Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Here we go again

The Conservatives act like its their own personal money and they can spend it however they like.
I'm not talking about what's in their pockets.
I'm talking about what came from our pockets -- our taxes.
It's NOT your money, Harper. It belongs to Canada.
And we want it spent the way the government's own rules say it should be spent.
Instead, we get the Harper Conservatives letting Tony Clement shovel $50 million into his own riding without any paper trail at all.
And then this same bunch of yahoos gleefully cut off grants to festivals and parades and arts organizations and all sorts of other community activities that the people of Canada support, just because Harper doesn't like them.
It happened to Toronto Pride, and pride activities across the country, and Montreal's Divers-Cité, and FrancoFolies de Montréal and now Toronto's Summerworks
And are we really going to hear, again, another raft of mealy-mouthed spin that the cut was just a coincidence and doesn't really reflect ideological hostility from the Prime Minister's Office?
Oh, please.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One year later

One man reports on how the G20 experience changed him:
The main change I’ve noticed in myself since the G20 is how much I hate cops now. Not only am I uncomfortable around them, as most people are—I hate them.
I didn’t feel this way before the G20. But now, this newfound hatred permeates every part of my existence: from walking down streets to browsing on Facebook and everywhere in between. I firmly believe that police functioned during the G20 as enemies of democracy, civil rights, and social justice, and that they function in similar ways, around the world and in Canada, every single day.
Hundreds of people rallied in Toronto to remember the G20 police riot and repeat the call for a public inquiry:

Toronto Star

Globe and Mail

City News -- and also see the video coverage of today's protest on this site.
The Torontoist provides this graphic of the G20 "numbers" today:

Videos from today's protests:

Be careful what you wish for

Hmmm ... in spite of the highly touted muscle of a Conservative majority government, maybe locking out the postal workers and then expecting them to be quickly legislated back to work wasn't such a great idea after all.
Back in the "bad old days" when those awful Liberals were the Opposition, chances are Harper would have quickly convinced several dozen liberal MPs to help him grease the passage of a business-friendly bill.
But legislative realities in Canada have obviously changed with the election of a unified 100-strong NDP opposition, which can and will sustain a filibuster over an issue of principle.

The Star Phoenix gets it


Its taken a long time, but the meaning of Canada's G20 tragedy finally seem to be sinking in.
Here's today's Star Phoenix editorial:
But as embarrassing as Vancouver was to the nation, what happened in Toronto is much more serious and frightening.
Although the internally prepared report by the Toronto police service, which was released late Thursday, owned up to errors, it is a long way from accepting responsibility for the mayhem that overtook Canada's largest city during the G-20 meeting last year.
It wasn't just the downtown businesses and the burned police cars that hurt Canada's reputation. It wasn't even that the police willfully pulled back during the worst of the riots, presumably so they could corral, 'kettle,' arrest and beat nonviolent demonstrators who were a safe distance away.
What hurt Canada the most that weekend a year ago is the blow that was dealt to our constitutionally protected rights to assembly and speech.
Yes. That's what we were complaining about a year ago.
Of course, the editorial goes on to blame "poorly trained police" who "lacked the fundamental understanding of Canada's tradition of human rights", so they still don't understand that this attitude emanated from the top, not the bottom.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Great line of the day

Orwell's Bastard discusses the Toronto police pity-party G20 report:
So Bill Blair's had some time to reflect on last summer's G20 clusterfuck, and good and loyal servant he is, he's graced us with a report. Among other things, he praises his officers for "facing danger and extreme provocation."
Indeed. Takes a special kind of guts to stand your ground in the face of a small woman blowing soap bubbles.
Emphasis mine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homophobe mayor

Marcus Gee rails against Rob Ford's decision to be the first Toronto mayor in 20 years to skip the gay pride parade:
Since becoming mayor, he has spurned every attempt by the gay community to reach out to him. He declined to come to a ceremony marking an international day opposing homophobia. He turned down many invitations from gay and lesbian groups to attend next week’s ceremonial flag raising for Pride Week, assigning city council’s Speaker to go in his place. It took him months even to do something as simple as sign the Pride Week proclamation.
Whether he means to or not, he has left the unfortunate and probably mistaken impression that he has a problem with gays and lesbians.
No, Marcus, it's not a mistake -- he DOES have a problem with gays and lesbians, like all homophobes do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's a cookbook!

The Conservatives are looking for a bureaucrat to lead the RCMP, not a policeman.
Because everybody knows how well respected bureaucrats are -- by the Harper government, by rank and file police officers, and by the Canadian public.
Its like watching Lloyd Bochner get on the spacecraft.

Milking it

Hmmm -- a low-key story in April about 17 Chinese cows with extra lysozyme enzymes in their milk has now morphed into a worldwide sensation about how a herd of 300 cloned cattle are producing near-human breast milk.
Is this a marvelous investment opportunity or what?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Two years?

In 2004, almost 5 million Canadians voted Liberal.
In 2011, only 2.7 million voted Liberal.
By the time Liberals finally choose a new leader in 2013, I wouldn't be surprised if there are at least another million Canadians can't remember who this party is or why they ever voted for them.
Why are they waiting so long? It seems because they're afraid of the Harper Conservatives:
They were persuaded [to wait] by former leader Stephane Dion, who reminded delegates of the hatchet jobs done on him and Ignatieff by relentless Tory attack ads. Liberals, he argued, must not choose a new leader until they've amassed the money and organization needed to fight back against the inevitable Tory onslaught . . . If Liberals choose a leader before undertaking any rebuilding, Dion said, "The leader will be without any protection facing the Conservatives."
And Dion also says:
"the only good news of this disastrous (election) result" is that Liberals have plenty of time to pull themselves back together.
How naive, to believe that Harper actually won't call another federal election until 2015.

Vancouver riot -- video game edition

The Tyee finds the most bizarre "coverage" of the Vancouver riot by the NMA News agency from Taiwan:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Great line of the day

New York State senator Roy MacDonald is one of the Republicans who is going to vote in support of gay marriage:
“You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing,” McDonald, 64, told reporters. “You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing.
“I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this.”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nice to see

Nice to see the United States and Canada united at last -- in our hatred of the Miami Heat and our joy at the Mavericks win!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Great line of the day

Steve V writes about Harper's delusional foreign policy hubris:
Irrelevant on climate change, non existent at the United Nations, playing NO role in key diplomatic initiatives, retreating from traditional development and aid, apart from the military angle, we've fallen badly in the eyes of the world. . . . while Conservatives wave the flag at home, enamoured with our supposed international greatness, remember abroad that flag isn't placed so prominently on backpacks anymore, and that's far more telling than rhetoric.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Lighten up

Oh, come on, folks. He can't fly commercial, but if Stephen Harper wants to take his daughter to watch a Stanley Cup game, why shouldn't he?
If we had had the chance to do that with our kids, we would have done it in a heartbeat, and it would have been an unforgettable memory.
Just too bad it had to be THAT game.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Try to imagine how little I care

Some days its difficult to find something in the news I care about.
Because one thing I don't really care about very much is whether consenting adults have affairs, talk sexy on the phone, take sexy photos of themselves or their lovers, consume Viagra, bathe in green tea, advertise on Craigs List, or otherwise indulge themselves in odd or embarrassing scenarios.
As long as its not abusive or exploitative or illegal, their behaviour is really of concern only to the spouse and the children, even when its one of those awful erotic asphyxiation deaths.
That goes for Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, John Edwards, George Rekers, Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, David Vittner, Bill O'Reilly, Bill Clinton, David Carradine, Sharon Smith, Princess Diana, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt . . .
Glenn Greenwald raises a good point about the Weiner media circus:
... the pretense of substantive relevance (which, lame though it was in prior scandals, was at least maintained) has been more or less brazenly dispensed with here. . . . This is just pure mucking around in the private, consensual, unquestionably legal private sexual affairs of someone for partisan gain, voyeuristic fun and the soothing fulfillment of judgmental condemnation. And in that regard, it sets a new standard: the private sexual activities of public figures -- down to the most intimate details -- are now inherently newsworthy, without the need for any pretense of other relevance.

“Please help me feel safe in this city again”

The Morden inquiry into the G20 debacle is going to be the only official public review we will ever have about what happened in Toronto a year ago.
The review, launched by the police services board last September, aims to tackle questions that remain on the minds of many Torontonians almost a year after the summit last June: Who gave the orders that led to the “kettling” of peaceful protesters at Queen St. and Spadina Ave.? Why did police disperse demonstrators from the designated “Free Speech Zone” at Queen’s Park? Who is responsible for the miscommunication of the so-called five-metre fence law?
It will also examine the issue of officers removing badges, the conditions at the temporary G20 jail on Eastern Ave., and the police board’s role in planning and oversight of police operations for other large-scale events.
Just so nobody forgets what it was like:

And how terrified the police were of the DFHs:

Monday, June 06, 2011

Thanks for the teeth

I have finally found the man I owe my teeth to.
He was Dr. Irwin Mandel, who just died in New York at age 89.
I was one of those kids who always had cavities. We didn't know anything about flossing when I grew up, and the first time I ever heard of teeth cleaning I was in my 20s. In spite of having had braces, so at least my teeth were straight, I continued getting cavities all the time and I was certain that I was just going to lose my teeth when I was 55, like my Dad did, and have to wear dentures ever after.
But a dentist convinced me that if I really tried to take care of my teeth -- flossing, regular cleaning, etc -- then I could keep them forever. He turned out to be right. I have a few crowns now, as my filling-filled molars wear out, but no plates and no dentures.
I have always wondered where this good advice came from and now I have found out the source -- it was Dr. Mandel whose research into preventive dentistry was the beginning of it all.
Thanks, Dr. Mandel, for saving my mouth.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

About protest

Johann Hari writes about the proof that protest works: :
The first ever attempt to hold a Gay Pride rally in Trafalgar Square was in 1965. Two dozen people turned up – and they were mostly beaten by the police and arrested. Gay people were imprisoned for having sex, and even the most compassionate defense of gay people offered in public life was that they should be pitied for being mentally ill.
Imagine if you had stood in Trafalgar Square that day and told those two dozen brave men and women: “Forty-five years from now, they will stop the traffic in Central London for a Gay Pride parade on this very spot, and it will be attended by hundreds of thousands of people. There will be married gay couples, and representatives of every political party, and openly gay soldiers and government ministers and huge numbers of straight supporters – and it will be the homophobes who are regarded as freaks.” It would have seemed like a preposterous statement of science fiction. But it happened. It happened in one lifetime. Why? Not because the people in power spontaneously realized that millennia of persecuting gay people had been wrong, but because determined ordinary citizens banded together and demanded justice.
If that cause can be achieved, through persistent democratic pressure, anything can.

Friday, June 03, 2011


The general opinion of the throne speech was ho-hum, enlivened by Brigette DePape's politely disrespectful protest:

In response to the pearl-clutching about how awfully disrespectful Brigette was of the dignity of Parliament, somewhere Michael Ignatieff is laughing.
Impolitical reminds us who started this pissing contest:
Not caring that one of your ministers inserts a "not" after a document had been signed by others, for example. Not respecting members of parliament who ask the government for the most basic of financial information supporting billions in purchases the government seeks to make. Making light of an historic contempt verdict . . .Breed disrespect, reap protest.
Next year, Harper will have all the pages strip-searched before they enter the Chamber.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Some days, all you've got is your dog

Like Mickey Rourke said.
So check out the dog which is now wandering here and there on my sidebar -- its a gadget from aBowman and he'll chase the ball, scoop up the treats, chew on the bone, follow the cursor, sit and lie down. And sleep.