Playing the Lottery

Dan plays the Super 7 lottery. For the past fifteen weeks, he has won the sum total of ten free tickets. He’s not happy.

Dan: Every time, I get three numbers. Just three numbers. I don’t want three numbers, I want seven! Or maybe just six!
Me: Mmm-hmm.
Dan: I’d even take six numbers on the Encore. I mean, I wouldn’t sneeze at $250,000.
Me: Neither would I… Well, maybe I would, just for the novelty value, you know.
Dan: Yeah.

What’s Happening in PM’s PMO?

It’s interesting to read Paul Wells’ dissection of Paul Martin’s strategy in response to the Auditor General reports. I perked up at the following:

This line from Ibbitson’s column is fast on its way to mythical status in Quebec. Quebecers know the Chr´tien-Gagliano strategy was to buy their allegiance to Canada with flags and festivals. They are as insulted as the rest of us would be. And now here’s some anonymous genius trying to pin the week’s mess, not only on Chr´tien, but on Quebec.

Congratulations, folks.

So one of the many questions this whole affair has raised is whether there is any adult supervision in Paul Martin’s Prime Minister’s Office. Only one man can answer it, and it cannot be the gang with the speed-dialers and the masks of anonymity. That man is Paul Martin.

One wonders what Paul Martin’s two defecting Bloc Quebecois must be thinking, now that the BQ have anywhere from 39-47% support in Quebec.

Dan and I have been wondering ourselves what’s going on in Paul Martin’s Prime Minister’s Office. For all his appearance of heading towards a Diefenbaker-sized majority in the next election, and for all of his clear political abilities, Paul Martin has looked surprisingly inept over the past three months in terms of maintaining order and a united front within the Liberal Party.

Consider how much political ill-will has been generated with the exuberance of his cleaning house. Consider how Warren Kinsella is able to lob grenades from the sidelines; consider how Sheila Copps is being pushed towards defection, and how this is making national news. Consider especially that while Martin is taking very careful measures to limit the ground on which the Conservative Party can campaign, the rupture on his left flank has been left unchecked, when only the simplest political moves are required to fix it.

A part of me still suspects that Paul Martin is bucking to have the NDP sit as the official opposition after the next election, but after reading Paul Well’s deconstruction of Paul Martin’s communications strategy, and the devastating consequences it’s having on Liberal numbers in Quebec, a different picture is starting to emerge.

Paul Martin has spent the past seven years, if not ten, carefully planning his move into the Prime Minister’s Office. He has carefully orchestrated his takeover of the Liberal Party from within, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came along with a strategy on how to minimize any threats from the right in the next election. All of that preparation shows intelligence and ambition, but it also hints at considerable arrogance. And now that Paul Martin’s Prime Minister Office staff have achieved all of Paul’s goals, they must be feeling darn sure of themselves. Everything has gone to plan and, for the most part, he is still on track for a major majority come April.

A PMO staff that sure of themselves may not feel the need to be particularly diplomatic towards old rivals. Neither may they be able to adapt to a sudden disruption of their plan (after all, it was Chretien who put off the release of Sheila Fraser’s report until now, not them). The result could be what you see here.

Now, with a slight chink appearing in Paul Martin’s armour thanks to this activity, it remains to be seen how Paul Martin will respond. If we see resignations or (more likely) reassignments from the PMO, then we will have our clearest indication yet that Paul Martin has been delivered a kick to his complacency, and some of his staff have paid the price for their overconfidence.

Confirmed: Angel Cancelled

Earlier, Dan and I wondered if the decision to pull the trigger on a number of major plotlines during the 100th episode indicated that Warner Brothers was wrapping up the series, and now it appears as though our speculations were correct:

The WB announced today that Angel won’t be back for a sixth season. The news comes on the heels of the network airing the 100th episode of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off starring David Boreanaz. The WB issued a statement early in order to give the show’s creators time to wrap up the season appropriately.

“For the last seven years ‘Angel’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ have been cornerstones of our network. The sum total of the work done on those shows has produced some of the proudest moments in our history,” said the network.

“Like some of the great series that are leaving the air this year, including ‘Frasier’ and ‘Friends,’ the cast, crew, writers and producers of ‘Angel’ deserve to be able to wrap up the series in a way befitting a classic television series and that is why we went to Joss to let him know that this would be the last year of the series on The WB.”

Frankly, although I felt that :Angel: had at least one more season’s worth of stories in its arsenal, it’s probably better to wrap up the series earlier rather than later. Better to plan the program’s exit and end the series on a high note than let it lurch ahead as a rapidly decomposing zombie (X-Files, are you listening?).

:Angel: now has nine episodes left to go, and a clean slate with which to build something spectacular for its final outing.

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