October 9, 2011
Did you find the recent Ontario election a big snore-fest? You’re not alone. So did the journalists covering the “festivities”:
Ontario politics is a bit dull at the best of times, but that’s unfortunate. It’s a large, populous province, with the economy to match. It’s troubled now, battered and bruised from years of mismanagement and the global economic crisis, but it’s still the centre of Canada’s economic gravity. Ontario needs to do well.
And yet, even by the usual standards for snooze-inducing Ontario partisanship, last week’s election was lame. The Liberals, under Dalton McGuinty, essentially breezed through it, never saying much. Whenever a punch was thrown — and not many were — they seemed to just bounce off the inexplicable forcefield that somehow protects Mr. McGuinty from consequences for his electoral missteps. The Tim Hudak-led PCs made the mistake of thinking that Ontarians were eager to vote them into power, and then ran a tone-deaf campaign that was only notable for its costly mistakes. The proof of that is found in the exit polling data: The Tories focused obsessively on Dalton McGuinty’s record of tax hikes, branding him “the Tax Man.” But only 15% of Ontario’s voters identified that as their main worry, meaning that the PCs’ biggest ad buy missed 85% of the electorate. And the NDP, under Andrew Horwath, mainly offered ridiculous suggestions like protectionist Buy Ontario legislation and arbitrarily freezing some consumer prices for purely political purposes. Outside of northern Ontario, not a lot of people think that’ll do much good.
The voter turnout reflected that: It’s estimated right now to have been roughly 49%, less than half of eligible voters. There’s cause to fret about that, and wonder what’s to be done, but for now, let’s just accept that rather than a sign that our democracy is broken, or doomed, it’s really what Rex Murphy said it was in his Saturday column — a deliberate rebuke of all the parties by a frustrated, insulted electorate. A pox on all their houses, as it were. If so, there was some early warning that that would be the case — even the journalists whose job it is to muster up excitement for politics had a hard time concealing their displeasure during this campaign.
I found it interesting that one of the most popular posts I’ve put up in the last several months was the one about how to refuse your ballot under Ontario’s election law. That’s certainly an indication of the relative level of voter disenchantment with the candidates and parties.
This sounds more like an irritation than a serious attack, but it would be instructive to find out how the keylogger was introduced into what one assumes is a secure location:
A computer virus that captures the strokes on a keyboard has infected networks used by pilots who control US air force drones flown on the front line, according to a report.
Wired magazine reported that the spyware has resisted efforts to remove it from computers in the cockpits at Creech air force base in Nevada, where pilots remotely fly Predator and Reaper drones in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The story said there were no confirmed reports that classified data had been stolen and that the virus did not stop pilots from flying missions. Network security specialists were uncertain whether the virus was part of a directed attack or accidentally infected the networks, the story said.
The air force said in a statement that it did not discuss threats to its computer networks because it could help hackers refine their tactics.