Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Update: "We all belong" is the message that Saskatoon Catholic Schools just don't get

Following up on my Saturday post, here's the latest news. 
I wonder if Saskatoon Catholic School administration is now beginning to understand the difficult situation they have created for their teachers and their students? 
The "vandalism" didn't seem particularly vicious, really:
The front windows were splattered with fluorescent paint and butterfly, unicorn and flower stickers, and paper hearts. The sidewalk in front of the office had a rainbow and messages like "we all belong" and "it's queer here" scrawled with chalk.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Today's News: Rainbows and Drag Queens and Saskatoon Catholic Schools

I'm pretty sure it was the reference to "Drag Queens Story Hour" that freaked out the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools administration this week. But they'll never admit now that they flipped out due to prejudice and ignorance. 
The documentary I posted above explains Drag Queen story hour at libraries and how much children and families enjoy and appreciate them. It also covers how some right-wingers feel hostile or threatened by drag queens and try to sexualize what is actually a performance art.
Unfortunately, I doubt anyone at the Saskatoon Catholic school administration ever watched this documentary before they started this week's controversy -- they just jumped to ignorant conclusions about drag queens, and uproar ensued. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Some comments on the passing scene

Saw some good comments today on various things - here they are: 

 First, this is absolutely true: The Trudeau government may be the Rodney Dangerfield of governments - they don't get no respect! - but they keep on keeping on. And people appreciate it, too: The National Post writes:
Trudeau has a 40 per cent approval rating against 55 per cent who disapprove. The pollster noted in a recent analysis that this is slightly better than his predecessor Stephen Harper, who hit his own eight-year mark at an approval to disapproval rate of 36 to 58.
And it’s way better than Brian Mulroney, whose political career was on the edge of collapse after eight years; he had a near-universal disapproval rating of 83 per cent.
Trudeau is even polling better than his father. In 1976, on the eighth anniversary of Pierre Trudeau’s swearing-in, Angus Reid Institute numbers show that nearly twice as many Canadians disliked him as liked him; approval was 32 per cent against a disapproval rate of 57.
...In the winter of 2001, an incredible 54 per cent of Canadians approved of Chrétien’s job as prime minister, against 42 per cent who didn’t.
Hmmm....I wonder what was going on in the winter of 2001? Oh, yeah...Canada went to war, which is a time when people always rally round the flag. The Post grudginly reminds us:
At the time, Chrétien was overseeing the entry of Canadian troops into Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. His government had also just finished bringing Canada back from the brink of sovereign debt collapse.
So, actually, that National Post story could have read: "Trudeau is the most popular prime minister for the last half=century, except for when the country went to war". Here are the net approval figures:

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Quote of the Day

Just for fun, I have now added "quote of the day" to the right sidebar now. 
And thanks to Owen Gray's Northern Reflections, the excellent blog where I first saw this plug-in.

Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth!

So David Johnston has released his initial report to say a "public inquiry" into China China China would be neither public nor informative:
My mandate for my first report is to determine whether any further public process is required. My short answer is yes. I plan to hold a series of public hearings with Canadians (particularly from affected communities), government officials (including retired officials), knowledgeable experts, and other interested parties to discuss foreign interference, its effects on diaspora communities, and policy and governance improvements that could be made to improve the government’s response to it. I hope and believe that these public hearings will continue to shine a spotlight on the problem of foreign interference, provide public education about the threat of foreign interference, and provide a better foundation of information which I can use to make policy and governance recommendations for improvement. I also hope these hearings will accelerate government policy development to address foreign interference, stressing both the importance and urgency of action.
These hearings will not focus on “who knew what and what did they do about it.” I have examined these issues, drawn conclusions, and provided as much information as possible to the public, as well as in a confidential annex to be viewed by the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet (as well as officials or Opposition Leaders with the requisite security clearance). I also recommend the Prime Minister refer my report, including the confidential annex, to the chairs of NSICOP and NSIRA so those bodies can review my conclusions and advise the Prime Minister, Parliament and the public if they disagree.
I carefully considered whether an inquiry under the Inquiries Act could help enhance public trust in our electoral process, over and above the work I have done. When I was first appointed, my preliminary view was that I was very likely to recommend a Public Inquiry. But my conclusion is that, in light of the material and information that would lie at the heart of any inquiry, it could not be done in public. Rather, a “public inquiry” would necessarily be done in private and largely replicate the process I have undergone, and not advance the goals of transparency or trust any further than I have taken them and raise expectations that will ultimately be disappointed.
Sounds pretty good, really. But cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth today as Ottawa reporters will be denied stories and commentary until Johnston's public hearings begin this fall.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Updating the Ukraine-Russia War: the F16s are coming

Over at Balloon Juice, national security expert Adam Silverman has written a piece about the war in Ukraine every single day since Russia started their unjust and illegal war.  
At Routine Proceedings, Dale Smith also writes a Ukraine Dispatch every single day. 
 Every weekend, Phillips O'Brien writes a Weekend Update on substack. 
These knowledgeable and experienced commentators are seeing a recent evolution in US thinking about this war -- that Ukraine is winning, that Russia is losing, and that the risk of Russia starting a nuclear war is getting smaller by the day. 
Today Silverman writes about how Russia was viewed when it invaded Ukraine 15 months ago, compared to how it is viewed today: 
My professional opinion is that the beltway consensus was that the Russian army was what we had assessed it to be: professional, properly resourced and equipped, and powerful. 
Another part of the beltway consensus was that despite Ukrainian resolve their was no way they would withstand having the bulk of that force thrown at them. 
These two beliefs, which we now know like much of the beltway’s deeply held convictions are just wrong, were exacerbated and enhanced by the fact that Russia won the information war around Ukraine back in 2014 and almost every policy discussion and almost all of the news reporting was being done within the informational shaping that Russia had successfully undertaken. 
This includes everything from views of Russia’s military to views of Ukraine and the Revolution of Dignity to taking Russia’s nuclear weapons and usage doctrine exactly as Russia wanted us to.
 Silverman then notes the change in tone as shown in these tweets yesterday:

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Weekend funnies: From being cancelled, to being wrecked by an orca

There are too many people these days who get outraged when they say something awful in a national media and then get asked to defend their views or shut up about them. The right wing rails against so-called "cancel culture"  - even though, of course, it is the right wingers themselves who are busy cancelling liberalism wherever they can.
Now we have another example - a bizarre "Thought Criminals" story in the New Yorker , complaining how problematic it is for a group of self-important right-wingers that nobody wants to listen to their BS anymore.  It is the comments that make this story worth noting, because they are truly hilarious:

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Today's News and Views: from Poilievre to Penguins

First, this is such a juvenile response from Poilievre, isn't it: Now, of course, Poilievre's staff is desperately trying to walk back his juvenile response, blaming Johnson for whatever. 

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Weekend funnies: From Amazon delivery drivers to Met Gala chickens

First up, Amazon delivery drivers!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

The Stupid! It Burns!

First, the most serious story today in Canada was the Alberta wildfires -- and I'm not sure whether this newest development is stupid, or criminal, or maybe both, but tonight there were reports that even though the Alberta wildfires continue to burn, some municipalities will be allowing evacuated people to return to their homes in spite of the risk:
And in spite of the irrational anger from this rancher at this meeting in Grande Prairie, I did think he had a point about how he needs better communications from the municipality to show whether livestock is at risk, etc:
Because if Covid has taught us anything, it is the importance of improving communications between government and people.

Monday, May 08, 2023

Coronation Highlights: Canada Indigenous Leadership in London

Just one additional note about the Coronation -- here are some of the highlights I gathered about significant moments for Indigenous delegation members in their visit to London.
In the Globe and Mail, Royal expert John Fraser posts an interesting comment about King Charles' coronation: 
Over at Canada House, there was a considerable gathering of Canadians to watch the coronation on large television monitors, a gathering which included many Indigenous visitors. A witness to the proceedings, verified by another person present, reported that the most striking thing to happen during the live broadcast of the service was when the King was crowned and later during the playing and singing of God Save the King, Indigenous members in the gathering all stood in respect. Most of the non-Indigenous viewers stayed glued to their seats.
This suggests interesting days to come in the story of Canada, especially when the King and Queen make their next visit.
Ambassador Goodale also told a reporter they are working on setting up a Royal Visit to Canada now.

Another day for thoughts and prayers

Another day of Republican thoughts and prayers.
Its also distressing to note that cartoonist Michael de Adder at the Washington Post posted this cartoon a week ago (following the Cleveland Texas massacre) not yesterday (following the Allen Texas massacre). Unfortunately, there are just too many mass shootings to count.
Here's a comment from Brittlestar: And from Chris Rock:

Sunday, May 07, 2023

"...the moment is struck, a pact is sworn"

Here is the Coronation photo where Charles and Camilla really looked happy -- they're on the balcony, it's over, they made it, and nobody stumbled, collapsed, or dropped the Crown Jewels. 
My post title tonight is from the poem written by British Poet Laureate Simon Armitage "An Unexpected Guest" in honour of King Charles' coronation. 
The poem follows the story of a woman invited to attend a coronation and uses lines from Samuel Pepys diary, which described his encounter with the coronation of King Charles II, pointing to the historical significance of the occasion.
Here is the last stanza: 
She’ll watch it again on the ten o’clock news 
from the armchair throne in her living room: 
did the cameras notice her coral pink hat 
or her best coat pinned with the hero’s medal she got 
for being herself? The invitation is propped 
on the mantelpiece by the carriage clock. 
She adorned the day with ordinariness; 
she is blessed to have brought the extraordinary home. 
And now she’ll remember the house sparrow 
she thought she’d seen in the abbey roof 
arcing from eave to eave, beyond and above. 
Some tweets:

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Today's News: The Story Behind The Story?

Trudeau's brother Sacha testified today to the Ethics Committee and for a non-politician he did very well -- he didn't "spin a story", he didn't punch up a headline or two, he didn't trade insults with the insulting Con MPs who were trying to goad him. 
He just talked about the history about the Chinese donation - noting in passing his own expertise about China society, and his respect for the Chinese people = and also told the committee that the PET Foundation management had been disfunctional. Evan Scrimshaw (Scrimshaw Unscripted) notes the real issue isn't the Trudeau family at all, its Canada's intelligence agencies: CSIS' Leaking Ship A National, not Political Crisis:
...why is nobody else able to see what has been obvious for the last two months, which is that the real story here is a RCMP-CSIS war?
...I don’t have national security sources who can clue me in on this shit, but what I do have is a bullshit detector and a functioning brain, and this is the only theory of this story that adds up. CSIS, or elements within it, are mad at the lack of action that’s been taken on foreign interference and they’d like it to change. The RCMP has not listened to them, for reasons unclear. And now there’s a turf war.
...the matter at hand when it comes to CSIS is not why is the Prime Minister sitting on all of this incredibly important intelligence but why isn’t CSIS acting on this information if it’s as valuable and credible as the way it’s reported out suggests? Why can’t CSIS persuade the RCMP to do something about any of this if it is credible, and if it’s not credible enough for the RCMP to do anything why is it being given to Bob Fife?
...Trudeau said today that the reason Chong wasn’t told, and implicitly why he wasn’t told, was that CSIS made the determination that it did not rise to a sufficient level for it to be disseminated broadly. Maybe that call was right, maybe it wasn’t, argue with a rock for all I care. But what matters in that is that CSIS doesn’t get to have their cake and eat it too. Either these leaks are justified by the truly important nature of the information disclosed, or the information disclosed wasn’t important enough to disclose to the PMO or to Chong.
...We have an unserious spy agency at war with either our political government, our national police force, or both. We have a spy agency willing to leak things to the press they deemed insufficiently important to brief the PMO about. We have a pundit class eager to make the Prime Minister to blame for things he did not know about. And we have an opposition accusing the Prime Minister of knowingly holding back information when the PM never had it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

"So I'd best be on my way In the early morning rain"

Sad news today -- Gordon Lightfoot has passed. 
I included some tweets and songs of his in a post from September, when he was at the CNE
Here are some of tonight's best tweets: