1 CAN’T LET PAUL THE DRINKS DISPENSER HAVE ALL THE FUN So let me get this straight. In 1979 increasing the gas tax to close the federal deficit was a deal breaker. In 2006 increasing the gas tax to pay for environmental plans dealing with climate change was a deal breaker. But in 2011, increasing the gas tax to pay for sports stadiums is a go? That’s the only way municipalities such as Regina could pay for their infrastructure repairs and a new football stadium at the same time. (Leader-Post)

2 BUT BULLWINKLE, THAT TRICK NEVER WORKS The basis of Obama’s new Egyptian strategy is to champion the CIA’s main contact in the Mubarak government as a champion of democracy (Al Jazeera). Not that anybody cares in North America … (The Globe and Mail).

3 IPAD MARK THREE? Why bother with that clunky, outmoded iPad 2that’s not even out yet? (Huffington Post)

4 YOU THINK? Beer commercials are … GASP? … directed at underage males? Should come as no surprise since a person’s brand loyalty to anything – beer, computers, cars, sports teams – is almost always set at an early age. (Slate)

5 KEEP SMILING ON THOSE BELL IPHONES I know (trust me) that depression is a serious mental health issue in Canada. But something tells me that if Bell (not to mention the Globe and Mail, which is also owned by Bell) didn’t promise some money to one of Canada’s best Olympic athletes, she probably would have kept her story of depression to herself (The Globe and Mail).

6 THE FUTURE OF ‘TOUGH ON CRIME’ If Harper’s junta wants to implement its ‘more jails for more criminals’ plan, they should take a look at what’s happening in the United States …. where Oklahoma and Texas are now fast tracking inmate releases in order to deal with prison overcrowding and ballooning state deficits (MSNBC), and Pennsylvania, where a judge took part in a $2.8 million scheme to send that state’s young offenders to privately-run prisons, even though they were charged, on the whole, with minor crimes. (New York Times via Lawyers Guns and Money) What they are, we’re going to be, if Harper has his way.

I hadn’t heard much from The Decembrists, mostly because I’ve never been that big a fan of bands trying to be the next Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. But their latest album, which sees them head into spooky folk music, is something that’s ear-wormed its way into my iPod. Here’s the Decemberists, with harmony vocals by Gillian Welch, singing Down By The Water on a recent episode of Conan.