Monday, March 31, 2014

Hello I must be going

So Dr. Dawg retweeted one of my tweets and a bunch of great people let me know they have decided to follow me on Twitter -- and so now I'm going out of town and likely won't be tweeting or posting for the next week.
So it goes.  La de da.
To all of my new followers, yes, I will be tweeting, just not for a little while.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Goodbye you must be going

I have usually dismissed as wishful thinking those recent stories about Harper's precarious position in the party.

But maybe it is true that Harper's control over the party is slipping, when one of Harper's favourites cannot bully through a nomination dispute:

Dimitri Soudas, Stephen Harper’s hand-picked executive director of the Conservative Party was dumped by the party Sunday night. The CBC reported just before 9 p.m. that the party’s national council was informed of the dismissal in a conference call. Soudas was at the centre of a storm after openly interfering in a nomination battle in Oakville-North Burlington, where his fiancée Eve Adams is in a tough competition to run for re-election in one of Toronto’s newly created ridings.
I'll bet there was more than one f-bomb dropped during that phone call.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Scorched earth

Lawrence Martin thinks just about everybody is reaching their gag limit on the Harper Cons:
The strategy of the PMO has been to subjugate the other powers bases in Ottawa, the checks and balances in the system, to the point where they offer little resistance. The record shows that major progress has been made. But evidence suggests resistance is growing in many quarters, including, if opinion polls are to be believed, from the people themselves.
And the polls are also consistently showing the Trudeau Liberals beating the Harper Cons in the next election, irregardless of how many anti-Trudeau smears they run.
So basically Harper has another year as Prime Minister and then he will most likely be gone.
Will Harper go quietly into that good night? Or he is going to adopt the kind of "scorched earth" policies that will incinerate the country behind his retreat?
Do I even need to ask?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

What the War Nerd says about the Crimea

Over the years, whenever there is a war going on just about anywhere, it's The War Nerd, Gary Brecher, who seems to explain it better than anyone else.
So I've been wondering what he would say about the Crimea and here it is: basically, that the West is f**ked:
The two versions of Russia — McCain’s “gas station masquerading as a country” and Lake’s fearsome conqueror — both start from the same bitter knowledge . . . It’s a simple one: Russia will take Crimea, won’t pay a big price for it, and there’s not a thing anyone can do about it. . . . Russia is now the world’s #1 oil exporting nation, topping Saudi Arabia — that beacon of democracy and fine American ally — by more than a million barrels a day.
With reserves estimated at 80 billion barrels, Russia will have a stash of what everybody wants for a long, long time.
Which makes it kind of a big gas station . . . The crude must flow, no matter how crudely its Russian owners behave.
The only media that seem willing to acknowledge this are the finance sites. They can’t afford to let jingoism affect their bets, so they’ve been surprisingly clear-headed, saying outright that there’s nothing the West can do

Monday, March 17, 2014

Intentions and the U of R cheer team

Cowboys and Indians 3

The University of Regina Cheer Team posted a "cowboys and Indians" photo, hastily removed with the apology that they didn't intend to disrespect anyone.  
Well, of course not.  But as Hollie McKenzie points out ‘intention’ is not all that matters:
I believe that the U of R Cheer Team did not intend to disrespect anyone. As stereotypes of Indigenous people and a frontier narrative of white-settler ‘progress’ are part of our liberal ideology, it is possible to both have good intentions and act in racist ways within Canada and Saskatchewan. . . .  ‘good intentions’ do not undo the effects of our actions nor should they excuse them. Rather, our responsibility as a (white-settler) community needs to shift from a simple blind ‘good intentions’ (which justifies a continued ignorance of the effects of our practices) to critical reflection on our practices before we engage in them and reparations when we cause harm (whether unintentional or intentional). It needs to shift to relational accountability to and with Indigenous communities, on this land that we share. This comes through conversations and ongoing, non-crisis-driven relationships with Indigenous communities. This comes through offering reparations for our colonial past, through working with Indigenous people to change the colonial present and the racist and sexist nature of our society.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

PQ has fallen and it can't get up

I get the impression that the Parti Quebecois election campaign has rapidly fallen off the rails.
Last weekend we heard about nothing except Pierre Karl Peladeau's separatist yearnings and problematic ethics, then we had a week dominated by the visual of Marios pushing PKP away from the microphone.  Now a PQ candidate has had to quit over a "F--K Islam" photo, and Marois has had to spend her weekend  defending the PQ candidate who compared baptism, circumcision to rape.
And its only week two of the campaign.
Montreal Simon is concerned about the longer term picture -- and so am I -- but in the meantime I can't stop watching the train wreck.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Donald North

If Sun News Network is Fox News North, then Pierre Karl Peladeau sounds to me like Donald Trump.
Michael Den Tandt's list of anecdotes sure makes Peladeau sound grotesquely egotistical poseur, more than a little unwrapped:

"His claims to being entrepreneurial, decisive, and an innovator, which he reiterated Sunday, are absolutely fair. An insistence on having his own way, at all times and in all circumstances, however, has long been part and parcel of his management style, and often led his newspapers into thickets that verged on the farcical...

His reputation, which circulated everywhere through the senior ranks of Sun Media in the years after he took personal executive control, was that of an intelligent, determined and ruthless manager — who was also capricious, temperamental, and often enraged at his underlings...

There were stories of tirades that lasted for hours; very-late-night briefings with senior managers that went on and on, with Peladeau lecturing, Fidel-Castro-like, as his helpless employees struggled to keep awake; the Quebecor corporate jet wafting into small-town Ontario airports so the Boss could barnstorm into a newsroom of three or four desks, to sign a sheaf of backlogged expense cheques, as the workers stood quaking nearby. I know of one small-town publisher who received an email from Peladeau at 3 a.m., angrily querying the purchase of some T-shirts for a local charitable event. PKP made a virtue of intense micro-management, believing it integral to the operation of a good business.
Den Tandt seems to think it shows remarkable chutzpah for Marois to bring Peladeau into the PQ. I think it smacks of desperation.  The Parti Quebecois will regret getting involved with a guy like this.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Great line of the day

In Stephen Maher's article about the terrible optics of the Vic Toews judicial appointment:

The bench should not be used as a retirement home for burnt out politicians.

That’s what the Senate is for . . .

Friday, March 07, 2014

Blue meanies

It only took six years, but the Harper Con clawback of disability benefits for injured Mounties has finally been ended:

Lawyers for a group of disabled RCMP officers say they have reached a settlement with the federal government over disability payments that were clawed back....

The case involves about 1,000 disabled RCMP officers who had seen their long-term disability payments reduced by the amount they received every month in disability pension payments from the Veterans Affairs Department.

The proposed agreement also means the reduction would end for all RCMP veterans now receiving benefits and Mounties who are medically released in the future....

The case is almost identical to one that a judge deemed harsh and unfair in a class-action lawsuit by military veterans.

About 8,000 wounded military veterans were awarded a $887.8-million settlement after former army sergeant Dennis Manuge launched a class-action suit against Ottawa in 2007.
Now if they could just stop insulting veterans with one penny cheques....

But I guess the Harper Cons have been trying to save money so they can run some more of their damned Action Plan ads:

One popular reason to vote for the Liberals in 2016 will just be to STOP the ridiculous ads.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Don't believe it

Once again, Peter MacKay is way, way ahead of the Harper Con cabinet -- Pot legislation 'under serious consideration,' Peter MacKay says:

Justice Minister Peter MacKay told reporters on Parliament Hill Wednesday morning he has tasked the justice department "with looking at and coming forward with what could be a draft legislation."
"We have not arrived on the exact mechanism in which that could be done. The prime minister has signalled an openness to this," he said.
Yeah, I'm sure he has.  Somehow, I never thought Harper was sincere when he sang the "I get high with a little help from my friends" line.

Either the Harper Cons are desperately trying to subvert Trudeau's popular pot-legalization policy, or MacKay is so far off the Con reservation he cannot see the borders from here.

Or both, of course.

I wonder if this is the next ball cap we will see MacKay wearing?

Monday, March 03, 2014

Dicking around with war

Once again, we're seeing terrifying world events reduced by the US media to a dick-swinging contest.
CNN and the New York Times seem to think the Russian invasion of the Crimea is just another dispute between Obama and Putin, and they want Obama to swagger around showing everyone how much tougher he is. NYT says

The Russian occupation of Crimea has challenged Mr. Obama as has no other international crisis, and at its heart, the advice seemed to pose the same question: Is Mr. Obama tough enough to take on the former K.G.B. colonel in the Kremlin?
If you want actual news about what is going on, check the BBC

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Target, get real

Apparently Target thinks it has been doing us Canadian bumpkins a favour
“Our goal was to bring the true U.S. Target experience to Canada, which included bringing the brands and products our guests [customers], who have cross-border shopped, know and love – and we have,” Tony Fisher, president of Target Canada, said in an e-mail this week.
Well, no, Tony, you haven't -- not unless the experience of U.S. consumers is empty shelves and no product variety.
Our local Zellers closed last Christmas and Target opened in the spring. I have been there three times, and each time I found empty shelves, no variety, and few of the well-designed products I had been seeing in the ads -- the Nate Berkus "section" was a tiny display with just two or three items.   Though the location is a convenient one for me and I drive by it all the time, I haven't bothered going in since last fall -- fool me twice and all that.  I now assume they likely won't have anything I am looking for, nor will I find anything interesting or unexpected.
Its really too bad.  I never thought I would miss Zellers!