Friday, February 23, 2024

Poilievre wants Canadian Porn Constables -- our new CPC!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week -- my laptop was in the shop. 
But tonight I'm back to it again, and just in time! 
Because it was one of those weeks when Christ, what an asshole! should have been trending. 
I don't know why Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Pierre Poilievre decided to turn his focus away from actual election issues -- housing, consumer prices -- and toward culture war craziness like transgender bathroom usage and starting a federal Jerk-Off registration agency. But he is getting horselaughs across the country.
I think we should call this the new CPC - Canadian Porn Constables: Even media who smile and nod when someone is lambasting Trudeau are mystified by Poilievre's new porn policing ID idea: Evan Scrimshaw, Poilievre's Graphic Gambit a Needless Gamble
... On a week that started with Justin Trudeau standing beside David Eby announcing a big Federal support for a provincial housebuilding program, the end of the week is focused on showing ID to watch porn and what bathroom trans people can use because the Tory leader wants us focused on that. As a matter of motivating the Liberals and getting them back in gear, this has helped. As a matter of potentially reinvigorating the PPC, Poilievre has given them an issue. 
...Poilievre is taking the Tories off of an economic message that has worked for them into culture war fights there’s no guarantee they can win. And that’s a stupid thing to do when you could cruise control to the government benches. ...Going on flights of bigotry about trans just an excuse to those who are thinking about voting for Poilievre but don’t like it to come home....The porn flight of fancy is even dumber, because it’s a massive encroachment of civil liberties that threatens to give Max Bernier a defining issue at the next election,...

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Today's News: A Nelson moment for Canadian Press


So Canadian Press did their research. 
As Poilievre launched into attacking Trudeau for giving Bell Media a $40 million fee reduction in spite of firing journalists across the country, the Canadian Press found out this reduction was actually a Conservative idea. 
Ha ha!
Conservative and NDP MPs backed a 2022 amendment to the Online Streaming Act, opposed by the governing Liberals, that allowed Canada’s private broadcasters to save about $120 million a year in regulatory fees.
Bell’s share of those savings was $40 million — the precise total of annual operating losses the broadcaster’s parent, BCE Inc., cited when it slashed 4,800 jobs last week.
But Poilievre is now blaming Justin Trudeau for those cuts, calling on the prime minister to claw back some of his government’s federal grants to media companies.
...The June 2022 motion, introduced by Conservative MP John Nater, passed with the support of New Democrat and Bloc QuΓ©bΓ©cois MPs on the House of Commons heritage committee without debate.
The motion sought to amend the Liberals' update to broadcasting law, the Online Streaming Act, so that it would abolish certain licensing fees....

Friday, February 09, 2024

Today's News: Speculatively smearing Biden

In nine months, we will know whether Biden and the Democrats can win the American election. 
Though in 2020 Biden won the popular vote by millions, he only won the Electoral College distribution by less than 100,000 votes. Now we're into 2024, and this race is going to be a shitshow every step of the way. 
Trump the Orange Felon is desperate to get Biden impeached somehow. And he desperately wants to get Biden charged with some crime. 
So today Special Counsel Robert Hur at the US Justice Department issued an awful report on the so-called Biden document scandal. Even though Hur couldn't charge Biden after Biden reported that government documents from 2009-2016 were found in his garage, that didn't stop Hur from smearing Biden anyway by blue-skying about how maybe Biden could play the age card to a hypothetical jury in a hypothetical courtroom if - speaking speculatively you know - Biden actually were to be charged with a hypothetical crime. 
Over at Balloon Juice, John Cole summarizes it:
 ...the Justice Department has provided the media and Republicans with a both sides defense on documents to use in their fluffery of Trump, with a bonus dig at Biden’s mental health. So that’s fucking awesome. I remain very concerned about the Fall election. It’s clear that it does not matter how well things are going or anything concrete, a lot of people just want to burn shit to the ground and a lot of people just want to carry out their vengeance porn on the poor and minorities and those different than them. 
Some other comments here: Apparently Biden's meeting with the prosecutor came the day after the Hamas Massacre in Israel -- seems to me Biden might well have been a little distracted that day, with, you know, the possibility of war in the Middle East and all... At Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall writes
...this is another example of the universal rule: Republican special counsels are chosen to investigate Democrats. And Republican special counsels are chosen to investigate Republicans. It may not have been a great idea for Merrick Garland to have a two-time Trump appointee investigate Joe Biden. But here we are. Robert Hur totally slimed Biden with these gratuitous comments about his mental acuity and memory, referring to him as a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” Even if you assume they are the product of a good faith evaluation they are still wildly inappropriate. 
DOJ guidelines make clear that if you’re not bringing charges you don’t bash the subject of the investigation in your announcement (a la James Comey). 
You certainly aren’t supposed to affirmatively attempt to demean the subject of the investigation with clearly political attacks that aren’t even related to what you’re investigating. Hur might as well have called him “Fake News Joe Biden.” It’s really that transparent and that bad.
Finally, this:

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

Today's News: Is Poilievre actually Mr. Roboto?

I thought yesterday's clip of Poilievre being interviewed by several reporters was very strange. 
Now, the questions from the reporters were odd too -- they seemed incredibly intimidated by Poilievre, fumbling and mumbling, their voices trembling as they tentatively asked questions. 
But what I really thought was bizarre was Poilievre's Robot-like answers -- he kept repeating his lines like a mantra - "Axe the tax, build the homes, fix the budget, stop the crime, ..." and he kept repeating his Trudeau smears word-for-word "crime wave across the country, 2 million people using food banks". It sounded like he has carefully memorized four lines of attack and has to just keep repeating them over and over, on some kind of bizarre endless loop. So now I'm wondering, is Pierre Poilievre actually just a robot?
He even looks a little like Mr. Roboto too, doesn't he? 
In his tweet about this clip, Charles Adler asks 
Is this slogan salad what the CPC leader misidentifies as common sense? Before wasting your time filling the reply box with the same tedious labels, listen to Poilievre's words and ask whether you have any friends in the real world who ghoulishly & foolishly speak like bots. 

Saturday, February 03, 2024

Words of Wisdom -- from Dark Brandon to Ford v Trudeau to Taylor Swift to Wikipedia's finest moment

Some interesting columns this week 
First, there was this controversy:
In Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion, Jeff Tiedrich writes Donald Trump’s a sick fuck, this I know — because Joe Biden tells me so hey Joe — tell us how you really feel:
we already know that Dark Brandon loves him some f-bombs...
...answer me this, you defenders of Dear Leader: where is the lie?
of course Trump’s a sick fuck. who else would look at a department store dressing room and think gosh, what a great place to rape someone.
of course he’s a fucking asshole. just look at … his entire fucking life.
but Donald John Diaperstain is more than just a sick fucking asshole. he’s also a quadrice-indicted twice-impeached popular-vote-losing adderall-huffing insurrection-leading testimony-ducking judge-threatening lawyer-ignoring witness-tampering day-one-dictatoring disabled-veteran-dishonoring inheritance-squandering clown-makeup-smearing language-mangling serial-sexual-predating draft-dodging casino-bankrupting butler-bullying daughter-perving hush-money-paying real-estate-scamming bone-spur-faking ketchup-hurling justice-obstructing classified-war-plan-thieving golf-cheating weather-map-defacing horse-paste-promoting paper-towel-flinging race-baiting tax-evading evidence-destroying charity-defrauding money-laundering diaper-filling 91-count fluorescent tangerine felony factory.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Today's News: an imaginary bouncy castle of 20-20 hindsight

Very disappointing to see a Federal Court judge, Justice Richard Mosely, create an imaginary rewrite of history to conclude that Ottawa really hadn't needed to invoke the Emergencies Act against the freedum convoy protests and blockades in February 2022.
Instead, he argues, Trudeau could have constructed an imaginary bouncy castle of police forces magically enforcing provincial laws to save Ottawa's sanity, rescue Canadian trade, and blunt the Convoy fundraising momentum without being mean or upsetting anyone. 
So rude, you know!
Political scientist Emmett MacFarlane describes the ruling as A Dubious Judgement on the Emergencies Act:
In a ruling sure to be appealed, a Federal Court judge has deemed the federal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act (EA) during the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests unlawful and found that the measures employed under it violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Because the decision primarily concerned the decision to invoke the EA (rather than the constitutionality of any provisions of the EA itself), the Court’s job was to assess the reasonableness of the decision “with deference owed to the decision maker and its specialized expertise” (para. 202). The judge, however, ends up not so much reviewing the reasonableness of the decision in light of the circumstances facing the government so much as undertaking a total reappraisal, with the judge substituting his judgment for that of the government’s, with little to no deference to be found.
...the EA does not require that federal government to spend time on the metaphysical questions posed by multi-versal ponderings of the imagined parallel universe where Doug Ford took governance and public safety seriously, before they decided to address the national emergency at hand with the last resort tool they had available - a tool, mind you, that worked to finally end the occupation. As I wrote at the time: “The POEC demonstrated what was already clear to those of us who followed the convoy protests themselves: the police were either unable or unwilling to act. It doesn’t matter, frankly, what existing laws might or should have been able to deal with: they did not, and therefore could not handle the occupation of the country’s capital.”
... Judge Mosley concludes instead that “There appears to be have been no obstacle to assembling the large number of police officers from a variety of other forces ultimately required to assist the OPS to remove the blockade participants (para. 250).” I suppose we’re expected to believe it was mere coincidence that blockade participants did not end their siege until the EA was invoked, and the few tools enacted under it were implemented...
In summary: Actually, I would argue the Canada-wide emergency in February 2022 that justified the Emergencies Act wasn't the mess on the Ottawa streets, but rather the impact of border blockages on Canadian business. 
The Ottawa honk-honk was mainly a local problem, though it was so badly mishandled by both civic and provincial authorities that it became a national embarrassment. But the primary national problem with the protest was the continuing threat to cross-border trade, to the point that Canadian manufacturing and auto industries would move to the United States unless Canada was willing to take swift and fierce action to guarantee that a random bunch of bearded yahoos would be shut down and would not be able to threaten the cross-border trade economy. 
Yeah, I know - the story now is how the border blockades were already dismantled before the Emergencies Act was introduced. But what we heard at the time was about how more trucks and farm equipment was on the way to border crossings across the country. Only the Emergencies Act gave RCMP the immediate authority to turn the tide, to stop convoys before they reached the borders, and to disrupt their financing. 
Basically, when Alberta Farmer Dad heard that his tractor and combine could actually be confiscated, the phone call went out real quick "Son, you've had your fun but it's time to come home! Now!"

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Today's News: Prairie Harm Reduction - "It's about keeping people alive"

It has taken years for Canadians to understand the concept of harm reduction - which means everything from sunscreen to seatbelts, not just safe injection sites and naloxone - but Canadians generally "get it" now. 
The federal government's Canadian drugs and substances strategy describes harm reduction as 
 an evidence-based, public health approach that aims to reduce the negative health, social, and economic impacts of substance use related harms, without requiring or promoting abstinence. 
The National Harm Reduction Coalition in New York outlines harm reduction this way: 
Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use. Harm Reduction is also a movement for social justice built on a belief in, and respect for, the rights of people who use drugs. 
Seems pretty straightforward to me -- but conservative governments just refuse to grasp it. 
They appear to think that shaming and blaming and punishment will get people off drugs, and anyone who can't or won't go cold turkey is just worthless scum who aren't worth worrying about.
Now the Sask Party has done it again. They decided they just had to stop funding pipes and needles for people addicted to drugs because, well, EWEUUUU! DRUGS! 
And Saskatoon's Prairie Harm Reduction is leading the fight against this short-sighted and mean policy change:
Many experts disagree with such restrictions, arguing that adding barriers to sterile needle access can lead to increased rates of blood-borne illness and HIV transmission.
"You know, it's not about funding illicit drug use, it's about keeping people alive. And in this province, we already have the highest rates of HIV transmission in Canada," said Prairie Harm Reduction director Kayla Demong.
"The very little control we're able to keep on this situation, it's just going to explode. And it is directly related to our homeless population, our Indigenous people of this province, and people that aren't welcome anywhere else," Demong said.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Well, isn't this just ducky? Now Iran and Pakistan are verging on war

Whoa-jeez, this is getting dangerous:
Meanwhile, Canada's Loyal Opposition is still shit-posting about Trudeau's vacation.

Friday, January 12, 2024

The cry of the Cu-cu-cu bird!

From across the Prairies we hear the mournful cry of the Cu-cu-cu bird...."Cu-cu-cu-Christ, its cu-cu-cu-cold here!"

Oh well -- we had a great fall here, and a green Christmas, so of course the weather gods are making us pay for it now. 
Tomorrow's daytime temperature here will be 35 below! Needless to say, we won't be going out anywhere.

  This is pretty outstanding:
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Here are some words of wisdom: From Brittlestar -
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and from Gurdeep -
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...When the door had closed on the last of them and the chink of the lanterns had died away, Mole and Rat kicked the fire up, drew their chairs in, brewed themselves a last nightcap of mulled ale, and discussed the events of the long day. At last the Rat, with a tremendous yawn, said, "Mole, old chap, I'm ready to drop. Sleepy is simply not the word. That your own bunk over on that side? Very well, then, I'll take this. What a ripping little house this is! Everything so handy!"
He clambered into his bunk and rolled himself well up in the blankets, and slumber gathered him forthwith, as a swathe of barley is folded into the arms of the reaping machine.
The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancour. He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple—how narrow, even—it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one's existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

Writings about the Israel-Hamas War

First, Paul Wells has an interesting article out tonight about how police are dealing with the pro-Palestinian protests: The police won't make your point Notes on a 20-year revolution in police handling of protests. Spoiler: you probably won't like it. Wells covers a lot of history here, from Selma to anti-globalization to the Freedom Convoy to today's pro-Palestinian sit-ins. He concludes:
...To me it’s highly contradictory to argue the police were too rough on the Freedom Convoy protesters, who had the run of downtown Ottawa for most of a month, and too gentle on the pro-Palestine protesters who’ve rather thuggishly decided to make their point in a Toronto neighbourhood whose only distinguishing feature is that a bunch of Jews live there. But I know people who can navigate that contradiction without difficulty.
What I hope we can all agree is that police forces are not better equipped than the rest of us to make fine distinctions between protest groups based on values, but quite the contrary. Police forces are not precision instruments. They have learned, through long experience over three turbulent decades, that they have a broad choice to make: repress protests through implied or real force and escalation, or help protesters make their point and, at some point, go home. The latter strategy is no fun to watch. The former is often way worse.

Thursday, January 04, 2024

Bring on the crazy!

I'm seeing some crazy stuff tonight on the social.
Like this: At least Canadians are enjoying this: Here's some more crazy stuff :

Monday, January 01, 2024

Happy New Year!


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Friday, December 29, 2023

Odds and ends - from dancing ladies to dancing daddies, and dogs, of course

So tonight I have been going through various Bookmarks and other saved posts and I'm finding some great stuff to share.
This month I saw two different cartoons based on the Matisse dancing ladies, of all things. The first is about folding a fitted sheet:
And the second is about scientific research, of all things:

Moving on, here's something I do all the time:
Continuing on, check out this whole thread, it's hilarious:

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Christmas traditions: 12 Days, Festivus, Messiah, and the oddest Christmas Special ever!

Time for an annual "traditions" post -- 

Twelve Days of Christmas:  


The Messiah:
 The New York Times writes Handel’s ‘Messiah’ Teaches Us a Surprising Lesson About Tradition:
...Fortunately, Handel’s “Messiah” is so popular that the ideological fashions of critics and performers cannot contain it. The work continues to be gleefully performed very much as it was in the days of Stokowski, even as the Handel and Haydn Society solemnly persists in its commitment to small ensembles, period instruments and other trappings of historical accuracy....
This seemingly inexhaustible variety of interpretations is possible because “Messiah” is sui generis: an unclassifiable hybrid of sacred art and theatrical revelry that cannot be subsumed neatly into any given school of performance, idiom or national tradition. This is why “Messiah” has succeeded in such a wide array of cultural contexts, including the TV special “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown” (1992), in which Marcie and Peppermint Patty attend a performance that sounds remarkably similar to the Stokowski version, as well as the Japanese animated TV series “Neon Genesis Evangelion” (from 1995 to 1996), in which the Somary recording plays over images of a teenage girl thrusting the spear of Longinus into a monstrous alien being.
“Messiah” is now the common property of the entire human race: a jewel in the crown of the Anglican cultural tradition that has become not only the source of recessional hymns for Catholics but also an indelible symbol of Christmas for millions of non-Christians. In the words of the oratorio’s first chorus, taken from the Book of Isaiah: “All flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”
Years ago, I participated in a "sing-along Messiah" that was such great fun. This Opinion piece is right - the Messiah belongs to us all, even the Silent Monks.

Finally, this - 
The Oddest Christmas Special Ever - Bing Crosby and David Bowie:  
The story behind this Christmas Moment is stranger still -- Wipedia reports;
...The special's musical supervisors, Ian Fraser and Larry Grossman, originally intended the duo to record a straightforward rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy". However, Bowie balked at singing "Little Drummer Boy": "I hate this song. Is there something else I could sing?", Fraser recalled Bowie telling him. Scriptwriter Buz Kohan further stated that Bowie felt "Little Drummer Boy" "wasn't a good showcase for his voice". Startled, Fraser, Grossman, and Kohan found a piano in the studio's basement and wrote "Peace on Earth" as a counterpoint to "Little Drummer Boy" in just over an hour. Regarding the experience, Kohan said, "It all happened rather rapidly. I would say within an hour, we had it written and were able to present it to [Bowie] again." Crosby performed "Little Drummer Boy", while Bowie sang "Peace on Earth", which they reportedly performed after less than an hour of rehearsal. Kohan added that "Bing loved the challenge" of the arrangement, stating he "was able to transform himself without losing any of the Crosby-isms."...
Happy Festivus, everyone!