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.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Dirty Harry, the honey badger

h/t Balloon Juice
And I was telling my husband about TBogg's hilarious post and his description of Harry Reid as the honey badger, because he doesn't give a shit, and I found out my husband hadn't heard of the honey badger so I was delighted to watch this again with him:

Worst driving in the world

If you google "worst drivers" you will get to Russia pretty quickly. Like this:
And here's another:

Apparently many Russians equip their cars with video cameras -- not surprising. But lots of other countries also have their supporters.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

The other moral to this story

As well as backing things up, the other moral to this story is:
Don't link everything.

Photo parade

Some of the animal photos from a collection of emotionally powerful photos:

A dog named Leao keeps watch by the the grave of his owner who was killed in a landslide in Rio de Janeiro.

A firefighter gives water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday bushfires that burned across Victoria, Australia, in 2009.

A girl in isolation for radiation screening looks at her dog through a window in Nihonmatsu, Japan.

Greg Cook hugs his dog Coco after finding her inside his destroyed home in Alabama following the Tornado in March, 2012.

Saturday, August 04, 2012


As well as Barak Obama's birthday, here's some of the other stuff that happened on August 4:
1892 - Lizzie Borden's parents are found murdered
1914 - Germany invades Belgium; Britain and Canada declare war
1921 - Rocket Richard is born
1944 - Anne Frank and family are arrested by the Gestapo
1964 - the Gulf of Tonkin incident
1987 - the Federal Communications Commission suspends the fairness doctrine.
2005 - Paul Martin announces Michaelle Jean will be Governor General
2010 - Proposition 8 is overturned
And its Johnny Cash day in Arkansas.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

I won, we lost -- an interview with Michael E. Mann

Paul Dechene from Planet S Magazine in Saskatoon Sask made a bet two years ago with a local talk show host that climate change would be proven within the next decade.
So following the extreme weather across the continent this summer, Dechene interviewed climate scientist Michael E. Mann last week about whether he has won the bet already.
And the bad news is -- yes, Mann says he has.
About this summer, Mann says
... the data is coming in. It’s showing exactly what the models predicted: increases in certain types of weather extremes, warming of the globe, warming of the oceans, warming of the land, the dramatic retreat of arctic sea ice, a loss of ice from the major ice sheets, increase in sea levels.
. . . the day before yesterday, a large piece of the Petermann Glacier broke off of Greenland, a piece larger than Manhattan. [Twice the size, in fact.] A major chunk of ice.
I could point to the most recent June measurements that showed the largest retreat of sea ice as of June in the history of records. Or I could point to the fact that, thus far this summer, all-time records for warmth in the U.S. are running at a ratio of more than 10 times what we’d expect from chance alone. Or I could talk about the fact that just in the last week NOAA [the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration] announced that basically we have now achieved a new record for the magnitude and extent of drought in the U.S. — and that’s including the Dust Bowl.
So are the climate change deniers willing to change their views and admit they were wrong? Well, not so much.  Mann describes their reaction:
Well, it’s usually just a recycling of some previously discredited talking point. They’re very good at that. It’s the zombie approach to climate change denial. Some of these myths don’t die no matter how many times you strike them down.
Frankly, they’re on the ropes right now with the events that are unfolding. They appear very shrill and completely without credibility when they’re denying the reality of climate change when we’re literally seeing it out our windows and on our TV screens. What you’re seeing now is climate change deniers on the defensive. Rather than being on the offense and attacking the science, they’re crying out in their shrill voices, “No, there’s no relationship at all between what you’re seeing; don’t believe those extreme weather events. Listen to the talking head denying climate change rather than your lying eyes.”
Zombie denialists -- what a great image!
Posted also at Daily Kos.

Tit for tat

Booman makes up a story about Mitt Romney -- or maybe it really is true after all, you never know.  It certainly deserves some detailed investigation, maybe even some congressional hearings.  Is it irresponsible to speculate? No, it is irresponsible not to:
Mitt Romney isn't really a Mormon. He's an atheist who only went along with his father's faith so he could duck the Vietnam draft. He didn't actually try to convert anyone when he was in France either. In reality, he spent all his time in Monte Carlo gambling and buying high-end hookers. When his daddy found out what he was doing, he made him come home and marry his high school sweetheart. Actually, he only made him marry her after the second time she got pregnant. The first time, they got an abortion. Then Romney started using some of the mafia connections he had made in Marseilles to import heroin. By the time he became governor, they were flying it straight into a secret airport they set up in the Berkshires. When one of the pilots started to talk, Romney had him killed.

The smoking gun

I believe the smoking gun in the Black "wink-and-nod" case is the over-the-top hysterical reaction from the Harper Cons to the idea -- the very idea! -- that such an honourable, independent, hand's off minister like Jason Kenny would ever think to interfere in the decisions of his department. (/snark)
First somebody gets the bright idea to report Guidy Mamann to the law society -- the Harper Cons think lese-majeste is now a crime -- then today we get this huffy and pompous reaction to the lawyers' petition, from Kenny's spokesperson Ana Curic:
“Baseless accusations of misconduct and reckless character smears, by someone holding himself out to be an expert, poison the public discourse and debase the legal profession,” Ms. Curic said.
“Instead of engaging in kneejerk outbursts of blind solidarity, these lawyers might consider the long-term damage to their profession of elevating activism above professionalism.”
By the way, I'm sure it actually wasn't Kenny who gave the nod to Conrad Black.
It was the PMO.


ShorterJason Kenney (or his office, anyway):
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers...