Thursday, June 29, 2023

Perfect Game

There is nothing in sports like the Perfect Game in Baseball: A team effort: But actually, German's game was the 25th perfect game in history, not the 24th:

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Random moments: from journalism to history to spiders to poetry

First, let me just mention how appalling it is that journalism is joining the gig-economy as more journalists basically have to become independent contractors.
I know, I know - independence, having their own voice, and all that. But as more and more media outlets fail to get enough advertisers or subscribers to survive being owned by rich predators or predatory hedge funds or whatever, and as more and more journalists have to start flogging their own Substacks, people are starting to notice:
Meanwhile, journalism is still being committed somewhere, but just not here:
"SLAPP" by the way, means Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation -- I had to look it up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

So what's the Right Wing up to now? A survey from Poilievre to RFK to Jan 6 to yoga

First, a little Poilievre-bashing, because why not?

Monday, June 26, 2023

Today's edition of "Christ, what an asshole!"

Today's edition of Christ What An Asshole is American cycling cheater Lance Armstrong, who wrote a widely-read anti-trans tweet thread this weekend which has been universally panned. 
Best headline here: And here is the entire Deadspin article:
Lance Armstong, a cisgender man and notorious cheater with, as far as I can tell, no training in anything related to endocrinology, biology, or gender affirming care, has some thoughts on the fairness of transgender women competing in women’s sports. On a related note, irony died today.
Armstrong took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the “debate” over trans women competing in sports against cisgender women. If you’re wondering what Lance Amstrong could possibly add to a bullshit “conversation” that is designed to distract from actual problems and is leading to the marginalization of trans kids across the country, you’re not alone.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Not with a bang, but a whimper

Sounds like the one-day Russia Civil War remained pretty civil and wasn't much of a war. 
In his Saturday Balloon Juice column, Adam Silverman writes War for Ukraine Day 486: Da Fuq They Doin Ova Der? Part II
...The charges against Prigozhin are cancelled. Supposedly guarantees were given regarding Wagner and its ability to continue. Prigozhin is supposedly headed to Minsk, but who knows how long that lasts if it happens at all. He’s got air bases in Libya, Latakia in Syria, Mali, and he completely controls the Central African Republic on behalf of Putin’s and Russia’s Africa strategy. And he’s got his own Ilyushins to transport his personnel, equipment, and material around. I’ve seen lots of speculation that Shoigu was to be arrested and charged as part of this deal, but that doesen’t seem to have happened.
What we actually watched was about 36 hours of a true, albeit quite limited, civil war, not a coup. A challenge was made for the rule of Russia. It was well planned, and appeared to be long planned, and Prigozhin’s forces appeared to be making progress towards Moscow. I expect that whatever it was that Putin told Lukashenko to say to Prigozhin will eventually leak out. And then we’ll have a better idea of what the carrots and sticks were that brought this to an end. The only part of this that isn’t surprising is that it ended with a negotiated settlement...
My professional take is that this is not over. ... Prigozhin and his Wagner mercenaries embarrassed the Russian military, security services, and police forces. I’ve written repeatedly that Putin will be strong and in control and look strong and in control until he is not. Over the past 36 hours or so he has not looked strong and in control.

Friday, June 23, 2023

What is happening in Russia?

So nobody knows what's happening, really, but here's some expert opinion: From Tom Nichols at The Atlantic, A Crisis Erupts in Russia:
A simmering political feud in Russia has exploded into a crisis. The head of a Russian mercenary army fighting in Ukraine alongside Moscow’s official military forces has declared war against the Russian ministry of defense,...
Think of this conflict not as a contest between the Russian state and a mercenary group, but a falling out among gangsters, a kind of Mafia war.
A government doing a lot of bad things in the world can make great use of a cadre of hardened and nasty mercenaries, and Prigozhin has been making his bones for years as a tough guy leading other tough guys, ultranationalist patriots who care more about Mother Russia than the supposedly lazy and corrupt bureaucrats in Moscow. The Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, is led by a political survivor named Sergei Shoigu, who has managed to stay in the Kremlin in one capacity or another since 1991. Shoigu never served in the Soviet or Russian military, yet affects the dress and mannerisms of a martinet.
...A full-scale civil conflict—for now—seems unlikely, if only because Prigozhin has no institutional base and no major force beyond his fighters, who are a pretty unsavory bunch.
...Right now, none of this looks organized enough to be a coup. But coups sometimes look ridiculous in the offing—the 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was a complete clown show—so the possibility remains that Prigozhin has friends in Moscow who are working with him.
...So far, tonight’s chaos does not seem to involve the U.S., NATO, or even Ukraine, but a fight among Russian gangsters, in part over whether Russia is being brutal enough in a war of unprovoked aggression, is something to watch. matter how this ends, Prigozhin has shattered Putin’s narrative, torching the war as a needless and even criminal mistake. That’s a problem for Putin that could outlast this rebellion.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day!

