Monday, December 21, 2015

The Christmas gift anyone can give -- saying "thanks!"

I usually enjoy reading the various advice columnists around the web, and particularly at this time of year, a lot of the columns are about how difficult it is to buy Christmas presents for their ungrateful, greedy relatives and how awful are the gifts they receive in return -- like this one from Captain Awkward #809: Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh, and Judgement and this one from Carolyn Hax I Hate Christmas.
I have come to the conclusion that there is really just one “gift” we can all give to our nearest and dearest this Christmas and it is this: Be visibly pleased and vocally happy with any present that we receive from them; no matter how awful or inappropriate or ill-fitting it is -- just smile and say “how good of you to think of this” or “it's just what I wanted” or “what a clever idea” or even just “thanks so much for thinking of me”.
 Even if its one of Dr. Grumpy's giant shrimp pillows:

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Donald Trump, coward

What the cowardly Donald Trump and his idiot supporters are now saying about Muslims is no different than what the Nazis were saying about Jews just 80 years ago.
Even Dick Cheney thinks Trump is going too far, but Trump won't care.  Trump has seized on the deaths of 14 Americans to make this horrible incident into America's version of the Reichstag fire, an excuse for violent and racist rhetoric.  At its core, of course, is his own profound cowardice, a deep-seated fear of anyone who isn't white.
Rachel Maddow thinks Trump is really just trying to get himself disowned by the Republican party.
No, I don't think he is either that smart or that devious.
He's just gone crazy and he wants to take America with him.
UPDATE:  Yes, they went there:

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Great line of the day

Iraq War Do-Over: Lance Mannion writes about how the media really really want to cheerlead for another war in the Middle East:
It's not just the neo-cons who want a do-over on Iraq.
By and large, the American press wanted that war as much as the Bush Leaguers did.
The media cheerled for the invasion. They reported the war as a rolling victory even after it was clear it was far from that.
They propped up the Bush Administration. Tried to sell us on the idea that W. was a great leader. And they'v never really admitted any of it.
Let alone apologized.
And rather than admit they were played for fools and suckers and certainly rather than admit they were glad to play along...
...they're itching for another war. Wars sell newspapers and advertising. Covering wars boosts careers.
It makes desk bound editors and pundits feel like heroes.
And this time out, they think, they'll get it right.
Not that they think they didn’t get it right the first time.
And, like with Iraq, the media has no idea at all exactly where the war should be or who exactly it should be fought against or what the goal should be or how to decide who has won.
They just think Obama should somehow fix in six days what Bush spent six years breaking.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Oh Gawd, here comes "Nannygate"!

I expect any minute now some Canadian media will start using the term "Nannygate". The stupid, it burns!

As the Globe and Mail editorial rather grudgingly admitted, nobody expects the Trudeaus to pay for the gardeners or the cleaners or the housekeepers who look after their official residence. But now I guess the media expects us taxpayers to get all huffy about paying for their child care.

So does Canada want to elect politicians who have children? Well, somebody needs to care for those children, and its fine with me if the taxpayers cover the costs while mom and dad are busy doing the public's business.

I had no problem with Alison Redford taking her daughter with her on trips and doubtless the Harper family also hired nannies for child care when their children were young.  So I see no problem with the Trudeaus taking their children with them when they travel, and a nanny too.  Because no, they're not going to just hire babysitters for the evening through the hotel concierge.

Now we have to listen to the Harper Cons whining about Trudeau's child caregivers --  remember, this is the same bunch saw no problem in billing the public for Harper's haircuts.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Breaking News: Canadians are not stupid

It will be amazing news to our news pundits, but Canadians are not stupid knee-jerk war-mongering pearl-clutching conservatives.
After all the news stories of the last week about how the Paris attacks made Canadians question Trudeau's decision on withdrawal from air attacks in Syria, and after all the blithe assertions I heard that Canadians wouldn't have voted for Trudeau if the attacks had happened before the election, today we find out that Trudeau is more popular than ever.
As of Friday, a week after the Paris attacks, Trudeau is the preferred prime minister for 53 per cent of Canadians. This is his highest level ever, and an increase of three percent since before the attacks. He is way ahead of the other party leaders, and the gap is widening. We also found out today that almost three quarters of Canadians think Trudeau is a good leader, while only a third think this highly of the Harper Cons.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't

I expect Trudeau realizes that all of the people who are criticizing him for moving too fast on the Syrian refugee promise would turn on a dime and howl in betrayal if he announced he was slowing down.
Damn the torpedos, sir -- full speed ahead!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Great line of the day

The Mound of Sound writes about The Moral War and our new wars of the 21st Century:
All I've garnered out of those studies has led me to formulate a precautionary rule. Don't get into wars that you're not willing to win and, even then, not without knowing how you will win, how long that will take, at what cost, how you will know if you've won and if you've lost, and how you will get out. Those preconditions all sound so reasonable and yet, if applied to our military adventures in the Muslim world since the turn of this century, we would have stayed home.
Forget this bullshit about moral wars for it's the most heinous, most barbaric side that sets that morality bar in these new wars. There's no moral consolation prize that doesn't leave mountains of suffering and dead in its wake.
Emphasis mine.
I hope Trudeau withstands the twin pressures he is under now to continue showing off in the middle east with meaningless Canadian air strikes, while simultaneously running away at home by not admitting as many Syrian refugees as he promised.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Great line of the day

