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

30 April 2009

The Right Wing: Screwing Itself Into Irrelevance, Part Two

None Dare Call it "Coalition"

Oh is this ever going to be awkward

Anyone remember a time when a few other parties were talking about forming a union of parties to wrest the wheel of government from the singularly incapable pack of rethreaded loose screws currently steering our country into the $#17ter? And what did the Right Wing call it? Ah yes: "TREASON". That was the word they screamed shrilly from their blogtops.

What did the PM say about that effort? Ah yes:
"My friends, such an illegitimate government would be a catastrophe, for our democracy, our unity and our economy, especially at a time of global instability."
~Stephen Harper, back in the days when Coalition was a bad word.

There was talk of making common cause with "socialists" and "separatists". And now? Well I guess they're all about teh compromise, eh? A kinder, gentler sort of dictatorship. Presumably this was what they had in mind when Harper FIRST proposed such a joining.

Harper's switched positions more times than twin hookers on $5-a-shag night in a logging camp. It boils down to one thing: Stephen Harper stands for Stephen Harper, and what Stephen Harper stands for is whatever will keep Stephen Harper in power.

He sold whatever Conservative credentials he had (and he hadn't many--most of his claims of "Conservatism" were just an unrelenting love for the Reform Party's dumber positions) with the budget, in which the "Conservative" (whose friggin' thesis concluded that governments should never try to spend their way out of a recession) decided to blow the money he hadn't already tossed down the boghole in order to keep power, knowing that a majority of his opponents required at least a symbolic sop to the nationwide fear of the recession he helped spend us into.

So now conservatives hate him too. And since he didn't have a hope in hell of a majority, it's likely his bum'll be polishing a rocking chair ere long.

The NDP can't support him and maintain any credibility when they used to crap on the Liberals for voting cynically to support the government rather than trigger an election. The Bloc Quebecois runs the risk of the same if they support the guy they were willing to sign up with the Liberals to help defeat last fall.

So Mr. Harper, I direct your attention to the south, to the US, where the Republican party is crumbling like Dracula in the sunlight. Look to your future, sir. You certainly haven't been looking to the country's.

However, I'd like to put the Liberal Party and NDP on notice: We are, we must be, better than this. Better than the fear, better than the loathing of that which is different, better than the fear of change, better than fear of the future. Start showing some goddam vision, please. Quit trying to imitate the Conservatives just because they didn't suck enough to get voted out last time.

I want a party with vision, and perhaps when we come back after this messag I'll tell you what that means.

Meantime, here's an unrelated commercial. And why not? We all have to spend ourselves stupid to help this economy, right?

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The Right Wing: Screwing Itself Into Irrelevance: Part One

As Joshua has pointed out in the comments, I've oviously misunderstood Mr. Graham's remarks. He clearly is advocating some level of accomodation. That said, it changes my perception very little.

This is from today's New York Times. The US Republican party is engaged in a struggle between those who, y'know, work in the real world and know what the word "compromise" means and those who feel that Der Party is not sufficiently ideologically pure, like Michael Reagan (the Gipper's kid--Not as bright as daddy was but not far behind either):
“It’s interesting that people say the right has taken over the Republican Party — but no one can say what we’ve done,” Mr. Reagan said. “We’ve been closeted for the last eight years; it’s time for the right to come out of the closet.”
No, Mikey. Your party spent the past eight years $#!7ting on other people's countries, playing the politics of $#17ting-your-pants, slavishly leading the country into the economic hole it finds itself in today, legalizing doestic espionage, enthusiastically repudiating the Constitution, legalizing and embracing torture, laying claim to executive privilege unknown to most despots, and otherwise completely ₤µ©λing up the country and your fellow citizens.

The country knows exactly what's happened to your party, sir: It's become Rush Limbaugh's bitch. Like a teen hooker in the Dominican Republic.

Witness also Senator Graham:
Mr. Graham scoffed at the notion that the party was suffering because it was not conservative enough.

“Do you really believe that we lost 18-to-34-year-olds by 19 percent, or we lost Hispanic voters, because we are not conservative enough?” he said. “No. This is a ridiculous line of thought. The truth is we lost young people because our Republican brand is tainted.”
You lost Hispanics because you're raving, foaming, anti-immigrant racists, and you lost the young because your ideas froze solid back in the Goldwater days and never thawed, even to simply keep up with history. But that's okay. Eventually, if Senator Graham and Mike Reagan have their way, the moderates will all become Democrats and the party will regain what they appear to think is its true identity.

It's time for the right to crawl back under its rock and sit out the next three decades or so while the grown-ups get on with repairing the damage. If Specter stays a Democrat (and although I'm inherently suspicious of floor-crossers I've generally liked him), and Franken finally gets the Minnesota senate seat he won (in other words if Norm Coleman stops being a douchebag--Sorry, that's like asking a snake to stop being a reptile), then the Senate belongs to the Democratic Party.

Conservatives in Canada should keep this in mind. But it's likely to be awkward under a Prime Minister Harper, who uses "compromise" as a metaphor for "₤µ©λ you".

Oh, is it ever going to be awkward. Next post.

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25 April 2009

QOTD #52: "Are you a man or a mouse?" "What's the difference?"

From the CBC's Quirks and Quarks science program. Which is under double threat: First, it's a CBC production, and since PM Harpo hates the CBC their funding's been jeopardized by ferocious budget cuts. Secondly, it's about science. And it's hard to find anything the Reform--Sorry, I mean Alliance--Nope, sorry, wrong again ... Conservative Party of Canada hates more than science.

How much so? PM Harper once referred to global warming as "a socialist plot." He's fired the Science Advisor and replaced the position with a panel of industry wonks. His Minister for Science is a chiropractor who doesn't believe in evolution.

So when Conservatives refer to the "cutting edge," they mean flint.

Anyway, today's quote:
So it suggests that humans, at least the young males we've studied thus far ... the brain responds to events, like aggression, or sex, in a way that's not much different from the mouse brain.
Find the whole broadcast here.

In context: Researchers took young dudes and showed them three films: One contained footage of a hockey fight. One contained images of a computer performing some task, and one contained footage of scantily clad young ladies (another strike in the eyes of the Harperites--they disapprove of scantily clad young ladies. At least publicly-funded ones).

So what Metro wants to know is: Where can I sign up to be a lab mouse? Think about it: One-third hockey, one-third boring computer stuff, one-third scantily-clad young ladies ...

Just like my life, with more of the good stuff.

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20 April 2009

Axe the Tax? Or Axe the NDP?

A brief primer on BC politics: The current governing party are the Liberals, who behave like conservatives. The opposition is the New Democratic Party or NDP, who behave like conservative liberals. The only other party with any real standing is the Green Party, who are the only actual liberals anywhere in the province. Among the rag-bag of fringe outfits we have a "Christian Heritage" party, the BC Marijuana Party, and a couple of other also-rans.

Metro is no big fan of the Provincial Liberal Party. Their first five years in power were spend slashing and burning. Some 10% of the Provincial Public Service was chopped outright, including the Ministry of Women's Equality and the Native Services Ministry.

Premier Gord Campbell, a disgracefully petty and venial man more in the mould of the federal Conservatives, has introduced some damn stupid ideas: raising the price of an education some 60%, consistently slashing education budgets, ordering unions back to work while the legislature continues to receive comparatively astronomical pay and perks.

He arrived in town a while ago and, lacking any concrete achievements, suddenly announced the abrupt and immediate dismantling of a local toll highway, which cost the province money in lost revenue (just as the road was about to be paid off) and cost about a dozen people their jobs.

But the NDP have really shot themselves in the foot.

About the only measure the provincial Liberals ever came up with that I agreed with wholeheartedly with was the Carbon Tax. It's a consumer-level tax on gasoline levied at $10 per tonne of carbon.

Carbon taxes, most economists not actually employed at the American Petroleum Institute would agree, are the best current option (which is why government and industry push so hard for "cap-and-trade" or "carbon-capture" schemes). Retail-level taxes will have the dual effect of reducing consumption and likewise pollution.

Of course, the recommended taxation level is $60 per tonne, not $10. And I disagree with the government's administration: The funds go into general revenue, rather than a green fund, and are returned to the consumer through some income-tax jiggery-pokery.

But it was a bold move at a time when gas was already at record highs last summer, and I respected it as a gesture.

Lacking anything else to fix (end snark), the provincial NDP has decided in its current election campaign to oppose the gas tax. However, it seems that Vancouver shootings and the current financial situation seem more likely to carry the voters.

Not that the libs have any solutions to those. But the gas tax is really a dead issue with most, yet strikes at the heart of the environmental movement, whose votes are far more likely to put a Greenie in the legislature this May.

Here's hoping.

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14 April 2009


All of Canada is rather boringly (or in Thorntonspeak, "gravylessly") abuzz with Billy-Bob Thornton's stupid celebrity tricks.

For those of you who tuned in late, BBT had a meltdown on CBC radio while being interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi. Video here.

At issue was a) whether mentioning that BBT had another part-time gig as a film star violated the guidelines Ghomeshi was given "not to talk about that", and b) whether that gave Thornton the right to act like a complete @$$#013 if he did.

