Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Specious Nonsense from Mukasey

So Mukasey (the AG) is before Congress urging passage of the FISA bill. And he came up with some line to the effect of "back during the Second World War industry was not on the sidelines"--equating, essentially, the mobilization of Western industry to fight the war with complicity by telecoms to help Bush break the law by spying without a warrant.

For all those who thought that Mukasey would be a change and would be defending the rule of law, it turns out he's no better than Gonzo. What he's saying is that when the administration asks a company to do something--even if it's illegal--they should do it. He's saying that the invocation of that mantra, "national security," should be enough to justify any illegal conduct.
(And it's not like the lawyers for the telecoms wouldn't have known this. We're not talking about some fly-by-night institution with clueless general counsels.)

That is not the rule of law. That is tyranny.

Pilgrimage Bullshit

So, from someone who recently undertook the Hajj, we have this gem:

The next day, having finished umrah and changed back into regular clothes, the Hajjalis seemed a little deflated. After traveling all this distance to perform what Ellen Hajjali believed was her ultimate religious duty, it simply didn't feel like she thought it would.

"I was expecting this immediate and powerful spiritual experience," she said. Instead, all she felt was overwhelmed and anxious -- desperately trying to stay upright and to keep track of which number rotation she was completing.


Well, no shit. All you fucking did was walk around a rock seven (eight? six?) times, pointing at one corner. When did God come down to chat? How many damn times have there been tragedies at the Hajj? Let's see--God tells them that this is the most important duty, that it's really important and special--and then decides to wipe out a few of the people who happened to obey? (I'd love a demographic study of those who die during the Hajj. I'll bet that there are among them people who've spent their life savings to attend. Nice, God, nice.)

Oh, and in case we have any Christians or Jews here thinking, oh yes, Islam sucks: you're no better. How about the Pope, who consistently claims that the Virgin Mary turned the assassin's bullet at the last instant, saving him? So let's see--she let him get close, she let him fire, she let the bullet pierce the Pope (likely hurting him fairly significantly), but chose at the last instant to save him? I'm sure someone will say it was to test him or something, but that's even better. What a capricious, sadistic God.

Pathetic, all of this.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Amen

AMEN to this. If the rule of law means anything, Latimer should never get patrol. There are no extenuating circumstances for murder. None.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Awesome Editorial

From 1914, The Toronto Star, at the outbreak of War. Keep in mind, you who don't understand irony, that it's entirely sarcastic, save for the last paragraph:

The curious fact is that Emperor William can stand up before members of the Reichstag, as he did yesterday, and show to the satisfaction of its members and to that of Germans all over the world, that the war is not of his making, but that Russia, ignoring overtures for a peaceable adjustment, began to take such war measures as left Germany no alternative but to begin action.

It is curious that the Kaiser can do that, because the Czar can do it, too. He can prove to the entire satisfaction of every loyal subject that Russia did not want war, but that Germany, being all ready, caused Austria to attack Serbia, so that Russia must stand by and see a Slav country conquered, or must accept the challenge and make ready.

The President of France, too, can tell the Chamber of Deputies that ... (he) sought peace up to the last moment — used the utmost patience, and only accepted war when her territory had been invaded and war against her declared by Germany.

Great Britain, as British subjects all over the world know, has held back to the very last, refusing to admit that the possibilities of peace had been exhausted.

Nowhere is there a people who admit, or whose rulers admit, that they caused this war and chose to precipitate it. Even Austrians will argue that their country made no demands on Serbia but those that were justified and ought to have been accepted. They will claim that but for the meddling of Russia there would have been no trouble with Serbia.

On one side it is claimed that Russia has been seeking this trouble for years, and that France, ever since she has felt British support behind her, has been trying to tease Germany into action. On the other side, it is claimed that Germany, having for years been organizing for war as if it were a great national business undertaking, in which each detail had to be worked out in advance, now gives the signal for "Der Tag" to Austria, and the war is on.

And the most curious and humanly interesting fact of all is that in Germany and Austria, in Russia and France, in Britain and Belgium, wherever people are sharpening their swords or loading their muskets, pious persons are addressing prayers in their various languages to the same throne of heaven, asking for aid in their warfare and for success to their arms in the struggle that has been unjustly forced upon them by their enemies.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Q.E.D.

The first comment to this post proves the point I was making exactly.

Some questions for our semi-literate commenter, Fred:

1) Quantify and source everything you've said.

2) Explain how you're any different from any jingo about rah rah war.

3) You beat the drums of war. Have you enlisted? Why not?

4) By what metrics, other than rhetoric, is the US the greatest country in the world? By what do you mean "greatest"?

On beating the drums of War

One of the reasons I think there is so little meaningful opposition to war in this country is because it lacks an ancestral memory of it, and is ruled by a class that's never had any experience in war.

It is Veterans Day here in the US, and apart from a few official activities, I can't really see any evidence that anyone cares, apart from Veterans' Day sales at the mall. This in marked contrast to the Commonwealth.

To Americans, war is something theoretical. War has not touched American soil this century. The American memory of war is one of Victory--the saviours of the World in the Second and First World Wars (forget they stood on the side for years while the youth of Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain died). Viet Nam is an exception, but I would suggest that the cultural impact of it sweeps away the military memory.

Yet as a kid in Canada, I was always aware of the War. I can remember being a kid in a mall and the PA announcing that there would be two minutes' silence. Every day at the great doors of my high school, I walked past two plaques with the names of the dead from my high school in the two Wars. We had a long Remembrance Day ceremony every year, and in my last year I played The Last Post and Reville. When I got to Cambridge, in my college boathouse was a plaque commemorating the hundreds who died in the war. The same with our college chapel.

And I think the ancestral memory for Canadians, and far more for the English, French, Germans, etc., is that war is cataclysm. War is massive personal loss on a titanic, universal scale. War is sacrifice. Canada sent 1 million soldiers to the First World War, out of a population of 7 million. England, France, and Germany saw their cities destroyed. The little countries of Europe can remember occupation. The city of Halifax was destroyed.

The United States exited the Second War as the greatest power on earth. France, Britain, the Empire were bankrupt. German was in ruins.

This, to the war-cheering classes here in the United States, seems to be forgotten. It is easy for Cheney or Bush to send other peoples' kids to die. It plays into Americans' self-confidence, their self-assuredness, and their memory of war--the US coming to save the day.

That crowd might do better to read Wilfred Owen's poem, Dulce et Decorum Est:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hootsOf tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Remembrance Day

Just watched the ceremony at the National War Memorial, and now killing time at work watching a rebroadcast of the Vimy Ridge Memorial rededication. Always on Nov 11, I think of my grandfather.

My grandfather was a bomber during the Second World War. He served mostly in Asia--in Burma. He speaks very little of the War, and the stories he does tell are mostly about his friends or about things they did when they weren't fighting. He rarely ever mentions bombing, and rarer still speaks of friends that were killed.

He enlisted when he was 18. There's a picture of him and his crew, a few years into the war, and the faces are all young. That always strikes me: That was asked a generation of young men from all over our young country to fight and die for others, and they answered (my grandfather volunteered). At 18, my grandfather was serving in the RCAF. He was watching friends die, fighting for people he had never met, in countries he likely knew little about.

Yet he would never call himself a hero. It was duty, it was what had to be done. The loud noise we hear now about how everyone who fought in the War, and in any subsequent war, being a hero isn't him and I don't think he would embrace it. He is what he always has been: a kind, gentle, caring man. He speaks at schools about the War, he attends Remembrance Day ceremonies every year, but there is never bluster.

And so I always think of him on this day when we commemorate the hundreds of thousands of young Canadians, like him, who stood up and put their lives on the line for others. Our little country sent the flower of its youth to die on the fields of Europe and in the skies of Asia, and today is the day to remember them.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Have cake. Will eat it too.

How is it that Quebec can demand to be consulted for Senate reform, and insist that it requires a constitutional amendment with Quebec's consent, while at the same time moaning about how it's excluded from the Constitution and bitch about how it was patriated without Quebec's consent?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Not all lawyers are evil

I'm impressed that it's lawyers in Pakistan who are standing up for the rule of law.

And part of me thinks that if Bush tried the same thing, there would be plenty of lawyers who'd sit back and cheer him on. After all, we have John Yoo, who penned the infamous torture memo, John Ashcroft (who today is defending warantless wiretapping), Al Gonzales (um, where to start)--lawyers all, all of whom seem to have forgotten that the constitution exists.

Early in my (still short) career, I was at a cooking class with my mom. One of the women in our group asked me what I did, I said I was an attorney, and she went on about how she hoped I was Republican because "we need more Republican lawyers!" Another person in our group--also an attorney--leaned over and said that she didn't know how someone could stay loyal to their Bar oath and still be Republican. I agreed.

But apparently others see no problem at all. The Anonymous Liberal has this excellent post on the subject. He concludes

When future generations look back on this era of American history, I'm increasingly convinced that the harshest verdicts will be saved for the lawyers, people like David Addington, John Yoo, and Alberto Gonzales. These were the people who were supposed to be the brakes, not the gas. They're the people who were supposed to speak up for the law and for the Constitution, the people whose job it was to ensure that we are governed by laws and not men. And not only did they abdicate this responsibility, they chose to use their power of interpretation to make a mockery of the law.


Exactly.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mad Christians

No matter how many times I see those mad Christians, be it on TV, film, or in person, I always shudder. I'm simultaneously scared, contemptuous, outraged, and a little amused. I mean, if I'm going to hell, what do you care? More manna and virgins to go around for you.

Still, this trailer looks worth watching:

Friday, October 19, 2007

To our dear Lord Black of Crossharbour...

...obvious sycophancy isn't going to get you your citizenship back either.

But, it's a glorious sentiment, brilliantly written, and the royal We quite agree.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Canary in the Mine

When the Tories announce funding for Via Rail(!), it is no longer possible to pretend an election isn't imminent.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Leaking the news that the leak is intentional

"The sources also said that Mr. Finley may actually want the news of the phone call to be leaked in an effort to create momentum for an election that the Tories want to happen."

So let's get this straight. Un-named sources in the Conservative Party (I'm betting Finley himself, but I digress) tell the Globe&Mail about a conference call from party brass and, shocker, leak the news that party brass actually want those details leaked!

And the Globe&Mail reports all this without a touch of self-consciousness.

Just slightly ridiculous.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The National Past

This ridiculous National Post editorial starts out describing the brave struggle for equality rights in Arkansas, then turns around and uses it as an argument against the 'trivial' human rights struggle we engage in today (gay marriage, islamophobia). Yes, that's right. The struggle for human rights ended in the 50s and 60s. Everything since then has been liberal degeneracy, identity politics and left-wing censorship.

It is truly amazing how a group of old white straight men of privilege can criticize their predecessors' backwardness and yet be so blind to the fact that they are identical in their attitudes.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The man sounds like your typical right-wing idiot

"Ahmadinejad also rejected criticism of human rights in his country, notably persecution of homosexuals: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country," he said, sparking loud laughter from the audience. "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it."




Wednesday, September 19, 2007

An Open Letter

To The Hon. St├ęphane Dion, P.C., B.A., M.A., Ph.D, Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition

Resume your damn Open Letters.

They were gold, and they made you a household name.
You are intelligent, principled, and viciously logical and this will come through.
We'll know what you stand for.

And all without anybody being able to mock your accent.

Yours,
Mike&Dean

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why should God bless america?



God. I hate this sort of nonsense. Apparently God shouldn't bless America because of all the bad things going on ("Just because they made it law doesn't mean they can change God's command" or some nonsense like that.)

Good stuff.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Canada's New-ish Government

This petition is awesome. The fact that the Tories keep calling themselves "Canada's New Government" is really tiresome. Sign it.

I love this recital in particular:

AND WHEREAS, due to all of the foregoing reasons and to basic common everyday sense and common understanding of the meaning of the word "new", it is petty, partisan, asinine, childish, juvenile and silly (not to mention completely embarrassing for all of us) for the Conservative Party of Canada to continue referring to the Government of Canada and to itself, interchangeably, as "Canada's New Government";

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why can't they leave us all alone?

The thing that gets me about "family values" nutjobs is that they seem to be incredibly obsessed with the lives of others. Think what you want about the recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision permitting a lesbian couple and the natural father to be listed as parents for a child, the AG of Ontario and the Parents aren't appealing.

But, of course, along comes the "Alliance for Marriage and Family" (because, of course, the lesbian couple and the child aren't a family) and asks to substitute in as the AG of Ontario to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Here's the Supreme Court's smackdown:

This Court’s procedure is flexible, but that flexibility has its limits. What the applicant is attempting to do is to substitute itself for the Attorney General in order to bring important legal questions relating to the development and application of the law before this Court. As we have seen, neither the Attorney General nor the immediate parties intend, for reasons of their own, to contest the Court of Appeal’s judgment. The applicant is certainly concerned about the impact of that judgment. Nevertheless, it was merely an intervener in the Court of Appeal, there to defend its view of the development of family law, but it had no specific interest in the outcome of the litigation.

This Court has never allowed a private applicant under Rule 18(5) to revive litigation in which it had no personal interest.

* * *

In addition, the applicant does not explain in its application how it meets the test for public interest standing from Canadian Council of Churches v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration), [1992] 1 S.C.R. 236. It merely states that the judgment will be otherwise “unappealable”.

Amen. I think the Court is being slightly snarky in the last two sentences. Because, of course, even though these nutjob organizations always say that the world will end when teh gays are allowed to marry/have kids/have lives, they never explain why. Because they can't.

They sky hasn't fallen, the world hasn't ended, society isn't falling apart, just because Tom and Steve can get married and have kids.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pundit Hair Watch for the Masses

Finally, the At Issue panel returned to the National after the summer break. Hoping, praying for a new style from Chantal, but instead, the same old do appeared. She did have an interesting new necklace though.

The panel discussed the upcoming throne speech and the state of the various parties. All of them denounced Mulroney's attack on Trudeau. It was called pathetic, out of character, and the product of an insecure, vain and jealous man. Allan Gregg said that Mulroney's accomplishments speak for themselves, but he doesn't seem to realize this and wants recognition for more. Chantal Hebert pointed out that Mulroney's attacks on Trudeau (and Bouchard, although less reported) are against two men with vastly higher respect in English and French Canada than he ever had. And after this, likely will ever have.

The biggest news out of the segment came at the end when Peter Mansbridge announced that the At Issue panel, easily Canada's most comprehensive, engaging and entertaining political panel, would be available for download as a video or audio podcast! Very exciting indeed.

So go do your own pundit hair watch. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Aussie-Rules Senate Reform

According to PMO spokesperson Sandra Buckler, one of PM Harper's other goals at the APEC summit this week is to pump Australian PM Howard for advice on Senate reform.

