Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Decline of USA and the Rise of China - The Arena's host Michael Coren interviewed Mark Steyn on Aug 30, 2011 on Sun News Network

The 1st episode of Sun News Network's The Arena featured Mark Steyn, a controversial American authour who has claimed in his two "doom-mongering best sellers" ('America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It' and 'After America: Get Ready for Armageddon') that, among other things:

1. "... It's an end to two centuries of anglophone dominance by America and Britain ...."

2. "... The dominant economic power will be a communist politburo, a country with a peasant population, no human rights, no property rights, and no intellectual property rights...."

3. ".... By around 2015, the US taxpayers will - just thru interest payments on the debt - be covering the entire cost of the Chinese People's Liberation Army..."

Now, you don't have to agree or disagree with the self-proclaimed politically incorrect doom-monger. And I am not here to endorse the positions of Mark Steyn, The Arena's host Michael Coren, and/or Sun News Network. But I think it is worthwhile to learn where Mark Steyn is coming from and what the viewers are saying.

To watch the 1st episode of The Arena, plis go visit:

Viewers' comments are located at:

(Source of info: Aug 31, 2011 Ottawa Sun article "Death by Debt Load" written by Errol Nazareth of QMI Agency)

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Friday, August 26, 2011

馬拉松賽跑 - iLike的超自然極簡薄底鞋 / Marathon Races - iLike Supernatural Minimalist Running Shoes


Enhance your road race results with
iLike Supernatural,
a lightweight, minimalist,
flexible racing flat
for seasoned runners looking
to set a new Personal Best (PB) !!!

(Photo Credit: Made in China 貼貼網 中文幽默王)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

這雙腿雖然小 / This Pair of Marathon Running Legs




唐人老外齊pow wow




Photo Credit:
* Taken on 20110824 18h37 with my BlackBerry (edited)

(Note: This article is not related to Leona這双手雖然小)

Updated 20110810: 以下附貼 Space 兄回应


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lotusandcedar - My responses to your comments

I found out earlier today that my email server had placed all my blogging email into the Spam box since early August.

I have since responded to all your comments left at Lotusandcedar todate and will soon visit your blog sites to continue where I left off.

Cheers !!!



Sent from BlackBerry

Monday, August 22, 2011

61歲傑克·林頓因癌症去世 / Jack Layton Died of Cancer at Age 61

The news of Jack Layton passing away at age 61 came as a shock!!!

He announced his stepping down as leader of NDP to fight cancer only two weeks ago.

He will be remembered, among other things, as the politician who led the NDP to become the official Opposition Party for the first time in Canadian history.

RIP Jack, leader of NDP and the "Orange Crush" !!!

Sent from BlackBerry


Updated Aug 26, 2011 12h44:

The ending of Jack's "Letter to Canadians" will be remembered for a long time (please click on comments to see full text posted by blogger friend Mind Necessity).


Love is better than anger 仁愛勝於憤怒,

Hope is better than fear 希望勝於恐懼,

Optimism is better than despair 樂觀勝於絕望,

So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic 就讓我們用仁愛丶希望丶和樂觀,

And we’ll change the world. 去創做一個更美好的世界。


Updated Aug 22, 2011 21h51:

Photo Credit:
* Video capture of the wedding picture of Jack Layton and Olivia Chow in 1988. It was his second marriage. 鄒至蕙與傑克·林頓於1988年拍攝的結婚相片,這是林頓的第二段婚姻。

Brief bio of Jack Layton:

According to Wikipedia


傑克·林頓,全名:約翰·吉伯特·林頓(John Gilbert "Jack" Layton,1950年7月18日-2011年8月22日),加拿大政治人物,2003年至2011年間擔任聯邦新民主黨黨魁,並曾於2004年至2011年間任加拿大國會下議院議員,代表多倫多單福選區。在他的領導下,新民主黨所佔的國會下議院議席數目從2003年的14席增至2011年聯邦大選後的103席,為該黨歷來之最。新民主黨並憑此佳績首度成為官方反對黨,林頓亦兼任官方反對黨黨魁。在投身聯邦政壇之前,林頓曾任多倫多市議員,期間也曾間中擔當副市長和署理市長等職務。



John Gilbert "Jack" Layton, PC, MP (July 18, 1950 – August 22, 2011) was a Canadian social democratic politician and the Leader of the Official Opposition of the 41st Canadian Parliament. He was the leader of the New Democratic Party from 2003 to 2011, and previously sat on Toronto City Council, serving at times during that period as acting mayor and deputy mayor of Toronto. He was the Member of Parliament for the constituency of Toronto—Danforth from 2004 until his death.

The son of a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister, Layton was raised in Hudson, Quebec. He rose to prominence in Toronto municipal politics where he was one of the most prominent left-wing voices on city and Metropolitan Toronto councils, and was also a Board member for the Toronto Port Authority. In 1991, he ran for mayor, but lost to June Rowlands. Remaining on council he rose to become head of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. In 2003, he was elected head of the NDP on the first ballot of the convention. Under his leadership, the NDP considerably increased their support, almost doubling the party's popular vote in the 2004 election, though vote splitting with the Liberals limited their gain in seats. Layton's NDP held balance of power in Paul Martin's minority government, where in May 2005 the NDP supported the Liberal budget in exchange for major amendments, in what was promoted as Canada's "First NDP budget". In November of that year, Layton worked with other opposition parties in bringing down the Liberal government over the findings of the Gomery Commission.

The NDP saw further gains in the 2006 and 2008 elections, in which the party won more seats than it had since its 1980s peak. The NDP's tally of 37 MPs under Layton in the 2008 election was just six seats short of the party's previous all-time high under Ed Broadbent. In the 2011 election, Layton led the NDP to a historic total of 103 seats and formed the Official Opposition. The success of the NDP in the election was unprecedented, making Layton the most successful leader electorally in the party's history in terms of seats won.

Layton died on August 22, 2011, aged 61, after suffering from prostate and an undisclosed type cancer. His cause of death has not been released. He was married to fellow MP Olivia Chow.


Updated Aug 30, 2011:

"Stephen Lewis's eulogy to Jack Layton" Aug 27, 2011 Canadian Press:

Never in our collective lifetime have we seen such an outpouring, so much emotional intensity, from every corner of this country. There have been occasions, historically, when we've seen respect and admiration but never so much love, never such a shocked sense of personal loss.
Jack was so alive, so much fun, so engaged in daily life with so much gusto, so unpretentious, that it was hard while he lived to focus on how incredibly important that was to us, he was to us. Until he was so suddenly gone, cruelly gone, at the pinnacle of his career.

To hear so many Canadians speak so open-heartedly of love, to see young and old take chalk in hand to write without embarrassment of hope, or hang banners from overpasses to express their grief and loss. It's astonishing.

Somehow Jack connected with Canadians in a way that vanquished the cynicism that corrodes our political culture. He connected whether you knew him or didn't know him, whether you were with him or against him.

Jack simply radiated an authenticity and honesty and a commitment to his ideals that we know realize we've been thirsting for. He was so civil, so open, so accessible that he made politics seem so natural and good as breathing. There was no guile. That's why everybody who knew Jack recognized that the public man and the private man were synonymous.

But it obviously goes much deeper than that. Jack, I think, tapped into a yearning, sometimes ephemeral, rarely articulated, a yearning that politics be conducted in a different way, and from that difference would emerge a better Canada.

That difference was by no means merely an end to rancour, an end to the abusive, vituperative practice of the political arts. The difference was also, and critically, one of policy — a fundamentally different way of viewing the future of Canada.

His remarkable letter made it absolutely clear. This was a testament written in the very throes of death that set out what Jack wanted for his caucus, for his party, for young people, for all Canadians.

Inevitably, we fastened on those last memorable lines about hope, optimism and love. But the letter was, at its heart, a manifesto for social democracy. And if there was one word that might sum up Jack Layton's unabashed social democratic message, it would be generosity. He wanted, in the simplest and most visceral terms, a more generous Canada.

His letter embodies that generosity. In his very last hours of life he wanted to give encouragement to others suffering from cancer. He wanted to share a larger, bolder, more decent vision of what Canada should be for all its inhabitants.

He talks of social justice, health care, pensions, no one left behind, seniors, children, climate change, equality and again that defining phrase, "a more inclusive and generous Canada." All of that is entirely consistent with Jack's lifelong convictions. In those early days of municipal politics in Toronto Jack took on gay and lesbian rights, HIV and AIDS, housing for the homeless, the white ribbon campaign to fight violence against women and consecrate gender equality once and for all.

And of course a succession of environmental innovations, bike lanes, wind power, the Toronto atmospheric fund — and now Michael, his progressive and talented son, as councillor can carry the torch forward.

And then came his tenure as president of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, where he showed that growing deftness of political touch in uniting municipalities of all sizes and geographic locations, winning their recognition of the preeminence of cities and the invaluable pillar of the public sector. Jack made the leap to federal politics look easy.

The same deeply held principles of social democracy that made him a superb politician at the city level, as I know, transferred brilliantly to federal politics. And also, from the many wonderful conversations we had together, I know led him to a formidable commitment to internationalism.
He was fearless in his positions once embraced. Thus, when he argued for negotiations with the Taliban to bring the carnage in Afghanistan to an end he was ridiculed but stood firm. And now it's conventional wisdom. I move to recall that Jack came to the New Democratic Party at the time of the imposition of the War Measures Act, when tanks rolled into the streets of Montreal and civil liberties were shredded, and when the NDP's brave opposition brought us to our nadir in public opinion.

But his convictions and his courage were intertwined — yet another reason for celebrating Jack and for understanding the pain and sadness with which his death has been received.

Above all — and his letter makes this palpably clear — Jack understood that we are headed into even more perilous economic times. He wanted Canadians to have a choice between what he described as the unfairness of an economy that excludes so many from our collective wealth, and an economy that would embrace equity, fairness, balance and creative generosity.

This was the essence of the manifesto. That's why he insists that we're a great country, but we can be a better one — a country of greater equality, justice and opportunity. These were not rhetorical concepts to Jack. They were the very core of his social democratic philosophy. He was prepared to do ideological battle, but as all things with Jack there was nothing impulsive or ill-considered.

He would listen as he always listened — he was a great listener — he would synthesize thoughtfully as he always did, and he would choose a political route that was dignified, pragmatic and principled. He was so proud of his caucus and what they would do to advance the agenda of social democracy.

He cultivated and mentored every member of that caucus, and as the country will see, that will speak volumes in the days ahead.

The victory in Quebec — and I will be followed by a eulogist in the francophone language — the victory in Quebec was an affirmation of Jack's singular personal appeal, reinforced by Quebec's support for progressive values shared by so many Canadians. And his powerful belief and trust in youth to forge the grand transformation to a better world is by now legendary. Indeed, the reference to youth spawns a digression.

From time to time, Jack and I would meet in the corridors of my foundation, where his supernaturally competent daughter Sarah works, and we would invariably speak of our grandchildren. You cannot imagine — I guess you saw it in the video — the radiating joy that glowed from Jack as he talked of Sarah's daughter, his granddaughter Beatrice, and when he said as he often said that he wanted to create a better world for Beatrice and all the other Beatrices to inherit, you instantly knew of one of his strongest and most compelling motivations.

He was a lovely, lovely man. Filled with laughter and affection and commitment. He was also mischievous and musical, possessed of normal imperfections but deeply deserving of the love you have all shown. His indelible romance with Olivia was beautiful to behold, and it sustained them both.

When my wife and I met with the family a few hours after Jack died, Olivia said, as she said in the video, that we must look forward to see what we all can accomplish together.

I loved Jack's goodness and his ideals in equal measure. Watching all of you react so genuinely to his death, the thousands upon thousands who lined up for hours to say a last goodbye in Ottawa and Toronto, it's clear that everyone recognized how rare and precious his character was.
We're all shaken by grief but I believe we're slowly being steadied by a new resolve and I see that resolve in words written in chalk and in a fresh determination on people's faces. A resolve to honour Jack by bringing the politics of respect for all, respect for the Earth and respect for principle and generosity back to life.

My wife Michele reminded me of a perfect quote from the celebrated Indian novelist, activist and feminist Arundhati Roy. Jack doubtless knew it. He might have seen it as a mantra. "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing."

Thank you Jack.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

黑莓怪談 / Black Berry


不過忘記並不就是等於失憶,在午夜夢迴中,那過去的年青人還是健在,還是在愛与恨中翻跟斗,逃不出那七情六欲的五指關。黑莓客對年青人說: 『這好幾個年頭市運不景,母親跌斷了腿子後還待復原,我前些兒又發生了交通意外,所而實在沒有時間幫你忙。』年青人趕緊回答說:『哥兒您倒不用為我費心,您処時光易轉,這処我仍依舊;外世人事變遷,世事如棋日日新,我這夢境長生不老,青春如血月月更。您在世上幹您世上的活兒,我不会怪您忙人忘人,我這世界是永不長大彼德潘的世界,青春如泉水一樣,永流不息,您終有一天是會回來的。』黑莓客聽後放下了心頭大石,他看着那年青人在手機螢光幕上消失。

I have no idea what I just typed. Whatever I said doesn't make any sense. Damn !! Maybe I should just delete the whole thing and start all over again.


Sent from BlackBerry

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Simply Biscotti, Preston Street, Ottawa (IMG00383)

I introduced K to Simply Biscotti, a neat Cafe/Restaurant on Preston Street, which I had discovered during the 2011 Italian-week Festival.

Altho the ambient settings are not exactly like that in Europe, the food is good and the service has a touch of Italian hospitality.

We now go there quite often, mostly for Sunday Brunch. They serve excellent cappuccino, pastries and of course biscotti to go with the coffee.

Come to think of it, I do miss the cafe and restaurants in Rome - not those in the tourist-trap part of the city, but the little ones in the residential neighbourhood near Ada Park, where I was staying.

I started this blog lotusandcedar after my first visit to Rome (see inauguration entries in 2006) and have many fond memories of the Eternal City.

Simply Biscotti simply brings them all back.

Photo credit:
* Haricot's BlackBerry August 14, 2011 at around 2:30 pm.

Sent from BlackBerry

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ottawa's Experimental Farm: Sun Flowers (IMG00344,57,46,40)

Sun Flowers often remind me of the Dutch artist Van Gogh whose original paintings I saw in Amsterdam.

There is something ironic abt taking electronic photos of sunflowers under a rainbow in Ottawa's Experimental Farm and remembering Van Gogh's dark days painting the Sunflowers hundred of years ago in Europe.

Same image, different strokes of luck / misfortune, under the same sun.

Photo Credit:
* I took these photos with my BlackBerry when I was running in Ottawa's Experimental Farm on August 10, 2011 at around 19h30.

Enjoy while the sun is shinning :)

Sent from BlackBerry

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Is Obama Engineering the Decline of America?

With the spiral downward trend of the global stock markets, US politicians are pointing fingers at each other, blaming the other side for causing the chaos. Critics in some quarters of the right even go as far as accusing Prez Obama for engineering the decline of America.

Yes, one could blame Obama for being a good orator but a poor car salesman - he had difficulties closing the deal, as suggested by one of the local newspaper. On the other hand, many of the Tea Party goers had decided a while back that their goal was, and still is, to dispose of Obama at any cost, the country's future be damned. In the end, dysfunctional politicking was one of the main reasons for the S&P downgrading of US long-term credit rating.

But blaming Obama for "engineering" the decline of America sounds like another jab by the extreme right at the man's integrity and loyalty. The accusation fits well with those who want the public to believe Obama is a foreign-born Muslim who is secretly working against the country. In the US politicking battle field, if you sling enough mud against your opponents, some might stick; and if you repeat a conspiracy theory enough times, some ppl might believe it is the real fact.

Following the demise of the USSR and before the rise of China to replace Japan as the #2 global economic power house, the US was the world's only superpower nation with a triple-A economy and unstoppable military might. But even then the seed of its economic decline had already been sowed. Prez Reagan's supply-side economics was unknowingly setting the stage for the US deficit. The country's revenue would have more than compensated for the tax cut if govt spending had been well managed and the US economic engine had been operating at high speed. Unfortunately, when successive govts failed to reign in spending, and when the US economy faltered, the tax-cut (incl the latest one by ex-Prez George W Bush) became lost revenue to the govt. Worse still, the rich were becoming richer and the middle class and lower income groups were losing ground. Coupled with the lax regulatory regime that had allowed the hedged funds to flourish, a perfect storm was formed.

Hind-sight is always 20-20. But there are still those who, out of ideology convictions, would fight Obama every inch of the way for any tax imposed on the rich which by the way is the group that can afford to take on such a load.

With no increase in tax revenue and a faltering economy, spending cut by itself is not going to put a big dent in deficit reduction. Prez Obama will be hard pressed to find money to fulfil his election promises to improve social development such as medi-care. Perhaps that is the corner that his opponent is forcing him to go, slowly but surely, as the 2012 US election campaign is approaching.
So, instead of Obama engineering the decline of America, it is more likely that someone is engineering the decline of Obama who, as it turns out, might not be the smartest car-salesman in the room.


Sent from BlackBerry

Monday, August 08, 2011

傑米貝克的活動攝影圖片 / Jamie Beck's Cinemagraphs

Jamie Beck's self portrait (still)

According to Wikipedia: (

Cinemagraphs are still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement action occurs.They are produced by taking a series of photographs or a video recording, and, using image editing software, compositing the photographs or the video frames into an animated GIF file in such a manner that motion in part of the subject between exposures (for example, a person's dangling leg) is perceived as a repeating or continued motion. The term "cinemagraph" was coined by U.S. photographers Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck, who used the technique to animate their fashion and news photographs beginning in early 2011.

Reference: Jamie Beck's blog address


讓相片動起來 (原文出處

" ...... Jamie Beck,是一位來自紐約的女攝影師。透過她的敏銳觀察,紐約城的時尚、悲歡及細節,都可以在畫面中洞悉。Jamie Beck近日的GIF動態畫面創作,引起了攝影界廣泛的討論,GIF動畫並不難,組合數張靜態畫面即可以製作成一張GIF動態畫面,但JamieBeck的GIF動態畫面創作卻顯得如此的特別,她是在畫面中的細微處製作出動態感,別具巧思。Jamie Beck本身也相當喜歡拍攝美食,這是因為她也是個美食主義者,她有一個系列作品叫做「晚餐和一部電影」。就是她每個星期五幫姐妹們烹飪美食後的傑作。Jamie Beck 說,她在拍照前會在腦中先創造一個畫面,而這個畫面就是她最後所呈現的,無論是一個場景、一個氛圍、一個事物,都是她得到靈感的泉源。...."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Running Marathon - August 7, 2011 Training Route Map


有数得計,馬拉松全程是42.2公里 ..... 唉!!


Tuesday, August 02, 2011

American Debt Crisis - Sustainability of US/World Finance

I heard this from a CBC's financial analyst this morning:

The American debt is now 100% of the country's GDP. The US will need a growth rate of 2.5% to sustain its finance, a scenario that is unlikely to happen given the on-going economic downturn.

My thoughts:

After the US Senate vote, both Democrat and Republican/Tea-Party hardliners will need to further collaborate and compromise to deal with this long-term sustainability issue. Some things need to give: Medicare? Military? Social-welfare? Taxation? Standard of living? Owning a home? Education? Outsourcing? Wages? Pension? ....

At some point, you can't have the cake and eat it too. The so-called win-win solutions are harder if not impossible to find !! It's sad to say, but the American Dream for the next generation might have to be downgraded from the gold-plated triple A's, if no long-term debt reduction solutions are found.

Given that the US is Canada's neighbour and major trading partner, whatever happens to next generation Americans will have a ripple effect north of the border.

While the Canadian economy is relatively strong now, we too are facing long-term sustainability issues in areas such as our health-care system (ageing population; new immigrants; ...), infrastructure (highways and bridges literally falling apart; wastewater treatment plants not in compliance with proposed federal CEPA/FA regulations; ...), global competitiveness (innovations, productivity, skilled labours, ...), aboriginal communities across Canada, etc.

Is this the beginning of a irreversible power shift from the west to the east? Or has it happened already? Is the US becoming the "parasite" of the world, as Russia's Prez Putin so joyfully rubbed it in? Will changing/moving the world's reserve away from the US dollars solve the world's financial inter-dependency problem? How abt Canada? Where do we sit in all these?

As CBC's Q says: "Happy Tuesday ... To be continued".
Sent from BlackBerry

Monday, August 01, 2011

USA Debt Crisis - A Compromised Deal

I learnt at around 9 pm Sunday that a compromised deal to address the debt crisis in the US has been reached and will be voted on.

Prez Obama did not get all he wanted - the taxation of the rich will be looked at by a super Congress cmttee established to find ways to cut spending. But he will avoid a historical default if the voting proceeds favourably without a major Tea-party revolt on the Republican side.

Let's face it, Republicans will try to entrap the incumbent Prez to talk abt tax increases in the next election. And there are Tea-party-goers who are determined to bring down the Obama administration at any costs. As professional negotiators often point out, it's difficult if not impossible to negotiate on differences in principles and ideologies.

We shall see how far this toxic political environment will continue to hinder the economic recovery of the US and to a lesser extent its trading partner Canada.

Sent from BlackBerry

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