Saturday, December 31, 2011

Joanne's Journal: December 31, 2011


Edition No. 5


There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.

- William Shakespeare
The Tragedy of Julius Caesar


This will be my last posting in 2011.  It's time to ring out the old and ring in the new.  Before we say farewell to 2011, however, let's reflect on the year that has passed.  It's been one of unrest and turmoil, but the slate is going to be rubbed clean at midnight.  We'll have a fresh start, a tabula rasa.

Apple founder Steve Jobs, who died this year, exhorted us to "make a dent in the universe."  There are, of course, certain times when we should take a risk,  If we miss the tide "taken at the flood," as Shakespeare put it, we may never have the same opportunity again.  The problem is determining whether the tide is actually at the flood.


I firmly believe that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is taking this country in the wrong direction.  I am strongly opposed to his polices vis-a-vis the environment, the economy, gun control et cetera.  It is my belief that this government has lowered Canada's stature in the world, particularly with its withdrawing of Canada from the Kyoto Protocol.  To put it mildly, the environment is very very low on the Tories' list of priorities.  It's not even on the radar screen. 

As regular readers know, I support strong gun control measures and I was extremely dismayed by the Conservatives' abolition of the Long Gun Registry.  The Conservative government has also brought shame upon this country by continuing to allow Canada to export deadly asbestos to other countries.  This is appalling and is worthy of absolute disdain.

We have a democracy, nevertheless, and some people do not agree with me.  They voted Conservative last on May 2, 2011 and the Harperites formed a majority government.  Nevertheless, the combined popular vote of all the other parties surpasses that of the Conservatives.  The 60 per cent of Canadians who didn't vote Tory are actually in the majority.  We have a "first past the post" system, however, and the Conservatives won the most seats in Parliament.  As long as they hold the confidence of Parliament, they are entitled to govern.  It's we thought about some form of proportional representation.  The problem is getting agreement on any one formula.  To those who argue it would create a pizza Parliament with too many splinter parties, I say a party should have to get at least 10% of the popular vote in order to gain a seat through proportional representation.

My hope is for a strong leader to take Canada out of the wilderness and to undo the damage done by the Conservatives.  This wonderful country deserves better.


There are still about 10 months to go before Americans go to the polls.  Unless something unforeseen happens, it appears that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for president.  Romney is not as bad as the other far-right candidate such as Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann and libertarian Ron Paul.  Indeed, Gingrich has referred to him as a "Massachusetts moderate."  With this bunch of Republicans, it's unacceptable to be moderate.  Romney had to flip-flop after being criticized by conservatives for introducing a health care bill  in Massachusetts in 2006 that was the blueprint President Obama health care reform.  Instead, it seems, Romney’s opponents have been more focused on painting him as the author of a health care bill that was the road map for President Obama’s health care reform. 

Then, of course, there is Bain Capital, the private equity firm that Romney and partners co-founded in 1984.  Romney left the Boston-based company in 1999 to become President and CEO of the Salt Lake City Olympics.  As he campaigns for the Republican nomination, Bain Capital has come back to haunt the former Massachusetts governor.  On December 19, 2011, the New York Times reported that Romney is still cashing in on the sweet deal he made with the firm shortly before his departure.  According to the Times report, the Republican candidate still earns seven figures a year from his share of the company's profits from leveraged buyouts.  LBOs are acquisitions mainly funded by debt and they are frequently used by private equity firms to make investments they would not otherwise be able to afford.
The fact is that Romney's equity firm caused corporate bankruptcies and many layoffs.

Politico revealed how Bain Capital bought ailing companies, slashed them to pieces and sold them, creating job losses.  Some of the companies destroyed by Bain include American Pad & Paper, LIVE Entertainment and DDI Corp. and it must be emphasized that Mitt Romney was with the firm when this happened.  Yet he claims that he knows how to create jobs.  Well, if his record in the private sector is any indication, Romney is a man who knows how to destroy jobs for his own profit.

My wish for America in 2012 is economic recovery, more employment and the re-election of President Barack Obama.


The world's population reached 7 billion this year.  That is a significant milestone and we should reflect upon its ramifications and significance.  Japan experienced a nightmare earthquake and a nuclear crisis.  It wasn't a good year for terrorist leaders and dictators.  Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi were killed.  Egypt's Hosni Mubarak was overthrown and The Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il died, leaving North Korea's future in a state of uncertainty.  His country remains one of the most miserable and impoverished places on the planet.  Yet it flaunts its considerable military power.

Goodbye 2011!  You'll soon be history, but your legacy will linger on.


* The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic (April 15, 1912)

* The London Olympics (Opening Ceremonies will take place on July 27, 2012.

*  Britain's Queen Elizabeth will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne).

* February 7, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great English novelist, Charles Dickens.

*  The United State presidential electon will occur on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

*  A presidential election in France is scheduled for April 22, 2012.  A runoff will be held on May 6, 2012 if necessary.

*  The 2012 Euro Cup (UEFA Eupopean Football Championship) will be held in Poland and Ukraine from June 8 until July 1st.


What kind of school do you have a drop out of to graduate?


Parachuting school


On a personal note, I want to tell you, the readers of Number 16,  how much I enjoy writing this blog.  I appreciate your support and I hope my postings are informative and entertaining to you.  I encourage you to give me your feedback.  Happy New Year to all!

P.S.  I don't make firm New Year's resolutions, but I try to improve myself generally. Every little bit helps.

- Joanne

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