Monday, August 08, 2022

Today's News: Cheering

Big Democratic win today in the US Senate. This "Dark Brandon" meme seems to have legs: Rob Reiner knew: Somewhere, Harry Reid is looking down and nodding "Well played, grasshopper. Well played!"

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Weekend funnies

Starting with some good cartoons:


Saturday, August 06, 2022

Today's News: Fighting the good fight

This is true for us lefty Canadians too:
Being timid, defensive, and afraid is a losing strategy according to Anat Shenkar-Osario, president of ASO Communications, who runs weekly focus groups where she tests messaging strategies with potential voters. According to her, Democrats must rise up and fight if they want to win over surge and swing voters and energize their base. “Democrats need to go on offense, because people are hungry for a demonstration of leadership,” she told me, citing swing voters who are “attracted to decisiveness for its own sake, irrespective of the content of that decision.” 
She said this explains why they find Republicans appealing even as they consistently describe them to her team as “evil,” “snakes,” and a party that “doesn’t care about anybody but themselves.” Republicans appear to use their power to just get shit done and carry out their agenda, regardless if it’s popular.
 ....Shenkar-Osario’s message for Democrats is simple: “Stake your turf, go on offense, and say what you’re for always—that performs better in the field, and performs better with the masses. If your words don’t spread, it doesn’t work.” It’s time for Democrats to speak up and say the words.
Because if we don't speak out, we see the kind of MAGA trashing of Trudeau and that PEI restaurant will just get ignored or even accepted by Conservative politicians and their media:

Friday, August 05, 2022

Today's News: Cue the Rocky Music!

 Not to jinx things, but I think maybe Biden is winning! Republicans thought they won something big when SCOTUS dismantled abortion rights in June. 
But this terrible decision has actually become a turning point for Democrats -- it unified congressional Dems and Democrats across the country like never before, and also made them realize that they are never going to get anything done if they waited for Republicans to come to their senses. 
Biden has stepped up with a series of executive orders and initiatives over the last six weeks, to deal with problems ranging from increasing supplied of baby formula to lowering gas prices to protecting gay marriage and setting federal standards for women's health. At the same time he has been continuing international leadership on Ukraine and dealing with al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri. 
Democrats have been heartened by the outpouring of disgust at Republicans playing politics with the healthcare of veterans - notice how quickly they got a new vote underway - and now the vote in Kansas has made Democrats realize how powerful an issue abortion rights will be in the November mid-terms.
It has been a remarkable summer: I love this "Dark Brandon" reference:
And here's an unexpected twist: Turning to Canadian politics, just this tonight:

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Today's News: Here's another fine mess

I seldom pay much attention to the latest right-wing anti-Liberal hate-fest -- from SNC Lavelin to WE, they started out with the Trudeau government looking awful while the national media huffed and puffed to try to blow Trudeau's house down, and in the end, Meh! 
This time the story is a really awful one -- that our Foreign Affairs Minister Mรฉlanie Joly abandoned Canada's Ukrainian embassy employees last winter in spite of threats of their arrest by Russia. 
The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that Global Affairs was still following an old Harper government policy, so they not only refused to do anything last winter to help our local embassy staff in Ukraine but didn't allow embassy leaders to inform the staff that Russia had threatened to arrest after the invasion. Then today we were told that Minister Joly "didn't know" that embassy staff had been threatened
Looks pretty bad, eh?
But in a press conference today, Joly said that's not what happened. 
In today's St. Catherine Standard, Immigration Reporter Nicholas Leung reported in some detail about what Joly said: 
On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Mรฉlanie Joly was asked if her office was aware of the intelligence that Ukrainian staff for foreign embassies were allegedly on Russia’s list of targeted individuals — and deliberately withheld the information from the local staff at the mission. 
“Never did I or the department have any information targeting locally engaged Canadian staff. We never got that information, nor me or my team or the department,” Joly told reporters at a joint news conference with her visiting German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, after the two met to discuss the energy and food security crises as well as trade. 
“I know we have a specific duty of care. I know this is in conversations within the department whether that duty of care applies to locally engaged staff. I would say that morally we have an obligation toward locally engaged staff.”
...Joly said she had spoken “directly” with the locally engaged staff about their safety and security during her visits in Ukraine in January before the war and followed up with the department and Canadian ambassador in Kyiv, Larisa Galadza, on this issue, throughout, including on Feb. 24, when the war was declared. 
“Ukraine is a war-torn country, we wanted to make sure that they had options. They were offered options to come to Canada. Some of them have decided to come. Some of them have decided to stay,” said Joly, who praised the contributions of the local Ukrainian staff members. 
 “They were also given full payment and compensation and benefits, although for some time the diplomats were outside of the country.”
In other news, the CPC had another leadership debate tonight. 
I didn't watch it because Poilievre wasn't there - it doesn't matter what any of the other candidates say because Poilievre is going to be the next CPC leader anyway. Scrimshaw has been on fire lately when it comes to the leadership contest - which he says is no contest at all
 ... for my selfish self-interest, I want people to be pretending this is a close race, because then it makes me look more prescient when Poilievre wins easily. This race has been called in the pages of this site perfectly from the day the campaign started, with Poilievre a clear and obvious winner, with Charest and Brown jokes, and with Lewis a theoretical danger but probably not one, because Poilievre was always going to eat her lunch... 

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

Today's News: Incredible or incredibly stupid!


Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Today's News: A problem with definitions

Some chatter these days about how conservatives and progressives aren't talking to each other very much anymore.
We don't agree on some basic definitions anymore, do we. 
For example, "freedom" to some conservatives seems to mean that they should be "free" to not have to follow any rules or laws about how to treat people. And second, I don't know who is selling this fantasy, but pro-life conservatives in the US are pretending now that US state laws against "abortion" really only ban the pregnancy terminations they don't approve of, while the terminations they DO approve of - ie, the terminations that save a woman's life - aren't really abortions at all and therefore are still legal. The extent of right-wing - conservative anger is getting frightening - it was bad enough in Canada in 2019, throwing gravel at Trudeau, but the FluTruxKlan extravaganza this winter seems to have created a fury of hate. 
 Recent example -- last week in Canmore Alta, a guy destroyed his family business just because he couldn't resist sending an unnecessary transphobic insult email. Here's a good analysis of how this could happen - mainly, because of the right-wing bubble that these people live in, where they believe they are in the mainstream and everybody secretly agrees with them: But there are even hate-crimes happening in little ole PEI, for heaven's sake, just because Trudeau happened to drop in to a Charlottestown pub one day. What is the matter with people like this?
Its hard to figure out how this type of ill-will can end, or where we will be when it does. 

Sunday, July 31, 2022

A random collection of oddities

For Saturday night, here's a collection of odd tweets and commentary from the last week or so:

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Today's News: From All Over

Reconciliation visit: 
The final stop for Pope Francis in Canada was a visit to Iqaluit. The Globe and Mail reports
On Friday, [Pope Francis] met with several school survivors In Iqaluit before an outdoor performance that included traditional throat singing and drum dancing. 
His speech before hundreds began with another apology for the “evil perpetuated” on Indigenous people by church members. Speaking in his native Spanish, Francis’s speech was translated into English and Inuktitut. 
He told them he was sorry in Inuktitut, a meaningful gesture to many in the audience. “I thank you for having had the courage to tell your stories and to share your great suffering that I could not imagine,” he said in Spanish. 
“This only renewed in me the indignation and shame that I have felt for months.” 
The pontiff’s tour has fostered healing for some school survivors and anger in others. 
 ...Early on Friday, before his flight to Iqaluit, Pope Francis held a private meeting with an Indigenous delegation at the residence of Quebec Archbishop, Cardinal Gรฉrald Lacroix. After the meeting, Ghislain Picard, Assembly of First Nations regional chief for Quebec/Labrador, said it will be up to each person to decide if the Pope’s trip met their expectations. “It’s really up to them to take the measure of all this, whether it’s going to provide that kind of way for their healing,” 
Mr. Picard said after the meeting. “It’s going to take time.” 
For some reason that nobody has yet explained, Saskatchewan has asked the feds for the authority to determine which immigrants will be allowed to settle here, and also they want the feds to give us all the money. It ain't gonna happen, of course, but maybe the Sask Party thinks they can gin up another grievance against the Trudeau Liberals?

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Today's News: "Rescind the Doctrine"

The Pope's reconciliation events were in Quebec today - above is a photo of a delegation from the Innu community of Mashteuiatsh, where the last Quebec residential school closed in 1991. The group of a dozen people walked 275 km to reach the Quebec City reconciliation events, and included members of the Innu, Anishinaabe, Naskapi, Wendat and Atikamekw communities.
Launiรจre-Mathias, the executive director of the non-profit group Puamun Meshkenu, said the seven-day adventure cultivated a sense of "collective pride." 
"It was teamwork. Each person travelled the kilometres that they could. When they weren't walking, they were supporting each other emotionally and spiritually," he said. "It was a reflection of our communities, our nations."
It was another example, I think, of the remarkable sense of community evident in this reconciliation visit. 
In spite of the words of Trudeau and Simon, below, I don't think we are going to be seeing anything more now from Pope Francis and the Catholic Church than has already been given. 
But this visit created a sense of community among Indigenous people across the country -- it was one of the things that made this visit worthwhile and it will have an impact on the future.  
I also hope the Pope will remember how seriously Canadians believe the Catholic Church needs to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Today's News: "A whisper in our minds"

In the end, the Pope's apology is important, though it will not ease the pain. The apology fell short because it did not deal with the the actions of the Catholic Church overall: 
The chief commissioner of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has issued a blistering critique of Pope Francis’s apology to Indigenous people, saying “it left a deep hole in the acknowledgment of the full role of the church in the residential school system, by placing blame on individual members of the church.” 
Mr. Sinclair issued a press release just moments before Pope Francis appeared before thousands of people at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium for a mass commemorating St. Anne, grandmother of Jesus. 
In 2015, the commission issued Call to Action #58, asking the Pope to deliver an apology in Canada for the church’s role in the residential school system. On Monday, seven years later, Pope Francis heeded the call, but apologized for individual Catholics who participated in the schools, not for the church as a whole. 
 ...the Pope told the delegation [to Rome in April] he was sorry for the “deplorable conduct” of church-members who abused children in residential schools and vowed to bring the sentiments to Canadian soil. 
Many Indigenous leaders had been hoping he would expand on his words in Rome and provide an institutional apology, not just express sorrow for the actions of individual Catholics. 
But the apology reiterated much of what he’d said in Rome. “I am sorry. I ask for forgiveness, in particular, for the ways in which many members of the Church and of religious communities co-operated, not least through their indifference, in projects of cultural destruction and forced assimilation promoted by the governments of that time, which culminated in the system of residential schools,” he said on Monday 
...Spectators gave the speech a warm reception, clapping and cheering after his expression of sorrow. Afterward, however, many onlookers said they expected more. “I’m happy to hear that he said the words ‘I’m sorry,’ but it wasn’t as encompassing as it could have been,” said Kukdookaa Terri Brown, residential school survivor and founding chair of the survivors circle with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation She also noted the Pope declined to mention sexual abuse or the Doctrine of Discovery in his speech.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Today's News: Updates

Papal reconciliation visit:
An apology from Pope Francis. Giving the Pope a headdress is not being well received online, however - I am seeing some negative tweets on this tonight. The apology was generally welcomed, with some comment also that the Discovery doctrine has not yet been revoked. A useful reference: On a side note, an update on the "boil water" advisories - the Trudeau government has made a huge difference. CPC leadership campaign:
So this morning Angus Reid released a poll showing that the Conservatives would have a better chance of winning government with Charest rather than Poilievre. 
And then within a couple of hours, former PM Stephen Harper took the wind out of Charest's sails by releasing his endorsement of Poilievre. 
So, just another day in Canadian politics, I guess.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Today's News: Pope Francis arrives in Canada

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Music and poetry and funny stuff

But first: what a race!
Now, some great dances:
Fred Astaire said this Nicholas Brothers number was "the greatest dancing he had ever seen on film."

This is the number where Rogers said the beaded sleeve of her dress smacked Astaire in the face in their first twirl but they just kept on dancing. 

I always thought the Shoe Shine song from The Bandwagon was one of the greatest dances Astaire ever did. The shoe shine man in the number is Leroy Daniels, who actually did shine shoes for a living.

On to the poetry -  
The problem with Twitter is that everything gets jumbled up and I am not on it often enough to follow every account that I want to, so I am constantly missing great posts. 
So now I have set up several lists, and particularly one I just call "A Poetry List" so I can gather and keep track of what is new. Like these:
Retweeted by Poetry Daily, because its just a beautiful statement:

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Today's News: Ukraine update

Azov Battalion members near Zaporizhzhia eastern Ukraine on July 21. Credit Mauricio Lima NYT

Lots of news from Ukraine lately: 
First, a new deal was announced today to move Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea:
The Lithuania foreign affairs minister: However, some caution is warranted: In other news: I wonder if this can this be true? All of the old arguments about the risk of starting World War 3 still apply, I think, but if Ukrainian pilots can be trained quickly enough this improvement in airpower might make a difference.