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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Nail injured in clash with hammer

As a journalist I understand the need to use value neutral terminology in describing events much of the time, but sometimes my colleagues and I  go a bit overboard. I spent a few moments yelling at my radio over one such incident last night.
In their coverage of the events surrounding the call for a general strike in Oakland, California, last night, the CBC mentioned that strike had been called by the Occupy Oakland group after demonstrators there clashed with police last week.
I don't mean to single out the CBC as a quick look around shows many other media outlets used the same terminology.  "Clashed" is a word used in newswriting when you know there was a fight, but you aren't sure who started it. "Clashed" suggests each side gave as good as they got. What happened in Oakland on Wednesday night may or may not have been "clashes" between police and protestors, but the event that lead to Wednesday's call for a general strike was not a "clash," it was an unprovoked, carefully coordinated attack by police on peaceful protestors who were guilty of little more than loitering in a public space and littering.

Riot police stormed the Occupy Oakland camp around 5 am on Oct. firing baton rounds and tear gas and arresting 85 of about 170 protesters who had been camping in the downtown park for about two weeks.There was no suggestion that the protestors were violent or even unruly. Many were asleep when the hundreds of riot cops moved in and detroyed the encampment. That isn't a "clash," that's a "raid" or "an attack" or a "police riot."

The police even threw a flash-bang grenade at people trying to help a man who was nearly killed after his head "clashed" with a baton-round fired by riot cops.

Scott Olson, the man shot in the head with the baton-round, (essentially a either a hockey puck fired from a grenade launcher or a cloth bag full of birdshot fired from a shot gun) remains in hospital with a fractured skull. He survived two tours of duty with the marines in Iraq before coming home to be shot while fighting for freedom.

I think its pretty clear who the police in this case are serving and protecting, and it ain't the 99%


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Rick Perry is not as think as you stoned he is!

Here are the "high"lights of soon-to-be-former-presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry's recent speech in New Hampshire. If you want to sit through the entire addled trainwreck you can watch it here.

He doesn't look sleepy and he isn't slurring his speech enough for it to be booze and he isn't jumpy and hyper enough for it to be cocaine and his teeth are too nice for it to be meth. He's a bit too animated for it to be weed (though it really reminded me of this), so I'm guessing some kind of hallucinogen, but he's not trying to hug anyone so it probably isn't X and he doesn't have the manic grin or unblinking laser eyes of someone on LSD, so it must be something a bit more obscure - I'm guessing ibogaine.

After all, he wouldn't be the first candidate to get derailed by ibogaine.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

there is a reason that many newspaper websites don't allow comments

And that reason is this: People who comment at newspaper websites are stupid, as are many people who complain to newspapers, as are many people who work for newspapers.

 Pour yourself a drink, I feel a screed a-comin'

Not offense to the fine people that employ me, and my opinions are my own and not intended to represent or reflect theirs or anybody else's.

Simply put, the newspaper story linked to above is a monument to stupidity on all fronts. In a nutshell, two teachers at a public school decided not to have their junior kindergarten students take part in the school's Halloween events and some Sun-TV viewing parent has decided somehow or other that this is political correctness run amok and destroying Canada.

Stupid like this happens all the time.

But in this case the parent has obviously run to the local newspaper and the editor there hasn't been wise or assertive enough to get rid of them and has instead given them a platform for their incoherent objection to the teacher's possibly ill-considered but totally harmless decision. The reporter assigned to the story wasn't smart or assertive enough to either refuse such a stupid assignment or simply come back and tell the editor "there's no story there boss, just some idiot who needs to stop watching Michael Coren and reading the Toronto Sun.." It's either that or the editor and reporter, tired of being harrassed by this dumbell decided to shine a light under this woman's rock in the hopes that she would scurry away rather than embarass her family.

This kind of stupid "let's you and him fight" process of stirring up a false controversy to provide front-page fodder has a long and mostly ignoble history dating back to the yellow journalism of the Hearst papers ginning up the Spanish American War and continuing to the work of Glenn Beck and hate radio. Given the track record of the paper in question, I suspect it is less a case of ginning up a story or stirring the pot for fun and profict and more a case of not being able to tell the Mom "thanks for your call, but we aren't interested. Go peddle crazy someplace else." And not getting a comment - or more likely a "no comment" - from school's principal or the teachers involved is unforgiveable.If they declined to speak and referred the reporter to the board spokesperson, fine, but say so in the story.

And last, but hardly least in the parade of stupid, we have the usual assembly of commenters who take time out of their busy schedule of eating paint chips and masterbating to Rush Limbagh to pen little screeds about how the liberals and immigrants from Whoknowswhereistan are ruining perfectly nice white Christian holidays like Halloween.

The teacher's decision was taken partly, I suspect, to keep the four- and five-year-olds from having the crap scared out of them by the older kids' more gruesome costumes, partly to spare themselves from the risk of Mormon or born-again Christian parents accusing them of teaching Satanism to toddlers and partly to keep from having a bunch of overexcited, overstimulated, candy-jonesing four- and five-year-olds on their hands for the day. Instead, they are doing a nature-themed black-and-orange day for the little ones.

It isn't a decision I would have made. I often scare small children, sometimes even on purpose. I'm absolutely in favour of baiting fundementalist whack jobs ("Think of it as lesson on Comparative Religion, Deacon and Mrs. Smith, I'm sure little Caleb and Faith won't try to have a human sacrifice at home and will save their ritual cannibalism for communion on Sunday") and I would have thought that filling the little bugger full of sugar and then sending them home would have been fitting revenge on their parents for any of a myriad number of sins real or imagined committed against the teachers. But then again, I'm not tough enough to be teaching junior kindergarten.

And you can be sure revenge in some form will be taken against the blameless kid involved. Their file will have "this kid's mom is a nut who will call the media anytime the mood strikes her" stamped all over it and teachers will from now on treat the poor child like a beaker of nitroglycerine, meaning that anything off the beaten track in terms of educational experiences or source material will be strictly verboten.

The concerned mom, worried that her little treasure won't get to have the bejezzus scared out of him or her or get to show off the $10 princess trollop jr.or mega-macho action-man costume from Value Village to her classmates, thus denying mommy the chance to compete with other mommies, even raises the spectre of the War on Christmas.
 “We’re losing Canada — in Canada,” (name removed in hopes of avoiding annoying lawyery emails) said Friday, stressing schools celebrated Halloween as a slightly ghoulish but fun unofficial holiday when she was a child, but are increasingly turning away from this. “They’re taking away my choice as a parent. This is my culture. I’m from Canada.”...(snip)...
“I don’t want it to be a black-and-orange day,” (name removed in hopes of avoiding annoying lawyery emails) countered, saying she’s now anxious about whether celebrating other traditions may be nixed, including Christmas.
“How much more of Canadian culture are we going to lose?”
She carries on as if the teachers are serving beaver curry and have cut up the flag to make a turban for the her daughter to wear to the human sacrifice and Constitution bonfire. Granted, I've been out of the country for a few years, but when did trick-or-treat day join hockey, the RCMP, maple syrup and complaining about the damn French/Les maudit Anglais as the cornerstone of our national identity?

She's Canadian, we get it. That and $5 will get her a double-double and an apple fritter at Tim's - so what? I can only assume from her insistence on asserting her Canadianess that she thinks denying her little one a chance to participate in the Halloween festivities is somehow the work of nefarious non-Canadian forces.

That is certainly the message the trolls who came out from under their bridges in the comments at the site seized on.I'm not sure what foreign culture they think is being catered to since no one outside of North America pays any attention to Halloween and the only cultural group in North America that objects to it are the Mormons and Christian Taliban who think its a celebration of witchcraft that will turn their kids into cross-dressing Satanic gay readers of Harry Potter novels or some such nonsense.

I don't recall ever seeing troops of Turks, Italians, Brazillians or Chinese out demonstrating against Halloween. I haven't seen any anti-Halloween rallies organized by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews or Rastafarians. Who exactly do these dimwitted commenters think is destroying their culture?

The so-called politically correct crowd don't have anything against Halloween. It has long been the holiday of choice for those pursing lifestyle choices that don't meet with conservative approval. A chance to dress up and act out? A pagan festival when everyone is a weirdo? Giving away stuff to kids? Going all out to freak out the squares? Getting free stuff from property owners? How much more of a rainbow-freak-flag counterculture approved event can you get?
These xenophobic idiots see some kind of nefarious conspiracy to steal their cultural identity every time they hear someone say 'happy holidays' - I just wish they would get it over with, send Bill O'Reilly or Pat Robertson their life savings, go Galt once and for all and leave the rest of us alone.

So, to sum up; Stupid teachers, stupid mom, stupid or lazy newspaper people and stupid, stupid, stupid with bigot-sauce commentors.

Happy Halloween!


happy Halloween

 go easy on the treats, folks!