Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

30 June 2008

Man Commits Second-Degree Murder, and Gets Away With It

Okay, so I see two guys coming out my neighbour's window. I phone 9-1-1. The dispatcher tells me to wait inside my house. Instead, I outright tell the dispatcher that I'm going to go and kill the guys, hang up, and go blast 'em. Then I phone back 9-1-1 and call for an ambulance. Both men die.

Guilty of manslaughter, almost certainly. Guilty of second-degree murder, really.

But in Texas it's fine to kill people as long as they're brown.

That's the message I'm reading from the fact that a grand jury failed to indict Joe Horn for blowing away two hispanic males he saw crawling out his neighbour's window.

This is really sickening. He called 9-1-1 and was told to stay indoors:
"Don't go outside the house," the 911 operator pleaded. "You're gonna get yourself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don't care what you think."
"You wanna make a bet?" Horn answered. "I'm gonna kill 'em."
And he did.
"I had no choice," he said, his voice shaking. "They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick."



Smoking Joe Horn, Murderer.

Another responsible gun owner defending, presumably, his neighbour's VCR or something important, and worth killing someone over, like that.

Oh, and did I mention this fact about this threatening confrontation that so frightened Mr "I'm gonna kill 'em" that he had no course of action open but to open fire on the threatening brown people who were terrorizing him?

Both men were shot in the back.

If you visit that story, don't read the comments. The volcanic hatred of teh brown and the saliva-dribbling insanity will curdle milk in any nearby dairy herds.

Just a thought: The hatred of illegal immigrants in the US, and the associated racism, is approaching KKK-esque proportions. D'you think he'd have been let go if he was black?

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26 June 2008

A Thoroughly Responsible Ruling

The US Supreme Court has decided that individuals can own guns, and that that right is protected by the Constituion.

That is, the people who were selected by a man who is personally out to shred what he once called "just a goddamned piece of paper" and their ideological (but presumably non-activist) brethren voted five to four that that piece of paper says that individuals can keep killing firepower in their homes.

It's the first time that this has been spelled out. The interpretation of some is that this is a victory for responsible gun owners. Doubtless all the criminals are trembling in their boots. Al-Qaeda is expected to cease all operations within days because all those guns will make the US so alien, unfamiliar, and different from Iraq that they'll be totally cowed and unable to operate.

In an unrelated incident, a responsible Spokane gun owner shot himself in the face.

In a totally unrelated incident, a 10-year-old was accidentally shot by the child of a responsible gun owner. NRA members can donate toward the boy's hospital care at the Hastings First Federal Bank.

In a completely and utterly isolated incident, not linked in any way, a 14 year old kid who had somehow acquired guns from responsible owners shot a 13-year-old friend in the arm.

In an unrelated incident, suspects in the accidental shooting of an irresponsible jackass are sought after a formerly-responsibly-owned weapon was accidentally discharged into his gut.

A teenager, in a totally disconnected incident, discharged a responsibly owned handgun into his brother's face, killing him.

In yet another totally not-affiliated incident (boy, don't those unrelated incidents pile up, eh?) a responsible gun owner was charged after his four-year-old son shot his two-year-old brother.

In Oregon, guess what happened?

And in Kentucky, a responsible gun owner committed an unrelated act of violence by shooting a co-worker at a car dealership..

Oh, and I almost forgot, also in Kentucky, a responsible gun owner argued with his boss, went out to his car to get his responsible gun, and responsibly shot and killed five of his co-workers before responsibly turning the gun on himself.

Unrelated light reading here.

To quote some NRA asshat I saw somewhere on the web: "I'm so glad the Supreme Court didn't cave to all those liberal namby-pambies. About time they showed common sense."

Yeah. It'd be about time.

Given the number of guns used in Canadian crimes that make their way up from our southerly neighbour, I'd suggest closing the borders. Things are about to get nastier.

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25 June 2008

Have You Heard the Good News? #1

No, Dubya isn't going out hunting with L'etat, c'est Dick.

I've been surfing the atheist blogosphere: Crunchy nutrition for the mind. But a post somewhere out there reminded me of this story:

You may have been awakened by that nine-o'clock knock on the door, the morning after the night before. And on your doorstep are two people in suspiciously nice suits, unless they're Seventh-Day-Adventists, who seem to send a trio of hot teen babes alla time. It's so disappointing, 'cos they don't even eat pork, so what are the odds for getting the three of them slippery and naked in the hot tub anyway? Though I advise my Avid Fans (both of them) that it never hurts to ask, once you've seen some ID.

They usually have a question-begging question, such as: "Do you ever wonder about where we're heading?" (My favourite answer is "No, but I can call the home and get someone to pick you up"--but I confess I have yet to use it). They want to come in and explain in detail, with pictures.

I used to try to put them off by answering the door in my underwear. However, I noticed that they seemed to show up more often. I was 18, still pretty lithe, and didn't understand a lot about religious "hatred" for teh gay.

Later on I tried answering the door wrapped in a black blanket and saying "Did you bring the goat?" But that only got me stared at longingly in a way that suggested that those clean-cut boys really missed my tighty-whities.

However, some time ago a friend of mine discoved the cure for Jehovah's Witnesses. He invited them in, and listened to the spiel awhile ("Do you ever wonder where we're going?" et al).

When they got to the bit about how Jesus lightens your burdens and makes your daily tasks easy, he became inspired. He jumped up and said: "Yes! I've experienced that too! I get that all the time!"

Naturally they asked where he thought the feeling came from.

"Well," he said "I'm a little reluctant to say this. When I talk about it to my friends they act like I'm some kind of weirdo ..."

After a few minutes like this, repeatedly assured by the JWs that they understood and would accept his assertion non-judgementally, he said:

"Have you guys ever heard of Amway?"







24 June 2008

Cops Crack Down on Criminals, Comedians

Well what else was I supposed to think when I read this headline?



Or perhaps they're persecuting the BDSM community now. I can just see the raid:

Door bursts open, spilling blue-clad figures in tight nylon into a room containing a rack of toys and a rack on which a figure is painfully secured.

"Alright, police!"

"Oh my god ... are you guys all for real? Or did Master Joe set this up as a surprise? He's really thoughtful that way."

"What? Wait ... nobody move ..."

"I can't officer. I'm tied here."

"Uh, yeah, well ... do you have any guns here?"

"No. Just the usual ... whips, chains, paddles. You know the stuff. Oh my god ... look at all that leather ... the gun, the handcuffs, the big shiny badges ... oh my god ... *pant pant*. Could you put those mirrored shades on? You know, I bet you've got a pair in your pants, I mean pocket."

"We're here to enforce a gag order."

"Well you could certainly enforce a gag order on me, big guy. Look, officer, could you do me a favour?"

"Like what, let you up?"

"Oh no, no ... I was just wondering ... would you tase me?"

"Tase you?"

"yeah, just a little. Hit me with that shock baton ... I've been very bad. But I won't tell you how bad, and there's no way you can make me!"

"Look, I ..."

"Oh come ON! Jesus, what do I have to do to get you to tase me here, jaywalk? Come on, Pleeeease!"

"I can't do that ..."

"Oh don't tease me--tase me! ... Tase me bro!"

"Well ... okay ..."

"Well alright then! Let's do it!"

"... But my partner gets to watch."


I suppose I could have written up the idea of a raid on Yuk-Yuks Comedy Club, but this ought to do a bit more for the hits, you know.

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23 June 2008

Why the GOP is Destined for the Long Grass For the Next Eight Years

Because they've got their priorities straight. Even if the vast majority of the country doesn't.

Texas is known as a bellweather republican state. If so, then the indications are great for Democratic presidents from now until at least 2016.

Why? Well, let's see what the Lone Star State GOP comittee thinks are the issues the next president will need to address, and the positions he'll have to take to ensure their devotion:
Of all the evils in Washington that the Texas GOP took aim at this week, removing art with naked people from public view was high on the list for Mr. Hurt, a delegate from Kerrville.
So that's where teh crazy first starts to foam out from between the drooling lips. But wait, there's more:
In this, a presidential year, it advocates prayer in school, getting out of the United Nations, teaching intelligent design with evolution in science classes, repealing of the minimum wage, declaring illegal immigrants criminals and outlawing abortion with no exceptions.

"Hallelujah!" said a delegate who had urged strong anti-abortion language.

The platform calls homosexuality contrary to "the unchanging truths" ordained by God. It opposes gay marriage, civil unions and the custody of children by gays.
And they're very firm about the place of the United States in the world:
Glenn Sheblaton of Coppell, whose family fled communism, called for language to withdraw American troops from Iraq, saying, "You can't impose democracy from the barrel of a gun."

The committee disagreed.

"There is no substitute for victory!" the platform says in supporting the Bush administration's war on "radical Islamist terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries around the world."
Clearly the US needs a single-payer health care system so that people like these can afford their lithium and Xanax.

If you want to wade up to your armpits in volcanic elderly-white-male anger, dip your toe in here.

Remember, this is the state that made George W. Bush a governor--obviously the majority of them are exactly this nutso.







How to Vote Yourself a Police State (Because Presumably You Can't Count on Your Government to Set One Up For You?)

The theoretically Democratic Congress in the country formerly known as the United States of America just scheduled a vote on what is known as the FISA bill. This is a bill that expands immunity for telecoms companies involved in illegal wiretapping by the US government.

Why should Canadians or anyone outside the Land of the Free (Within Limits) care?

Where's your router? Do any of your phone calls pass through US-owned equipment? Do you call friends, relatives, or businesses in the States? Say bye-bye to your right to have a conversation without Big Brother looking over your shoulder.

You may think I'm being dramatic. That it's ridiculous to imagine that the telecoms industry would, first, collaborate with the Kommisars. Well that's been proven since at least 2006.

"Cool off, Metro," quoth the Avid Fan "It's not as though they can just sift the data from every phone call that comes into or out of the US or its affiliate countries."

Wrong.

It has been announced that the legislation is expected to pass. Among its provisions: American citizens can't sue telcos for allowing the government to spy on them illegally, in full defiance of the Constitution and rule of law.

But don't expect to read much about it in your local news: Any evidence used in dismissing such suits is secret. "Case dismissed, and no, you can't find out why."

In passing this, the Democrats will once again show themselves to be Bush-enabling, lobbyist-sucking sycophants.

I thought they were supposed to be beyond this by now?

They're actually worse than the Repubicans, whose idea it originally was to shred the Constitution, because they're supposed to be the opposition.

It'd be nice to see them actually oppose something.

I used to wonder how anyone could support Bush II and the Republican party, much less John Sydney Bush III.

But perhaps I understand. With friends like these you might as well elect their opponents, who at least aren't pretending it's a "compromise".

Compromise in the spirit of Munich, maybe.







Sometimes There Are Only Seven Appropriate Words

Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits.

I used to think he was god. Then I began to understand how he would have mocked me for that.

One of his remarks that I've always enjoyed stemmed from an early arrest:
I got arrested for saying shit in a town where the number-one game is called craps!
In between episodes of shredding the socio-political fabric, he did lighter work:I remember him as Mr. Conductor, after Ringo left. And of course I saw him in this (didn't everyone?):



My all time favourites from him were the throwaway little "things you never see/hear."

  • You never see a big fat tall Chinese guy with red hair.
  • You never hear someone say "Hand me that piano."
  • You never see a wheelchair with a roll bar.


  • And of course, the legendary:

    Here's something no-one has ever heard, ever:

    "As soon as I put this hot poker in my ass I'm going to chop my dick off!"

    You know why you never heard that? Right! Cause nobody ever SAID that!

    I am the first person in the history of the world to put those words together in that particular order
    .
    The world is a slightly tawdrier and cheaper place with him out of it.

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    20 June 2008

    Probably the Most Succinct Statement on the Copyright Bill

    From the Globe and Mail column by Ivor Tossell.
    Older users might be cautious, and people working in risk-averse institutions like universities or corporations will feel a chill from above, especially as the software tools that can be used to rip DVDs will become harder to come by.

    But the younger generation will continue to follow its own mores regarding copyright, and in so doing it will embroil the country in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.

    This, incidentally, is where one of the government's other consumer-friendly ideas starts looking like a wooden horse full of lawyers.
    I feel Tossell is missing the point about the "$500 fine" on personal use "violations".

    If you have to circumvent a digital lock to copy your media (such as on iTunes, whose lock is pathetically easy to get around precisely because all it's used for is to show you intended to violate copyright), then you automatically qualify for the $20,000 penalty.







    19 June 2008

    Finally Some Sense on Tasers

    A parliamentary comittee is putting pressure on the RCMP to change its rules--or come up with some--on the use of tasers.

    Let's get this straight: I do not, and few people seem to, object to the taser in use for its designed purpose: protecting law officers and the public from lethal threats. But there's been some "scope creep."

    A man in Edmonton was tasered when he laughed at the officious fathead who tried to ticket him for jaywalking and tried to walk away.

    In my own dear province, a man was tackled to the ground and shot full of zap three or four times--even though he was pinned under four men collectively weighing some 800lbs (400 kg) and no longer represented a threat to anyone.

    And just a ways away, a pensioner was zapped for driving away from a cop who was writing him a ticket. This I really don't get. I mean, it's not as though they didn't have his plate number.

    Is a man receiving a ticket such a flight risk that the only alternative to the taser was to shoot him?

    Because that's when the taser should be used: When the only possible alternative is to shoot someone.

    A disproportionate number of people on the other end of the zap are mentally ill or handicapped, as well. These are people who can usually be talked down if the first thing you do isn't shoot them full of 10,000 volts.

    Yes, the cops are supposed to be there to protect us from the crooks. But they're there to safeguard the crooks, the crazies, and us "ordinary citizens" too.

    And the Taser company? The organization whose name has become a byword meaning "police brutality"?

    They've won 69 victories in court. Oh, and they've had at least one loss--but that was acutally another victory:
    Taser executives responded to the court loss by calling it a victory, releasing a company statement titled "Jury Finds Extended Taser Device Application 15 Percent Responsible for Arrest Related Death.” But as New York Times blog The Lede noted yesterday, the company's stock nonetheless dropped 12% in trading Monday and Tuesday, with one analyst telling Barron's that "investors will assume heightened operating risk in the Taser model in the short term."


    The @$$#013 who heads up Zap! Inc. calmly testified to the House of Commons that his weapon was "safe."
    During an appearance before the committee in January, Tom Smith told MPs that the devices reduce injury and save the lives of police officers and suspects. He referenced dozens of studies that he said prove Tasers do not cause death and that his company has its own medical advisory board to help answer questions about safety.

    He'd better watch himself if he has one of these delusional episodes in an airport.

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    18 June 2008

    Some Maintenance

    Just added another talent to the blogroll. Give it up for the ever-acerbic pugs at tittybits!

    Myself, I'm having an up-and-down kind of day. Getting a good deal done at work, but having to read about how my government is pushing legislation that will destroy what has been a fairly robust copyright regime while criminalizing most Canadians, allow the plods to snoop my iPod, and take tax money away from Canadian filmmakers whilst handing it out to American ones pissed me off.

    On the other hand, my workplace finally got coffee back into the building, meaning I no longer have to walk ten minutes down the street to Timmy's.

    Hey--it's all about scale. I can handle the big $#!7.

    PS: If you want an uderstanding of why bill C-10, the movie-kneecapping law, is a bad idea, take a look at that link:
    Who is in favour of C-10?

    The federal Conservative party; conservative religious leaders including Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition; lobby groups such as Canadians Concerned about Violence in Entertainment and Real Women of Canada.


    That makes four groups of religious fundies, and no-one else.

    However, Stephane Dion's carbon tax plan just keeps getting better. He's now dressing his party in a "green shift".

    He now says he'll drop personal income taxes by nearly ten percent! I could learn to love this dude.

    However, I'm leery of this. I'd prefer it if he'd stopped at saying he was going to move gas taxes to green measures. He's determined to prove this'll be revenue neutral. I think Canadians'd be willing to accept it as an environmental cost of doing business.

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    16 June 2008

    Monkey See, Monkey Criminalize

    Great, just great.

    Canada’s New, Green, Conservative Overlords™ have just rammed down our throats a bill calculated to please the powerful US music industry lobby while criminalizing Canadians.

    In Bill C-61 we got all the worst elements of the MPAA's Millenium Digital Copyright Act.

    Among the particularly low lowlights of the legislation:

  • Border guards can now "inspect" your iPod or laptop without cause

  • It becomes a crime to rip legally-purchased content to any device

  • It's now illegal to crack "Digital Rights Management" (crippleware) tools


  • Well that's it then. If this government is so concerned with fellating US industry wonks that it's willing to advance their interests ahead of Canadian music lovers and artists, then I'm going full throttle pirate.

    The worst of this is: How are they going to find out? The only thing I can imagine is more-or-less constant electronic surveillance.

    From now on I will not buy any music or movies that I can download. it's as simple as that. If they're going to make me a criminal for purchasing and using music, then a criminal I shall be.

    All you other criminals out here may want to double-check whether you're violating US--sorry, I mean "Canadian" law by reading this.

    To the New Green Conservative Overlords™, their eavesdroppers and stooges, and particularly to the MPAA, the RIAA, and their bootlickers (Jim Prentice et al.):

    £µ©λ you.

    And Viva the Piratocracy!


    Addendum:
    I assume that now that pirates can be fined to death for "stealing" music that they've legally purchased, the "Blank Media Levy" tax, introduced to "compensate artists for their losses", will be done away with ...?


    Hey, listen to those crickets chirp, eh?

    Addendum II:
    As Wandering Coyote has pointed out, this is not
    yet the law of the land. But it's the second assault on Canadian copyright freedoms by the Harper government in less than a year. How much more of this crap do we have to put up with?

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    13 June 2008

    It's Maaaaagic!

    Well we all know that the success of the Harry Potter epic has spawned a million knock-offs. No dollar store is complete without a non-trademark-infringing "Wizard Dress-Up Kit" consisting of a plastic wand, glasses, and rubber scar.

    It's spawned protests by the evangelical Christian equivalent of the Michigan Militia (my guess is that at least 100,000 Potter books were sold to people taking them to the weekly burnings)

    And now ... a new genre of music. Called Wizard Rock, also known as "Wrock", it's apparently a hot new thing among the late-teens.

    Almost 500 groups call this new genre home. Some of the bands on the scene:

    Harry and the Potters: the originals, apparently.

    The Nifflers: A 17-year-old geek and his 13-year-old sister. Read here the interview by the National Post, Canada's newspaper Death Eaters to Harper's Voldemort. And speaking of the which, or possibly witch:

    Voldemort: Wizard metal, would you believe?

    Who knew?

    Well, presumably Dumbledore did.







    12 June 2008

    Sometimes the Headline Just Writes Itself

    I suppose one could also have made the classic "roll-on, roll-off" joke.


    The rubber truly hit the road yesterday when two tractor-trailers collided on Highway 401 near Ingersoll. One, carrying thousands of condoms, jackknifed and flipped onto its side, blocking east lanes and snarling traffic for hours.
    Yeah, that's what happens when you flip 'er on her side. Not that I'm speaking from experience.

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    10 June 2008

    Rage Against the Vile

    If you've read this blog before, then you know that I write workplace safety information.

    In the course of researching my work, I sometimes come across stories that leave me sick and cold at heart.

    Such a one is the story of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez.

    Maria was one of the millions of California farm labourers who pick crops for a living. On May 14th she collapsed in the late afternoon while working in a vineyard.

    Her fiancé held her while the forman watched and did nothing. Eventually the foreman had the couple sent to town to buy rubbing alcohol to cool her off. When that didn't work he sent the van to the local clinic with instructions to tell medics the girl had fallen ill while exercising.

    After her death, two days later, it turned out she was pregnant. Further investigation revealed that in defiance of California law her employer, Merced Farm Labor, had failed to provide proper access to water.

    (The article states that workers are entitled to a quart of water per shift, but I'm certain that's wrong. I belive a more proper figure would be a quart per hour.)

    But what drove me into a cold fury were the comments at the Sacramento Bee.

    Among the outpourings of sympathy was some of the nastiest pathalogical nativist meanness I have ever seen.

    In particular, one ©µ»7 called "a non ee moos" deserves to be keelhauled--but he's not alone.
    I agree whole-heartedly that this is a sad, tragic story. It is sad on several levels, not the least of which is that a young girl trying to make a better world for herself died. I will not and cannot even begin to fathom how you can call this a "national shame". What is it exactly that we should be ashamed about? She was an undocumented worker, a term which has become a touchy-feely replacement of the correct term: Illegal alien. Now, TO BE FAIR, there is no way of knowing how the young lady got into the country. Statically nearly half of all undocumented workers are individuals who have overstayed their visa, a fact given by the National Assoc of Hispanic Journalists (www.nahj.org). For sure, that does not at all change the fact that it is terribly sad that this young girl lost her life, but in this situation, there is no "National Shame". There is no reason we as Americans should feel shameful about this immigration situation. We should be irate that we are being taken advantage of."
    Irate ... that you were taken advantage of?

    What

    the

    FUCK?

    Let's get this straight: A 17-year old, pregnant, dies as a result of illegal conduct on behalf of her employer and your first thought is to complain that her passport wasn't stamped?

    You ape.

    You vile, paranoid, sad sack of monkey spunk.

    You sad, twisted, inhuman, slack-jawed, defiled thing.

    You symptom. You fungus growing between the toes of your society. You crack-brained hate-filled camel.
    ...

    Here is my profoundest wish for you, you misanthropic, mesomorphic, filthy beast. And this goes for your brother and sister tumours like heatherc with her germane and sympathetic comment (title: "ILLEGALS GET OUT!"):

    That sometime in the next couple of days, while you are enjoying a salad whose description of "dew-drenched" is code for "immigrant-sweat-soaked" and whose price is roughly twice the daily salary of the person picking it, you laugh, or inhale, at the wrong moment.

    And I hope that a chunk of that delicious feast slides down and wedges in your windpipe.

    And as you stand up and begin to stagger about the room, I pray that the only person in the restaurant who knows the Heimlich maneuver is a 17-year-old illegal immigrant.

    May your own gods deliver you speedily into his/her hands.

    If there's any real justice, the only person who knew the Heimlich will have been deported, just as you and your shrink-testicled, shrivelled-ovaried friends demand.

    Side note:
    For those who made an issue on a dead girl's comment thread that having sex at 17 is a crime, I'd like to borrow from George Carlin: "May you never ₤µ©λ again ... Naw, that's too cruel. May it hurt every time you ₤µ©λ."

    A life is a life. If she were born in Omaha or Osaka her death would be equally tragic.

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    09 June 2008

    The Coolest Damn Thing on the Internet. Ever.

    The internet, in the early years, was regarded as a force for good in much the same way that television was. People envisioned hordes of rapt-attentive little kiddies gathered about the warm glow of the monitor as they soaked up atomic physics before being put down with their blankies for a nap.

    Naturally the historic inquisitiveness of the human mind soon asserted itself and today you can find a porn site for anything you desires in your secret, twisted little black heart, including (I am certain, though I have no proof and would prefer to preserve at least some shred of my innocence), Wizard of Oz fetishes, men who lick gum from the underside of school desks, Yassir Arafat/Ehud Olmert slash, etc.

    However, the nobler majority of the denizens of the electronic home of humanity got on the serious and high-minded pursuit of "cool". A quest that took us through robots, ninjas, pirates, Steampunk, and zombies, and which has at last been fulfilled.

    Behold, the Steampunk Zombie Pirate Ninja Robot, panned from the silt of Flickr by Mme Metro and passed on to yours trule.



    The internet is over, its purpose has been fulfilled.

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    Miracle Spam!

    So I'm going through my mail today.

    I use an old Yahoo! account, where I mistakenly added the "Spam" folder. According to the fine print in Yahoo!'s agreement, once you have the Spam folder they will actually send you spam to place in it. That was how I read it back in 2002 or so when they first offered it me.

    But I set up this account with such a folder, and as a result I'm seeing about 20 to 50 spam messages per day. No biggie, although I have to check it oftner in order that I don't wind up with "426 Unread Messages".

    Today, in my inbox, was a piece of mail from no less a personage than "Christ."

    Thinking it might be the answer to my theological questions, or utter lack thereof, I read the subject line:
    Miracle Ways to Increase Man Birth Organ!


    While it didn't answer my theological questions, it has certainly raised some in the biology department.

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    04 June 2008

    Obama Gets the Nomination, and Other Items of Note

    By now you already know that the next president will be Barack Obama, barring alien invasion or the Republican Party's discovery of Hypno-ray technology. Most of the media is trumpeting this with headlines like "History is Made!"

    I quite agree. For the first time since 1996 a qualified candidate is likely to become the next president.


    ***

    In other news, the Canadian Islamic Conference is suing Maclean's magazine over charges that excerpts from a right-wing paranoid fantasist's book constituted hate speech.

    Initially I thought "Well, at least there's a process." I still do, but now for different reasons. After reading up on the issue, including the article itself, I feel that the complaint may have shreds of merit, but not enough to make a case.

    The article, an excerpt of Mark Steyn's book "America Alone", was offensive, to anyone with half-an-ounce of brain.

    It started by invoking the "Eurabia" scare, moved on to describe the residents of the Gaza strip as members of a "UN-supervised, European-funded death cult" and got stupider from there. But I doubt it changed the hearts and minds of anyone not currently sedated and kept clear of sharp objects.

    It was paranoid screed, and did indeed border on hate speech. But I feel it stopped just short. Just. The Ontario Human Rights court already crapped on Maclean's, but dismissed the complaint because it felt it had no jurisdiction.

    I feel that to say, as did the editors of Maclean's that "The article in question was a legitimate piece of journalism written and published in good faith," is blatantly false. The journalism is nonexistent, the motivation base, the arguments specious and daft, and any good faith is lost after the first paragraph.

    However, this case will almost certainly not advance the cause of moderate Islam in Canada. But it will gain air time for the disgraceful rag Maclean's has become.

    So yeah, I'm glad there's a process. I just think that at the end of it the BC Human Rights Tribunal will throw out the complaint. It may be a victory for all: The CIC can continue feeling picked-on and Maclean's can continue to worry about the "threat to our values" from Islam.

    ***

    The Canadian government is trying to sneak more RIAA-inspired copyright legislation in under the radar.

    Among its other provisions, Canadian border guards would now be able to search and seize laptops and mobile devices if they found illegal content on them. It would also make it illegal to unlock cell phones.

    I'd like to point out how ridiculous this is, just in case any Industry Ministers should happen to be reading this blog.

    First: How exactly will the border guards or cops determine whether my copy of "Eleanor Rigby" is legal or not?

    Secondly: Why in the name of the bulging brass balls of Beelzebub should Sony, for example, be allowed to sell me the tech toys to rip and burn all the music and movies I like from Sony Music, and then call upon my government to fine me for doing so?

    Third: Re. phones--the idea of forcing people to buy services based on the device they're using is worse than bad law--it's actually anti-free market. A comparable measure would be forcing consumers to patronize a brand of gas station depending on the brand of car they bought.

    I can't believe they're serious. In fact, I don't.

    ***

    The opposition parties are behaving just as stupidly. They just forced through a non-binding motion to allow US deserters to stay in the country permanently.

    I feel for the deserters--but not much. As Henry Cabot Henhouse III used to say: "You knew the job was dangerous when you took it."

    So, sorry boys. Desertion is a crime, and a despicable one. You sign up, and you serve for the duration of your hitch. You weren't drafted, you were volunteers.

    I feel a little queasier about all the people being "stop-lossed" to keep a fighting force in Iraq. They served their terms.

    ***

    The news from home: I completed 40 laps of the Hometown High School track during the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life last Saturday night. Sunday was spent in a zombified state. Monday morning my back went out and failed to take me along.

    I'd like to thank Creatrix for her support, Thirtysomething for ... well, she knows (and I wish I had permission to tell Mark Steyn and Maclean's) ... and my chiropractor.