Here is the CBC coverage of Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations in Saskatoon and Regina today. Other events of the day:

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Forgiving our fathers

Author: Dick Laurie, amended by Sherman Alexie 

How do we forgive our Fathers? 
Maybe in a dream 
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever 
when we were little? 

Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage 
or making us nervous 
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all. 

Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers? 
For divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers? 

And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness? 
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning 
for shutting doors 
for speaking through walls 
or never speaking 
or never being silent? 

Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs 
or their deaths 
saying it to them or not saying it? 

If we forgive our Fathers what is left?

Saskatoon Pride Parade: "Showing Our Pride!"

The Saskatoon Pride Parade was this weekend so here are some of the highlights of this positive and happy event -- such an inspiring change from all of the challenging stories we have been reading this year. 

An outstanding Parade participant was the law firm Robertson Stromberg, who did a tribute to some of Saskatchewan's trailblazing LGBTQ2S+ activists over the last 40 years: Gens Hellquist, Neil Richards, Peter Millard, Don Jones, Justice Donna Wilson
Their press release also describes the firm's own contributions to Saskatchewan Pride history:
Robertson Stromberg’s commitment to inclusivity and equality is echoed in the steps taken to protect LGBTQ2S+ individuals from discrimination. In a matter known as the Marriage Commissioners Appointed Under The Marriage Act (Re), 2011 SKCA 3 [Marriage Commissioners Reference], Robertson Stromberg successfully argued against the amendments that would allow marriage commissioners in Saskatchewan to refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies on religious grounds.
We recognize that there is still a lot of work to be done, and we must continue striving for a future where every person feels safe, respected, and accepted for who they are.
This year's parade was certainly huge -- an hour long! When my family was first going to our Pride parades 20+ years ago, they were just as happy but not nearly so long.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

Some great weekend reading: from weird conservatives to CHOP to moths to Orcas

Here's some of the good stuff I've been reading lately: 

At Oliver Willis Explains, Willis writes Conservatives Aren't Like Normal Americans But The Media Won't Admit That: The Right Is Weird:
...The reality, when you take even the quickest look at a host of issues in public polling, is that conservatives generally exist in a version of the world very different from the one inhabited by a majority of normal Americans. It’s not that America is really some radical socialist left paradise, but generally speaking there is a broad consensus of understanding along the spectrum of center-left moderation to progressive viewpoints, and then off to the side are the frankly bizarre views of conservatives....
If the mainstream press was being honest with its viewers and readers, they would operate on the premise that the Republican Party is amplifying fringe, weird, beliefs that are aberrations from normal thought. A party captured by outliers, spouting bizarre language and crazed slogans. Basically a movement of weirdos from city hall meetings being represented by one of America’s two major parties.
What compounds this problem is that in its effort to insist that “both sides” are in the pocket of identically extremist ideologies, the press accepts the premise that Democrats are under similar capture.
But this is absolutely false.
...As any leftist and even some liberals will tell you to their dismay, the Democratic Party is about as normal as it gets.
The mainstream press avoids telling the truth about this disparity in large part because the right is very good at giving them grief for doing so. A journalist who admits that the conservative movement stands in a fringe universe of its own making, away from the moderate-to-liberal consensus, risks inviting a torrent of harassing emails and phone calls...This doesn’t serve the public well. It gives people a distorted view of what is really going on and it misinforms millions of voters...
The press should accurately reflect the reality of this country. Conservatism holds fringe beliefs, from opposition to equal LGBTQ rights, opposition to immigration reform, opposition to gun safety regulations, opposition to increased taxation on the wealthy and more spending on social programs, and on and on. The right’s support for crooked politicians like Trump also sets them apart from the consensus, who has backed candidates like Biden, Obama and Hillary Clinton.
On topic after topic its normal Americans over here and weird conservatism over there. The coverage should reflect this, at least if honesty truly mattered.
At The Globe and Mail, Gary Mason compares Canada's willingness to sacrifice 85 years ago in a war against Nazi Germany, comparted to our unwillingness today to confront climate change, in Many Canadians Don't Know The First Thing About Real Sacrifice
...We are now confronted with the greatest moral crisis of our time, the gravest-ever threat to our existence. But you wouldn’t know it listening to the debate in the House of Commons....
Firefighters are pouring in from around the world to help us get control of the blazes ripping across the country and the Conservatives want to talk about getting rid of planned carbon tax hikes. This is what passes as sombre, serious-minded leadership on behalf of Canada’s Official Opposition.
It is beyond dismaying. And it is the same head-in-the-sand approach to the climate crisis that the leaders of Alberta and Saskatchewan are taking. They don’t want to talk about sacrifice. That’s an ugly word to them. This is about here and now and the votes they are looking for. Who cares what the world might look like five or 10 years from now? Who cares about doing our part to tame the climate monster? That’s India’s problem. Or China’s. Or America’s.
Hate on Justin Trudeau and the Liberals all you want, but at least they are trying to do something. Yes, they have missed climate targets but the carbon tax they’ve introduced is real; they are almost certainly taking a big political hit for it as well. The easier avenue would be the one the federal Conservatives and their most unserious Leader, Pierre Poilievre, want to take – and that is to do nothing.
It is enraging.
But they are taking the position for a reason; it sells to the Conservative base. There are millions of Canadians who are not interested in making any sacrifice in the name of climate change, either, because it would bring a certain hardship they don’t want to contemplate.
There were millions who didn’t want to fight in the Second World War. But thank goodness there were millions who did, many of whom paid the ultimate price.
We now need to find the same measure of unselfishness to defeat the greatest enemy this generation has ever faced.
And here is a great tweet thread from Sandy Garossino about this column -- she remembers the Conservative denialism. Check out all the tweets in this thread:

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Laughing at Trump

So we were told all day last weekend that there would be riots in Miami when Trump was arraigned and tens of thousands of people would be showing up to support him and there were buses coming from here and there and it would be another Jan 6. 
Then on Tuesday: Pffft! 
 Dozens of reporters arrived at dawn to find only tens of Trump supporter nutcases, and that was it. 
But I got the impression that the news networks were devastated -- their "all Trump all day" news model is wearing pretty thin, and they couldn't talk about the small crowd at all
On his substack, Parker Molloy writes They Miss Trump so Much and Will Do Anything to Get Him Back 
The people who showed up outside the Miami courthouse seemed to be the usual bunch of weirdos, peddlers of goofy wares, and, of course, the former cult member who always wears a “Blacks For Trump” shirt at Trump events. 
There were, at most, a few hundred people there. Far fewer than the thousands that had been anticipated. 
What you need to know: mainstream media outlets like the New York Times desperately want Trump back in office, even if they sometimes pretend they don’t.

Monday, June 12, 2023

So what did David Johnston actually say?

We're watching history being rewritten in real time. 
The discredited election interference allegations are now supposedly "credible" and the Johnston report that proved they were exaggerations or lies is now "controversial"
Its an attempt to smear Trudeau and the Liberals -- and it just infuriates me that Canadians are now being told to believe that our last two elections were tainted or questionable, and that the Liberals needed help from the Chinese to win. 
Canada wanted minority Liberal governments in 2019 and in 2021 and that's exactly what we got.
The smear started with Polievere's Friday night tweet:
And this weekend we saw media starting to pick up the "credible allegations" that China helped elect the Liberals: Finally, here's Fife calling the Johnston report "controversial": David Johnston spent the last three months looking into exactly these allegations of foreign interference, and he produced a 60-page report which found, well, nothing - NOTHING! 
A nothing-burger. Zip-patootie. Smoke without fire. All hat, no cattle.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

Be Careful What You Wish For

So Canada's foreign interference rapporteur David Johnston has left the building: Dale Smith has an excellent column Exit David Johnston about the resignation, and what might happen next:
None of this solves the underlying problem that a public inquiry is not magic. 
Everyone demanding one seems to think it can be wrapped up in the space of a few months, and that can be broad enough in scope to fully understand how deep Chinese infiltration goes into our country, while also providing concrete recommendations for protecting the next election. That’s not going to happen in a few months—that kind of scoping takes years, and is not going to get to the fundamental issue here, which is that this is ultimately a process story about the machinery of government, dealing with classified information, and that a public inquiry can’t hear most of it. 
That is, if they can find someone to head it who meets everyone’s satisfaction and who is willing to put themselves through the character assassination that will follow.
Once again -- as it was with SNC Lavelin, JWR, WE -- the ultimate goal was always to find something that would force Trudeau to resign in disgrace. So now the parliamentarians who spent the last six months trashing Johnston are perishing the thought that they ever intended to tarnish HIS reputation:

"The Godfather, if it was re-enacted by a five-year-old"

How it started: How it's going: 

Here is the link for the indictment and here is an excellent article from the Lawfare blog about what it means- United States of America v. Donald J. Trump and Waltine Nauta
TL;DR? Here's The Business Insider summary - Trump Used Bumbling "Godfather"-Like Tactics To Hide Docs From FBI:
...The Justice Department's indictment against the former president depicts blundering, incompetent attempts to cover up clear violations of the Espionage Act, as well as obstructing justice by "suggesting that his attorney hide or destroy documents," along with other alleged crimes.
To veteran national security lawyer Kel McClanahan, it brought to mind "the Godfather — if it was reenacted by a five-year-old."
"I found it hilarious that some of his most incriminating things were recorded by his lawyers," McClanahan told Insider. "Beautiful."
..."Everything in here was designed to craft the narrative that this is a kingpin who knowingly broke the law, endangered national security, endangered nuclear weapon security, endangered other countries' national security — and his faithful butler carried this all out for him and is going to go down with him because he refused to come clean about his boss's criminal dealings," McClanahan said. "You can't write this in a plot of a procedural."
Trump could have easily avoided criminal charges by simply handing over the documents in the first place, Jon Sale, a former federal prosecutor, told Insider.
If you're wondering about what those confidential documents are, Matt Tait is investigating exactly this on his substack What Are The Classified Documents?

Thursday, June 08, 2023

Wild (fires) in the Streets (of New York)

In Canada, the weather isn't news unless it happens in Toronto. 
In the United States, the weather isn't news unless it happens in New York.
Here's a roundup of tweets:

Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Today's News: Fighting Back

I am seeing some positive signs that people are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore. Specifically, I mean that people are realizing that we cannot continue to politely tolerate anti-gay anti-trans bashing while we wait for conservatives to come to their senses. 
Nope, its time to fight back. 
Click here for the Pride Defense Guide and a two-page Pride Defense Handout:
Pride defence is the act of going to any Pride event to protect the 2SLGBTQ+community from far-right activists who show up.
Pride Defenders are the brave people who show up to counter the far-right, using many different tactics. Some have used spectacle and created a party-like atmosphere with dancing and music to keep the far-right out, while others have blocked them from accessing events using their bodies.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s better to take one action than freeze up because doing everything feels impossible. With that in mind, we’ve organized this guide into three parts—Before Pride, During Pride, and After Pride—and within each section, we’ve highlighted the one or two points we would suggest prioritizing. We recognize not everyone will be able to participate in the on-the-ground action on the day of the event, so we have taken care to include points that folks can participate in from home.
While this guide specifically refers to Pride events and defences, the information can be used to prepare you for many kinds of defences or counters against the far-right.
The guide is just in time, because violence and right-wing rage appear to be increasing:

Monday, June 05, 2023

Laugh of the day: It's beginning to look a lot like Trump-mas!

Today I just can't stop myself from hoping to see Christmas In June this year - apparently Trump's attorneys met the Justice department this morning and now Trump is hysterical.

Today's random stuff: from Pride to politics to happy dogs

First up, a few tweets about Saskatoon Pride!

Friday, June 02, 2023

Today's News: Throwing mud

I think Poilievre and the CPC brain trust have realized that they're not going to get Trudeau to resign over ancient CSIS briefings about Chinese political donations.
So now the short-pants boys in the Leader of the Opposition office have had to come up with other ridiculous smear attempts against Trudeau. 
Whether or not Poilievre ever gets one of these anti-Trudeau smears to land, he is rapidly convincing Canadians that PP himself is not fit to be a prime minister - temperamental, hysterical, judgemental.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Ted Lasso: three perfect seasons

We LOVED Ted Lasso - its the reason we subscribed to Apple+. 
Luckily my sister has been staying with us for a few days so we binge-watched all three seasons of Ted Lasso while waiting for the final episode and I realized again what a truly great show it was.