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Friday, July 31, 2009

Lying for a living 

Amazing -- ratfucking is no longer the preserve of unprincipled sleazy political operatives but has become mainstream. Just another advance we can thank the Republicans for.

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Great line of the day 

Rick Salutin writes a sensible column about the Toronto civic strike He's the first commentator I have read who tries to get away from the horserace talk of "winners and losers" and accurately describe what actually happened:
The Globe's Marcus Gee wrote that at most, the mayor won a “partial victory.” Others said he “caved.” The National Post headlined, “Unions won, hands down.” His last press conference was like a lynch mob. Please note that the war talk didn't come from the unions. What had they “won,” to so annoy the class-warmongers? Exactly nothing. They gained nothing, never even aimed to gain. Their goals were to preserve what they had, and they got at most a partial victory. They held onto a diminishing (unto zero) part of their sick days bank, and a fraction of the wage increase that others, like police, received. What kind of victory do the critics want – unconditional surrender? Maybe the mayor should have A-bombed the picket lines. But if you call for social warfare, you might get it. There are scattered signs: VIA went briefly on strike; in South Africa, there are riots against the failure to deliver social justice as promised since the end of apartheid; even in the United States, people have been arrested, calling for single-payer health care. What causes social upheaval is not so much desperation, which is always in supply, as it is overdoses of sanctimony, hypocrisy and double standards.
Emphasis mine.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hillbilly fantasyland 

Speaking from hillbilly fantasyland, Peter MacKay says the Canadian government is going to order 50 ships over the next 30 years. Dave calls them Harper's hillbilly Conservatives and he's right.
And rather than awarding these billions of public dollars in shipbuilding contracts through old-fashioned competitive bidding, the Cons have developed great new system which will allow them to decide which shipyards to support:
...a new process that theoretically will allow the government to pick and choose in a more direct way which Canadian shipyards will build which ships.
I just hope none of those shipyards have any gay employees -- Charles McVety will complain and Tony Clements will have to take over deciding which shipyards can be trusted!
Ya know, at some point Canadians are going to realize that the Harper Conservatives don't actually know how to run a government.

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Henry Louis Gates is a ni.... 

The Boston policeman now says:
... he didn't mean to use words like 'banana eating jungle monkey' "in a racist way."
"It was a poor choice of words," Barrett said. I didn't mean it in a racist way. I treat everyone with dignity and respect.".
If he HAD meant to be disrespectful, undignified and racist, what would he have said?


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Oh, sure 

In a comment to Dawg's excellent coverage of the Suaad Hagi Mohamud scandal, Zia writes:
there could be a logical explanation for everything
Why yes, that's true.
But given the pattern of how our own government appears to give both irresponsible authority and unwarranted credibility to anonymous secret allegations against Canadian citizens who run into trouble overseas, I doubt it.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The stupid, it burns! 

H.L. Mencken once said that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
Case in point.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Miracles for sale, just $58 

From Effect Measures, here is an hilarious video from Australian TV, especially the last 30 seconds:



I don't think American or Canadian TV could get away with this type of critique any more.
Also, check out this one, reminds me of the Daily Show in skewering journanimalism. Again, don't miss the last 30 seconds:


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Progress 

Better dying through technology.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Great line of the day 

Melissa McEwan writes about the post-racist country sibboleth:
I noted, once again, the irony how it's never white people doing racist things, or other white people subsequently denying even the possibility of racism inherent to those things, that are called the race-baiters, but instead the people of color who call that shit out. It's always people of color and their gosh darn insistence on talking about racism who are accused of preventing racial unity, not the white people who engage in racism.
Thus, the narrative becomes that Obama, by talking about the history of police racism, is a bigger threat to racial unity than the actual police who practice and perpetuate institutional racism.
KBlogz, always with the devastatingly witty insight, suggested wryly: "The media should go burn a cross on the White House lawn to remind Obama that racism is over."

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Vancouver lightning 

On Saturday night, a lightning storm hit Vancouver and a fireworks show was going on at English Bay during the same time. Below are some spectacular photos from Vancouver Sun readers:





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So WTF was that all about? 

The Via engineers, after two years without a contract, finally go on strike Friday.
Two days later, after disrupting the holiday plans of thousands of people and costing their company hundreds of thousands of dollars, they announce they are going back to work.
Now, I'm a union supporter, but this is ridiculous -- why did they go on strike at all? What was the matter with either the company or the union or both, that they couldn't have worked this out three days earlier?
And here I thought the Toronto strikers had set a new low in Canadian labour stupidity ...

