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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Former GOP honcho nets $8 million in armed robbery

headlines we should have seen:
Former House of Representative leader Dick "Dick" Armey pulls off $8 million gunpoint stick-up.

No, I am not exaggerating. Dick Armey walked into the Tea Party office with a gun-toting "aide" and six days later, he's paid $400,000 a year for the next 20 years, just to go away. That's $8 million dollars, just so some millionaire can make it look like his anti-public health care lobbying effort is some kind of  grassroots movement by bigoted yahoos. Read the whole story and ask yourself why anyone takes the so-called tea party seriously as a popular movement instead of a massive attempt by weathy crackpots to buy themselves a government. (Psst, guess what? The tea party now controls 26 state legislatures)

Also, too - scenes from the Voyage of the Damned aka the National Review Online at sea


Monday, December 17, 2012

The real meaning of Christmas and Christianity

This is what real Christianity looks and sounds like: People trying to help those who are less fortunate than themselves. As an agnostic Internet clergyman, I give religions people a lot of shit, especially fundamentalist Christians whackjobs who think Jesus wants the United States to have a bigger defence budget and claim that God lets school shootings happen because the secular government has taken prayer out of public school. Those people are worthy of scorn because they ignore one of the central pillars of Christian philosophy. Phrase it however you like: The Golden Rule, Matthew 25:40 - my favorite reduction is Wil Wheaton's Law - but they all boil down to the same thing more or less: Be nice to each other, take care of each other, share.
All credit to the people who signed at the bottom of this piece and good luck to them throwing the moneychangers out of the temple.

from the Vancouver Sun:
(all bolding by me)

By Louise Mangan
President, Interspiritual Centre of Vancouver Society

on behalf of the 31 signatories named below
As leaders in communities of spirit and faith, we are concerned about the new normal in our society. Sights that should shock us to our core are hardly noticed anymore: a tiny, elderly woman rummaging through the garbage; a man sleeping on the sidewalk, shuddering from the cold; a young woman begging with a toddler clinging to her leg. At some point, as a people, we stopped noticing and caring. Now is the time to notice and care again.
B.C. has the highest poverty rate in Canada and, before this year, had the highest rate of child poverty for eight years in a row. Poverty here largely affects the working poor. Single mothers, Indigenous people, recent immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities are especially vulnerable. More than half a million British Columbians lived in poverty in 2010, the most recent year for which we have statistics.
The gap between the rich and the poor is also growing. A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) confirmed that the income gap in Canada is at a record high, which places Canada 26th out of 34 countries. Within Canada, B.C. has the largest gap between rich and poor.
The poverty and inequality that such statistics represent is altering and distorting our society. In 2009, British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett found that virtually every marker of wellbeing in wealthy societies — from wellness, academic achievement and life expectancy to illiteracy, violence and mental illness — is affected not by how rich the society is, but rather by how equal it is. Wellbeing for everyone improves with equality, whereas societies with a bigger gap between the rich and poor experience more social ills, affecting everyone, including the well-off.
The lack of comprehensive action from our provincial and federal governments suggests they have not heeded these findings. The OECD report confirms that poverty and inequality in Canada reflect intentional choices by governments. Prior to the mid-1990s, our system of taxation and social spending was as effective as in Nordic countries, stabilizing 70 per cent of the rise in inequality. Since then, the positive effects of redistribution have declined by 30 per cent. Current strategies are intensifying inequality instead of easing it.
These choices flow from a belief system that holds economic growth as the ultimate value and believes a prosperous business community produces growth that trickles down through society. Unfortunately, as the OECD secretary-general points out, the trickle down of wealth to the rest of society is just not happening. The theories behind the policies are “not working.” In fact, according to reports from the International Monetary Fund and the Conference Board of Canada, inequality can diminish economic growth.
Still, governments continue to invest public resources in efforts to entice business activity to come or stay here. They provide corporations with infrastructure, tax concessions, subsidies, favourable labour policies, and access to the natural resources of the commons. As corporate incentives expand, funds for targeted benefits and essential services shrink. The resulting re-allocation of public wealth into private wealth has measurable negative effects on equality, wellbeing, natural habitat and economic stability for all of society, and means poverty for those on the lower tiers. 
The OECD suggests remedies that echo the proposals of the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition. Both recommend increased investment in integrated approaches to education, starting with quality childcare and early learning and continuing into adult years; well-conceived income support policies and government benefits for low-income groups; and freely accessible and high quality public services in health and family care.
To have the most impact, these changes should be part of a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy with legislated targets and timelines. B.C. is one of the last provinces without one. Other places are saving lives and benefiting their economies by tackling poverty directly, and are simultaneously improving the long-term health and wellbeing of whole societies. As leaders and participants in communities of spirit, we believe it’s time our province did too.
Instead of focusing on economic growth at any cost, we need to focus on the health and sustainability of our society by bolstering the caring sector and upholding the strengths we need to face the social and environmental challenges ahead. We seek leaders with the vision and courage to share with citizens the work of crafting an effective caring culture. The work of caring for one another is the work of healing persons, communities and our natural world. This is the kind of richness we really need.
We are now in the time of year when our hearts are strongly moved by generosity. We give because we care about those who would otherwise go without. In fact, B.C. is one of the most generous provinces in Canada if we compare charitable donations across the country. But consider the gift of a can donated to a food bank — and then think of how much more powerful the gift of justice and equality would be. Making sure that everyone can have an adequate standard of living is the kind of gift that truly keeps on giving.
We can give this gift together. Let’s make it happen.
Signed by:
Erik Bjorgan, Pastor, Deo Lutheran Church, Salmon Arm; Christine Boyle, Spirited Social Change, Vancouver Pastor; Carol J. Dennison, Faith Lutheran Church, Powell River; Dave Diewert, Streams of Justice, Vancouver; Susan Grace Draper, Faith in Action, Victoria; Steven Epperson, Minister, Vancouver Unitarian Church; Steven Faraher-Amidon, South Fraser Unitarian Church; Gary Gaudin, Ordained Minister, South Arm United Church, Richmond; Reverend Doctor Murray Groom, Minister, Sylvan United Church, Vancouver Island; Jonquil Hallgate, Surrey Urban Mission; Joyce Harris, Sisters of St. Ann, Victoria; Marianna Harris, Chair, Faithful Public Witness Community, Vancouver Burrard Presbytery, United Church of Canada; Reverend Doctor Sarah L. Harris, Director, Compassion Globally, Vancouver; Laura Holland, a founding member of the Aboriginal Women’s Action Network (AWAN), Vancouver; Hans Kratz, Chair, KAIROS Parksville/Qualicum; Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr., Four Worlds International Institute; Margaret Marquardt, Co-Chair of Eco-Justice Unit, Anglican Diocese of New Westminster; Ric Matthews, Executive Minister, New Way Community, Vancouver; Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr, Bishop, BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Barry Morris, Longhouse Council of Native Ministry; Reverend Doctor Harold Munn, Anglican Mentor-in-Residence, Vancouver School of Theology; Barry Nelson, Cathedral of Mary Immaculate, Development & Peace Committee, Nelson; Sergio Petrucci, Prince George Diocesan Council for the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace; Sandra Severs, Deputy Executive Minister, New Way Community, Vancouver; Mary Murray Shelton, Minister, Centre for Spiritual Living, Vancouver; Keith Simmonds, United Church Minister, Trail; Social Justice Committee, Pilgrim United Church, Colwood; Social Responsibility Committee, First Unitarian Church of Victoria; Eleanor Stebner, J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, SFU; Rebecca Tobias, Global Trustee, United Religions Initiative, Vancouver; Peggy Wilmot, Faith in Action, Victoria.


It is our game, not theirs

Jack Todd goes end-to-end and puts one right through Gary Bettman's five-hole (which is not anything like as dirty as it sound, get your mind out of the gutter, ya damned preeverts!)
Todd is entirely correct, the NHL owners cannot own hockey as long as players play the game.
As much as I love the Habs, I get most of my hockey fix from watching OHL and Jr. B games. Sure, I miss the NHL, but it isn't like I can afford to go to a game or anything.

(a tip of the CCM brain-bucket to my Dad for spotting the Todd column)


Freedumb to own push-button death machines must never be curtailed!

  • Apparently there are people in America who follow mass shootings the way some people used to follow the Grateful Dead.
  • Another member of the "well regulated militia" is heard from in California.
  • Just another law-abiding gun owner and firearms hobbyist in Indiana.
  • Yet one more responsible gun owner .
  • I couldn't agree more: "Fuck You, Guns"
  • And fuck this guy, twice, sideways. This idiotic notion that the solution to gun violence is more guns is about as logical as saying the solution to a gas leak is more lit matches. Police responding to the scene of a shooting are not going to be able to tell the good guys from the bad by the black and white hats and just because you happen to have a gun handy in an emergency doesn't mean you can hit squat with it (innocent bystanders not included). Also, there is the chance that a backfiring car or a child pointing a stick at you is liable to spark a massive accidental firefight among the school staff. 
  • And for sheer lack of self-awareness, the former Confederate Yankee, Gun Counter Gomer hisself, has this post sandwiched between his posts blaming Clackmass mall shooting on society and explaining how the AR-15 is just a tool ( but neglecting to mention that it is a tool purpose-built for killing people) and his post on the Newton school shooting blaming rap music, Hollywood and video games and the culture of "killing for pleasure."
  • First there was the shit-fit thrown over Bob Costas mentioning that maybe guns might not be so wonderful during a holy football game, but now football fans have really show how kkklassy they can be.
From your "cold, dead hands," you say? Fine with me.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Just another day in America

NEWTOWN, Conn. — As gunshots echoed through an elementary school in Connecticut on Friday, children huddled in the corners and closets where desperate teachers had tried to hide them from the gunman who had invaded their school.
By the time it was over, 28 people, including 20 children the gunman and his own mother were dead, and a nation was left struggling to put some kind of context to its latest school massacre.... 
 (snip of comments from Barack Obama about how tragic it all is) 
...The suspect this time is 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who is believed to have killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, a teacher at the school, before driving to the facility in her car with an arsenal that is now believed to have included at least five guns.Reports in the wake of the shooting said Lanza suffered from some type of personality disorder.

"some type of personality disorder" geez, YA THINK?!?!?! Another day, another meat robot with faulty wiring and a firearms collection. Earlier in the week it was shopping mall, now an elementary school. I'm not even surprised by these mass shootings anymore, they only seem to happen on days that end in a "Y." Seriously, America, get some collective therapy and ditch the fixation with the goddamned push-button death machines. Stockpiling guns doesn't make anyone 'free' or defend anyones' 'rights' they just lead to people getting dead, which is exactly what they are designed and built to do. So quit acting surprised or appalled when some lawabiding freedom loving 'hobbyist' with an armory in his basement suddenly has a bad day and decides to use his gun collection for exactly what guns are made to do: kill.

Quit spending money on guns and stupidity and start taking care of the mentally ill, and by taking care of them I do not mean electing more of them to Congress.

And the first dingbat who claims that this all could have been avoided if the principal or teachers had been packing a .45 wins a chance at a (figurative) boot in the plums.

update: less than ten minutes later and I didn't even have to go surfing anywhere I don't regularly visit. Fuck you Glenn Reynolds,  you miserable piece of gun-loving shit. I hope the ghosts of those six-year olds haunt your every moment for the rest of your pathetic life.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Santa doesn't send threatening cards

From the Huffington Post Canada:

abbotsford police santa

In the spirit of the holidays, Abbotsford police are sending Christmas cards to gangsters and drug dealers featuring the police chief dressed as Santa in tactical gear.
A message in the card says: "We believe it is never too late to make a better choice for your life. For the sake of your family & for your own sake, consider 2013 the year you choose a new & better life. Make your New Year’s resolution now! We’re here to help."
The cards are being sent to "prolific offenders, property offenders and persons known for drug and gang activity," said police in a news release Monday.
Call me oversensitive, but if the police sent a card like this to me, my first call would be to the crown attorney to ask that they be charged with sending me threatening mail. My next call would be a civil litigator to sue the department for harrassment. Given that the police have been known to shoot people from time to time, I think it would be considered a credible threat. What's the difference between this and the cops sending out a note like this with "happy Valentine's Day" printed on the back?

pics on Sodahead

As to the cops Christmas card list of  supposed ne'er-do-wells, I imagine a good trial lawyer might have something to say about presumption of innocence and predjudical treatment should any of them land in court.
If you sent a neighbour you had repeatedly quarrelled with this kind of picture with note that said "You better stop letting your dog shit on my lawn or else" and were known to own guns, well, as they say "I am not lawyer, but..."  You can bet that if one of the recipients of these cards sent back a photo of themselves with an assault rifle that read "thinking of you this Christmas" they would be in jail by Boxing Day.
If someone from the Occupy Movement had themselves photographed as Saint Nick holding a bag of feathers and a pail of hot tar and sent it out to a bunch of  Wall Street types with the message "He knows if you've been bad or good, so you better be good for goodness sake" just imagine the howls of outrage. Don't think for a second they wouldn't be prosecuted. Why should the police be treated differently?


Thursday, December 06, 2012

A statement from the police or his plans for the weekend?

Quote of the day from the Associated Press:

In dealing with marijuana, the Seattle Police Department told its 1,300 officers on Wednesday, just before legalization took hold, that until further notice they shall not issue citations for public marijuana use.
Officers will be advising people not to smoke in public, police spokesman Jonah Spangenthal-Lee wrote on the SPD Blotter. "The police department believes that, under state law, you may responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a 'Lord of the Rings' marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to."
He offered a catchy new directive referring to the film "The Big Lebowski," popular with many marijuana fans: "The Dude abides, and says 'take it inside!'"


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Better living through chemistry

Every once in a while I am reminded of Arthur C. Clarke's maxim that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Also, I am reminded that every once in a while a gigantic corporation does something really good for the world and doesn't insist on squeezing everyone to make a huge profit.
This is one of those times.

From the "you can't make this stuff up department"

The best part? Aside from having a quick, cheap, effective way to get clean water, the guy heading up the effort is named "Allgood"


Monday, November 26, 2012

Stopping the gravy train

to make room on the track for the Schadenfreude Express!

Since the lawyers and the judge obviously didn't get through to him, let me put this in terms Rob Ford will understand: Coach, when there is a penalty flag on the play for say an ineligible receiver or pass interference, you don't get to go out on the field and tell the ref what the call is. You can stand on the sidelines and yell all you want, but it is the ref's decision and you don't get any say in the matter. In fact, if you do go out on the field and tell the ref "that was too an eligible receiver and we refuse to move the ball back and give up the gain and by the way, screw you and your seeing-eye dog! Just because your mother got knocked by a zebra doesn't mean you can tell me what to do, I'm  the coach and my team loves me!" the referee is going to throw you out of the game. If you don't  give in and play by the rules, you might end up forfeiting the game.

And no matter what Marni Soupcoff, her husband and her parking lot attendant think, being elected mayor doesn't give you legal immunity when you break the law.

And it doesn't matter how "authentic" Crusty Blatchford thinks you are, you've been at city hall long enough to have heard the phrase "conflict of interest" used and to know it is something to avoid. It wasn't left wing political tricks that made you break the rules. Willful belligerent ignorance may be your style, but it isn't a very good legal defence.

And it doesn't matter whether you or the National Post editorial board or even the judge agree with the way the law is written or the penalties it lays out. You break the law and get caught, you pay the price. Changing the law is whole other kettle of fish.

You might ask the other Paul Magder. He might know something about that.


The Democrats should be so lucky

This is a real column in a real newspaper, not an article from the Onion or some piece of snark from the Daily Show. And the scary part is that about 15 to 20 percent of the voting public in the United States would think it was wise, incisive political analysis.


She's hot, she's blue collar, she's electable.

November 18, 2012|By Charlotte Allen

The Republican Party has been doing a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing since the presidential election. Half the conservative columnists and bloggers say the GOP lost because it overemphasized social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. The other half says the party didn't emphasize them enough. And everyone denounces Project ORCA, the campaign's attempt to turn out voters via technology.

But I've got a suggestion for cutting short the GOP angst: Sarah Palin for president in 2016.
You think I'm joking? Think again.

Honestly, go read the whole thing and ask yourself a few questions - like how long before we see an "exploratory committee" so she can grift some more cash from the gullible fundraise? And who at the Los Angeles Times management level was photographed having sex with a cub scout and how did Charlotte Allen get the negatives? You think I'm joking? Think again.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Res Ipsa Loquitor

Actual screen capture. To say anything further would be superfluous.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

I think we have reached peak stupid

Via Tbogg

THOMAS JEFFERSON, a denunciation of slavery, 1785
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it…The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances … if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is to be born to live and labor for another … or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him … Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever.


Friday, November 02, 2012

While I was away from the blog...

  • I bought a house!
  • The East Coast got slammed with a hurricane
  • The Excited States got ready to elect a president. Somehow, it is considered to be a close race. Damned if I can understand how it could be close, but then George W. Bush beat John Kerry so clearly anything is possible if you feed the stupids enough horseshit.  But really, how the hell is this thing even close?

Now try to imagine Mitt "we should privatize FEMA" Romney in this photo. Just try.

Can't do it, can you?


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Catching up on my reading

I bet you thought I'd forgotten about this little project of mine to read 50 books this year. Admittedly, I seem to have fallen behind, what with switching jobs and house hunting and general laziness, but in fact I have not fallen behind on the reading part (at least not much) just on the reporting-what-I've-read part. So here is the latest list:

21. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

If you are over 40, this YA sensation is better than you think it will be. If you are under 30, this book is not as good as you think it is. Still, it is better than the movie. Girl who likes to hunt meets boy who likes to hunt. Girl gets sent to arena by fascist government, meets other gladiator boy. Girl kills just about everybody. Author cashes fat cheque.

22. Fraud by David Rakoff
A collection of various stuff that appeared elsewhere, most of it very funny in a New Yorker/This American Life/McSweeny's kind of way. I was about three quarters of the way through this when David Rakoff died, which kinda freaked me out, as the last time that happened was when I was rereading Great Shark Hunt for the umpteenth time and Hunter Thompson checked out. It made me a bit nervous for Neil Gaiman

23. Stories: All New Tales edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio

A great anthology of spooky stories by a bunch of authors including a good one by @Neilhimself. Other standouts: Walter Mosely's vampire tale, Roddy Doyle story about actual bloodlust and Joyce Carol Friggin' Oates! 

24. On a Cold Road by Dave Bidini

Having always enjoyed Bidini newspaper stuff  and his great work with the Rheostatics, I figured a collection of anecdotes about rock bands touring Canada would be a natural. I figured right. I read this in pretty much a single sitting, but it also a great book for just picking up and reading a few pages at random since most of the stories from various rockers great and small are quite short.

25. Gulliver's Travels by John Swift

One of the most famous satires ever written and for good reason. The damn thing is about 300 years old now and still stands up as topical, which is a pretty damn good trick. I envy anyone who has never read it, because that means they get to read it for the first time, something I don't to do, though it was pretty damn good for a book I've now read four times.

26. My Boring Ass Life by Kevin Smith

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous,  the utter profane director of Clerks put out a a book of his blog/diary entries. It's about four hundred pages of him shitting, picking up fast food and watching DVDs, so at least it is accurately titled. There are flashes of brilliant writing though, like the thirty or so pages of his describing Jason Mewes battles with drug addiction, which is absolutely gripping. If you hate his movies, you won't be reading this. I like his movies and his podcasts are often funny. The book is kinda meh, but does have its moments.

27. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Second book of the Hunger Games trilogy. Girl survives fascist government gladiator games, girl gets confused about which boy she likes, girl gets sent back for more gladitorial games. Girl kills almost everybody. The movie will not be as good and teenage fan purists will complain about the casting.

28. Callahan's Legacy by Spider Robinson

No reading list of mine would ever be complete without Spider Robinson. Not his best book, not even the best Callahan's book, but as Woody Allen once said about orgasms, the worst one I ever had was right on the money. I just picked this up off the shelf one day and reread it while procrastinating doing some freelance projects. I love Spider's style so much, I think I'd enjoy reading his shopping lists. He also used to do some great podcasts. If anyone at CBC had a brain in their head, they would throw a bale of money at him to fill in when Stuart Maclean is on holidays. Go buy two of all his books, right now. 

29. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Third book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Girl joins revolution. Girl is reunited with boy who likes to hunt. Girl rescues other boy. Girl learns about PTSD. This will be the worst movie of the three, unless it saved by Donald Sutherland chewing the scenery as the fascist dictator. Not the worst YA scifi I've ever read, but not nearly as good as Cory Doctorow's Little Brother.

30. Side Jobs by Jim Butcher

A collection of short stories from the universe of the Dresden Files - Jim Butcher's Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden is a sort of cross between a fledgling Gandalf and Philip Marlowe. It isn't often you find a hard-boiled fantasy novel, but Butcher's series is great geeky fun. It's well written and original enough to avoid being overly cheesy while still paying homage to the fantasy and noir canon. 

31. Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

The latest novel in the Dresden Files series, of which I have read all of them in the last two years and I think he's at 13 and counting. The next one is due out next year AFAIK. These thing are like potato chips, I tend to devour them by the bag-full.

So there you have it, an update on my progress. I have a couple or three more books on the go at the moment and when I finish them, I'll do another update. I still have three months to get in another 20 books so stay tuned to see if I can make my goal of 50 for the year....


Friday, September 21, 2012

I almost feel sorry for Mittens...almost

Jon Stewart at his absolute finest, he practically has steam coming out of his ears. The Democrats should be airing this morning noon and night until the election on any channel that will sell them time. Anyone who can watch this and still believe a word uttered on Fox News or vote for Romney is either an aspiring fascist plutocrat or a few sandwiches short of a full picnic basket. http://www.wikio.com

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Saturday, September 08, 2012

books are stored wisdom, read some!

Think of them as analog Kindles, Nooks, or Kobos, or like really long blogs posts that you have printed off to read later.


Monday, September 03, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

seven statements that prove Margaret Wente is an idiot

Is there anything more tedious than a professional contrarian with a newspaper column? You know the type, they are everywhere - those who can be relied upon to always zig when society zags just because they fancy themselves courageous rebels taking a stand for "freedom" or "common sense" by doing or saying stupid things just because they are the opposite of what everyone else is doing or saying.

I'm not talking about people who dislike top 40 music because it is top 40 music - unless you are a 12-year-old girl or tone deaf or actually hate music and have an IQ around room temperature (in other words American Idol's target audience) hating top 40 music is common sense. Nickleback really does suck. They have sold millions of records to people who don't actually like music but feel the marketing-driven need to consume pop culture. Their music is like a not-so-clever imitation of actual rock music, in the same way a paint-by-numbers copy of the Mona Lisa is an imitation of actual art. But I digress.

I'm talking about the sort of people who, because doctors say too much fat is bad for you, insist on eating nothing but bacon at every meal. The sort of people who mark Earth Hour by turning on every light and appliance in the house and idling their Humvee in the driveway for an hour. The kind of people who regularly say things like "Experts? ha, what do they know?" or "just because its on the news/in the newspaper/in a textbook/in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, doesn't mean it is true, my gut feeling tells me it is false!" or "Ha, all you sheeple think X is true just because of so-called 'evidence' and 'statistics' and 'math' - that's how I know Y is true!" These are the people psychologists talk about when they discuss the Dunning-Krueger effect.

One such person is Margaret Wente. She has had a long and successful career in the newspaper biz on the basis of a few things, one of which is undoubtably very thick skin. I suspect another is the ability to make herself such a pain the ass to her coworkers and superiors that she has often been promoted out of the way - a process often referred to as "failing up."

Anyone who has had the misfortune to read her column on a regular basis already knows this, but for those lucky enough to have dodged that particular bullet, I submit this article as proof: Margaret Wente "7 Things You Can't Say In Canada"

Wente's article is little more than a list of "sacred cows" that no one but brave little her dares to kick, with little or no evidence to support any of her claims. Her list:

  • 1. Margaret Atwood writes some awful books. (none of which are named, naturally)
  • 2. Recycling is a waste of time and money. (Maggie is the kind of person who thinks bailing out the leaking boat is a waste of time, what you really need to do is make some more holes to let the water out)
  • 3. Only private enterprise can save health care. (apparently the ghost of Tommy Douglas will haunt you if you say this out loud)
  • 4. David Suzuki is bad for the environment. (see number two)
  • 5. A national day care program won't do a thing to help poor kids. (except allow both their parents to get jobs and earn money, thus making the family less poor)
  • 6. The Group of Seven are overexposed genre painters (she may not know art, but she knows what she likes)
  • 7. The United States is the world's greatest force for good. (Yes, you must never say this in the America's biggest trading partner and closest ally or you will join all the other conservatives in the liberal anti-american re-education camp we built that everyone else calls Alberta.)

First, the fact that such an article being published in the Canadian edition of Reader's Digest pretty much proves that not only can you say these things Canada, but that you can be paid handsomely to say them in a mass market magazine that generally publishes the literary and journalistic equivalent of rice pudding. Second, every single thing she says is idiotic, reactionary, meaningless nonsense that is being spouted simple for the sake of trying to start an argument. An argument that Wente would then inevitably lose and then proceed to claim that because someone took issue with her saying something as  dumb as "David Suzuki is bad for the environment" proves that she is a courageous maverick who bad people want to censor.

Look Margaret, saying "the earth is flat" is not insightful, it is not clever and it is not true. Claiming that by saying it, you have somehow kicked a sacred cow or declared that the emperor wears no clothes is  not just bullshit ("my heavens. just look how outrageous I am! Is there anything I won't dare to do? Watch out, I might wear white after Labour Day!") but exceedingly tedious, attentions-seeking bullshit that most people grow out of before they finish high school.

Addendum: Just to be crystal clear, I have no problem with Wente saying whatever she wants. Free speech being promised by the constitution and all that, she can blather on about what ever she likes, but free speech being promised in the constitution and all that, I can blather on all I want about how stupid her blathering are. That isn't censorship, that is criticism. And there is nothing in the constitution promising that no one will critique your stupidity when you exercise your freedom of speech.


Monday, August 06, 2012

Tell me again how 'government can't do anything'

 These are photos from Mars, taken by a nuclear-powered truck that a bunch of hairless monkeys landed there by remote-control sky-crane from a planet away. I was able to download them from the internet less than 20 minutes after the aformentioned atomic space truck landed. Doing so cost about one fifth of the cost of the London Olympics.
Sometimes our species disgusts me and makes me wonder how we ever made it out of the caves.
Sometimes not so much.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Which side are you on, MacKay?

Conservative legacy hire Peter MacKay, Minister of Defence and CPC capo for Atlantic Canada, gives a speech at the French Embassy on Bastille Day (video not an exact match, but you get the idea)

This illustrates a few things: First, that MacKay knows as much about history as he does geography. Second, that he must write his own speeches and may think he is American. Third, the millions of dollars the CPC has decided to spend celebrating the War of 1812 hasn't been spent on briefing cabinet members on what the War of 1812 actually was.
I bet as part of the cutbacks, they brought in a highly-paid consultant who just made them watch this movie trailer and told them it was a documentary made up of contemporary newsreel footage. It would have to be newsreel film, everybody knows they didn't have videotape back in the early 19th century, right Minister MacKay?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

thou shalt not bear false witness

Someone thinks this story should make you angry about the big bad government and how it discriminates against poor persecuted Christians and robs people of fundamental liberties with its jackbooted thugs and politically-correct commissars. In other words, it is a typical SUN news story.

Naturally the story of how Michael Salman has been mercilessly hounded by the prayer police and thrown into prison for studying the bible in his own home and helping lead people to Jesus has been making the rounds of the all the conservative and christian websites, where the "morns" have been lapping it up like manna from heaven.

A little basic research and you realize that the SUN has left out a few inconvenient facts, in other words, it is a typical SUN news story.

Even FOX News and a conspiracy-mongering libertarian website did better jobs at presenting more than one side of the story. And these guys seem to have gone over the internet with a fine-toothed comb to find the good pastor's previous criminal convictions for impersonating a police officer, involvement in a drive-by shooting and a number of indications that he has been engaged in less-than-honest business practices.

Essentially, this boob has built a 2000 square foot church in his backyard and hosts services three times a week. The building does not conform with the building code or zoning requirements for a church. And despite his making a big martyr-flavoured whoop-de-doo about surrendering himself to go to jail, the authorities sent him home. But don't tell the rubes on the internet or that read the SUN that, or they might not get outraged about "liberal persecution" and send money to this con man.

Honestly, we require other consumable products to carry a label listing ingredients. If the SUN had to do likewise the label would read something like: "10% stereo ads, 10% hometown sports boosterism, 2% cheesecake, 77 % sheer bullshit, 1% white space.


if they gave out awards for sheer brass...

Then Lord Tubby would certainly get one, with crossed swords, oak leaf clusters and bar.
But they don't.
People who renounce their Canadian citizenship to accept foreign honours should automatically be stripped of the Order of Canada, as should people who disgrace the Order by being convicted of serious criminal offences.
They stripped Alan Eagleson of his Order of Canada and, despite his being a complete and total crook and slipperier than a greased weasel, he did actually make a contribution to the country and to the sport of hockey. Unlike Conrad Black, the Eagle at least has the enough shame to accept that he did not deserve the honour.
Unlike Eagleson who was instrumental in putting together the 1972 Canada-Russia series while lining his pockets, Conrad Black, has contributed zero to the nation. Anything he has done, he has done to line his own pockets and achieve his own ends.
At the very most, I suppose it could be argued that he did do Canada a small service by taking Barbarella Amiel off the dating circuit, but I hardly think that saving a handful of media executives and faux aristocrats from here tender ministrations hardly merits the Order of Canada.
If – and it is a big if – there has been a net benefit to the nation as a result of his actions, it has been purely accidental and more likely than not a result of his inability to figure a way to keep the cash in his own grasping, grubby paws.
The board of advisors to the Order of Canada does not owe Conrad Black a hearing, it owes him naught but the back of its collective hand.
Canada owes Conrad Black absolutely nothing and as a convicted felon and foreign citizen he should count himself extremely fortunate that we allow him to enter the country at all.

Though he did inspire a great song.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

why is this man smiling?

This photo of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty with Canada's last penny cost taxpayers $56,000. 
That is more than many rank and file public servants make in a year. That is the annual salary of a nurse or government clerk or soldier.
So, the next time you get pissed off about how long you had to wait to get get your tax refund or passport processed, or why the hospital emergency room is closed on Sunday or why your friend got laid off from their government job, just remember that this is how the party of fiscal responsibility spends your money on themselves.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

This Search Engine Kills Fascists

While we in Canada had a crown-wearing Beaver for our national birthday Google Doodle, our neighbours to the south were treated to the work of one of their greatest patriots,  who would have been 100 years old on July 12 14.

Naturally, this did not sit well with the very people Woody claimed his guitar killed. Mainly because, as one of the commenters at Tbogg points out, these people are nuttier than squirrel poop.
And so, we have a little song from Woody for Twitter users @MarciDPorter @DeusVult1911 @PL1776 and @JammieWF