Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kung Fu Fighting

John Cole posts about Chris Matthew's latest Thing of Beauty:
MATTHEWS: And I think we have got to get serious about catching terrorists, not just catching weapons. I‘m waiting for the terrorist who knows kung fu or something that gets on an airplane without a weapon. God knows what that is going to be like.
Cole calls it a "Palinesque work of art" but it is the Comments that are really priceless:
We just need to put ninjas on planes and maybe some pirates for good measure but they may go after the ninjas.
Oh, come on! A ninja would totally kick a pirate’s ass.
Depends. Does the pirate have his trusty parrot with him?
Just put some motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking planes, and they’ll take care of the motherfucking ninja terrorists.

I guess Jackie Chan will be on the no-fly list now.
[And other commenters also suggested:
Jet Li
Chow-Yun Fat
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Hong Kong Fooey
Kung-fu Panda
Ralph Macchia
Inspector Clouseau
Carl Douglas
Friends of Eddie Kim

God dammit, Mathews. The first rule of Terrorist Fight Club is that you do not talk about Terrorist Fight Club!

Just last week on a nonstop from Pittsburgh to LAX I had to subdue a determined group of muslim kung fu fighters who were intent on hogging all the pillows and magazines. Let me tell you, those cats were fast as lightning. Fortunately, they had this weird habit of taking turns, one by one, to fight me, and, as was covered in a brief montage, I’d spent a few months brushing up my grab-beard-crack-skull skills.
Hey, at least you weren’t flying out of Mumbai. Then a big Bollywood dance number would have broken out, and you know how crowded those aisles can be back in coach.
Forget kung fu terrorists. I’m more worried about dogs with bees in their mouth so when they bark they shoot bees at me. Because if we’re going to worry about bullshit things, let’s at least go all-out Homer-style when we do it.

What I’m really worried about are the terrorists that can control magnetic fields or take the form of any other individual. If those guys get on a plane, we are so fucked.

What if the guys that stare at goats don’t really need to see the goats? What if they can just squeeze their eyes shut and imagine staring at goats? Now just take that one wee bit farther, and I’m sure we can all easily imagine that, those guys can stare at pilots in the cockpits while their eyes are closed. I must sent an email right away to the TSA to warn them that passengers with their eyes closed could easily be terrorists planning to kill the flight crew. And please, no damn goat fucking jokes, this is a serious threat to airline safety here.

Every time Tweety sneezes he’s in danger of blowing out his brains
Oh, and this too:

Great line of the day

Steve writes about the 2009 Prorogue:
This prorogue is the great test. If there is no recourse, then the Conservative view of Canadians is cemented, and really its success only perpetuates the future reality. There is no real rationale to prorogue Parliament, the Conservative justifications bordering on insult. There are many fundamental reasons why this prorogue should bring fury, it speaks to a host of intellectual democratic considerations. This decision should matter, and yet a learned calculation suggests it probably won't. It's actually a sad statement on how Harper has fundamentally altered our political landscape, the new "norm" represents a new low.
. . . Harper has trashed every single tenet that his old movement supposedly stood for, he has become the antithesis.
Emphasis mine.

Calling in Afghanistan

I thought Obama's December speech on Afghanistan was remarkable in finally defining what the United States intended to accomplish in this war.
Today, Matt Yglesias refers to the analysis from Middle Eastern expert Rory Stewart on the poker strategy Obama is using to end this war:
Obama has acquired leverage over the generals and some support from the public by making it clear that he will not increase troop strength further. He has gained leverage over Karzai by showing that he has options other than investing in Afghanistan. Now he needs to regain leverage over the Taliban by showing them that he is not about to abandon Afghanistan and that their best option is to negotiate. . . . With the right patient leadership, a political strategy could leave Afghanistan in twenty years' time more prosperous, stable, and humane than it is today. That would be excellent for Afghans and good for the world.
Steward also discusses Obama's overall strategy for his foreign policy:
... Obama's broader strategic argument must not be lost. He has grasped that the foreign policy of the president should not consist in a series of extravagant, brief, Manichaean battles, driven by exaggerated fears, grandiloquent promises, and fragile edifices of doctrine. Instead the foreign policy of a great power should be the responsible exercise of limited power and knowledge in concurrent situations of radical uncertainty. Obama, we may hope, will develop this elusive insight. And then it might become possible to find the right places in which to deploy the wealth, the courage, and the political capital of the United States . . .
I began by saying that "calling" in poker was childish and that grownups raise or fold. But there is another category of people who raise or fold: those who are anxious to leave the table. They go all in to exit, hoping to get lucky but if not then at least to finish. They do not do this on the basis of their cards or the pot. They do it because they lack the patience, the interest, the focus, or the confidence to pace themselves carefully through the long and exhausting hours. They no longer care enough about the game. Obama is a famously keen poker player. He should never be in a hurry to leave the table.
Perhaps we should call this the Obama Doctrine.
With today's terrible news of five more Canadian deaths in Afghanistan, it is more important than ever that Canadians know whether we are accomplishing anything there.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tis the season

Every now and then I check out the Not Always Right website for the latest in customer stupidity stories. Here's one from Newfoundland:
Me: “Hello, ma’am. Did you find everything you were looking for today?”
Customer: “Yes, yes. Sure is busy here.”
Me: “I guess that’s because of the season, ma’am. Everyone’s out getting last-minute holiday gifts.”
Customer: “Oh, I see, yes. I haven’t needed to buy any gifts for a while. Everyone I love is dead.”
Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that!”
Customer: [stares at me intently] “Someday, everyone you love will be dead, too.”
Me: “Uh…”
Customer: “Merry Christmas, now!”
Sort of existential, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney

This sorta has the flavour of "Let's put on a show in the old barn!"

Star Phoenix Fail

This Star Phoenix editorial -- Native advocate in health system requires review -- has to have reached some kind of record in patronizing insult and overreaching analysis.
Here's the story: a five-month-old baby boy, Mason Fullerton, died last spring of bacterial pneumonia. In the five days before he died, his increasingly-frantic mother Beverly had taken him to see several doctors, including his family doctor and two emergency rooms. Nobody did an x-ray of his lungs. Nobody gave him antibiotics. Everybody patted Beverley on the head and told her it was just a virus, that our health care system has important things to worry about like the long-term societal expense of overuse of xrays and antibiotics, while she, the mother of three other children, was obviously misjudging the situation and she should just take Mason home.
So little Mason died on an April morning, sitting in his rocking chair, as Beverley was getting ready for another trip to Emergency.
And since Mason's pointless death, there has apparently not been an inquest or an investigation of why our health care system let Mason and his family down so badly.
The whole story is somewhat inexplicable, until you realize that Beverley is Aboriginal and so was Mason. Did that have anything to do with how Mason was misdiagnosed, and Beverley's concerns were dismissed? We don't know, but the FSIN has now asked for an Aboriginal advocate to investigate problematic Aboriginal health care cases.
So now the Star Phoenix leaps into action.
They didn't do an editorial about how badly the health care system let down this family. They didn't demand that little Mason's death be investigated.
But now they have trained their editorial distain on the only suggestion made so far which might discern the truth about why this baby was not treated. Here's an example of the tone:
Whether or not the baby's death was avoidable is something that warrants investigation. But to do so in a confrontational manner generally won't improve care at the hospital, or bring back the baby. It also could be highly damaging for health-care providers and other patients if authorities resort to over-testing and redundant reporting simply to avoid blame.
Because Heaven forbid we should get confrontational over the needless death of an innocent baby. Why, someone's feelings might be hurt!
They go on to pearl-clutch over how truly awful it would be if someone actually got sued over this case:
It could be even more disastrous to the health system if the baby Mason case has to be sorted out in court . . . The risk of litigation also has led to hospitals and doctors ordering redundant and mostly unnecessary tests as a way to avoid being held liable.
In a Canadian health-care system that is already hard-pressed to find the manpower and resources to do vital medical tests, it is frightening to think what would happen if lawyers as well as doctors demand that it perform more.
Well apparently in this case, the system could hardly have done less.
But the stupidest statement in this editorial is this astounding sentence
Of even greater concern is the pain and discomfort small children would have to endure as health-care workers extract more bodily fluids -- not to improve care but to mitigate legal liability.
How noble, its all about the children, really.... but does this editorial writer really mean to imply that death is better than an uncomfortable medical test? Besides, a simple chest xray hardly falls into the category of a medical test which requires endurance.
The editorial wraps up with statement about how an advocate "could easily result in a loss of trust on both sides."
So what? If trust is the casualty of better care, then that's a trade-off we should all be quite willing to make.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Our Prime Minister's Office is staffed by 14-year-old boys.

Great line of the day

Booman writes about Obama's first year:
Obama is by nature a bridge-builder. He isn't afraid of the other side and sees value-in-itself to working with them. He assembled a Team of Rivals and former opponents in his cabinet. Early on, he reached out by inviting Republicans to attend public workshops at the White House. The response was an embrace of Birtherism and Teabagging, combined with rigidly disciplined obstruction on a totally unprecedented scale . . .
Obama will need to become tougher. His challenge will be to do so without losing that bridge-building quality that was so integral to his message of hope.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Napolitano is an idiot

As a mother who just watched her two children get on a plane today, I found this CNN interview with Janet Napolitano profoundly bizarre.
She babbles perky talking points about how everything is just great and everyone should feel perfectly safe because "the system worked" and other airlines were warned about the Detroit bomber right away and nothing bad happened -- and she blithely ignores Crowley's observations that it was apparently only the bomber's own ineptitude and the quick thinking of other passengers, not federal watch lists or airline security procedures, which prevented a tragedy.
I don't know who told Napolitano that her job was to pat people on the head and focus on airline profitability instead of public safety, but she needs to cut it out. This interview hit a sour note.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Harper is talking about proroging Parliament again, I guess to avoid having to deal with Ignatieff and his Liberals over torture, climate change policy, the list goes on.
Sure Steve, you just do that.
Canadians who are struggling to find work and to pay their bills and their taxes are sure to be sympathetic -- Prime Ministering is such hard work, ya know, that sometimes you just need to throw the country into an uproar so you can get a few days of peace and quiet, without those annoying questions coming up again and again.
The most pathetic and enduring image from last December was Rick Mercer's report about how Conservative staffers had to show up at 24 Sussex at 6 am to cheer when Harper drove by, so he would be in a better mood when he got to the office.
He thought they were real.