Buckler was quoted as saying: "Australia, like Canada, is a large modern diverse and urbanized federation with the Westminster model and if the Australians can have an accountable and democratic Senate, I'm not sure why Canada can't."

The Australian senate has equal numbers from each state, and no less than 6. The total number of senators is supposed to be approximately half that of the lower house of representatives. They also use a the Single Transferable Vote system.

The big criticism of their system is that small states like Tasmania have equal numbers of senators as big states like New South Wales, disproportionately distributing their representation. We've heard that before in Canada, where tiny provinces hit far about their weight in terms of per-capita voting power.

Will senate reform be the 'big vision thing' that Harper puts in his throne speech? Likely not. Its a battle the PM doesn't need to fight right now, and the plebs don't give two hoots for senate reform. There's a referendum on proportional representation in Ontario, arguably the most important potential change to Ontario politics since, well, there were Ontario politics, and nobody even cares. But a proposal for a long weekend in February? Oh wow, that got them talking....

Senate reform is going to keep on bubbling on the backburner, until some completely daft senator pulls a completely outrageous stunt to galvanize the public or piss off the PM into really taking them on.

Nobody expects trouble from Canada

11 crew from the Australian television show The Chaser were detained after staging a fake motorcade through Sydney prior to the APEC conference. They managed to get past two checkpoints in Sydney's APEC security "red" zone by outfitting their vehicles with Canadian flags and stickers.

"No particular reason we chose Canada," Taylor said.


"We just thought they'd be a country who the cops wouldn't scrutinise too closely, and who feasibly would only have three cars in their motorcade - as opposed to the 20 or so gas guzzlers that Bush has brought with him."

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Who on earth (or in heaven) is running Tory's campaign?

Tory wants equal time for creationism in those publicly-funding religious schools he's a big fan of. You know, those publicly-funded religious schools that he insists are not a threat to society, because they will still have to teach the official Ontario curriculum and employ professionally-certified teachers.

Except the official Ontario curriculum doesn't included creationism, and the Ontario professional teachers body has advised rejecting equal-opportunity teaching of creationism.

Also, a note to John Tory and his daffy campaign staff: The hip kids call it "intelligent design" these days.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Calling Bullshit on Bush

This I simply cannot believe. Thus spake Bush:

"I tell people—I read an interesting book by [Richard] Carwardine—I'm on my eighty-seventh book this year." With rueful admiration, he added, "Rove's on, like, a hundred two.

(From Bob Draper's new book, Dead Certain.)

No way. And if it is true, Bush should be impeached, now. We've had around 245 days this year. That's a book around every 2.8 days. Unless he's reading kids' books, there is simply no way he could do that.

I work hard. Not as hard as I hope he works. I can read fast, and I love reading, and I would get fired if I were reading a book every 3 days because I wouldn't be getting much work done. I suppose if I left work every day at 6:00 (hahaha!), got home at 6:30 and read until 11:00, never stopping to do anything else, not going out with friends or doing anything social, I might be able to keep up with that schedule. But not if I were, say, running a country and a government, doing the campaign circuit, meet and greets, etc.

So I'm calling bullshit. But then, the man lies and no one seems to mind, so this one will just get swept under the table. . .

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Larry Craig

I swear, the fun never stops.

I have to say . . .


. . . that being stuck at your desk on a holiday weekend when it's beautiful out totally bites. And my office looks out over the swimming pool of a nearby hotel. And I can see the ocean. So evil.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The War Museum

I'm sure our Canadian readers have head how some vets are all up in arms about the fact that the Canadian War Museum mentions that the effectiveness of the bombing campaigns in Europe is still contested, because apparently even mentioning the controversy dishonours the troops.

A Globe and Mail reader offers this completely awesome suggestion, very much in line with my suggestion that we rename the dollar the "Hero Token":


RUDRA P. SARKAR
August 30, 2007
Edmonton -- Let's just rename the museum, which now has the horrendous three-letter word "war" displayed so prominently. I suggest the more modern "Support Our Troops" and redesigning the building as a massive yellow ribbon.

Delicious Hypocrisy

So, Bill Clinton's a "nasty, naughty boy," is he?



Yes, because consensual sex in private with someone who's not your wife is so much worse than getting arrested for soliciting an in-the-stall blowjob from someone who's not your wife.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vitter v. Craig

Why is it that Larry "Tap Tap" Craig is being forced from all his posts by the Republicans, but, strangely, nothing happened to David "Marriage is a sacred vow between a man and a woman" Vitter (who also broke the law by hiring prostitutes)?

Couldn't have anything to do with Teh Gays, could it?

Because really, cheating on your wife by hiring some tramp is so much less reprehensible than tapping your foot a few times and reaching under the stall (I'm not defending Craig, but it would seem that in one instance a penis got inserted somewhere and in another, there wasn't.)

(For the lolcat clueless out there, the "Teh" is deliberate.)

More on honouring our vets

Some comments need special attention. In response to this posting, commentator Canadian Tar Heel make the following point:

While I appreciate the debate over the name "Highway of Heroes" as opposed to something like "Veterans Highway", I find this post overly caustic to make a cheap point. Remembering and valuing the work of our armed forces is hardly "trite", even if you feel that displays of such appreciation (eg, yellow ribbons) are "facile".
The vexed problem with this is that it makes any proposal to "honour" our soldieras prima facie valid, and makes any criticism on any basis (i.e. it's a stupid idea) tantamount to not "supporting" the troops. Ridiculous. This equates meaningful gestures (sending aid packages, letters, volunteering to help veterans or disabled soldiers) with ridiculous proposals (renaming entire cities or sections of freeway) and with emtpy gestures (yellow ribbons.)

Let's take this premise to its logical conclusion. I propose the following: The dollar be renamed "The Hero Token" (with its new abbreviation HT--i.e. "On sale for HT4.99!") and while we are at war, instead of "hello," the customary salutation between two individuals be "Honoured are our soldiers," to which the response must be "Let them be honoured."

And anyone who says this is foolishness--well, you just don't support the troops, do you? Why do you hate freedom?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Making excuses for stupidity

Okay. The Today Show brought that stupid girl from South Carolina on today to excuse her idiot performance. She was "nervous" and "overwhelmed" and she "only heard a few words of the question." And the hosts are being all nice, "oh we say dumb things too" and "aren't you great for coming on to laugh at yourself."

BULL-SHIT.



First, if you didn't hear the question, you could have just asked to have it repeated.

And I don't care how damn nervous you are--you can still cobble together some kind of coherent response, instead of standing up there "like, such as, like, such as, and so forth, with the Iraq."

Every word out of her bimbo mouth dripped stupidity and vapidness.

Sometimes, people are just stupid. Plain and simple. Dumb. A waste of space. Fit for menial labour. And that's it. We shouldn't be falling over ourselves to make excuses for their braindeadness.

Nervous, my ass. She won Ms. Teen South Carolina. She clearly had a coach who told her "make sure you mention Iraq and make sure you mention helping the world." Had she been asked "what is your favourite colour" we probably would have gotten the same sort of answer.

And nervousness doesn't even begin to excuse the obvious dumbness--like "some people don't have maps" and "the Iraq."

Stupid. Blonde. Vacuous. And that's it.

Ugh...Larry Craig...




Okay. I have no problem with Larry Craig getting busted. And I'll leave for others to comment on just how hypocritical the GOP is, particularly Craig who did whatever he could to make gays' lives unpleasant.

