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Friday, October 31, 2008

Great news! 

Well, this is just such great news! Obama is really a secret Canadian -- so this means he can run for the Liberal leadership! Pandagon explains:
Malcolm X had a love child with a University of Hawaii student who moved to Seattle and he then made go over the border to Canada to have a child whose parentage and name he then conspired to give to a Kenyan national still in Hawaii and then manufactured a fake birth certificate to hide the fact that the kid was born in Canada, despite the fact that he would have been born to two American parents and therefore an American citizen anyway.
but because he was born here, he's still a Canadian. So he can be our prime minister -- and won't he make a great Liberal leader? Manley just won't cut it compared to Barak-mania. And Iggy, well, better luck next time.
But in the comments, more conspiracies emerge:
Malcolm X? Pshaw! Obama’s education proves that his father can only be Gordon from Sesame Street.
Mr. Hooper tried to warn us, but was silenced.
And Big Bird knows everything. Why isn’t he talking? Maybe George Snuffalupagus will tell us on Sunday, when a panel consisting of Oscar (R-Garbage Can), Elmo (L-Some Garish Nightmare) and Kermit (Sesame Street News reporter) will speak to that and other issues of the day. Also, Ernie and Bert will speak out against California’s Proposition 8.

Do you naive fools think that this plot started with Obama’s birth (assuming he was “born” in the conventional sense of the word), let alone 1950? Oh no, even now, two stories under the paving stones of Red Square, Lenin is slowly awakening from suspended animation, ready to join the Manchurian Candidate Obama in imposing the Dictatorship of the Negroteriat on the entire world!

Denzel also starred in ... [wait for it] ... the re-make of The Manchurian Candidate. Co-incidence? I think NOT!

Ha! Although obviously this conspiracy theory is fact because it’s clearly based in reality and not at all on nonsensical hallucinogenic ramblings. If Obama doesn’t make it to the White House, Malcolm X’s other secret love child will have to make a go at it. And I don’t know about you, but I really don’t think Kanye West would be good under presidential pressure.
I mean. Did you see the way he screamed at that little girl at that pumpkin judging contest?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Fright Nite 2 

Following up to my Frightening post, which may turn out to be the first of a series, here's a story from Miami today about two Obama supporters surrounded by a mob of McCainiacs:
After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that's what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.
The event maybe lasted a minute, two at the most, before police competently managed to hustle the two away from the scene and out of the danger zone. Only FiveThirtyEight tracked the two men down for comment, a quarter mile down the street.
"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'" Sorando said when we caught up with him. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me."
Asked what had precipitated the event, "We were just chanting 'Obama!' and holding our signs. That was it. And the crowd suddenly got crazy."

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The Canadians are coming! 

Some of our people went to the United States to help after the disaster of Katrina, so I think it's great that Canadians are going to help now with something as positive and hopeful as the Obama campaign.
The Star Phoenix is reporting today City men to "get out the vote" for Obama:
Two Saskatoon residents and three from Regina decided to get involved. They'll be there working until election day next Tuesday.
"I really wanted to come down here. This election will impact all of us in Canada and around the world for years to come," said 22-year-old University of Saskatchewan student Zach Jeffries.
Jeffries, who's also president of the Saskatchewan Young Liberals, and friend Lee Reaney left Saskatoon by car earlier this week and arrived in Rochester, N.H., on Tuesday. The pair, along with the Regina residents and several from Ontario and Nova Scotia, will identify and mobilize Obama supporters to vote in advance polls and on election day.
Jeffries, who has experience working on campaigns in Saskatchewan, has been paired with a local Obama worker. They will supervise a team of volunteers to "get out the vote."
A friend living in New Hampshire convinced them it would be a good place to volunteer, as Obama is reported to have a very slim lead in the northeastern state.
Cross-posted at the Orange Satan.

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Layton was right 

The Mop and Pail reports globeandmail.com: Time to talk with the Taliban, governments say.
Remember when Jack Layton was the scum of the earth for saying the same thing?

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Thanks but no thanks 

So George Bush thinks he will raise Republican morale by visiting a campaign office? Yeah, George, that'll do it alright.
Bwwwhhaaaaaa!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Frightening 

After that good ole boy Joe the Plumber was raving looney-tunes about Obama and Israel today, even Fox News' Shepard Smith had to call him out. And then Smith finished the segment by muttering this:
man...some things--it just gets frightening sometimes.
Yes, yes it does.
What is the matter with these people? Have they lost their minds?
Progressives are afraid of McCain because of what he has DONE -- nominating Cariboo Barbie for vice president, voting with Bush way too many times, losing his temper at everyone around him including calling his own wife a cunt, forgetting speeches and the names of his supporters, demonstrating erratic judgment about the economic crisis -- all of this shows a man unfit to be president.
The wingers have talked themselves into hating Obama not because of anything he has done but because of what they think he IS -- a black, terrorist-loving, America-hating, Israel-hating, scary, Muslim Socialist boogeyman who is going to destroy America. This has been ballyhooed over and over again by McCain and Palin and their fellow travelers that the wingers now believe it sincerely and fervently.
So yes, it does get frightening sometimes, to see such hysterical fear based on nothing at all.
Except, of course, that Obama actually is black.
And I think this is actually the real source of their fear -- racsism is at the heart of it.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Shining city 

I think Obama is the man who can lead America back. This is from Obama's speech today
Understand, if we want get through this crisis, we need to get beyond the old ideological debates and divides between left and right. We don't need bigger government or smaller government. We need a better government – a more competent government – a government that upholds the values we hold in common as Americans. . . .
It's about a new politics – a politics that calls on our better angels instead of encouraging our worst instincts; one that reminds us of the obligations we have to ourselves and one another.
. . . what we have lost in these last eight years cannot be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits alone. What has also been lost is the idea that in this American story, each of us has a role to play. Each of us has a responsibility to work hard and look after ourselves and our families, and each of us has a responsibility to our fellow citizens. That's what's been lost these last eight years – our sense of common purpose; of higher purpose. And that's what we need to restore right now.

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Good, Bad, Ugly 

Good: Court loosens Ottawa's grip on access to medical marijuana
Bad: TSX suffers second-worst day in last-minute selloff
Ugly: Alaskan Senator found guilty in corruption case

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On the teevee 

Watching the ball game, I don't know why the announcers aren't coaching because they both seem to know exactly what the Phillies and the Rays should be doing next.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why attack Syria? 

I don't understand what is the rationale for the Syria attack -- they shot up a building under construction and blew some stuff up and killed a few people, then flew back to Qaim.
Was it just a bunch of rogue soldiers "taking matters into their own hands"?
A U.S. military official said the raid by special forces targeted the foreign fighter network that travels through Syria into Iraq. The Americans have been unable to shut the network down in the area because Syria was out of the military's reach.
"We are taking matters into our own hands," the official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the political sensitivity of cross-border raids.
But later in the article we find out that there aren't large numbers of foreign fighters coming into Iraq anymore:
The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq has been cut to an estimated 20 a month, a senior U.S. military intelligence official told the Associated Press in July.
That's like five people a week, not all of whom would be entering at Qaim anyway.
So was the American military just showing off? Or are they trying to provoke a war with Syria? And what would be the idea behind that -- do they think starting another needless war would actually help McCain win this election?

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Shorter 

Shorter Mark Levin:
Why are all these conservatives supporting Obama? Don't they know the new sheriff is a ni....?

UPDATE: TBogg summarizes the Levin column this way:


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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Great line of the day 

From Richard Wolffe on Countdown


Keith, I'm going to be as restrained and measured as I possibly can about this. But this is the most mindless, ignorant, uninformed comment that we have seen from Governor Palin so far and there's been a lot of competition for that prize. Fruit flies aren't just to do with this kind of research. They are a standard scientific model in genetic research along with a whole range of other organisms and cells including mice, rats, I mean there's nothing fluffy or funny about it. It's scientific research. And if you deliver your first serious policy speech and you make this kind of basic error, you either don't have a scientific adviser, or you don't have a speechwriter who knows what they're saying.
Emphasis mine.

UPDATE: RossK explains exactly why those fluffy, funny fruit flies are critical to cancer research today.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Great post of the day 

I don't have the direct link, but a commenter on Taylor Marsh quotes humorist David Sedaris talking about undecided voters:
I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?
To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"
To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cry me a river 

Is it just me, or are too many of the new TV shows this fall showing scene after scene of crying parents, weeping friends, sobbing children, and misty-eyed co-workers?
I guess I'm getting pretty tired of watching actors, even good ones, emote all over the screen.

Then again...

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Flaunt it, baby, flaunt it! 

TBogg, shorter
Yes, she really is "Cariboo Barbie"

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Rock paper scissors 

Steve suggests a plan for the Liberal leadership:
On one level, it's the height of elitism, decidedly undemocratic, downright unfair. However, the idea floated yesterday, one I've also considered, of simply having the Liberal caucus lock themselves in a room until they come to relative unanimity on the next leader does have merit. A vote, whomever wins, that person is the defacto leader.
The comments to his post are thumbs down, but I think this has merit. After the Liberal experience last time, when a bruising, expensive, year-long, nine-contender campaign finally produced a leader who apparently couldn't get along with his caucus, maybe there is a better way.
Or else lets just have Rae and Iggy play a few rounds of rock paper scissors, eh?


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Gee, what a surprise 

The New York Times is reporting that Bush has decided not to close Guantanamo.
Oh, who could ever have expected that?
My litmus test for whether Obama is really going to try to change things in the United States, or whether he is just going to go along to get along, is whether he orders Gitmo closed. He would have to deal with a shitstorm of faux outrage from the Pentagon and from the Bush enablers in Congress, but its a decision that must be made. Here's why:
Mr. Cheney and his chief of staff, David S. Addington, have made it clear in the internal discussions this year that keeping Guantánamo open under a new president would validate the administration’s decisions dealing with terrorists, the officials said.

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Conservatives or Liberals? 

Which party is this MP talking about?
He paints the party brass as ultra-aggressive, unaccountable apparatchiks who treat politics as a blood sport, more interested in scoring points off the opposition than in governing well. They wield tremendous influence, forming an impenetrable barrier around the leader and treating MPs like underlings. 'The elected officials shouldn't be working for the unelected people.'
Answer here.

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Dion had his opportunity 

Rabble's Duncan Cameron writes:
In his televised press conference Dion admitted that the party had lacked the resources to counter Conservative propaganda, and mount a campaign to put another face on his leadership.
Sorry, but Dion is not blameless here -- he had ample opportunity to respond to the the Conservative attack ads.
It doesn't cost a penny to give a good speech in the House of Commons.
And surely, when Dion was elected leader, the Liberals could have sent him across the country to appear on radio talk shows and talk to local media and tell Canadians who he was.
Cameron made another couple of observations I thought were interesting. About Dion's leadership he said:
Dion lost his leadership when he agreed to go along with the Conservatives on a meaningless agenda to remain in Afghanistan, when he should have been affirming his leadership by opposing the war. Instead of flushing out his enemies within caucus, and building links in his own province, he preferred to support the continental militarization of Canada.
And about the candidates for the next Liberal leader he says:
Big money and its friends have done well by the Liberal party. An executive vice-president of the TD Bank looks like the right choice to Liberals comfortable with this symbiotic relationship. But a McKenna candidacy does not appeal to the people that elected Dion Liberal leader: young people, idealists, citizens devoted to environmental causes, international development or national unity. Of course these are precisely the people coveted by the NDP and Green Party alike.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

What the world thinks of Cariboo Barbie 

Humourist Nury Vittachi (via) writes about What Palin means to Asians
A Western journalist called me the other day to ask what Asians thought of Sarah Palin.
“Just a minute,” I said. “I’ll ask them.”
I held my hand over phone, counted to 20 and then got back on the line. “They like him,” I said. “But they think he should make more episodes of Monty Python.”
There was a long pause. I heard the journalist’s brain cell click into place. “That’s not Sarah Palin,” she eventually said. “That’s Michael Palin.”
“Well, Asians would like her to tell her husband to make more episodes of Monty Python.”
“Actually, I don’t think Michael Palin is her husband.”
I took a sharp intake of breath. “They are not legally married? That’s something that Asians definitely do not approve of.”
“No, no, no, she’s married to someone else, not Michael Palin.”
“That makes it worse,” I said.
There are few things in life more pleasurable than tormenting American journalists. The only downside is that it is so easy. They are absolutely convinced that the rest of the world watches every detail of what happens in the United States as if it was some sort of wacky global sitcom designed to entertain the rest of the planet. Actually, that IS more or less the case. But I still like teasing them.

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Ignoring deficits 

So the news du jour seems to be that Harper might run a deficit.
And from what I am reading lately, running a deficit would be a good thing -- the economy needs government spending now, not cuts and cutbacks.
There is apparently a new anti-deficit focus among the American right-wing. For the last 8 years, they couldn't have cared less about Bush spending trillions on Iraq, and it was Cheney who said "deficits don't matter" But now of course they don't want Obama to be improving health care and infrastructure, so now deficits are baaaaad -- I expect we'll see lots of punditry over the next few months worrying so much about the deficit and how irresponsible it would be for Obama to spend anything. dday at Hullabaloo calls it creeping neo-Hooverism, and no doubt this attitude will bleed over into Canada, too. I hope Harper just ignores it -- he's pretty good at ignoring things!

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King Ralph 

Well this is interesting -- Goodale wants to be interim leader instead of John McCallum. I guess we'll know tomorrow, but I hope Goodale makes it -- the Liberals need someone who will generate press coverage over the next seven months by hammering Harper in the House over what I expect will be the inadequate, poorly planned, and ideological Conservative responses to the coming Canadian economic crises. Go, Ralph!

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Great line of the day 

From Atrios, talking about the Powell endorsement:
I think what little credibility Colin Powell had is in a little vial of white powder somewhere, and have no desire to help rehabilitate his image. Still such things are not aimed at me, but at that segment of the population for whom the recommendation of their first black friend might encourage them to get a second one.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Momentum 


Obama has the mo' now. His campaign appears to be finishing off with a series of large rallies all over the States.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

The best Prime Minister Canada never had 

Steve and Scott have fine posts discussing their thoughts on Stephane Dion's future.
I liked Dion a lot, but it must be recognized that he lost 27 seats. Given that we'll likely have another election in two or three years, after the Canadian economy tanks and the Conservatives can't handle it, I just don't know whether Dion could be strong enough to win those 27 seats back, plus find at least 50 more.
Iggy, on the other hand, maybe could.
Dion may find that he has inherited Robert Stanfield's title of the best Prime Minister Canada never had.

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-If wishes were horses 

I'm no economist but the idea that Canada's economy is "strong" enough not to be affected much by a American depression and global recession strikes me as just wishful thinking.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Health" with air quotes 



Crooks and Liars quotes John McCain's heartless, clueless debate moment:
"...health [indicates air quotes] of the mother. You know that’s been stretched by the pro-abortion movement to mean almost anything."
John McCain apparently things there are all sorts of slutty women, or, to use a McCain term, cunts, who get knocked up and then change their minds and try to pretend they're sick just so they can justify to a disbelieving world that they need a late-term abortion.
Via C&L, here's one woman who would have died without a late-term abortion:



In March of [1995], Watts was in the eighth month of a much-wanted pregnancy and was eagerly anticipating the birth of her first child. During a routine ultrasound (the only way to detect abnormalities that require late-term abortion), she discovered her baby had Trisomy 13, a chromosomal abnormality that causes severe deformities and carries no hope of survival.
Because her baby was already dying and because this put her own life at stake, Watts had an intact dilation and extraction (D and X) . . . "Losing my baby at the end of my pregnancy was agonizing," says Watts.
And here's two more:
When Congress first considered the ban in 1995, Watts testified on Capitol Hill. So did Viki Wilson of Fresno, Calif., who had a late-term abortion because the brain of the fetus she was carrying had developed outside the skull. So did Vikki Stella of Naperville, Ill., whose fetus had dwarfism, no brain tissue and seven other major abnormalities.
All three women told legislators they owed their health to late-term abortions and that a continuation of their doomed pregnancies posed grave health risks such as stroke, paralysis, infertility or even death.
As they campaign to save access to these procedures, Watts, Stella and Wilson point out that in virtually all cases, late-term abortions are the only way to respond to unanticipated complications: the death of the fetus inside the womb, problems that mean the fetus can't live outside the womb, or serious threats to the mother's health.
"No women has these procedures for frivolous reasons," says Stella. "They have them because it's their only choice."
Choice -- that's the key word. McCain does not respect it. Nor does he respect the women who make these choices.
Interesting, however, that for all of McCain's anti-abortion pandering at the debate, the fundies will be shocked to find out that McCain voted in favour of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nomination to the Supreme Court -- I'll bet just about none of the fundies knew this, and they will find it unforgiveable.
Wait til they find out he voted for Stephen G. Breyer too!

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They won't be bothered to vote for McCain 

Yes, like Josh Marshall indicates, Obama is going to need millions of voters to overcome this year's GOP vote suppression and voter intimidation spectacular. But the GOP will find in the end that they cannot do much about the millions and millions of GOP voters who are just going to stay home this year.

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Yeah, that about sums it up 

Red Canuck says he is overwhelmingly underwhelmed with the election results:
Disappointment for Stephen Harper; no majority.
Disappointment for Stephane Dion; lost seats and lost Fortress Ontario.
Disappointment for Jack Layton; still in 4th place.
Disappointment for Elizabeth May; lost her riding and no elected MPs.
Satisfaction for Gilles Duceppe; but he's a separatist.
Cost: $300 million . . .
But here's a few silver linings: Justin Trudeau was elected. Michael Fortier lost. Ralph Goodale was re-elected. David Orchard lost. Bill Casey was re-elected with 70 per cent of the vote, which I would bet is the highest popular vote percentage in the country. And Edmonton-Strathcona may go NDP!

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Strange days indeed 

Its wrap up time.
Steve at Far and Wide does his Best Of Election 2008.
On the strategic voting front, Scott describes strategic voting in a way that finally makes sense to me, Cyberwanderer is for it, as is Woman at Mile 0, and RossK provides some links that show you how to vote strategically.
Jason Cherniak writes about why Stephane Dion should be Prime Minister.
I agree.
I must admit, at the beginning of this campaign, I did not think Dion realistically had much of a chance of beating Harper -- I thought Canada would be lucky to avoid a Conservative majority government. But over the last five weeks, whenever Dion has been knocked down, he just keeps getting up again. And he has landed some telling blows of his own -- he was ready to step up on the economy, and Harper was not; he has talked directly to Canadians and to the media throughout the campaign, and Harper has not; he expected Canadians would have the intelligence and thoughtfulness to comprehend and consider supporting a Green Shift policy, while Harper pandered to his base with divisive speeches about jailing 14-year-olds and cutting support for arts.
For all of his leadership posturing, Harper and the Conservative war room have run one of the clumsiest and most cynical campaigns in Canadian history. The StealthCons demonstrate how Conservative candidates were instructed not to defend what the Harper government is doing or plans to do -- I'm glad that Canadians are not going to reward such disrespectful behaviour.
As for Dion, he has shown Canadians what he stands for during this campaign. The Calgary Herald writes:
It took several weeks, but Dion gained his sea legs in time, his advisers hoped, for Canadians to have a second look at a man who learned on the stump how to show his conviction and to laugh at himself, especially his speaking style.
"Stephen Harper may speak better English than me," he began to tell each crowd for a guaranteed roar of approval, "but I speak the truth better than him in both official languages."

