"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Peas in Middle East

I betcha the folks at Mossad are wetting their pants in terror over this guy.

(Hat tip to Dr. Dawg)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best of the year

If you are looking for some swell holiday reading, the ever trenchant Jon Swift - the man who puts the "arch" in "archconservative" - compiles the best of the year from his lengthy blogroll.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Been there, done that

I've been tapped by Chet over at the Vanity Press with the latest blog meme: List all the paying jobs you've ever had in roughly chronological order.

Paperboy (bet you didn't see that coming)

Fastfood burgerflipper

Newspaper reporter (first paid byline at age 14)


Strawberry picker (which quickly became...)

Independent door-to-door fruit and vegetable salesman

Dishwasher/delivery driver at Chinese restaurant

Newspaper reporter (covering Rotary Club meetings for local paper)

Forest Ranger (Jr.)

Electric motor winding assembler/shipper

Roadhouse cook

Technical writer at IBM

Mechanic's assistant

Pizza delivery driver

Reporter/Photographer/Darkroom technician/layout monkey for weekly community newspapers in Ingersoll, Caledonia, Port Dover (Ontario)

Photographer (theatrical publicity stills)

Freelance PR copywriter and photographer

Radio reporter


Line Cook in Italian chain restaurant

Acting Editor/Reporter/Photographer/Darkroom technician/columnist/ main layout monkey for weekly community newspapers in Listowel, Ont.

Reporter/Photographer for community weekly newspaper in Napanee, Ont.

Editor-in-chief/Reporter/Photographer for twice weekly newspaper in Picton, Ont.


Industrial temp

ESL teacher in Japan

Private language tutor and education consultant

Staff writer at English language newspaper in Japan (duties include book, music and film critic, page editor, copy editor, rewriter, reporter)

Freelance writer and editor

Volunteer gigs include:

Farm labourer

Artist's agent for singer/songwriter

Wedding celebrant/clergyman

Folk Festival organizer

Union president

Santa Claus

Internet DJ/projectionist/virtual clubowner in Second Life

Record producer/political fundraiser

I'll pass this exercise in nostalgia on to David at Jim Dandy Goodness, Dan at Jackson Street Books, Shini, No Blood for Hubris and Willy Loman

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My favorite Christmas story

This song always brings a tear to my eye.
Merry Christmas - peace on earth and goodwill toward all mankind, even conservatives.

Radio woodshed is on the air

At least for Xmas day anyways. Tune your browser to http://janefinch.serverroom.us:4930/listen.pls  

or try 

and click "listen" in the bar at the top of the page and enjoy the best of seasonal podcasts and music -seasonal and otherwise- from a dramatization of "A Christmas Carol" from 9 in the morning on the East Coast of North America straight through to holiday storytime starting around 7 pm EST featuring stories from Dylan Thomas, Stuart Mclean's Vinyl Cafe,O. Henry, Paul Auster, Tom Waits, Dr. Seuss, Steve Martin, David Sedaris and others and lots of music. And no cursing or punk/heavy metal/free jazz during prime time, I promise.
Stay tuned for more in the new year, there could be a weekly show/podcast coming.

Truer words were never written in any paper called "The Sun"

And lest the cheesy new age music and the daily affirmation self-help Stuart Smally video imagery lead you to think the writer, Frank Church, was some touchy-feely fancy pants, think again. He reported from the front lines in the American Civil War, so he'd been around and seen some things. Charles Bronson played him in the movie

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas wishes

Monday, December 22, 2008

"What Christmas means to me"

From Paul Simon and Steve Martin

An early Christmas present

You have been good this year, right? 'Cause just like Dick Cheney, Santa sees you when you're sleeping and he know when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so you better smarten up while there is still time.

This may take minute to load up and the whole thing is about a half hour long, so get yourself a beverage while it loads and enjoy the radio piece that launched David Sedaris' career.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The stupidest thing I've heard this week, is this story about an Australian company telling its Santas not to say Ho-ho-ho as it might be offensive to women and frightening to childern. WTF? And before you say it, this is not political correctness or anything like it, this is just plain old fashioned dumbassery. Maybe the Santas down under should switch to a good old yuletide Vincent Price-style "Mwahahahah" instead?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas, but the War isn't over

With the election of Barack Obama, we've been told that U.S. troops will be leaving Iraq soon. That doesn't mean the war is over just yet. Merry Christmas to the troops and keep your heads down and come home soon.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

God, rest ye merry gentlemen

This ad from the UK is not really safe for work, or kids, or prudes, but it is seasonal and very, very funny. Remember, 'tis better to give than to receive. Usually.

h/t tip to the wanton fiends of Jackson Street Books.

Boot to the head

Protestors deliver some shoes and some street theatre in front of the White House. Get those packages in the mail people!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Gee, its nice to see some kind of progress in Iraq. Under Saddam, throwing shoes at the leader would have gotten you killed. Now it only gets you beaten half to death. Mind you, under Saddam Hussien, throwing shoes at George Bush probably would have gotten you a cabinet post or at least some kind of public commendation.

Anti-Bush insurgency in its last throws

To paraphrase Arlo Guthrie: If one person does it, they'll think he's crazy and ignore him. If two people do it, they'll think you're both fruitckes and won't pay attention to either of you. But if 50 people-- can you imagine 50 people a day boxing up shoes and sending them to the White House? -- if 50 people a day do it, they may think it's an organization. And if 500 people a day do it - send a pair of smelly, raggedy-ass old shoes to George W. Bush -- then friends they may think it's a movement. And that's what it is: The Give Bush the Boot Anti-Massacre Movement. And all you have to do to join it is send your old shoes to:

President George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington D.C.
USA 20500

Sunday, December 14, 2008

George W. Bush looks into the sole of Iraq


"This is your farewell kiss, you dog!" shouted Muntadar al-Zeidi, a correspondent for Al-Baghdadia television, an Iraqi-owned Cairo-based TV station. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those were killed in Iraq."

Many will decry this lack of respect for the office of the presidency or the lack of professionalism on the part of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at the man who invaded and destroyed a country for no good reason except that he could. Those people are wrong. Bush has already so defiled the office the presidency that it can't really sink much lower and sometimes even the most professional and objective observer must put their humanity ahead of their professional ethics. I'm sure al-Zeidi is now a national hero in Iraq and I'm almost equally sure he won't see the light of day or his family anytime soon.

Frankly, I think Bush is lucky it wasn't a grenade, or at least a bottle or brick. To be honest I'd like to see Bush pelted with shoes everywhere he goes for the next decade. I'd like to see about 4,200 pair of empty combat boots dumped on the White House lawn. I think people from around the world should mail him their oldest, smelliest, most dogshit-encrusted sneakers both en masse and for the rest of his miserable life so that he never, ever forgets.

Update: While Dubya doesn't understand "what his beef was" and doesn't think the sentiments he expressed so forcefully are representative of Iraqi society as a whole, al-Zeidi has become a folk hero overnight across the Middle East. It turns out his experience and outlook are not so different from the average Iraqi. He hates the United States and Iran, and not without very good reasons.

The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin has a good roundup of the coverage.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I guess the RCMP now has a '00' section

This outrageous ruling just gave the mounties the licence to kill anyone who loses their temper, no questions asked. It's funny no one ever dies of hysteria when the cops aren't involved. I have family friends who are in the RCMP - I don't think of them as killers, but these four don't pause for an instant to try to calm the man, they just kill him. 

Watch the whole video -- I insist-- and remember that the man had been there for TEN HOURS without getting any help to find his way out of the customs section and into the arrivals lobby. Watch it all, and tell me that the officers involved acted in a reasonable way and that the man deserved to die. Tell me they had any reason to fear for their lives or were defending themselves. Because if you can tell me that, you are watching a different video than I am.

The four horsemen arrive at 6:12, at 6:40 they taser Robert Dziekanski for the first time, by about 9:30 he seems to be dead, and the Mounties never even try artificial resuscitation, in fact they don't even seem to be in any rush to try to get medical help for the man they have just murdered. 

I hope someday the 4 officers, the crown attorney and the judge involved all in their turn travel to some far off foreign land like China or Uruguay or, oh, I dunno, maybe even Poland, on a holiday or a business trip. I hope they get lost in the airport. I hope that what with the jet lag, and the lack of sleep and the confusion and frustration and the fact that nobody speaks English that they just flat out lose it after a few hours and throw down their suitcases and start shouting. And I hope it doesn't cost them their lives, because these fuckers should live with this poor bastard's needless death haunting their consciences every waking moment for a long, long, painful time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

RNC Morans

How many of these pictures of misspelled signs from various Republican and conservative rallies, hate-fests and box lunch socials do we need to see before they admit the truthiness of John Stuart Mills dictum that "not all conservatives are stupid, but all stupid people are conservatives" ?
Shamelessly stolen from the Buffalo Pundit

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Political Art

There are some brilliant editorial cartoonists out there and some great and not so great political comic strips, but political art is a whole 'nother ball game. There are great works of high seriousness like Picasso's Guernica and there are others that are more about the politics than the art.

Then there is the brilliant, sharp, brilliant, funny, brilliant and subversive (did I mention brilliant?) work of Zina Saunders

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Meet the Gnu Boss

Apparently the Liberal Party of Canada, a party with which I long identified and which I long supported, has decided that the best thing for Canada is to keep Steven Harper in office for as long as possible and then replace him with someone who has almost exactly the same opinions, but wears red neckties and is twice as smart.
Not content to wait for January and keep the coalition together, defeat the government and be appointed to form a coalition government with the icky NDP, the Liberals started reading Conservative Party Press releases and accepting them as fact. One little bump in the road and they panic.
Splendid. I guess that was the revolution that wasn't. Fuck you very much Liberal Party for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory once again. In the last election 62% of the country voted against the Conservatives, so in answer to this you have decided that running even further to the right is the sensible option. Michael Ignatieff, for all his very impressive academic credentials supported the Iraq war until 2007.
In other news, when and if I ever move back to what used to be Canada, I will either be moving to Westmount in the Republic of Quebec and starting my own Anglo separatist party, Le Bloc Maudit Bloke, or to Vancouver Island in the People's Republic of Pacifica and opening a "Yo-Yo" frozen yohgurt stand/Yoga fitness centre/legal marijuana distribution centre.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Blindfolds, not Bailouts

First against the wall when the revolution comes: AIG executives.

Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- American International Group Inc., the insurer whose bonuses and perks are under fire from U.S. lawmakers, offered cash awards to another 38 executives in a retention program with payments of as much as $4 million.

The incentives range from $92,500 to $4 million for employees earning salaries between $160,000 and $1 million, Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy said in a letter dated Dec. 5 to Representative Elijah Cummings. The New York-based insurer had previously disclosed that 130 managers would get the awards and that one executive would get $3 million.

“I remain concerned, as do many American taxpayers, that these retention payments are simply bonuses by another name,” Cummings said in letter responding to Liddy. AIG, which received a U.S. rescue package of more than $152 billion, has been criticized for saying it will eliminate bonuses for senior executives while still planning to hand out “cash awards” that double or triple the salaries of some managers. The payments are designed to keep top employees at AIG while Liddy seeks to sell units and pay back the federal government, which owns 79.9 percent of AIG.

...AIG’s managers have overseen a record $37.6 billion in net losses so far this year. Cummings has called for Liddy’s resignation and said AIG should provide names of those getting retention pay and explain why the awards are needed. Firms accepting taxpayer money shouldn’t enrich employees, he said..

Yeah, because when the senior management of the company steers the firm in losses of nearly $40 billion and forces the firm to seek a $150 billion bailout from the government, the last thing you want them to do is jump ship and work for someone else.
While I understand the importance of propping up all those struggling Porshe dealerships, caviar importers and executive country club operators that provide much needed greenskeeping and caddying jobs in these dark economic times, frankly I'd have a lot more respect for these people if they just drove up to Fort Knox in a convoy of trucks with masks and guns and cleaned the place out like honest thieves.

CNN Dec. 5

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A record 1.35 million homes were in foreclosure in the third quarter, driving the foreclosure rate up to 2.97%, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Friday.

That's a 76% increase from a year ago, according to the group's National Delinquency Survey.At the same time, the number of homeowners falling behind on their mortgages rose to a record 6.99%, up from 5.59% a year ago, the association said. This means that one in 10 borrowers in America are either delinquent or in foreclosure

What would Woody Guthrie say?

"Yes, as through this world I've wandered
I've seen lots of funny men;
Some will rob you with a six-gun,
And some with a fountain pen.

And as through your life you travel,
Yes, as through your life you roam,
You won't never see an outlaw
Drive a family from their home."

-Woody Guthrie
The Ballad of Pretty Boy Floyd

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Since no one is using it, maybe we could rent out the building 

It might make a good homeless shelter this winter.
"Canada suffered its biggest monthly job losses last month since the recession of 1982 as 70,600 positions disappeared. Ontario's manufacturing sector is taking a direct blow from collapsing demand in the U.S., claiming about half of the November job losses. Unemployment crept up to 6.3 per cent, still near historical lows but also half a percentage point above the beginning of year.

And the U.S. is far from the only weight on Canada's job picture. The services side of the economy, which is more isolated from U.S. demand, also shed 38,000 jobs in the month – a sign that the sources of Canada's economic weakness are not just the United States, but also a deceleration in consumer spending, business investment and the housing market, economists said."

If only there was some sort of central authority that could organize a communal effort to help these people thrown out of work and perhaps help to steer our economy by making some rules to guide business and keep them from getting into trouble. We could all pitch in some money and they could figure out the best way to spend it to fix these sorts of problems. We could get everyone to vote in their own area to pick people, send them all to meet, talk it over and decide what to do. Canadians are smart enough to survive killer winters, if we some really smart people together, I'm sure they can figure something out.

Gee, didn't we used to have something like that based in a big, old building in Ottawa? I seem to remember something like that being mentioned in high school civics class, or maybe it was ancient history.

h/t to the Vanity Press, where this started as a comment.

Meanwhile, Jim Dandy Goodness takes something I said, and makes it all about the pussy.

And courtesy of  Willy Loman:  Ed Broadbent speaks, you listen

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Vive la revolution de sirop d'erable!

All praise to Skdadl for coining the phrase "Maple Syrup Revolution" to describe the current likely change in government from a party whose main priority is evidently to stick to the opposition to a coalition of parties whose main priority is to start bailing the economic lifeboat in which the nation finds itself. Across the northern blogosphere, the troops are rallied - I particularly recommend these posts by Boris at the Galloping Beaver and Dr. Dawg's disembowling of Ol' Dead Eyes "no fair, I'M the Prime Minister, I'M supposed to be the boss" video presentation on Wednesday night and most of the recent posts on Far and Wide and the excellent "Blogging if Necessary, but not Necessarily Blogging."
I'd also suggest you look at the text of Stephen Dion's remarks from Wednesday night instead of listening to the conservatives babble about "treason." In addition to tackling the economic mess Canada finds itself in, the Coalition could also fix a number of other problems.

I think Maple Syrup Revolution fits just about right: The coalition is poised to flatten Harper like a pancake and eat him for breakfast -- and it's just so freakin' sweet.

Vive la revolution!

We interrupt this revolution...

In these difficult times, with Canadian soldiers at war in Afghanistan and the world economy turning to shit and Stephen Harper attempting to deal with the emergency by closing parliament for two months rather than letting someone else try fixing things, we all need a laugh. Therefore, I give you this and this.
We now return you to our regular scheduled program.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Buh Bye Steverino!

With friends like these who needs to worry about the possibility of a coalition? Stephen Harper appears to be poised to go down faster than a drunken cheerleader spending prom night with the captain of the football team, on the Titanic. You knew that baby-eating had to catch up with him eventually. This could be an interesting week in Canadian politics. Pass the popcorn.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vote, you click monkeys, VOTE!

The first round of voting is over for the Canadian Blog Awards and as the dust settles, The Galloping Beaver is among the finalists for both Best Progressive Blog and Best Non-Partisan Blog. Ink-stained wretch West End Bob's other blog "Moved to Vancouver" is a finalist for Best GLBT Blog and as of this morning, Allison's fabulous Creekside was still in the running in the delayed opening round of voting for Best Feminist Blog. The second round of voting is on now so click the links and do the right thing, not that we care who wins or anything, it's an honor just to be nominated, all these award things are meaningless after all, I'll be home playing my clarinet that night anyway, blah blah blah...

Faster Pussycats, Kill! Kill!

Now that it seems like the opposition leaders can at least agree to be, y'know, oppositional and all, former spokesman for Paul Martin, Scott Ried seems to think its High Noon in Ottawa.
I don't expect much to come of it, since the Liberals are stuck in leadership race mode for the next several months. The idea of a coalition is a nice one, but highly unlikely to come about. I think it would take weeks of negotiating for the leaders of the three opposition parties in Parliament to agree on what to get on a pizza, but now that they seem to have forced Harper to take a small step back, who knows?
As much as I'd love to see the opposition gang up on Harper and send him out to pasture and back to the right-wing think tanks where he belongs, I think the political rhetoric has gotten a bit out of hand when people start talking about "killing" the prime minister, even in a metaphorical sense. I'm not being a "civility" concern troll either, as far as I'm concerned Harper is an ongoing disaster for Canada and should go pound sand, but imagine the screeching if Small Dead Animals titled a post this way. I'm not disagreeing with the stated goals here, I just have a very minor quibble with the terminology being used.
I'm sure the Blogging Tories will make much hay from it once they find someone to read it to them and explain the big words.

Addendum: I don't know if we are going to have another election or a new coalition government or what -- probably "what"--but I love that such things are possible in the Canadian system. Ol' Dead Eyes campaigned telling us the financial situation was good and never mentioned trying to take fair public funding out the political system and leaving in place the tax credit system, which tends to favor the party with the biggest donors as opposed to the most public support. He lied, plain and simple, so if he goes down in flames because he managed to be such a rat-bastard that he got the Liberals and the Bloc to team up, well, boo-fucking-hoo Steverino, it's a contact sport. Guess whose idea it was in the first place?
If we do end up with a coalition government, does this mean that Stephan Dion goes from "loser" to "master of political ju-jitsu"?

A blacker Friday than most

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with people? On the bright side, I suppose a few people saved a dollar and a half on singing statues of Santa Claus and 5-pound bags of holiday M&Ms.
People actually complained that the Walmart store was closing temporarily (just for a few hours) because one of the staff was trampled to death.
At least that death was accidental, out in California, they are having shootouts in the Toys R Us.
You are all getting coal this year.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More weekend music

Some recent discoveries I'm enjoying

Jake Thackray - the Bull

Roy Zimmerman - Defenders of Marriage

Billybob Neck - Canada: Evil Empire or Third World Country?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

40 years ago

A little seasonal something for our friends south of the 49th parallel. And still relevant and just as funny after all these years. It's nice to see the family tradition continues too. And this is even more timely:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Canadian Blog Award

While the Woodshed has once again been tragically overlooked by the members of the academy (in other words I never got around to nominating myself or anyone else for that matter) The Galloping Beaver, where I make my small occasional contribution is nominated in several categories, as are a number of other blogs on the blogroll. There are two rounds of voting to narrow the lists in each category down to a more reasonable number. While none of us around here really care whether we win or not, I'd hate to see the gloating that will go on in certain quarters if the flying monkey hordes of the right manage to get certain blogs voted in as winners. GO VOTE NOW and keep the right-wingnuts from freeping the whole thing.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Live or Memorex?

Remember those ads with Ella Fitzgerald and the taped voice shattering the glass? The Onion has crossed into that same territory. Tell me this couldn't be a wingnut blog post. The only thing that would tip you off is the lack of excessive capitalization and prescence of proper punctuation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Change we can believe in
Paging John Hinderaker, John Hinderaker to the white courtesy phone please....

Ending torture should be painless

I don't expect the Obama presidency to be an endless parade of magic sparkling ponies and cake for all and I never have, but there are certain minimum expectations that must be met and this does not bode well:

Obama advisers: No charges likely vs interrogators
Nov. 17,

- Barack Obama's incoming administration is unlikely to bring criminal charges
against government officials who authorized or engaged in harsh interrogations
of suspected terrorists during the George W. Bush presidency. Obama, who has
criticized the use of torture, is being urged by some constitutional scholars
and human rights groups to investigate possible war crimes by the Bush
administration. Two Obama advisers said there's little - if any - chance that
the incoming president's Justice Department will go after anyone involved in
authorizing or carrying out interrogations that provoked worldwide

The article goes on to say that even if the Obama administration wants to investigate and prosecute those responsible for torture, the whole question may be rendered moot by a stroke of the presidential pardon-signing pen by the Torturer in Chief, George W. Bush. I fully expect Bush will spend the last month of his term fighting writers cramp as he pardons just about everyone he's ever worked with. So, no, no one is likely to end up in jail, but that doesn't mean that the Obama administration shouldn't be trying to send them there.

Like I said, there are certain minimums expectation that must be met if Obama is going to have a successful presidency. By successful I don't just mean managing to get through four years without turning large portions of the planet into radioactive glass, having Texas secede from the Union, boiling the Great Lakes or having gas prices climb over $10 a gallon -- I mean delivering some of that change we can believe in. One of those expectations is that he live up to his promise of ending the use of torture by the United States.

Most political issues are not as black and white as politicians make them out to be on the campaign trail, that's one of the reasons politics is the art of compromise. Torture is not like farm subsidies or school vouchers or even abortion -- it is not something on which reasonable people can disagree, it is just plain wrong. Torture is what the bad guys do that makes them bad guys.

Leaving aside the clear and obvious moral argument, consider the practical aspects. The experts agree torture does not work because information gained through torture is unrealiable. People being tortured will tell their interrogators whatever they think the guy with the pliars and the blowtorch wants to hear. Enough waterboarding and you'd could make Dick Cheney say that not only did he plan 9/11, but that he flew all four of the planes himself. Leave a prisoner in a stress position long enough and he will eventually confess to killing not only the Kennedy brothers, but McKinley and Lincoln as well. And spare me the ticking bomb scenarios and Star Trek quotes about the "needs of the many outweighing the need of the few." Real life is not an adventure novel and "24" is not a documentary. Torture will make anyone talk, but it also makes anything they say all but useless.

The reprehensible actions of the United States at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and an unknown number of secret prisons around the world have done more damage to the nation's reputation and standing in the world than a dozen ill-conceived invasions.

It may well be that Bush will pardon anyone remotely connected with anything untoward that occurred in the last eight years, but history and the world court of public opinion will judge him for it. If Obama decides to let bygones be bygones and not seek to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent of the law, then he will be seen as complicit and the reputation of the United States as a violator of human rights, as a torturer and oppressor, will be cemented. Bush will go down in history as the first U.S. president to endorse torture, but Obama has a choice of going down in history either as the guy who put a stop to it or as a "good German."

Politically, Obama has nothing to lose and everything to gain by pursuing prosecutions. He gets to look good on the world stage for doing the right thing and at the same time stick it to his political opponents. All he has to do is announce that he will be pursuing the matter to the fullest extent of the law and then the ball is in Bush's court. Bush can either preemptively pardon everyone from Dick Cheney on down to the lowliest CIA contractor-- in which case he goes down in history as being on the side of torture--or he can leave his friends to twist in the wind, in which case we get to watch Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales and a parade of lesser shitbirds get frogmarched off to prison and possibly even Dubya himself in the dock. My money is on the pardons, I'll even give 10 to 1.

There is no downside to this for Obama. He can use the bully pulpit he has to frame any discussion of the issue in terms of "You are either with us, or with the torturers." The only people who are going to oppose him are the 15 to 20 percent of the population who still think the sun shines out of Dubya's ass and consider Obama a muslim terrorist in the first place. Those people lost the election and deserve to be driven into the political wilderness pemanently.

Of course, the cynic in me says that if Dubya is delusional enough to think that the country is behind him and approves of what he did and he decides to take his chances and not pardon everyone, Obama will probably do it for him for the sake of "putting the past behind us" and "bridging the partisan divide" -- At which point the last of the lights in that "shining city on the hill" will go out and the Canadian immigration authorities will have to double their printing order for residency visa application forms.

This is not just about Obama's place in the polls or the history books, this is about the future of the office of the president. If Obama wants anyone any where in the world to ever believe anything the president of the United States says ever again, this is the one thing he has to keep his word on. Other promises, like ending the Iraq war or establishing universal health care or fixing the economy, might not be fulfilled due to circumstances beyond the president's control, but ending torture is something he can do January 21, 2009, -- before lunch. All it will take is an executive cease-and-desist order and a phone call to the Justice department telling them to throw the book at anyone who breaks the well established rules.

Progressive, liberals, lefties and sane people everywhere need to make a lot of noise about this and steer the Obama adminstration away from squandering its moral capital and authority for the sake of reaching across the aisle to appease a group that will stab them in the back the first chance it gets. Forgive the barrage of cliches, but we need to draw a line in the sand and hold Obama's feet to the fire and remind him to dance with the one that brought him. He and his people must be told that banning torture is not negotiable and that unless the administration is seen to make an effort to prosecute those responsible for such appalling deeds, such a ban will be seen as not only meaningless by hypocritcal by the international community.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This week in Blogtopia

While I've been spending much of my time since the U.S. election dining on the sweet schadenfreude of the wingnuts the funniest thing I've seen all week, and there have been some doozies, is what Brad over at Sadly No! is responding to here. I don't really have anything to add to his response except to note that there are more than a few people out there who have made careers or started successful businesses making large amounts of money marketing products built around the gaffes and misstatements of George W. Bush. I am beginning to wonder if Hindraker is a Swiftian parody and I am the last one to get the joke.

Speaking of douche bags, I give you Rep. Paul Broun who this week compared Barack Obama to Hitler and said the president-elected want to build his own Gestapo to establish a Marxist dictatorship and seize everyone's guns. Broun's previous claim to fame was introducing a bill to ban the sale of Playboy on military bases to protect soldiers, sailors and airmen from moral corruption.

And while we're on the subject of douche bags, I give you Raphel Alexander, who has long been an annoying sanctimonious prick and whose pretentious prosings read like a bad parody of William F. Buckley. Raph currently in a pissing match with Red Tory, who, not suffering douche bags gladly, called a spade a spade and Raph a racist. Raph, if you walk like a duck and quack like a duck and complain that Asian immigrants make you feel icky and claim "natives in Canada were a primitive and culturally stagnant people", don't be surprised when you get a metaphorical load of birdshot in your half-bright racist knucklehead ass during duck season.

You want Remembrance Day messages? None are better than these from PSA and and fellow ink-stained wretch Boris.

Oh, and do yourself a favor and go enjoy the world's most dangerous professor, he is in fine form of late.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Really, how dumb are they?

You know, for people who claim to hate marxism and communism so much, and think it is so vile, who consider it worse or at least on par with Nazism, it is amazing to me how readily the conservatives will slap the commie label on anyone who disagrees with them.

Don't they understand that every time they call a candidate who wants to raise taxes on the wealthy a few percent a communist, it denigrates all those who died at the hands of real communists like Stalin and Mao in jus the same way that calling the police raid on the Waco compound a holocaust denigrates the memories of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis?

Don't they get that having the government oversee a public medical insurance plan is not a precursor to Pol Pot's killing fields?

Are they so thick that they don't understand that a university or other large organization telling employees it is unacceptable behaviour to use racist epithets, fondle or ogle other employees or otherwise act like a jackass at work is not the same thing as sending people to labour camps because they wear eyeglasses or went to university?

Can they not understand that requiring multimillionaires to contribute a few more dollars to keeping people made jobless by their greed-driven wheeling and dealing from starving to death while they freeze in the street is not the same as the state seizing the means of production and sending the wealthy to labour camps?

Can they not understand the difference between requiring publicly funded facilities such as schools and courts to refrain from being seen to embrace or favor one religion above another, or to insisting that science be taught in science classes and myth, legend and philosophy be taught in other courses is not the same as burning churches?

And before anyone starts accusing me of attacking strawmen, go have a look at this, or this or this or some of the gems the Sadlynauts gathered election night (and they were only joking about sending Gary Ruppert to a labour camp, at least I think they were only joking). Or the dicussions in the comments over at Treason-in-Defense-Of-Slavery Yankee of which guns would be best used to defend one's home against the coming roving masses of swarthy anarchists and gulag press gangs they deem the inevitable result of the Obama victory.

If you have a strong enough stomache go wade through the toxic crazy at Atlas Shrugs, where Pam Gellar attempts to explain that Barack Obama is literally the actual secret love child of Malcom X.

Or look at some of John McCain's remarks to the effect that because Obama wants to increase the tax rate by 3 % on people with an income of more than $250,000 and freeze or cut the tax rate for the other 95% of American citizens he is engaged in a Marxist class war to redistribute the wealth just like Mao and Stalin.

Have they at long last no shame?


Regular readers know I am a proud Canuck, but as the Flying Spagetti Monster is my witness, I swear that if Obama opens his inaugural address like this, I will move to a red state and take out citizenship.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It ain't over 'til it's over, but believe me, it's over

With 24 hours before the polls even open, I feel confident in predicting that Obama&Biden will stomp McCain&Palin by no fewer than 40 electoral votes. Even if you spot the Republicans all the states where the margin is less than five percent, they still lose by about 20 electoral votes. And they won't take all the so-called toss up states. Barring some kind of shenanigans, they will almost certainly lose Florida and probably Virginia and Ohio as well. But it won't matter, even if they win them, they will still lose unless they can take Pennsylvania or whole bunch of other states, and that is simply not gonna happen . I'll go further and guess that the Democrats add nine seats in the Senate too

Mon pays c'est ne pas un pays, c'est hiver

While the whole world holds its breath waiting for Nov. 5th and I ponder whether it is time to start wearing long sleeves to work yet, the lovely and talented Mudhooks takes the camera out in the Ottawa Valley's first snow of the season.
Go look. Trust me, it will lower your pulse rate and make you look forward to winter.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eternal vigilance and all that you know...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye

Seen somewhere in the blogosphere:
"Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Barack could run. Barack is running so all our kids can soar"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fatal stupidity

Not that we needed further confirmation, but I think this story shows that gun nuts really are mentally deficient. The United States should slap a tax on ammunition to fund a study to see whether the smoke from cordite and gunpowder kills brain cells or alters brain chemistry that deals with cognitive functions.

"This accident was truly a mystery to me," said Bizilj, director of emergency medicine at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, Conn. "This is a horrible event, a horrible travesty, and I really don't know why it happened."

That comment, for those too lazy to click the link, comes from father of an eight-year-old boy who died on the weekend at a gun show after he lost control of a fully automatic Uzi submachinegun he was firing under the supervision of an instructor--and shot himself in the head. All while his father was reaching for his camera to record the little tyke's redneck right of passage.

Yes, you read that right. An eight-year-old firing a submachinegun. And his father who was there taking pictures and cheering the boy on doesn't understand how it could happen that his child could possibly have been hurt, let alone killed.

Would someone please go dig up Charleton Heston so I can kick him in the nuts?

I need a number of drinks.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A note for the irony impaired

Dear Americans,

Borat is a fictional character meant to be a joke. His rampant anti-Semetism is intended to lampoon bigots. I, myself, am a Jew and bear no ill will towards others who share my faith.

Just thought I better straighten that out for you.


Sacha Baron Cohen

He ain't heavy, he's my brother

John F. Kennedy had Robert F. Kennedy and Ted Kennedy, but since then the presidential brother slot has been occupied by the likes of Billy Carter and Roger Clinton. Jeb Bush seems to be the exception, since he's clearly the smart one. John McCain, well, he has his brother Joe.
Obama is an only child.

Friday, October 24, 2008

So sad I nearly stopped laughing

By now you've probably heard of Ashley Todd, the College Republican operative who claimed she was mugged by a black man who carved a B for Barak in her face when he saw a McCain sticker on her car.

Now, do I hear you say "Wow, what a dramatic commentary of how out of control partisan politics are in America, and what a bunch of violent criminals Obama supporters are!" No? Do I hear you say, "That sound like bullshit to me. By the way, why would the attacker lightly scratch the B in backward, you know, the way it would look if you were doing it in the mirror?"

Great story, but not even the likes of Michele Malkin believed it. I wonder why? I mean, it isn't like we've seen anything like this before, is it? But that didn't stop the McCain-Palin campaign from shouting it from the rooftops.

Apparently, after confessing to police she made the whole thing up, Ashley Todd is blamed the media for blowing the story up into a "political firestorm" according to the lead investigator in the case. The police are apparently worried about her mental condition, I guess in addition to being involved in the College Republicans, the McCain campaign and being a lying douchebag, she must have some other problems as well. Sad what so much cognitive dissonance will do to a young mind. Keep in mind, she's from Texas and Bush has been the president since she was 12 years old, she probably can't help it.

Meanwhile, the exodus continues, as the wingnuts seize the reins of the Republican party.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Warm bread

Others may consider the game over already, but I remember what happened in 2004 and could well happen again. I will not say they are toast just yet,( see my earlier prediction re:Newt Gingrich and 2012) but McCain seems to be planning his concession speech already while Obama is planning a massive victory celebration in Chicago in the very spot where 40 years ago the whole world was watching while uniformed thugs beat and gassed and killed young people for voicing an opinion and Mayor Richard Daley famously remarked: "The policeman isn't there to create disorder, the policeman is there to preserve disorder." This time around, despite the pants-pissing on the right, thing are going to be different. While some people are clearly nuts enough to keep voting for whomever they think Jesus would most like to have a beer with, people with more than a vestigial lizard brain will only eat so much shit before they get wise. Hell, even the GOP will only swallow so much crap before it just gets too embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Sadly, No reenacts great moments in geek cult cinema,

the General goes upriver in search of the heart of dorkness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Block the vote