But really, boys, can we all STOP getting busted doing things like this? I mean, how many people read that story and thought, "God, aren't those gays icky? Having sex in bathrooms? Why on earth should we treat them well?"

I mean, if you want anonymous sex, jesus, go to Craigslist.





That said, the cop that busted him is pretty cute. I might be tempted.







Monday, August 27, 2007

I personally believe . .. .

No wonder South Carolina voted for Bush.



I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because uh some people out there in our nation don't have maps and I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and the Iraq everywhere like such as and I believe that they should our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. or should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Renaming the 401

Apparently McGuinty has come up with the air-headed idea to rename the 401 (the MacDonald-Cartier freeway) "Highway of Heroes." (h/t to Red Tory.)

Such foolishness. Quite apart from the fact that the freeway already has a name--and a good one--the idea that we need to do more to "support the troops" by renaming a freeway is facile and (red tory's words) trite.

First, I really doubt that most veterans consider themselves "heroes." My grandfather, who fought in the Second World War, lost most of his friends in the process, and served in the military for over a decade afterwards, would never think of himself as a hero.

Second, and more importantly, this is all part of that idiot idea that by naming things after "heroes" and by wearing yellow ribbons to "support the troops," we're actually doing something meaningful. It's a way for people to feel good about sending other people's kids to die.

So--all you who think that this is "doing something" to "support the troops," please provide the following:
  • The names of any soldier who in any way feels that this is "supporting" him or her--not some unverifiable "oh it does make the soldiers feel better" based on speculation.
  • What you SPECIFICALLY have done to support the troops, and by that I mean things like donated money/time to a veterans' organisation, sending money to charities for soldiers, sent care packages, donated money to any other organization, or in any way altered your behaviour/spending/consumption for their benefit.

Because otherwise it's all just nonsense.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

LolCats, LolJean, Racism, and Stupidity



Okay. Some anonymous commenter has accused us of being racist because we posted these pictures about Michaelle Jean.

Of course, if this person (persons?) had actually read the post fully, s/he would have seen this link, which goes to the very fun explanation concerning lolcats at Slate.com. Or even these links here, here, here, and here. That's what we were doing--making a lolcat about Jean. (Well, to be fair, my much-funner-than-me colleague did.) (The commenter also said s/he/it wasn't going to follow our links. Yes, because educating yourself would have undermined your point. It's always best to knowingly refuse to learn the facts before taking a hard line position on something you know nothing about. Works in my legal practice all the time.)

And anyone who's ever read this Blog (all 5 of you (thank you!)) must be fully aware of just how much we revere Jean. And Clarkson. But not Harper (the white dude.)

But this obscures the broader issue: Posting something humourous about a black person/minority isn't always racism. What, you can never make fun of a minority because it's automatically racism? Only white people are fair targets? (Incidentally, whiteboys get targeted too. For example, lolpresident.com.)

This reminds me of my last year in law school. I taught legal research to first year students, and one of my students was friends with a bunch of southern black baptist girls. She sent them that joke email to Dr. Laura (should I stone my neighbour, etc.) and cc'd me. One of them responded something to the effect of homosexuality is wrong immoral evil because God says so, which is simply not something I would let lie. I replied, basically calling her stupid and saying it was a good thing we had lots of people like her in the law school to take up the bottom half of the grade curve.

Well. Suddenly I'm racist. Huh? Here's a girl who invokes scripture instead of any kind of rational argument, and when she's called stupid (which, incidentally, I think of anyone who invokes the Sky God as justification for anything) she pulls the racist card?! Please. There's no limit to stupidity--black people, white people, asians, homos, breeders. Indeed, I think we're on record too for saying that the overwhelming majority of people in the world are pretty brain dead.

So, anonymous commenter: Since you flew off the handle, accused us of being racist WITHOUT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST INVESTIGATION, consideration, thought, or question--You're probably pretty stupid too.

And, Mr. Anonymous, if you'd like to explain, NOW, after you've hopefully clicked those links above to see exactly what lolcats are, how it's at all racist, please, go ahead.

We are neither racist, stupid, or AT ALL into making fun of the Governor-General. In fact, we worship her.

Anonymous commenters with ill-informed outrage should get a grip.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

LolJean




My colleague (American, btw) put these together. Awesome.

(For those who are confused, here's an explanation. And here's the best site ever.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What are the Yankees wearing??

This is just wrong. He and his Ambassador show up for a meeting with our Viceroy, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Canada, personal representative of the Queen in Canada, and our de facto head of state, and they're dressed like they went in grey flannels and a shirt to a fancy restaurant and the maitre'd told them they needed a jacket and a tie and took them to the side room where they keep a collection of mismatched and ill-fitted jackets handy for those who don't actually know the first thing about protocol.

Of course, this is also from the guy who winked at the Queen, greeted Tony Blair with "Yo, Blair," and gave Angela Merkel a backrub.

One's Hurricane Namesake

I do find it absolutely delicious that Hurricane Dean recently smote Jamaica. And on that note I'll post Dan Savage's post in its entirety:

So. Jamaica.

Jamaica is one of the most anti-gay places on earth. Gays and lesbians are routinely set upon by mobs and lynched. Wiki says

In the Caribbean, Jamaica is by far the most dangerous place for sexual minorities, with frequent and often fatal attacks against gay men fostered by a popular culture that idolizes reggae and dancehall singers whose lyrics call for burning and killing gay men.

And now a category 4 hurricane is headed straight for Jamaica.

So… what will the assholes that said the 2004 Asian Tsunami was God’s way of letting Sweden know that He hates Swedes for tolerating homosexuals, and that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of expressing his displeasure with abortion, say now?

What they tell us if God has sent a hurricane to wipe one of the most homophobic countries in the world off the face of the earth?

Gee, maybe God hates reggae.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Right Wing Nuts

This video is awesome. Details how the British ruined everything.


But let's see:

1. Churchill was pals with Hitler. Um? The truth, of course, is that Britain and the Empire stood alone against the Germans/Italians while the US sat on the side for 3 years. Twice.

2. Queen Elizabeth invested in the slave trade. No. Unless I'm really clueless, the slave trade wasn't all that large in the late 16th century. (Of course, they don't mention that it's Elizabeth I, to confuse people.) And: Britain banned slavery--and actively suppressed it--decades before the United States did. And did so without a civil war. And didn't have segregation into the 1960s.

3. Britain worships kings while the US is a democracy. Quite apart from having a President installed by a Court, that ignore the fact that the monarchy is symbolic and Britain has a far more vibrant democracy than the US (i.e. hated prime ministers don't stick around long.)

I could go on. But better to let you pick the holes in it yourself, fair reader.

Hat tip to Red Tory.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Stupid PCism

Okay. This is ridiculous. Apparently the Danish Culture Minster has apologized for the Vikings.

That's right. The culture minister from a civilized and perfectly decent little country, a country which defied the Nazis and rose up to rescue almost the entire Jewish population, has apologized for something which happened over 1200 years ago.

Ridiculous. That's the height of PC bullshit. And there is not a single country in the world that hasn't oppressed its neighbours, at some point, and then probably been oppressed by them in return.

It maybe--and only maybe--is okay to apologize for things that have happened in recent memory. (That said, I refuse the collective guilt. It is not my fault that 100 years ago the Government wasn't nice to Chinese immigrants/natives/etc. And I question the idea of 'closure'--your ancestors did something bad to my ancestors but apologizing will 'heal me' and bring 'closure' is idiotic pop-psychology Maury idiocy.)

