Monday, May 30, 2011

What else are they lying about?

Reading the story about how the Harper government deliberately excluded critical oilsands data from an environmental report done for the United Nations forces me to ask:
So what else is the Harper government lying to Canadians and to the world about?

One thing is for sure, the United Nations will never believe anything we say ever again.
And I wonder what the G8 now thinks about listening to Harper?

After the tornado

ER Stories describes what it was like to be in the Joplin hospital during and after the tornado::
I remember a patient in his early 20’s gasping for breath, telling me that he was going to die. After a quick exam, I removed the large shard of glass from his back, made the clinical diagnosis of a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and gathered supplies from wherever I could locate them to insert a thoracostomy tube in him. He was a trooper; I’ll never forget his courage. He allowed me to do this without any local anesthetic since none could be found. With his life threatening injuries I knew he was running out of time, and it had to be done. Quickly. Imagine my relief when I heard a big rush of air, and breath sounds again; fortunately, I was able to get him transported out. I immediately moved on to the next patient, an asthmatic in status asthmaticus. We didn’t even have the option of trying a nebulizer treatment or steroids, but I was able to get him intubated using a flashlight that I held in my mouth. A small child of approximately 3-4 years of age was crying; he had a large avulsion of skin to his neck and spine. The gaping wound revealed his cervical spine and upper thoracic spine bones. I could actually count his vertebrae with my fingers.
...As I finished up what I could do at St John’s, I walked with two RN’s to a makeshift MASH center that was being set up miles away at Memorial Hall. We walked where flourishing neighborhoods once stood, astonished to see only the disastrous remains of flattened homes, body parts, and dead people everywhere. I saw a small dog just wimpering in circles over his master who was dead, unaware that his master would not ever play with him again. At one point we tended to a young woman who just stood crying over her dead mother who was crushed by her own home. The young woman covered her mother up with a blanket and then asked all of us, “What should I do?” We had no answer for her, but silence and tears.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Great line of the day

From Kevin Drum via Steve Benen:
“Every once in a while I feel like I’ve succumbed to partisan madness and need to back off and assume a bit more good faith and sincerity from thinkers and activists on the other side. I need to treat conservative arguments with a little more respect and a little more generosity. But then….”

Is that a celphone in your pocket

Or are you just glad to see me?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The question

Since The Night of the Liberal Dead on May 2, the question that the Liberal party has been struggling to answer is this:
Why does Canada need you anymore?
Cutting through the wailing and gnashing of teeth, new Liberal leader Bob Rae is getting back on the horse. He sounds determined to stop navel-gazing and instead work on giving Canadians an answer to the question of why Canada needs the Liberals.
He wants to focus on three issues that are crucial to the future of the nation:
the future of health care; the gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians; and national unity.
He's right. If Liberals can focus on these issues -- where historically they have had great strength and credibility -- they will be helping the country again.
Colour me encouraged.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Detroit 187

If TV fans could save one cancelled show, which would you want it to be?
For us, it would be Detroit 187. We love Michael Imperioli, for one thing. And the whole ensemble case was great.
But we also loved how they made the city of Detroit into part of the show. Episodes like the one about the couple killed during the Detroit riots in the 60s, and like the one about how some people are trying to rescue neighbourhoods one house at a time. Using great Motown music in their episodes. Great show. We will miss it next fall.

and this also, too

Turning on a dime

If there is one thing the 21st century had learned already, its that things will change on a dime.
George Bush wasn't going to be a memorable president -- until 911.
The Irish economy was the Celtic Tiger -- except when it collapsed. And the American economy was never going to quit -- except when it did.
The NDP was never going to get elected in Quebec -- then they won 50 seats.
And in spite of the thousands of American lives lost in 911 and in Afghanistan and in Iraq, the United States will always support Israel....except that Americans are starting to get pissed off at being lectured to and taken for granted.
Josh Marshall writes:
Netanyahu believes that US power is forever and that the US political consensus to support Israel in almost any policy choice it makes will never change. So he can simply ignore the currents of history and international affairs and thumb his nose at every other country in the world. But neither is true.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just watch him

Not even three weeks into his unfettered prime ministership, and Stephen Harper is already showing us what kind of prime minister he will be -- arrogant, unaccountable, partisan, and shortsighted.
And the media is already showing us what kind of press coverage we're going to get: arrogant, obedient, and obsessed with trivialities.
Warren Kinsella sums it up:
You get what you pay for, folks. You get the government you vote for. Suck it up.
On May 2, Canadians may have felt they were trooping to polling stations to bring to an end the seemingly interminable cycle of elections and minority governments, and return some stability for four years. They may have thought they were rewarding Stephen Harper for doing not badly through a global recession, and for not behaving like a Reform Party troglodyte following his first win in 2006. They may have thought they were doing their democratic duty.
In reality — and from Stephen Harper’s perspective — they were giving the Conservative Party a licence to do whatever the hell it wants to.
This is, I am now convinced, Stephen Harper’s last term as prime minister. By the time it’s over, he will have been in power for a decade.
And he plans to drop a few more bombs along the way.
Just watch him.

Just for laughs

Friday, May 20, 2011

Great line of the day

John Cole's brother:
I was talking to my brother (another atheist) a few moments ago, and I told him “You know tonight is the rapture?”
He looked at me and said “Really? Boy, I hope they take those people.”

Ain't nobody here but us chickens

The Toronto Star asks police to step up in the Dorian Barton beating case:
The silence surrounding this case makes a mockery of the appeals for information that police routinely issue to the public. Police regularly send out photos of suspects and ask civilians for help identifying them. They call on the public’s sense of civic responsibility and simple justice, and ask them to do the right thing. In the Barton case, police are showing they believe that basic expectation of citizenship does not apply to them . . . It’s up to the chief — or at least one courageous officer — to step up and answer the question: Who is the man in the photo?
An honourable person would come forward himself, without forcing any of his fellow officers to identify him... .oh, sorry, we're talking about the G20 police thugs here, I forgot.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pushing back creeping G20-ism

"Creeping G20-ism" is my term for the insidious attitude that says its OK for police to do whatever they want to whomever they want because any civilian who gets in their way must just be a thug anyway.
A couple of stories in today's Star Phoenix demonstrate some push back against creeping G20-ism.
Here's the first one:
Judge Barry Singer said officers had no authority to detain Kirkland Douglas Brown on Aug. 12, 2009, and their arrest and detention of him was unlawful.
"From my observations in court, the police in Saskatoon and the officers involved in this case, in particular, believe that section 209 of the Traffic Safety Act gives them the authority to stop any vehicle and determine the identity of the driver.
"This is not the law," Singer wrote.
Singer threw out police evidence and found Brown, 50, not guilty of obstructing a peace officer by disobeying a signal to stop, failing to produce a driver's licence and possessing a prohibited weapon.
Singer had already dismissed a charge of assaulting a police officer and heard evidence it was Brown who was injured during the arrest, not the officers.
And here's the other:
Saskatoon police officers are no longer able to charge people with assaulting peace officers without the approval of their superiors.
The policy was implemented two months ago, after the charge was thrown out in two cases involving men who said they were assaulted by arresting officers, not the other way around.. . . In March, a Crown prosecutor stayed three charges of assaulting a peace officer while attempting to resist arrest. The charges had been laid against Charles Vanneste, who alleges he was tackled by three uniformed officers, punched in the head and kneed in the back after making a comment to a uniformed sergeant.
Vanneste spent the night in a police cell and was charged with assaulting three peace officers and uttering a threat to cause death.
All of the charges were stayed the day his trial was set to begin.
And Joe Warmington at the Toronto Sun continues to fight the good fight. The tone of disgust in his latest column is palpable -- he is writing about a father whose son, Dorian Barton, was beaten during the G20 protests but whose police attackers are hiding behind a Blue Wall:
His purple bruises lasted all summer, his shoulder was fractured and he still does not have full use of it. The internal damage and suffering is hard to measure as he pursues legal action.
His father just wishes police would do the right thing and apologize to his son, whose charges of obstructing police and unlawful demonstrating were thrown out by the court. With or without criminal charges, the reality is Dorian was nothing more than a victim of an assault right in front of hundreds of police officers.
“You’d think one of these officers would be law abiding enough to recognize the one who inflicted this damage to my son,” said Ted.
Many are and may do exactly that. Some have told me they are offended at being ordered from above to condone unlawful and uncivilized incarcerations, false arrests, rubber bullet shootings, forced kettlings, the displaying of false evidence and illegal searches while letting the real criminals go on a rampage untouched.
Here's one of the photos of that beating:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Get back on the horse

It's stupid for Liberals to talk about delaying a leadership vote. The party is acting like a bunch of drama queens -- as though the recent election defeat was such a cataclysm, such a total and ultimate disaster, that no leader could possibly get his act together for years and years.
Do they think maybe somewhere there's a magical pony coming to save the party if they just wait long enough? If they wait too long, Canadians may discover they don't miss hearing what the Liberals have to say.
So, folks, the choice is clear: Bob Rae, Dominic LeBlanc, or Justin Trudeau. None are without flaws, but any one could do the job.
So pick one and get on with the real work of rebuilding this party before the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who did not vote Liberal can't remember why they ever did.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another sanity test

Anyone who takes Newt Gingrich seriously as a candidate for President of the United States is also certifiably nuts.

Saturday, May 07, 2011


As usual, the media seem to be focusing on trivialities, like how young some of the new NDP members of parliament are:

Canada's problem for the next four years is not going to be the age of the people sitting on the opposition benches:

Haven't we all felt like this some days?

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Our binary future

The Liberal party is going to get a lot of unsolicited advice over the next several months, but they could do much worse than listen to Jason Cherniak.
Jason tells the Liberal organization to clean out its Ottawa office, stop trying to pick "winners", and listen to the party membership.
One piece of his advice that I disagree with, however, is that the Liberals should "stay Liberal".
The future for progressives in Canada is to merge with the New Democrats.
As Toronto Star columnist Thomas Walkom says
Eventually, both parties will be forced to face the mathematics of the situation. Each wants to be the one to defeat the Harper Conservatives. Neither can do it alone.
As many other countries are discovering as well, the 21st Century political model is a binary one -- a yin yang toggle switch; the either-or language of the computer code. Politics is the forces of light vs the forces of darkness, and you're on our side or you're with the terrorists. No time for nuance or tolerance for compromise. The serpentine political slither between extremes is considered to be offensive, and labeled as unprincipled.
Myself, I actually liked the Liberals non-ideological approach, but I grew up in the last century.
Times have changed.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Gonna get my picture on the cover

Saskatoon rockers Sheepdogs are in the final four for the cover of the Rolling Stone.
Go! Vote!

And, of course...

What next?

Here's tonight's Liberal anthem:

Two weeks ago, Warren Kinsella wrote about what a Harper majority government would do:
* No abortion. In May of last year, Harper’s government was alone among G8 nations in opposing abortion as part of family-planning projects in poor nations. He stuck to his decision, even when facing criticism from Barack Obama. If put to a vote — and Tory MPs periodically push for one — abortion would be gone. Since Harper assumed control of the party in 2004, more than 80% of his caucus favour banning abortion.
* No gun control. More than other issue of its type, Harper has been clear about gun-safety laws — he detests them. In 2009, a Conservative backbencher’s bill to gut the centre of Canada’s gun control laws was defeated in Parliament. But Harper is undeterred. Throughout the campaign, he has said his party will go back to the issue and “scrap the long-gun registry.” Shootings generally account for a third of all murders in Canada; after tougher gun controls were introduced in 1995, shooting-related deaths dropped dramatically. But, despite the pleas of police officers and victims’ families, gun control will be history under a Harper majority.
* No equal marriage. In 2005, Harper and a majority of his party voted for the proposition that marriage can only happen between heterosexuals. During the debate on Bill C-38 — the equal marriage bill — Harper appeared at rallies where anti-gay rhetoric flourished. The Tory leader does not regard the issue as one of human rights. In Parliament in September 2003, he dismissed it as a discussion about “sexual behaviour.” It’ll be gone, too.
* The death penalty. Since 2004, Harper has said he favours a free vote on a return of the death penalty. He wrote the Reform Party platform that called for a binding referendum on it. Most of his caucus are onside, with a majority of Conservative MPs — including Harper’s current justice minister — voting for it the last time it was before the House in 1987. More recently, in an interview with CBC in January, Harper stated: “There are times where capital punishment is appropriate.” Harper hastened to add that he then had “no plans” to bring back the ultimate sentence.
There are many other issues where Stephen Harper has been clear about what he favours — such as more jails, more government advertising, more baubles for the generals — and what he does not.
He isn’t shy. It’s all there, on the record, for those who want to look.
And Tom Lukiwski told CKOM already tonight that the Wheat Board is toast.
Oh well, cheer up -- someday the Conservatives will bite the dust again too.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Now the desperate search really begins . . .

. . . for something to criticize about Obama's handling of the Osama Bin Laden track-down and execution.
UPDATE: And here we go!

Happy Warrior

Ignatieff says:
“Polls don’t elect MPs,” Mr. Ignatieff said. “Votes elect MPs. Let’s wait for the Canadian people to do what they want to do

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Brer Obama

Reading about about how all the jokes told by Obama about Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents dinner will end up raising Trump's profile as the leading Republican presidential candidate brings to mind another story.