Four in the Afternoon: There’s Cats Puking At The End Of This Post

4 in the Afternoon 1 ENVIRONMENT CLEANUP COSTS CRAZY Federal Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan has released a new audit suggesting that costs to clean up contaminated resource extraction sites and the like will run around the $7.7 billion mark, and cautioned against lax environmental oversight, which sounds depressingly familiar.

2 SASKATCHEWAN SERVER PROTECTS POUTINE Well, sort of. Elections Canada apparently tracked Pierre Poutine to a proxy server in Saskatchewan, but that trail’s gone cold. The proxy server would have let Poutine disguise “his” IP address – and thus “his” identity – when accessing “his” account with Rack Nine, the centre at the centre of Robocallgate. It also would have let “him” watch stuff on Hulu. Pierre Poutine’s got it figured out, people.

3 WHITE HOUSE GAY MARRIAGE TANGO After Joe Biden told David Gregory on this weekend’s Meet the Press that he was totally cool with gay dudes and ladies getting all kinds of gay married, one has to imagine that White House press secretary Jay Carney immediately poured himself a stiff drink and put on his favourite Guided By Voices record for the last half-hour of pleasure he would know for quite some time. The Washington press corps has apparently been relentless, pressing the guy with a bunch of variations on “Well what is President Obama’s opinion, then, buddy.” Over fifty questions in one day, to be precise. Ha ha wow wouldn’t it be crazy if the Washington press corps hivemind was this rabid about oh I don’t know let’s say drone bombings I mean wouldn’t that just be nuts

4 WHERE THE WILD THINGS WERE American author and illustrator Maurice Sendak has died. Sendak, whose works include the utterly classic Where The Wild Things Are, treated kids not like lesser creatures but like the tiny half-formed adults they are, with complex emotions and a love of weirdness and darkness, and so he wasn’t afraid to scare the existential shit out of them sometimes. There’s a bunch of great memorials out there today; check out the ones from NPR’s Fresh Air, the Guardian, Slate, the New Yorker, and of course the New York Times, the latter of which might have actually made me cry. If you’ve still got it in you – or want to know what dude was about in his own words – the Globe and Mail ran an interview with him last year that was both characteristic and totally timeless.

FEEL BETTER WITH THIS VIDEO OF CATS PUKING SOUNDTRACKED BY ELECTRO HOUSE No wait don’t go I swear this is more worth it that it sounds

At Least The City Of Regina Is Thinking About Sports And Literacy At The Same Time

In a bold gambit to at least appear as if the reworking of the Regina Public Library’s Central branch is somehow as important as STADIUM STADIUM STADIUM, the City of Regina has asked the provincial government for $100 million extra to fund both projects. (CBC) Granted, the library is still being referred to as the RPL while the stadium gets its fancy “Regina Revitalization Initiative” title, but baby steps, here, people.

Well, maybe. It’s worth noting that the stadium money is also lumped in with capital infrastructure projects, like an upgrade to the wastewater treatment system. And it’s also worth noting that we know neither what the new library building will look like nor what the new stadium’s design will be, so really this $100 million could go anywhere, pretty much. Oh well! The future is an exciting and expensive place. So what if its architecture is shrouded in seemingly perpetual mystery and yet City Hall is expecting the provincial government to foot part of the bill?

UPDATED: Was Rick Santorum About To Call Barack Obama The “N-Word”?

Sure sounds like it! Good riddance, you hateful, shitty little man.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Whitworth here. It does sound like Republican presidential nominee hopeful Rick Santorum almost called Barack Obama “an anti-war government nigger”. This would be huge, obviously. But we need to remember that we don’t know for sure what word his tongue and lips were trying to make. He could’ve been trying to say “anti-war government negotiator.” That would make sense in context, too.

About that context: the clip John posted above comes from a March 27 rally in Janesville, Wisconsin. Here’s an article on the rally. which conspicuously doesn’t mention the possible slip (they even run an excerpt from around that part of the video, so someone at WISC must have heard it). The video of the entire event is on Youtube, which is handy for skeptical people who demand context and want something this big triple-verified before they accept it.

I’m embedding the full video below. And here’s the direct link to the YouTube page it’s originally from, run by JATV,  Janesville’s public access station. (There’s a website here). Watch it and judge for yourself. The important bit happens around 34:20.

It does look bad. In any case, even the non-possibly-racist parts of the video make it clear Rick Santorum is a loathsome individual who stands for horrible things. How can someone who says they’re a Christian bash anyone for being anti-war? Unbelievable.

UPDATE: John here. Since, as Stephen points out, that syllable could really be anything, you all might want to maybe figure out what that word might be yourselves.

My thoughts? If Santorum didn’t close the bay doors on a big old N-bomb, maybe he was suggesting that Obama is “someone who constantly criticizes in a petty way.” Totally something that would make sense in that context, right? Along with dozens of other words on that page that could complete the phrase “anti-war government nig-uh-tsthfgl” in a non-racist way. Yes, so many of those words could fit there. Definitely.

Premier Brad Wall Accidentally Asks Very Pertinent Question

Good point:

Companies receive a credit for base payments against profit tax. The base payment credit is:
Base Payment Tax Rate ($11.00 to $12.33) x (sales for which the producer is paying both Base Payment and Profit Tax) – 50% of Crown and Freehold Royalties + Excess Deductions from the Base Payment Calculation.

New Census Data Accidentally Kills Atwater, SK

As Rosie pointed out this morning, the new census data indicating the growth of the West is, well, unreliable at best. But, as the Leader-Post reports, that hasn’t deterred premier Brad Wall from commenting on the good news in the census data, which is that Saskatchewan is actually growing again, instead of bleeding people all over the map.*

Take it away, Fearless Leader:

“There are jobs here and it’s a great place to live,” he said. “I think those are the two reasons people would come to the west. I have a real sense that there is a political and economic shift in the country and it’s a good thing.”

Except, ha ha, what’s this? Maybe there is a third reason people would come to the West: to live out some kind of weird fantasy about being a statistical ghost. The CBC reports:

A longtime resident of Atwater, Sask., says there is something wrong with census data which suggests the population of the village is now at zero.

“Whoops,” somebody is probably saying, really exasperatedly.

And yeah, you could make all kinds of grim and dire projections based on this story -– that Atwater would have, unless its residents not happened upon a radio report that declared their home no longer a place, found it hard to receive any funding from either provincial or municipal governments; that there are probably dozens of communities across Saskatchewan and, indeed, the country that have grossly inaccurate numbers, making it hard to plan for the appropriate levels of services (cf. the sidebar to the CBC piece, in which La Ronge mayor Thomas Sierzycki says that an incorrect per-capita count on his town could lead to a significant gap in services); that the congruence of a lack of funding and a lack of appropriate services could allow the government to make cuts to vital programs on the basis that there’s less need for them, all the while crowing about austerity and efficiency; and so on. You could also argue that this story is incredibly embarrassing for a 21st-century G8 government, since it suggests that our information on our own population is Dark Ages-calibre garbage that does a disservice to the term “guesstimate.”

Or, like me, you could just read what one Atwater resident had to say and make a sad-turtle face:

“I’m sorry, I’m still here,” Sharon Gelowitz told CBC News Wednesday after learning her community’s population had fallen to nothing, according to the latest census. “And I live right in the village.”

:( :( :( :( :(

Continue reading “New Census Data Accidentally Kills Atwater, SK”

Zach Paikin’s Quest To Harper-ify The Liberals

Odious shitheel Margaret Wente is right, for once, when she says that the Liberal Party of Canada is “out of gas”. That interim leader Bob Rae doesn’t appear at press junkets wearing an askew combat helmet and chain-smoking like he’s trying to forget the faces of the dead that haunt him even now, in peacetime, is a minor miracle. Last May’s election results were a devastating blow to his party.

But a lot of people still have stakes in the Grits, and so even if their comeback isn’t as assured as they might hope, the direction their party takes over the next few years is nevertheless important. As the self-proclaimed party of moderate, sober Canadian values, other parties try to appeal mainly to the Grits’ potential swing voters. Like we saw last year, this can have dramatic results on the makeup of Parliament and, by extension, on the ideological governance of the nation.

And because it had that effect this time around, the Liberals are faced with two options: they can try to lure voters from the NDP, with more small-l liberal policies, or they can try to take on the Conservatives by posing as the party of sober, traditional “Canadian values”. Those are sort of simplified, but you get the gist.

So when the Liberal Party elects its national policy chair this week, well, it matters. And the potential for Zach Paikin to take that position should worry the absolute hell out of remotely progressive folks.

Continue reading “Zach Paikin’s Quest To Harper-ify The Liberals”

Fox News Astonished That Musicians Aren’t All Republicans

From “Born in the USA” (CNN) onward, American election cycles have only ever had one consistent narrative: that of the Republican presidential candidate fucking up and playing a song by a publicly leftist musician at one of their rallies. Tom Petty and John Mellencamp (Rolling Stone) have been on the receiving end, as has The Boss, and every time the lingering embarrassment (because, while the actual accomplishments of his presidency are subject to debate, it is indisputable that Reagan somehow fucked up at understanding a Bruce Springsteen song) could have been avoided if maybe someone in the campaign just asked first and got the response, “We hate your ideology and policy ideas, so no.”

It’s pretty easy to understand why! The kind of populism espoused by Springsteen and his ilk – the difficulties of the working class, the hopes and dreams of the youth of rural and dying-urban America, the value of collectivism and “we’re-all-in-this-crapheap-together” communal spirit – is only one strain of leftist thought commonly espoused in music. This is because people interested in forward-thinking culture, self-expression, and the like tend to like social and political policies that make those things possible, and so tend to be leftist before they even get into music, and then write a bunch of leftist music, and you can kind of see how this goes.

That conservatives who enjoy Springsteen-esque roots-rock are at odds with their musical idols’ politics is, one would hope, a fact that those conservatives who are fans of the band have thought about and simply made peace with, because it’s hard to begrudge someone for thinking Bruce Springsteen is a pretty good songwriter. But it’s surely not a surprise. Right?

So why do Democrats seem to get more free passes then Republicans?


Continue reading “Fox News Astonished That Musicians Aren’t All Republicans”

Canadian Scientists Refute Pepsi’s Horrifying “Mouse Jelly” Defence

Usually, when a consumer finds a human finger in their burger or whatever, the company just says, “We have no idea how that happened!” And then they settle out of court for a zillion dollars and nobody thinks of it outside of people who own Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

That’s not good enough for the brave thought leaders at PepsiCo. In a fantastic response to an Illinois man’s claim that he found a whole dead mouse in a can of Mountain Dew, the soft drink manufacturer declared that Mountain Dew would have stone-cold turned the mouse into jelly. (The Atlantic) Completely not disgusting at all! “Obviously if this was accurate,” the Pepsi people are saying in a meeting in my mind, “this guy would have just drank his mouse and not even realized he’d done it. THIS CLAIM IS FALSE!”

This set off a lot of bullshit alarms everywhere, iron-stomached CBC reporter Andre Mayer’s among them. Mayer spoke to a University of Guelph prof who told him not only why Pepsi’s claim to the rodent-blobbening effects of a can of Mountain Dew is dubious but also the conditions under which Mountain Dew could actually turn a mouse into a hideous creature from your most awful nightmares ever, in a piece gut-churningly titled “No easy way to dissolve a mouse in Mountain Dew”:

The only way it would be feasible, Marcone speculates, is if the offending rodent had been submerged in a larger tub of the liquid for an extended period.

“I could see it if the mouse was in a gigantic vat and had been there for a significant amount of time — with the amount of acids that are in there, over a longer amount of time, and because of course they would be flushing the tanks all the time with new acids, there is the possibility of [disintegration],” he says.

[incoherent noises of disgust]

I Am Abusing These Blog Privileges To Advertise The Carillon Steak Night!

Hey, you’ve gotta eat right?

Well, over at my day job as editor of the Carillon, the staff and I have put together a steak night tonight at the campus pub, the Owl, featuring prairie dog‘s own fearless leader, Stephen Whitworth, throwing down on the mic at about 7 p.m.

You can buy tickets at the door and everything, and they’re only $20, which ain’t bad for a steak dinner. So come on down! Help out your local university’s newspaper, before we all turn into the coal-hearted back-in-my-day hacks that staff the prairie dog (just kidding, boss!!!!!!!).

Interviews, Facts, And Nuanced Analysis Are Beneath Truthspeaker Kevin O’Leary

If you’re like me and spent most of Sunday roasting a turkey, you might have missed this clip of hero venture capitalist and popular game show host Kevin O’Leary managing to do a thing I’m not sure I’ve ever seen on the CBC: make a guest say he’d never come back. Hooray!

Truthdig columnist and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Chris Hedges has actually spent time at the Occupy Wall Street protests, but that doesn’t mean anything to Kevin O’Leary! O’Leary is a rich person who was once paid $5 million to not work at a company he was employed by! (The Globe & Mail) Surely he understands the protesters, who nobody can understand because they’re disorganized and what are their demands anyways, better than a journalist who’s done his research and sat down to think for five seconds about something other than a stock exchange or how to play down the fact that he came from a family of rich people in order to appear more self-made.

After O’Leary (patriotically!) calls Hedges a “left-wing nutbar” (boooo) at around the 3:20 mark, the 20-year journalism vet has the sheer audacity to suggest that he isn’t interested in being insulted. He does, however, proceed to compare the CBC unfavourably to Fox News, so that part of this episode is a wash, maybe? And then at the end of the interview, after articulating the protesters’ desire to apply laws & regulations to American banks rather than strip them away, Hedges declares that this is the “last time” he’ll be on the program. Another victory for journalism!

Kevin O’Leary should definitely continue to be paid to host a business newsmagazine on Canada’s publicly-owned national news channel!

EDIT: And you definitely shouldn’t send any messages to CBC’s ombudsman telling him otherwise!

Andy Rooney’s Other Legacy

By now you’ve likely heard that veteran 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney is retiring from his position as a regular commentator on the show after 33 years of on-air presence. Rooney’s folksy wisdom was a staple of evening news diets in North America for decades, and in his run he covered an extraordinarily broad array of issues. For many, he will be sorely missed.

But that’s not what this post is about! No, in Rooney’s twilight years as a commentator, the Internet rediscovered the joys of his segments, and in typical fashion managed to churn out something uniquely amazing: the Andy Rooney Game.

The rules are pretty simple; just cut out everything but the first and last lines of any Andy Rooney segment. What’s left is a bizarre, jarring bit of hilarity.

For more, hit the jump:

Continue reading “Andy Rooney’s Other Legacy”

Library Voices: ‘It’s always bittersweet to come home.’

I promised in this week’s cover story that I’d be posting excerpts from the full interview on the Dog Blog, and here we are. I’ll be trying to post one of these every weekday or so leading up to the band’s show next Saturday at the Exchange.

The interview as a whole was super candid, and there was a ton of interesting stuff that I wasn’t able to touch on in print, and hopefully I’ll be able to get the most interesting parts up on this blog over the course of the next week.

In today’s excerpt the band talks about what life at home is like now that their touring schedule is completely off the chain. Hit the jump if you want to read it.