Despite the stench of death and failure that now creeps forth from the staggering McCain - Palin campaign as it lurches from one screw up to the next, the GOP machine is still lurking behind the curtain. As Palast and Kennedy point out: It ain't over 'til it's over.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From the desk of Sen. John McCain

Dear crazy Jesus freaks Friends at inJesus.com

I know I said I wanted your help to become president and continue to carry out the Lord's work just the way our beloved President Bush has done. I even picked one of your own as my running mate to try to buy your loyalty. I know you sincerely believe all this stuff and can quote me chapter and verse in the Scriptures to support your belief. But here's the thing: Most people in America are base sinners who don't understand the threat that witches and satanism actually pose, in fact most of them think Spiritual Warfare is the stuff of cheesy horror movies and the sorts of games with all the books and dice those weird, nerdy kids in high school used to play. I'm trying to win an election here people, so I as much as I appreciate your prayers and other efforts to fight Nigerian witchcraft on my behalf, do you think you could kind of keep it on the down low?
your pal in Jesus,
Sen. John McCain

H/T the Wingnutterer

Monday, October 20, 2008

you say "tomayto," I say "tomahto"

When Rich Lowery and many other perpetually adolescent right wingers think of Sarah Palin, they think of her as a sexy school marm at the Bible college or some damn thing. They think of this (nearly safe for work, and do, by all means read the script).
When I hear her voice, I think of Edie McClurg as Mrs Herbert R. Tarlek or the car rental clerk in Planes Trains and Automobiles

Don't cry for me Arizona

(in which I analyze, predict and offer sage advice on the U.S. political scene)

I don't want to jinx anything, but the Obama campaign seems to be an unstoppable juggernaut - anytime a Democratic presidential nominee can draw back-to-back crowds of 100,000 and 75,000 in Missouri, you have to figure the Republicans are going to get worried, especially when they are drawing far smaller, far crazier crowds.

Like I said, I don't want to jinx anything and I probably won't relax until about Obama's third State of the Union address, but the Republicans appear to be giving up on McCain -- pundit rats are leaving the sinking ship and the right wing nuts are about to go all Viet Cong on the rest of the country, skulking off into their spiderholes stocked with canned Cheetos and ammunition to write dogwhistle screeds for New Republic, the Washington Times and Regnery calling for decent, Jesus-loving, white Americans to rise up against their socialist oppressors before the black helicopters arrive with the UN occupation troops.

Newt Gingrich is already setting the narrative for his attempt to renew his Contract on with America in 2012. The new Republican narrative is going to go like this: "Filthy liberal terrorist fellow traveller Barack Obama ( who is a black African "mask Muslim" negro) stole the 2008 election from (white) Maverick POW War Hero John McCain, an all-American (white) War Hero who was a Maverick hero military pilot and POW (and a WASPy white Christian) with the help of the terrorist-loving liberal Mainstream media, pointy-headed intellectuals who graduated from elitist secular liberal colleges, liberal secular elitist universities and public high schools, socialist James Bond villain gazillionaire George Soros and trashy, liberal, elitists coughJewscough in Sodom and Gomorrah Hollyweird. ACORN stole all the votes everywhere we lost. It was fixed. We was robbed. Obama isn't really the president, he's not even an American."

Assuming that some knuckledragging goniff doesn't lurch forward from among the great unwashed and murder the president on the orders of Jesus (and who wouldn't like to have the contract to supply the Secret Service with Depends now that every bald guy in a ski vest on the ropeline is going to look like a skinhead suicide bomber at first glance) Newt or Skeeter or Jeb or whoever will spend the next four year trying to convince Americans that the Democrats are responsible for losing Iraq ("If it hadn't been for those damned dirty hippies, John McCain would have won that war and gas would be 50 cents a gallon") raising taxes on hard-working American oil executives and corporate vice presidents ("He's redistributing wealth, that's class warfare - you know who else engaged in class warfare? Stalin!") and allowing swarthy foreigners to steal jobs.

The economy will just be emerging from the current disaster (which everyone knows was the Democrats fault) and because of the cost of the bailout and wars the Democrats won't be able to afford to do anything about education or health care -- they will be lucky to balance the budget by 2020 at this point, which of course will prove how financially irresponsible they are. ("They nationalized the banks! You know who else nationalized the banks? Mao!")

Now, none of this works if the McCain-Palin ticket gets elected and further screws things up. You thought Iraq was a gigantic clusterfuck? Wait until McCain invades Iran, Syria, Jordan and Spain. They will drop the country from the frying pan into the fire and throw gasoline on the fire and then nuke the fire from an orbital war satellite. You think I'm being pessimistic ? Wait until they start saying the pledge of allegiance at sporting events and requiring Muslims, gays and liberal arts degree holders to attend mandatory bible classes. Wait until they privatize the departments of the interior, education, health and human corporate services and put Rush Limbaugh in charge of the FCC.

But none of this is going to happen.

John McCain is not going to win.

He is a sacrificial jackass. The Republican pundits know it. The Republican money men know it. The RNC knows it. The Democrats are starting to figure it out, hell even John McCain is starting to figure it out. How else do you explain his appearance on Fox New Sunday this week? You can smell the fear just reading the transcript on the internet. He must have had a case of flop sweat that left salt stains under his arm pits. After yammering himself into an apoplectic froth for ten minutes about how he didn't care about William Ayers and Barack Obama possibly being gay lovers or cannibals or something, whatever, he doesn't care, he's not interested in slinging mud at that terrorist-loving secret muslim socialist, it's not an issue -- McCain had this to say about the possibility of not winning:

WALLACE: As we said at the beginning of this interview, you are behind in this race, but you are a fighter. You have been your whole life.
Have you considered — have you even dealt in your mind with the possibility that you could lose, and could you live with that?
MCCAIN: Oh, sure. I mean, I don't dwell on it. But look. I've had a wonderful life. I have to go back and live in Arizona, and be in the United States Senate representing them, and with a wonderful family, and daughters and sons that I'm so proud of, and a — and a life that's been blessed.
I'm the luckiest guy you have ever interviewed and will ever interview. I'm the most fortunate man on earth, and I thank God for it every single day.
WALLACE: So if the world turns an unfortunate way on November 4th, don't feel sorry for John McCain?
MCCAIN: Don't feel sorry for John McCain, and John McCain will be concentrating on not feeling sorry for himself.
WALLACE: And you might just be president.
MCCAIN: You never know.

It isn't quite a concession, because, hey, you never know, those Diebold machines might come through yet.

In order to beat the Republicans in 2012 and 2016 -- because it is going to take that long to fix the scorched, salted earth the Republican neo-cons are leaving behind --Obama is going to have to work very hard just to get the shit to shoe level. He doesn't just have eight years of Dubya to fix, he has 12 years of Reagan's dumbassery to repair as well. Expectations will be high and when he fails to fix everything overnight the knives will be out, even among his own party. 2010 is going to be a hard year for Democrats running in the midterm election. The wars will not be over yet, the economy will still be a smoking ruin and it is extremely unlikely that the health care or education or environmental issues will have been addressed to anyone's satisfaction. There will be a whole lot of "I told you so" and "Hilary would have done it better" going around.

But there is a way to beat that. First, Obama has to win by a landslide and the Democrats need 60 or more seats in the Senate and a large majority in the house. They also need to win some state governments over as well so as to control the election referees the way the Republicans have so successfully for the last 20 years. Then Obama has to appoint a serious badass to run the Justice Department, someone like Patrick Fitzgerald, who will investigate the outright fuckery of the last eight years and put some of these people in jail. Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith, Monica Goodling -- all the political hatchet men and campaign ratfuckers, all the torturers and liars -- screw the pardons Bush is gonna write for all of them, subpeona these people and when, like Karl Rove has done this year, they refuse to appear, send the federal marshals to their country club to slap the cuffs on them right there on the 14th green and jail their sorry asses for contempt. Do the same with some of the Wall Street moneymen who got platinum parachutes while their companies burned down the whole neighborhood. Americans will forget they don't have jobs if they can watch these bastards being put in the dock and sent to Levenworth for a couple of years.

While the public is watching the bloodletting, use the time and the majority to get stuff done. Reregulate the financial industry. Pass your tax plan to give the middle class a break and make the rich pay their share. Pull 50,000 troops out of Iraq and send them to Afghanistan to find Bin Laden and then bring them the hell home and demobilize them. Cut the defense budget in half, the USA will still outspend the rest of the world. Bring back the fairness doctrine and give the FCC some teeth. Conservatives will scream. So what? Let them, they made the mess and they wanna cry while Obama cleans it up? It will be great campaign fodder for 2012.

The other positive working in the Democrats favour is time. The time it takes to clean up the mess is also time that will pass and put some past events in better perspective. Like the enormity of the mistake made in invading Iraq. Like the fact that the 9/11 attacks, while tragic, were not the apocalypse. The luster of Reagan will fade some more, and the stench of the corpse of conservatism will grow. The shadow will start to lift. Plus, within eight years a good quarter of the people who are voting for John McCain this year will be dead from old age, apoplexy, hunting accidents, carnival ride mishaps, cirrhosis and lead poisoning (all those years of eating paint chips will eventually catch up with the people who phone call-in talk radio shows).

My friends, that is change we can believe in.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Spellink iz fur eeleetust loozurz

Here is the kind of quality control we can expect from a McCain/Palin administration. Even Joe the Plumber should be embarrassed by this.

H/T to Lawyers, Guns and Money

Racists? In the GOP?

What on earth would ever give you that idea?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

American Idiots

I'm sure some clever conservative will point out that this is from Al-Jazeera and so therefore it is biased, but what cannot be denied or deflected is that these are the people who are attending the McCain-Palin rallies and voting Republican: the misinformed, the bigoted,  the religious zealots and elderly people stuck in the distant past--- in other words, pretty much the same as the Republican candidates. 

Canadian idiots

At some point I'll write a longer post about the pointless, stupid, expensive and disastrous Canadian election, but for now let me just address a few choice comments to a small group of voters in a single riding.

Dear 3,667 NDP voters in Saanich--Gulf,

Look, I know you probably got a phone call from some robot urging you to get out and vote for the NDP candidate and I know some people are stubborn about strategic voting and don't like to vote for the lesser of two evils and all that, but seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? It isn't like no one noticed that your candidate dropped out of the race, it was kind of in the newspapers and on the TV and all over the internet and stuff. Even if you really, really, really loved Jack Layton and the NDP and couldn't bring yourself to vote strategically for the Liberals, couldn't you just stay home instead of parading your jaw-dropping stupidity in public by voting for a non-existent candidate. If you thought this was some kind of clever protest vote, well I hope your sense of righteous indignation keeps you warm on cold winter nights in the fall out shelter after your returning MP manages to cause a nuclear explosion in the Alberta Tar Sands, or some other stroke of brilliance.
On the bright side, by falling for it  you have at least brought to light Gary Lunn's dirty tricks, but it wasn't like we didn't already know he was an asshole. 
Thanks to you, that asshole is now heading back to Ottawa to continue to do pretty much the opposite of what the NDP would to see done, and you sent him there.
Nice going.

Go read it now

Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson gives the goods on the Make Believe Maverick

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quote of the day

"I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it. "

--John Stuart Mill

Letter to the Conservative MP, Sir John Pakington (March 1866)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving