Friday, December 22, 2006

Instrument Of Surrender

Instrument of Surrender in the War Against Christmas

We, acting by command of and in behalf of all non-Christians, secularlists and Wal-Mart greeters, hereby accept the provisions set forth in the Nativity Declaration issued by the heads of the several Christian denominations and subsequently adhered to by the various hosts of cable network news shows hereafter referred to as the Yuletide Powers.

We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Yuletide Powers of the humanist-secularlist-liberal axis and of all non-believing armed forces and all non-believing armed forces under the Anti-Xmas Axis wherever situtated.

We hereby command all non-Christian forces and their non-believing followers to cease hostilities forthwith, to preserve and save from damage all Christmas trees, Christmas lights and public nativity displays and to comply with all festive requirements which may be imposed by the Supreme Commander of the Yuletide Powers or by hosts of cable network news shows at his direction.

We hereby command all civil, military and government officials to obey and enforce all proclamations, orders and drections issued by the Supreme Commander for the Yuletide Powers and to henceforth refrain from wishing any and all citizens "Happy Holidays", "Season’s Greetings" or "Best of the Season."

We hereby undertake for the Anti-Xmas Axis to carry out the provisions of the Nativity Declaration in good faith including the restoration of any public Christmas displays and the removal of all non-Christian seasonal symbols and banners including but not limited to menorahs, Kwanzaa kinaras and Festivus poles.

We also undertake to encourage all citizens to acknowledge Christian seasonal greetings in kind, to enthusiastically participate in Christmas caroling and to employ, where practicable, outdoor displays of wreaths, trees and lights.

The authority of the Anti-Xmas Axis shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Yuletide Powers who will take such seasonal steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.

SIGNED at Bethlehem, Pennsylvannia this 24th day of December, 2006.

Al Franken, Barbra Streisand and Alan Colmes, By Command and in behalf of the Anti-Xmas Axis

ACCEPTED for the Yuletide Powers by Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Ann Coulter

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Honor Thy Father

Did Mr. Bush ask his father for any advice? "I asked the president about this. And President Bush said, ‘Well, no,’ and then he got defensive about it," says Woodward. "Then he said something that really struck me. He said of his father, ‘He is the wrong father to appeal to for advice. The wrong father to go to, to appeal to in terms of strength.’ And then he said, ‘There's a higher Father that I appeal to.’"- 60 Minutes interview with Bob Woodward

George W. Bush: Dear God, help me out of this mess in the Middle East.
God: Look, George, I never gave you any advice on Iraq. This was your own doing.
George W. Bush: But Lord, I specifically remember standing in front of the barbecue at my Crawford ranch and asking you for a sign if I should invade Iraq. And then flames shot up from the grill.
God: If you check, I think you’ll find that barbecue has an automatic starter.
George W. Bush: Boy, I wish I’d known that at the time.
Allah: It’s too bad you didn’t ask me. I would have told you to take a pass on Iraq.
George W. Bush: Who is that?
Allah: I’m God, George. Just a slightly different incarnation.
George W. Bush: This is confusing. What am I supposed to do now?
Buddha: Try to stay in the moment, George. Be mindful of the world around you and try not to get caught up in desire and material goals.
George W. Bush: Jumping Jehosaphat! You scared me. Who am I talking to now?
Buddha: I, too, am your Father, George. Listen to all of the spiritual voices and they will bring you wisdom.
George W. Bush: Holy cow! One at a time, please!
Vishnu: Easy on the sacred cow references, George. Can you hear me?
George W. Bush: Yes I can hear you but how many of you are there?
Vishnu: That’s not important, George. What is important is an awareness of birth, life and death. You seem to be concentrating too much on the last one.
George W. Bush: Help!
Dick Cheney: Wake up, George. You’re having a nightmare.
George W. Bush: Boy, that was really scary. There were all these gods and they were telling me different things and I didn’t know what to do about Iraq and.....
Dick Cheney: Relax, son. Just leave everything to me.
George W. Bush: Thanks, Dad.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Whistling In The Dark

The Federal Accountability Act that was recently given royal assent includes the implementation of what Treasury Board President John Baird calls the Mount Everest of whistleblower protection. Now comes the job of designing forms to implement the new legislation, including this rumored "Whistleblower Application":


Form No. TB-666

NAME: _________________________ (no pseudonyms or aliases, please)
ADDRESS: ______________________ (remember, we know where you live)
DEPT.: __________________________
CLASSIFICATION: ________________ (current level only - future classification not guaranteed)

Briefly describe in the space provided below the nature of the offense or wrongdoing you were witness to including the names and addresses of the employees involved:

Please note that you are required to provide proof that you have already brought this matter to the attention of your supervisor and your department’s deputy head. You must also provide proof that you have alerted these individuals that you will be filing this application.
Are you sure you want to do this? ____ Yes ____ No

Were you aware that the Public Service Integrity Commissioner is a former deputy minister?
____ Yes ____ No

Are you really, really sure you want to do this? ____ Yes ____ No

Did you know that the Federal Court is a federal government court? ____ Yes ____ No

Are you crazy? ____ Yes ____ No

Do you know any whistleblowers? ____ Yes ____ No (If "Yes", briefly explain why you still wish to proceed.)

Are you OK with never being promoted again? ____ Yes ____ No

How often are you willing to be demoted before resigning? _____ times

Do you believe that the wrongdoers will ultimately be punished? ____ Yes ____ No

If "Yes" to the above, please indicate which of the following you also believe in (1) truth (2) justice (3) Santa Claus.

What punishment are you seeking for the alleged wrongdoers? _________

Which of the following punishments would you be satisfied with? (1) letter of commendation (2) promotion (3) diplomatic appointment to Denmark

How upset will you be if the wrongdoers are rewarded instead of punished? (1) very upset (2) somewhat upset (3) not that upset unless one or more gets the Order of Canada

Number of years you are willing to put your life on hold. _____ (5 years minimum)

Amount of compensation requested. ______ (N.B. - if greater than $0, please note that there is no provision to sue the federal government for compensation.)

Once the application has been signed and dated, please mail it to the Public Service Integrity Commissioner and kiss your career goodbye.

DATED AT: _____________


Friday, December 15, 2006

Presidential Exit Strategy

President Bush is now officially a lame duck. With the midterm elections over and two years left in his final term, it’s all downhill from here.

But that doesn’t mean he can’t keep busy. As a twenty-five year veteran of the Canadian public service, I’ve been planning my imminent retirement for years. Here are a few handy hints I’ve picked up along the way that might come in handy for Mr. Bush:

* Cut back on your workload. Chances are you don’t feel like taking on as much and, since you’re nearing the end, you may find it difficult to get any new projects approved anyway. Enquire about such options as a four-day work week, compressed hours or even working part time.

* Do some mentoring. Teach your potential successors how to avoid your mistakes. Whether it was misfiling, misreporting or just plain missing, you can help them get it right next time.

* Find out who your pay advisor is in the human resources branch and ask about your retirement pension. You may be pleased to see how much you’ll actually be getting. Make sure you’ll have adequate health care coverage and don’t forget to ask if there’s a severance package, too.

* Now’s a good time to sort through all those briefings and memos you never had time to review. You might be surprised what you’ll find there that might have influenced past decisions. And dollars to doughnuts, there’ll be a few embarrassing things you’ll want to discard or shred.

* Check out your local library. When you retire, you’ll have lots of time to read up on all kinds of interesting topics like, for example, international diplomacy, basic finance and the history of the Middle East.

* To help fill up the extra time, consider volunteer work or a part time job. Volunteering at a food bank, an inner city school or a veterans’ hospital can make you feel like you’re really making a difference.

* Consider buying a vacation property - a cottage, a chalet or a 1600-acre ranch in the middle of nowhere. It will make a great retreat where you can reflect in private on your career successes.

* Spend time reconnecting with your family. Now is the time to take care of aging parents and wayward children. Try also to mend fences with your father and siblings if there have been any longstanding differences of opinion.

* Apologize for past wrongs. If you’re like me, you didn’t get to a mid-level position in the government without stepping on a few toes. Saying "I’m sorry" to anyone you unfairly beat out for a promotion or those you had to dismiss will go a long way to salve your conscience.

* Do a bit of legacy planning. Think about how you want to be remembered after you’re gone. Now’s the time to fix any problems you’ve caused and to implement your original plans. If it’s too late for that, you can always blame your predecessor or just pray and hope for the best.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Restating the Obvious

After eight months of investigation and deliberation, the Iraq Study Group has concluded that things are not going well in Iraq. Subject to available funding, the same ten-member panel is reportedly also being asked to reconstitute itself under different names and consider some other pressing issues of national concern:

The Oxymoron Investigation Committee
Can someone be both compassionate and conservative? Is "compassionate conservative" a meaningful political descriptor or just an empty opportunistic campaign slogan? If there was ever any doubt, the Oxymoron Investigation Committee will put this issue to rest once and for all.

