September 25, 2009
Canada's So-called Expert on Finance
According to their web site, the Department of Finance "develops policies and provides advice to the Government with the goal of creating a healthy economy for all Canadians." Assuming that's true, one would then expect that the person heading up the Department of Finance would be some economic guru, some trend-recognizing wizard with a penchant for steering the country's finances away from trouble before it hits. He would make press releases full of such economic wisdom and insight that the rest of us humble Canadians would collectively sigh with joy that we have such a financially adept Minister of Finance. So let's take a look at what Minister Jim Flaherty has to say then and now...
In July, 2008:
In September, 2009:
There is a huge difference between:
That's like me forecasting that I will spend a few hundred dollars less than I made this month and then I go out and spend a few thousand more than I make. There is an order of magnitude difference there.
I can appreciate that a $5B deficit budget isn't the worst we've done in the past two decades, but to be so clueless and completely off base in forecasting and budgeting? I don't get it. Is the job really a lot harder than I think it is? He went from "paying down the national debt" in 2008 to "deficits until 2015" this year.
Maybe he really is incompetent, and instead of just reading and listening to the people who know what they're talking about (like HS Dent) and have made accurate predictions in the past, he's making it up as he goes. Or guessing. Or perhaps, even worse, playing some kind of political cards (although I can't see what those would be).
Of course the opposition agrees with this assessment of incompetence:
I miss Ralph Goodale. I know he was operating in better economic times so his job was easier, but he was also just a nicer, more likable guy. You may want to read what he has to say about the Conservative government's lack of financial acumen, and asks What's the plan to deal with the debt?.
Posted by Hammer at 11:02 AM
September 24, 2009
Summer of Sand Art 4
Another summer has come and gone. This time the weather wasn't the greatest throughout July and August, which made camping still fun but not quite the heavenly holiday it was supposed to be. Because of that, I did less sand art this summer, but here are a few pieces...
I'm not sure what this is. It just is. I tried to make something that looked so angular and out of place on the beach that people would stare at just how geometric it was. That ended up working, however it eventually lead them to ask, "so what is it?" to which I just had to shrug and say, "I don't know." OK, bad plan. I felt like those one of those modern artists who makes works that people scrunch up their noses at and proclaim that they "just don't get it."
This next piece was done without using any tools. I just used my hands. I wanted the exact opposite experience of the previous piece... I wanted this one to be soft, no angles, all curves. The ball at the top of the three seals (yes, those are supposed to be seals) is just a standard "sand ball", the tricky part with it was getting it balanced on the three noses of the seals without breaking them. Shortly after placing the ball atop the seals' noses, a 3 year old girl walked up and asked if she could play with the ball. :) So I made her her own sand ball to play with.
Ah, the space shuttle! This started out as one large block of sand, with a group of children standing around asking, "what's it going to be?" They had seen me carving at this beach for a few days now, so they knew to expect something. I kept them guessing for an hour, to the point where one of them went to her grandma and said, "make him tell us what it is!" She just replied with an old proverb: "patience is a virtue". The girl wandered away for a while, confused at that. Eventually one of them did guess and the guessing game was over, but it was an entertaining hour for me, listening to all of their thoughts on what I could possibly be making.
This is my favorite piece of the summer. I have done relief carved signs in the past, but never something this detailed. It was about three hours to get this Memorial Lake sign carved but I think it was worth it. The hill and cross pictured on the sign do exist - they are the actual "Memorial Hill" at the head of Memorial Lake (Memorial Hill is a monument, dedicated to the Canadian soldiers from the area who died in World War I and World War II).
Posted by Hammer at 12:47 PM