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoon 

None of our hotels were like this one...


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Friday, July 24, 2009

Another gay festival denied by Cons 

I almost missed this story because of traveling, but Dawg sums it up:
Egg, meet face.
It doesn't surprise me in the least that Diverse-Cite's funding was denied regardless of how well they met the program's funding criteria. Why would Tony Clement have been placed in charge of this file anyway, if not to find some excuse for injecting Con politics into government funding decisions? Diane Ablonczy actually seemed to have some respect for the government program rules about how to spend taxpayer money. Can't have that! Clement knows what Conservative Cabinet ministers are supposed to do -- subvert the rules to do whatever Dear Leader wants.
What was most amusing, in a rueful sort of way, was how the media coverage tried to make this into a regional thing, East vs West, or a language thing, Quebec vs Everybody Else, when the actual basis of the story was always a homophobia thing, Teh Gay vs Religious Right. Like I said two weeks ago:
I think Canadian arts organizers can say bye bye to all those other grants which had been given to gay organizations across the country, now that these are also going to be on the Religious Right target list.

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Police Entitlement Syndrome 

We're not supposed to yell at the police, it hurts their widdle feelings and entitles them to throw their weight around and abuse people and make up charges to arrest them. They've all got PES (Police Entitlement Syndrome)
Is anyone surprised that the RCMP don't want to follow Braidwood's recommendations about taser use? What's the matter with these people? Who do they think they are working for?
PES (Police Entitlement Syndrome) strikes again. And this was obviously also a factor in the Gates case -- the police got Gates to step out onto his front porch, so they could arrest him for causing a "public" disturbance.
They've obviously done this before.
Obama was kind when he described this police behaviour as "acting stupidly".

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Toronto experience part deux 

Here's a few more Toronto photos -- I loved the juxtaposition of old and new around downtown Toronto. Coming from a city where the oldest buildings are little more than a century old, it was so interesting to see how Toronto has melded their old and new buildings.


We got to the St. Lawrence Market -- everybody and their dog was there.


We saw the Doctor defeat Boston and I got this shot of the last strike out, the one the crowd was so excited about according to the news coverage -- though actually the reason for the excitement was that if Halliday struck out seven batters, Pizza Pizza would give away a free slice for the tickets. so everybody was cheering for this seventh strikeout. It's a great experience to be in the ball park watching the game.


Then we went off to Niagara Falls for a couple of days -- I had never seen the Falls before and it was great even though it was raining much of the time we were there.


And we got a chuckle out of what must be the tackiest tourist street in all of Canada -- here is Frankenstein chomping down on a Big Whopper (don't ask!)

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Toronto experience 

We're visiting in Toronto and enjoying the Just for Laughs festival -- I haven't been here for 20 years, and then it was for work, so this is the first time I've really seen a bit of the city. What a fascinating, cosmopolitan, interesting city this is, even with some garbage lying about -- though actually its not very bad in the areas we have been in. and we drove past the infamous Christie Pits park, and maybe we were on the wrong side but you really can hardly see where the garbage is piled up, and there were lots of people still using the other end of the park.
Sorry, I wanted to upload some photos, but can't seem to get them to load on the wireless connection here at the hotel, so I may have to wait until next week when I'm back at home.
Update:
Ha! Got it! --
Toronto is full of churches, and between all the downtown highrises and the Eaton Centre we found the Church of the Holy Trinity, where they have their doors open and maintain a Homeless Memorial listing the names of the homeless people who have died on the streets:




And what is it with stairwell kitsch in stores? Last summer we saw Mohamed Al-Fayed's memorials at Harrods in London, and this summer we see Ed Mirvish's moose clock in Honest Eds in Toronto:


I hadn't realized there was a flatiron building in Toronto -- it's beautiful.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Too much fun 

We've been traveling and generally having too much fun for a lot of blogging -- I'll post some photos as soon as I can -- but in the meantime here's Stand By Me


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Monday, July 13, 2009

Enemies list 

Now the other shoe is dropping about illegal CIA programs under the Bush administration with lots of mystery about what the programs were.
The general blogosphere opinion today is that assassination squads are too easy -- everybody knows already the Bushies were cowboying around the world.
Here's what I think -- the Bush administration believed that Democrats and journalists were traitors -- and they announced this many times. So I'm sure the "program" involved illegal spying and ratfucking against Democrats and journalists. Just like Nixon's enemies list part deux.
After all, they were protectin' Americuns and anything is legal if the President says it is.

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Driving down the river 

I thought this story about the little boy floating 12 km downriver in his toy truck was amazing -- and its also sorta fun that it was posted on the Driving.ca website. Where else would the readers be interested in the brand of truck?

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Stupid union tricks 

The Toronto union tactic of delaying and harassing taxpayers who are dropping off garbage is backfiring badly on the union.
That the union strategy is to try to make Toronto residents miserable says they don't have any respect for the people of Toronto, who are the source of their paycheques and the only ones who could actually pressure city hall to provide them with a better contract.
The strikers should be doing everything possible to help taxpayers dropping off their own garbage -- thus ensuring that the blame for the mess gets focused on city leaders rather than the union. Instead, here's a typical reaction to the delaying tactics, this letter to the editor in today's Toronto Star:
I don't know about the rest of the Torontonians who have driven to temp. sites to drop off garbage but I have had it. I just returned from a site where I was told to wait. I said no and left my garbage on the picket line with the rest of toronto's garbage. I'm not going to be a hostage to the unions anymore, fire them and I'll be happy to take one of their jobs. They are starting to whine that they have bills to pay and such, well Toronto families and taxpayers have been held hostage for 21 days and enough is enough. You complain about lack of money, GO BACK TO WORK
Exactly the attitude which the union should not want to encourage.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoon 

He's out or safe or either or neither or both


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Friday, July 10, 2009

Great line of the day 

John Cole notes that some Republicans are saying "Thanks but no thanks" to Palin:
Can you imagine how horrified a Republican in a purple district might be at the thought of Palin coming to town? Why not bring the entire freak show- Rush could emcee, Santorum and George Allen could do their greatest hits, Sanford and Ensign could come and talk about family values, then Sarah could bat clean-up and tell 70% of the district that they aren’t real Americans and like the wrong mustard
And then when the candidate gets killed in the election, Malkin and Red State can write fifty diaries saying that the reason he/she lost was because they were not true conservatives.
I think this has potential.
Emphasis mine.

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Do the right thing 

The Organizing Committee for the Vancouver winter games needs to do the right thing here.
Our Canadian women ski-jumpers won their lawsuit on the merits when the BC Supreme Court ruled that it is indeed discriminatory that women are not allow to compete in the winter Olympics.
Madam Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon ruled that the women ski jumpers were indeed discriminated against by the International Olympic Committee's decision to keep them off the 2010 Olympic calendar, but added that the Switzerland-based IOC was beyond the reach of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), which was the target of the ski jumpers' lawsuit, is duty-bound – despite the Charter – to abide by IOC decisions, Judge Fenlon concluded, a situation she confessed was “somewhat distasteful.”“
. . . Men can participate … even though they do not meet the current standard for inclusion. Women cannot,” she said. “In my view, the exclusion of women's ski jumping from the 2010 Games is discriminatory.”
There is a moral imperative now for our organizing committee to go ahead and schedule this event, using the ski jump facilities that Canadian taxpayers have paid to build. It would be tremendously popular, in terms of both media coverage and attendance.
I know, I know -- they just can't do it because the IOC would object.
What I don't know is why Canadians should care.

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Epic fail for the Cons 

More editorials and comment today on the Pride Parade fiasco.
Murray Mandrake provides an eloquent column that covers all the angles:
. . . That our Conservative MPs find it necessary to appease the minority religious right at the expense of the gay community -- which still feels the need to hold such festivals to counteract intolerance that lingers in the first decade of the 21st century -- is problematic in itself.
. . . our supposedly business-minded Tories should surely appreciate the value of this meagre $400,000 investment in Toronto's pride parade, an event that generates $100 million in economic activity and $18 million in federal tax revenue. That this is something they would need to review says much about their real agenda.
. . . But let's just focus on the 13 Conservative MPs from Saskatchewan who have largely been hiding from the media ever since they broke their promise to deliver $800 million a year on equalization. Wouldn't their valuable time be better spent on the medical isotope issue and Saskatchewan's interest in a nuclear research reactor? What's happened on the clean coal file since the initial promise? What have they done for the forestry sector and displaced Saskatchewan workers? What about the drought? Is the federal AgriRecovery program adequate?
Well, we don't really know.
Evidently none of these problems is quite as pressing to Trost, Vellacott, et. al, as finding out whether a $400,000 grant to a gay pride festival in Toronto that brings in $18 million in tax revenue is money well spent.
Isn't that a little outrageous?
Yes, yes it is.
Brad Trost finally spoke again to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, who apparently "ambushed" him for an interview -- how dare a reporter approach a politician at a public event to ask about a national news story when everybody knows that Saskatchewan MPs aren't allowed to speak to the press about anything important(see above)? Anyway, here's what he said:
"My preference has always been for events that bring the community together to be central in any of our funding programs," Trost said Thursday.
Sounds very kumbaya, but basically this means anything objected to by the religious right is too divisive for Cons to fund. Here's the bait-and-switch:
"My goal is not to criticize Diane, and that's what people are trying to make the story of," he said. "Diane has done a good job as a minister and I didn't want to continue to add to the whole concept of criticizing Diane that was being implied."
Yeah, well, the person who implied this was you, in your original interview. But as much as you would want this to be just a story about a caucus spat, the real story here of course is how the Conservative caucus wants to pander to the homophobic religious right by cutting off funding to gay events. Here's the most revealing quote:
Trost said he was aware the federal government, under Canadian Heritage, funded Saskatoon's Pride Festival in June with a $9,000 grant to the Saskatoon Diversity Network.
"I've been aware of it. I'm a fiscal conservative so I've been urging reductions all across the board on all sorts of issues, not just on heritage funding," he said.
Oh, so you tried to get this grant cut too, did you? But the Conservative caucus isn't about to piss off Heritage minister James Moore, who is described as having liberal views on social issues.
It's all an Epic Fail for the Conservatives, says National Post's Chris Selley:
The Globe and Mail’s Adam Radwanski suggests Trost might have been “fully authorized to slag Ablonczy in public, in hope of appeasing … social conservatives” over funding Toronto’s Pride parade, or Ablonczy’s LGBT photo-op, or whatever it is they’re supposedly enraged about. The problem with that plan—and it’s a whopper, as Radwanski says—is that far more people know about it now than ever did before. Thanks to David Akin and an unidentified “little birdie,” they now also know that the government is positively lavishing gay and lesbian events from coast to coast with taxpayers’ cash. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t some kind of Machiavellian scheme, of course. Remember: these people are idiots. But if it was, it was certainly an epic failure.
The Ottawa Citizen puts forward a case for how all those poor Con MPs deserve our sympathy:
. . . for a number of Tory MPs themselves, already frustrated because they can't speak as candidly as they'd like on abortion, immigration and other cultural issues, the idea of funding gay pride parades doesn't sit well.
I guess it's not easy being mean.

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Brilliant 

Now here's a really terrific idea to save the health care system a lot of money-- don't screen people for diseases.
See, because so many of those screening tests are just wasted, really, because so many of the people tested don't actually have the disease. It's just so much more efficient, dollar-wise, to wait until people are coughing up blood or keeling over screaming in agony, and THEN test them for testicular cancer or breast cancer or diabetes or heart disease, because its almost for sure then that they've really got it.
And of course, when those people die young, now that REALLY saves the system a lot of money.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Gay pride editorials 

I think Canadian arts organizers can say bye bye to all those other grants which had been given to gay organizations across the country, now that these are also going to be on the Religious Right target list. This government has never cared a nickel about Canadians who don't vote for them, like all those artsy types with their galas and all that.
Here's a round up of today's editorials on the Cons anti-gay agenda. Basically, the editorial writers cannot believe that the Cons still think this way -- they keep asking Harper to straighten things out.
But he won't.
Because they actually do think this way.
The Saskatoon Star Phoenix editorial demands an explanation for Brad Trost's anti-gay pandering:
Either Mr. Trost was ignorantly counting on his comments made to an interest group website not getting wide publicity or he felt that he had the backing of the Conservative caucus in making pronouncements that once again shine a bright beam into the dark corners of the party's ideological anteroom, but surely this isn't what Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants as he contemplates the likelihood of a fall election.
. . . Ms. Ablonczy did nothing wrong in treating the Pride Toronto application like any other, instead of flagging it for the attention of the likes of Mr. Trost, who seem to think the Conservative MPs only represent a segment of the population when they get to Parliament, not all Canadians. Most citizens of this country have long accepted that gays are part of the mainstream society, as the popularity of events such as the pride parades across Canada demonstrates.
. . . it's time that Prime Minister Harper explains what's going on . . . At a juncture, when the Saskatchewan government is trying to tiptoe its way around gay rights and a racially motivated attack on a black man in British Columbia is making headlines, the last thing Canadians need is for their governing Conservatives to be seen regressing to the days when a Reform MP justified putting "ethnics and gays at the back of the shop."
The Toronto Star ignores all the lying about how Ablonczy's removal wasn't connected to the Pride dustup:
Apparently without fear of reprimand, a member of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet can produce an economic statement filled with fictitious forecasts (Jim Flaherty), tell Toronto to "f--- off" (John Baird), leave a classified document behind at a TV studio (Lisa Raitt), get caught on tape describing cancer as "sexy" and dissing a colleague (Raitt again), and make bad jokes about listeriosis (Gerry Ritz).
But let a minister dare to hand out a cheque to the organizers of Toronto's annual Pride Week and . . . she is cut off at the knees.
Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy is the victim here. She has been publicly humiliated and stripped of responsibility for distributing funds from the government's $190 million Marquee Tourism Events Program after Pride Week received a $397,500 grant.
A major fixture on Toronto's calendar, Pride Week clearly fits the program's criteria as "an annually recurring world-class event that is well established (and) generates significant levels of tourism and aims to attract a significant amount of international media attention to Canada as a tourism destination."
Pride Week has also evolved from a form of political protest to a celebration, with mainstream politicians joining the parade. But social conservatives in Harper's caucus, who have not evolved themselves, cried foul over Ablonczy's grant to Pride Week.
. . . It says much about Harper that he felt obliged to kowtow to caucus members who have not yet entered the 21st century.
And the Globe and Mail also editorializes about the Cons homophobia:
What appears to have irked some Conservatives is that Ms. Ablonczy treated the pride funding as just another announcement, rather than flagging it to colleagues and higher-ups as potentially controversial. But Pride Toronto is one of the biggest annual tourist draws in the country, with last year's festival reportedly earning $91-million in tourism revenue. It was previously named the country's best festival by the Canadian Special Events Industry. There is no suggestion that there was anything improper about its funding application, which met all criteria laid out in the MTEP guidelines.
When gay Canadians were fighting for civil rights, Mr. Trost's claim that Pride is "more political than touristic in nature" might have been valid (although it was certainly a cause worth fighting for). But now that those rights have been achieved, and gays and lesbians widely accepted into mainstream society, Pride is much more a celebration than a protest. Its centrepiece parade is not to everyone's taste, but it nevertheless draws hundreds of thousands of revellers, many of them heterosexual. Insofar as this year's event had a political focus, it was mostly to draw attention to the terrible human-rights abuses faced in other countries - abuses that the vast majority of Canadians would condemn.
The Conservatives have come a great distance in setting aside concerns that they will allow the social conservatism of some party members to dictate government policy. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has shown little appetite for pursuing that agenda, would be wise to make clear that it is Ms. Ablonczy, not Mr. Trost, who speaks for the government.
And Kelly McPharland at the National Post notes:
One of the more peculiar tendencies of Stephen Harper's government is its need from time to time to engage in ill-conceived, self-defeating, politically senseless demonstrations of its ideological virility, as if seized by the need to let the world know that -- polite as it has learned to behave while running the country -- it still has some pretty stupid ideas.. . . Mr. Harper was never going to win a lot of votes in left-wing Toronto, but if he'd set out to deliberately offend the city and supply his critics with material to use against him, he couldn't have done a better job. All the billion-dollar subsidies to transit systems, and the tight-smiled photo-ops with Dalton McGuinty, are a waste of time if the Prime Minister is going to insist on feeding the misconception that Tories are troglodytes...
But Kelly, its NOT a misconception.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Worst case scenario 

About the Toronto Gay Pride Parade tourism grant brouhaha, Hedy Fry is asking Harper for an explanation:
“At best, this is another Conservative MP making rogue, homophobic comments while attacking a cabinet colleague – actions which are grounds for caucus dismissal,” said Vancouver Liberal MP Hedy Fry. “At worst, Mr. Trost is the only MP willing to admit his government’s discriminatory new tourism policy on record. Only Prime Minister Harper can clarify how far this intolerance extends within his government – and he needs to do so now.”
The explanation is that the Conservative Party is populated by a bunch of homophobes.
Apparently the PMO staff got all in a snit when Minister Ablonczy had her photo taken with drag queens following the grant announcement in June. Oohhh, queens, so icky!

Can anyone today imagine Stephen Harper or any member of his cabinet or his caucus agreeing to act as grand marshal of a gay pride parade, the way Joe Clark did for the Calgary parade in 2001?

Of course, Gay Pride has some standards when it comes to asking people to be grand marshals of its parades. These days neither Harper nor his caucus members would be asked, so I guess there's no problem.
Here's some of the photos from the Macleans' website of this year's pride parade in Toronto. The Ontario Progressive Conservatives were there:


as was Iggy and company:


According to the LifeSiteNews.com news story in which Brad Trost revealed the Conservative party's homophobic reaction to the federal tourism grant, the Toronto Gay Pride Parade is "notorious"for "full frontal nudity and public sex acts by homosexuals", but I couldn't find any of these photos on the Macleans website.
Darn it.

UPDATE: A commenter on the Macleans site says: "I can see why the Cons regretted supporting this event. It looks like everyone had fun."

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Great line of the day 

From James Howard Kunstler at Clusterfuck Nation:
When the time comes when we do look back to understand what went wrong, I think we'll see that the Woodstock generation went off the rails in 1980, with the election of the actor, Ronald Reagan, who really established the idea that a society could benefit hugely just by lying to itself, or simply pretending.

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Redneck hicks part deux 

Not all the redneck hicks are in Saskatchewan.
Some of them have now moved to Ottawa.

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Good riddance 

Well, the aptly named Robert Strange McNamara has finally shuffled off to join LBJ and Dick Nixon in the 7th level of Hell.
Thus begins Joseph Galloway's obituary for Robert McNamara, coward.
I will never forget how angry I was to find out a few years ago that McNamara had turned against Vietnam in 1967 but hadn't had the courage to speak out then, when it would have made such a great difference and possibly saved tens of thousands of Americans and Vietnamese.

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She's no Oprah 

Josh Marshall writes about Palin's not-yet resignation:
. . . given the thundering derision that has greeted her decision and exposure as a quitter of gargantuan proportions, is it possible she'll reconsider? After all, if she's resigning, why doesn't she just resign? Why wait until the end of July?
Again, I don't think it's likely. And I can't fathom a scenario in which it was planned all along. But remember we're dealing with a deeply erratic and probably mentally unstable person who does lots of completely whacked things at the drop of a hat.
Yes, this scenario had occurred to me as well -- and I think it is actually quite likely that she will change her mind again, particularly if the job opportunities down south aren't materializing.
Basically, she is a popular "public figure" but as an employee, she would be a train wreck -- her only real career opportunity now is some sort of media gig, but she doesn't have the management skills to run her own TV show or the maturity to listen to somebody else's direction.

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Sunday, July 05, 2009

Pay2Play 

Miss Manners could have told her -- you don't charge admission to your own party, you just don't!
It's become known as the Pay2Play scandal, that plan by the Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth to charge admission to a series of dinners in her home so that lobbyists could snuggle up to politicians and journalists.
Weymouth has now sort-of apologized, though her true regret seems to be only that she was just terribly, terribly misunderstood.
Reminds me of that joke "We've already established what you are, we're just haggling about the price."
I know nothing about Weymouth except what I have read in the last few days, but I suspect Weymouth wanted to be as influential in Washington as Katherine Graham was, without spending 30 years to do it. So she came up with the idea of hosting these parties as her quick way to become Washington's queen. It might have worked, too, if she hadn't also been trying to make money off them -- it wasn't only her own staff she was selling access too, but also all those supposedly influential politicians and Obama staffers who were going to be the Fearless Freep act that those lobbyists were paying to see.
I don't think the Washington Villagers will forgive this tackiness, and nobody will be coming over to the Weymouth house for dinner any time soon.

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Sunday morning cartoon 

So I missed Saturday, so sue me.
But really, sorry about that. Here's two for one:
Saskboy points to this great site of the 25 greatest Calvin and Hobbes cartoons ever.

And, in honour of my summer holidays starting and a bunch of projects I want to get done:


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Saturday, July 04, 2009

This just in 

Proof positive that Rush Limbaugh IS a big fat idiot!

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Friday, July 03, 2009

Redneck hicks 

Thumbs up to a move by the provincial government to seek advice on the issue of same-sex weddings and civil marriage commissioners.
Would the writer of this Rawlco Radio news story be so pleased if the province was intending to let marriage commissioners use religious grounds to refuse to perform marriages for Aboriginal people? Or Jews? Or Catholics? Or Ukrainians?
The message from our provincial government to those marriage commissioners who don't want to perform gay weddings should be this: that any Saskatchewan marriage commissioner who doesn't want to officiate at some marriages has the right to do so -- just resign as a marriage commissioner.
But Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party government wants to maintain Saskatchewan's international reputation as a bunch of redneck hicks. They think its OK to send a message to gay people that the government of Saskatchewan regards them as second class citizens.
Come to think of it, that means they ARE a bunch of redneck hicks, aren't they?

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Revenge of the activists 

So this is why Palin resigned?
Asked why Palin was stepping down as opposed to finishing her term (which ends in 2010), the [head of the Republican Governor's Association] cited pesky bloggers and activists as the reason.
Sure, we called her Bible Spice and Cariboo Barbie, but ... wow, just wow -- I just didn't realize us bloggers were so influential!
Not to mention all those activists that the Republicans laughed at during the presidential campaign as such wimps. Who's laughing now?
And apparently Palin still thinks she could be president, when she runs away from a few bloggers?
Actually, of course, this whole story stinks like a three-day-old Alaskan King Crab. Stay tuned.

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

What a great photo 

From the Ottawa Citizen


Canada Day fireworks above Parliament Hill. Photo by Mike Carroccetto, The Ottawa Citizen

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Great line of the day 

From DougJ at Balloon Juice:
I can’t help but be struck by the contrast between the outpouring of sympathy for people who put money in an investment scheme they didn’t understand and the outpouring of contempt for people who took out loans they didn’t understand. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that Madoff’s victims are wealthy and white, while subprime loanees are (inaccurately) seen as mostly poor and black.

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Bring back 9-11! 

Were there any Londoners who missed the Blitz after World War II? Any Russians who pined for another Stalingrad? How about Cambodians reminiscing about the good old days of the Killing Fields?
Yet there are wingnuts in the United States who want thousands of innocent Americans to die in another 9-11 attack, just so they can feel like warriors again.
Following is the most bizarre exchange I think I have ever read:
Michael Scheuer: The only chance we have as a country right now is for Osama bin Laden to deploy and detonate a major weapon in the United States. Because it's going to take a grass-roots, bottom-up pressure. Because these politicians prize their office, prize the praise of the media and the Europeans. It's an absurd situation again. Only Osama can execute an attack which will force Americans to demand that their government protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.
Glen Beck: Which is why, I was thinking this weekend, if I were him, that would be the last thing I would do right now.
Fiendishly clever, these terrorists -- they drive Glen Beck and his ilk around the bend by NOT ATTACKING!
Keep up the good work.

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Canada is worth it 

So I was thinking just yesterday how glad I was that we weren't going to be insulting our fellow Canadians by reenacting the Battle of the Plains of Abraham this summer.
Then today along comes this story whining about how Quebec City is losing tourist money this summer because a town in New York State is reenacting some other battle at Fort Niagara.
A New York town should be the big tourism winner after the National Battlefields Commission's decision to cancel plans to re-enact the Battle of the Plains of Abraham this summer. . . .
More than 2,500 people will take part in the depiction of the Siege of Fort Niagara, where French defenders of the garrison at the mouth of the Niagara River surrendered to the British on July 25, 1759.
Youngstown is across the river from Niagara-On-the-Lake, Ont.
Horst Dressler, president of the Quebec Historical Corps, says history buffs have thrown their support behind the Fort Niagara re-enactment.
But then we find out that this reenactment isn't exactly ground-breaking, in fact they do it every year:
Eric Bloomquist, programs manager at Fort Niagara, says the re-enactment typically draws about 10,000 visitors every year, but he expects upward of 15,000 this year.
Meh! Its a small price to pay for Canadian unity, I think.

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Comedy Network is Teh Suck 

Isn't it annoying that every time a Canadian wants to watch a Daily Show clip embeded in a news story we're get told disdainfully that Big Brother doesn't allow it.
Instead, we are supposed to find the link to the Comedy Network and then we have to find the link to the Daily Show and then we have to search through all of the clips to find the one we were interested in.
If we can even remember by then what it was...

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