Sunday, 28 November 2010

What is Really Scary is ...

Some people will support the police whatever they do. When I saw the recent CBC poll I was disturbed, but then when I saw the CFRA poll I was disgusted.

CBC Poll
- Did the Ottawa police officers go too far in their dealings with Stacy Bonds?

Yes 88.99%

No 8.93%

Undecided 2.08%

CFRA Poll - Should Ontario’s Attorney General resign after the province said it supports the decision made by crown prosecutors to proceed with a case against Stacey Bonds?

Yes, it’s an injustice and a travesty that the case went ahead in spite of how she was treated by police 60.3%

No, just because Bonds was not convicted doesn’t mean the decision to proceed was wrong 36.3%

Other 3.27%

Ottawa Citizen story


What I realized is that, indeed, some people will support the police no matter what they do. These are people who think the courts are too soft and that the police never arrest anyone that isn't guilty. These people think that if someone is beat up by the police they probably have it coming to them.

These are the same type of people who supported the right wing law and order blame the scapegoats German equivalent of the Tea Party in the 1930s.

These people are very scary and they are growing in numbers, egged on by people like Glenn Beck and Lowell Green. We must speak up against them.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Fifth Columnist is Getting a New Camera for Christmas

My first serious camera was a Konica Autoreflex T3 35 MM SLR that I purchased in the early 1970s and used for over 25 years. It cost around $300, but I spent well over $1000 on it including lenses, the most expensive being a $500 80-200 MM zoom lens. I have always been a big lens guy shooting mainly landscape and wildlife. I also had a 2X converter that gave me a maximum focal length of 400 MM. Of course, with the large aperture required at that zoom and the lack of any form of stabilization, I could really only use the combination with a tripod on a sunny day.

My daughter still has the Konica and it was her main camera till she got a digital SLR a year ago, but she still likes to shoot film occasionally.

I got my first digital camera in 1999, and again I went for the big zoom. The $1,500 Sony Mavica FD-91 was one impressive looking camera for it's time. The 14X zoom on the Mavica was huge, a 35 MM equivalent of 37-518 MM and with Sony's Steady Shot image stabilization system it could be hand held at the full zoom. The camera was unique in that it used 3.5 inch floppy disks for image storage and though it was under a megapixel it produced decent 8X10 prints, even though the experts claimed that was not possible. It was a large camera but I was used to the size and feel of an SLR and preferred it over smaller digital cameras.

The Mavica became my daughter's first digital camera when I upgraded.

By 2005 a sub megapixel camera was pretty well considered obsolete and after 5 years I decided it was time to upgrade again. By now digital cameras were becoming serious and digital SLRs were available. However one of the main reasons I went to a digital camera with a long zoom was to avoid the hassle of changing multiple lenses and the weight and bulk of carrying them hiking. So I decided on the Panasonic Lumix FZ20 with a 12X 36-432 MM stabilized zoom lens.

The FZ20, at a cost of about $1000 (with a bit more for an extra battery and memory cards), was a big improvement over the Mavica and takes great photos and I am sure it would do me well for many years to come.

However with all things electronic and digital the time comes when you have to decide whether it is worthwhile to upgrade to a newer improved model with more features. After 6 years it looks like it is about time to upgrade again. This time I am looking at the Panasonic Lumix FZ100.

The Lumix FZ100 is a 14 megapixel camera with a 25-600 MM 24X stabilized zoom with full HD video capability, rather than the crappy tiny Quicktime video of the FZ20. Shooting at 3 megapixels, the top of the zoom range is an effective 1200 MM lens - WOW. The awesome zoom and full HD video capability are the main features that made me decide that now is the time to upgrade, but the camera also has impressive burst shooting capabilities and a whole slew of improvements over the FZ20.

The cost has gone down as well to about $550, but an extra battery and SD cards might add an extra $200 or so. So it looks like that will be under the tree for me this Christmas.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fewer Politicians - Less Democracy

Everybody loves democracy and hates politicians. It doesn't make sense but it's a fact and it's what drives ideas like Mike Harris's "Fewer Politicians Act" which created megacities and recent proposals to reduce the size of Ottawa City Council.

But what does it really mean. Well it means less representation and more work for the people's representatives. Properly performed, a politician's job is already a 24 hour a day job. The more people a politician has to represent the less time he can spend representing each voter/taxpayer.

In municipal politics what that means is that elected representatives have to depend more on city staff for information and advice, and in Ottawa that means more power to the development industry because Ottawa's city administration is developer driven.

Hopefully our new City council will see the flaws in this proposal from the new mayor's election campaign and maintain the peoples representation on council and not give even more power to developers in running our city.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Fifth Column Is Not Dead

I have just been a bit preoccupied with things lately. I've actually been thinking about things to blog about so once the spirit moves me I should be off and running.

More to write about SMH, of course, and cycling stuff and political commentary on all sorts of things. And I've been looking at getting a new camera that I want to talk about.

In the meantime I am posting short tweets and links on my twitter feed that you can follow on the right hand column of The Fifth Column.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Beautiful Calendars For Christmas Gifts

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