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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great post of the day 

TRex says Thank You, Rudy Giuliani for taking that call from his wife during a speech to the NRA:
By crossing this new frontier in boundary-free living, by once again raising the personal narcissism bar to new heights of impolitesse, Rudy has finally given me, an American liberal, a way that 9/11 can personally benefit me on a daily basis. And it’s about damn time.
. . . I can justify even the most petty acts of selfishness simply by invoking the fall of the Twin Towers. I will never, ever, ever have to turn off my cell phone again.
Tomorrow morning, when the groggy solemnity of the Monday staff meeting is shattered by my cell phone . . . all I have to do is chuckle sheepishly and say, “9/11!” and take the call and everyone will automatically just sit there and wait ten minutes for me to finish talking to my brother about whether he should order another pair of Red Wing boots or get some Dingos like mine.
Because, you know, 9/11? It changed everything.

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With friends like these, Dion doesn't need enemies 

So an MP who bills himself as a Dion supporter wants to avoid a fall election by a parliamentary manoeuver -- Dion would vote against the Throne Speech while the rest of the Liberal caucus abstains, so that Dion can talk about how he is against the Harper government without actually having to fight an election against them.
Great optics, Byron! Just what Canadians need from the Liberal Party, more trickery and sleight-of-hand tactics...

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Just when you thought it was safe... 

Just when you thought it was safe to go swimming -- Brain-eating amoeba kills 6
Just when you thought it was safe to go on vacation -- Dengue fever surges in Latin America
Just when you thought it was safe to get a CT scan -- Woman left in CT scanner for hours
Just when you thought it was safe to drink beer -- Oktoberfest reveler stuck in chimney for 12 hours
Some weird news lately, isn't there?

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stupid is as stupid does 

So Tony Clements, the Health Minister, announces a new war-lite on drugs:
"The fact of the matter is they're unhealthy," Mr. Clement said. "They create poor health outcomes."
But I just have to point out that going to jail creates a really poor 'health outcome'.
As somebody once said, the only thing prisons demonstrably cure is hetrosexuality.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

And we'll have fun, fun, fun... 

Well, in the end nothing will happen.
We can always hope, of course, but I don't think Bill O'Reilly's racist remarks about a restaurant will get him fired (nor will Rush Limbaugh's remarks about "phoney soldiers" get him turfed)
Remember, Don Imus smeared a hard-working group of serious and dedicated young women as "knappy-headed ho's" and it was the culminating incident of a long history of racist remarks and Imus STILL almost kept his job. It wasn't until the MSNBC staff threatened to quit that the network finally realized that Imus had to go.
Fox employees aren't going to go toe-to-toe with O'Reilly -- he makes too much money for the network. If they didn't fire him because of the falafel lawsuit, they won't fire him over this.
But that said, let's everybody make the O'Reilly "scandal" last as long as we can...

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Great line of the day 

Slate did a Sex Issue today and Jessica registered her objections to the sexist photo essay on butts because it featured only female bun shots. Then "lbacker" said in the comments:
. . . You know, if they really wanted a great slideshow of asses, why not just post pictures of the Slate editorial team?
Sounds like a plan to me.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's the New Angst, you jackass! 



Wolcott quotes Katha Pollitt on what I am calling the New Angst -- that Chicken Little feeling that the World of Tomorrow just isn't working out; that looking-over-the-shoulder belief that the centre isn't holding; that fearful philosophy that every day in every way things are getting just a tiny bit worse. Pollitt writes:
...I know what you're thinking: I must be depressed or disappointed or just a curmudgeon, a crab, one of those middle-aged purists who stopped listening to music when the Beatles broke up.. . .
Still, I wasn't always like this. For a long time I thought things were getting better--uglier, yes, but more just and equal. I thought that little by little people were becoming less cruel, less stupid, less ignorant, less unfair. And they are, too--think of how much less racist white people are, how far women have come. And what about gay marriage? Ten years ago nobody'd heard of it and now half the country has already moved on to gay divorce. And yet, you don't hear people looking forward to the future in the rapturous way they did back when they believed in some big triumphant idea like science or reason or socialism or art, or even a small, cozy hope like everyone having a place to live and nobody having to eat cat food. People might be excited about their own personal future... But when they think about the future in general, they're scared.. . .
It's not as if I like being like this. People who despair after a certain age are just depressing. We don't have the looks for it, and besides, we make others uncomfortable: what if we're on to something. Sure, we're boring, always rambling on about how much better everything was in our childhoods, when there was snow, but we might just be right. Nobody wants to believe that. Once you get over your youthful intensities you're supposed to look on the bright side, like parents. You're supposed to say, There, there.
The model for our generation is Oscar Leroy, and our motto is "You Jackass!"

