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

Saturday, February 06, 2010

...and that is why they invented whisky

What Driftglass said.

Seriously, if you are not reading Driftglass regularly, then just what the hell are you doing on the Internet?

Friday, February 05, 2010

How to leave politics forever

Wow. Somebody forgot their jackass medication in the morning.

And that somebody is former Reform/Alliance MP Jim Pankiw. He called a press conference to announce he didn't need the media, that First Nations people are all racists and that he had a tough childhood.

Some highlights from the Regina Leader-Post

"And I'm gonna use the Internet. And my website is how I'm gonna communicate with people and do an end run right around the media. So, the media can misrepresent me all they want, but what I want is equality and that's what I'm gonna get."

When asked why he would call a press conference if he wants to avoid the media, Pankiw said, "I don't know, to rub it in your face. Because I don't need you."

Pankiw went on to say he considers aboriginal people to be racists.

He called attention to a picture of Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Chief Guy Lonechild in a traditional headdress on the front page of Thursday's StarPhoenix, calling it "a guy with a big headband thing on, like feathers and stuff. Like, if there was a guy with a white sheet with holes in the eyes, wouldn't you say that guy's a racist?" he asked.

Watch the video of the press conference and you can see that Pankiw seems pretty twitchy. I almost expected him go all Bud Dwyer or something. I have to wonder if the reporters in the room could hear an audible ticking sound coming from Pankiw.

Needless to say, Pankiw intends to run as an independant, since even the Conservative Party of Canada wants nothing to do with him. I suspect he's run a solid fifth in a four candidate race when an election is finally called.

A tip of the toque to David over at Jim Dandy Goodness.

Weekend uke blogging-daughters of friends I've never met edition

If you've been reading this or watching this you may know who this is and what she's wearing and why this is so very extremely cool.

Hail Satan, indeed! Rock on bigger E!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The National Post is political propaganda, not journalism

In an irate column Feb. 2, National Post columnist Barbara Kay denounces a letter to the editor penned by Penni Stewart, president of the Canadian Association of University Students, and Katherine Giroux-Bougard, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students that justly pointed out the idiocy of a Jan. 26 Post editorial that rejoiced in the demise of “Womens’s Studies programs” (sic). Kay clutches at her pearls and attempts to defend the unsigned editorial, which she very likely penned, and sets out, as usual, to prove that feminists and other liberals are bad. But the column actually vindicates the letter to the editor, because almost every sentence in it confirms that Barbara Kay’s column, and indeed the entire National Post are nothing more than conservative hackery on newsprint, not objective journalism.
She begins with a curious statement about no one at the Post or anywhere else believes that equality between men and women is a “radical idea” and that the authors of the letter have implied that only Women’s studies holds that value, a straw statement of remarkable disingenuousness. Nobody on this blog or anywhere else in their right mind would ignore the fact that vast swathes of the conservative religious community and other assorted douchebags very much consider women to be second-class humans who should be subservient to men, and I, who have often publicly railed against and been lectured about such oppresive sexism, take exception to the implication that even Post readers would be stupid enough to accept such patent nonsense at face value. All columnists at the Post, indeed the entire publication, reeks of this kind of conservative advocacy. Actually, all right-wing-funded institutions, their radio shows, their magazines and their churches believe in more than just inequality, they believe in specifically villifying feminism.
And if there is any nook or cranny in Kay’s writings or the National Post that is not used as a rhetorical platform for attacking progressive forces in society, I would welcome the enlightenment and be the first to give credit where credit is due. On the other hand, I can certainly show Ms. Kay many instances of her hackery and crimes against reason, such as her tendency to wallow in false equivelancies, which completely undercut any point she might try to make in her attempts to spin the facts. It isn’t facts that Kay and the Post are championing, though, it is pounding home conservative talking points. In other words, Barbara Kay and the National Post are merely the media arm of the neoconservative movement, which is nothing more today than a lobby group for wealthy interests, not at all a movement interested in true social, fiscal or environmental conservatism.
Political activism and recruitment to activism should not be the responsibility of newspapers to promote. It is rather “ironic” that Kay tries to argue that the problem with Women’s studies programs is that they are radical and “faith-based” by pointing to an irrelevant to the matter at hand but otherwise valid complaint from the Canadian Association of University Teachers that a university should not be allowed to apply a religious test for employment as it is a violation of academic freedom. She appropriates a line from the complaint that “A university is meant as a place to explore ideas, not to create disciples of Christ.”
How is the conservative bastion of the National Post any different? Writers may not have to sign actual Conservative Party of Canada membership cards, but anyone apply to write at the National Post had better believe in the ideology of neoconservatism, or they can take a hike. The hiring committees grill applicants with a view to exposing their ideological loyalties. Anyone deviating from the politically correct adamantine Rand-imbued party line will not be welcome. Indeed, I am confident that a student in a women’s studies program would be given far greater latitude to challenge the tenets of feminism with impunity than a National Post writer defying the lassiez-faire crypto-fascist doctrines of neoconservatism.*
I am sure, for example, that women’s studies programs do not include on their reading lists any writers who advocate the extermination and religious conversion of liberals and Muslims. Yet conservative publications across North America give pride of place to the odious Anne Coulter, whose mainstream media career died a couple of years ago (and whom we on the left love to drag out to show the batshit craziness of the right). Coulter loathed liberals and vaunted her loathing in her columns, going so far as to advocate blowing up the New York Times and bombing all Muslim nations, an extremist viewpoint that eventually got her booted off CNN. She preached a gospel that incited hatred for liberals who “putridly” sully the landscape of what could be an ideal world if not for their prescence. Coulter is an extreme extreme example of the lack of sense characterizing the conservative movement, but tolerance for her views and others like her that are embraced by the conservative movement point to the unhealthiness at the root of conservatism and its activist arm in the media.
If rich, white, corporatist theocrats want to advance the idea of returning Canada to the 1890s or have the nation run entirely for profit by the private sector, they are free to do so through the political process: Let them join our present parties – the Conservative Party of Canada is entirely at their disposal and there isn’t a ambition the extreme right espouses that is not mirrored in CPC policy- and work to make those changes as all citizens are free to do, or start their own Fascist Party if they think they can get enough people to support them. Which will never happen, since most Canadians understand that neoconservatism is not about freedom, but about giving money and power to the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us.
The National Post is losing money because they are losing readers. The revolution is over. Rationality and compassion won. What is good about conservatism can be written about in other publications. What’s bad is unworthy of a publication of its own. Barbara Kay and The National Post are superfluous in every respect and calling it a necessary balance to the so-called liberal mainstream media won’t disguise that reality. Goodbye, salut, farewell, shalom. Don’t slam the door on the way out.

(* I have no proof that this is true. This is central to my point)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

That's funny, I don't remember anything about "blessed are the ass-kickers" in the Sermon on the Mount

So much for turning the other cheek I guess.

From the New York Times:

Flock Is Now a Fight Team in Some Ministries
MEMPHIS — In the back room of a theater on Beale Street, John Renken, 42, a pastor, recently led a group of young men in prayer.
“Father, we thank you for tonight,” he said. “We pray that we will be a representation of you.”
An hour later, a member of his flock who had bowed his head was now unleashing a torrent of blows on an opponent, and Mr. Renken was offering guidance that was not exactly prayerful.
“Hard punches!” he shouted from the sidelines of a martial arts event called Cage Assault. “Finish the fight! To the head! To the head!”
The young man was a member of a fight team at Xtreme Ministries, a small church near Nashville that doubles as a mixed martial arts academy. Mr. Renken, who founded the church and academy, doubles as the team’s coach. The school’s motto is “Where Feet, Fist and Faith Collide.”

I guess their version of Jesus is the Prince of You-want-a-Piece-of-this? or something like that.

I see they also solicited a comment from Dobson the Younger, though I'm not sure what the hell Christian Fight Club has to do with the man being the "head of the household" unless Mr. Macho is advocating kickboxing the wife into submission. Golly, what do you suppose the odds are of a spike in domestic violence among the attendees of these little faith-based sparring sessions?

His contention that America has "raised a generation of little boys" is pretty funny coming as it does from a leather-jacketed, tattooed, perpetual adolescent who spent his twenties and thirties surfing, skateboarding and championing "X-treme Christianity"and now at forty relies on daddy for his living.

I guess his dad, the head of Focus on the Family, was too busy whipping his Dachshund (and no, that is not a euphemism, but it should be) to teach his son that his head was useful for something other than butting people in the chops.

I guess the meek better not get their hopes up.

Monday, February 01, 2010

"Whitey go home" and other charming Asian proverbs

As annoying as teaching in Japan ever got - and believe me it got plenty annoying - I never had to contend with this kind of crap.

Korea activists target foreign English teachers
A South Korea group uses the Internet and other means to track foreign teachers, in an effort to ferret out illegal or unsavory behavior. The teachers say they're victims of stalkers and rumors.
There are lots of anti-foreigner groups around in Japan, but they don't bother to get quite so focused as these numbskulls in Korea. Mostly they just ride around in big black buses with loudspeakers demanding the people of Japan "Venerate the Emperor and expel the barbarians".

And I'll be the first to admit that there is plenty of unsavory behaviour going on that is related to English conversation schools. Starting with the school management that rip off teachers left, right and center in complete violation of the labour laws (but since the Japanese court system could take ten years to process your claim - and foreign devils rarely win - you might as well just suck it up). Yes, there are teachers who sleep with students and do drugs and drink their brains out every night - almost as many as in the regular Japanese school system. And don't lets get started on the number of people who take English lessons as a way of meeting foreigners to date or the student who stalk teachers or the large number of complete wackos some school's sign up.
I used to work at a school that sold lessons on credit that had a neighbouring branch in a large building just one floor below a mental health clinic. Lots of people would get off the elevator on the wrong floor and the school friendly staff of attractive young men and women - always under pressure to make their sales quota - were more than happy to sign them up for a package of lessons and then send them to our branch. No, there is nothing like being trapped in a glass broom closet with a schizophrenic who is off his medication and want to show you his karate kata or a delusional manic depressive who can't decide whether she desperately wants to have sex with all the teachers (male and female) or thinks they are all harrassing her.
Add to that the special classes of students who are studying English just to have someone to talk to, or as therapy for some sort of antisocial disorder, or who are just plain kooky --- or my personal favorite: students who study English so they can complain about how nasty foreigners are screwing up the country to the foreigners in their own language.
Don't get me wrong, the nuts only make up about 10% of the students I had, and I had some absolutely fantastic students of all ages and backgrounds here in Tokyo, but I don't really miss teaching.
As for the South Korean Foreign Virtue Police, they can bite me.