But for something like that? Jesus. What's next? Italy apologizing to Tunisa for destroying Carthage? Egypt apologizing to Sudan for killing Nubians 2000 years BCE? Turkey apologizing to Austria for laying siege to Vienna?

And: Think of the Mongolians. Even though Genghis Kahn was a nasty guy and his invading armies not so nice, they are proud of his legacy.

H/T to Red Tory. Whose blog you should read too.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

An old letter to the NYT

Alas never published but I like it still. Should be self explanatory:

July 10, 2007

Re: A Nominee's Abnormal Views

To the Editor:

I was taken aback to see in your otherwise-good editorial that you refer to gay men and women as "practicing homosexuals."

I no more "practice" my "homosexuality" than I "practice" being male, blue-eyed, and short. I can't change those things, nor can I (or would I) change my sexual orientation. I can change the things that I do "practice," such as being an attorney, piano playing, and cooking (and I practice them with the hopes of getting better!)

Your reference to "practicing homosexuals" unfortunately hearkens back to the dark past, where it was thought that being gay was a choice, something that could be turned on or off or stopped at will, rather than something inherent to who we are.

The funny thing is, the people who call it a choice are the ones who've never had to make it.

Yours,

[Dean P]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Paul Wells on the Cabinet

This must be the best posting on the cabinet shuffle all day. In full:

Secretary Rice's Briefing Note

TREAT AS SECRET-- SecState eyes only --

BEGINS
The new guy from Canada may even be hotter than the last one.
ENDS

Give me a break

Seriously, these two need to get a life. Two lesbians wanted to use a church to have their NJ wedding. The Church said no. They sued.

Now: if they had applied to use a public property and been told no, that would be one thing. But the Church is the Church and it's private and they can do what they want.

First, it's stupid--because no doubt these two will be the poster girls to say, "Look, they want more than civil marriages, they want to force churches to recognize their marriages too." People like this do far more harm than good.

Second, it's more stupid--because if we force churches to let us in, then we have to let crazy religious nutjobs into our private spaces. Your center for gay youth now has to let christians come in and "convert" (extreme example, granted.)

Seriously, these two women should just get a uhaul and go down to the local Home Depot and get married in the parking lot and not make the rest of us look bad.

Sullivan's dishonesty continues

Andrew Sullivan is at it again. He mildly disapproves of Barak Obama's stance on gay marriage, but then has to get a dig in at Hillary.

Give me a freakin' break, Sullivan. Don't pretend that Gay Marriage is now some sort of litmus test whereby candidates should be judged. And don't speculate that Clinton will "play politics" when you have no evidence of that.

But most importantly, try and be a little more honest. The minute a Republican comes along who promises smaller government and lower taxes, you'll get on your knees and suck his dick, no matter what his stance on gay marriage is. You're a life-long Republican, and happily supported Bush the first time around, even though anyone with half a brain could see where he was going. You sold us out every time singing Republican hosannas.

Sit back, Sullivan, and shut up while those of us who've always been Democrats actually fix things.

Republican Mediocrity

What is up with everyone important in the Republican party being academic failures? First, we hear that some hundred attorneys in the Dubya White House are graduates of Regent Law School--a place that not even mediocre law firms would ever consider hiring from?

And now--and this is a surprise to me--we hear that Rove--the "Boy Genius" didn't even graduate from college.

Bush--a failed businessman; a C student. Monica Goodling. Karl Rove.

Good lord, let's even contrast Harriet Meirs credentials with those of, say, Beverly McLachlin.

Mediocrity. Incompetence. But connected. Well done.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Big Black Buck defence

This video is awesome. I'm sure we've all heard that Florida state senator Bob Allen (R) was busted for offering a cop $20 to give him a blowjob. The fun part is a) Allen had introduced a bill calling for tougher penalties for soliciting sex, and b) Allen now says he was intimidated by the big scary black guy and went along with it.

What is up with Republicans trying to ban something with one hand while they're giving someone else a reacharound with the other? Foley, Haggard, Allen all denouncing homos while sucking dick in their spare time, and then all the Family Friendly straights who cheat on their spouses or have multiple divorces or whatnot?

Well, if I could do it I'd test the theory--I'd take Allen out to Compton and stick him on the street corner and see if he just was so scared he got down on his knees and opened up his mouth.

Yet more on Abortion

Commentator Cerberus makes a comment that is worth posting in full. Read on:

Excellent point Dean. To anyone who claims that a fetus is a full human life deserving of all of the same treatment as a born human, we should be asking them if they really truly mean that.If they believe that, would they:

- want to convict the mother and the physician with homicide with no chance of parole for 25 years (or, given that most pro-lifers are conservative, no parole at all or even execution). (If the analogy to homicide is to be carried through properly (showing how ridiculous the whole notion is), the woman is not merely consenting to the homicide but hiring a contract killer.)

- when a miscarriage occurs, should there be a full coroners enquiry and report at taxpayers expense?

- if it turned out that the mother's actions may have had some contribution to a miscarriage, should she be convicted with homicide, manslaughter or reckless endangerment?

- I have a cousin who went past term, went into the doctor on a Friday who said let's wait the weekend and schedule an induced delivery for Monday. The fetus was lifeless on Monday. Should the doctor be charged with a criminal offense (rather than just be investigated or sued for malpractice)?

Put the question this way, and you will find the little support for criminalizing abortion evaporate very quickly.

Is Ontario coming back?

This is very interesting. Harper and Quebec are getting cozy about formal limits to the federal spending power. McGuinty responds: "I'm proud of Ontario, proud to lead this province, but I'm a Canadian first. At the end of the day, we need a strong federal government that reminds us that we're all in this together."

How long has it been since we've had this sort of statement from Ontario? I've always been proud to be Ontarian--in the sense that we could count on Ontario to do what was right for Canada, not just for Ontario. I don't think we've seen much of that in the last few years (see, e.g., that idiot "Council of the Federation" which is a club to get together to bash Ottawa), but perhaps McGuinty, with an election breathing down his neck, is realizing that most Ontarians do actually like the idea of Ontario being the strong helpful fixer in the federation.

After all, my experience is that most Ontarians don't really have a sense of an "Ontario identity" (cynical view: that's because Ontarians think of Canada and Ontario as one in the same and of Canada as Ontario writ large). Everyone likes the idea of their province having more powers, sure, but I think Ontarians are confident enough that they can step back and realize that a weak federal government is bad.

Of course, I write this as an unreconstructed Trudeauvian centrist . . .

Noone Mourns The Wicked*

Well, well, well, Karl Rove is stepping down. To "spend more time with his family." (I don't buy that one--how many politicians/executives/wankers who find themselves in bad positions or falling out of favour suddenly realize they want to see their kids more?")

There is, behind all of Rove's nasty horribleness, behind his demonizing of democrats/gays/war opponents, behind his divisive and toxic tactics, one little glimmer of goodness: Rather than making a permanent Republican majority, he may have turned voters away from Republicans for a long, long time. We shouldn't have had to stack the Supreme Court, shred the constitution, bankrupt the country, enter into a pointless war, lose a major city, etc etc etc to get there, of course.

I'll also leave to those more versed in American politics than me to speculate on reasons and timing. Though given that there was speculation Libby fell on his sword and then was pardoned in order to protect Rove, I wonder if that had anything to do with it.

