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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Silver lining 

Looking on the bright side, Saskatoon doesn't have to worry about closing H1N1 vaccination clinics because of a vaccine shortage.
Ours weren't open yet.

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Honey, I can make anything look good 

OK, ya got me.
But here's my favorite Muppet bit:

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Throwdown! 

I'll see your Buddy Rich, POGGE, and raise you some Gene Krupa:

Still Harry James on trumpet, though.
And here is Jeff Beck playing A Day In The Life:

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Why is Saskatchewan so slow with the vaccine? 

Does anyone understand why Saskatoon and Regina are not even starting to inoculate children and pregnant women against swine flu until next week or the week after?
Sure, I know the health workers have put themselves first in line this week, but couldn't the high risk groups like pregnant women and little children have been started at the same time?
I don't get it.

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Great line of the day 

Athenae on Ian Robinson's dumb sexist Calgary Sun column:
It's like Carrie Bradshaw and Cal Thomas had a stupid, stupid baby.

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The Anti-Obama Phenomenon 


Progressive blogs have demanded for years that right-wingers apologize for supporting George Bush. I wonder whether some progressive bloggers themselves will ever apologize for not supporting Barak Obama.?
There seems to be a knee-jerk anti-Obama reaction going on in some circles, progressive as well as right-wing.
The anti-Obama progressives try to justify their attitude by saying how they would still like him if it wasn't for this, that or the other, but it actually doesn't matter what he does, its never good enough -- Andrew Sullivan slams Obama for what he didn't say when he signed into law an historic hate crime bill, Jane Hamsher thinks Obama is just pretending to support health care reform while secretly plotting with Joe Lieberman to sabotage it.
As John Cole writes:
I seriously am to the point that every time I open memeorandum or check the progressive blogs, I’m beginning to see the same kind of batshit crazy I see on right wing blogs. Has every one just lost their damned minds? Did everyone go insane?
There are two things at the root of it, I think.
First, when it comes to their internal picture of a president, too many Americans want a President who they can think of as “Daddy” or “Grandpa” or “General” -- older and hefty and white -- and they are angry at Obama because none of these labels fits him. How dare he be president when he doesn't look like one? Clinton and Kennedy endured the same reaction.
But second, add to this that Obama is African-American.
In the unexamined, even unconscious, worldview of some Americans, a young slim black man is certainly not someone to be respected or listened to or deferred to. Their inner Pat Buchanan is scared of black people. Obama even plays basketball just like those juvenile delinquent gang banger inner city black kids. How dare he be president when he's so scary?
Americans who secretly feel this way will continue to figure out some way to blame Obama for their feelings, because its just too uncomfortable and difficult to examine and discard their own prejudices.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back to the future 

When I graduated from university in the 70s, we were in a recession, there were no jobs, we had inflation, nobody was building stuff, the stock market was poor, the economy was sort of limping along, yadda yadda.
So here I am approaching retirement and in a Globe and Mail article about what's next for the economy, I read this:
“Investors must recognize that if assets appreciate with nominal gross domestic product, a 4-5 per cent return is about all they can expect even with abnormally low policy rates,” [bond fund manager Bill Gross] said. “Rage, rage against this conclusion if you wish, but the six-month rally in risk assets … is likely at its pinnacle.”
Mr. Gross and his Pimco colleagues dismiss the prospects for a traditional V-shaped recovery and warn that the U.S. is facing a “new normal” of tight credit, higher inflation, slow growth and elevated unemployment levels.
Seems to me this is where I came in.

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Great line of the day 

Senator Joe Lieberman tries to make himself important by saying he's going to vote against health care reform because he doesn't support the public option, and John Cole reminds some progressive bloggers that reality bites
BTW- I’m laughing at the Lieberman stuff. Will all the folks who spent the last few weeks trashing the WH for being insufficiently aggressive with the public option please write up your apologies long-form? I’ll check memeorandum for you later. Pretty clearly, the swarthy guy knew the whip count better than Harry Reid. Imagine that! Of course, by noting that Team Obama has more political awareness and skill than Senate Democrats just makes me an O-bot.
Although I hear if you wish really hard and scream “Just words” at Obama, Lieberman might change his mind. That is how this shit works- I read it on the internet!
Emphasis mine.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Waiting for another shoe to drop 

I guess it's not surprising that the Prime Minister's Office is now blaming "the media" for the stimulus funding scandal. Steve V points out:
What it suggests is the PMO is becoming exacerbated, they're lashing out because they're losing the public relations battle. The arguments are starting to bite, and it's getting under their skin.
We should have expected all this, really. This is the gang that couldn't shoot straight.
The Cons never had any real commitment to resolving Canada's economic problems, nor are they capable of doing so. First there was the economic update last November, showing such contemptuous and cynical ineptitude that Harper's government almost fell. Then they were dragged kicking and screaming to the "stimulus" table in January, so to speak. It's not surprising to discover they again took the cynical and contemptuous approach, just shovelling money to their own ridings, because they never really had a grip on where the money should be spent to improve the Canadian economy nor how to go about spending it for the best effect.
I wonder if there is another shoe going to drop before this is done?

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Cheney as Dracula 

Congressman Alan Grayson talks about Dick Cheney on Hardball yesterday:
. . . I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he‘s talking.
But—but my response is this. He's just angry because the president doesn't shoot old men in the face. Oh, by the way, when he was done speaking, did he just then turn into a bat and fly away?

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Peeking through the curtains? 

Stop gushing, John. Its just embarrassing.

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Shorter 

Shorter reports about paying the Taliban not to attack:
Nice little occupation you've got here, Canada. Be a shame if something were to happen to it.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What about Saskatchewan? 

Canadian Press has a story about what every province is doing about swine-flu vaccine except for Saskatchewan and Newfoundland.
Doesn't surprise me -- even if you follow the news every day, its been hard to figure out what plan Saskatchewan has for swine flu inoculations.
There was a news story the other day which reported in shocked tones that more than 60 per cent in Saskatchewan didn't plan to get vaccinated -- well, I'm in that group and its because I had the distinct impression that nobody WANTED to vaccinate me because I'm not in one of the designated at-risk groups (pregnant, old-and-sick, young, remote).
I would happily get vaccinated if I can. But can I?
Sask Health yesterday posted a press release that says I can get a flu shot after Nov. 16.
Somewhere. Sometime. Maybe.
If they have enough doses.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Just like good old whats-his-name 

Pity the poor Conservatives -- they're desperately trying to deny the sleaziness of slapping the Conservative logo on government cheques by saying that Chretien did it too (even though he didn't)
Oops.
Nearly four years ago, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives came to power on one promise: that he and they were nothing like Jean Chrétien and his Liberals, that he and they were different, better. And here, nearly four years later, was John Baird, one of Mr. Harper’s most trusted ministers, wrapping himself in ideals of a man who represented everything the Prime Minister once despised, making Mr. Chrétien’s words his own.
So maybe they should have used some OTHER former prime minister for justification.
Hmm, lets see .. who can we think of? Well, how about Paul Martin? Nope, he didn't send out federal cheques with Liberal logos. Maybe Trudeau? Or Joe Clark? Or Kim Campbell? Well, no, they never did anything like this either.
Oh, I know -- how about that Mulroney fellow? Maybe today's Conservatives could remind Canadian voters about HIS ethics....
Oops.

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Memo to Joe Torre 

When your pitcher throws five pitches, and the first four give the Phillies a base on balls and the fifth one hits the next batter, put a fork in that pitcher, he's toast.
If you leave him in, its going to cost you the game.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hmmm... 

What does this story remind me of?


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How much do smoke and mirrors cost these days? 

Over $100,000.

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Great line of the day 

On Rabble, Fred Wilson talks about the pension fallout of the Nortel collapse and the upcoming pension negotiations for workers at AbitbiBowater:
. . .There are 30,000 workers and pensioners in this company’s pension plans which at the end of 2008 were $1.3 billion in deficit. Without a government solution, these key labour negotiations and the fate of these pensioners will be like a fast moving truck hitting a large stone wall.
Emphasis mine.
As I get older, the pension issue is rapidly getting nearer and dearer to my heart.
We baby boomers always did believe that about the time we all started to retire, the pension systems would run out of money. Oh, well, there's always Walmart, I guess:


Walmart Elvis image by Shane McDermott via Bill Doskoch

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Go. Away. 

Is everyone else having as much fun as I am watching the NFL owners tell Rush Limbaugh to go Cheney himself? Thers sums it up
Sniveling about the relative morality of why they're deciding this is absurd. He's bad for business, period. And why? Because of his fucking incessant racial axe-grinding, that's why. Whether or not he's a racist truly deep down, who gives a fuck? His business model involves race-baiting for fun and profit, and the NFL has different ideas: he had his chance to play by NFL rules, and he fucked it up royally.
Rush Limbaugh adds no value to the NFL, but carries significant risks, because he genuinely is liable to spout off like a loon at any minute about race or anything else. That's what he does. And that's all he does. . . .
It's about you being a douche who nobody likes, and how nobody in the country wants you and your shit fucking up football.
Go. Away. We. Are. Trying. To. Watch. The. Game. You. Shithead.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Great line of the day 

Josh Marshall speculates about the real reason for today's Boy in the Balloon story:
outside the box bit of guerrilla marketing for new Where the Wild Things Are movie

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The stupid, it burns 

Sorry, Arianna, but is just stupid to say that Joe Biden should resign if Obama doesn't follow his advice on Afghanistan.
Its too bad to see Huffington Post decline into irrelevancy, but that's the direction they've been going lately -- while Talking Points Memo is rapidly becoming a much more thoughtful and comprehensive news aggregator and commentary site.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The worsening 

Remember how, during the Bush administration, things always turned out to be worse than they first appeared? It was an amazing phenomena, whereby nobody ever seemed to get a grip on anything or learn on the job or gradually improve or anything. From the Katrina response to the attorneys scandal to the Iraq War, from Social Security privatization to immigration reform to sending a man to Mars, everything started out as a mess and invariably descended into a complete cock-up.
Well, I think we are now observing the same phenomenon with the Harper Conservatives.
However bad you thought a Conservative program or initiative or idea might be to start with, it invariably seems to get worse.
Take, for example, Harper's stimulus program. This program started out last December as an Economic Update that was so resoundingly cynical and inadequate that the Harper government almost fell. So then they brought in the stimulus program, and they couldn't possibly screw that up too, could they? Why, yes -- yes they could. Steve V writes:
this stimulus initiative has turned into a farce that borders on complete scandal.
What did we expect?

UPDATE: See what I mean?



Rimshot, please!

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Great post of the day 

The Booman asks Can I Vent? Why, yes, you certainly can:
Yesterday was probably the most embarrassing day yet for the progressive blogosphere during the short reign of the Obama administration . ,. . As soon as he won the presidency, you started bitching about his appointments. As soon as he became president, you started bitching about his messaging, his framing, his agenda, and his lack of deference to your opinion. I want to know where the point was in this process when Obama was supposed to conclude that you were his allies and that you were responsible for his victory. . . .
You call him a warmonger, but he gets the Nobel Peace Prize. He ends torture and allows his Attorney General to investigate it, and you call him a torturer. He tries to enact health care reform with a robust public option and you accuse him of seeking every opportunity to sell-out to the insurance industry. He bails out the cratering financial services industry and prevents a second Great Depression, and you accuse him of selling his soul to corporate CEO's. I'm not saying that all of these criticisms lack validity. I'm not saying that people shouldn't advocate for the things they care about passionately. I just want to know where you get the fucking idea that an anonymous White House staffer who gets asked about all this criticism would feel obligated to show you deference and respect.
I have been increasingly upset by the negative, carping tone which some supposedly progressive bloggers are adopting in talking about Obama -- its always fun to be snarky, I know, but its just a Republican frame to call him an empty suit, all talk no walk, egotist, and the like. I'm glad Booman has started calling this out.
UPDATE: A Booman commenter lists what Obama HAS done in the last nine months:
1)Passed a stimulus act that pulled us back from the brink of an honest-to-God Great Depression II.
2)Passed the Ledbetter act that corrected an unbelievable injustice in employment discrimination law.
3)Pulled more concessions from Iran than Bush got in 8 years of senseless saber-rattling.
4)Increased the minimum wage, sorely needed by the workers in this country who currently have lower real wages than they did in 1970, even as our GDP has grown 18-fold.
5)Made it to the homestretch on the healthcare reform we've been trying to pass for 40 years.
6)Set a real timetable for getting out of Iraq.
7)Oversaw the killing of Al-Qaeda's top man in Pakistan and a host of other terrorist leaders.
8)Finally reworked our military budget from an ancient and ineffective cold-war focus to a high-tech-focused counterinsurgency tool...something Bush never even touched, even as his "war on terror" rhetoric reached a fever pitch.
9)Managed just enough threats against the banks that they've started repaying the TARP money Bush paid out.
10)Started the process of re-regulating the banking/insurance/investment industry for the first real time since the 1930's.
11)Begun placing Guantanamo prisoners elsewhere in preparation for closing the base.
12)Got the politics and pressure out of the Department of Justice.
13)Denounced torture and rescinded the absurd legal theories that allowed it.
14)Threaded the needle on unrest in Iran.
15)Dramatically modernized White House communications and technology, improving the flow of information to the public.
16)Started over 2500 highway projects, with bidding so fierce that the costs are below expectations and should allow even more projects than expected.
17)Created a $2500 tuition tax credit to help shore up our woeful debt-burden on families.
18)Reworked our student loan programs to great improvement.
19)Created and started execution of a plan to save the auto industry. (All you people screaming about 9.8% unemployment should stop and think what it would be if GM and Chrysler had been allowed to fail as prescribed by conservative economics.)
20)Stabilized Pakistan with $5B in aid.
21)Created the Office of Urban Policy and reversed Bush cuts to inner-city anti-gang/anti-gun policies, policies experts say are instrumental in reducing crime.
22)Added over 2 million acres of Federally-protected wilderness.
23)Dramatically improved America's image abroad.
Oh, and appointed the first Hispanic justice to the Supreme Court. Now, you can quibble with the details here or there, but its patently untrue to say that Obama and his administration isn't getting anything done.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Images of soldiers 

Just a couple of photos I noticed -- from BAGnewsNotes, this photo ran in the New York Times under the title Four Marines:



and from Daily Kos, this little girl's dad is going to Iraq and she couldn't let go of his hand:

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Friday, October 09, 2009

Hope 

Josh Marshall gives the best description I have read today about what Obama's Nobel Prize signifies:
. . . the unmistakable message of the award is one of the consequences of a period in which the most powerful country in the world, the 'hyper-power' as the French have it, became the focus of destabilization and in real if limited ways lawlessness. A harsh judgment, yes. But a dark period. And Obama has begun, if fitfully and very imperfectly to many of his supporters, to steer the ship of state in a different direction. If that seems like a meager accomplishment to many of the usual Washington types it's a profound reflection of their own enablement of the Bush era and how compromised they are by it, how much they perpetuated the belief that it was 'normal history' rather than dark aberration.
Marshall nailed it.
I have been appalled today by some negative and carping commentary from the right and the left.
The prize is a signal about how happy the world is that America doesn't seem to be totally crazy anymore.

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Fool me twice 

The Cons started talking about a "new role" in Afghanistan two years ago but nobody was really listening. Then last fall during the election campaign, Harper suddenly announced that Canadian troops would leave Afghanistan by 2011.
Canadians believed him.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me -- now MacKay is saying we will stay after all and Warren Kinsella helpfully explains the apparent contradiction:
They've been lying. That's the bottom line. And if they get their lusted-after majority, Canada will be there long after 2011.
Quel suprise!

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Priorities? 

Chaos erupts at Cobo as thousands jockey for aid detnews.com The Detroit News


I know its fun to read news stories about political scandals, but sometimes I think we are paying too much attention to circuses and not enough to bread.
The economy is so bad in Detroit that 50,000 people showed up at a stadium yesterday to apply for a federal grant to help pay their mortgage and utilities. There was almost a riot and people thought there were going to be trampled.
This is in a city which got rid of its Democratic mayor last year because some text messages showed he had an affair with someone. And in a state which got rid of its Democratic governor this year because some intercepted phone calls showed he might have been thinking about taking a bribe.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Great line of the day 

Salon reports about how William Ayers "confessed" to writing Obama's book and a bunch of right-wing bloggers actually believed him:
The Daily Beast e-mailed Ayers looking for comment, and got this response from him: "You've all lost your minds. Best of luck in the twilight zone.”
Emphasis mine.

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Monty Python is 40 

So many choices, and just about all of it stands up.









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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The kitten whisperer strikes again 

Like Alison, I thought Harper's musical performance was cute.
But a political master stroke? No, not even close.
For one thing, its pretty tough to rag Ignatieff for being an elitist when there's our Steve playing a grand piano on stage with to Yo Yo Ma.
And the Conservative brain trust probably won't be using any clips in the commercials during the next campaign -- "I need somebody to love" isn't likely to be a Con catchphrase.
Now, if he had been playing The Sting . . .


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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Shoe shine 

My husband was talking today about shining his shoes and now I can't get this great song out of my head


Fred Astaire with Leroy Daniels, a "real-life Los Angeles shoe shiner and sometime actor whose rhythmic shining technique made him the inspiration for the song Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy."

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Good, bad, ugly 

Good: It's always good when Lance Mannion talks about movies.
Bad: These people are nuts!
Ugly: Even these athletes don't look good wearing this. Canada's ballyhooed Olympic gear looks like the shapeless stuff you find on the sale racks at Zellers ... oh, wait...


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