Blogs list

James McLeod - Briefing Note

Free votes … - OK, so there’s a petition making the rounds, asking Premier Dwight Ball to make the budget a free vote in the House of Assembly. MUN political science professor Kelly Blidook diplomatically posted a link to the petition on twitter, saying, “By all means. Please sign this ‘I don't understand our parliamentary system’ petition.” Kelly was probably grumpy because the Jays just lost, but all the same, this kind of thing bugs the hell out of me. In an age when citizen engagement is dismayingly low, when people get fired up about politics and start circulating petitions, it’s super unhelpful to respond by calling those people idiots. And it’s not exactly like it’s easy to understand our parliamentary system. I mean, I cover the damned thing full time (well, at least what passes for a parliament in NL, anyway) and I still get things wrong all the time. I’m about to try to explain how this stuff works, and I’m fairly sure that if Kelly stops watching baseball long enough to read this blog post, he’ll find something to correct me on. But the fact remains that Kelly kind of has a point. Calling for a “free vote” on the budget — no matter how much you dislike it — doesn’t make a lot of sense. Bear with me here, and I’ll explain why. Then check Twitter later to find out what I got wrong. So let’s start with the basics. The province is carved up into 40 electoral districts, and last November, each one of those…

Photo : James McLeod April 25, 2016

Geoff Meeker - Geoff Meeker (Meeker on Media) Blog

That's no Worm! - March 26, 2015 - The story is probably going viral already. Two days ago, a Facebook friend named Wanita Bates posted a rather disturbing photo on her timeline of what appeared to be a worm or slug in her kitchen sink. Whatever it was, the thing had come out of her 1-litire container of Blue Diamond Almond Milk. Wanita had contacted the manufacturer about the incident, but the response – an offer of coupons for discounted and free product – was not acceptable. A day later, after Bates said she would contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), Blue Diamond got back to her again, taking her complaint more seriously and offering to pick up the offending item for lab analysis. The CFIA said it would do the same. I drink the same product, consuming one or two liters per week, so this caught my eye. I even offered supporting comments on Wanita’s wall. Today, I have an entirely different perspective. Wanita Bates was a guest today, Thursday, on CBC Radio Noon. Host Ramona Dearing interviewed Bates about her experience, first with the “worm” and then the manufacturer. During the interview, Wanita mentioned that the open container of almond milk had been in her fridge since January. That’s two months, and quite possible longer. Immediately, I knew what had happened. To confirm my theory, I checked an open container of almond milk in my refrigerator. On the top is the following advisory: “After opening, keep refrigerated and use within 7 – 10 days.” There is…

Photo : Geoff Meeker March 26, 2015

Steve Bartlett - Steve Bartlett Blog

Port aux Basques, as you've never seen it - The Port aux Basques landscape is incredibly rocky. That's pretty obvious to any person who's ever visited the town or to any ship that's run aground there (yes, you, MV Blue Puttees). But in the creative mind of a retired software developer from Ottawa, Port aux Basques is incredibly ... blocky. Jason Allemann recently built the gateway port - and in great detail - out of Lego. One day, we were sitting in the office sorting through some particularly colourful, but rare, Lego bricks I had, he wrote in an email. We really only had enough bricks to build small houses, but they reminded us of the many colourful houses we saw during that trip. We picked Port aux Basques because it was the first town we saw coming in on the ferry. That trip was a 2011 trek across the province with his girlfriend. We really loved the island, he said. Allemann must have designed some significant software or something, because he's only 41 and wasn't available for a phone interview about Lego Port aux Basques because of his summer exploits. My girlfriend and I are also avid rock climbers, and we are currently on the road for the summer touring Western Canada and Washington state. Nice. He fancies himself a brick artist, and like any creative type, said he has to work within the limits of the medium. It's pushing the Lego limits, and the problem-solving involved, that keeps Allemann playing and creating with blocks - at 41. I'm an engineer at heart…

Photo : Steve Bartlett August 12, 2013

Heidi Wicks - Wicks on Flicks

I Love Newfoundland. - I received some negative comments from my last post, I HateNewfoundland. I'd like to address some of those people. I'd like to address some of those people. Do you people think I truly hate Newfoundland? Do you think I'd still be living here if I actually hated the place that much? Our entire cultural history and the innate resilience we possess as a people is based on the love-hate relationship we have for this place. From our hardships, we have become a culture of balsy, brazen, but sweet and kind-hearted lads and lassies. Bernice Morgan's novel, Random Passage, depicts the early fishing colony settlements establishing themselves in an unforgiving, harsh, desolate, sometimes deathly landscape – where one slip on an ice-flow can send a sealer to his frigid death. While the fishery is their main way of life, the settlers are cheated by the low fish prices from the greedy merchants of St. John's. It is their strength of character and their love for each other that allows them to survive. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News depicts a time in our history when cod stocks were at an all-time low. Oil companies were moving in and changing the economy of the place, and generations of men who had made their living in the fishery are wandering around their homeland like lost children with no sense of purpose. This is a key time in our culture that generations before us had to endure – and they endured largely thanks to their sense of humour. Lisa Moore's February,…

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Photo : Heidi Wicks May 04, 2014