The Onion's AV Club just put up a post on why Billy-Bob should be taken seriously as a musician.
4. Like all legitimate musicians who have never had acting careers, Billy Bob prepares for a gig by doing a few backstage interviews with local reporters, chain-smoking, and slathering on more foundation than Eva Longoria
But the hysterical stuff is in the comments. Here, for one:

I'm sure Thornton is just tired of it all and wishes it would all go away, which is precisely how I feel.

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09 April 2009

Polite PETA Pressure Proves Productive

PETA (which stands for Dopes Who Want to Force Other People to Go Vegan And Will Do Some Damfool Things to Achieve it, apparently) wants the '80s pop band Pet Shop Boys to change its name:

From the CBC
"You have many loyal fans of the Pet Shop Boys here at PETA. We have a request that may at first seem bizarre, but we hope that after considering the following facts, you will understand why we are asking this of you," reads a letter to the duo from PETA special projects manager Yvonne Taylor.

The missive proceeds to outline alleged ways animals are mistreated by pet shops. By changing the band's name, "you would help raise awareness about the cruelty involved in the pet trade and encourage your millions of fans to consider giving a home to an abandoned or unwanted animal from an animal shelter," the letter concludes.
Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, founding members or the group, agreed wholeheartedly, saying that "The old name doesn't reflect the realities of the new century." The group has approached a major company for sponsorship, claiming it will rebrand itself either as The Petco Boys, or Puppy Mill Inc.

In the wake of the announcement, several other groups said they'd revisit their names as well.

The band Skinny Puppy decided to rename themselves Well-Nourished-Yet-Not-Overfed Puppy.

Don Henley and Glenn Fry, in deference to the endangered status of the American Bald Eagle (anywhere outside Canada), have changed their band name to The Pigeons.

Howling Wolf's recordings will be released this year under the name "Happy Wolf."

Joe Elliott and Rick Savage, working on a new project, have announced that the newly-christened Hearing-Impaired Leppard will tour in 2010.

Yussef Islam, on the other hand, outright refused to return to his former performing title, saying his current monicker is more recognizable, and confers benefits when he travels abroad.

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08 April 2009

Is That Last One a Little Intense?

Probably. My excuse is that I'm avoiding having to think about the GM Venture van sitting in my driveway awaiting a compression test.

If anyone asks why GM is going the-₤µ©λ broke, you can describe the procedures for removing the alternator:

Disconnect battery cables.
Disconnect front engine mounts and rotate engine forward as far as possible.
Undo alternator bolts.
Raise vehicle on ramps, hoist or stands.
Disconnect the g'damn subframe and drop three inches.

To remove a ₤µ©λing alternator? Seriously?

Oh, and why, asketh the Avid Fans (all five of them) dost thou pullest out ye olde alternator when lo, ye wishest to test the compression?

Because it's in the way of the spark plugs. For which the procedure is also supposed to include rotating the engine forward on its mounts.

If GM survives the next couple of months, I want their engineers sent to friggin' Siberia, given a '98 Venture, and told they can return when and if they can disassemble the vehicle into major components using nothing more than a metric socket set, hydraulic jack, and a pair of axle stands.

(Don't even get me started on why the hell a vehicle built, probably in Canada, in 1997 has non-metric bolts holding the stupid alternator on).

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Why Are So Many of My Favourite Singers Crazy, Stoned, or Both?

I mean it. Well look: Jim Morrison, the original American poet. Stoned

Pink Floyd: Stoned, with the exception of Syd Barrett (crazy AND stoned)

Matt Good: Crazy.

Maybe, just maybe, is it because somehow I want to reach out and touch a little crazy, a little out-of-the ordinary?

Or maybe-just-maybe is there something I recognize of myself in there? Something that writhes and barks in our/my soul(s) and sometimes is barely contained by the invisible restraints of a veneer of civilization so thin that under the right set of circumstances (and have I told you yet what they are? You look uneasy.) I'd gladly cannibalize you after you were dead, or maybe not have the decency to wait that fucking long.

Life's not easy once you realize how small we all actually are. But it's the only way we can become bigger.

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02 April 2009

Would You Conspiracy Theorists Just Please Keep Quiet and Let the Grownups Get on With Things? Thank You

Today in my inbox were three appeals from my buddy "Big Jim." Jim is a nice guy, plays poker reasonably well (but not so well that I don't take him off the table oftener than he does me), and makes a fine beer. However, he's a full-on kook.

He's a New World Order conspiracy theorist, and is entirely serious about it. He sees the shadowy hand of the Illuminati or someone behind every new piece of legislation, in every apparently innocent tragedy. I have no doubt he believes Natasha Richardson was smuggled from the country to facilitate translplanting her brain into a fembot clone of Michelle Obama, which will use its fantastic sexaliciousness to keep the US president under control.

Or perhaps Obama's part of it all, in which case he ordered the Secret Service to bump off Richardson so that when he ordered the hit on Michelle, her absence would go unnoticed. After all, Richardson's an actress, right? Who better to replace a very public woman on the world stage?

You get the picture. You only think I'm joking. I have only the slimmest doubt that Jim believes Richardson's death was engineered.

Last week he was fulminating on the new rules coming in for food in Canada. In a piece of legislation specifically stating that Natural Health Products are not regulated by said legislation, Jim saw an iminent threat to the availability of such quack remedies as colloidal silver.

As I said: The law he was worrying about, Bill C-6, specifically exempts "Natural Health Products". The text is available online, and it's the work of a moment to read.

When I took Jim to task in a public forum, we traded shots a couple of times until he finall said, in essence: "I know you've read the bill. I know what it says. Despite that, I take a completely different meaning from the text sepecifically exempting NHPs."

He then cited a definition within the text and claimed that this would allow "foreign agencies, corporations, and governments" to dictate what Canadians could or couldn't put in their bodies. In context, this was like saying that all of theatre is a conspiracy because plays have something called "plot".

This week he's off again. The G20 meeting is the harbinger of the new age of the New World Order. Don't let politicians do this to us!

In saying he opposes the G20, which has managed to work something pretty amazing, Jim is opposing:
  • Outing countries that create secret tax havens, contributing to money laundering, tax fiddling, and like chicanery, often by the corporations he seems to so despise;
  • The public shaming of nations that breach trade rules, such as China, and Jim's bete noir the USA, and;
  • An injection of $100 billion in capital to help the poorest countries (who are not represented in the G20) weather the current economic crisis, which may be a matter of life and death to their people.

  • In saying he opposes the deal, Jim also manages to put himself into the same camp as Rush Windbag--I mean Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, who openly mocks NWO conspiracy nuts until it's good for his ratings.

    There's a saying: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." Jim seems utterly onboard with this.

    And another, which Jim really needs to keep in mind: "With friends like this, who needs enemies?"

    Much less all those powerful dudes with connections to the NWO, eh?

    So I asked specifically what he expects to happen, now that the deal's gone through. His response was "Everything's fine. Just go back to sleep. LOL"

    No Jim: You shout "fire" in a crowded theatre. I asked "Where? What fire?" And you responded with "Never mind--you're too thick to understand anyway."

    So you go post to your internet bulletin boards about the Illuminati, the New World Order, and the space aliens, the "truth" about "9/11", the faked moon landings and similar paranoia-inducing drivel, and let us grown-ups try to get on with living in the real world please.

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    01 April 2009

    From a meme

    Go to your favourite search engine and enter , in quotes, your name and the word "needs". So I enter "Metro needs" and here's what Google thinks I need:

    1) Reform
    2) $11 Billion
    3) To go
    4) 234 new (rail) cars
    5) Lessons on pronounciation
    6) Assistance
    7) Assistance with trail counting
    8) To know results of card giveaway
    9) Millions in repairs
    10) More taxis
    11) To learn from Teen Challenge
    12) To pay nonprofit
    13) A president committed to transit
    14) to have theatrical sound and lighting
    15) More time to fix escalators
    16) Bangalore, Karnatka, India
    17) Toilets
    18) Bridges
    19) To continue Great Society
    20) Ob/GYN

    I'd probably agree with most of those. However in the case of 20 I'd prefer said OB/GYN to have dark wavy hair and an impressive bustline. And at a stretch I could combine 6 with 7, and 17 with 18.

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    Iraq war 'diversion' from Afghanistan: Harper

    Yes indeed, sir.

    And sir, had you been Prime Minister in 2003, how many people would we have in Iraq fighting that particular "diversion"? And how many would have died?

    Here's what you said at the time that "diversion" began to get rolling--or rather, what John Howard said. I presume you were both faxed the same speech from Mr. Bush's office?

    Never mind sir, we know you supported the war in your own words. You're on record in numerous places and at numerous times denouncing the Liberal government of the day for failing to stand by our American allies by invading a nation that hadn't done anything to deserve invasion. North Korea and Iran were a bigger threat--though no bigger than China (Oh, but Conservatives like China. It's where the shiny $#17 in Wal-Mart comes from).

    Politics doesn't make me bitter and twisted. Politicians do. And Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada are unquestionably some of the worst of the lot. Judas goats without moral compass, every rotten mother's child of 'em.

    I'll bet he still considers global warming "a socialist plot."

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