Monday, February 27, 2012

False equivalency

No, Canadian media, embarrassing a minister isn't just the same as trying to suppress voter turnout. Montreal Simon gets it:
while Vikileaks may have embarrassed Toews, it was not illegal, and should not be mentioned in the same breath as this criminal attempt to steal an election.
I looked at the vote gap in all of the ridings that the Liberals and the NDP are now investigating, plus the fine summary at Sixth Estate.
Many of these ridings had margins of thousands of vote, sometimes more than 10,000, so a suppression of voter turnout would likely not have made a difference in the final result.
But how about these six seats?
The Conservative candidate squeaked in, defeating the incumbent party in every case.
- Elmwood Tascona (MB): Lawrence Toet (Con) defeated incumbent Jim Maloway (NDP) by 300 votes out of 33,000 cast.
- Etobicoke Centre (ON): Ted Opitz (Con) defeated incumbent Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Lib) by 26 votes out of 52,000 cast
- Mississauga East-Cooksville (ON): Wladyslaw Lizon, (Con) defeated Peter Fonseca (Lib) by 600 votes out of 47,000 cast. Fonseca was not the incumbent, but the seat had been held by the Liberals since the riding was created in 2004.
- Nipissing Timiskaming (ON): Jay Aspen (Con) defeated incumbent Anthony Rota (Lib) by 18 votes out of 42,000 cast.
- Willowdale (ON): Chungsen Leung (Con) defeated incumbent Martha Hall Findlay (Lib) by 940 votes out of 54,000 cast.
- Winnipeg South Centre (MB): Joyce Bateman (Con) defeated incumbent Anita Neville (Lib) by 800 votes out of 40,000 cast.
And I'm wondering about some of the other close seats now, too.

Oscar chat

I thought the show went OK this year but the crowd didn't seem to be all that excited about most of the winners except Meryl Streep and Christopher Plummer.
I DO NOT understand why Martin Scorsese didn't win. The crowd didn't understand it either, I don't think.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Great line of the day

Matt Tabbi on the Republican Presidential Race -Conservative Chickens Come Home to Roost:
This current race for the presidential nomination has therefore devolved into a kind of Freudian Agatha Christie story, in which the disturbed and highly paranoid voter base by turns tests the orthodoxy of each candidate, trying to figure out which one is the spy, which one is really Barack Obama bin Laden-Marx under the candidate mask!
Be sure to read the whole thing. H/T
Being, as usual, a few years behind the States, I expect we will see the same deification of Harper among our Conservatives here as we saw with Republicans about Reagan in the US -- provided Harper leaves before he triggers our gag reflex, of course, and gets chewed up and spit out by the Canadian people like we have done with all of our other prime ministers for the last 40 years.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Twitter fail

I recently put a twitter widget on my page to show my twitters -- then nobody was commenting on my posts and I couldn't figure out why until Saskboy managed to leave a comment that the twitter widget was preventing live links in any post that was located beside the box.
So the widget is gone.
I haven't really figured out this twitter thing, anyway -- I don't have one of those smart phones to tweet on and while I do have random thoughts about everything all day long, I find they are seldom interesting enough to tweet about. Does anyone really want to hear about whether my hamburger at lunch used the right kind of bun?
And thanks, Saskboy.


As we learn more about the robocall scandal, the magnitude gets bigger and bigger, and the contempt of the Harper Conservatives for the Canadian people becomes more and more obvious.
Even Andrew Coyne is utterly disgusted
There were not a few calls: there were thousands. They did not occur in one or two ridings: there were at least 18 of them, scattered across the country . . .
There isn't any doubt that this was election fraud . . .
This is far beyond just "dirty tricks" that we always hear candidates complain about, like knocking over campaign signs. "Inaccuracies can occur" isn't going to cut it, and neither will the usual 'rogue staff' excuse.
Somebody in the central campaign headquarters of the Conservative Party thought this up.
A bunch of other people in the central campaign headquarters approved it and agreed to finance it.
Constituency workers across the country provided the voters lists and wrote the misinformation scripts.
And the Conservative candidates, those men and women who are now Members of Parliament, said sure, OK, let's lie to my constituents, whatever it takes to get myself elected.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Everyone does it? No they don't

Here we go again. The Harper Conservatives get nailed for their dirty tricks and ratfucking and all of a sudden "everybody" does it and "everyone" has to clean up their act -- yeah, because Pierre Trudeau bringing in wage and price controls 40 years ago is somehow exactly the same trying to suppress votes by sending Liberal electors to the wrong polls 8 months ago.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


MacKay's office got the RCAF to dig up dirt on the opposition:
This will be so much easier when C-30 passes and we can just troll through their emails any time we want to.

Great post of the day

Tom and Lorenzo talk about last night's Glee and how the "it gets better" approach to gay teen suicides is well-meaning but flawed:
The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Fuck “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS SHIT HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. It’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE. You should be furious about it, not gently weeping over music videos.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The other shoe just dropped

Step one -- Scare everyone about how the Canadian government isn't going to provide enough pension income.
Step two -- Create a new financial product called Pooled Registered Pension Plans that banks and financial companies can sell to all those scared Canadians.
Step three -- Profit!
(For the banks and the financial companies, of course.)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blue meanies

They're nothing but a bunch of blue meanies.
The Harper Conservatives are bound and determined to make Walmart greeters, drugstore cashiers, and cleaning ladies work for an extra two years.
Now they think they can pit us against one another by arguing that Canada doesn't have enough younger taxpayers to pay for the benefits us older taxpayers will need.
This is such bullsh*t, its painful to listen to. We can get all the taxpayers we need, any time we want them. There are hundreds of thousands of hard-working young people in countries around the world who would just love to emigrate to Canada and raise their families here.
Of course, they might not vote Conservative....

Thank you, Lorne Calvert

Thanks for the Family Day holiday -- we really enjoyed it.

Money doesn't care where it comes from

Kthug writes about what is going on with the European economy:
Look, I understand why influential people are reluctant to admit that policy ideas they thought reflected deep wisdom actually amounted to utter, destructive folly. But it’s time to put delusional beliefs about the virtues of austerity in a depressed economy behind us.
They have it backwards, as usual. I'm no economist, but if there is one thing we should have learned in the last 80 years, it is that we can't wait for the economy to improve before we spend money -- rather, our economies improve BECAUSE money is being spent. Like any simplistic idea, of course, this can be carried too far, but basically money doesn't care where it comes from. Whether the money in an economy comes from a government or not, it is the circulation that is important, not the origin.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The stupid, it burns

Who is this incredibly stupid man?
...his understanding of the bill is that police can only request information from the ISPs where they are conducting "a specific criminal investigation."
But Section 17 of the 'Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act' outlines "exceptional circumstances" under which "any police officer" can ask an ISP to turn over personal client information.
"I'd certainly like to see an explanation of that," ...
"This is the first time that I'm hearing this somehow extends ordinary police emergency powers [to telecommunications]. In my opinion, it doesn't. And it shouldn't."
Why, that's the Minister of Public Safety. The person whose staff wrote the bill. The person who brought it to the House of Commons without bothering to read it. The person who thought that anyone who objected to it was a child pornographer.
Welcome to your nightmare, Vic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

And how stupid do they think we are?

I know, I know, but look at this:
Check out the last-minute name change to the government's contentious "lawful access" bill

At 10 am, the bill to allow warrentless electronic snooping by police is titled "Lawful Access Act"; at 11:17 am, the bill is titled "Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act" (which, by the way, it apparently won't actually do).
H/T to Sarah Schmidt at Canada.Com who also quotes Anne Cavoukian, Ontario Privacy Commissioner:
“They’re calling the bill ‘Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.’ Give me a break. The warrantless access does not just apply to cases of child pornography or child predators. It can apply to something that’s not even a criminal activity. It’s ridiculous to go to these lengths.
In the iPolitics blog, Michael Harris summarizes the basic problem with this bill, however noble-sounding its name:
The only thing that separates a democratic state from a police state is the notion of accountability. . . Warrants don’t prevent the police from doing their investigations, they protect the integrity of the system. In order to get a warrant, the police have to demonstrate reasonable and probable cause that a crime is being committed by a particular person. Remove that requirement and you end up with a system that could be driven by unprofessional hunches, misplaced zeal, idle curiosity, or malice.
Or doing political favors for the powers-that-be.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Who do they think they are?

Paraphrasing Catherine O'Hara's memorable Beetlejuice line, the Harper Cons are going insane and they are taking us with them.
A question about expanding government surveillance powers, and Vic Toews responds: “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
A statement from the Parliamentary Budget Office that the Harper Cons are wrong about an OAS/GIS shortfall and Jim Flaherty responds: "Unbelievable, unreliable and incredible."
The Liberals and NDP have to resort to procedural sleight-of-hand just to have a discussion about Official Languages committee business in public -- and that public access will end the very minute a Conservative member is able to speak again. So much for Harper's open and accountable government promise.
And can you imagine what they are saying behind closed doors about the judges who are ruling against their pet ideas on mandatory minimums and prisoner transfers?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Just say no

The Wall Street Journal is just being silly when it continues to whine about the birth control flap:
The White House wants to impose its birth-control ideology on all Americans, including those for whom sponsoring or subsidizing such services violates their moral conscience.
The stupid, it burns!
Anyone who doesn't support birth control doesn't have to use it.
There, problem solved.

Whitney Houston dies

What a shock, she was only 48.

Other great songs.

S**t Saskatchewanians Say

From Thread Saskatoon

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Great line of the day

John Cole writing about the stupidity of Catholic bishops in the States flipping out over women's health insurance:
I am so sick and tired of fighting stupid petty battles because of your damned religion. I am sick of getting bogged down in these stupid arguments. I am sick of you using your religion as a way to divide people. I’m sick of you using your religion to get in the way of other people’s lifestyle and healthcare choices. I am sick of you using your religion as an excuse to bomb people. I’m sick of your religion getting in the way of policy making. I’m sick of you using your religion to stifle scientific progress. I really am. Do whatever the hell you want in your home and in your church, but just get out of my face with whatever horseshit you believe, be it anything from judaism to catholicism to mormonism to islam to jehovah’s witnesses to the church of the flying spaghetti monster.
Whatever the voodoo that you do is, keep it your damned self. I am officially sick of your crap.
Does anyone remember when John Kennedy had to promise not to let his religion affect his decisions as president? And much more recently, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin had to remind Canadian bishops that they weren't elected as Catholic leaders.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


In the history of the world there has probably never been a nation that didn't sometimes intentionally torture prisoners and secretly use the information so obtained, however unreliable.
But at least we used to be ashamed of it.
Not any more.


My response to Karen Handel's self-serving letter of resignation is
Cry me a freaking river, Karen!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Talking the talk

In one of the least surprising decisions in the history of Canadian jurisprudence, the Sask Party's essential services law from 2007 has finally been struck down by the courts as unconstitutional.
So now, all of a sudden, the Wall government actually wants to talk to unions:
The minister added that he is willing to meet with the province's labour groups to discuss ways to improve the essential services legislation.
"What we'd like do with organized labour is sit down and work with them and see what types of things can be resolved," Morgan said.
They couldn't have cared less about talking to labour before they passed the bill in the first place -- described as "the most sweeping and heavy-handed essential services legislation in Canadian history." Better late than never, I suppose.

The ones I liked the best

Dozing in front of the TV

Only a few thousand Canadians are watching Sun News on any given day -- I never have myself. But I guess back on Oct. 19, that "miniscule" number included Jennifer Ditchburn, and wasn't that just too bad for Sun News:
Ms. Ditchburn, who’s been reporting on the Hill for 15 years, said she saw the original Sun News broadcast of the oath and that it struck her as “interesting.” She decided to make an access to information request about it the same week.”
“I was just sort of fishing to see if there was anything interesting that would come up and something did,” she said.
The whole press gallery will be watching Sun News now, thus doubling their viewership. Win-win!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Deja vu

We know the fight is coming again.
We know they're not going to stop until they get what they want -- and what they want is a new abortion law in Canada.
But what they don't seem to realize is this: we have watched the Democrats in the US go along with the erosion of abortion rights for the last 20 years. We have seen them appease and give an inch and pander and knuckle under and go along with stupid laws like requiring ultrasounds and waiting periods and counselling and notifications. And all this going along to get along hasn't satisfied the pro-lifers one bit -- they have demonized Planned Parenthood and are targeting contraception and Gardisil treatments.
Could this happen in Canada? Maybe. The Harper Cons are doing whatever they can to quietly mollify their own pro-life base. But I do believe that Canadians realize that any law that gets the state involved again with abortion decisions -- even a supposedly-reasonable limited-impact law that just deals with a tiny number of cases like so-called "late-term" or "partial birth" abortions, nothing to see here just move along -- is the thin edge of the wedge. We are not apologetic or shame-faced about believing in a woman's right to choose.
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Sweetest video ever


A red letter day

Circle February 3 on the calendar.
A Virginia Republican listened to a woman's personal abortion story and actually agreed it was her choice to make, not his.:
“I don’t feel like I have the ability to make a decision as difficult as the one that young woman made,” said Republican Sen. Harry Blevins of Chesapeake, whose abstention resulted in the GOP-backed bill dying on a 7-7 party-line vote.

Font rant

Just for fun, here's Mike Lacher's I’m Comic Sans, Asshole.:
You think I’m a malformed, pathetic excuse for a font. Well think again, nerdhole, because I’m Comic Sans, and I’m the best thing to happen to typography since Johannes fucking Gutenberg.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The centre isn't holding

Rough beasts, start slouching. I'm starting to think a few things are starting to fall apart for the Harper Cons.
After telling middle-aged Walmart cashiers that MPs are going to force them to stand behind their registers until they're 67, they won't cut their own lavish pensions.
After releasing a batch of embarrassing info about CBC salaries, they won't reveal how many of Harper's staff are also being highly paid.
After Harper perished the thought that he would introduce any anti-abortion legislation, he's losing control of the Conservative backbenchers.
And the courts are slapping down their cruel ideology.
Stay tuned.