Happy Festivus

Top ten list

The Onion selects the top ten news stories of the last 4.5 billion years.

Take your pick

Theft? Or incompentence? Not much of a choice, but there it is.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Is my memory failing?

So our finance minister is scolding Obama about the US debt.
Funny, I don't recall Flaherty ever saying anything to George Bush about his deficit, but of course, my memory could be failing.

Great line of the day

Jane Hampsher has lost her mind and Ezra Klein calls her on it while also providing a rationale for the American health care reform bill:
. . . Hamsher's list implies that the bill is failing relative to a world in which we don't kill the bill.
But in that world, there's still no drug re-importation. Still 50 million uninsured. Still rampant cost growth. In the world where we pass the bill, most everything gets somewhat better, if not good enough. More people have insurance. The insurance industry ditches its worst practices. Fewer families go medically bankrupt. More people catch diseases early, when they can be cured, rather than late, when they become fatal. People who would otherwise have died live. The medical system begins the process of updating itself for the 21st Century, and responding to the cost pressures it's placing on the rest of the country.
The world in which we kill the bill is a world in which everything just continues to get worse, and politicians are scared away from the issue for decades. A world in which we pass the bill is a world in which things get better, and politicians remember that they can pass big pieces of legislation that take on, or begin taking on, big problems.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Nobody tells MacKay nuthin'

Dawg alerts us to this horrible story about a prisoner being kept in a intolerably hot cell, and once again poor Peter MacKay just didn't know anything about it:
Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office said the Global National report was the first they had heard of the incident and they’ve asked the defence department for more information.
Isn't it just too bad that nobody associated with the Canadian military in Afghanistan thinks to tell the Minister about this stuff?
Or so we hear.
Could I suggest something? Perhaps the Canadian government could write up some sort of document -- call it a "policy" or a "directive" or something like that -- which lists all of the offices which are to be told about bad things that happen in Afghanistan. And perhaps the office of the Defense Minister could be on that list?
Just a suggestion...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advice for Tiger

ESPN reporter Bill Simmons passes on the list of things Tiger Woods should do according to PR advisor Dan Klores:
1. If you can’t tell your wife the truth from the get-go, recognize immediately that you shouldn’t marry again, and that the grass isn’t always greener from the other side.
2. Hit the links, start giving huge bucks to African-American charities, show up at church, double your dose of Viagra and use it for your wife, understand “it’s never going to be the same,” see a shrink two to three times per week minimum, do Larry King, then a few weeks later do Leno.
3. Demand your money back from The Enquirer, and demand your money back from any of the girlfriends.
4. Ignore every so-called “crisis communication” expert who sought a headline by claiming you didn’t get out in front of the story, because they have obviously never been caught cheating on their wives.
5. Attend the NBA All-Star Weekend’s slam dunk contest.
6. Tell the world that Sarah Palin is an idiot so at least 52.9 percent of Americans will agree with you.
I thought the last one showed flair.

Goodbye to the Doctor

Well, losing the doctor may be a brilliant negotiating triumph but we saw Halladay pitch in the game we went to in Toronto last summer, and he was a joy to watch and I'm sorry to see him go.

What I learned

Reading the latest comments to my Olympics post, I guess I can admit that I have learned something from this post.
If all politics are local, then some are very local indeed. I had no idea there was such a depth of anti-Olympic feeling in Vancouver, and I think many people in the rest of Canada would also be surprised. Here I was thinking that Vancouver as a whole was proud to be chosen to host such an event, and that the people who lived there were lucky to be involved in the Olympic events.
Instead, I am wondering whether there has ever been another Olympics where such a number of people in the host city are so vehemently opposed, and their opposition is so heartfelt and entrenched, that they can find nothing good to say about it.
Sort of the way I felt about George Bush coming to speak in Saskatoon.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Octopus's garden

Scientists find octopus that carries, assembles coconuts for shelter. Ringo was right:
I'd like to be under the sea
In an octopus' garden in the shade
He'd let us in, knows where we've been
In his octopus' garden in the shade

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Canadian story

There is something quintessentially Canadian about this:
A Regina bylaw is being misused by police as a tool to curb street begging and should be repealed, city administrators are recommending.. . . the Tag Day Bylaw was originally intended to regulate fundraising by charitable organizations.
"The bylaw was not intended to regulate the solicitation of funds for personal gain," the report noted. Police in Regina, however, have been applying the law to discourage street begging.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The line forms to the right, babe!

So today the CRTC joins the Wheat Board, Atomic Energy of Canada, Elections Canada, the Canada Food Inspection Agency, the RCMP Complaints Commission, the Military Police Complaints Commission, and the Marquee Tourism Events Program as another federal agency which is apparently being run by ignoramuses who aren't doing their jobs very well.
Isn't it wonderful that we have the Prime Minister and his Conservative cabinet ministers to overturn the decisions made by all these know-nothings?
But unlike many of these other agencies, the telcom decision is worth millions of dollars. So by next week I expect the goodies will start to flow -- every company that was ever turned down by a Canadian bureaucrat will start lobbying for a do-over, while every company which has been following the rules will be lobbying even harder to maintain the status quo.
And a good time will be had by all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Get with the program

This is a beautiful moment

This is not:

The anti-Olympics industry in Vancouver is getting tiresome and old.
It's perfectly possible to object to sexist decisions against women ski-jumpers, and its quite legitimate to demand that Vancouver's homeless are treated with humanity during the games, and its absolutely appropriate to make sure nobody is stealing the money.
But after two decades of stagnation, Vancouver is going to be showcased as a world city by these Olympics, and Canadians should take pride in that.

Great line of the day

Josh Marshall asks Hard Questions:
Who to believe on climate change mystery: scientists or conservative pundits? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


Muhei waited below, his arms outstretched. Liza turned to him, shaking with joy as she was passed to her owner.
Muhei whispered into her ear as he stepped over broken bricks, then put Liza down. Her tail never stopped wagging as Muhei rubbed her neck and ears as she lapped water from a muddy puddle.
One good news story from Baghdad today.

Obama's theme song

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Be careful what you wish for

Hoist on his own petard!
So Conservative blogger Stephen Taylor tried to put down the Liberals by posting this graph showing how many so called "fossil of the day awards" the Chretien/Martin Liberals "won" for blocking progress at the United Nations Climate Change negotations:

In reply, Steve V gives us this graph showing how the Harper Conservatives managed to surpass both the Saudis and the US to lead the world in fossil awards at the last round of climate talks at Bali:

So I guess we can conclude that the Liberal "achievement" over five years doesn't compare to what Harper managed in just 10 days!
Seems like we're on pace at Copenhagen, too, tying with the Saudis for third place on day one. Go, team, go!

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I think this is sad:
"[The long gun registry] was the centrepiece of their legacy, the biggest thing we did over the last 20 years," said Sylvie Haviernick, who lost her sister, Maud, to Marc Lépine's killing spree. "We can't in all decency let it go."
So apparently we've given up on achieving a society where men don't resent women for entering "male" professions like engineering. And we're not focusing on improving our capacity to identify and treat psychotics before they explode. Can it be true that all we have done in two decades for the Montreal massacre victims is spend millions of dollars to make it more bureaucratic for hunters to own rifles?
Seems to me that the only real accomplishment of the long gun registry has been to make it almost impossible for Liberals to get elected west of the Lakehead.
That's not the memorial these women deserved.


Shorter Maureen Dowd
How dare those dusky people act like us?

Sick and tired

Sore throat and cough (yes, I had the shot last week so its not that) but I've had to miss going to some things I wanted to go to, and now I'm just sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Here's about all the complexity I can handle right now:

And this one:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The beatings will continue until morale improves

Dawg sums up the Harper government's tortuous torture story with this "unfortunate analogy":>
An unfortunate analogy occurs to me. The Harper government is behaving very much like a stubborn prisoner reluctant to confess. Electric cables and beatings are obviously not ours to deploy, even if by now we were to have the unpleasant urge to use such devices. Nevertheless, we--blogospherians, frustrated parliamentary committee members, bloodhound journos, various fed-up officials, human rights activists, maybe even The Hague--have ways of making you talk.
It's just a matter of time. And there's no point screaming--because we don't give a damn about your pain.
Drip, drip, drip... the revelations keep coming day by day.
Here's the latest one in which we hear the most convoluted scenario I have ever read, all about how our military says they don't want to be policemen but they have been arresting people without evidence that justifies the arrest and then the Afghan authorities are releasing those people without, apparently, torturing them for confessions, so our soldiers are supposed to be all discouraged and disheartened.
More discouraging, I would think, is how nobody seems to be able to say why these people were being arrested in the first place, if they weren't committing a crime.
But at least Obama, for all the criticism of his speech, has finally laid out a rationale for why the Afghanistan war is continuing -- its not about nation building
he made explicitly clear that we are in Afghanistan to serve our own interests (as he perceives them), not to build a better nation for Afghans. Nation-building, he said, goes "beyond ... what we need to achieve to secure our interests" and "go beyond our responsibility."
They're not making the world safe for democracy; they're making it safe for the United States.
So now, finally, Canada can decide whether that is a goal we can share.

Being a parent

Jim Griffieon writes about being a parent in a post titled Gratitude. It starts
Several friends and acquaintances have recently announced their first pregnancies, and I find myself offering the usual pithy niceties and dull truisms, an aloof veteran patting the backs of the new recruits just before they hoist themselves over the top into the maelstrom of shrapnel and armament. Welcome to the trenches. I hope you don't mind the smell of human excrement.
But there's more to it than just that....
Thanks to Nancy Nall for linking to this piece.

Broken record

Shorter Peter MacKay:
You've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a shit.
Actually, I don't know why we would be the least bit surprised that our Conservative government didn't care about what was being done to Afghan prisoners -- they don't think it's their job to help Canadians who get into trouble abroad either.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Dawg finds the smoking gun -- the Corrections Canada official who testified today that she saw no signs of torture when she was in Afghanistan is the same person who complained three years ago about needing new boots because she was walking through too much blood and shit in the Afghanistan jail cells.
So was she lying then? Or now?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Next year country

Good on ya, guys. You played your hearts out for us, but, as my son quipped, for once the 13th man did you in.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Twitter Hamlet

Lance Mannion gives us the 21st century Hamlet:

SwtPrince_dk Oh that this 2 2 solid flesh wld melt thaw resolve itself=dew

SwtPrince_dk RT @Marcellus Something is rotten in the state of DK || Ya think?

SwtPrince_dk RT @DaneKing I am thy father’s spirit || Oh yeah? Prove it!

SwtPrince_dk @Horatio In heaven & earth > yr philosophy

SwtPrince_dk 2B or not 2B that is the ? Thoughts?

SwtPrince_dk Alas, poor Yorick I knew him @Horatio. See my blog for post I wrote about him, Infinite Jest.

SwtPrince_dk @Horatio Fie on the 140 character limit!

SwtPrince_dk @Horatio Forget it. Never saw the point of the @NorwayFort subplot anyway

SwtPrince_dk @Horatio iphone battery dying too. Irony?

SwtPrince_dk @Horatio The rest is silence

Saturday Morning Cartoon

How to Play Football (1944)

Our Riders were still called the "Regina Roughriders" when this cartoon was made, so maybe that's why they weren't featured in it!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pig in a poke

Anybody who voted for the Saskatchewan Party because they assumed that this gang would do a better job managing public revenues is realizing about now that they bought a pig in a poke.
The latest mess is the screw up of school financing -- last spring the Sask Party did the bidding of their rural base by lowering school taxes and eliminating the ability of school boards to set their own mill rates.
Now with the drop in potash revenues, its becoming clear that they won't be able to afford to backfill school budgets like they promised they would.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Building a life

I have often hoped that the American football players who come to Saskatchewan to play football would realize that here is a place where they could build a life.
Instead of breaking their contracts and leaving the first chance they get, to break their hearts and lose their skills sitting on an NFL team bench, or to disappear into the second-banana coaching staff at Redneck U, these young players could stay in Regina, where they could not only keep on playing football at a high level but also become a leader and a highly-respected contributor to the community.
Darian Durant gets it.
"I don't think a quarterback has been around here for longer than four or five years in a long time," Durant said. "I just want to change the culture.
"We have a good nucleus here. Let's build around it, and let's try to build a dynasty."
Durant is actually the first Saskatchewan quarterback of note to take his first professional snap with the Riders and develop into a starter.
On his website Durant promises "We will make Rider Nation proud!"
Double D, you already have.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

$15.3 million? Oh, never mind

Mint officials double-counted some gold bullion they sold, and also underestimated the shrinkage of the gold during processing.
Well, OK then. And you know those taxes I'm supposed to be paying you next April? Well, there's gonna be a little shrinkage, just a few bookkeeping errors really, but don't you worry boys, you'll get most of it, I'm sure...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

That clunking sound

That clunking sound you hear is the other shoe dropping on the Afghan prisoner torture story.

Watching the game

You could shoot a cannon down Saskatoon streets right now -- everybody's watching the game.
Go team, go!!!

Psalm 109 verse 8

You know, if it was Muslims who claimed they were "joking" about killing Obama, the American media would be outraged. But its people who call themselves Christians, so never mind...

Great line of the day

About the Con attempt to smear diplomat Richard Colvin, POGGE writes
But it doesn't matter how faithfully you serve this government. If it becomes convenient for them to throw you under a bus, then under the bus you go.
This is just the latest example in a long line which demonstrates that the Harper government values loyalty above all else, not competence or principle or accomplishment. God help us all if these guys ever get a majority.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Word salad

More word salad from Sarah Palin
O'Reilly: Let me be bold and fresh again. Do you believe you are smart enough, and incisive enough, intellectual enough, to handle the most powerful job in the world?
Palin: I believe that I am because I have common sense, and I have, I believe, the values that are reflective of so many American values. And I believe that what Americans are seeking is not the elitism, the, um, the, ah -- kind of spineless -- a spinelessness that perhaps is made up for that with elite Ivy League education and -- fact resume that's based on anything but hard work and private-sector, free-enterprise principles. Americans could be seeking something like that in positive change in their leadership. I'm not saying that that has to be me.
And considering that Palin cobbled together courses from four colleges to get a degree, and since has spent almost her entire working life being paid a public-sector salary, she really means it too, you betcha!

Lipstick on a pig?

Hillier says Obama can rally Canadians to support continued Canadian participation in the war in Afghanistan
Whether Canadian troops stay or leave Afghanistan could largely depend on the eloquence of U.S. President Barack Obama and his ability to rally western nations, says former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier.
Uh, no, you can't blame it on Obama -- even Obama can't put lipstick on this pig.


The bloom is off the rose when it comes to the Saskatchewan Party and the provincial budget-- and they are being called on it. The Star Phoenix editorial says:
...Although the minister argued he has been able to keep Saskatchewan's books in the black, it was only due to such jiggery-pokery as tapping into the questionable Growth and Financial Security Fund and using one-time revenue of $275 million from the sale of the Crown's share of Saskferco.
. . . . relying on [resource] revenues to fund operating expenses isn't a sustainable long-term strategy.
Worse still is for the government to be spending projected revenues from volatile resource sales before it actually has the money in the bank.
Murray Mandrky blasts them:
What was most disturbing about Thursday's mid-year Saskatchewan budget update wasn't the bungled $1.8-billion miscalculation of potash revenue, nor was it necessarily the throw-caution-to-the-wind decision to wager the equivalent of 20 per cent of our annual spending on a volatile resource at its apex and likely to face some level of decline
It wasn't the startlingly unwise decision to spend the one-time sale of Saskferco assets to cover off the day-to-day operations of a government, nor was it the lack of anything vaguely resembling an austerity plan to deal with what might be another year of decline.
. . . What was truly most disturbing was the complete and total lack of humility we saw from this Saskatchewan Party government, which should damn well be embarrassed by its own incompetence right now . . . What is it about running government that you don't understand?
People are angry and it's going to get nothing but worse for Brad and the boys. And I'll bet at least a few of them are thinking about that dropped lawsuit right about now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm sure its all Obama's fault

I noticed this story -- KKK Planning Protest Of Ole Miss Football Game -- because the coach who brought the Riders to their last Grey Cup, Kent Austin, is now an assistant coach at Ole Miss.
Here's the disputed song, with the offensive "The South Will Rise Again" chant:

The Klu Klux Klan says it's all the "librulls" fault:
"We aren't coming there to cause problems or cause trouble," Tate said. "Trouble has already been caused by a handful at Ole Miss, including the black student body president, who wants to shape Ole Miss into yet another liberal sodomite college."
I'm not exactly sure how gay rights got into the mix, but hey, the more the merrier.
And if there is a riot -- and considering this is the last home game of the season between two bitter rivals, who would be surprised -- I'm sure the GOP and Fox News will figure out a way to blame it all on Obama.
UPDATE: How deeply ingrained is the belief that "The South will rise again" ? Read this.

Deny, deny -- and wait it out

Here's the news coverage chart from Google News , which lists 350 recent stories about Canadian complicity in torture of Afghan prisoners now posted in Canadian news outlets and in newspapers around the world:

Here are the marker stories:
A - Mackay and I, on Afghanistan
‎Nov 17, 2009‎ -
B - Canada complicit in torture of innocent Afghans, diplomat says
‎Nov 18, 2009‎ - Globe and Mail
C - Tories attack credibility of diplomat who blew whistle on torture
‎8 hours ago‎ - Globe and Mail
D - Tories refuse demands for inquiry into torture allegations
‎1 hour ago‎ - Toronto Star
You can see the outline of the government strategy here -- refuse to answer questions, shoot the messenger, blame the enemy, deny everything, and wait for a shiny new ball to bounce past and distract the media.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Excellent article -- How one family won the battle to ban homework. I know exactly what those parents were going through night after night with the homework overload -- the vast majority of homework is just about worthless educationally, and don't get me started on the "projects".
My kids had several excellent teachers and some positive experiences. But I have often said that the day my youngest graduated from Grade 12 and we were finished with the public school system was one of the happiest days of my life!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

WATB* of the day

CTV is threatening to take its ball and go home.
Canada’s largest private broadcaster, CTV, said it would pull its signal or block out popular programs unless it can agree on a new financial deal with cable and satellite companies.
I hate this kind of bullying pseudo-blackmail stuff from a company like CTV, which has had 40 years of national TV advertising revenues.
My reaction is, OK, fine -- stop broadcasting and close up shop, if that's what you want. We'll just watch what we want online until Global and CBC can pick up your slack.
*In case you've forgotten, WATB stands for Whiny-Ass-Titty-Baby.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Numb whackiness

Bad Astronomy has a post about clearing snow off your car, and has lots of comments from people who live in areas where it doesn't snow very often. Here's the funniest:
I live in an area that sees serious snow perhaps every two or three years. This reduces people to a state of numb wackiness. Who knows what they’ll do. I’ve talked with people who won’t scrape all of the snow off their car because they don’t want to leave it in their driveway.


Shorter Globe and Mail editorial on chosing the next Governor-General:
Here's how we can stop Harper from picking a yes-man for the next Governor-General!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The wrong decision

Ski jumping is the only Winter Olympic sport restricted to men.
And that's just fine with the Vancouver Olympic Committee and the British Columbia courts.
The BC Court of Appeal made the wrong decision when it denied the women ski jumpers: earlier court decision had found that, while the women were discriminated against, in breach of the Charter, Olympic events are determined by the IOC, which is beyond the Charter's reach.
'The Canadian court system is a little bit weak if it can't stand up to the IOC and apply Canadian law,' Ms. Vonn said. 'It seems the IOC can come in here and do whatever it wants.
'I mean, it's 2009 and the Canadian courts can't even uphold their own laws about discrimination and equality. From my point of view, it's pathetic and a little bit sad.'
More than just a little bit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Men are from Mars yada yada

From Slate Magazine's Dear Prudence -- maybe I'm just getting too cynical, but this did make me laugh:
Dear Prudence,
My husband and I recently attended a funeral. The service was so intense that someone actually fainted. I'm a nurse, so I dashed over to the man's side. He had a health issue, so 911 was called, and he was taken to the hospital. On the way home, my husband asked me about the fellow who fainted. I shared the experience of helping a stranger and talked about the funeral and the eulogy. I was pouring my heart out, but when I took a breath, he broke in and said, "I see Pedro's in the game." When I told him that he was being insensitive, he said he thought I was done and that he was ready to move on. I don't see the value in discussing the World Series while trying to process an exhausting experience. How can I let him know that it means a lot to be able to share my feelings and experiences with him?
—Strike Out
Dear Strike Out,
The funeral sounds grueling, and I understand why you are upset. However, I hope you don't think I'm insensitive when I tell you your letter made me smile because it could be titled "Men and Women, Summed Up." Look, your husband asked, he thought you were done, and, ah, Pedro just got in the game. It would be better if he now came to you and apologized for not hearing you out, but staying mad over this is just going to make both of you defensive. Your husband sounds as if he is capable of listening to you, and can do so—just not while a sporting event is being broadcast. I promise you that if a football game was on, and I called out to my husband, "I'm on fire, our daughter is giving birth, and the cat is eating the dog," he'd say something like, "Ah, yeah. That sounds great. … Be right there. Defense, you idiots! Defense!"


My mother was a WREN in World War II, and my aunt was a war nurse in Italy, and my father-in-law flew bombers for the RAF, my American cousin survived Vietnam, and now my children's friends are in Afghanistan -- a boy my son went to school with was buried in Saskatoon the other day.
The older I get, the more I agree with Bobby Darin -- we the people here don't want a war.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Great line of the day

Boris visualizes...:
This video (Sen. Mike Duffy calling Peter Stoffer MP, a "faker" prior to dashing off an RCMP mess dinner), and this post at Dawg's, caused me to imagine a near future headline reading "Mike Duffy appointed RCMP Commissioner".
I hope I haven't ruined anyone's dinner.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

First in the West!

The Riders do it -- go Green! Tonight they played like the champions they are.

Speaking of stupid...

Firedoglake ranted all summer and fall about how absolutely crucially important it was that US heatlh care reform include a public option.
So tonight the US Congress passed a health care reform bill which includes the public option.
Is Firedoglake happy?
Of course not.

Stupidest headline ever

The Globe and Mail asserts
As the Forces spend money and sacrifice lives in Afghanistan, Canadians have warmed to the country's new role as a warrior nation.
No, we haven't.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Long gun registry isn't worth the trouble

The gun registry was a classic example of a well-meaning government program brought in with such unsympathetic, ignorant, arrogant, high-handedness that it became a symbol for everything western Canada dislikes about eastern Canada. And on top of that, somebody in Ottawa also had the bright idea that they could use the registry to test run for a whole lot of expensive, complicated, poorly-understood new technology.
So the Liberals ended up wasting millions of dollars to piss off millions of Canadians.
Finally, the long gun registry is on its way to being abolished and I can hardly wait. I am not opposed to a gun registry as such, but I continue to be amazed at how many people, particularly in western Canada, are.
And at the top of their lungs.
And for all the trouble it has caused, the registry seems to have accomplished very little of value for Canadians. Good riddance.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

There's a lesson in this

Why did an upstate New York congressional district election matter so much? Because it pitted Sarah Palin against Newt Gingrich for the soul of the Republican party.
And guess who won?
Neither of them.
Obama took it, for the first time since the Civil War.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Another freak-out is on the way

Well, we can expect another freak-out over the latest flap on health care reform -- the "opt-in" public option instead of the "opt-out" public option.
Did you know that Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the pharmaceutical companies were manoeuvering all along to pass a horrible health care bill? Did you know that the White House secretly plotting to screw America? Did you know that the only truly patriotic thing for the Democrats to do now is join the Republicans in voting down the health care bill? I expect to be reading all this and more next week in the Comment threads at Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Daily Kos, Americablog . . .
Its just a funny coincidence that voting down the health care bill is exactly what Republicans and the health insurance industry want to happen, isn't it?
I just posted this comment over at Digby's place and I'm repeating it here:
I hope Americans will soon realize there is no perfect health care plan -- single-payer, opt-out, opt-in, public-private mix, whatever, they all have problems and none are going to be effective in all circumstances.
In pushing for a reform bill to be approved, what Obama is actually doing here is shifting the momentum toward health care reform. But you will find that health care reform is not an event, its a process.
Canada approved medicare in the 1960s and we have spent the last 40 years fighting about it. As it turned out, it wasn't so important exactly what we passed, as that we passed SOMETHING that gave everyone a place to start.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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?

Peeking through the curtains?

Stop gushing, John. Its just embarrassing.


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.

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.

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)
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....

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.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


What does this story remind me of?

How much do smoke and mirrors cost these days?

Over $100,000.

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

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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:

Friday, October 09, 2009


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.

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!

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Chaos erupts at Cobo as thousands jockey for aid 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.

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.

Monty Python is 40

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

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 . . .

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."

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...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Two kinds of people

Emily Yoffe (Dear Prudence) on the difference between phoning and texting:
I think the world is beginning to divide into two groups of people. Those who love to shout into the cell phone that there was too much mayo on the turkey sandwich they had for lunch, and those who prefer to text this crucial information.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mr. President, we cannot allow a mine-shaft gap!

Right-wing anti-Obama journalist John Perry says if Obama doesn't give the generals more troops for Afghanistan, he should be afraid of a military coup:
There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the “Obama problem.” Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic. . . . Military intervention is what Obama’s exponentially accelerating agenda for “fundamental change” toward a Marxist state is inviting upon America. A coup is not an ideal option, but Obama’s radical ideal is not acceptable or reversible.
These people are nuts.

Great line of the day

Nancy Nall says Roman Polanski is guilty, guilty, guilty.
The older I get, the more com­fort­able I am with sit­u­a­tions that are muddy, com­pli­cated, filled with icky peo­ple on both sides but still have a clear right/wrong dis­tinc­tion, and this is one of them. . . . No real prac­ti­cal pur­pose will be served by lock­ing up Polan­ski at this point, but (shrug).
UPDATE: Sorry, I should have included more of Nall's text to explain her view more fully, which is that irregardless of Polanski's record of artistic accomplishments, he should still have to serve out whatever jail term he is given.

All of the above

Rabble is running a poll:
What was the most disturbing thing that came out of the G20 meetings in Pittsburgh last week?
--The heavy-handed police repression of protesters
--The news that Canada would co-host the G20 in 2010
--PM Harper's assertion that Canada 'has no history of colonialism'
Too bad they don't have a button for "all of the above".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Juan Cole says

Whenever Iran or the Middle East are in the news, I go to Juan Cole to see what he is saying about it. In his piece about Iran's Qom Enrichment Facility he provides a useful summary of the problem:
Julian Borger and Patrick Wintour of the Guardian report that Iran was forced to acknowledge the site because Western intelligence had picked it up in satellite photographs and then gathered information on it by other means. Ahmadinejad is correct in saying that by the letter of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has not done anything illegal, insofar as the site has not gone operational and Iran is giving 6 months notice. However, the Iranian government had additionally pledged to the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2006 that it would alert the UN to any new new nuclear facility immediately. So Iran may not have broken the law but it has broken its word.
For Iran to break its word on this matter is, moreover, as serious as for it to break the law. (This self-destructive and overly cocky way of proceeding in Tehran was the subject of my column for Salon this week, asking if Ahmadinejad is intent on turning his country into an international pariah.) Iran's enemies, who want it put under severe economic sanctions of the sort that turned Iraq into a fourth-world country, and ideally would like to see the regime in Tehran overthrown-- if necessary by military means-- will point to the secret development of a new enrichment site as a sign of Tehran's essential deviousness.
. . .the law and the facts of the matter are less important than the determination of Europe and the US that Iran not develop even the Japan option. And this Qom facility and the delay in notification are powerful political arrows in the sanctions quiver.
And here's his conclusion:
I am personally opposed to further sanctions on Iran unless they are very carefully targeted so as not to harm ordinary people. Regimes running oil states are not very vulnerable to sanctions. Moreover, sanctions against Iran are deeply unfair if Israel, India and Pakistan are held harmless for ignoring the NPT altogether and for developing their bombs. In fact, the way the UNSC is proceeding against Iran is such as to destroy the NPT, because any country in its right mind would prefer to withdraw from it and just do as it pleases, a la Israel, than to submit to it and have that submission be a pretext for sanctions, even where the signatory country had done nothing contrary to the letter of the law.
Finally, I leave readers with a caveat. There may be less to the Qom plant than meets the eye. Beware the Hype.