Or are people there just being taught to be racist dingbats?
Apparently an elementary school in Prescott, Az., allowed the students to vote on what kind of mural they would like to decorate the school with and the kids chose a painting of themselves. Professional artists were called in and worked with the kids to create a mural on the exterior of the school that portrayed the students attending the institution. The problem, apparently, is that some of the students have the temerity to not be white! And so local knuckledraggers, encouraged by (surprise, surprise, surprise!) a local radio talk show host and city councilman, took to driving by and shouting racist epithets at the school and the kids working on the mural.
So in response the principal organized groups of kids to shower the cars of the racist fuckknuckles with bricks and molotov cocktails as they drove by ordered the skin tones of the African American and Latino kids in the mural to be lightened. Nice example to set, Captain Courageous.
On the plus side, now that this story has hit the national press, the radio host, city councilman Steve Blair, has been fired from the radio station. However, he is still a member of the city council and a giant racist douche bag.
Just listen to him in this brief interview in which he is given every chance to backpeddle or reconsider being a racist douche bag and yet, still insists on there is nothing wrong with his actions and that his encouraging people to terrorize a bunch of third graders is all about "freedom."
Big tip of the hat to Cliff at Rusty Idols
"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Or are people there just being taught to be racist dingbats?
The wife and co-author of one of my favorite writers, hell - favorite people in the world, Spider Robinson died last Sunday. Godspeed, traveller.
If anybody needs me, I'll be under that bottle of Bushmills over in the corner with my copy of Stardance.
Friday, June 04, 2010
That's what I feel for Dimitri Soudas and apparently what he feels for the Canadian Parliament and the centuries-old rules of the Westminster Parliamentary system in which it has long been established that the supreme authority rests with Parliament and not with the Prime Minister. Since he has now dodged a formal summons to appear before a Parliamentary committee and insulted Parliament, I cannot see a single good reason for the House of Commons not to proceed with a charge of Contempt of Parliament against this arrogant little shit and have him tossed in jail. And perhaps his boss and a few of his henchmen while they are at it. This is a bluff that the opposition must call -- for the sake of the future of the parliamentary democracy in Canada, they cannot afford to do otherwise.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
As mentioned below, the Canadian government is spending over a billion dollars on security for the upcoming Group of Eight and Group of Twenty summit dog-and-pony shows. This is more than five times the original estimate and dwarfs the amounts spent on similar summits in London (April 2009 $30 million) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 2009 -$18 million) both of which dealt with more protesters than can probably be expected in "Toronto the Good"
Some of the money has gone on shiny new toys for the RCMP, OPP and Toronto Police riot squads, crowd control units and motorcade cops as well as the usual close protection bodyguard types, though naturally all the world leaders will be bringing their own sizable security details. About a million dollars has been spent to buy the Toronto Police four "sound notifiers" aka sonic cannons capable of producing sound pressure/ decibel levels about the same as standing behind a 747 when it revs its jets. This isn't just a loud public address system, it is a weapon that causes extreme pain and permanent hearing damage.
Of course that leaves about another $1,099,000,000 for police y, new horses and motorcycles, riot gear, pepper spray, tasers, and lots and lots of "consulting fees" for "security experts" and plenty of contracts for private security firms. I bet this guy doesn't get any of it.
In fact, it is so much money that they could have simply paid every man, woman and child in the entire province of Ontario about $95 just to stay home for those two weekends and still have had enough to provide a similar level of security to the Pittsburgh summit. Or they could have paid everyone in the Greater Toronto Area about $200 to spend the weekend out of town. If that seems like overkill, we could strictly limit it to Metro Toronto, give all 2.48 million residents $400 and still have more than three times as much as they spent on the London summit to buy coffee and donuts for the Toronto cops.
In addition to the gratuitous skimming and graft bookkeeping problems, my real worry is that you can't give the boys their toys and not expect them to play with them. As we've seen numerous times since the needless pepper-spraying of demonstrators at the 1997 APEC summit to the over-reaction of police at Queen's Park in Toronto in 2000, in New York at the 2004 Republican Convention and at the Minnesota 2008 Republican Convention, if you bring in enough riot cops, you are going to have a riot.
Even if the cops have to try to start it themselves.
Any resemblance between this list and any comments by the Harper government, Bush Administration or BP management are strictly coincidental I'm sure.
hat tip to Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns and Money
One of the advantages of being a conservative seems to be a willingness to engage in the most shameless of behaviours without the faintest scintilla of embarrassment or self-consciousness.
"The whole concept of prison should be terminated, except for violent criminals and chronic non-violent recidivists, and replaced by closely supervised pro bono or subsistence-paid work by bonded convicts in the fields of their specialty. Swindlers and embezzlers, hackers and sleazy telemarketers are capable people and they should serve their sentences by contributing honest work to government-insured employers."Imagine my amazement, Conrad "the sweetheart of cell block C" Black now thinks prisons are terrible places and that people convicted of fraud should not be incarcerated. How very, very convenient. I betcha Ted Bundy was opposed to capital punishment, too. Surprisingly, other than the aforementioned free ride for non-violent crimes, I mostly agree with Black's piece in the National Toast - somebody mark the day on calendar and check whether there is some kind of strange planetary alignment.
This, from the preceding paragraph, made me laugh out loud:
"The Canada I remember and look forward to returning to ..."
Oh, Lord Tubby of Fleet, how very droll of you -- how soon we forget.
TORONTO, June 2 /CNW/ - Maclean's magazine in association with the Historica-Dominion Institute, L'actualité and Presenting Sponsor TD, celebrated the fourth annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards this evening on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Attended by members of Parliament, some of the country's most prominent journalists and other Canadians of note, the event honours Canada's top MPs, as voted by their peers in the House of Commons.
Almost 70 per cent of all members of Parliament from across all parties voted for this year's Parliamentarians of the Year. Winners and runners-up cross all political lines as well.
The award winners will be featured in a special issue of Maclean's hitting newsstands tomorrow, Thursday, June 3, and in L'actualité, on newsstands Friday, June 4. Full award results, photos, runners-up and methodology can also be found at macleans.ca/parliamentarians.
This year's Parliamentarian of the Year is the Hon. John Baird (Conservative), minister of transport, infrastructure and communities and MP for Ottawa West-Nepean. Mr. Baird was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2008, the same year he was sworn in as minister of transport, infrastructure and communities.
Seriously. That would be this John Baird. Yeah, this one, this stonewalling obstructionist douchbag. I can only guess that this award is a reaction to the snark shortage resulting from this. I won't even get into the matter of CTV getting Tom Flangan -Stephen Harper's former chief of staff - to come on and "analyze" Baird's behavior with a series of false equivalencies and outright apologetics. I'll just say that Walter Cronkite would not have invited Pat Buchanan or G. Gordon Liddy onto his newscast to analyze the Watergate hearings.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
History professor and former soldier Andrew Bacevich, a self-declared "conservative Catholic" who served in Vietnam and the Gulf War, discusses the American Memorial Day holiday in light of the death of death of his son three years ago in Iraq and the United States' history of imperialistic military adventures. As pointed out by Thers, Bacevich says things one no longer expects to see in the mainstream media:
The fallen gave their lives so we might enjoy freedom: However comforting, this commonplace assertion qualifies at best as a half-truth. Who can doubt that the soldier killed in battle at Gettysburg or on Omaha Beach died while advancing the cause of liberty? Whether one can say the same about the Americans who lost their lives assaulting Mexico City in 1847, suppressing Filipino demands for independence after 1898 or chasing rebels in 1920s Nicaragua is less clear, however.
In recent decades especially, the connection between American military intervention and American freedom has become ever more tenuous. Meanwhile, competence has proved notably hard to come by. Rather than being a one-off event, Vietnam inaugurated an era in which the United States has routinely misunderstood and repeatedly misused military power. Even as political authorities sent U. S. forces into action with ever greater frequency, decisive results — what we used to call victory — became more elusive. From Beirut and Bosnia to Iraq and Somalia, the troops served and sacrificed while expending huge sums of taxpayer money. How their exertions were helping to keep Americans free became increasingly difficult to discern.
I don't mean this as criticism of those serving in Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere else the powers-that-be have sent those who volunteered to serve their country, I mean it as a criticism of the blind acceptance that our warriors are somehow morally superior to theirs, that we are better than them simply by virtue of being us or that picking up a rifle somehow makes you a better person than anyone else, that being a soldier is somehow morally superior to being a doctor or a teacher or a farmer.
Is a suicide bombing of a police station in Baghdad really more heinous than an air strike on a wedding party? If you consider the matter of intention, yes, it is - but that makes very little difference to the people on the receiving end. And in the end, how does either the air strike or the terrorist response make any of us more free? And does anyone doubt that in the unlikely event the tables were turned -- if the wingnut fantasy nightmare scenario of a gigantic Islamic Caliphate superpower somehow came to pass and the Western world was somehow invaded and occupied -- that our tactics would be any less desperate? The history of Israel, of Ireland and of the French and Czech resistance in World War Two suggest otherwise.
Why are we so sure we are the good guys?
Update: Cathie from Canada, in response to this post raises the question "so how do we decide whose side God is on?" Allow me to let Joan Baez answer that question with a lengthy quote from Bob Dylan.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Nominated for best picture in 1965 and beaten by the Sound of Music.
"Nick in a moment, you're going to see a horrible thing"
"People going to work"
for those with shorter attention spans -- the music
I may be the first to say this in about 75 years, but Lee Morse -- hubba hubba!