Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Sorry for the lack of blogging -- as well as a cold, I now also have cellulitis in my leg so the doctor tells me I will have to spend several days resting, lying down.
As Nelson says, smell you later!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Great line of the day

From John Cole:
Jules Crittenden, journamamamalist and serious person, attempts to cut Glenn Greenwald down to size . . . by attacking Glenn’s website art. And sadly, I am serious.
If the right-wing meltdown continues any faster, I predict that by the end of the week, prominent right-wing bloggers will be standing in public, unshowered, singing re-written verses of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” with silly insults (Glenn has the cooties, Glenn has the cooties) wearing only Hello Kitty diapers, an American Flag, and an Islamofascism Awareness Week sticker all the while balancing orange traffic cones on their heads.
Emphasis mine.


I have an awful cold so I haven't had the energy for much blogging. Here are the photos from yesterday's Iraq war protests in a large number of US cities.
And if you are cynical about anti-war protests, well, join the club -- even the march organizers aren't pretending that a protest will stop the war. But NOT protesting will certainly not end the war either. At Alternet, march organizer Leslie Cagan says this:
...she understands the frustrations that have come from people who've been marching and opposing this war for years with little positive response from our government. "Some people are fed up with protests but are even more fed up with the war," said Cagan. "We have few vehicles to express our opposition, and we need to use every one we have. We'll never know the lives we may have saved or the destruction we may have prevented that resulted from our previous anti-war protests. But I do know that the minute we stop, things will get worse."

Los Angeles:

The Los Angeles march was led by Vietnam War activist Ron Kovic.

San Fransisco:



New York:

And in Seoul:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Great line of the day

From an email received by CNN's Jack Cafferty:
"Remember the 60's?" wrote one Baby Boomer. "Well, they're back. Only this time it's not a decade. It's the age on our driver's licenses."


I had not heard of a case like this before:
A Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has ordered a Calgary woman to stop posting hate messages against minority groups on a U.S.-based white supremacist website. The commission fined Jessica Beaumont $1,500 for posting messages that hold Jews, gays, lesbians, Chinese, blacks, aboriginals and other non-whites up for hatred or contempt.
Oh, can't you just hear the radio shows on Monday as they chatter about this?
While I can also sympathize with the argument that hate speech laws could be used to silence dissent, thus far they have been used to society's betterment, I think -- and anything that might cause a bigot to think twice before posting rants about Jews "driving White Canadians into extinction", even in the privacy of their own home, can't be all bad.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Election update

I'm starting to think that the question of this election is not going to be how many seats will the NDP lose, but rather, how many seats will they keep?
So far Brad Wall is doing an excellent job of keeping the more shall-we-say 'controversial" Sask Party ideologues out of the public eye -- you know, the ones who don't think crown corporations should be profitable, who reportedly once called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms "garbage" , who think TILMA is just a great idea, who don't support the PA pulp mill deal, etc.
The Sask Party platform is full of pointless micromanagement -- they're going to "work with school boards" to "increase healthy food options in schools" -- as well as pointless union-busting -- they're going to set up a "Premier's Council on Health Care Workplace Issues" which is supposed to discuss issues like the ratio of full-time to part-time staff and other "work-related issues that affect health care providers." Oh, and they're going to "work with the federal government" to "secure a Saskatchewan Energy Accord modeled on the Atlantic Accord, or its financial equivalent" -- yeah, that'll happen.
Meanwhile, here's the NDP presiding over the best Saskatchewan economy in the last quarter century, and they brought us Al Gore and the Rolling Stones and the Junos and the Geminis -- and they don't get no respect. The Sask Party frames the NDP as tired and old, and the NDP platform comes across that way -- when a party has been in power 16 years, it can't really blame its predecessor anymore and it doesn't really have a good answer to the question of why they didn't do it already?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Great line of the day

From Chris Floyd, writing about increasing so-called 'collateral damage' in Iraq:
...For what the air campaign, and the "offensives into neighborhoods," are really saying is brutally frank:
"We invaded your country under knowingly false pretenses . . . We destroyed your infrastructure, we destroyed your society, we destroyed your history, we enthroned extremist militias to rule over you, we tortured your sons and fathers in the same hellhole that Saddam used, we killed a million of your people and drove millions more from their homes. And we intend to stay here for as long as we like, in the vast 'enduring bases' we are building on your land. Now if you don't accept this, if you keep shooting at us and trying to make us leave, then we will go on bombing your families in their homes, we will go on killing your women and children, until you stop."
Emphasis mine.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The vacant lot and boulevard vote

Hmmm -- the charges of campaign sign vandalism are already flying -- though what these photos actually demonstrate, I think, is that the Sask Party and the Liberals have cornered the vacant lot and boulevard vote.
My son (who is, by the way, the Green Party Candidate for Saskatoon Southeast!) says with Halloween coming in the middle of the campaign -- and teenagers being what they are -- anybody who doesn't take their lawn signs down on Halloween night is going to lose them.

And the prize goes to...

Jeff Potts (AKA Famouspipeliner) for the shortest political career ever -- from October 15 at 8:28 pm, to Oct 22 at 5:53 am.

Yes, John Manley DOES look like Beaker

Scott's reasonable and rational critique of the (rigged) Afghanistan study group has reminded me that I meant to post this -- a completely unreasonable and irrational low blow, but funny all the same :

Why Harper thinks that John Manley will persuade Canadians to support the Afghanistan extension, I don't know.
For anyone who doesn't remember Beaker in the Muppet Show, here's an example:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Great line of the day

Dave at Galloping Beaver analyzes Harper's media phobia
The Conservative communications strategy can be reduced to a simple line. We are the message and we alone are the messenger.. . . When a government attempts to intentionally hide its internal workings from the public, exposure and transparency become the obligation of the media. . . . Any attempt to shut that down is a deliberate attempt to weaken the democracy itself.
Emphasis mine.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tough talk

Jason Cherniak is right -- the Tories didn't actually want an election at all.
We could not go into an election over that Throne Speech. Never mind the organizational issues in Quebec - there was no issue over which to bring down the government. I have sympathy with Liberals who want to get rid of Harper. I feel exactly the same way. However, politics is not about going into an election every chance you get. Politics is about proposing good policies and opposing bad policies. The Throne speech, quite simply, did not give us that opportunity.
In spite of all the tough talk before the throne speech, the Conservatives fuzzied and fudged the Speech language so that the Liberals would not have to vote against it.
Kyoto is now shown to be a case in point -- in spite of all the rhetoric, the Cons are NOT withdrawing from Kyoto -- a position on which Dion and the Liberals could not have abstained. In fact, whenever the election does finally come, the Liberals will be able to argue that it is the Conservatives own fault that they cannot meet the Kyoto targets.
And likewise, the crime bill -- the Cons are blustering and posturing, apparently hoping that if they talk loudly enough nobody will remember it was also the Conservatives' own fault these laws weren't passed last spring.
As for Dion's future, Harper has pushed him to the wall -- the question is, can he push back?
In an editorial titled "Tough Dion refuses Harper's double-dare", the Edmonton Journal says don't sell Dion short:
...perhaps they should be more wary about attempts to humiliate or rout Stephen Dion.
Say what you like about the man -- and we'll say Dion has shown a lot more interest in Edmonton than the southern Alberta prime minister in the last year and a half -- the former cabinet minister under both Martin and Chretien is no pushover.
When it comes to vitriolic firepower, even the likes of Environment Minister John Baird is no match for the hardcore separatists of Quebec. For years, they've tried to bring the architect and champion of the Clarity Act to his knees and failed . . . underestimated for decades, Stephane Dion could yet have the last laugh.
One thing is for certain. He's a tough nut to crack.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dogs playing poker

It's one week into the Saskatchewan election campaign, and the constant ante-upping is beginning to remind me of dogs playing poker.
Calvert must be the long-nosed collie, with Brad Wall on the far right (of course) and David Karwacki in the middle.

Fool me once

George Bush:"We don't torture."
Larry Craig: "I am not gay."
Bill Clinton: "I did not have sex with that woman."
Well, when Clinton said that, I believed him. But fool me once, shame on you...

Lifeline or anchor?

It's all in how you see it.
Here's the Globe and Mail story about Stephane Dion's decision not to vote against the Throne Speech:
Battered federal Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion scrambled Wednesday to reassure fretful colleagues about the party's future in a watershed speech aimed at controlling damage from a string of recent setbacks.
But the BBC story sees the same news from quite a different angle -- their story is titled Liberals send PM lifeline:
Canada's opposition Liberal party has thrown a lifeline to the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, saying it will not force early snap elections.

Don't worry, be happy

I guess women shouldn't worry about the anti-abortion right-wingers who are being appointed as judges by the Harper Conservatives -- like Lawrence O'Neil, who will be sworn in next week to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, and David Brown, who was appointed last year to the Ontario Superior Court -- even though O'Neil said that a mother doesn't have the right to control her own body, and Brown was a lawyer for Focus on the Family and REAL Women of Canada:
Brown's defenders pointed out that, even in the unlikely case his personal values influenced his legal rulings, such viewpoints are flotsam in a sea of Liberal appointees.
So I guess that means its OK for the Harper Conservatives to pander to their base.
Silly me, and here I thought those judicial appointments actually meant something...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Teh funny

Before Amazon takes it down, check out the list of "tags" from prospective readers for Jonah Goldberg's multi-titled book. Here are some of the funniest ones:

Great line of the day

In Nutcracker Fever, Digby writes about how Tucker Carlson is totally eeyuuhhh! about women who say they would vote for Hillary because she's a woman:
Carlson has well documented issues with Clinton, whom he says makes him "cross his legs" every time he hears her voice. Evidently his "instinctive" revulsion is a perfectly valid reaction, but women who are inspired by the fact that she is the first woman in history to be a serious candidate for president are thinking with their twats.
This has been another edition of What Digby Said!

Be still my heart...

Canadian Press finds the dramatic moment in an apparently otherwise-tedious Throne Speech:
When Jean read that the government would respond to the Supreme Court of Canada's decision on terrorist security certificates, a keen observer might have observed a noticeable lifting of the eyebrows of Justice Louis LeBel, seated among his fellow ermine-robed high court judges in front of the dais.
One eyebrow-lifting moment -- how exciting!

So here's the plan...

I don't know which is worse -- the belief that the Bush Administration has an ineffective plan for dealing with the Middle East, or the frightening realization that they really are just making it up as they go along -- and they have been for years.

Problem solved!

It's the Helen Thomas solution:first step - declare victory; second step - leave

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, its good to know that there is a line below which Conservative rank-and-file won't go.
The MLA who called Belinda Stronach a whore was not re-nominated in his provincial riding.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Vast right-wing conspiracy

Democrats and whistleblowers and people who don't do what the Bush Administration wants seem to end up slimed or jobless or in jail.
Like Don Siegelman and Usman Ali and Rogelio Mejorada-Lopez and Joe Nacchio and Richard Clarke, Teresa Chambers, Richard Foster, David Lappa, David Lewis, Douglas Parker, and Eric Shinseki and the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed.
Rachel Maddow added more on Countdown yesterday:
“Twelve year old Graeme Frost, meet Cindy Sheehan, meet 9/11 widows, meet Staff Sgt. Brian McGough, meet Michael J. Fox, meet the kids who were targeted by Mark Foley, meet Jack Murtha. I mean, Graeme Frost as a twelve year old now joins an esteemed list of Americans who have been personally attacked, personally slimed, called liars and cowards and frauds, and threatened for daring to publicly espouse a view that the right disagrees with. I mean, just when you think you’ve found the person who they can’t possibly slime, I don’t know, say a twelve year old kid just out of a coma, turns out yeah, the bar does actually go that low, it’s just astonishing.”
The message is chillingly clear, isn't it -- go along to get along, because if you get out of line you'll be hammered.
Yes, Virginia, there IS a vast right-wing conspiracy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

You realize of course this means war

There always reaches a point in a Bugs Bunny cartoon when Bugs, the heretofore aggrieved innocent, decides he has had enough. That's when he declares -- to Daffy, or Yosemite, or the bull, or the gangsters, or the tenor -- "You realize of course, this means war!"
I think the blogosphere has finally reached that point with the wingnuts -- the Greame Frost attacks are the last straw.
I haven't seen such outraged commentary since Shiavio -- here and here and here and here.
Wolcott sums it up perfectly:
Rush Limbaugh and his fellow talk-radio troll dolls didn't "pervert" conservatism--he didn't lay siege to some maiden fair and debauch her virtue. Rush Limbaugh didn't inject an "ideology of hate" into conservatism, he extracted the contemptuous, divisive animosity inherent in the Gingrich doctrine and sugared it up with comedy and his own personal saga for popular consumption. He, like Clarence Thomas, was just what the Republican overseers ordered. Rush Limbaugh is modern mainstream conservatism in all its bullying bluster, hypocrisy, jolly ignorance (global warming etc), slavish submission to military, corporate, and executive power, and slimeballing of political opponents. To believe otherwise is like putting your faith in those few remaining Republican moderates who always manage not to come through in the clutch, who put up a brief show of conscience or faint dissent before the inevitable capitulation. It's a little late to suddenly look around and realize what sleazebags you've got on your team, especially since those sleazebags were there before you arrived. The only difference between Limbaugh and the orc pit of the right blogosphere is one of degree, or perhaps I should say radius.
Emphasis mine. And be sure to check his "radius" link -- yes, it DOES mean what you think it means.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The "Rodney Dangerfield" Strike

I support unions, because it benefits both the employer and the employee to bargain collectively.
But to continue to be effective, unions have to deserve respect -- particularly, for public sector unions, from the public. This 3-month Vancouver strike has now passed irrational and is moving toward ridiculous.
I have been involved in several strikes over the years, and even a two-week strike is tough. I can't imagine what it would be like to walk a picket line for 12 weeks, with no end in sight and facing mortgage payments and car loans and school fees.
Certainly union members have to support each other, but they also have to get some results from their union leadership. Reading the stories about the recent vote, I begin to wonder if these union leaders are going to break their own unions because of their intransigence.
Now the inside workers have voted to go back, but the leadership of the outside workers urged members to vote against a settlement for some piss-poor reasons:
For the 1,800 outside workers the sticking points were overtime, grievance language and the city's ability to contract out their work.
"It's not money," said Dave Van Dyke, a member of CUPE 1004's bargaining committee.
"It's about mostly language. A couple of non-monetary items. Something like overtime shift language."
Sounds pretty blase, doesn't he? Apparently the workers have construction industry jobs now anyway, so they're not suffering:
Many outside employees feel little pressure to accept the Foley package because they have found employment in the construction industry
And they apparently don't care whether the people of Vancouver can use their parks or playgrounds, or get their streets cleaned. And they don't care that some of the inside workers will be kept off the job because of picketing at common job sites. The attitude seems to be, I've got mine, Jack, so screw you!
In a fever of solidarity, the library workers also voted to stay out -- but the library staff are the group of civic workers that could find themselves out in the cold for a long, long time. I worry that this could be one of those strikes where, sometime next spring, somebody says "Oh, are the library workers STILL out? I'd forgotten."
Basically, and with apologies to the librarians I know, libraries fall into the category of 'nice-to-have', not 'need-to-have' -- once the building permits are being issued again and the garbage is being picked up, the strike will be just a bad memory for most of the people in Vancouver even if the library workers are still picketing.
And maybe this strike won't even be remembered much. Vancouver Sun columnist Miro Cernetig sums up the attitude:
This civic strike has hardly proven the urban disaster that many anticipated. In fact, it has made a lot of people start to wonder about just what they are paying for in that ever-rising tax bill that arrives every spring from city hall . . . Yes, there have been inconveniences this summer. You can't check out a book from the library. You've got to learn a few new urban survival techniques to keep your backyard from stinking up . . . The flow of permits from city hall is at a crawl. . . . But the take home message so far from this summer's strike is that Vancouverites have proven surprisingly adept at making do with less city government. We haven't, despite the warnings, reached some tipping point that will shut the city down.
An ineffective strike ultimately results in making public sector unions weaker -- they don't get no respect.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Not quite ready for prime time

Once again, Conservative cabinet ministers demonstrate why Harper doesn't want them to open their mouths.
Canadian Cynic flags Peter MacKay accusing Denis Coderre of "a dangerous and elaborate stunt" for traveling to Afghanistan, exactly one day before Maxime Bernier and Bev Oda arrived there.
And Alison flags two of the dumbest remarks ever made by Canadian politicians -- Bernier's JFK hommage, and Oda's "little cakes" giveaway.

Great line of the day

Hunter talking about how unpopular Giuliani will be as the Republican candidate:
. . . who wouldn't like a guy who traipses around the country wearing 9/11 like a superhero's cape -- like a toddler tying a towel around his neck and pretending to be Superman? It may be terrible for the country, but the comic possibilities are endless. You put him and Clinton as the nominees, and red state voting booths will look like the sand wastes of Dune.
Emphasis mine.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Great post of the day

From Dave at Galloping Beaver -- You'd think Iran would at least send Bush a "Thank You" card. Read the whole thing, but here's a taste:
By ignoring the histories of the peoples of the Middle-East, by failing to acknowledge the political depth of those countries and by disparaging populations which they have not studied, the current American political leadership (and its advisory bodies) have overlooked centuries of astute political acumen, adept military strategy, well-educated populations and a long record of out-thinking and out-maneuvering an opponent.
. . . Bush has allowed this semi-educated crowd to lead him into a corner surrounded by paint that will never dry.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Another Thanksgiving dinner for seven successfully completed!
And a great time was had by all.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Great post of the day

From Balloon Juice, on what is wrong with the Republican party:
... A bunch of bedwetting, loudmouth, corrupt, hypocritical, and incompetent boobs with a mean streak a mile long and no sense of fair play or proportion.
Seriously- what does the current Republican party stand for? Permanent war, fear, the nanny state, big spending, torture, execution on demand, complete paranoia regarding the media, control over your body, denial of evolution and outright rejection of science, AND ZOMG THEY ARE GONNA MAKE US WEAR BURKHAS, all the while demanding that in order to be a good American I have to spend most of every damned day condemning half my fellow Americans as terrorist appeasers.
And that isn’t even getting into the COMPLETE and TOTAL corruption of our political processes at every level. The shit is really going to hit the fan after we vote these jackasses out of power in 2008.
Screw them. I got out. They can have their party. I will vote for Democrats and little L libertarians and isolationists until the crazy people aren’t running the GOP. The threat of higher taxes in the short term isn’t enough to keep me from voting out crazy people and voting for sane people with whom I merely disagree regarding policy. Hillarycare doesn’t scare me as much as Frank Gaffney having a line to the person with the nuclear football or Dobson and company crafting domestic policy.
That is why the Republican party is in shambles. The majority of us have decided that the movers and shakers in the GOP and the blogospheric right are certified lunatics who, in a decent and sane society, we would have in controlled environments in rocking chairs under shade trees for most of the day, wheeled in at night for tapioca pudding and some karaoke.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Super Tuber

Senator Larry "Wide-Stance" Craig's special recipe. (via)
You can't make this stuff up...

He's baaaak!

Look who's getting lots of publicity lately -- a prize from the Fraser Institute for NAFTA, plus he just published a catty memoir.
But I wonder why he thinks that Canadians, or even Harper's Conservatives, want him to be visible in politics again? We had enough trouble getting rid of him 14 years ago.
Personally, I never had that big a problem with Mulroney, but the rest of the country hated him so much that he singlehandedly destroyed the Progressive Conservatives as a legitimate political party in Canada -- they never recovered from 1993.
But he's still entertaining, isn't he -- let's not forget this:

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

One out of three kittens vote for Harper

Poor Harper -- it must be driving him to drink.
He makes nice with the press, he plays to his base with a drug "crack-down" while also burnishing his national security cred, he even has photos of homeless kittens on his website...and he STILL can't get support from more than one out of three Canadians:
Despite a hellish month, a new poll suggests the federal Liberals remain in a statistical dead heat with the Conservatives in public support nationally and are actually leading in most provinces.
Although they've been bombarded with negative news coverage, suffered disastrous byelection results and are feuding publicly, they're only two percentage points behind the Tories nationally.
The Conservatives' 33-31 per cent lead in the latest Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey falls within the margin of error, while the NDP is at 16 per cent and the Green party is at 10.
The Liberals actually lead the Tories in the three largest provinces, throughout Atlantic Canada, and among women and younger voters.
Imagine what could happen if Dion actually started to run the Liberal Party!
Anyway, getting back to Harper, I can't believe he has really changed any spots. He just cannot stop wagging his finger at us about saying the course in Afghanistan, playing the humanitarian card this time:
"We took that responsibility as a country and I think we should see that responsibility through to the best of our ability," he said . . . the mission is a moral responsibility to not only the families of the 71 Canadians who've lost their lives in the conflict, but to the people of Kandahar and NATO allies.
Once again, the argument seems to be, basically, nothing more than the We're Here song (sung to the tune of Old Lang Syne)-- "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here..."

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"People's lives have been brutally affected"

Well, I don't know the facts of the case.
But I think the defendants' lawyers should just shut up for a while about how awful the legal case has been for their clients.
It will take some time before we will feel sympathetic toward the people who supervised the blood transfusion service that gave Canadians AIDS and hepatitis.
The defendants, however much they have suffered, are at least all still alive.

I know you are but what am I

Just guess who said this with a straight face:
. . . reports about very innocent people being thrown into detention, where they could be held for years without any representation or charges, is distressing . . .
Gee, I think the hundreds still in Guantanamo just might agree, don't ya think? (via Digby)

September in Iraq

I was glad to read today that September was better in Iraq -- though the Iraq Body Count website says 1,280 Iraqis were killed in September, not the 988 AP reported.
Better is a relative term. At Faces of Grief, as well as Yahoo news, I found photos showing what September looked like inside Iraq:

Sept. 1. An Iraqi Muslim Sunni woman shows a picture of her son who was reported missing in Baghdad in March. There are over 1 million people who have gone missing since 2003.

Sept. 2. Cholera victim in Sulaimaniyah being treated. There are now 100 new cholera cases a day. (via Iraq Today)

SSept. 3. A car bomb in Baghdad, which killed two people and wounded two others.

Sept. 8. A son weeps during his father's burial in Najaf.

Sept. 11. An Iraqi woman holds her daughter as US soldiers ... search her home during a patrol into southern Baghdad,

Sept. 18. A young boy cries as his mother consoles him after U.S soldiers detained a family member during operation Saber Hammer 3 on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah

Sept. 22. A man sifts through the rubble of a destroyed house after a U.S. raid in Mussayab.

Sept. 23. Displaced Iraqi Shiites carry aid on a donkey cart as they leave a relief center in Karbala.

Sept. 25. A girl stands near a partially burnt vehicle after two car bomb attacks in Baghdad, which killed two people and wounded four.

But I did find one photo where people looked happy:

Sept. 25. An American soldier celebrates with some of the 800 new Iraqi police graduates during their graduation ceremony.