The Tax Cut Commission
Do tax cuts for the wealthy have a trickle down effect? Certain Bush administration officials have an instinctive belief that they do. An in-depth look at this issue by the Tax Cut Commission should provide the final and obvious answer.

The Arithmetic Commission of Enquiry
Does two plus two equal four? The Arithmetic Commission of Enquiry will spend the time and money necessary to finally solve this once contentious debate.

The Sundown Result Panel
What follows day? Some say it’s night. Are they right? The Sundown Result Panel will tackle this knotty question in short order. Look for a definite answer on this one in a matter of weeks rather than months.

The Facial Features Investigation Unit
How obvious is the nose on your face? What appears to be a relatively straightforward question may, in fact, have several different answers depending on one’s perspective. But if there’s an obvious answer, the Facial Features Investigation Unit will definitely uncover it.

The Moon Constitution Task Force
Is the moon made of green cheese? There are those who remain convinced that Earth’s sole satellite is fabricated entirely of a solid, edible milk product. Hopefully the Moon Constitution Task Force can provide support for a definite answer to this longstanding question.

The Ursine Excretory Commission
Does a bear defecate in the woods? Although some may have their doubts, the Ursine Excretory Commission won’t shy away from this one. They may, however, choose to pass on the more ideologically difficult questions: "If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?", "Have you stopped beating your spouse?" and "Why do Democrats hate America?"

The Invisible Raiment Team
Is the emperor wearing no clothes? Many in the emperor’s camp will swear that he’s wearing brand new clothes and that he looks great. Even the emperor believes he’s fully clothed. The Invisible Raiment Team will get to the bottom of the matter without insulting the emperor’s ongoing beliefs.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Operation Extreme Makeover



TO: Liberal Party Executive
FROM: Grits ‘R Us Consulting Inc.
RE: Operation Extreme Makeover

Congrats on choosing Stéphane Dion as your new leader. What a pleasant surprise. He wasn’t our first, second or even third choice but, now that we think of it, his selection means lots more work for us.

First off, everyone’s saying this guy is dull and boring. No worries because that’s an easy fix.
We recommend a few photo-ops to show Stéphane as a regular guy. How about having him attend a rodeo wearing a vest and a cowboy hat? Or maybe you could get him to arrive at his next press conference in a snowsuit riding a snowmobile? Just a thought.

Now some folks claim that Stéphane is not that popular in Québec. Frankly, we don’t see that as a problem. After all, he’s French Canadian, right? All he has to do is hum a few bars of "Mon Pays" and use the phrase "Québec nationalism" half a dozen times and he’s home free.

There’s been a lot of criticism about M. Dion’s fractured English. The traditional view is that he should spend a few months improving it. We say: "Don’t bother." It just wastes valuable time and it seldom works (e.g. - Bob Stanfield, Preston Manning and Brian Tobin).

Instead, we’re recommending a crash course to reduce Stéphane’s second language capability. Right now, he sounds like an intellectual with passable English. That’s two strikes against him right there. But teach him how to speak like Jean Chretien and he both loses the intellectual stigma and picks up a folksy, rural charm. Trust us; "le petit gars" plays a whole lot better than "that Ph.D. guy with glasses."

Speaking of glasses, ditch ‘em. If he can’t wear contacts, he’s still better off without glasses even if he’s as blind as a bat. Remember that transformation of David Peterson thirty years ago from spectacled geek to specs-free trendsetter? That was us. (As for his premature election call in 1990, that was his choice.)

Given the mammoth nature of this makeover project, we suggest starting as soon as humanly possible. Make no mistake; it’s going to be a tough job but far from impossible. Kind of like making a silk purse from a sow’s ear. But don’t forget, we’re the guys who helped Jean Chretien win three majorities so we’re used to achieving the impossible.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Family Computer

Your kids have been clamoring for one for months. And your wife says it would be great fun for the whole family. Maybe it’s time to finally get a computer.

But before rushing off to purchase a family PC, there are a few things to remember. A computer is not a toy. It’s going to become a member of your family and will need lots of care and attention.

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is where to put your new PC. Best to let it have its own room or possibly a corner in the basement. Whatever you do, don’t let it stay in the bedroom. The midnight clattering of keys and the glow from the screen can be very disruptive.

Your next choice will be what operating system to give your new friend. Try loading Windows. But be patient. It may not "take" the first few times but eventually it should work reasonably well.

As for software, the sky’s the limit. But take it slowly. It’s best to let your computer take some time to get used to each new piece of software. Start with a nice gentle word processing program and work up from there.

Once you have your PC on a regular schedule and Windows-trained, it’s time to consider Internet training. Take the time to hook your computer up properly to the World Wide Web and be sure to follow all the protocols consistently. If you don’t discipline your computer when it’s new, it will end up running you instead of you running it. One handy training tip is to always give your PC a cookie to reward it for good Internet behavior.

At this stage, don’t forget to cover all the health concerns for your new family member. That means taking it to a veteran computer technician for regular checkups and those (hopefully) occasional emergency visits.

It also means ensuring your PC has adequate warranty coverage. The last thing you want is to be hit with a devastating illness that could cost you hundreds of dollars in unexpected technical bills.

And speaking of illness, don’t forget to innoculate your new friend. Don’t worry when you first get your PC but after you start Internet training, make sure it gets proper anti-virus treatment. Some viruses are fairly mild but others can make you and your PC miserable.

If you’ve managed to see your PC successfully through its first year, it’s time to teach it some tricks. With a little patience, you can get your computer to fetch your mail, do your banking and even file your taxes. But be careful not to have it do too much. Computers are notoriously temperamental and you could end up with infected mail, an overdrawn bank account or a visit from a government auditor.

Sure, it’s a lot of work. But if you invest the time now, your computer can be a faithful family friend for months to come. Whether it’s helping you with your chores, playing games with the kids or just being a lovable companion, your PC will be one of the family.

And don’t forget that your family PC won’t become an unnecessary burden come vacation time. No need to pack it off to a computer kennel for two weeks. Just turn off the switch and your PC will never know you left. Of course, you might want to take the opportunity to send your family friend to obedience school while you’re away. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how much better it behaves when you return.

Be prepared, however, for the inevitable. A computer year is equal to 25 human years. So after about three years, your new pal will probably reach the end of its useful life. Its hard drive may keep crashing or it may just start losing its memory. But you’ll know when it’s time to pull the plug.

And when you do, don’t forget; you can always buy another one, maybe even a laptop. It’ll never replace that first PC but chances are everything will be a lot faster and easier the second time around. Who knows? You may even want to start your own network.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Seven Dwarfs

Once upon a time there was a kingdom called Canada and it was naturally governed for years by the Liberals. The leader of the Liberals was called the Prime Minister and he ruled over the land as a philosopher king or a petit gars de Shawinigan.

But then one day the philosopher king died and the petit gars was betrayed by the usurpers within his ranks. And the usurpers chose a weakling to lead them, a Liberal named Mr. Dithers.

As sure as day turns into night, the one called Mr. Dithers led the Liberals to defeat. And the land was ruled by the evil Conservatives and their joyless leader from the land of Alberta.

Because Mr. Dithers was defeated, he was banished from the Liberals. And that meant it was time for all the members of the party to meet in a cottage in the forest called Montreal to choose a new leader.

There were eight candidates for the leadership. The fairest of them all was a princess named Martha. But she ate the poison called honesty, fell into a truth-telling trance and thus could not deceive the members of the party into voting for her.

The remaining candidates were the seven dwarfs. The leading one was Iggy, a pseudo-Canadian intellectual dwarf who spent most of his life in the faraway kingdom of America. Iggy liked to write long articles and pretend that he had the answers to big questions. But unfortunately he always seemed to have more answers than there were questions.

Another leading candidate was the dwarf named Dippy. He was called Dippy because he used to be the leader of another party called the NDP. In fact, Dippy still gave money to his old party which made many Liberals wonder if he was really leadership material.

That’s why some Liberals looked to the dwarf called Gerry to lead them. Like all the other dwarfs, Gerry had his shortcomings but he had one big thing in his favor - a limited record. Thus, no one could pin anything on Gerry and he could become whatever the Liberals needed him to be.

Some party members hoped that the francophone dwarf named Frenchy would lead them. After all, the Liberals could never regain power unless they had lots of support in the dependent nation of Québec. But Frenchy had once cast his lot with the petit gars and was no longer loved by Québecers.

The remaining three dwarfs had little chance to win. The one called Kenny was so boring that his speeches could put even caffeine addicts to sleep. No one completely trusted the dwarf named Scotty because he used to live with the hated Conservatives. And the one called Volpy was accused of recruiting underage and overage members.

If this were a real fairy tale, at this point in the story a handsome prince named Justin would kiss the princess Martha and give her the power to mesmerize the party faithful. Or he might leave Martha sleeping and just do it himself.

But this is a fairy tale without a happy ending. For whoever the Liberals chose, whether it was Iggy or Dippy or Gerry or Frenchy, he would still be a dwarf. And the one called Stephen of Harper would crush that dwarf with his pliers, laugh the laugh of the victor and continue to rule over the kingdom of Canada..