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What is wrong with these people? 

There is no other way to describe it -- the juvenile chest-beating and wild-eyed taunting that passes for American foreign policy these days is just childish beyond belief.
Here are some telling quotes from Juan Cole's most recent Salon article about Iran.
First, there is America's ridiculous demonization of Iranian president Ahmadinejad:
. . . Iran expressed sympathy with the United States in the aftermath of those attacks and Iranians held candlelight vigils for the victims. Iran felt that it and other Shiite populations had also suffered at the hands of al-Qaida, and that there might now be an opportunity for a new opening to the United States.
Instead, the U.S. State Department denounced Ahmadinejad as himself little more than a terrorist. . . . He has been depicted as a Hitler figure intent on killing Israeli Jews, even though he is not commander in chief of the Iranian armed forces, has never invaded any other country, denies he is an anti-Semite, has never called for any Israeli civilians to be killed, and allows Iran's 20,000 Jews to have representation in Parliament.
There is, in fact, remarkably little substance to the debates now raging in the United States about Ahmadinejad. His quirky personality, penchant for outrageous one-liners, and combative populism are hardly serious concerns for foreign policy.
Then there is the constant "dumb"-beat of war, war, war from Cheney and his pet neocons, none of whom have ever actually fought in a war themselves:
. . . the American right has decided the United States needs to go to war against Iran. Ahmadinejad is therefore being configured as an enemy head of state.
The neoconservatives are even claiming that the United States has been at war with Iran since 1979. As Glenn Greenwald points out, this assertion is absurd.
And some of the military leaders who have spent the last five years screwing up Afghanistan and Iraq are now trying to save their reputations by pretending that they would have "won" in Iraq if only Iran hadn't been in their way:
. . . some elements in the U.S. officer corps and the Defense Intelligence Agency are clearly spoiling for a fight with Iran because the Iranian-supported Shiite nationalists in Iraq are a major obstacle to U.S. dominance in Iraq. Although very few U.S. troops in Iraq are killed by Shiites, military spokesmen have been attempting to give the impression that Tehran is ordering hits on U.S. troops, a clear casus belli. Disinformation campaigns that accuse Iran of trying to destabilize the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government -- a government Iran actually supports -- could lay the groundwork for a war. Likewise, with the U.S. military now beginning patrols on the Iran-Iraq border, the possibility is enhanced of a hostile incident spinning out of control.
See what I mean -- they actually thought that 160,000 soldiers could "dominate" a population of 26 million - er, maybe just 25 million now -- so it must be Iran's fault that they have failed so miserably.
Its like watching a little kid get mad and hold his breath 'til he turns blue.
Unfortunately, this little kid has a lot of guns.
I thought Iran's military parade last week was pretty childish, too, but maybe it takes one to know one:
The threat to target U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and the unveiling of the Qadr-1 were not aggressive in intent, but designed to make the point that Iran could also play by Richard M. Nixon's "madman" strategy, whereby you act so wildly as to convince your enemy you are capable of anything.
So now Ahmadinejad has become a folk hero to millions in the Middle East -- just one more addition to the record of incompetence.
Here is a summary from one of Juan Cole's blogging partners, Barnett R. Rubin:
The Bush-Cheney administration has surrendered much of Afghanistan to the Taliban and much of Pakistan to al-Qaida. They have turned most of Iraq over to Iran, creating the very danger over which they now threaten another disastrous war; they have strained the U.S. Armed Forces to the point of exhaustion, turned the Defense Department over to private contractors, the Justice Department over to the Republican National Committee, and the national debt over to foreign creditors, while leading a party whose single most basic belief is supposed to be that individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions. And they dare to lecture us on national security?
Yes. And the rest of the world, too -- except that we're not listening anymore.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Great line of the day 

Canadian Cynic flags the contradiction:
. . . Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continued to embarrass his species when he proclaimed adamantly that there were no gays in Iran.
In response, Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee, Sam Brownback and Tom Tancredo vowed to introduce a Congressional resolution censuring Ahmadinejad for his appalling and breathtaking ignorance, just as soon as they finished telling everyone that they don't believe in biological evolution.
Some days, the straight lines really just write themselves, don't they?
Emphasis mine.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Reality check 

Alison has an important post about the Conservative government's funding cut-offs to Status of Women groups.
The argument, apparently, is that women don't need these groups anymore:
At the time of the budget cuts, Gwen Landolt of REAL Women, the traditional-values group which has spent the last 25 years fighting against equal rights for women, explained that groups (like SWAG) are no longer needed because "women are equal now".
Hmmm -- so everything's peachy, eh?
Let's just check out this claim. And here are the facts, from the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women:
There are 2.8 million women in Canada living in poverty. That's one in five women. Fifty-six percent of the poor in Canada are women. (1) . . . To be poor in Canada means to be surrounded by wealth but have no access to it. It means having to choose between paying your rent, bills, groceries, transportation, doing your laundry and buying necessary medical supplies. It means not having the money for many things other Canadians take for granted: visiting relatives, buying clothes to apply for jobs in, giving birthday or Christmas gifts to your kids. It means living in inadequate housing - often in disrepair and in overcrowded, high-crime neighbourhoods. It means that even five bucks is a big deal. It doesn't necessarily mean being on social assistance. The majority of the poor work for wages, either full- or part-time. (2). . .
And here's a "reality check" on Canadian women's equalityl:
* At every level of education, women in Canada earn less on average than men. For example, in 2003, women who are high school graduates earned 71.0 % of what male high school graduates earned for full-time, full-year work. Women with post-secondary degrees earned 68.9% of what their male counterparts did for full-time, full-year work. Postsecondary education does nothing at all to narrow the wage gap between women and men.
. . .
* In terms of the ratio of male to female earned income (the wage gap), Canada ranks 38th in the world. The following countries are among the many with less of a wage gap between women and men than Canada: Switzerland, Cambodia, Kenya, the Czech Republic and over 30 others.
* Canada ranks 25th in the world in terms of the representation of women in professional and technical occupations, after the United States, Barbados, Lithuania, Argentina and many other countries.
. . .
* Since the cutbacks of the 1990s, fewer women than men qualify for Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits. . . . Women form the large majority of part-time workers in Canada, accounting for more than a quarter of the female paid labour force. Although they are forced to pay into EI, they find it difficult to qualify for EI maternity and parental leave, as well as sick and unemployment benefits. The majority of minimum wage workers in Canada are women. They find it hard to live on 55% of their salaries, which is what EI offers, when even their full salaries for a full year of work still places them below the Low-Income Cut-Offs (“poverty line”). They are also forced to pay into EI while not being able to afford to take much leave, thus subsidizing the leaves of better-off workers.
. . .
* Do women make “choices” to be economically disadvantaged, particularly by having children? If every woman decided not to have children, the human race would be wiped out in one generation. We need to recognize the value of women’s paid and unpaid work, as some other countries have done through concrete policy supports for women’s economic equality.
. . .
# It is no coincidence that the majority of social assistance recipients are women and children. In Canada half a million children with poor mothers are growing up on inadequate amounts of social assistance that do not cover basic needs. Canada has one of the highest rates of child poverty because we have less supports for women than many industrialized countries. The proportion of lone parent mothers living in poverty in Canada is a social policy choice, not an individual one.
. . .
# Child care is not a “hand out”. It is estimated that the mothers of young children contribute $53 billion of Canada’s GDP, representing 5% of the total GDP. That is taking into account the monetary value of their paid work, not the even greater value of their unpaid work as mothers of the next generation of Canadians.
For more, see the Women and The Economy website and links.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Great line of the day 

TRex tells us that within a day after Bush and Congress shat on MoveOn, 12,000 supporters raised half a million dollars to run new ads.
As TRex describes it:
...every time the Bush administration demonizes an opponent, an angel gets its wings.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Dion unplugged 

Well, well. Maybe the shock of losing Outremont has finally shaken Stephan Dion out of his ennui.
First he steps up and takes the blame
"...there is a perception of me that is not me, that has been a caricature developed by my opponents. … I need to tackle this problem. I have seen that on the ground in the by-elections – people are saying Mr. Dion, we don't know you, or Mr. Dion, we know who you are, and we don't like it – so I need to help my party in solving this problem and in showing to Quebeckers how much I am proud of what I am as a Quebec City kid.”
Then he goes on the offensive. Today he attacked Harper's foreign policy as mediocre, rigid, simplistic, amateurish and incompetent.
Then he got specific:
Dion accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of slavishly following the lead of U.S. President George Bush on foreign policy - abandoning the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gases, ramping up defence spending, and ignoring human rights violations in the pursuit of terrorists.
"Mr. Harper has given Canada a foreign policy that draws its inspiration from the American right, a foreign policy that does little to advance Canadian interests," Dion told a foreign relations think-tank. . . .
He said the government has bungled the issue of Afghan detainees, proved incapable of administering Canadian aid in the country, and sent a series of confusing mixed signals on when the combat mission will end.
"It's always worrisome when a politician constantly flip-flops, but when people's lives are at stake, it's inexcusable," Dion said . . .
Dion chided Harper for refusing to intervene in the case of Omar Khadr. . .
Dion went on to outline what a Liberal government would do instead.
It is refreshing to see Dion speak in his own voice.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Swearing out ceremony 



This story describes the bizarre case of a British music professor, Nalini Ghuman, who was suddenly and inexplicably barred from re-entering the United States for some reason the State Department refuses to explain. I think its safe to assume that, like with Mahar Arar, somebody made a mistake but will never admit it -- and Condi Rice has neither the ability nor the integrity to clean up an embarrassing bureaucratic mess.
But this line at the end of the story was what struck me:
The society has invited her to lecture at its conference in November, which, “in a fortunate circumstance,” Mr. Atkinson said, is to be held in Quebec . . . she can expect Canada to let her in.
Well, maybe -- unless we've created a Fortress North America Customs Union by then.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Dion loses, but Harper can't win either 



This article about the Quebec byelections describes the Liberal campaign debacle:
Last night’s three byelections were the first that Dion had to face since he became Liberal leader last December and many — both inside the Liberal party and outside of it — saw the byelections as a test of his ability to bring the Liberals back to power and to deliver Quebec. In the end, not only did the party lose one of the few safe ridings it has left in Quebec, but it polled in the single digits in the two other . . .
Fueling the discontent even more was an article published over the weekend in which unnamed Liberal supporters of Dion and Michael Ignatieff traded barbs over whether the poor campaign was the result of incompetence, or of sabotage by Ignatieff supporters trying to undermine Dion’s leadership.
Well, if they are, it won't take much.
Because there's not much Dion leadership to undermine.
Dion's leadership so far has been nothing more than the Peter Principle in action -- first, he did a great job as Environment minister in convincing Canadians about the importance of taking global warming seriously, then he demonstrated great consensus-building skills in that UN environment conference in Montreal, then he ran a great leadership campaign... but it's been almost a year, and Dion just hasn't taken it to the next level.
He become the kind of politician who opens his mouth to change feet. When he says anything at all.
Several over at Liblogs are predicting the Liberals won't want a general election until 2009, because of these by-election results. But Harper will now be itching to go this fall, and so will the NDP -- if they can find or create a winning issue.
Luckily, Senate reform isn't it.
Senate reform would win top prize as the most boring topic in the history of the world, if anyone could stay awake long enough to write up the nomination.
But Harper's position on most issues is actually going to lose him votes -- when it comes to Afghanistan, climate change, customs union, softwood lumber, security partnership, etc., a majority of Canadians tend to support the "liberal" position, whether small-l or large-l.
This makes it all the more infuriating to see the Liberals being led so poorly right now. Because all we have to defend our progressive Canada from a majority government of Harper Conservatives are the Dion Liberals.
Jesus wept.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Great line of the day 

