Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

I'm home with the flu and a weird rash on my arm this new year's eve -- though we usually don't go out anyway, just have family and friends in and I cook chicken livers and bacon -- but not this year.  So we've been enjoying the photos of New Year around the world.
UPDATE: It's shingles so I am being treated for that]









New York

Couldn't find any Canadian photos yet...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Great line of the day

Sixth Estate on racist bullshit:
... the people presently braying that we get rid of the Indian Act and “make the Indians” modernize are doing exactly the same thing as the people who passed the Indian Act in the first place: saying that we know what’s best for aboriginal people in this country, and we’re going to provide it for them, whether they want it or not.
No. The way forward is through negotiation and compromise. It will be long, it will be painful, and there will have to be concessions on both sides.
It’s strange to find that the conservatives are my enemies in this. Usually, they insist that big government is never the answer, that people should be allowed to decide for themselves rather than having their choices dictated to them by the state, and that this country upholds the rule of law and the importance of tradition rather than strictly doing what seems expedient in the moment.
Except, apparently, when it comes to aboriginal affairs.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Keeping Christmas Well

Mr. Fezziwig's Ball

One of the reasons I re-read A Christmas Carol every year is for the joy of Dickens' wonderful descriptions of Christmas in Victorian London:
The cold became intense. In the main street at the corner of the court, some labourers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered: warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowing sullenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice.
The brightness of the shops where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed.
Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do.
The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up to-morrow's pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and the baby sallied out to buy the beef.
Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of using his familiar weapons, then indeed he would have roared to lusty purpose.
Wouldn't this have been a party:
Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ball-room, as you would desire to see upon a winter's night.
In came a fiddler with a music-book, and went up to the lofty desk, and made an orchestra of it, and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. In came Mrs Fezziwig, one vast substantial smile. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs, beaming and lovable. In came the six young followers whose hearts they broke.
In came all the young men and women employed in the business. In came the housemaid, with her cousin, the baker. In came the cook, with her brother's particular friend, the milkman. In came the boy from over the way, who was suspected of not having board enough from his master; trying to hide himself behind the girl from next door but one, who was proved to have had her ears pulled by her mistress.
In they all came, one after another; some shyly, some boldly, some gracefully, some awkwardly, some pushing, some pulling; in they all came, anyhow and everyhow. Away they all went, twenty couple at once; hands half round and back again the other way; down the middle and up again; round and round in various stages of affectionate grouping; old top couple always turning up in the wrong place; new top couple starting off again, as soon as they got there; all top couples at last, and not a bottom one to help them.
When this result was brought about, old Fezziwig, clapping his hands to stop the dance, cried out, "Well done!" and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter, especially provided for that purpose. But scorning rest, upon his reappearance, he instantly began again, though there were no dancers yet, as if the other fiddler had been carried home, exhausted, on a shutter, and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight, or perish.
There were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances, and there was cake, and there was negus, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer.
But the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled, when the fiddler (an artful dog, mind! The sort of man who knew his business better than you or I could have told it him!) struck up "Sir Roger de Coverley." Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs Fezziwig. Top couple too; with a good stiff piece of work cut out for them; three or four and twenty pair of partners; people who were not to be trifled with; people who would dance, and had no notion of walking.
But if they had been twice as many -- ah, four times -- old Fezziwig would have been a match for them, and so would Mrs Fezziwig. As to her, she was worthy to be his partner in every sense of the term. If that's not high praise, tell me higher, and I'll use it.
A positive light appeared to issue from Fezziwig's calves. They shone in every part of the dance like moons. You couldn't have predicted, at any given time, what would have become of them next. And when old Fezziwig and Mrs Fezziwig had gone all through the dance; advance and retire, both hands to your partner, bow and curtsey, corkscrew, thread-the-needle, and back again to your place; Fezziwig cut -- cut so deftly, that he appeared to wink with his legs, and came upon his feet again without a stagger.
When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas.
And wouldn't we all love these shops:
The poulterers' shops were still half open, and the fruiterers' were radiant in their glory. There were great, round, pot-bellied baskets of chestnuts, shaped like the waistcoats of jolly old gentlemen, lolling at the doors, and tumbling out into the street in their apoplectic opulence. There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Friars, and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe. There were pears and apples, clustered high in blooming pyramids; there were bunches of grapes, made, in the shopkeepers' benevolence to dangle from conspicuous hooks, that people's mouths might water gratis as they passed; there were piles of filberts, mossy and brown, recalling, in their fragrance, ancient walks among the woods, and pleasant shufflings ankle deep through withered leaves; there were Norfolk Biffins, squab and swarthy, setting off the yellow of the oranges and lemons, and, in the great compactness of their juicy persons, urgently entreating and beseeching to be carried home in paper bags and eaten after dinner. The very gold and silver fish, set forth among these choice fruits in a bowl, though members of a dull and stagnant-blooded race, appeared to know that there was something going on; and, to a fish, went gasping round and round their little world in slow and passionless excitement.
The Grocers'! oh the Grocers'! Nearly closed, with perhaps two shutters down, or one; but through those gaps such glimpses. It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound, or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose, or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely white, the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight, the other spices so delicious, the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy, or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes, or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress; but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day, that they tumbled up against each other at the door, clashing their wicker baskets wildly, and left their purchases upon the counter, and came running back to fetch them, and committed hundreds of the like mistakes, in the best humour possible; while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own, worn outside for general inspection, and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose.
I love the ending:
Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.
He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!
There's nothing better than the Alistair Sim version:

Monday, December 24, 2012


Does anybody in the world care anymore what a cranky old man in Rome has to say about anything, much less about gay marriage?

This is amazing

Bobby McFerrin leads an audience in singing Ave Maria:

I had no idea he was so talented, and he pulls the whole audience along with him.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Flash mob for protest

Thousands take over Saskatoon mall for Idle No More protest:

Thousands take over Saskatoon mall for Idle No More protest

This was last night, at Midtown Plaza -- 2,000 people took over the mall in a flash mob for Idle No More.
There were periodic eruptions of cheers and yelps as a massive group of protesters shutdown parts of the Midtown Plaza. People held hands as they danced in an enormous circle to the beat of drums and a chorus of traditional First Nations' signing. There were no political speeches or organized chants, but the estimated 2,000 people who attended this flash mob on Thursday are all part of a national movement that is sweeping the country.
“People are walking up,” said Jenn Altenberg, who came downtown for Thursday’s Idle No More protest. “People showing up here is a powerful statement. Our young people are finding their voices.”...
“It’s not just First Nations or aboriginal people. I think it’s a culmination of a lot things,” said John Noon, one of the drummers who led the flash mob. “It’s like Occupy. It’s building on that. It’s going worldwide.”

Thursday, December 20, 2012

One of those things you wonder about

I always thought Bing Crosby's last Christmas Special was the oddest one ever made, and the Bing/Bowie song was the oddest pairing, in spite of how their voices actually blend well. So its great to finally find out how this happened.

They're not going to take it anymore

Idle No More born on the Web

The Idle No More movement is being noticed across Canada.
The Star Phoenix had a major story this morning about its founders Sylvia McAdams and Sheelah McLean (pictured above) who, with Jessica Gordon and Nina Wilson, started the whole movement.
Through social media, rallies were organized last week in Canadian cities, and more are coming on Friday including at Canadian consultates in London, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In the Toronto Star, Tim Harper sums up all of the reasons why First Nations leaders are really angry at Stephen Harper and his government:
[the government's] determination to economically exploit resources over the objections of environmentalists and aboriginals who believe this regime is running roughshod over its ancestral lands. . . .
movement leaders count 14 pieces of legislation — dealing with everything from education to water quality to financial accountability — that they believe are the laws of an adversary.. . .
Consultations with native representatives over education have broken down. The initiative is now largely a unilateral Ottawa move.
First Nations believe a bill forcing chiefs and bands to publicly release salaries and financial reports is a move meant to pit leaders against residents.
The omnibus bill amends the Navigable Waters Protection Act, a law dating to the days of Sir John A. Macdonald, meant to ensure development would not impede Canadians’ rights to freely pass through public waterways.
The government now has the right to approve projects on more than 160 lakes without consulting First Nations.
The Conservatives also amended the Indian Act, making it easier for aboriginal leaders to lease out land for economic development without consulting band residents and have proposed a bill that would give Ottawa more control over band elections.
There is ongoing frustration over the lack of an inquiry into the more than 600 aboriginal women who have been murdered or gone missing in this country over the past two decades and why 50 per cent of violent crimes against aboriginals go unprosecuted, twice the rate of the general population.
Even the program used to compile the data, Sister in Spirit, lost its funding under the Conservatives.
There is a spiritual aspect to this movement.
Friday's noon event in Saskatoon at the Vimy Memorial is billed as a day of "spiritual awakening" and will feature a community round dance, a water ceremony and several speakers. Organizers are expecting hundreds of people to participate.
The spiritual aspect of the movement is just as important as the political message, Gordon said.
"We can't just focus on one thing," she said. "Friday is based at the spiritual level to assert our indigenous nationhood with everybody beating their drums as one."
Central to the movement is the two-week hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation -- yes, the same reserve where awful housing conditions shocked all of Canada last year and which has proven to be a bellweather for the incompetent management and finger-pointing of the Harper Cons.
Chief Spence wants something very simple -- a meeting with Stephen Harper.
Will the kitten whisperer step up and show some leadership here?  Will the Governor-General?
Or are Harper and his PMO brain trust so small-minded that they will see this as just another political pissing contest which they can blithely ignore?   Personally, I'm not optimistic.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unbearably stupid

Neil Macdonald has a slightly different take on the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre:
Yet another "national discussion" about guns is under way here, and it's so anti-rational, so politically cowardly, so …unbearably stupid that you have to wonder how a nation that has enlightened the world in so many other ways could wallow in this kind of delusion.
Twenty children are dead, and journalists and politicians have assumed those breathy, semi-hushed tones that have become so much the norm in covering tragedies.
Everywhere, there is talk about "the grieving process," with pious asides thrown in about the need to "go home and hug your children," or pray.
As if that is going to accomplish anything.
The American audience is a giant emotional sponge looking for distraction from its collective gun craziness, and the media obliges, broadcasting endless montages of victims, with sombre, hymnal piano music playing underneath.
After the state medical examiner had finished talking about multiple bullet wounds in each young victim, all inflicted by the same Bushmaster rifle, one reporter asked the man to talk about how much he'd cried — "personally" — while performing the autopsies.
To repeat: the 20-year-old shooter used a Bushmaster .223 assault rifle, a commercial model of the military M-16, and the reporter wanted to talk about crying.
He's fed up with the stupid, and the rest of the world agrees.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I'm no lawyer but it strikes me as somewhat stupid to start some complicated legal maneuvers so that maybe some judge will issue an order that will somehow force the NHL to abandon the lock-out. I expect the judges will say fuhgeddaboutdit, you're not going to emboil us in your power play here.
Why don't Bettman and Fehr just have a shootout, first one to make five goals wins?

Will anything be done?

I doubt it.
As the The Hartford Courant says:
The National Rifle Association and other gun lobbyists can take great pride; they've brought gun ownership within reach of every psycho and wing nut with a crazed rage to kill.
But when the head of an organization called Gun Owners of America can tweet "Gun control supporters have the blood of little children on their hands" and mean it, then we are all living in Bizarro World.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I just deleted more than 3,900 spam comments from the last several months -- I didn't realize I should have been doing this all along.
Anyway, I know its a pain, but I am going to try to use the word verification tool to prevent spammers from posting as much. Hope it will work.

Idle no more

First Nations say omnibus bill violates treaty rights
200 in Calgary
As part of the Idle No More, National Day of Solidarity, Saskatoon supporters united and marched from the Rainbow Center on 20th St. W. to Kelly Block's constituency office on 22nd St. W. They blocked off roadway on their way throughout the noon hour, continuing up Idylwyld Drive and briefly blockading that main artery.
500 in Saskatoon  Video here.

Hundreds of First Nations people across the country protested the latest omnibus bill yesterday. Yes, they knew it likely wasn't going to change the minds of any of the Harper Cons, but they did it anyway:
"There’s not a lot we can do about it other than raise our voices, raise our drums"
Yesterday was billed as a National Day of Action and Solidarity, the first of the Idle No More protests.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

They died because they were women.

Jonathan Kay, and dozens of his yahoo commenters, can whine to their heart's content about the unfairness of the Montreal Massacre, and they can complain about how Judy Rebick hurts their delicate fee-fees, and they can talk like men are the real victims here.
And they can compare us uppity, angry, ball-busting Canadian feminists to those quiet, well-behaved, non-confrontational, forgiving Amish who would never dream of upsetting nice Canadian men by demanding they do some soul-searching about sexism and misogyny and gun control.
But all their strum und dang will never change this one simple basic fact -- one cold December evening 23 years ago, madman Mark Lepine got himself some guns and killed 14 engineering students because they were women.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Call me maybe

I just got a new phone from Rogers -- a samsung galaxy Q with a little slide-out keyboard so I can finally send text messages and all that.
It's my first smart phone! hooray
And the instruction manual is 182 pages long! boooo
Maybe in a month or two I'll have figured out how to use it.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Stupid headline tricks

The winner of this week's Stupid Headline Tricks award is the Globe and Mail: "They love him. They really love him: Why Rob Ford can win again in Toronto".
I don't think so, Tim.
The story quote an Angus Reid poll showing that out of ten people who voted for Ford two years ago, only six would again. In total, 27 per cent would vote for Ford and two-thirds would not.
That's not enough love. G&M.
But at least those 27 per cent Ford voters show that Toronto qualifies for The Crazification Factor too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What a jerk

So Toronto Mayor and noted loud-mouthed schnook Rob Ford is being kicked out of office for being a loud-mouthed schnook and both he and his equally loud-mouthed brother still think its everyone else's fault but his.
Poetic justice -- he just couldn't shut up.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not with a bang but a whimper

Krugman notices that Republicans may flirt with truth but they end up parroting the party line:’s true that there are some Republican intellectuals and pundits who seem to be truly open-minded about both economic and social issues. But I worded that carefully: they “seem to be” open-minded; indeed, they’re professional seemers. When it matters, they can always be counted on — after making a big show of stroking their chins and agonizing — to follow the party line, and reject anything that doesn’t go along with the preacher-plutocrat agenda. If they don’t deliver when it counts, they are excommunicated; see Frum, David.
Funny, exactly the same thing happens in Canada, too.
Some Con backbencher or pundit or columnist takes a brief fling with reality -- and then the media go all fluttery with the excitement of somebody maybe actually switching sides or voting against the Harper Conservatives -- until finally the whole thing just quietly collapses, ending not with a bang but a whimper and we all go bouncing off to the next thing...oh, look, let's talk about the War of 1812 again....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Do the hustle

Awful week at work but I have been enjoying the tangled web that is The Man Called Petraeus [(c)Digby] and his grifter friends. Here's the latest -- The Wonderful World of Jill and Scott Kelley:
At the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Kelley was introduced to New York energy entrepreneur Adam Victor as "a very close friend of Gen. Petraeus," the Los Angeles Times reports. Victor eventually flew Kelley to Hawaii to discuss a coal project with South Korean executives. But then Kelley asked for 2 percent cut of the gross cost of the project -- which would have been $80 million. "It was such an astronomical figure that it suggested she had no experience in negotiating these types of deals," Victor told the Times. "Gen. Petraeus had a lapse in judgment in using his influence to put her in that position."
... in 2007, Kelley and her husband created the Doctor Kelley Cancer Foundation, which its tax forms said "shall be operated exclusively to conduct cancer research and to grant wishes to terminally ill adult cancer patients." The charity raised $157,284, and spent half of it on entertaining, meals, cars, phones, and office supplies, the Huffington Post reports. It was bankrupt by the end of 2007.
Sarah Palin must be green with envy.

Friday, November 09, 2012


Shorter Harper Cons to the Mennonites:
Nice little charity you've got here.
Be a shame if something were to happen to it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Great lines of the day

conservatives should look on the bright side. They didn't like Mitt Romney anyway. No one does.
Steven D:
Is Birtherism finally all dead (I know, I know) or is it only Zombie dead?
Steve Benen:
If Senate Republicans had allowed Warren to receive a simple, up-or-down vote, she very likely would have spent 2012 at the CFPB, instead of on the campaign trail, and Democrats may have struggled to find a candidate who could have dispatched Brown so easily.
Cord Jefferson at Gawker:
if you'll allow me to take a step back and speak in blunter terms, what happened last night is this: The brown people and the black people and the women handed the white men's asses to them as unsentimentally as white men have bought and sold and manipulated America for centuries now. Welcome to the future.
Ta-Nehisi Coates:
It is slowly dawning on them: This isn't 1968. The hippies are punching back.
Montreal Simon:
The main lesson of this election seems clear.
Put together a mighty coalition of women, minorities, the old and the young, run it like an army, get out the vote, and you can crush the Cons like bugs any old day. And believe me we will.
The Cons are running out of history, the writing is on the wall and the future belongs to us.
Today it was Romney's turn.
Tomorrow it will be his...
Lance Mannion:
PBO and friend

How I feel about Obama's reelection

Snoopy Happy Dance

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Told ya so!

Remember last winter, when everyone freaked out on the Harper Cons about whether same-sex non-Canadian couples were really married, and Harper blamed the Liberals?
And I said at the time that the Harper Cons would never actually change any law to support same-sex marriage?
I am done with giving the Harper Cons the benefit of the doubt. I'll believe they'll actually amend the residency requirements law only when I see them bring it to the Commons and whip their caucus to support it.
Well, told ya so:
The bill ... was supposed to clarify the Civil Marriage Act to ensure thousands of gay couples from abroad who marry in Canada have their unions recognized and can get divorced under Canadian law, it has gone exactly nowhere since it was introduced in Parliament on February 17.
Ten months later the question is: why?
This time, they're blaming the NDP.
Amazing, isn't it, how much power the opposition parties have in a Harper government.  Makes me wonder what are they complaining about?
And here's what else I said last January:
And if they actually do bring in a piece of legislation to which their base is profoundly opposed, just because its the right thing for a government to do, maybe it would be a sign that the Harper Cons are starting to think of themselves as a government instead of a party.
No risk of that any time soon.

It's another Festivus miracle!

Barak Obama got Bruce Springsteen to talk to Chris Christie.

Friday, November 02, 2012

"Who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery?"

New bill refines rules on masks in unlawful protests:
“In my experience when someone shows up at protest with mask, their intentions are violent,” [Canadian Police Association president Tom Stamatakis] said. “There is no good legitimate reason for someone to protest peacefully and show up wearing a mask.”
Nor is there any reason for police to remove their badges during a protest, either.  But this happened at the G20, and then they were protected by the cone of silence.
Irwin Colter seems to think the bill is just aimed at arresting violent protesters.  Actually, the idea is to stop people from attending a protest in the first place.  And a decade from now, chances are the Supreme Court will find pre-emptive arrest for how someone is dressed is unconstitutional.

*The title of this post is a quote from The Masque of the Red Death which somehow seems appropriate, I thought.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Asymmetric despair

"Asymmetric warfare" is guerilla war between weak and strong.
The terrible Ashley Smith video is asymmetric despair -- she was so weak, and her captors so strong. Maybe the only way to express her despair was to abuse her own body, to disassociate from herself.
No wonder Corrections Canada didn't want us to see this child's pathetic, doomed fight against riot-geared guards and cold-hearted medical staff. Dr. Dawg writes:
Something is rotten and festering in Canada’s prison system. God knows how many other young people are presently being brutalized and driven to suicide by incompetence and cruelty as I write this.
“Don’t let them get away with it,” said Julian Falconer, the Smith family’s lawyer, to the coroner. Amen to that.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Speaking of hobgoblins

If "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" then we shouldn't be expecting any consistency from the way the Harper Cons are handling gun licensing and registration these days:
Conservatives said the registry was ineffective because it targeted “law-abiding hunters, farmers and sport shooters” and missed the criminals who would never register anyway.
They also argued the registry information was so incomplete and out of date that it was useless for tracing guns.
Yet the same Conservative government that killed the registry recently brought in new regulations to ensure that as of December, all firearms have unique serial number markings.
A release from the Public Safety department earlier this month said serial numbers on guns “contribute to public safety, by facilitating law enforcement investigations when the markings can be linked to information on the last legal owner of the firearm.”
In short, a government that long complained over the cost of Liberal gun control laws has left the most expensive element in place, while stripping out a weapons database that — by its own logic — appears to have some use.
But Canada has learned that the last thing we can expect from the Harper Cons is logical decision-making.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Great line of the day

From Nancy Nall:
Maybe Dave Barry is right -- as we get older, our brains fill up with song lyrics and there’s no room for anything else.

These fans better watch it.

Friday, October 19, 2012

He's kidding, right?

Did the Onion start a Canadian edition?
Changes to parliamentary pension plan ‘cowardly,’ MP says:
Edmonton MP Peter Goldring, a former Conservative caucus member, said the hefty increase in contributions will dramatically reduce take-home pay for MPs who earn $157,731 in base salary, and ultimately make it far more difficult to attract top quality politicians.
Like him, I suppose.
Don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out, Pete.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Funny, isn't it

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says planned changes to the pension plan for members of Parliament won’t take effect until after the next election, noting it would not be fair to change the rules during the current term.
Funny, isn't it how Conservatives believe that it would be outrageous to change MP pensions retroactively, but civil servants, airline pilots, and everybody else -- even football referees -- are just supposed to suck it up.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

They both could have died

What is the matter in Ottawa?
No, I don't mean in that big brown building on the banks of the river.
I mean in the city of Ottawa itself, with its so-called "justice" system.
The most recent horrible story is about jail staff ignoring a woman's screams during a breech birth. Both mother and baby could have died on the isolation cell floor while the pseudo-nurses at the jail were self-righteously assuring themselves she was faking.
And this is only the latest in a series of stories about how Ottawa treats its prisoners. Here's another one, about a woman denied her cancer pills and forced to drink the water in her toilet. Then there were the Roxanne Carr and Stacey Bonds stories.
All these cases involved female prisoners.  And in all cases, the Ottawa authorities proceeded to blame and penalize the victim -- in the latest case, its been two weeks and the new mother is still locked up and hasn't yet been allowed to hold her baby.
A planned visit at the jail during visiting hours Saturday morning was cancelled due to security concerns, Hurtubise said Saturday.
Security?  They thought the baby might spit up?

Friday, October 05, 2012

But they have no shame

Canadian Press informs us that:
The NDP is trying to shame Conservative backbenchers into abandoning their daily game of partisan trash talk in the House of Commons.. . .
New Democrat Matthew Kellway ... questioned whether they have nothing better to do.
"Since the E. coli crisis began, the New Democrats have asked 33 questions about tainted meat, Conservatives not one. Are they talking about the economy or health care? No. Conservatives have made 32 statements and asked 10 questions, 1 out of every 4 Conservative questions (has been) about us, the New Democrats.
"For my colleagues across the way, I ask if this is really what they wanted to do with their life in elected office, indulging the fantasy life of the kids in the PMO?"
I can't imagine a more pointless activity than trying to make the Harper Conservatives act like responsible grownups.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How stupid do they think we are?

Is anyone the least bit surprised that the Harper claim of "700 new food inspectors" is turning out to be a complete lie and the Ritz claim that XL Foods has a "full contingent" of CFIA staff is, at best, grossly misleading?
"There is a full contingent of inspectors on site, and there was before this incident," said Ritz, listing 40 inspectors and six veterinarians.
"That is a 20 per cent increase over the last couple of years. So we are ramping it up."
[Agriculture Union president]Kingston puts another spin on those same numbers.
The XL plant may have a "full contingent" now, but only after repeated union complaints to fill empty positions at the facility."That plant[XL Foods] was grossly — to the point of illegally — understaffed," Kingston claimed.
"All they've done is fill vacant positions. That's not quite the same as actually increasing the complement."
As for the overall 700 new inspectors everyone from the prime minister down has been citing in defence of the government's handling of the E. coli outbreak, Kingston says the number is meaningless.
"It's totally misleading to the Canadian public," he said. "It's not even worth discussing those numbers because they're simply not relevant to what's happened at XL beef."
"None of those 700 people went into slaughter plants — period."

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Beef recall gibberish

This has got to be the most ridiculous "explanation" ever promoted to explain why thousands of beef products are being recalled. Does anyone actually understand what was going on in XL Foods or at CFIA?
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency conceded on Monday it’s a mistake not to require companies to analyze test results from beef trimmings to to allow inspectors to “connect the dots to get the big picture” about a packing plant’s operations.
...“The requirements for analysis of the data — in other words, what they had to do to look at it at the end of the day, weren’t as rigorous,” Arsenault said. “Well, I wouldn’t use that word. They were fairly rigorous because they had to do all that testing, but in terms of connecting the dots to look for these pictures, they didn’t have a requirement to do that.
“We didn’t think that was something that would have been useful. We now know that it is, so that’s why we’re going to change it.”
Huh?  Sounds like they were testing meat here and there and filing the results without looking at them.  How long have these guys been doing this anyway?  Here's the bottom line, the actual story:
U.S. inspectors at the border in Montana first detected E. coli in beef trimmings used to make hamburger during random tests on Sept. 3. The CFIA found traces of E. coli the next day, but it wasn’t until 13 days later that a recall was issued — by the company, voluntarily.
And while Gerry Ritz continues to flail around the Commons pointing his fingers here, there and everywhere, tomorrow I'll be throwing out all the beef in my freezer.  Because the stores I shop at -- Coop, Safeway, Sobeys, Superstore -- now seem to be recalling all the beef products they sold me throughout September.
Those are the dots I'm connecting, boys.

Hooray! Justin is in

Trudeau enters Liberal leadership race: 'I love this great country' | CTV News

And I'm not surprised his first stop is going to be Calgary, the lair of the beast. The national media will be paying the most attention to him and looking for every slight and insult they can find -- gutsy play, typical of the young Trudeau.
And why did he pick Oct. 2 to announce? It was Michel's birthday.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Great line of the day

Talking about the "sex-selective" abortion motion which Parliament is now being asked to vote on, Dawg says:
the abortion “debate” that Harper insists will not be re-opened continues to shamble through the House of Commons like one of the walking dead.
The fetus fetishests are trying their best to get MPs to give them a majority vote on SOMETHING, so they can use it as a wedge to pry the entire abortion issue open again.  Look what has happened in the States, where the fetishists used so-called "late term" abortions to demonize women and create a wedge against Roe V Wade.
It all comes down to is this:  what part of "woman's right to chose" do these people not understand? Whether a priest or a husband or a whole Parliament agrees with their decision, or not, its still the woman's decision to make.

Here's to the new TV season!

Thumbs up!
Great acting, great action

Interesting characters, potentially lots of fun

Thumbs down -
What a disappointment - overwrought, trite

Just dumb

Ehhh, maybe -- worth a couple more episodes anyway

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yes, but he was right about Powerpoint

So the Politico piece about how Ryan is going rogue and using PowerPoint now was just a joke though perhaps one that cut a little too close to the bone.
But what Simon said about PowerPoint was actually sort of hilarious:
A word about PowerPoint. PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanize cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets. After PETA successfully argued in court that PowerPoint actually was more cruel than iron mallets, the program was adopted by corporations for slide show presentations.
Conducting a PowerPoint presentation is a lot like smoking a cigar. Only the person doing it likes it. The people around him want to hit him with a chair.
PowerPoint is usually restricted to conference rooms where the doors are locked from the outside. It is, therefore, considered unsuited for large rallies, where people have a means of escape and where the purpose is to energize rather than daze.
Ryan’s PowerPoint slides were officially labeled: “Our Unsustainable Debt (U.S. Debt Held by Public as a Share of Economy),” “Your Share of the Debt,” “Who Funds Our Reckless Spending?” and “How the Government Spends Your Money.”. . .
Sources close to the Ryan campaign tell me his two new PowerPoint presentations will be: “How a Bill Becomes Law” and “Canada: Friendly Giant to the North.”
Or maybe he could do the Gettysburg Address in PowerPoint.

So we're just afraid to discuss abortion?

Conservative pro-lifer Laurie Hawn says glibly 'Nobody's anti-life and nobody's anti-choice', a stunningly stupid statement because the 91 MPs voting in favour of Woodward's disingenuous motion to "study" when life begins are not pro-choice at all -- they want some parliamentary committee to decide whether a women can get an abortion or not.
Hawn continues "Canadians ought to be able to have rational, respectful discussions on difficult issues . . . we've got lots of difficult issues that we're afraid to discuss in Canada and I think that's unfortunate."
What a great idea. Too bad us pro-choicers are such cowards, we're so afraid to discuss it.
Here's the level that such a discussion would rapidly reach, Laurie old chum -- the priest who authored this piece wants "to expose evil and to call on public servants to know the difference between serving the public and killing the public." And it would be pretty difficult to discuss anything with someone like this commenter who believes that pro-choicers are history's greatest monsters:
How can anyone with even a shred of decency support this brutal and evil act of barbarism. We will all stand before The Lord Jesus one day, and will have to explain our actions. We must somehow stop this unthinkable atrocity from continuing to butcher children. God have mercy on us all.
Yes, a rational, respectful discussion? Not gonna happen ...

How to play football

Goofy - How To Play Football (High Quality) - YouTube: ""

If the replacement refs could just learn the game, they might avoid more calls like this:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The honoured dead

We just spent the summer watching all those "War of 1812" ads and now we find out that the Harper Cons have spent five years and three-quarters of a million dollars to try to claw back pensions from disabled veterans.
I guess the people who fight Canada's wars are only honoured by the Harper Cons if they're dead and gone.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Taxes "owed" vs. taxes "paid"

What's the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid?
Everyone is talking about how Romney's info dump yesterday showed that he did pay taxes between 1990 and 2009.
But PricewaterhouseCoopers said in the first bullet point that "each year during the period there were federal and state income taxes owed", and in the second bullet point "The lowest of any annual 'effective federal personal income tax rate' ... was 13.44 per cent".
Everybody is now reporting that Romney paid at least 13.44 per cent in federal income taxes annually between 1990 to 2009.
No, I don't think this is what those figures mean at all.
He "owed" income taxes every year -- of course, everyone who earns income owes taxes. Does this mean THAT HE ACTUALLY PAID ANY TAXES? How much you owe depends on income, but how much you pay depends on the deductions which can be found to offset the tax owing. And his annual tax rate was 13.44 per cent. Again, does this mean THAT HE ACTUALLY PAID THIS RATE? Again, it depends on the deductions which can be found to offset the rate.
The last carefully phrased bullet point tells the tale --it uses the terminology of "federal income taxes owed" and "state income taxes reported".
Harry Reid, I think you're going to be proved right after all.
Crossposted at Daily Kos.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Calling them out

Sixth Estate calls out Harper on his excuse for pension "reform" and the Globe and Mail for falling for it.
First of all, its not much of a reform:
The “reforms” are, in a word, horseshit. They’ll make MPs wait a few extra years before collecting, and they’ll apparently up the contribution rates. And — best yet — they won’t apply except to new MPsafter the next election. In short, the current crop are all safe. That’s Conservative “reform” for you.
Second, the spin is already being spun:
And then I turn to the Globe & Mail for its coverage:
This would present their political rivals with a dilemma: If the NDP and Liberals oppose the budget – because of other measures in it – they will leave themselves open to charges they didn’t support MP pension reforms.
Oh, come on, Steven High. You’re getting paid for this, aren’t you? You’ve got to do better than that.
I won’t bother explaining to the national correspondent of a major newspaper why voting against an omnibus budget is a piss-poor way to judge whether you support any one of its many measures. I will, however, wonder precisely why said correspondent thinks it is his job to anticipate and even make some advance suggestions for the bullshit spin that some 30-year-old Conservative propagandist in the party campaign office might one day try to put on the budget.

Be nice to the people you meet on the way up

Because you'll meet them again on the way down, as Mitt Romney has now discovered -- he shouldn't have said all those mean things about Jimmy Carter:
James Carter IV has come forward as the online sleuth who tracked down undercover videotape of Mitt Romney's damning comments four months ago to a US$50,000-a-plate Republican fundraiser in Florida....
For Carter, his mission was personal — the 35-year-old online researcher, currently looking for work, said he'd grown sick and tired of Romney slagging his 87-year-old grandfather, a Nobel Peace prize winner who has long worked towards peace in the Middle East.
..."I don't like criticism of my family," the younger Carter told NBC News on Tuesday after it emerged he'd persuaded the fundraiser attendee who secretly taped Romney to hand the video over to Mother Jones magazine.
"It gets under my skin. I'm proud of my role in being able to track it down. My motivation is to help Democrats get elected."
In an interview with The Associated Press, he added: "I've gotten a lot of Twitter messages from people supporting me and saying that it's poetic justice that it was a Carter that uncovered this, considering the way that the Romney campaign has been talking about my grandfather. I agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Great line of the day

Laura Clawson at Daily Kos sums up the Occupy impact::
There may no longer be occupiers sleeping out in parks every night, there may never have been a unified set of goals for the movement, there may be no Occupy candidates for Congress a la the tea party, but a year later there's no doubt that Occupy reinvigorated the economic left, gave even non-political people a language to question the great American wealth divide, and made protest exciting and creative again.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Occupy Wall Street is back, baby

It's already September 17 on Wall Street and the crowds are building in Zuccotti Park. Here's a photo taken around midnight.

Follow #s17 on twitter for the latest news.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Empty chair Obama betrays America!

Romney said this week that Obama sympathized with the embassy rioters and everybody else said "Whaaa?"
What we didn't understand was that John Bolton and Dan Senor and the rest of the Republican campaign retreads and also-rans who are supposedly giving Romney such expert advice on foreign policy were talking about the invisible Obama, the one who sat in Eastwood's empty chair and swore at him, the secret Mooslem Kenyan usurper Obama that no one can see except nutbar Republicans.
But I imagine we'll see lots more dumb attacks on the invisible Obama before this election is over.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

What Juan Cole says

When things are going wrong in the Middle East, I always check on what Juan Cole says about it to gain some perspective on how serious it really is:
What happened in Benghazi was the action of a tiny fringe, sort of like Ku Klux Klan violence in the US. It isn’t typical of the new Libya, and Benghazi is not a lawless or militia-ridden city. One of the narratives of what happened there, in fact, is that the police may have been *too* heavy-handed in an attempt to curb the militants’ demonstration, provoking the latter to bring out their one RPG launcher.
The crowds both in Egypt and Libya were tiny. Their militancy is not typical of Egypt or Libya today, both of which are struggling toward more democratic forms of governance. In Cairo, there may have been a failure of policing; police in Egypt feel unfairly demonized because they had been seen as bulwarks of the Mubarak regime, and they often decline to show up to their jobs as a result of this low morale. This police foot-dragging has allowed an increase in petty crime, though Cairo is still far safer than most Western cities.
The government of Egypt is still pretty powerful, and will likely act to curb the militants, as it did in the Sinai recently.


I thought we would have to wait until the debates for Mitt Romney to demonstrate his manifest unfitness to be president. Instead, it happened already and its still eight weeks until the election:
Romney’s decision to use a fatal attack on Americans as an opportunity to seek political gain based on a complete lie is just the latest example of his copyrighted #romneyshambles campaign. It is a classic #romneyfail.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bush and Cheney were the hollow men

Its like caring for someone who had been mentally ill, as they gradually recover their sanity and begin to understand how delusional they were.
As the years go by, the United States seems finally to be able to acknowledge what everyone else in the world has known for years -- 9/11 happened because Bush and Cheney were too stupid to prevent it.
Contrary to all the "nobody could have predicted" excuses, the CIA knew that Bin Laden was dangerous.  They warned Bush and Cheney again and again, month after month.  But Bush and Cheney didn't listen because Rumsfeld and his neocon brain trust in the Pentagon (Wolfowitz, Cambone, Feith) were too busy creating fairy tales about Saddam Hussein:
The direct warnings to Mr. Bush about the possibility of a Qaeda attack began in the spring of 2001. By May 1, the Central Intelligence Agency told the White House of a report that “a group presently in the United States” was planning a terrorist operation. Weeks later, on June 22, the daily brief reported that Qaeda strikes could be “imminent,” although intelligence suggested the time frame was flexible.
But some in the administration considered the warning to be just bluster. An intelligence official and a member of the Bush administration both told me in interviews that the neoconservative leaders who had recently assumed power at the Pentagon were warning the White House that the C.I.A. had been fooled; according to this theory, Bin Laden was merely pretending to be planning an attack to distract the administration from Saddam Hussein, whom the neoconservatives saw as a greater threat. Intelligence officials, these sources said, protested that the idea of Bin Laden, an Islamic fundamentalist, conspiring with Mr. Hussein, an Iraqi secularist, was ridiculous, but the neoconservatives’ suspicions were nevertheless carrying the day.
In response, the C.I.A. prepared an analysis that all but pleaded with the White House to accept that the danger from Bin Laden was real.
This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Banjo Bowl

The Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg follows the Labour Day Classic in Regina -- which (ahem!) the Riders won this year by 52 to zero, thank you jeebuz. How the Banjo Bowl was born: In 2003, Blue Bombers placekicker/punter Troy Westwood was being hauled over the coals for insulting Saskatchewan and he decided to reply:
"I had referred to the people of Saskatchewan as a bunch of banjo-picking inbreds," Westwood said that afternoon in the Bomber locker-room. "I was wrong to make such a statement, and I'd like to apologize.
[wait for it]
"The vast majority of the people in Saskatchewan have no idea how to play the banjo."
UPDATE: 25 riders 24 bombers. Yay, team!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

In the blink of an eye

I was about to post something a little snarky last night about how Pauline Marois couldn't quite close the deal with Quebecers. Then I read about the shooting and saw her amazingly confident ability to react quickly but calmly, and prevent panic.
In the blink of an eye, my opinion of her changed. As the Montreal Gazette put it, In moment of crisis, Marois shows Quebecers formidable poise:
Take her measure. She showed sangfroid — cold blood — in a moment of crisis.
She hit the correct notes in her news conference on Wednesday, pointing out that Quebec is not a violent society, that the incident had nothing to do with politics.
Quebecers will take note of the formidable Madame Marois’s poise today. She can be expected to benefit, especially, from appearing in a positive light to the majority of Quebecers, who did not vote for her.
Marois was elected with the weakest possible mandate: 31.9 per cent of the popular vote and 54 seats. Facing an unpopular premier in the midst of a student crisis and a corruption inquiry, she was unable to make the sale.
But that was then and this is now. She's shown now that she has what it takes.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Invisible Obama Derangement Syndrome

*Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
Jon Stewart thanked Clint Eastwood for making it clear to the nation that only the Republicans can see the Kenyan socialist fascist who they think is Barak Obama:
By criticizing an invisible Obama for doing things that the real Obama hasn’t even done, Stewart could reach only one logical conclusion: “there is a President Obama that only Republicans can see,” and this Invisible Obama is the one they have been running against all along.
As if we needed any more proof that they can see invisible people that no one else can see, today, the rightwing blogs celebrated "empty chair day" . And here's the latest from Chuck Norris:
A video released this weekend by action movie hero Chuck Norris claims that America faces “1,000 years of darkness” if President Barack Obama is reelected.
These people are nuts.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Texts from the dog

I'm impressed that somebody actually thoughtof this:

And The Guardian did an interview about it -- with the dog, of course.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I am a twin myself and I remember how great it was to always have someone to laugh with:

(H/T Nancy Nall)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Quel suprise

Following the sudden appointment in June of a new "low-key" Commissioner of Canada Elections, questions were raised about the impact this would have on Elections Canada investigations of Conservative party election scandals like robocalls and sending voters to the wrong polling station.
Two months later, its no surprise to find out that the investigations are at a virtual standstill. Instead of the "sweeping investigation" promised, what I think we're seeing is an earnest attempt to just sweep everything under the nearest rug.
Nothing to see here, folks, just move along, move along.
In fact, the only parties so far who have actually been responsive to complaints are the NDP and the Liberals.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm entitled to my entitlements

The spirit of David Dingwall lives on.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson thinks he was entitled to use "volunteer" RCMP as a backdrop at his wedding.
Toronto mayor Rob Ford thinks he's entitled to ignore a legal requirement to reimburse lobbyists for donations they made to his charity.
Former Quebec lieutenant-governor Lise Thibault thinks she's entitled to sovereign immunity to avoid prosecution for claiming fraudulent expenses of $700,000 during her decade in office.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Harper tries to make rules for knife fights

When I read this story, I just felt an overwhelming sadness for my country: Ottawa allows RCMP, border agency to use torture-tainted information .
The Harper Conservatives think they have figured out how they can still claim the moral high ground even though they want to use information obtained by torture. They have set up a bunch of rules and procedures which will supposedly restrict how and when CSIS, the RCMP, and Customs can ask for or use information obtained by torture.
“The objective is to establish a coherent and consistent approach across the government of Canada in deciding whether or not to send information to, or solicit information from, a foreign entity when doing so may give rise to substantial risk of mistreatment of an individual,” says the four-page framework. ....
[The directives] say that in “exceptional circumstances” the RCMP or border agency “may need to share the most complete information in its possession,” including information foreign agencies likely obtained through torture, “in order to mitigate a serious risk of loss of life, injury, or substantial damage or destruction of property before it materializes.”...
They also spell out procedures for information sharing when the risk of torture is “substantial” — meaning a “personal, present and foreseeable risk” based on something more than “mere theory or speculation.”
The decision must be referred to the RCMP commissioner or the border services agency president when there is a substantial risk that sending information to, or soliciting information from, a foreign agency would cause harm to someone — and it is unclear whether the risk can be managed by seeking assurances that the material won’t be misused.
But a thin veneer of bureaucratic process will not obscure a cowardly and corrupt policy which will condemn unknown numbers of people to torture.
Because it is not possible to establish rules for knife fights.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hot air

My husband says it will be interesting to see who blows more hot air in Tampa, Hurricane Issac or the Republican Convention.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Chris Selley flips out at the announcement the Ottawa carillon would play "Imagine" for Jack Layton.
Well, its a certainty that no one will ever associate that song with Stephen Harper or his caucus.

And who would that be, pray tell?

Comparing the Democratic and Republican convention speakers, Politico concludes
Democrats lack some of the star power among governors and senators that the Republican convention will have next week in Tampa...
Describing Republican politicians as having "star power" is a little ridiculous. Is America breathless to hear what that guy from Jersey has to say about anything?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Therefore, slut

What Todd Akin said about pregnancy by rape has nothing to do with the women who are raped and everything to do with anti-abortion comfort zones.
Its easier to be "pro-life" when you can think of abortion-seeking women as ignorant, selfish or misguided sluts who can't be trusted to follow a moral code and don't deserve to be able to make any choices for themselves.
Its a lot harder to think this way when considering someone like Elizabeth Smart, say, or Jaycee Lee Dugard -- kidnapped, raped, brutalized.
But if you can believe that no woman who is "legitimately" raped can actually get pregnant, then it resolves the discontinuity. Regardless of what she says -- rape, incest, whatever -- if she gets pregnant then it was actually her own fault and therefore slut.
Problem solved.
UPDATE:  Keep digging, boys.

So what?

So we're supposed to be grateful?
Augusta National admits Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, showing how far women have risen
Yes, there's the height of female accomplishment, joining an old geezers network at a golf club.  Enjoy all your new friends, Condi -- you've really struck a blow for equality this time.

Enbridge blew it

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on you again.
Enbridge produced a ridiculous "illustration" of its Alberta-BC pipeline route, conveniently leaving out about a thousand square kilometers of islands that tankers would have to navigate up Douglas Channel to Kitimat.
Though the company has described the video as "broadly representational", whatever that means, the final shot shows a teeny-tiny tanker unobtrusively making its way up a calm, broad waterway.
Here's what this channel actually looks like:
Enbridge Inc. says its video, which depicts Douglas Channel as an open waterway, is meant to be "broadly representational."

*This is not an Enbridge animation from Shortt and Epic Productions on Vimeo.

I agree with what Steve V says:
How can anyone believe one word of assurances from these people when they can't even show the slightest honesty in their portrayal? I fear Enbridge.
In the comments to this post, Mound of Sound describes the mood in BC toward this project:
Steve, here on the coast more people by the day are going into a slow burn over this. Ordinary, law-abiding British Columbians, some in their 20s some well into their 70s and all manner of others in between, are girding themselves to do what they've never done before - to stand up and stop this. The resolve is building with each revelation of what this pipeline means and with each machination of Ottawa, Alberta, China and Enbridge.
We're ready to go to jail for this.
Mound is doing yeoman work in blogging about this project and what it means for BC.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gag reflex

Just when you start to think there might actually be a limit to what Republicans will endorse -- that maybe "legitimate rape" actually, finally, crossed the line -- we read this: Leading social conservatives rally to Akin’s defense:
Two top officials from the Family Research Council said the Missouri congressman is the target of a Democratic smear campaign and chided those Republicans who have condemned Akin.
"Todd Akin is getting a really bad break here," she added. "I don't know anything about the science or the legal implications of his statement. I do know politics, and I know gotcha politics when I see it."
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins fired back at Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a leading moderate voice in the GOP who called Akin's remarks "outrageous" and encouraged him to drop his challenge to Democrat Claire McCaskill.
"He should be careful because based on some of his statements there may be some call for him to get out of his race," Perkins said of Brown. "He has been off the reservation on a number of Republican issues, conservative issues I should say. His support among conservatives is very shallow."
Mackey said that Republicans calling on Akin to apologize or drop out should get "backbone."
Yes, it takes a real man to stand up to all those sluts who actually couldn't have really been raped at all or else they wouldn't have gotten themselves pregnant....

My favorite Phyllis Diller line

Can I borrow your comb? I have this terrible scalp disease and I hate to use mine.
Phyllis Diller died today. She had her flaws, but she was the first woman to do standup comedy and flourish.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Off with their heads

When will the RCMP figure out that the Red Queen is not an effective management model for the 21st century?
Poor Harper -- he owes the RCMP so much, yet he can't seem to find the right commissioner, whether he hires from outside or inside.  His guys keep on having to open the next envelope.

Hollywood for ugly people

Fox thinks the zombie-eyed granny starver is America's national sex symbol? How desperate are these people for someone to love?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another open letter to David Akin*

Real journalist David Akin is slamming supposedly-fake journalist Sixth Estate for doing the job that Canada's news media and press gallery are just too busy to do.
And he implies in passing that Sixth Estate is really just a shill for the Liberals or NDP.  Where ever could he have got that idea?
So here's what I wrote to David Akin in his comment thread:
There is, as far as I know, no law that prevents David Akin or any other journalist from compiling and maintaining a lengthy list of hundreds of government appointments and then determining whether these people are CPC supporters.
Of course, doing this would be a lot of work, much of it without any immediate benefit because it wouldn't result in any stories.
Meanwhile, an editor would be breathing down the journalist's neck wondering why he is sitting there checking google and updating a chart, instead of going to the latest press conference or following up on the latest press release to generate a news story for the late edition.
So be glad, Mr. Akin, that Sixth Estate is doing this, so you and other real journalists don't have to.
By the way, who told you about Sixth Estate's list? It doesn't sound like you have been following his blog the way the rest of Canada's progressive bloggers do. Why did you focus your article almost exclusively on questions about Sixth Estate's identity and funding sources, while apparently not asking these questions of Sixth Estate before publishing your article? If you are going to imply that he is just a sleazy political tool of the NDP or Liberals, and that they are secretly supporting his research, wouldn't it have been more ethical to give him an opportunity to respond to your accusations before publishing?
As a fake journalist myself, of course, I have no obligation to ask Mr. Akin these questions before publishing them. It takes one to know one.
UPDATE: *spelling corrected -- sorry Mr. Akin.

The fix is in

Games are being played here and the fix is in.
The hysterical anger of the British foreign office toward Equador supports the idea that the whole rape accusation against Wikileaks' Julian Assange was just a trumped-up smear to undermine Assange's support and get him to the US for trial.
As a woman, I'm insulted to see a sexual assault accusation cynically used as a weapon. But as Dawg says:
...far too much about this case is suspicious. The timing of the rape accusations. The refusal of Sweden to question Assange in Britain, or to give any guarantees that he won’t be whisked off the the US—where he could face the death penalty—when he sets foot on Swedish soil. And, most of all, the staggering resources expended to hunt the fellow down and render him to Sweden. . . . Assange is being targeted because he not only spoke truth to power but stuck his finger in power’s eye.
Interpol has put Assange on its "most-wanted" list -- for having sex without a condom, for crying out loud - and Britain and Sweden are both acting like Assange is history's greatest monster.  As Ian Welsh notes, Pinochet had women raped by dogs and Britain wouldn't extradite him.
Why the US would actually want Assange is puzzling, given how controversial such a trial would be, but that’s another story, I guess.
We should never underestimate the vindictiveness of an insulted bureaucracy, regardless of how irrational or nonsensical.

What's that noise?

That funny scratching sound echoing across the land is the annual August ritual of TV scraping the bottom of the barrel for shows.
Oh well, as least Hell on Wheels is back. And Grimm.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


It is to laugh

So CIBC thinks we all should have an emergency fund. Pale finds the very idea is vastly amusing and I would agree.
If they had asked me, I would have said yes, of course I have an "emergency fund" -- its called a Visa card.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cue the whining

Now that the Olympics are over, the whining about how we didn't win enough medals can begin -- three, two one:
the magic petered out.
Oh, what tripe. Of course, we didn't win quite as many medals as Canada wanted (we finished 13th instead of 12th in terms of medal count) -- we NEVER win as many medals as our media think we should -- but our athletes did us proud.
And now its back to Shark Week.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vulture/Voucher 2012

The reaction to Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his vice-president candidate is hilarious:
Charles P. Pierce (who apparently invented the "vulture/voucher" line):
In his decision to make Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, his running mate, Romney finally surrendered the tattered remnants of his soul not only to the extreme base of his party, but also to extremist economic policies, and to an extremist view of the country he seeks to lead.
John Cole says its Christmas in August:
We may win back the house. I’m serious- the Ryan pick is that bad.
Jed Lewison at Daily Kos calls Romney/Ryan "the Committee to End Medicare"
In the short-term, it might be a boost for Romney, as it will take the discussion away from his secret tax returns for a few days. But any bump will be short lived as voters learn about the Ryan plan to end Medicare—and Romney's embrace of it. Voters won't like it when they realize Romney picked Ryan because he got bullied into it by the right. And of course, there's no way those secret tax returns are going to fall off the radar either. Basically, this Mitt Romney's attempt to create Romney 10.0 or 11.0 (I can't keep track). And it's a ton of fun.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Comparing Olympic athletes

The New York Times has a fascinating interactive graphic which compares today's athletes to Olympians back to 1896, in the sprint, the freestyle and the long jump.
The difference between the sprint winner in 1896 and today is only about 3 seconds. That said, the fastest 8 year old today could have won a medal in 1896.