The Mound of Sound writes about today's story on how the Harper Cons "politicized" the civil service:
The mandarins are running for cover. They failed to stand up to Harper. They chose not to defend the public service over which they presided. They allowed themselves to be intimidated into colluding with a corrupt government. They abandoned their responsibility to the nation and the Canadian people and they now, unforgivably and outrageously, depict themselves as victims.
Yeah -- after ten years of "the Harper government" taking over what used to be The Government of Canada, after years of outrageous firings and resignations, after everyone was so sick and tired of Harper that the country threw him out, NOW the deputy ministers decide to complain about politics affecting the civil service? Give me a break.

I gotta get my life some writers

Calvin and Hobbes Comic Strip, October 29, 2015 on

Calvin and Hobbes

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How shocking!

I'm shocked SHOCKED that Justin Trudeau hasn't yet developed a plan for dealing with the Senate -- several ex-Liberal Senators are apparently feeling a little miffed that, in the nine days since he was elected, Justin hasn't figured out yet exactly what their role will be in his government.
With only a week before Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is to be sworn in, independent Liberal senators say they are being kept in the dark and have no idea how the new government plans to get its legislation through the Senate.
“It’s a great big black hole,” said Senator Jim Munson.
Poor babies, their delicate fee-fees are hurt.
So of course they follow the grand Liberal tradition of running to the media to complain.
Though I would imagine that Trudeau has had just a few other little things on his mind during the last week, like developing a cabinet, building the PMO, moving, making a thousand appointments... oh, and crossing his fingers that his mother doesn't say anything stupid.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

So what's our excuse?

Montreal Simon has a great column on The Battle to Liberate Canada and the Betrayal of the MSM where he notes a determined effort on the part of Canadian media to "move on" and just forget all about the Harper years:
This would also be my message to Andrew Coyne, and all the other casual collaborators in the MSM, who would have us move on and forget the Decade of Darkness as if it never happened.
We will NEVER stop writing about that nightmare, until the day the guilty are held accountable for their crimes against Canada.
Until the day we can determine whether Stephen Harper used government departments and the security services as political weapons against his own people.
And of course, until the day we can be sure that his foul legacy is finally buried...
The United States has seen a determined effort to wipe everyone's memory about what happened during the eight Bush years, to the point that the US media was shocked, SHOCKED, this week when Donald Trump reminded everyone that Bush was actually in charge of the American government when America experienced 9/11.
But at least America had 9/11 as an excuse for going mad.
What's Canada's excuse?
Our FPTP electoral system?  That a few people were mad at the Wheat Board, the CTRC, and the long-form census?
And what is the excuse for years and years of craven, cowardly behaviour on the part of dozens and dozens of elected MPs -- all those Con MPs who spent years forelock-tugging, knuckling under, kowtowing to everything that the Hitler Youth in Harper's office told them to do?
I don't know, but I agree with Simon that we'd better keep on talking about what happened.
So it won't ever happen again.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Great line of the day

Michael Harris at iPolitics reminds us of why Harper really lost:

Harper’s downfall, and that of the party he built, had nothing to do with Harper Derangement Syndrome. Nor was it about the machinations of war rooms, whore rooms, evil gurus or a burnt-out lieutenant screaming at her own deckhands as the ship went down — assuming Tory MP Ron Liepert has it right.

It comes down to this: you can’t have a dictatorial liar running a democracy for the benefit of his corporate buddies and expect a country like Canada to tolerate it forever. Canadians ultimately drop the gloves when they come face to face with tyrants — and kick the stuffing out of him. [Emphasis mine]

That is what really happened here. The country really did embrace the “better angels of our nature”, to borrow the phrase Trudeau borrowed from Lincoln. It was more disgusted by than afraid of Stephen Harper.
It didn’t appreciate his lies about what he was doing and why, his degradation of Canadian foreign policy for domestic political gain, his toxic manipulation of information that belonged to everyone, and his vicious mistreatment of anyone who dared to tell him that the sun didn’t orbit around … him.

How ironic is it that his kingdom of secrets, that bubble once hermetically sealed, is now leaking like an old rubber boot. Party brass like Jenni Byrne and Ray Novak at each other’s throats. Ex-PMO lawyer Benjamin Perrin saying the PM had lost the moral authority to govern. Tory Blue Bill Thorsell saying throw the rascals out. And now even pipsqueak MPs daring to unload on the autocrats at CPC headquarters who made their lives a living hell as long as Harper rode the back of the tiger — before he ended up inside.

What scares me? These people still won 99 seats. For some of them, it should have been 99 years.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

And so it begins

That didn't take long, did it
By describing one of Canada's most prominent and well-respected first nations leaders, Phil Fontaine, as just a pipeline consultant, the Montreal Gazette is already trying to fit the Trudeau government into a "corrupt Liberal" frame.
Fontaine, by the way, is the grey-haired guy applauding, at the bottom left of the photo that the Montreal Gazette ran with this smear story.
ALSO very suspicious, isn't it, that Fontaine is standing next to a woman with a red cell phone -- get it RED????  Maybe she's actually a Russkie commie sympathizer so how some SHE was at Trudeau's victory celebration?  Huh? Huh?
And whose baby is that in the back, wearing headphones?  Is Trudeau subverting our youth already with his neighbourhood dope houses????
And how come Sophie is wearing those silver earrings?  This must mean she is against Canadian gold miners....
Pipeline consultant had prime spot at Liberal victory rally

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Justin Bat-Flip

from the Halifax Chronicle Herald
Listening to the pundits tonight, I found out that they all knew two months ago that Stephen Harper was going to lose the election. Yep, Harper was doomed from the start and everybody on our TV news shows absolutely knew it all along
Too bad they didn't get around to telling the rest of us.
In fact, I noticed they didn't mention it until well after the Ontario votes were counted -- and it was absolutely, positively guaranteed that Harper and all the Hitler youth in the PMO were completely gone, finished, kaput.
I still don't think they really believe it, though.  Right at the end of the CBC coverage, one of the bright young things on the national set -- it might have been Rosemary Barton but I'm not sure -- anyway, she started babbling pathetically about how she had never covered politics except when Harper was PM and how great it was going to be now, because the press gallery reporters would actually know about when cabinet meetings were going on and they might actually being able to ask a government minister a question and all like that.
Of course, the older and supposedly wiser pundits on the set quickly started shouting her down about how naive she was and how she shouldn't get her hopes up that the Liberals would change anything -- which is the kind of cynicism that Trudeau has promised to end.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Newspaper endorsements are just another corporate press release

At the end of an election campaign, a newspaper's endorsement used to mean something. It used to be taken as considered and authoritative judgement by the newspaper's editorial office about that particular election campaign and that particular set of candidates.
Now? Its just another corporate press release.
The Globe and Mail started it off last week in a ridiculous editorial that endorsed the Harper Cons, without Harper, and it was widely mocked on twitter.
Then all of the Postmedia brand newspapers in Canada ran so-called "editorials" written by their corporate office supporting the Harper Cons, and the Edmonton Journal editor described it as the "right" of the Postmedia owners to do this.
Now the National Post has lost their editorial board chair, Andrew Coyne over their refusal to let Coyne endorse the party he wanted to endorse. Their corporate endorsement, of course, went to the Harper Cons.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

There's no pearl-clutching in baseball

Wasn't that a party?
And its a side-note on the whole thing, really, but illustrative of how Americans think they own baseball.
First, I was amused during yesterday's stunning Blue Jays win by the pearl-clutching of the announcers over how the Toronto fans erupted during the disputed run ruling. The announcers seemed amazed at how angry the Toronto fans were -- why, they acted just like the fans would in any American baseball park and they threw stuff on the field! They so scary, must suspend game!
And then it was hilarious how the Rangers and the American sports media got so busy tut-tutting about Bautista flipping his bat after he saved the day, the game, the downtown, and the season -- how dare he act just like any other player would in any other American baseball park!
CBS Sports writes:
Dyson comes off as whiny little baby in all of this. I understand the Rangers just suffered a crushing defeat and they're looking to lash out, but of all the things to get mad about, they're mad about the bat flip?
Know what's disrespectful? Telling a player how to act after a career-defining moment. Dyson has no business telling Bautista he "needs to calm down," especially considering Dyson instigated not one, but two benches clearing incidents that inning.

Great line of the day

One of the commenters on a Huffington Post about the Ford brothers showing up at a Harper Con rally:

The Ford brothers were there to advise Harper on drugs and whorehouses. Who better?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Don't make me laugh

Once again following along with the Harper Con agenda, the Globe and Mail is "reporting" that Trudeau's spending promises are "under more scrutiny":
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is coming under mounting pressure to spell out just how his campaign spending promises would add up.
Yeah, sure.
The Liberals announced their spending and budget plans weeks ago; if the media hasn't scrutinized them until now (too busy focusing the election on Muslims like Harper wanted them to) then this isn't Justin's fault.
The only pressure that Justin is coming under right now is from the panicked Harper Cons, who are throwing money away trying to halt Liberal momentum.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Sorry for the lack of posts -- we have been away.

But I notice that news outlets are now reporting the Liberals are within reach of forming the next government. So maybe for a change my mid-September prediction that Trudeau was beginning to pull away from the crowd will turn out to be correct.
Today's Nanos tracking poll confirms the Liberal's upward trend:
The current Nanos nightly tracking shows the Liberals at 35.1% support nationally followed by the Conservatives at 29.0%, the NDP at 25.0%, and the Greens at 5.1%.
The Harper Cons have done themselves no favours in this election with their niquab-baiting. When even Conrad Black turns against you (even considering how he must feel about the Liberals) you're doing it wrong:
This government has scraped the barrel in symbolic pandering: building new prisons and hiring new hosts of correctional officers as the crime rate declines, dispensing with elemental safeguards to due process in Bill C-51, claiming the right to expel and revoke the citizenship of dual citizens found guilty of terrorist offences, all in the name of enhanced public security, and now conducting the concluding phase of a general election campaign on an issue of no relevance involving a trivial number of people.
And Tabatha Southey's brilliant bear-in-a-bar analogy raises the question we now have to ask about the Harper Cons -- who is next?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Trudeau breaking away in the home stretch

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau flanked by supporters, arrives at The Globe and Mail Leaders Debate in Calgary, Alberta on Thursday 17, 2015. (JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

The election campaign is starting around the clubhouse turn, heading for the tape.

Mulcair is getting bogged down by trying to out-Con the Harper Cons -- to the despair of NDP supporters.

And Harper has spent way too much time in his prettified, stage-managed photo ops.  The Harper Cons have drifted into a state of such boring irrelevancy that even the Aussie wunderkind will be unable to get their voters out.

I think it is Justin Trudeau who is beginning to break away. His ideas are the ones that are getting talked about --  Trudeau emerges as leader with new economic vision for Canada - The Globe and Mail -- and his bold infrastructure plan is supported by Canadians.

Here are some Trudeau lines from the debate:

Trudeau to Mulcair "Mr. Mulcair, who's talking about child care, the fact is that a young family with a two-year-old doesn't need child care eight years from now when their kid is in Grade 5. They need it right away, but Mr. Mulcair is not making a choice that's going to allow to invest in his promises. They're puffs of smoke."

Trudeau to Harper on the need for public transit: “What Canadians can’t afford is to continue to be stuck in traffic every morning because there’s no reliable transit because the federal government hasn’t stepped up as a partner. You’ve been stuck in a motorcade for the past 10 years.”
Trudeau on refugees: People cross oceans to come to Canada, only to have Harper take away their health care, Trudeau said, and security concerns should not be an excuse to close Canada's doors.
"Mr. Harper plays (to) fears all the time," Trudeau replied.
"Fears of others, fears of different communities. We have a prime minister who prefers to pander to fears. That's not right, sir."
Trudeau continued the attack while speaking to reporters following the debate, taking issue with Harper who differentiated between "new, existing and old-stock Canadians."
"The fact that he referred to something called old-stock Canadians demonstrates that yet again, he is choosing to divide Canadians against another," Trudeau said. "(He's) undermining new Canadians' legitimacy. For the Liberal party, for me a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian and it will always stay that way."

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Harper Cons set up our refugee system to fail

It's now clear that the Harper Cons set up our refugee system to fail.
They can pretend to have compassion but they don't have to actually admit any of those pesky refugees to Canada. Win-win.
Because three years ago they changed the rules to make it all the refugee's own fault that they can't get in -- now, they can say that the refugees just didn't have their paperwork done right and so what can we do? /shrug/
Compare and contrast: in 1979, the Canadian government bent over backward to fast-track desperate refugees:
Mike Molloy was the Canadian government official who oversaw the airlifting of the Vietnamese boat people and removed bureaucratic obstacles. “The motto out there was not ‘do the thing right,’ it was ‘do the right thing,’” the 71-year-old, who lives in Ottawa, said in an interview.
...“When the government said, ‘Go,’ the civil servants knew we had clear instructions.” Many of the refugees were on remote islands in southeast Asia. Mr. Molloy sent over teams totalling between 20 to 25 people to process the applications. They worked fast and in rough conditions – no bathroom facilities, rats crawling over them as they slept.
“Typically, you had about 12 minutes per case. You had to figure out who they were, and make a guess about whether they were capable of landing on their feet.” A written explanation of why an applicant was expected to succeed in Canada and a description of the family composition constituted the entire visa, he said. “That’s it. There was no intermediary paperwork.” Only medical papers and a security clearance were needed before final acceptance – usually no more than eight weeks after the interview.
“When the sun went down, they would light oil lamps and they would continue until they couldn’t keep their eyes open,” Mr. Molloy said. A small team at the Anambas Islands off the coast of Malaysia interviewed families amounting to 1,200 people in four and a half days, and when they began to pack their bags, they realized thousands of people had gathered. “The refugees stood up and gave them a standing ovation.”
He said another difference from today is that the Canadians tried to keep extended families together. “If there was an old granny, she’s an asset. Brothers and sisters, bring them along. We know from experience that when refugees arrive, if their family is intact, they have a better chance of establishing more efficiently.”
Mr. Molloy said he had “fantastic” assignments in a career that included being ambassador to Jordan, but the highlight was the Vietnamese-refugee project. “We never lose with refugees. Refugees arrive with no place to go but up.”
The Harper Cons don't agree.  The Conservative base don't like all those poor people cluttering up the country. Better we should be admitting more teenagers to work at MacDonalds and protect business from having to raise Canadian wages.
So the Harper Cons deliberately set up our refugee system to fail:
The refugee groups say they have repeatedly called on Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and the government to exempt Syrians from the rule — which says the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) or another country must first designate a person as a refugee before immigration officials will consider letting them be privately sponsored to come to Canada....Then-immigration minister Jason Kenney implemented the new rule in October 2012 as part of a broader Conservative government overhaul of Canada’s refugee system....Briefing notes obtained by the Citizen say the change was intended to protect against fraud, but also to deal with a large backlog of applications from private sponsors while speeding up applications. “It is anticipated that this regulatory change will reduce G5 submissions by 70 per cent,” reads one memo to Kenney.
The goal wasn't to help people, it was just to reduce the number of applications.  The results has been to slow-track our refugee system
The government pledged in 2013 and in January of this year to take in a total of 11,300 Syrian refugees, and Mr. Harper promised during the election campaign to bring in another 10,000 from Syria and Iraq over four years. But just 2,347 have been resettled in the past three years, and the current process has so many bureaucratic stumbling blocks that refugee advocates doubt the target will be reached.
And the Harper Cons can blame the refugees for not completing the paperwork correctly, so its their fault not ours.
I tell you, it used to be a lot easier to be proud of Canada.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Great line of the day

From the Mound of Sound, writing about the Duffy trial revelations: The Disaffected Lib: Now It Makes Sense. It Was Magic.:
Claiming Novak didn't open an email is about as convincing as telling the teacher the dog ate your homework.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Well, I have to admit the Argos did get one right

Actually, I argue that the #Riders won the game, we just lost the officials!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Debate prep for the rest of us

Excellent column from Greg Fingas on what to watch for in this debate:
the overarching theme should be one of judgment under pressure.... only the debates tell us how a leader relates and responds to competing parties and philosophies in the heat of the moment.
He also ways to watch for:
each leader’s willingness to respond directly to questions and challenges, even when they don’t fit neatly into a party’s existing talking points... (and) a leader’s ability to defend policies at more than a surface level ... watch especially for any willingness (or refusal) to acknowledge when an opposing leader makes a point worthy of consideration.
Chantal Herbert discusses the importance of the debate for Trudeau:
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has the most to win from the exercise. It is his best chance to shore up his battered credentials as a serious contender for the job of prime minister.
In the reverse, an underwhelming Trudeau performance could relegate his party to the sidelines of the main battle once and for all, and take a heavy toll on the morale of his troops.
And some great tweets to share:

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Harper Con tradition to bribe us with our own money

Quel suprise! The Harper Cons have announced another tax credit, this time for home renovations:

The tax credit would apply to renovation costs between $1,000 and $5,000, allowing a taxpayer to get back up to $750 a year.
“The home renovation tax credit helps every homeowner regardless of income,” said Harper
Yeah sure, except that people making lower salaries don't usually have even a thousand dollars to spend upgrading their houses, and don't benefit much from the plethora of Harper Con tax credits anyway.
But bribing us with our own money is a Harper Con tradition.

Hat Tip to Politics and its Discontents for this great cartoon.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Effective advertising, eh?

Well, those annoying Harper Con ads we've been seeing all summer appear to have convinced Canadians that Trudeau "is not ready" to be Prime Minister.
But they haven't made The Kitten Whisperer any more endearing.
So who is left standing?
Yes, you've got it:  NDP surges past Conservatives, Liberals in latest poll | Toronto Star:

Tom Mulcair and his wife Catherine Pinhas arrive at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., for his campaign launch Sunday. A poll taken during the day shows his New Democrats have surged ahead of other parties in voter support.

And it couldn't happen to a more deserving guy.
A guy who did NOT vote for Bill C51.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Shut up, Jake, its election-time!

Everybody is talking about the Harper Cons fiscal advantage if he calls a mid-October election this weekend.

I have another question about such an early election call: what information will Canadians NOT be hearing about during the next eleven weeks?
Does Stats Canada still get to release or update unemployment rates during an election campaign? What about government economic forecasts and updates? Both would, I think, prove that Canada is in a recession. And what about other types of information -- in 2008, DND restricted interviews with the military during the election campaign.
Not forgetting, of course, the League of Extraordinary Canadians has already been silenced, along with federal scientists and any other reality-based federal employees.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Watching Gawker implode -- grab the popcorn

I have often enjoyed reading Gawker, particularly for goofy posts like this:

Not to mention how they single-handedly made Rob Ford's cocaine use into a major story in the United States, where it would otherwise have been ignored.
But what I don't like about Gawker is its juvenile and parochial tendency to start little wars with other New York media organizations -- Reddit, for example, and the New York Post, and now Conde Nast.
I haven't done any research on this because I don't want to affect my amateur status, but I would think these bizarre wars are a combination of 1) the Gawker organization hiring executives and/or reporters with grudges against former employers, and 2) inadequate editorial judgement which allows too many stupid stories to be posted by people with agendas instead of news judgement.
And now it has all come tumbling down. Last night I was shocked to read Gawker's mean-spirited and gratuitous "outing" of a Conde Nast chief financial officer -- I wasn't the only one, and Twitter death rays roasted Gawker all last night, resulting in Gawker removing the story earlier today, issuing a non-apology apology which was apparently misleading about how the removal decision was made, and now its own editorial staff is flipping out about the removal.
This isn't going to end well.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Things I didn't know

Did you know there is an "anti-vaccine" movement now for dogs? Today I Learned About The Anti-Vaccinating Dog Movement. How incredibly stupid can some people be?
And I didn't know that judges could be this stupid -- there are three children in Michigan who were "sentenced" in June to an indefinite stay in a juvenile detention facility because this idiotic woman decided they should have a relationship with their father. Yes, I know.
And I've been busy watching Wimbledon and Vasek Pospisil's incredible run there, in singles and doubles. I must admit, after the way Pospisil was treated in the quarterfinal -- Murray's disdain, the referee's interference -- I was more than a little glad that Murray did not make the Wimbledon final this year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

SCOTUS drags the US into the 21st Century

Now the United States will experience "gay marriage", just like dozens of other countries already have.


With this, plus yesterday's Obamacare decision, the United States has been pulled kicking and screaming into the modern world.
I can only hope that people in the United States will have the same epiphany that Paul Martin did -- he said that following the Canadian supreme court decision in 2005, he realized marriage equality was not a religious issue but a civil rights issue.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

This is not an Onion story: "white supremacists worried that Charleston shooting makes them look bad"

When I first read a tweet about this article, I thought it had to be an Onion joke:

White supremacists on Thursday quickly tried to distance themselves from the suspect in the mass shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, worried that a white man killing nine people in a black church in South Carolina looked bad for their movement.
But its not -- this is actual reporting!

Stormfront commenters continued to hold out hope Thursday morning that perhaps Roof wasn't motivated by racism -- maybe it was anti-Christian hatred instead -- and their movement could keep what they think of as their good name.
"Lets not jump to conclusions and call him a WN [white nationalist] until there is an indication as such... The fact that he targeted a church gives me an inkling that it was religion-related," wrote WhiteVirginian.
"Yep, bad news for gun rights advocates as well," wrote maththeorylover2008. "Another nail in the coffin for the 2nd Amendment."
Time and again, many Stormfront members emphasized that their online community is one inclined to peace and racial harmony -- albeit segregated.
Ridiculous, isn't it.

This kind of pushback began almost at once, though -- when I was watching CNN on the night it happened, the anchors were already questioning the police chief's description of the shooting as a "hate crime" and then of course Fox started right in with the "anti-christian" spin.

So I wonder if anyone is going to start talking about how racism is just "biological wiring."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Jerks will be jerks, unless the military won't tolerate it

So the Canadian military explains rape with a "boys will be boys" statement:

Actually, assholes will be assholes and jerks will be jerks, unless the Canadian military takes responsibility for who they are admitting and what they are training men to do.  Zero tolerance would be a place to start.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Thanks, Tabatha

Brilliant column by Tabatha Southey on Caitlyn Jenner and how bizarre and inappropriate the pundit reactions have been to her. Tabatha points out this essential truth:
...[transgendered] people are not a dilemma that needs to be solved, by you or anyone else.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Experimental science

xkcd: Placebo Blocker:

Placebo Blocker

I recall talking to a psychologist once about how people reacted to getting a diagnosis of a life-threatening disease.  So we thought perhaps we could do an experiment where we gave half the group a case of the flu, and the other half a life-threatening disease, and then we could evaluate which group behaved with more nobility and grace.  But this was in the days before ethics boards...

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Stupid is everywhere!

What a triumph!
The Australian minister of agriculture had kept his country safe from rabies now that Johnny Depp’s little dogs have left the country. They will soon be followed by Johnny Depp himself, and by every other film star and film production company on the planet.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Omar coming!

After 13 years, Omar Khadr is finally out of jail.

The Harper Con reaction to Omar Khadr's release on bail reminds me of The Wire:

I can laugh at the ridiculous over-reaction of the Harper Cons to the news of Omar Khadr's release, but this has been a shameful episode in Canadian history:

"We left a child -- a Canadian child -- in Guantanamo Bay to suffer torture… We, Canada, participated in this torture . . . Canadians should be deeply disturbed that the rights of a fellow citizen - even one whose family and name are unpopular - were so callously abused and ignored."

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Alberta will have some fun now

So much for boring old Canadian elections, eh?
NDP wins stunning majority in Alberta election, Jim Prentice resigns
Now, of course, the NDP will have to figure out how they can possibly run the province -- 40 years of pent-up frustration, everybody wanting everything changed RIGHT NOW! and they're stuck with a civil service that has never worked for anyone except the Alberta Conservatives.
I'll bet they'll be having some fun now, huh.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Great line of the day

From Liberal finance critic Scott Brison, remarking on the Auditor-General report:
"A Liberal government will restore evidence-based decision-making and replace Harper's decision-based evidence-making," Brison said."
Decision-based evidence-making. Yes, that's exactly what the Harper Cons have been doing.
Also, I have to say I was amused by the auditor general recommending that the government "assess a tax measure's relevance and appropriateness" -- for the Harper Cons, the only relevance for each of their picayune tax credits is whether an ad agency can create an Economic Action Plan TV ad for it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

TS up & at 'em!

Tabitha Southey's column is priceless:

TS begins work – as TS has begun work at every job TS has ever had – that is, with one clear objective: Whatever else TS may actually accomplish today, TS will try not to do anything that might cause a massive public outcry leading to demands that the institution for which she has been labouring be dismantled.

Monday, April 13, 2015

So true

A commenter on Christie Blatchford's latest Duffy story says:
Duffy should have been put in charge of payments to veterans and thalidomide victims so efficient is he at getting the money out there.
Yes, at least then Duffy's greediness would have done somebody some good.
And earlier I predicted that the Duffy trial wouldn't blow back on Harper. I'm now optimistic that I was wrong. As more and more sleaze is revealed, more Canadians will ask the greater question -- what kind of judgement did Harper show in appointing this man to the Senate in the first place?
As Montreal Simon observed last week:
what's also now clear is that Duffy's lawyer is trying to join the two men at the hip. And while that may or may not save Duffy it will almost certainly damage Harper.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I'm thrilled that Hillary is running for President and she's going to win, too!

I think it is wonderful that Hillary Clinton is running again for president -- after her last experience, I had been concerned that she wouldn't try again. She came through Saskatoon a few weeks ago on a speaking tour and the auditorium was packed -- she was warm, intelligent, extremely knowledgeable, gutsy...what's not to like?
At Hullabaloo, Tom Sullivan writes:

The problem for the RNC is that, as with electing the first black president, voters might be eager to see the first woman become president and will want to take part in that historic election. Republican women included, especially given the all-male clown car that is the current Republican field.
No matter what punches conservatives have thrown at her for decades now, Hillary Clinton just will not go down. And that coldness Priebus wants to exploit could work in Clinton's favor. There is a bit of "Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher to Hillary Clinton that might prove attractive to Republican women already inclined to vote for a women. Like Clinton or not, if there's one thing Republicans fear, respect, and vote for, it's strength.
Yes indeed.
And cue the "she's not perfect so she's crap" critiques

Saturday, April 04, 2015

I smell an election in the air

I have been saying for months that the Harper Cons are going to call a snap election this spring.
Of course, what do I know about it really.
But I believe all the signs are there -- First, the Harper Cons have all their nominations made and retirements announced.
Second, the federal budget still sounds OK but the Canadian economy is going into freefall and Joe Oliver won't be able to stop it as long as he keeps listening to the deficit scolds.

Martin called on Joe Oliver to kick start a fiscal stimulus program.
"Fiscal policy and monetary policy have to work hand in hand, they cannot contradict each other," Martin said. "If the governor of the central bank is talking about the need for monetary stimulus, he also understands there has to be changes made in the [fiscal policy] and those changes have to be investments."
The former PM and Liberal finance minister argues the government should be investing in infrastructure for cities, education and what he calls "discovery research" instead of focusing so steadily on balancing the books.
"We have cut back substantially on the number of scientists out there working on issues that could be generating the industries of tomorrow."
Oliver has promised to deliver a balanced budget this year, but Martin does not believe that strategy in the long run will create jobs and growth. "If you don't invest in the future," Martin said, "you will be running perpetual deficits."
Third, the most recent Harper "law and order" agenda hasn't been turfed out yet by the courts.
Fourth, even though the Duffy trial is coming up, the "cold Camembert and broken crackers" remark will continue to convince Canadians that Senators are just a bunch of entitled, out of touch wastrels and nobody will be listening to Duffy's complaints.
And fifth, our new "mission" in Syria hasn't killed any Canadian soldiers yet.
By fall, who knows.  So I think Harper will go sooner rather than later.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

This was a little more than "abrupt"

Air Canada says “hard landing” — passengers say “crash landing”

A minor quibble in the larger scheme of things, but I found it offensive that Air Canada would try to "spin" the Halifax crash as merely a "hard landing".
The plane came in too low and slow, touched ground behind the runway, hit a landing guidance tower that sheered off the landing gear and the nose, bounced onto the runway, then skidded through the snow losing engines and breaking the wing. If it hadn't been for the snow, the plan might well have caught on fire.
And the RCMP apparently heard about it when one of the passengers called 911.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The country protests C51

Thousands of Canadians marched against C51 today, including here in Saskatoon

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Saskatoon to protest the federal government's proposed anti-terrorism legislation Bill C-51. Lasia Kretzel/News Talk Radio

And across the country:
Thousands say no to anti-terrorism legislation

St. Johns


Bill C-51 rally - Calgary

Protestors gathered by the Nelson Court House to show their opposition of the proposed legislation Bill C-51, also known as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.  - Tamara Hynd
Nelson, B.C.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter


bill c51

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Guess what day it is today?

I always thought it was very clever of my mother to have me and my twin sister on International Women's Day, too.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Leonard Nimoy

I don't know where this is, but isn't it great?
It was posted on the #LeonardNimoy thread at Twitter, where William Shatner is doing a tribute.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


So yesterday I got into an argument about who was responsible for the tragedy of two children dying while adults squabbled:
While the house burned early Tuesday, the truck sat in the snow outside the home of the band’s mechanic. The volunteer fire department in nearby Loon Lake didn’t respond, because service to the reserve was cut weeks earlier over unpaid bills.
The discussion was about who had the greater responsibility for the deaths, the band which didn't pay its bills or train its own firefighters, or the Loon Lake volunteer fire department who went back to sleep when called out to the fire.
I don't know the answer. But I do know that somebody has to be the adult here -- maybe the provincial government rural municipality department, maybe the FSIN, somebody -- to step up when relationships between bands and nearby towns deteriorate.
“The bottom line is: Two children died and the adults have to sort it out,” Bob Pringle, Saskatchewan’s children’s advocate, said in an interview Thursday. “It clearly has to stop and it’s not going to stop unless we do something differently.”
But doesn't it always seems that somebody has to die before we are willing to do things differently?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Brer Justin

Canada's commentariat is going crazy over what a VERY BAD decision Justin Trudeau has made in welcoming Eve Adams to the party.
But it wasn't Adams that Trudeau wanted, it was Dimitri Soudas. The commentariat is also deriding this choice, but Soudas will frighten the Harper Cons the way no mere MP ever could. As John Ivison put it:
He knows where the bodies are buried because he buried many of them himself.
Trudeau is crazy like a fox...

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Duffster puff

I know everyone is hyping the Duffy trial, but I think its likely going to be a big pile of nothing.
For the life of me, I cannot see how Harper will be tainted by this. Basically, Harper and his aides can argue that they did the right thing for Canadians by firing Duffy and Wallin as soon as their misdeeds were revealed.
Yes, of course, it makes no sense at all:
Defence lawyer Donald Bayne made much of the fact Mr. Duffy is charged with bribery in connection with the $90,000 he received from Mr. Wright, while the former Harper aide was not charged for providing the money.
“I am sure that I am not the only Canadian who will now wonder openly how what was not a crime or a bribe when Nigel Wright paid it on his own initiative became, however, mysteriously, a crime or bribe when received by Senator Duffy,” the lawyer said. “The evidence will show that Senator Duffy did not want to participate in Nigel Wright’s and the PMO’s repayment scenario, which they concocted for purely political purposes.”
But conveniently, Wright isn't on trial for anything.
So whether Harper knew or approved the payment in advance is not actually relevant to Duffy receiving it.
Given the long reach of the Harper PMO, there is no reason why anybody would want to testify to this effect except maybe Duffy himself -- and he would have done the Big Reveal already if he had had any evidence.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tennis, anyone?

One of the great things about being retired is that I can stay up til 3 am watching the Australian Open, on TV or just tracking scores on my tablet -- the "big name" matchew are televised, but few of the doubles matches are broadcast on TSN, even with their extra channels now.
In fact, TSN kept saying they couldn't get any television coverage of Pospisil's earlier single and doubles matches, even though later they did show some highlights. His last match, which was televised, was far from his best, unfortunately.
But finally I don't have to care whether some sporting event is going on half a world away.
Now that we have a larger TV, and I have learned how the games are scored, I find tennis fascinating to watch.
Next, if only I could understand soccer....

Monday, January 12, 2015

New Year resolution

Our one-word resolution this year: Clean.
We have had a difficult fall and winter due to dealing with the illness and long term care of a relative, including cleaning out a two-bedroom apartment, and it was even more complicated because we needed to travel to another city to deal with it. But everything is handled now, at last.
As a result of this experience, my husband and I have adopted a firm resolution: we will clean up after ourselves.
We will not leave a tangled mountain of stuff for our kids to have to sort out, clean up, or throw away. Deciding what to do with the furniture and so forth was hard enough, but then came the closets and the shelves and the drawers -- old photos and pictures, mementos of trips that nobody can remember, clothes unworn for twenty years, fabric for projects unstarted, Christmas cards a decade old, chequebooks and statements for accounts long-closed, stacked sets of forgotten linens and towels, dishes and cookware last used before the turn of the century, tchotchkes and geegaws and ornaments of all kinds.
We promise we will never say "but its still good" or "maybe I will use this again someday" or "we can't throw this out until we check with ...." -- any of these are a license to put something back on a shelf and never pick it up again. We are going to get rid of our extra stuff come hell or high water -- come to think of it, high water might be the answer!
And if you are in the habit of opening your mail, perusing the contents, carefully folding everything up again, putting it all back in one of the envelopes, and tucking it away into a drawer -- please STOP!