The Bush administration has tried to inflate the magnitude of the Iraq War by comparing it to every major war ever fought by America. Now, its Korea's turn.
Matthew Yglesias explains succinctly what is wrong with this comparison:
...the difference between Iraq and South Korea isn't just that post-armistice our troops stopped taking casualties in Korea. The bigger difference is that a US military presence in Korea was part of a larger strategic doctrine -- defending the anti-Communist ROK government from the Communist government in Pyongyang as part of a larger strategy of containment -- that made sense. What we're doing in the Gulf right now is driven by confusion, hubris, and vainglory.
The more apt comparison, of course, was and still this one: that Iraq is Vietnam on speed.

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Blue skies 

I didn't believe it at first.
Could anyone think that the colour of blue paint chosen by a landscape painter a thousand years ago would be used by a so-called scientist today to deny the reality of global warming?
But there it is, via Chet, via Richard, we find the press release that argues today's global warming is just part of a 1500-year "natural cycle", see, because there are "thousands of museum paintings that portrayed sunnier skies during the [supposed] Medieval Warming" period.
Well, their skies were not only blue, but also full of astrological symbols and chariots, so I guess they had pollution of a kind too:



Chet notes that, when indoors, medieval people also apparently played chess sideways while surrounded by little musicians:


And I found that angels supplied medieval doctors with artificial legs for easy and bloodless surgical transplants:


Makes about as much sense as Medieval Warming...

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

$20 

Here's a story about Canadian soldiers being court-martialed for drug trafficking.
The new defense lawyer for one of the soldiers wants a delay because he has to read the 900 pages of disclosure evidence which the investigation has produced.
Over a $20 bag of marijuana.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Betray-Us 

Hollywood producer Jon Robin Baitz knows good theatre when he sees it. And he liked the General Betray-Us ad:
I rather liked the MoveOn ad from the Times. It was crass, but these are crass times. It was simplistic, but these are simplistic problems, basic ones -- after all -- the American people have been treated as foolish consumers of a product -- in this case a war -- by an administration that hovers in a bipolar helix between hapless fervor and rank cynicism. Depending on the day . . . I liked the ad because it was cheap and street, and true in spirit.
And contrary to all the hype, The Man Called Petraeus (in Digby's memorable phrase) has apparently been described by his own boss as "an ass-kissing little chickenshit". Ouch!
Apparently CENTCOM commander Admiral Fallon and General Petraeus hate each other's guts. This explains the bizarre story from last week about how the Pentagon had agreed to disagree on Iraq. And may also explain why Bush was so quick to announce he would bring 30,000 US troops home next summer (which means, in reality, that he is leaving 130,000 US troops in Iraq indefinitely) -- Bush didn't want to wait for Fallon's recommendation that three-quarters of the US troops leave Iraq by 2009.
Petraeus may find he has won the battle, but lost the war.

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Same old same old 

Well, what have we here?
The real Tories are breaking through -- the wheeler-dealer Tories, the play-fast-and-loose-with-the-public-purse Tories, the "rules are for sissies" Tories, the Tories that Canadians have loved to hate for the last 20 years:
. . . it appears the Tories transferred money in and out of local campaigns not just to generate federal refunds, but to hide national expenses that exceed the limit.
Quel suprise! And they were doing this while Harper was raking the Liberals over the coals for corruption.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alex the parrot 

Research parrot dies
In the grander scheme of things, this is, of course, completely unimportant news. But all the same, one could argue Alex contributed more to the world than, say, Paris Hilton ever did ...


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Monday, September 10, 2007

Great image of the day 

From Alison at Creekside, Humpty Harper defines "consensus"


Alison notes that the "consensus among Canadians" Harper promised before extending the Afghanistan mission has now become "50 per cent plus one" in a parliamentary vote.
And I note that my little prediction back in June is coming true:
MacKay . . . predicted [Canada's] involvement in the rebuilding and redevelopment of the war-torn country will continue for a "very long time."
"That's the exit strategy," MacKay said.
"When the Afghanistan government can take care of its own interests, then we can come home . . . ."

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Another F.U., or maybe two 

So here's today's headline: Top U.S. commander says 30,000 troops could leave Iraq by next summer.
Yeah . . .
But, darn it, they just won't know for sure until next March.
Which is, of course, AFTER all the Democratic primaries.
So none of the Very Serious Democratic presidential candidates will be allowed to criticize the war in the meantime, because that would Endanger The Troops and Jeopardize The Mission and Unnecessarily Lengthen The War. And that would all be the Dems' fault.
And then, gosh darn it, Bush would have to fight Congress tooth and nail to get Our Boys Marching Home just in time for the Republican Convention.
And Bush is also giving everyone a crystal rainbow pony castle set, too . . .



Gee, I think I'm getting a little cynical in my old age, eh?

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

The human face of data mining 



The F.B.I. data mining revelations seem sort of technological and confusing until you see the human face of Mahar Arar.
It was this kind of "community of interest" thinking -- where guilt by association is assumed and supposedly proven by innocuous contact with someone else who is being watched for no good reason either -- that got Arar shipped off in the middle of the night to a Syrian prison for two years.

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Rock 'n roll party 

Here's the first of the "story series" songs (at least, these were the first I heard)

It's My Party


Followed by Now Its Judy's Turn To Cry


Then there was Edward Bear's Last Song plus Close Your Eyes, but darn it they're not available on YouTube.
But as a consolation prize, here's this classic:


And this version by Twisted Sister.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

If a tree falls in the forest... 

So Bush thinks he's going to make big bucks giving speeches after he is finished being president? People won't even come to listen to him NOW:
The event had inauspicious beginnings. Bush started 10 minutes late, so that APEC workers could hustle people [ie, business leaders] out of the theater's balcony seating to fill the many empty portions of the main orchestra section below _ which is most visible on camera. Even resettled, the audience remained quiet throughout the president's remarks, applauding only when he was finished.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Think about it 

Professors Keil and Lehrer ask:
Have we arrived at the point where thinking critically has become a dangerous activity?
The answer sometimes appears to be "yes".
If poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads, then social science tries to find the toads in society's gardens -- which turns out not to be a very popular activity these days with some politicians and prosecutors.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Conservativism is just a theory, too 

Could somebody please tell John Tory that the economic, social and political beliefs of conservatives could also be described as "just a theory" -- but this is what he expects the people of Ontario to vote for.
Here's the story: Conservative leader muses about creationism in schools
...the Conservatives are promising to give private religious schools $400 million if they opt into the public system, teach the provincial curriculum, hire accredited teachers and administer standardized tests. But that doesn't mean Christian schools couldn't teach creationism on top of the existing provincial curriculum, said Tory, who is embarking on his first campaign as Conservative leader. 'It's still called the theory of evolution,' Tory said ...
I guess this is the kind of dumb stuff politicians say when they are pandering to the religious right.
You know, I was raised in a Christian church and so I had always respected Christianity as a strong and robust religion which had, at its core, a profound respect for truth and truth-seekers. So I really don't understand what has happened in the last decade -- has Christianity now become just a thin and brittle veneer, that its adherents are afraid can be shattered by the simple scientific truth of evolution?

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pavarotti has died 

YouTube - Luciano Pavarotti - Ave Maria - Schubert

A commenter on YouTube called him the greatest tenor of our times. He brought his music to millions, too.

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Great line of the day 

TRex at Firedoglake cheers Teh Craig for announcing he's not resigning (even though he already said he was) because he's not guilty (even though he already said he was) because he's not gay.
Yeah sure, you're not gay -- you just like to have sex with other men, perfectly normal hetro behaviour!
Anyway, TRex talks about how Craig's dithering will screw up Bush and the Republicans:
[from TPM] If Sen. Larry Craig reconsiders and steps all over Gen. Petraeus’ week of surge, Bill Kristol’s head will explode. That Penatagon media war room they set up will be useless in the face of this cable TV zoo.
Wouldn’t that just be delicious? All the millions of dollars worth of spin and PR that the White House and the NeoCons have put into General Petraeus’ Magical September Moment may well be wasted. All the fatuous crap about having it on the anniversary of 9/11, all of it, gone, poof! Because if there is, in fact, one thing on this earth that Big Media loves more than a rich, dead blond, it would have to be the spectacle of a nasty, mushrooming Gay Republican Sex Scandal.
Emphasis mine.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No wonder Harper wanted an election last spring 

Canada silent as nuclear energy partnership with US, Australia, others takes shape:
The initiative, called the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, proposes that nuclear energy-using countries and uranium-exporting countries band together in a new nuclear club to promote and safeguard the industry.
Central to the plan is a proposal that all used nuclear fuel be repatriated to the original uranium exporting country for disposal.
That should be big news in Canada, the world's largest uranium producer.
But to date, the Canadian government's response is a closely guarded secret. In fact, there's been virtually no public debate at all . . . Harper's minority Conservative government clearly does not want to engage the Canadian public in any discussion about the initiative.
You can't make this stuff up.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

You can't make this stuff up 

Remember yesterday, when Bush said that it wasn't his policy to dissolve the Iraq army in 2003 but somehow it just happened, he can't remember why but he thought he likely objected?
Well, today Paul Bremner says that he wrote Bush about it before it was announced.

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Gag me with a spoon 

Check out the second update on Glenn Greenwald's post today. Euhhhh!

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Burning man 

Well, I'm convinced. More and more of the news in the blogs indicates that Bush and Cheney are going to take the US to war against Iran -- see this and this and this -- and there's nothing we can do to stop him and it will be a disaster for the United States and the Middle East and the world. And Bush is now so out of touch with reality that he can't even remember anymore that it was his administration which disbanded the Iraq army.
But, as Tony Soprano would say, what are ya gonna do.
Escapism, anyone? Here are some neat photos from this year's Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert in New Mexico :


Here's an interesting art piece, which is reflecting some of the festival participants as they ride past it. Below, more festival art.




The festival-goers are just as unique. Here is Dave the Troubadour, playing a flaming tuba.


You can see the "man" statue in this photo of the festival site during a sandstorm. The festival ended when they set it on fire on Saturday.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Night of the Living Dead in Iraq 

"Success" in Iraq? Well, I had been wondering about the actual figures, and here they are. Juan Cole about the ballyhooed surge in Iraq:
I personally find the controversy about Iraq in Washington to be bizarre. Are they really arguing about whether the situation is improving? I mean, you have the Night of the Living Dead over there. People lack potable water, cholera has broken out even in the good areas, a third of people are hungry, a doubling of the internally displaced to at least 1.1 million, and a million pilgrims dispersed just this week by militia infighting . . . The government has all but collapsed . . . The parliament hasn't actually passed any legislation to speak of and often cannot get a quorum. Corruption is endemic. The weapons we give the Iraqi army are often sold off to the insurgency. Some of our development aid goes to them, too.
The average number of Iraqis killed in 2007 per day exceeds those killed in 2006 . . . Nation-wide attacks in June reached a daily all-time high of 177.5l . . . US troop deaths haven't fallen. They are way up . . .
8-2007 77 8-2006 65
7-2007 79 7-2006 43
6-2007 101 6-2006 61
5-2007 126 5-2006 69
4-2007 104 4-2006 76
3-2007 81 3- 2006 31
2-2007 81 2-2006 55
1-2007 83 1-2006 62
I mean, how brain dead do the Bushies think we are . . . And why does our corporate media keep repeating this Goebbels-like propaganda?
Why? Because it just feels so good to be "winning" for a change.

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