Take Page Out of the Library

Housing the Parliamentary Budget Office in the Library of Parliament may have seemed like a sterling idea when it was first established earlier in the year, but quite clearly the arrangement simply isn’t working. An irreconcilable difference of opinion evidently exists between Kevin Page, the first budget officer, and William Young, the parliamentary librarian, when it comes to how they view their respective mandates, especially with regards to the release of information and reports to the public.

As such, in keeping with the spirit of accountability and transparency with which the Parliamentary Budget Office was created, the government should remove it from the stifling constraints of the Library and set it up as an independent body just like the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, upon which it was modelled. Moreover, the PBO’s budget — currently frozen by the Library at $1.9 million — should be increased to $2.7 million, the amount originally planned for and approved by parliament back in the spring.

“Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian Shirt”

A great description of Rick Warren by Rob Boston of Americans United for the Separation of Church & State appearing on Countdown earlier tonight.

Maybe this was a “shrewd” move by Obama, but quite frankly, as the controversy continues to unwind, it’s looking dumber all the time.

Sully softens his tone after looking at David Brody’s inbox… Meanwhile, John Cole has come to the firm conclusion that anyone who uses the phrase “slap in the face” needs a swift kick in the ass.

The Miracle of Inflation!

This 1933 MGM documentary short attempts to “explain” what a super thing inflation is — coming to an economy near you sometime late next year, by the way!

Funnily enough, Pete Smith (the guy doing the “explaining” here), was a publicist at MGM who was first recruited to overdub the actions of trained dogs in the studio’s “Dogville” comedies. So, of course he must have a profound understanding of economic theory…

Ditch the Invocation

Now that would have been “change we can believe in.”

Other than the obvious political posturing and pandering that’s woven into the fabric of the historical moment, why does the inauguration of a president require the inclusion of the clergy to conduct a ritual? No chance of it ever happening of course, but just imagine if that part of the ceremony had been left out altogether…

I’d certainly rather have seen the fallout from that, rather than the dismal spectacle of Obama’s transition team defensively defending his “shrewd” decision to give Pastor Rick Warren a speaking spot at the inauguration.

Open & Inclusive Update: Warren thinks abortion a “holocaust” and urged his flock to vote for Prop 8. He compared gay marriage to incest and polygamy and pederasty, and when asked if he really thought those things “equivalent to having gays getting married,” he replied, “Oh, I do.”

Update2: Lee Stranahan at the Huffington Post makes a good point about the “mighty small politics” practiced in America these days. He writes: “I don’t understand how anyone who listened to Obama during the campaign would be shocked that Obama lets Warren give the invocation. It’s vintage Obama. It does not signal agreement with Warren’s political positions, some of which are clearly at odds with Obama’s. Warren isn’t making policy or even giving a sermon., He’s saying a prayer and then possibly dancing later at some inaugural parties. If anything, it’s the possibility of this dancing that should be deeply troubling to all Americans.” Indeed.

Happy Birthday “Adolf Hitler”

A father who named his son Adolf Hitler Campbell is upset that the local ShopRite grocery store refused to ice “happy birthday Adolf Hitler” on the little boy’s cake. “Other kids get their cake. I get a hard time,” he said. “It’s not fair to my children.”

Speaking of not fair, neither is branding children with names that will bring them nothing but grief throughout their life (or until such time as they can have it legally changed), just to make some ill-defined, boneheaded political point. Why on earth were these parents allowed to do this in the first place? This seems to be taking “freedom of speech” a bit too far.

Mr Campbell, who has swastikas decorating the family home and believes he is related to a former member of the SS, agrees that the Nazi’s were not a highly charitable bunch: “Yeah, they (Nazis) were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They’re not going to grow up like that.” Uh huh.

John Cleese on Creativity

Not many people seem to know that aside from his more famous activities, Cleese has been involved in the field of business training/motivation for the last 30 years through his Video Arts production firm and other ventures. I mention that just in case you might be wondering what he was doing speaking at the CWF2008 conference in Antwerp last month.

“To know how good you are at something requires the same skills as it does to be good at that thing. Which means that if you’re absolutely hopeless at something, you lack exactly the skills that you need to know that you’re absolutely hopeless at it.” I’m not sure if the logic of that statement really holds together, but it certainly does explain a lot of things in life.