Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Smashy smashy

As disappointed as I was to find out that some of the leading G20 protest leaders I had defended for the last year actually did endorse the juvenile and pointless Black Bloc "smashy smashy" that undermined the credibility of the whole G20 protest movement, I still can also understand why people remain suspicious about whether police leadership endorsed the G20 police riot too.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tweet tweet tweet

This is hilarious.
During a school visit by the Kansas governor Sam Brownback, a teenager in the audience, Emma Sullivan, tweeted to her 65 followers that said governor "sucked" and "#heblowsalot".
With typical Republican over-reach, a member of the governor's staff called the school principal. He then called Emma and demanded she apologize to the governor.
Then her sister called the media.
So now, everyone in Kansas and across the United States knows about Emma Sullivan and her tweet -- the story is being covered by Associated Press and it's become a "free speech" issue in the States.
Yes, I think we can conclude that Brownback actually DOES blow a lot.


Shorter Globe and Mail:
I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that the NDP are advertising between elections! Why, that's just like what the Conservatives have done for the last five years! How unseemly!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Ottawa Citizen columnist Dan Gardner describes the politics of ruthlessness:
Each time the tone seems to have reached bottom, down it goes again. When the House of Commons marked Remembrance Day, each party stood to say a few words honouring the dead, but MPs from the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois needed unanimous consent to speak because they are not officially recognized in the House of Commons. They didn’t get it because some Conservative MP, or MPs, objected. The next day, with the support of the NDP, they tried again. Again the Conservatives blocked them.
Blocked them. From saying a few words in honour of the dead. Why? Who knows? The Conservatives never bothered to explain this shameful deed.
Just another day in paradise.
Didn't somebody once say something about reaping what you sow?

End of the beginning?

With the gradual dismantling of Occupy camps in Canada, I think we are witnessing something end. But it is not over -- it is evolving.
As Star columnist Catherine Porter says:
You can't evict a conversation.
The thousands of Canadians who focused their energy and ideas through Occupy are not going to just disappear and go home. Montreal Simon says:
In a cold dark land of the walking dead, they are living life like it should be lived.
Their joy in the community they have created is palpable:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

That was then and this is now

I was thinking this morning about what Canada was like on November 20, 2005.
Paul Martin was Prime Minister. He had negotiated a national day-care program and the Kelowna Accord. With 12 straight years in power, the federal Liberals had implemented progressive legislation like gay marriage and banning corporate political donations, progressive programs like the Court Challenges program and financial support for Gay Pride parades. It looked like we might decriminalize marijuana. Canada supported the Kyoto protocol. We had a firearms registry. We had the Canadian Wheat Board.
Gone, all gone. And we keep on going backwards. Next on the Harper Cons chopping block, I expect, will be the Canada Pension Plan. They'd dismantle Medicare if they could.
This is what we've lost:
“For [Stephen] Harper, a national daycare plan bordered on being a socialist scheme, a phrase he had once used to describe the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. For [Paul] Martin, whose plan would have transferred to the provinces $5 billion over five years, the national program was what Canadianism was all about. "Think about it this way," [Martin] said. "What if, decades ago, Tommy Douglas and my father and Lester Pearson had considered the idea of medicare and then said, 'Forget it! Let's just give people twenty-five dollars a week.' You want a fundamental difference between Mr. Harper and myself? Well, this is it.”
Please God, give Canada another progressive government and we promise not to piss it away this time.

Friday, November 18, 2011


While the media pearl-clutches over Pat Martin's "eat my shorts" comments, nobody else really cares. And all the publicity actually made Canadians aware of how the Harper Cons are trying to ram through their agenda. The exposure just might get the Cons to back off a bit.
And for all the talk about how the election gave Harper Cons a mandate to do whatever they like, remember what happened to the last guy who boasted about how everybody loved his mandate?

Monday, November 14, 2011

"I shouldn't have showered with those kids"

As Gawker says about this quote from the Sandusky interview:
Jerry, that is never not true.
Now other victims are coming forward.
Also, read Charles Pierce.


Another I Know You Are But What Am I moment from our Harper Conservatives -- Tories accuse opposition of hindering agenda:
Mr. Van Loan notes that at the same time as the NDP and Liberals accuse him of shutting down debate with time allocation and closure motions, they are trying to stop any of his bills going forward.
I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that the Opposition would actually oppose what the government is trying to do!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Great line of the day

Joe Scalzi gets to the heart of the Penn State scandal: of the great stories of science fiction is “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” which was written by Ursula K. LeGuin. The story posits a fantastic utopian city, where everything is beautiful, with one catch: In order for all this comfort and beauty to exist, one child must be kept in filth and misery. Every citizen of Omelas, when they come of age, is told about that one blameless child being put through hell. And they have a choice: Accept that is the price for their perfect lives in Omelas, or walk away from that paradise, into uncertainty and possibly chaos.
At Pennsylvania State University, a grown man found a blameless child being put through hell. Other grown men learned of it. Each of them had to make their choice, and decide, fundamentally, whether the continuation of their utopia — or at very least the illusion of their utopia — was worth the pain and suffering of that one child. Through their actions, and their inactions, we know the choice they made.
Emphasis mine. H/T Nancy Nall.

Wreck of the Edmumd Fitzgerald

And Dr Grumpy has a few interesting facts about the wreck.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stupid is as stupid does

Wasn't Rick Perry talking a couple of weeks ago about skipping more debates?
Shoulda oughta done it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The least of these

Montreal Simon has a wonderful post about the Occupy movement and the challenge of dealing with homelessness:
I can't imagine an Occupy movement that wouldn't welcome the homeless and the marginalized, because how can you build a kinder, gentler, world, if you reject our poorest, most vulnerable citizens? City officials may use them against us, but how can we not embrace them?
I have been moved by the respectful, patient way the other occupiers have treated them. And by the sight of all those most humble of Canadians, speaking to a crowd and telling others how THEY feel, for the first time in their lives.
My friends who spent several nights at Occupy Saskatoon said that one of its most remarkable aspects was how, for the first time, the homeless people at the camp were able to participate in serious and productive conversations about politics and society and the economy. But as Simon says, its takes an enormous amount of energy to deal with these social problems
I can't help wonder whether whether people are becoming too concerned with occupying a physical space, rather than occupying the world of ideas. ... But what do I know eh? I have to admit that this wonderful baby movement has made me unusually humble.
Can I have an Amen, brother!

Friday, November 04, 2011

You can't always get what you want

Conservatives find out they can't use a private members bill to backdoor a retroactive tax on union members unless Parliament approves it first.
Of course, they might still get Parliament to approve it -- after all, the Harper Conservatives do have the endorsement of almost four in ten Canadians, AKA the most massive and overwhelming mandate EVAH!
But at least they would have to admit up front that imposing gratuitous mandatory financial reporting requirements on labour unions is the kind of ideological claptrap that might well result in thousands of people getting charged hundreds of dollars in retroactive taxes.