no', however, then you know why I support a coalition in the way that I do.

Now then, on to brass tacks: Michael Ignatieff has said that after the election, he will not form a coalition with other parties. Now this may be rather unequivocal for what could happen May 2nd, Chris Shelley from the National Post points out that his statement leaves the door open for the potential of a coalition down the road. And I say: good for Ignatieff.

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So I was standng at the bus stand downtown where the magic bus comes. We'd missed the last bus, but that did get us right up to the front of the line. I was talking to the bus guy/bouncer who's always there when some guys walked up. Most kept moving, but one stopped at me. He said something, some sort of humourous anecdote about life. We chuckled at that. then he talked about how he wanted to punch some guy in the face. I also chuckled at that.

...Then, out of the blue, he punched me right in the face. No one reacted immediately, it was all shock. I was with two people, they were both blown away. Four or five girls were right to the left of me and a couple girls to the back right (it's Guelph, there are a lot of girls), they all also reacted with shock. The bus guy to the right of me also reacted with shock. It was all shock.

By the time anyone had the time and realization to say "what the fuck?", the guy was way up the street. The bus guy asked if I was okay, I said I was, but that that mother fucker had better never get a free bus ride home again.

And that was it, I was left standing there, stunned, with no ability to respond, bleeding from my mouthhole.

And here we are, significantly more than an hour later, and my fucking lip is still fucking bleeding.

...soldier up boys, we're going to war.

As Much As I Hate Taking Sides Against the Party...
Originally Posted to Cory Judson's wall post.

Re: NDP takes corporate tax cuts off the table
Re: Statement by Jack Layton after Meeting with the Prime Minister

I... I just really can't get behind this. This wasn't even compromising, it was conceding. It'd be one thing for Jack to have gone in there, and come out with an agreement: the NDP drops the corporate tax issue and in return the Conservatives fulfill their four other demands (as listed at the link); this is not that, this is the NDP dropping the corporate tax issue and in return... nothing, they still have four demands which the Conservatives may or may not fulfill. Jack has given up one of his five demands in exchange for... nothing. That doesn't seem like a win for the NDP.

And since he gained a whole lot of nothing, I have to ask, what was the point? Jack didn't have to give up the corporate tax issue, he could have just maintained the "we have five demands, meet as many or as few of them as you want, our support of the budget demands your maximum support of them (though if you were only to support four out of five, we might still vote for the budget)" line. Could it made Jack look weak by going from "we'll never vote for a budget with these corporate tax cuts!" to "we're voting for the budget with these corporate tax cuts, but look at all the other good stuff we got!", absolutely possible, but how does he look going from "we'll never vote for a budget with these corporate tax cuts" to "we don't care about the corporate tax cuts, hurray for corporate tax cuts". The NDP could have maintained their official position of being against the corporate tax cuts and still voted for the budget should certain demands be met, but taking the position of being against the cuts off the table? That looks bad, and it looks a hell of a lot worst that we conceded that without gaining anything in return.

And as for the four remaining NDP demands? Two of them, sure, are relatively tangible, but two really aren't. "Strengthening the CPP", well what does that entail? What does the NDP considering strengthening it? And if the Conservatives do something they consider to be that,but the NDP doesn't, where does that leave us? And then there's the "have more doctors" demand, or, as Jack said "taking immediate action to ensure that 5 million Canadians no longer have to go without a family doctor", well that's simple, hire one doctor. One. That's all you need. That's immediate action that gets Canada one step closer to having more doctors, one step closer to ensuring fewer Canadians aren't without a family doctor. That's obviously not what the NDP are looking for, but it still counts. So again I ask: where does that leave us? If the Conservatives include something they consider to be meeting an NDP demand in the budget but the NDP doesn't consider it enough, do they topple the government over it?

That's exactly the problem with this situation: it gives Stephen Harper leverage. Making huge demands, like cutting the corporate tax cuts, gave us the power, sure, we knew Harper was unlikely to do so, but so long as we keep fighting, we might get something worthwhile out of the budget, something that we could support, and so long as we've never said "we will never vote for a budget with corporate tax cuts", instead just saying "we don't support a budget with corporate tax cuts", all the power is in our hands, it puts the pressure on Harper to make the concessions. However the situation we're in now? Well, we've already made concessions, and not even for the promise of getting anything in return. But more worrying, is that our demands are much more reasonable which brings me back to my point in the last paragraph: if the Conservatives say they've done what the NDP have demanded, but the NDP don't see it that way, where does that leave them?

And finally that excuse as to why the NDP have taken the corporate tax cuts off the table is really stupid. It's not in Jack's post, but I read it elsewhere earlier today, someone (can't remember who) said that because the corporate tax cuts were included in the 2007 budget, which the NDP voted against, there's no need to vote against them now... What? That's.... so stupid. By that logic, if you vote against a bill on the second reading, you might as well note vote on it during the third reading (even if that makes the difference in it passing or failing). It's a terrible excuse.

And the worst thing about all of this: I actually have to be thankful the Liberals are around to fight this corporate tax cut. That statement just makes me feel sick, it makes me want to cry.


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