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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Great photo of the day 



The photo shows a surrender in Iraq. But its Iraqi police in Baghdad, and they're surrendering to the Mahdi Army (Al Sadr's militia.)
Somehow, I don't think this is quite what the Bush administration had in mind.
(From Juan Cole Informed Comment)

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Great post of the day 

Robert Parry writes about the madness of US media and government group-think:
. . . In the news media, there were specials, including a much-touted PBS Frontline two-parter on “Bush’s War” which followed the mainstream line of mostly accepting the Bush administration’s good intentions while blaming the disaster on policy execution – a lack of planning, bureaucratic rivalries, rash decisions and wishful thinking . . .
Remaining outside the frame of mainstream US debate was any serious examination of the war’s fundamental illegality....
The cumulative effect of this willful conformity and this informal censorship has been to engender a form of collective madness at the decision-making levels of the US government -- and within the upper echelons of the news media.
But it is a flexible form of insanity in which reality is alternatively banished – as it was in the early phases of the Iraq War, from WMD "mushroom clouds" through "Mission Accomplished" – and then is brought in for retooling when matters get too far out of control, when the jarring gap between the official line and the truth starts to destabilize the national political consensus.
In listening to the measured tones of the Frontline narration – not to mention the well-dressed ex-government officials and the well-spoken mainstream journalists – I was left with the feeling that a new synthetic “reality” was being lowered in to replace the older discredited version.
It was as if the bloody madness that President Bush inflicted on the people of Iraq – aided and abetted by many witting and unwitting American accomplices – was being drained of its crimson hue and stripped of its human horrors.
Forget the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead and maimed. Forget the innumerable lives destroyed and the millions displaced. Forget the bizarre forms of torture at Abu Ghraib and the widespread mistreatment of detainees at other Iraqi prisons.
After all, we were being told, the war’s architects were honorable and reasonable men and women who were trying to do the right thing, but sadly they were undermined by bureaucratic inertia, back-biting and, yes, incompetence. It was just one big SNAFU.
But, with a few changes here and there – a new general or two, a tweaked counter-insurgency strategy, some more US soldiers and a bit more patience – everything will work out just fine.
No need for national guilt. No need for accountability. No reason to purge the editorial offices of leading newspapers and TV networks. No reason to talk about impeachment or war-crimes tribunals for committing the "supreme" crime against world peace. No need for any of that.
I have seen more and more of this kind of analysis lately, I think, as more people edge toward the truth, as the unthinkable becomes thinkable, as more appear to realize that the invasion of Iraq was simply wrong.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Driving 

I read somewhere that there is one belief that unites all Canadians -- we all think we are above-average drivers!
Not true, of course (except for me).
Saskboy found Zack's rant about Saskatoon drivers:


If you are making a right turn under one of these signs it means you have your own lane to turn into. DO NOT STOP. I can't emphasize this one enough. . . . Perhaps this is a new sign to Saskatoon but sweet zombie jesus it is not difficult to understand. It means shut up and drive. Do not stop and think about it just go. Be kind to the people behind you and just drive. I don't know how I can make this any simpler. . . .
This brings us to merging. For fucks sake don't stop at the end of a merge lane. You are asking to be removed from this world by a fast moving truck. Also do not merge way below the speed of traffic. This seems to be difficult for anyone over 25. You NEED to be going the same speed as the faster traffic in order to safely and smoothly merge into it. Again this is not a complex concept. Learn to love your gas pedal and just put the hammer down.
Tell it, Zack!

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Is this what you voted for? 