And, of course, Rove will still be safe from Congress (see, e.g., Harriet Meirs' invocation of executive privilege.)

*hat tip to David for the title

Update: Hindsight is so 20/20, Sullivan.

Abortion idiots

So here we have people demonstrating against abortion and insisting that it be illegal, and yet not a single one of them--despite having been protesting for years--can think of what the penalty should be for a woman who's had an abortion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk6t_tdOkwo

(Can't embed--it was disabled).

Hat tip to David in DC.

UPDATE: Mike and David are musing about how fun it would be to ask all those presidential candidates who are against abortion the same question. For example:

Mr. Romney, you have consistently gone on the record stating that you believe abortion should be illegal, and that it is the equivalent of murder [ref needed]. What forms of punishment for such murder would you think acceptable, and would you consider the mother a murderer or co-conspirator in the committing of murderer?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

More on the draft

So some others are discussing the possible consequences of having a draft. Riots in the streets, eh?

Well, I should hope so. But it shows how pathetic people are. No riots in the streets when other people's children were at risk--and, indeed, those of us who were against the war from day 1 were labeled traitors and unpatriotic and accused of wanting to let the "terrorists" win--but then when there's a chance that our own children (or even we ourselves) might get sent to war, well, then we'd have riots.

People suck.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Back to the Draft

To be honest, I have no problem with the suggestion we should consider moving back to a draft.

Too much of the problem with this idiot war and the idiot public that supports it is that it has no consequences for anyone. Right now the Republicans pretend that we can have a war, and tax cuts, and send other people's kids to die and still all be happy (while banning gay marriage.) And they can get away with saying "my sons haven't enlisted but they serve the country by helping me get elected." Or people can spend a buck ninety-nine for a yellow sticker saying "I support the troops" which they can stick on the back of their SUVs and consume and not make the slightest sacrifice.

But if it were the case that when you vote for some war monger, your own kids might go to war, or you might have to ration or pay higher taxes, people might cheer a little less loudly.

This is the corollary to the Starship Troopers idea that only people who have served can vote. You should only be allowed to say "I support the troops" unless you've served, or you've kids who's served. Otherwise it's a meaningless phrase, the invocation of which shouldn't be used to get you off the hook and make others seem unpatriotic.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Privilege my ass

This is nonsense. This White House flunky says basically he a) can't talk about what he told the President; b) he can't talk about whether he talked to the President; and c) he can't talk about what his job is.



That's BULL-SHIT. Let's assume, only for the sake of argument, that there really is such a thing as the executive privilege and it insulates this minion from having to disclose the substance of his conversation. Fine. That might be valid.

But the other two, b) and c), are simply not. Privilege protects the substance of a conversation, not its fact. You don't have to talk about what you say to your doctor or your lawyer, but you can't hide the fact you saw your lawyer or you went to the doctor covered in blood.

And you certainly can't claim privilege for a job description!

This is the state we're in--autocracy. We're at a point where the administration stands up and says, in the face of every question, "I don't recall," or "I can't answer."

Do we really live in a modern democracy? I feel like this is how Soviet Russia must have felt: Any time it wants to do something, the government says "national security." And then when it gets called on it, it says "We can't talk about it. National security."

Who knew democracy could be destroyed in 6 short years?

Hat tip to CC.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Words Fail Me

The great problem it seems to me here in the US is that you can get away with saying anything and no one will call you on your shit. Particularly, for example, Dubya, who can make all sorts of pronouncements (that get yelled at by the NY and LAT and that's about it), and people buy it.

But this one takes the cake. Universal health care leads to terrorism? Huh?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

War Breeds Only War

This passage, from one of my favourite books, meant something years ago, and means something now:

As there was no compulsion towards a conflict which, in despite of the apparent bitterness of the parties, took so long to engage and needed so much assiduous blowing to fan the flame, so no right was vindicated by its ragged end. The war solved no problem. Its effects, both immediate and indirect, were either negative or disastrous. Morally subversive, economically destructive, socially degrading, confused in its causes, devious in its course, futile in its result, it is the outstanding example in European history of meaningless conflict. The overwhelming majority . . . . wanted no war; powerless and voiceless, there was no need to even persuade them that they did. The decision was made without thought of them. Yet of those who, one by one, let themselves be drawn into the conflict, few were irresponsible and nearly all were genuinely anxious for an ultimate and better peace. Almost all . . . were actuated by fear rather than by lust of conquest or passion of faith.

They wanted peace and they fought for thirty years to be sure of it. They did not learn then, and have not since, that war breeds only war.

C. V. Wedgwood, The Thirty Years War, London, 1938.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

We're screwed

So anyone paying attention to the recent spate of US Supreme Court rulings might be a little dismayed over the results. For example, Brown has been largely surplanted, likewise McCain-Fingold eviscerated, taxpayer standing on separation grounds is gone, there was that meanspirited decision on the guy who missed a filing date because a judge gave him the wrong date, etc etc etc. Andrew Cohen has a nice summary.

And now, we're faced with probably 30 or so years of conservative hegemony on the court. There is no mandatory retirement for Justices. And look at the age of the conservatives:

Roberts--52
Alito--57
Thomas--59
Scalia--71

Kennedy--70

Breyer--68
Stephens--87
Ginsburg--74
Souter--67

So the three most conservative members (Roberts, Alito, Thomas) have easily 20 years left in them, if not more. Scalia has a good 10 or 15, likewise Kennedy.

Stephens will be the next to go.

Assume Stephens goes next while we have a democratic president. Another liberal gets appointed. But the conservatives are going to be there for a long, long time. And god fobid Stephens croaks before Bush gets turfed out.

Since I became aware of the world, there have been exactly two changes to the Court: Alito and Roberts. The previous change was Breyer and Ginsburg in 93 and 94--almost 15 years ago!

Contrast this with the Supreme Court of Canada. In the last few years, it's totally changed, with Abela, Fish, Charron, Dechamps, LeBel and Rothstein being appointed in the last few years (and remember that Arbour left the Court.) This because the Court has a mandatory retirement of 75, and is also less ideological and thus there's less need to hang on.

But it's a sad state of affairs now with the US court, where all that now matters is getting Kennedy on side. Things aren't decided on merit, they're decided on ideology, and now the composition of the court means more than the merits of the case.

And nothing is going to change, any time in the future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Coulter Shootdown

This is better than sex. Well, not really, but pretty good.



But what always astonishes me is how the media, and people generally, let the right get away with being counterfactual. I mean, Cheney is the worst--he simply says false things and asserts their truth. But it flows through everything that the right does here. The astonishing nonsense of the immigration debate here (e.g. immigrants bring leprosy!), the fact that Dubya can keep asserting an al Qaida-Iraq link--and the media, like trained seals, just roll over and accept it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Snow Patrol

I'm in love. How have I gone so many years without hearing them?!?!

Open Your Eyes lyrics

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Craigslist weddings

This is really sweet. Lesbian couple from Philly came up to Canada and posted an ad looking for some people to come as witnesses.

Of course, their marriage doesn't really mean anything, back in the US. But it does mean something for them, and I think it's really sweet how they had some complete strangers come to their wedding and celebrate it with them.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

CBC nonsense

So apparently the CBC had their "Seven Wonders of Canada" competition. What fucking PC nonsense. Igloos! Canoes! The Mountains! The Praries! Jesus, if we were designing something to appeal to every region, the government couldn't do it better.

Sure. Our northern/prarie/western/maritime life is grand. And beautiful. But fucking WONDERS?

Not at all.

Where, pray, on that entire list is Toronto? Toronto itself should be a wonder. Toronto is one of the supreme human achievements, one of the few places on the planet without hate and without ethnic violence and a place where, for all its differences, a multi-ethnic polylingual society exists. It is the crushing--the brutal, crushing rebuke to the planet: to those who say that different cultures can't live side by side, to those savages in the US who rile against bilingualism, and to all those who think that a city must be monocultural and monolingual or at best have a minority or two to be tolerate.

But.

Wonders. What would mine be?

In no order:

1. The Charter.

2. The CN Tower

3. Parliament's Centre Block

4. The Citadelle of Quebec

5. The National Gallery

And two more. But christ, we're not talking as wonders about concepts vetted by a committee. We're talking about concrete things that mean something. We're talking about things that we as a people have achieved--not some bullshit "the Prarie Sky" that was here before us and here after us. Fine--we're extraordinarily blessed with land a geography. But what matters is what WE did--what over 140 years of confederation and the 400 years of our history we as a people (not as an ethinicity or a nation or whatever) we did.

But screw this bullshit of a "wonder" being selected by a goddamn committee and balancing the various regional interests. That's not a wonder. That's geographical correctness.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Moron Republicans

During the most recent Republican debate, some one of those nutjobs or another (I can't be bothered to look) made the statement that America's an English-speaking country, and that "bilingual countries don't work."

Huh?

Let's think about this. First off, the premise is fundamentally flawed. The issue of bilingual education is to help kids whose first language is spanish actually learn something else while learning english? In what universe--other than in the Republican "we make our own reality" one--does it make sense to put kids who don't speak English into English-only schools and expect them to a) learn what everyone else is learning and b) learn English? The point is that they have some education in spanish so that they can keep up with their maths and sciences, etc., while they get better.

And then, of course, is the usual idiot Republican habit of just saying things that sound good (If we don't fight them there) that actually have no meaning whatsoever. Bilingual countries don't work? Um. Let's see. Oh, there's that big cold one to the north. And Belgium. And Switzerland.

It's the shades of the resistance to official bilingualism in Canada--they're going to ram French down our throats--but the scale of what's suggested isn't even remotely the scale of what happened in Canada. In Canada, we decided that every single Canadians should be able to get essential federal government services in French or English. That's HUGE. It's not "Let's make sure that immigrant kids and immigrants generally can get access to local services in Spanish." But by how the Republicans shriek, you'd think that the proposal was to make everyone speak Spanish.

Christ, some people in this country can't even speak English (Dubya) . . .

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Credibility Gaps

More and more, I'm amazed at how anyone on the Right thinks they can be taken seriously, or even worse, I marvel at how people must be so stupid that they actually do get taken seriously when they open their mouths and say things. For example:

  • When Dubya stands up and tells "Vladimir"* that the missile shield isn't targeted at Russia, he expects to be believed. This after the yellowcake uranium, the WMD, the "we're winning," the "mission accomplished," the almost weekly invocations that the insurgency is in its "last throes" and they're just "desperate"--i.e. the complete disconnect from reality that Bush's public pronouncements.
  • Andrew Sullivan's crusade against Hillary Clinton. What, from the man who for years sung the praises of George Bush, and who got down basically on his Catholic knees to worship at the altar of the Republican Party (or maybe just Karl Rove's dick)--after his wonderful judgement on how great someone will be as President, we're supposed to actually give a flying fuck what he thinks now? (This commentator makes a good point.)
  • And while we're on Sullivan, how about his bitching about how the Republican Party is now "christianist"? And on how bad they are for gays? (Side note: with his insufferable ego, I'll bet he takes credit for inventing this term). Give me a fucking break. This from a man who goes on nonstop about how fucking great religion is, and who said oh well, on balance the Republicans are better for homos? Get off your fucking road to Damascus.

I could go on. But seriously, every time a Republican opens his or her mouth, they utter lies. Why should we believe anything they say now?

* Note on the Vladimir thing. How fucking insulting. Bush's "I'm jus' a regyoolar guy" think might work among the mouth breathing slack jawed masses that are his base, who seem to think it's better to be led by "one of us" than by someone you can respect and look up to, but to anyone else in the world it's just insulting. Of course, he did his "Steve" thing to Harper (and was corrected by Harper's mother who said that he never goes by Steve), and I shudder to think of what he called the Queen. Chretien, who appointed Adrienne Clarkson as Governor General, even though when she wasn't in office probably called her Adrienne, ALWAYS referred to her as "Governor" when they spoke, and she to him as Prime Minister (not that idiot yankee construction of Mr. Prime Minister). At some level, formality IS important, and given the reaction in Canada to the pejorative of calling Harper "Steve," one can only wonder about what Russians are thinking now.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Okay this is dumb

This web page is really foolish. Why on earth would you create a page extolling the virtues of learning English--in English?

Hockey Nationalism

Okay. I was at Game 1 of the Stanely Cup finals in Anaheim (it cost a small fortune, but totally worth it). One of the best sporting experiences of my life--lots of energy, very fun, fans into it, and even good hockey (with the Senators being totally out-shot, out-skated, and out-played by the Ducks.)

However. The Anthems. First, my stepdad and I joined the other 20 or so Ottawa fans in belting out Oh Canada.

And then came the Star Spangled Banner. People put their hands on their heart, but only a few people sang. Nothing like this:



If anyone ever says that Canadians are less patriotic than Americans, or that people across the country, in the face of idiot provincial parochialism by the likes of Harris and Klien, are not at all committed to the continued existence of Canada, take them to a hockey game.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

If we don't fight them there . . .

I hate Bush's idiot argument that if we don't fight them there, they'll follow us home. It's bullshit, and today, Fred Kaplan knocks it out of the park:

  • First, the vast majority of the insurgents have nothing to do with al-Qaida or its ideology. They're combatants in a sectarian conflict for power in Iraq, and they have neither the means nor the desire to threaten North America.
  • Second, to the extent that the true global terrorists could attack us at home, they could do so whether or not U.S. troops stay or win in Iraq. The one issue has nothing to do with the other.
  • Third, what kind of thing is this to say in front of the allies? If our main goal in bombing, strafing, and stomping through Iraq is to make sure we don't have to do so on our own territory, will any needy nation ever again seek our aid and cover? Or will they seek out a less blatantly selfish protector?

The second point is the best. The argument presupposes that Iraq is the only place where there are people who want to kill americans. Ridiculous. Exactly how many of the 9/11 terrorists came from Iraq? Zero. Where do we know there are al Qaida minions? Pakistan. Saudi. Probably Yemen. And a host of other places.

Yet the uncritical mainstream media never calls him on his bullshit.

God isn't listening

Some anonymous commentor made a comment in response to this post:

Osiris seems to get blamed for a whole lot of things that He's not responsible for. He's not responsible for sickness and disease but he does offer solutions to people are looking for them. Osiris is not one to force himself on anyone, but anyone who genuinely looks for Him will always find Him. It is unfortunate that the people who have previously posted comments don't know Osiris because if they new Him they wouldn't slander Him the way they do. He's not the subject of a circular debate, He's not some crutch to retreat to, nor is He the result of religious poisoning, He is the author of all the potential good and creative things that he has placed in every human being. Its not that Osiris is not watching, it is that we are not listening.


Only, of course, the commentor said "God" instead of "Osiris." The one is, in the minds of mad Christians, perfectly true and reasonable, the other is utterly false. In the mind of an ancient Egyptian, the converse would be true.

And out of all of the gods that have ever been dreamed up, how can this person be so incredibly sure that this God is the One?

But, subject this to any sort of proof analysis, and it fails completely. "Anyone who looks for him will find him." Well, yes--because they'll convince themselves of his existence. As a child, I was utterly convinced of the existence of Santa Clause. That didn't make him real. I had an imaginary friend that I believed really existed. Same point.

"He is the author of all the potential good and creative things that he has placed in every human being." Is then the converse not true? If he is the author of all good, then what about all bad? He's not responsible for disease and sickness but is responsible for all good? Huh?

And please: give me some actual proof. Dawkins made a great point when asked "What would make you believe in God." His one word answer: "Evidence."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Monica Goodling is an idiot

Recall that Goodling--a minion responsible for White House/DOJ liaison--pleaded the Fifth regarding her role in the US Attorney scandal. Well, in her testimony today, she explained she took it because she was worried that others had misled her.

What?

Monica needs to bone up on her Fifth Amendment law. How is it that criminal liability would attach to her for the fact that someone else had said something untrue? I can't really even conceive how she'd be in jeopardy for that.

But then, I imagine that at Regent Law School, that paragon of academic achievement, there's a little less emphasis on the rule of law and a lot on the Word of God.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Saving Civilization

I'm sure that everyone by now knows that during the recent Repulican debate, 9 out of the 10 fell over themselves trying to prove how gung-ho-macho they are and how they would do anything--i.e. torture--to save Western civilization. Only McCain made the point that no, torture doesn't work.

[Side note: People, particularly Presidential candidates, need to stop getting their policy from Hollywood. Just how often will the "ticking time bomb" scenario actually take place? It's not 24, it's the real world, and just how many of the people we have tortured have been in that scenario? Exactly zero.]

Rosa Brooks makes the following point, in response to that idiot Tancredo brushing off theoretical objections to torture (i.e. it doesn't get information, and hurts American standing):

Western civilization isn't about speaking English, or flags, or football or borders. If Western ivilization is about anything at all, it's about the arduous, centuries-long struggle to nurture an idea of human dignity that's not dependent on nationality or power. As Petraeus put it, there are some "values and standards that make us who we are."

Tancredo's right about one thing though. If we embrace the use of torture, we won't need to worry that extremist Islamic terrorists might destroy Western civilization. We'll have killed it off ourselves.

Now, forgive this little corner from saying "we told you so," but we have consistently taken the position that by rushing to embrace restrictions on our freedom, and agreeing that yes, torture is good and habeas is bad and giving people rights is bad--that all this is a far greater threat to western values than anything any terrorist could do. Bombing a building isn't going to destroy the rule of law--far from it--but saying that we don't have to follow the law certainly will.

And now, whenever we complain about the illegal actions of a foreign government, we should remember Samuel Johnson's comment re the American Revolution, "How is it that we always hear the loudest yelps for liberty amongst the drivers of negroes?"

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Republicans Sucking Falwell's Dick

For one, I am absolutely overjoyed that Falwell is dead. Americablog has a good list of Falwell's sins, for example, blaming 9/11 on the gays, god doesn't hear the prayers of Jews (which I have to accept as true, given my nonbelief in god), AIDS is the wrath of God, the antiChrist will be a Jew, and, oh, that Tinky Winky is gay. Huffingtonpost has some great stuff he's said here too.

If I believed in God, Hell, the afterlife, demons, and unicorns, I'd be also quite thrilled that Jerry's probably down in hell getting sodomized with a barbed acid dripping serrated dildo by a bunch of pot smoking leather-clad contraception-providing demons wearing leather attire.

But, aside. The best part is that the GOP is now falling over itself to talk about what a good man he was. For example, John "Flip Flop" McCain, who once called him an agent of intolerance, is now happily sayign that Falwell was "a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country."

Screw that. This is a man who used his pulpit to the unimaginable detriment of millions of people, happily and pompously passing judgment and whipping the masses into a frenzy. Timothy Noah's response to McCain: "Nonsense. He was a bigot, a reactionary, a liar, and a fool." Exactly.

But the Republican kowtowing shows what the GOP is beholden to. If one person had stood up recently from the GOP and said that Falwell was a bad man, I would applaud that person.

Instead, they fall over themselves to say how good a man he was. Which means that, in the GOP, it's okay to hate the gays, the blacks, and the Jews.

Paris "too traumatized" to testify in court

Apparently Paris Hilton is so traumatized by the fact she has to spend 45 days in the big house that she can't testify in a case against her.

Bullshit. All the more reason for her to go.

Let's see: A prissy little heiress, who's never done a day of actual labour in her life, whose entire existence has been one of privilege, luxury, and ease, now has to spend 45 days in prison, and that's so traumatic that she can't testify? Hogwash.

My first job out of law school was as a law clerk for a judge who had criminal cases, only. You want to talk about trauma in life? How about:
  • The 23 year old kid whose dad was in jail, who dropped out of school when he was 11, had been dealing drugs since he was 12, and whose 10 siblings were in jail?
  • The 45 year old woman, meth addict, clearly HIV positive, had had 5 children taken away from her (men using her for sex, not using protection, giving her drugs in exchange), begging and pleading to be allowed to keep her sixth baby?
  • The legions of poor, inner city kids with no education, no role models, living in poverty, before us on petty charges, caught up in circumstances beyond their control?

What chances did they ever have, Paris? Did they have everything put onto a platter? No. Did they live their lives without the slightest worry? No. Do you think they all might have wanted better, might have wanted greater chances in their lives? Hell yeah. But what bloody chance did they ever have? Yet we had to send them to jail--mandatory minimums--for a hell of a lot longer than you.

So don't turn around and wail that you're so upset you can't function and that you're horrified of the idea of jail. You were warned three times that you were in violation of your probation. Guess what, honey? Actions have consequences, and sometimes you have to take responsibility for what you do (not in the Bush way, of course).

All the kids that get thrown into jail who never had a chance, never had a role model, never had money--we make them take responsibility for their actions.

You deserve no less.

"One of the most able public servants I've ever known"

So, no surprise, the White House thinks Wolfowitz should stay. After all, it's merely an ethics violation.

On NPR they reported that Cheney said (on Fox, surprise surprise) that Wolfie was "one of the most able public servants I've ever know." Well, duh. That's probably not a tough bar, if you think about the current figures in government or who've just left, say, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Brown, Meiers, Gonzo, on, and the latest, McNulty. More on Wolfie's mismanagement here.

So, helping your girlfriend get a job isn't a firing offence. Well, what the hell is with this administration? A bungled war? An incompetent attorney general? A lost major city and a destroyed coast (I promise my big post on that is coming)? The list is so long of sins and so short on actual accountability (yes yes, the Republicans always line up and say "I apologize, I take responsibility, yada yada." Big deal--intoning the words of remorse and responsibility is meaningless without action.)

Has this administration fired a single person for incompetence? Not at all. In any normal government, so much of the cabinet would have been sacked for less (one need think only of Rhona Ambrose as an example.)

When the story of this administration is written, it will go down as the most inept, incompetent, and corrupt administration in the last century.

And no doubt Andrew Sullivan and Republican moderates will say they'd always said that was the case and if the administration had just acted a little more like Reagan we'd all be in paradise. Cf. Artur Seyss-Inquart at Nuremberg: "I can not today cry 'crucify him' where yesterday I cried 'Hosanna.'"