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Doppleganger 

A moving Daily Kos diary today from a former Republican who writes about why she no longer is one.
When I look at the direction our own Conservative party is moving -- where "Progressive" and "Reform" have both been disappeared, where fanatic PR hacks are making a cult of Don't Speak Unless Spoken To By Dear Leader, where we see anti-democratic election financing shenanigans in the last election and disrespect for the election process AKA Stealth-Cons in this one, where we have had two years of reframing every single Canadian issue from Afghanistan to arts funding to listeriosis into another excuse for divisive partisanship -- this essay rang true for what is happening to conservativism in Canada as well:
I was raised by Republican grandparents. One of whom was black. My grandfather loved his party, proudly proclaiming to all and sundry his feelings about "the Party of Lincoln". My grandmother, a white woman from Kansas, was as middle America as one could be. Proud of her descendancy from forebears who fought in the American Revolution, the Mexican War, the Civil War; she was a poster child of American values.
Your party has no place in it for me, and millions like me. I am educated, female, fiscally conservative but socially responsible. I watched your convention, remembering my grandparents active participation in your party and I wept. There would have been no seat for them there.
My grandmother, a lady of the old-school, would not have invited Sarah Palin to her kitchen table, nor into her parlor. My grandfather, who was an advocate of education and hard work, in the style of Booker T Washington, would be aghast at the anti-intellectualism on display.
. . . I achieved the dreams my grandparents wanted for me. A college education, a home and a family. At the age of 61, after a life of work I can now think about retiring, or I could, until my future was destroyed by politicians in collusion with Wall Street.
Yes, I am bitter. I will continue to teach until my health fails, and I pray I will have coverage. I will report to you that my students are all Democrats -except for one. Most come from Republican conservative upstate NY homes. They see no place for them at your table either.
The recent displays of hatred and vitriol at Republican campaign events have left them aghast. They are this nations future, and you have lost them. All but one, and he is embarrassed to admit openly his party affiliation. He shared it with me privately. I patted him on the shoulder and reassured him, that what was important was for him to participate in our Democratic process, and shared with him the story of my grandparents. But now I regret that sop to his feelings. Your party does not deserve him. He is a fine young man. I hate to see him tarnished by what has become a place for the dregs, the Know Nothings and the haters. Those of you who are still capable of cogent thought should fight to wrest your party back from those who now resemble most Germany's Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei.
The Republican Party is dead. An ugly doppleganger has risen in its place.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

The economy is just fine, FINE I tell you, unless that Dion guy gets elected! 

So on the radio while I am driving home, which takes about 10 minutes, I first hear Charles Adler and his guest Izzy [somebody] Asper proclaiming that a drop in the DOW to half of what it was a year ago is just a "correction" that happens all the time, don't worry, the Canadian economy is OK, the fundamentals are strong, blah, blah, blah.
And then they started talking about whether Dion might become Prime Minister, and oh, lordy, what a terrible thing that would be for the markets, they would fall, wouldn't that be just terrible, the economy would be in ruins, blah, blah, blah.
I was laughing so hard I could have had an accident!

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Asides 

The only reaction I had to Mike Duffy's "Watch this! The sky is falling!" video moment today was to laugh -- Duffy and the Harper Conservatives apparently think that it is utterly amazing to see a politician actually trying to understand and respond to a reporter's incoherent question, rather than just blowing the reporter off and dishing out talking points.
I don't have a post here, really, just a few asides. First, here's a funny comment from the comments on the CBC website:
. . . I would ask Mike Duffy: 'If you were a credible, non-partisan journalist today, how would your TV programme be different?'
Interesting to see that National Post's Don Martin thinks the incident tells us more about Harper than about Dion:
this is a damning insight into how desperate the Conservatives have become in their battle to belittle a Liberal leader they never dreamed could pose a threat to their government . . . To use his first spontaneous media appearance of the campaign to declare Mr. Dion the most unworthy of the two candidates for prime minister based on a minute of misunderstanding is not the most flattering reaction for the prime minister.
In the end the incident they hoped to use to define Mr. Dion as a confused ditherer may actually provide more telling insight into the character of Stephen Harper.
Andrew Potter says the Tory glee won't play well in Quebec:
And as for the Tory spindorks, have their brains completely fallen out? How on earth do they think this is going to play in Quebec? Quebecers don’t much like Dion, but to have a bunch of rubes mocking the man for his poor grasp of English — yeah, they’re going to love that in Repentigny. They’ll be slapping their thighs in the Gaspe.
Honest to god.
And I think this is why Dion couldn't wrap his head around the question -- if he had been prime minister for the last two years, he wouldn't have had to come up with any emergency 30 day plan -- because he would have handled the economy differently for the last two years and it would be stronger today than it is under Harper. As the Toronto Star story notes, in an aside to an aide during the interview, Dion said:
"Yes but if I would have been prime minister two years ago, I would have had an agenda"

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gone in 30 Seconds videos 

Department of Culture is promoting a Gone in 30 Seconds video contest about the Harper government's arts cuts and Harper's smear job on the arts in Canada. Here are some of the entries I liked best:

YouTube - If Canadian Farmers Were Canadian Artists


YouTube - Gone In 30 Seconds: Kathleen Werneburg


YouTube - Hey Steve


YouTube - Gone in 30 Seconds: I Don't Get It

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More insight about InSite 

The other shoe has dropped. It isn't just the Harper government which opposes InSite, Vancouver's safe injection site. Now we find out it was the RCMP who commissioned this study on InSite, which was published in May, 2007 -- a study which I called at the time:
overblown, inaccurate, poorly researched, ideological tripe.
And here is why I said that, and criticized Canadian Press for its uncritical reporting about this study:
. . .the study's author Colin Mangham has been publishing reports for years against "harm reduction" drug policies -- which, briefly, are policies which tolerate drug use rather than try to prevent it. The safe injection site is a prime example of just such a policy in action -- and therefore, in this man's opinion, it must be stopped. What's the harm? Well, the problem seems to be that the harm reduction "ideology" makes us "vulnerable to the drug legalization movement". Can't have that, I guess.
Second, the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice is an on-line journal which has published [at that time] only two issues, with articles like "The Lure and the Loss of Harm Reduction in UK Drug Policy and Practice" and "Is it Harm Reduction Or Harm Continuation?"
Third, the Drug Prevention Network of Canada is a pretty small organization which takes a fairly conservative approach to social problems. On their website, they post articles with titles like "In defense of the drug war" and "Cannabis - A General Survey of it's (sic) harmful effects" .
Fourth, though Canadian Press acts like Mangham's article is a research study itself, it's not. It is actually a personal critique of ten research studies . . . [Their authors]Evan Wood, Mark Tyndall, Julio Montaner, and Thomas Kerr are all at UBC; Ruth Zhang, Jo-Anne Stoltz and Calvin Lai are at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal? These are the top medical journals in the world.
And all these established senior researchers and highly reputable journals are just so blinded by their ideological allegiance to harm reduction that they are publishing misleading, weak research?
And Colin Mangham has found them out? Oh, sure.
Note that RossK also discovered that this journal was funded by the US Department of Justice -- and Ross posted about all this again, when Mangham testified to a parliamentary committee in May.
And now we find out that the RCMP was requesting it:
. . . Mr. Mangham, reached Tuesday evening, said the RCMP commissioned his report . . .
“I was asked to research and provide an independent critique,” said, adding that health officials on the public payroll “certainly couldn't have said what I said.”
Yes, well, probably that's because Canadian civil servants don't usually go around criticizing the peer-reviewed articles published by the world's top medical journals.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

That One is the one they want 

We were out and so we just caught the end of the debate on CNN. All the blogs are talking about McCain calling Obama "that one":



Well, at least he didn't say "boy", but what a jerk! And that mesmerizing opinion line running across the bottom of the CNN screen demonstrated that many American voters, particularly women, think so too.
You know what I noticed in the after-debate coverage? As Obama and McCain worked their way around the room shaking hands with the people on the stage, I noticed that several people had brought out their digital cameras. But it was Obama they snapped, not McCain. Quite obviously, they wanted a memento of an historic event -- the night they met President-Elect Obama.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

StealthCon IV: StealthCon Awakening 

Well, the StealthCons are finally getting the publicity they deserve.
Today the Star Phoenix had an editorial about them: Tory candidates have obligation to share views. The editorial highlights the case of Kelly Block, Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar "who has refused outright to participate in any election debates" -- and so as a result she has generated a negative editorial when she is running neck-and-neck with Nettie Wiebe. The editorial highlights the cowardice of the StealthCons:
. . . what emerges is a picture of a slate of aspirants who either lack the courage of their convictions to defend themselves and their party in sometimes hostile public venues or who are possessed of chronic performance anxiety and shyness that make them singularly unsuitable for the job they seek.
And thanks to Geoff for emailing the link to this story about the Conservative candidates from Kitchener:
First, there was a debate Monday night at the Wilfrid Laurier University school of social work.
Kitchener Centre Conservative candidate Stephen Woodworth and Kitchener-Waterloo candidate Peter Braid both sent regrets.
Then yesterday, three Tory candidates -- Woodworth, Braid and Kitchener-Conestoga MP Harold Albrecht --- gave the cold shoulder to a "roundtable discussion" at St. John's Kitchen. . . .
Canadian Press is reporting that record numbers of Tory candidates across the country are failing to attend community debates.
One Calgary Conservative has made himself so scarce that a local radio station has launched a contest to locate him and prove he's still alive.
So what does any of this matter? The Kitchener Record article makes this point:
. . . the Conservatives, who called the election in the first place, owe us a full and open discussion.
And the Star Phoenix editorial concludes:
For a party that got into trouble with Elections Canada for funneling money to local candidates' campaigns to purchase advertising deemed to be national ads for regulatory purposes, it's damaging to send a message to voters that their candidate is but a mere pawn in a game far removed from local control or accountability.
It's bad enough when a party's candidate does no more than spew out packaged pablum prepared by the national office, that has little to do with local issues.
But it undermines the entire democratic process when candidates refuse to participate during an election campaign in public events that give voters a chance to assess their ideas in the context of what's being offered by other parties, especially when the party in question has not yet released a full platform that can be useful for comparison purposes.
The Conservative party seems to be turning "Undermining the democratic process" into an art form -- hey, maybe they should hold a gala!

Our Story So Far: The "StealthCon" term is RossK's great invention, and he defines it thusly:
A StealthCon is a Harpertronic conservative candidate who ducks the media and especially the public. Their most egregious acts of stealthitude occur when they subvert democracy completely by refusing to show up at all candidates meetings where the voters, instead of watching ads on the TeeVee actually head out the door in an effort to find out, via their own eyes and ears, what they will (or will not) be voting for.
StealthCon I, II and III are here, here and here.

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Paying it forward 

One day, in around 1975, when my mother was waiting at a bus stop, she noticed a woman crying -- she left her purse on a bus and she didn't have any money to get home with her little girl. So my mother gave her five dollars so she could take a cab home.
The woman was overcome with gratitude, and so was her husband when he came over later that day to pay back the money. They just couldn't get over that a stranger would give them money.
But that's the kind of person my mother was.
And now I read this story about a time when Barak Obama helped out a family by giving them $100 when they really needed it.
And I think that's the kind of person Barak Obama is, too.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

I love these photos 

These are from the Liberal Flickr page. You know what I noticed in these photos? Dion may be awkward sometimes speaking English but he's never awkward or uncomfortable when he is meeting people, especially children.






















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Great post of the day 

Read the whole thing but here's some tidbits:
On the economy, Dion's 30-day plan of action may not be adequate . . . But Dion's plan is more than what Harper is offering: himself as the Great Helmsman.
The Canadian economy is indeed better than America's, as Harper says, but it's not America-proof.
Dion is a sincere and honest politician, untainted by scandal. He is a polite and decent man. He is not mean or vindictive. He does not treat his political opponents as enemies. He does not question the patriotism of the critics of his Afghan policy, let alone call them agents of the Taliban. He is not proposing to send 14-year-olds to jail for life.
Vote against him because you do not like his policies, not because he is socially awkward or that he reads books.
Vote for Harper because you like his policies, not because he got himself photographed in a sweater in front of a fireplace.

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Dissing everybody 

Boris describes a case of Election Terrorism -- cutting the brake lines on cars parked at houses with Liberal signs -- and notes how this kind of despicable action follows when a political party adopts disrespect as a deliberate tactic:
The structural mechanism at work here is sinister and very dangerous. With the Harper government, we've seen a calculated campaign to delegitimise the other parties, and the parliamentary process as we know it. Obstructing parliamentary committees, advertisements with birds shitting the Opposition leader, and preventing candidates from participating in all-candidates meetings may seem silly and cowardly, but it serves the purpose of reducing the other parties to a general "other." It ignores their legitimate right to participate in political discourse as equals; it emasculates their leaders not for their ideas, but for who they are. The labels of Liberal and Left become synonymous with weakness. Direct associations between the ABC parties and the Taleban further this viewpoint, and stoke the fires of ultra-nationalists and neo-Nazis. The simple act of suing the Opposition takes the legitimate, public democracy and turns into something bitter and personal. Not firing members and ministers who make outrageous statements furthers the impression among supporters and detractors alike, that these views are acceptable.
I guess it's all in fun until somebody loses an eye. The 22-year-olds who appear to be running the Conservative party these days seem to think all of their ratfucking and chippy tricks are simply hilarious -- but cutting brake lines could kill somebody.
As Boris says, the last time Canada experienced political terrorism, Trudeau called out the army. I don't want to have to go through that again.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mavericky 

Hmmm -- so Bible Spice AKA Cariboo Barbie is chattering to the press about how she disagrees with McCain's campaign strategy. Isn't that cute? I'll bet the McCain campaign is just lovin' her mavericky maverickness now!

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Dion is battling the Economy and he's winning 

Dion is battling the Economy.
And the Economy doesn't care that Dion's English isn't fluent or his manner academic. The Economy isn't trying to distract Canadians with oily splotts and puffins.
It's the Economy that could destroy the hopes and dreams of millions of Canadians. Dion seems to be the one who knows this and wants to do something about it.
What is Harper doing? He doesn't have any ideas except to mail out a few more government cheques.
Nanos is now showing just a 5 per cent difference between Conservatives and Liberals in their daily tracking poll. The Liberals moved up five points today, when the Oct. 2 figures are averaged in -- perhaps a combination of the debates (good for Dion) and the economy (bad for Harper). The Winnipeg Sun reported today:
Stephane Dion came out swinging on the heels of back-to-back leaders debates with a stride in his step and a surprising bounce in the polls.
Jockeying for public support in the broad middle against the “polarized” extremes of the NDP on the left and Conservatives on the right, Dion also tried to wrestle the upper hand from Stephen Harper on the number one issue of the campaign: The economy.
As the remaining campaign days dwindle, he began the final sprint to the finish with a continued outreach to progressive voters, and a fresh appeal to disaffected Conservatives.
Harper's lackadasical approach to the economy just isn't cutting it -- and telling Dion that he "panicked" just because Dion wants to hold a meeting about the economy was a bit of an over-reaction on Harper's part, indicating that Harper is the one who is spooked.
And he should be. Here's the latest bad news:
. . . most analysts were predicting the Canadian economy would be flat for the rest of the year before last week's financial tsunami on Wall Street. Now they say the situation has worsened and Canada could soon follow the U.S. into recession, with possible deep job losses in Ontario and Quebec.. . .
"The (U.S. rescue) plan cannot prevent a U.S. recession because we're already in one," said CIBC senior economist Avery Shenfeld.
"Canada already saw a decline in real output in the first half of the year, and while the third quarter got a great start on rising energy output, the economic headwinds point to another decline in quarter four (October-December)."
Moreover, the Bank of Canada conceded that the global credit crunch is starting to seriously affect Canada's financial system, announcing it needs to inject another $12 billion in cash to ensure Canada's chartered banks have enough capital to make loans.
Amid the roller-coaster of economic developments, the opposition accused Harper of failing the leadership test for not having a plan to deal with the problems. The Conservatives had yet to release their election platform even as advance polls opened Friday, although they have announced a series of targeted and modest economic measures
Does Harper think that giving plumbers-in-training a $2,000 taxable bonus is going to mitigate the coming collapse of our automobile, manufacturing, potash and forestry sectors? We need the Liberal plan to ramp up infrastructure spending and support for manufacturers.

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Debate views -- Dion gets the nod 

At the Globe and Mail, the editorial board calls it for Dion, while Andrew Steele blogs:
Stephane Dion had as good a showing as he could have expected. He was never really knocked down, although he stumbled over the language on too many occasions to count. . . There was another player in the debate that wasn't even in the room.
The 800-plus point drop in the TSE actually led CBC's The National rather than the debate. I cannot think of another occasion on which that has happened.
The economy was supposed to be the Conservatives' strong point, but Dion's gambit yesterday seems to have turned the tables, if only for a couple of days.
I'm giving the edge to Layton on points.
However, I actually think that Dion may wind up with the biggest bump out of this, because the economy is now the issue and his campaign was smart enough to judo flip themselves into the lead on the issue. . . .
James Travers at the Toronto Star and Don Martin at Canwest News Service think Dion had an OK performance but was not a knockout, while also agreeing that the economy is now front and centre in the campaign.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Third Wave StealthCons 

We're up to 23 StealthCons now, and counting.
If it were just a few missed meetings, or if it was the Ladies Nazi Party Target Shooting Association that was trying to sponsor debates, then Canadians could accept an explanation that all these Conservatives missing all these candidate meetings was just bad luck or inconvenient scheduling. But the pattern now is clear and compelling. In this election, its obvious that StealthConning is a deliberate national Conservative Party policy.
What I wonder is -- why are these Conservatives so unwilling to defend what they have done in the past or what they want to do in the future?
The "StealthCon" term is RossK's great invention, and he defines it thusly:
A StealthCon is a Harpertronic conservative candidate who ducks the media and especially the public. Their most egregious acts of stealthitude occur when they subvert democracy completely by refusing to show up at all candidates meetings where the voters, instead of watching ads on the TeeVee actually head out the door in an effort to find out, via their own eyes and ears, what they will (or will not) be voting for.
Adding to StealthCon One and The Stealthening, here is my latest installment:
Regina Wascana candidate Michelle Hunter would not attend a debate at the University of Regina even though Ralph Goodale was there.
"The Conservative candidate's failure to be here is a gesture of profound disrespect. Just like not telling the truth about equalization or perhaps plagiarizing a speech," said Goodale.
Hunter did send a statement that was read aloud.
Well, wasn't that just so special of her? Pretty hard for those university students to have a discussion with a piece of paper.
There's more -- RossK's most recent report is John Baird. And the BC Liberals have compiled a list including these StealthCons types:
- Russ Hiebert (South Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale) missed an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Crescent Beach Property Owners Association, forcing the event’s cancellation. (September 17)
- Sam Rakhra (Burnaby – New Westminster) was a no-show at a BCTV all-candidates debate. (September 17)
- Dona Cadman rejected an invitation to participate on a CBC radio panel. (September 24)
- Alice Wong skipped an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Canada-Asia Pacific Business Association. (September 25)
- John Cummins (Delta – Richmond East) skipped an all-candidates meeting hosted by the Canada-Asia Pacific Business Association. (September 25)
Thanks, Jeff, for that link. To be continued...

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Great line of the day 

In Salon, Rebecca Traister refuses to join The Sarah Palin pity party:
Shaking our heads and wringing our hands in sympathy with Sarah Palin is a disservice to every woman who has ever been unfairly dismissed based on her gender, because this is an utterly fair dismissal, based on an utter lack of ability and readiness. It's a disservice to minority populations of every stripe whose place in the political spectrum has been unfairly spotlighted as mere tokenism; it is a disservice to women throughout this country who have gone from watching a woman who -- love her or hate her -- was able to show us what female leadership could look like to squirming in front of their televisions as they watch the woman sent to replace her struggle to string a complete sentence together.
In fact, the only people I feel sorry for are Americans who invested in a hopeful, progressive vision of female leadership, but who are now stuck watching, verbatim, a "Saturday Night Live" skit.
Emphasis mine.

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