What a stupid, short-sighted decision:
Earlier this week, the Saskatchewan Party government admitted it would no longer hand over the $8 million once intended for the $12-million to-$14 million development in Saskatoon's inner city. The NDP had approved the funds for Station 20 West, which would house a low-cost dental clinic to train senior dentistry students, a medical clinic, public health and counselling clinics, a co-operative grocery store and other community organizations.
And given all the Sask Party's fumbling around about how much the project would have cost and how much had been raised, it was quite obvious that nobody in the Sask Party cabinet had actually studied the project at all or talked to anyone about it before they canceled it. Somebody told them it was just a grocery co-op.
They put about as much thought into this one as they did into the cancellation of the pulp mill deal.
Here's the funniest line in all of the news stories:
Withdrawing financial support for the project was not a political decision, [Health minister] McMorris insists.
Oh, sure.
"An NDP idea? Gotta kill it!"
They just couldn't stand to admit that an NDP project was a good idea.
UPDATE: Ah ha! Maybe it was a west-side landlord who is the source of the complaint. Wall is quoted in one of the news stories with this justification of canceling the project:
"...we'd be competing with grocery stores, competing with others who are already renting now to community clinics in the area"
Now, everybody knows the complaint about 'competing with grocery stores' in the area is ridiculous because there has not been a grocery story in the area for more than a decade. But there are landowners who rent to other businesses -- did one of them get worried that his tenants would move? Did one of them decide that, instead of fixing up his property so he could rent to someone else, it would be easier just to phone up the boys in Regina to get the project killed? The Star Phoenix should check out who owns the property whose tenants would have moved to Station 20.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Great post of the day 

Via Sideshow, I found this great post by Lance Mannion on liberals and reality:
...one of Liberalism's virtues is that it is pragmatic, not ideological or even idealistic. Liberalism is and has been about recognizing and adapting to, and when called for making corrections to, reality, that is to the world as it actually is and to people as they actually are. Most of Liberalism's successes over time have required making people see what is really going on, as opposed to what they wish was going on or what they are being told by the ruling class is going on. Liberalism is first and foremost an insistence on freeing people from their own deluded and demented thinking. It is a demand that people give up their prejudices and their vain and self-centered illusions and deal with the facts of life.
One of the facts of life is that times change. Conservativism is based on the belief that this is always a bad thing and must be resisted when it can't be ignored. In other words, conservativism is a lot of wishful thinking.
But the American Right is not conservative. It is reactionary. It doesn't want to deny that times change. It wants to turn back time. Conservativism is a mild delusion. Reaction is an outright madness . . . I don't know exactly why the News Media Elites have decided to treat this madness as a legitimate point of view, but they have, and since they have they have put themselves in the bind of sounding "liberal" every time an actual fact escapes their lips.
Read it all.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spike and Chester are at it again 

Well, here's some news: Harper prefers cordial premiers.
Oh, I'm sure he does.
Whenever I read a news story about how chummy Harper and Wall are, the image that comes to mind is this one:


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Shorter 

Shorter Hillary:
Well, what straw can I grasp at today?
This is getting embarrassing.
I want to continue to respect Hillary, win or lose, but she's making it increasingly difficult.

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"Darkening shadows" 

This is Cheney's newest ominous-sounding term when he is trying to make ominous noises about how everyone he doesn't like in the Middle East -- Iran and Syria and Hamas - are really to blame for why things aren't going very well there. But the term is a useful one for recent happenings.
Today's news started with the story that Iran was the designated goat for yesterday's Green Zone attack -- though now they've walked that story back and are just blaming the attack on "Iranian-backed Shiite militia factions".
Associated Press is quoting Al-Sadr militia commanders as saying they are getting weapons from Iran:
The Mahdi Army, believed to number up to 60,000 fighters, was battered by U.S. troops in a series of battles in 2004. But the militia appears to have regrouped and, according to commanders, is ready to respond to "provocations."
According to the three commanders, the militia has received fresh supplies of weapons from Iran — contradicting repeated Iranian denials that it is supporting Iraqi militias.
The weapons, the commanders said, included rockets, armor-piercing roadside bombs and anti-aircraft guns that could be effective against low-flying helicopters.
Additionally, they said an infusion of cash from Iran has been spent on new communication centers equipped with computers with Internet connections, fax machines and mobile satellite telephones.
Now, the militias could point to internal Iraqi politics as the reason why they need all this stuff. But certainly it could also be used to attack US troops.
Which seems to be what the US has in mind again -- now that they've passed the 4,000 milestone, what's another thousand? They probably can't possibly reach the 5,000 mark before the election in November anyway.
After a year where America bought itself some peace in Iraq by paying off their Iraq enemies, the US now seems to have started up hostilities once again.
The latest rumblings in the Mahdi Army are provoked by the belief that the Americans and their Iraqi allies abused the cease-fire by conducting raids that have targeted hundreds of al-Sadr's backers and aides.
Militia commanders told The Associated Press they viewed the arrests as a move by Shiite rivals to deny them a prominent political voice. They also cited al-Sadr's statement this month that his cease-fire did not preclude his followers from self defense [which] gave them the nod to take on their adversaries . . .
"They don't seem to realize that the Sadrist trend is like a volcano," Abdul-Hadi al-Mohammedawi told worshippers Friday in Kufa, referring to the Iraqi government and its U.S. backers. "If it explodes, it will crush their rotten heads."
Leaders of the Sadrist movement are calling on supporters to protest the arrests by closing their shops and businesses.
The call was heeded Monday in at least two predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad . . .
Police said Mahdi Army militiamen have also issued general strike orders in three other areas of southwestern Baghdad and in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of the capital.
"This civil disobedience may be called for in the rest of Baghdad and maybe in southern provinces if the government does not free our detainees" . . . between 2,000 and 2,500 Mahdi Army militiamen have been detained since the cease-fire came into force.
As if this isn't depressing enough, I've been reading the testimony at the Winter Soldier hearings about Iraq (h/t The Rev).
And let's wrap up with another round of What Digby Says. She says it rather well:
Anyone who votes for McCain in November is voting for war with Iran. It's that simple.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The push for war 

A new book by a Chilean diplomat describes how the Bush administration tried to push other countries into supporting the Iraq war.
In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war . . . In the days after the invasion, the National Security Council's top Latin American expert, John F. Maisto, invited Mu¿oz to the White House to convey the message to Lagos, that his country's position at the United Nations had jeopardized prospects for the speedy Senate ratification of a free-trade pact. "Chile has lost some influence," he said. "President Bush is truly disappointed with Lagos, but he is furious with Fox. With Mexico, the president feels betrayed; with Chile, frustrated and let down."
So can we imagine what Bush thought of Canada? And can we also appreciate how extremely important it was that Canada also stood up to US pressure and refused to support the Iraq War?

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You kids get off my lawn! and other signs of racist senility 

Canada just doesn't "get" the United States about race. I don't deny we have racists in Canada, of course, but we have worked hard in this country, as a country, to eliminate systemic racism in our institutions and our attitudes, and we try as a society to identify and celebrate our diversity.
When observing the United States, on the other hand, I have often been surprised that they don't appear to do much of this. Not as a society or as a group -- their Affirmative Action programs were one of the few government attempts to mitigate the impact of racism in areas like schooling and employment, and now they have now been happily dismantled. American society seems to tolerate, even encourage, a level of racist discourse and racist behaviours which, if it happened in Canada, would bring about outrage and royal commissions.
So it is instructive to read Glenn Greenwald's latest post , in which he quotes this horrible bit from a right-wing blog:
I am sick to death of black people as a group. The truth. That is part of the conversation Obama is asking for, isn't it? I live in an eastern state almost exactly on the fabled Mason-Dixon line. Every day I see young black males wearing tee shirts down to their knees -- and jeans belted just above their knees. I'm an old guy. I want to smack them. All of them. They are egregious stereotypes. It's impossible not to think the unthinkable N-Word when they roll up beside you at a stoplight in their trashed old Hondas with 19-inch spinner wheels and rap recordings that shake the foundations of the buildings. . . .
Oh, the horror, the horror -- to play loud music! to wear long shirts! How can any decent [ie, white] person be expected to deal with such unmitigated awfulness?
And then this cranky old man goes on to talk about how all the good darkies should be speaking out and if they don't, why, they themselves are just as guilty of such awful things
... you've just given life to the suspicion that black people in America are, and have long been, a fifth column -- unanimously hating the very country that has afforded the highest standard of living ever achieved by black people in human history. We're teetering at the edge of believing that you're a secret society, a massive collection of sleeper cells just waiting for your chance to do serious harm to the rest of us. You've made it possible for us to believe that. Because you're never outraged by what the worst black people do. Because you continue to make excuses for what should be inexcusable to everyone.
Note all the egregious insults -- that white America "gave" black people a living rather than blacks and white contributing to building the economy together, that all black people hate America, and he thinks being a cranky old fart is some kind of achievement -- and focus just on the language of the last bit, which made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. He's using terrorist terminology to describe his fellow citizens, whose only transgression appears to be disagreeing with his own taste in fashion.
One of Greenwald's commenters picked up on the same point:
Don't be fooled into thinking that this applies only to African-Americans. The sense of threatened tribalism is at the root of movement conservatism, and always has been. This is why it was so easy to sell most of white America on the Iraq war. Polls showed that 2/3 thought that Saddam had something to do with 9/11, or at least close ties to AlQ. . . . Take almost any one of their "thoughtful" screeds about Islam and do a global search/replace from "Islam" to "niggers" and the text becomes instantly recognizable. This racist energy had for a long time been at least partly directed towards "the Communists" but now that it isn't it is pretty much clear that Islam is now the designated nigger.
Greenwald continues:
There is no better phrase to describe the animating feature of the modern Limbaugh/Kristol/Fox News conservative faction than "threatened tribalism." The belief that they are good and pure, yet subjected to unprecedented systematic unfairness and threatened by some lurking Evil Other against whom war must be waged (the Muslim, the Immigrant, the Terrorist, the Communist, the Liberal, the Welfare Queen) is the centerpiece of their ugly worldview.
The sentiments expressed here by Instapunk are now most commonly expressed towards the New Enemy -- the Muslim -- but the Wright episode is a nice reminder of how seamlessly it gets directed towards a whole host of other threatening, bad groups. Hence the blithe application of the term "sleeper cells" to black Americans. That's what coalesces them and justifies everything. What matters is that there be some scary, malicious group about to harm them and America. The identity of the particular scary group at any given moment is really secondary.
Writers like Greenwald do Canadians a favour, by showing us what attitudes we need to watch out for here, and nip in the bud whenever we see it, before it flourishes like it has in the States.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great line of the day 

Lambert at Corrente notes that Iraq has not been a disastrous war for people who made money off it, including whoever stole the missing billions, The Village, Halliburton and other private contactors, arms manufacturers, etc. Commenter BDBlue sums it up:
"If you look at it as a project designed to move public money to private hands, it’s been a rousing success."

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Take back the airports! 

Given your recent airline experience, Dawg, you'll love this -- Ken Levine writes an Open letter to airlines: we hate you
Major airlines spend billion of dollars annually on splashy ad campaigns trying to get our business. . . And no one’s buying it. In fact, we all hate you. Traveling is now an ordeal and you’re a big part of it. Security lines are a pain but that’s fifteen minutes. The rest of the six hour wisdom tooth extraction is all you.
Levine suggests some solutions -- like talking to customers, telling them the truth, radical stuff like that.
But I think there's more that could be done.
The first thing that air passengers have to do is take back the airports.
Airports have become their own little world, one that may as well have a sign pasted above the door --"abandon hope all ye who enter here". Airport managers have tried to buy us off by turning the airport hallways into shopping malls, but those are just a fancy sauce covering up a tasteless chop -- to the airport management, we're really just pieces of meat, and all they really want us to do is shut up and stand in line.
Long, uncomfortable, unfriendly, slow-moving lines, with no place to hang your coat or prop your bags or amuse your children.
And whenever we aren't standing in line, when we do get the chance to sit down, all the airports offer us are identical rows of goddawful bench-style pre-formed chairs -- impossible to relax in, lie down across, play bridge or board games, read comfortably, have a conversation with people beside or across from you, with no place to plug in your laptop or hang your coat or put your cup of coffee or park your carry-on bag.
Those seating areas seem to be purposefully designed by people who hate people. If their goal is to make airport customers feel irrelevant and burdensome and uncomfortable, its a message clearly received by the airline staff.
Did anyone running an airport ever think about how to make waiting into a less aggravating, more comfortable experience?
How about some signs -- "from this point, you will likely wait about 10 minutes"'
How about some small lightweight wheeled carts, available as we arrive at the airport, where we could keep our stuff until we get onto the plane?
How about waiting areas with normal furniture, like some arm chairs and some tables with chairs and some couches and some benches, so we could have a choice about what we sit in and how we arrange it?
How about some vendors moving around, selling drinks and snacks and newspapers to the people waiting, so we didn't have to pack everything up and carry it half a mile just to get a Coke.
Oh, dream on...

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Great line of the day 

At Hullabaloo, dday writes about Obama's great speech today:
...we'll see in the ultimate result whether we're a nation that still pays attention to these petty concerns and wedges, or whether we can judge a man on the content of his character.
I am coming around to the belief that Obama would make a great president. While I still admire Hillary Clinton -- and I don't understand this DKos attitude of if-you-love-him-you-have-to-hate-her -- I am beginning to believe that Barak Obama does have the leadership skills and judgment and toughness that the United States needs.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

It was ever thus 

On his way out of town, DBK describes this morning's talk shows:
I caught some of Meet the Press as I was washing the breakfast dishes. . . . Leon Panetta of the Panetta Institute was on and spoke for a few minutes about how vital the issues in this election are, how the next president will face numerous crises, and how the American people need to hear discussion of the real issues. I'm not sure what led up to those remarks, but they made a lot of sense, and not a little because those are the kinds of things I have been saying all along.
Bob Schiffer responded to these thoughtful, sensible remarks, with "Do you think Hillary Clinton is trying to remind the voters that Barack Obama is black?"
That's when I went back to washing dishes. This is your serious journalism, ladies and gentlemen. When someone speaks of issues, they speak of quibbles, arguments, and horse race nonsense.
Unfortunately, however, it was ever thus.
The serious journalists in the 1960s were sitting around in the bar in Saigon waiting for the Pentagon to issue press releases describing how well the Vietnam War was going.
The serious journalists in the 1970s were sitting around in the bar in Washington waiting for Nixon to swat down those stupid stories about some kind of break-in.
The serious journalists in the 1980s were writing stories about how disco was dead.
The serious journalists in the 1990s were sniffing through Hillary Clinton's panty drawer.
So finally, in the 2000s, we have serious journalists squeaking with amazement that a black man and a white women are duking it out for the Democratic nomination. They just can't deal with it.
But then again, they never could.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Five years of Iraq 

London


Los Angeles


Madrid


Barcelona


Istanbul


Montreal


Oh, and by the way, if things are going so swimmingly in Iraq now, why are we still seeing exactly the same type of Iraq photos as we have for five long years:
Blindfolded prisoners,

And suicide bomb damage,


And funerals,


And American soldiers casually trashing Iraqi possessions, like this car.

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Rustic is as rustic does 



I wondered about this.
Here is John McCain's "rustic cabin" where he recently barbequed some ribs for the political press.
No wonder they liked it so much. This photo is from Architectural Digest, which did a feature on the house.

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Travel at your own risk 

Harper seems to be quite happy to let a Canadian woman rot in a Mexican jail because if Canada tried to help her we might be accused of "meddling" -- oooh, couldn't have that!
Nice to find out the priorities of our prime minister, isn't it? Protecting Canadians appears to rank fairly low, certainly lower than Harper's ego.
Instead, it is our former prime minister, Paul Martin, who has been meeting with Mexican officials to try to help this poor woman. That's Paul Martin for you.
And now we hear about an under-the-radar Conservative caucus revolt: Tory MPs support Liberal motion challenging government policy on death penalty. Apparently the motion has no legal authority, so our prime minister can continue to abandon Canadians to foreign jails. But 96 Conservative MPs sent a pretty strong message by voting against Harper and Stockwell Day on their meanspirited and shortsighted policy:
"It's a disturbing trend to abandon Canadians who are in trouble abroad," said [NDP MP Pat] Martin. "It's as if they're saying 'it's your bed, you made it, you sleep in it'. That seems to be the tone that's being struck by this administration."

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Great line of the day 

From The Daily Show:
STEWART: The crazy thing is, this guy, Governor Spitzer, apparently visiting prostitutes for years, as he was prosecuting prostitution.
OLIVER: Yeah, but Jon, this is what politicians do. They rail against the thing they desire the most. Look at Congressman Mark Foley. Headed the committee to protect children from sex predators while trying to pick up underage interns on line.
STEWART: Larry Craig…
OLIVER: There you go.
STEWART: Senator Larry Craig voted repeatedly against gay rights, caught soliciting gay sex in a bathroom.
OLIVER: Very good. Or um, President Bush. How’s that? Promotes democracy abroad, withholds as much information as possible at home.
STEWART: That’s exactly right. He criticizes human rights abuses…
OLIVER: Exactly. Yet, runs his own floating S&M dungeon just south of Key West.
Emphasis mine.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Iran update 

Fallon's Resignation Is Not Seen as Step Toward Attack on Iran reads the Washington Post headline.
Well, that's a relief!
All the experts contacted by the Washington Post think that Fallon's resignation is nothing to worry about because war with Iran just doesn't make sense, for all sorts of sensible reasons. And on the Post goes, for 15 sensible paragraphs.
But then they throw in this little tidbit right at the end:
The key unknown variable is Bush, who has repeatedly indicated he does not want to pass on problems to his successor.
"I think there is a possibility that the president would feel that he could not leave without trying to address this problem," she said. "Nobody knows what the president thinks, and all I can say is to go by what he says -- and he has always said he thinks he has to deal with this problem."
So the man with the mission will do what he wants, regardless of what the sensible experts think.
I knew that headline was too good to be true.

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Moko the dolphin saves the whales 

I love stories like this -- from the New Zealand Herald:
Mr Smith received a call early Monday morning to say the two whales had stranded on the south end of Mahia Beach.
"Generally speaking when pygmy sperm whales strand they end up dying, or they are refloated only to strand again later in the day and die.
"We worked for over an hour to try to get them back out to sea ... but they kept getting disorientated and stranding again.
"There is a large sandbar just off the shore so that could have been very confusing for them - they obviously couldn't find their way back past it to the sea."
After about four unsuccessful refloating attempts it was becoming highly likely the pair would have to be euthanased.
"The whales were getting tired and I was getting cold when Moko [a local dolphin] turned up," he said.
"It was amazing. We'd been working for about an hour-and-a-half when the dolphin came directly up to us.
"[Moko] had them moving parallel to the shore - for about 200 metres or so - within about a minute."
"The whales were sitting on the surface of the water quite distressed, they had arched their backs and were calling to one another, but as soon as the dolphin turned up they submerged into the water and followed her."
Moko led the whales about 200m along the beach towards the headland then led the pair all the way out to sea.
...
" She obviously gave them enough guidance to leave the area because we haven't seen them since."
Moko however was seen straight after - the playful dolphin swam straight back close to shore to play with local residents.
Here's a video about Mahai Beach that includes footage of Moko:

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Shorter 

Shorter Geraldine Ferraro:
I was a token woman 25 years ago, so Barak Obama must be just a token black today. He couldn't possibly really be more deserving of the presidency than I was!

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Six-Word Memoirs 

The legend is that Hemingway was once challenged to write a short story in six words. He came up with this "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn".
Now there is a project called Six-Word Memoirs at SMITH Magazine which is publishing a book titled "Not Quite What I Was Planning" which challenges people to describe their lives in six words.
Some of their submissions so far: "Waiting for the drugs to work." "God called, you have 1 message." "Nothing but curveballs. Hit some too." "20's women, 30's career, 40's sleep."
So here's mine: "Husband and children bring unexpected happiness". Not exciting, but it's my own.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Great video of the day 

YouTube - Simon's Cat 'Let Me In!'



I shamelessly stole this from Canadian Cynic. It is hilarious.
When I was growing up, we had a black cat, which we called "The Black Cat", who would leap onto the screen door whenever she wanted inside. The result was that when you opened the inside door, there was The Black Cat splayed out at eye level on the screen with all four paws gripping the mesh. This, of course, made it impossible to open the screen door without causing her to lose her grip. So you had to stand there and wait because she would lose her grip eventually anyway, and slide gracelessly down, nails screeching off the screen, landing on the stoop with a thump. THEN you could open the screen door and she would glide in with the "I meant to do that!" attitude.
Then five minutes later, she wanted to go out again.

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Stephane, just do it 

It's time.
A spring vote, with Ontario and Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Newfoundland mad at Harper, with middle-class parents wanting that Liberal education tax credit, with enough tarnish to quell the Tory squeaky-clean image, with the American housing recession hitting Canadian lumber sales, with higher gas prices across the country, with everyone grumpy following a long winter ... as Steve says:
This is as good as it gets.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Yes, the sky actually IS falling 

Wanna read something really depressing? Also informative, of course, but also pretty much of a down trip -- Mike Whitney's wrap up of the economy, Picking Through the Rubble in Post-Bubble America highlighted by this prediction:
Expect to see the Dow hugging 7,000 by year end.
I might think he is being unnecessarily gloomy if I wasn't also reading Ian Welsh and Bonddad and Stirling Newberry. Keep your chin up!

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Today's next great line 

In counterpoint to my post about Wolcott, here is John Cole:
If there has been a dumber, baser, more self-destructive campaign than the one waged by Hillary Clinton this year, I am not aware of it. She isn’t content to go down alone. She is taking the party with her.
In regard to the 3AM ad, which Cole is mainly talking about, the funniest version of this I heard was that Hillary answers the phone and hears "Is Bill there?"
I do disagree, however, that this fight is hurting the Democratic Party -- I think they will find themselves stronger in the end because through the battle of Hillary vs Obama they are defining what they really are and what they really stand for. They have needed to do this ever since the American voters turned away from Democrats in 1994.

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Great line of the day 

James Wolcott writes about the rants of the Obama supporters:
Hillary and Obama don't need to be told the facts of life, but such instruction seems to have eluded Obama's supporters, many of whom seem to be in a hurry to go from hoping to moping, from feeling better about the future to feeling sorry for themselves. God forbid she wins Pennsylvania--that'll really give these crybabies something to cry about.
I know what he means -- over at Daily Kos, the meaningless plethora of Obama-si-Hillary-no posts, along with hundreds of people who think hitting the "recommend" button for every pro-Obama post is a worthwhile way to spend their time, is making this site virtually unreadable these days.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Two remarkable events 

Two remarkable events today -- International Women's Day, and my birthday! Let's celebrate:


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Friday, March 07, 2008

Another Nelson moment 



This Nelson moment -- Tories implore Senate to quash RESP bill -- has been brought to you by the Liberal Party of Canada.

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Great line of the day 

Dave at Galloping Beaver alerts us to Newsweek's report that Canadian terrorist prosecutions are excluding CIA evidence, quoting Bernard Beckhoff, public safety ministry spokesperson:
"The CSIS director has stated publicly that torture is morally repugnant and not particularly reliable. CSIS does not knowingly use information which has been obtained through torture."
I'm glad to hear it.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

So what is the truth of it? 

Personally, I don't care about who leaked what about whom.
What's important is the truth of it -- will either Clinton or Obama actually renegotiate NAFTA or not?
This time, will the Americans negotiate a deal they can live up to, or will we have to go through another decade of court cases with obstructive American industries blaming Canada for their marketing problems?
And for our part, will the Harper government actually negotiate with the best interests of Canada at heart, or will their basic operating principle be just the protection of industries in Conservative ridings?

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This is the way the world ends 

Not with a bang but a whimper.
As Birth Pangs describes it so well, the Unborn Child Victims of Crime bill (AKA the Kicking Abortion's Ass act) is a "back-door attempt to again make women’s pregnancies public property". And tonight the pro-lifers are thrilled that the bill passed second reading.
SoCon Or Bust writes:
... the momentum is clearly moving in our direction. If not this time, it will happen in the future. It’s inevitable now.
Just give us a little crack and we’ll drive this

RIGHT THROUGH IT!
Little baby steps….easy does it.
And its not just the bloggers who hear the dogwhistle. The ordinary people who write letters to the editor all hear it too, like this one and this one.

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Emery update 

I was wondering what was going on with this case.
Apparently there's a deal being cooked up between the Canadian government and the Americans over Marc Emery, though it might not work out.
Marijuana crusader Marc Emery is blaming a clash of judicial cultures for delays in a plea bargain that would send him to prison briefly in the United States before serving several years in Canada. . . .
"What's at stake is the Canadian prosecutorial service doesn't think that it's possible to make a deal where a Canadian judge is compelled to do something specific, like put me in jail for a minimum length of time or set some kind of parole date," he said.. . .
A plea bargain was in the works that would see charges dropped against Williams and Rainey while Emery would plead guilty and receive a prison sentence.. . .
Emery said he finds the whole process odd.
"The Canadian government could just have me charged and that would lay the matter to rest and they wouldn't have to be concerned because some judge would come to a determination as to whether I should be incarcerated," he said.
But Canada won't charge him, because no Canadian court would convict him.
And that wouldn't satisfy the Americans at all.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Shorter 

Well, given today's news, I guess we can do a Shorter Stephen Harper:
Why would anyone believe we would try to buy Chuck Cadman's vote ? It's the AMERICAN vote we're trying to influence!

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