Continue reading “Library Voices: ‘It’s always bittersweet to come home.’”

A Heartbreaking Microcosm Of How Immigrants View North America And How North America Treats Them

While looking up material today for an article I’m writing for the next issue, I came across New York Times story from Tuesday about foreign exchange students in the U.S. protesting their terrible labour conditions and basic wage slavery at the hands of a Hershey’s chocolate-packing factory. And while their actual conditions are totally awful – with program fees and rent deducted from their paycheques, some students are looking at a take-home pay of $200 a week for full-time hours, which won’t even cover the costs of their visas – the hardest part to read is on the second page.

Harika Duygu Ozer, 19, a second-year medical student from a university in Istanbul, said she had heard from friends that the summer exchange program would be fun and that she would earn enough money to pay for her medical school tuition.

“I said, ‘Why not?’ This is America,” Ms. Ozer said.

When she was offered a contract for a job at a plant with Hershey’s chocolates, she said, she was excited. “We have all seen Charlie’s chocolate factory,” she said. “We thought, ‘This is good.’ ”

:( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

Six In The Morning: A Playground On Fire Is An Apt Metaphor For Northwest Regina

1. NORTHWEST REGINA PLAYGROUND TORCHED At the last prairie dog story meeting, Whitworth learned that I live in McCarthy Park. “We’re too downtown-centric,” he said. “Keep an eye out for stories from the northwest,” he said. The problem is that when you go out into the concrete wasteland suburbs, like the Rochdale or East Vic strips where there are Tim Hortons in such close proximity to one another that they threaten to wrinkle space-time, all you ever get are the usual bored suburban assholes doing bored asshole things. Case in point: some bored assholes in the northwest set the city’s only fully accessible playground on fire yesterday. Thanks a lot, assholes! Way to piss away whatever goodwill we garnered from snagging Brown’s Social House! (via Leader-Post)

2. SLOW DOWN, ECONOMY Looks like the next round of horrible economic apocalypse about to hit the U.S. is likely to affect us too. It’s just “slowed growth” so you can all keep your bunker doors closed for now, but if nothing else it shows that we aren’t impervious to what happens to the States’ economy. (via the Globe & Mail)

3. HA HA ROB FORD IS THE WORST Notorious anti-pork mayor Rob Ford is currently asking the Ontario government to send him money to bail out his stupid and unfeasible subway plan. The lesson we should all collectively take from this is that when people with anger problems campaign on low taxes and “spending cuts” and basically nothing else, maybe we should not elect them, because they are just angry people with bad ideas! This is a good lesson to learn, I think. (via Toronto Star)

4. COMPLETELY INSANE NCAA BOOSTER SCANDAL Seriously, it’s hard to sum this thing up in a single paragraph. Here goes: I was right, it’s too hard and basically impossible, so just go read Yahoo! Sports’  dizzyingly comprehensive report detailing everything booster Nevin Shapiro has done for University of Miami athletes and recruits, from giving players money to buy wheel rims to paying for a stripper’s abortion after a player impregnated her (!!!!!!!!!). It’s a jaw-dropping read and an amazing piece of sports journalism. (via Yahoo! Sports)

5. WISCONSIN’S RECALL ELECTIONS A NEAR-MISS Remember the whole Scott Walker anti-union brouhaha from Wisconsin earlier this year? The state recently held a bunch of state Senate recall elections and voted out two Republicans. Unfortunately for union members, the middle class, teachers, and basically anybody who isn’t a super-rich friend of Scott Walker, that’s still one short of state Senate control. On the other hand, one of the sitting Republican state senators voted against Walker’s cartoon supervillain-esque union-busting measures, meaning that maybe if something like that came up again Walker might get defeated and take out his rage on another picture of poor people or something. (via Reuters)


To make up for that news about Katy Perry, here is a brand-new video from Canada’s own charming guitar-pop hero, Shotgun Jimmie.

Let’s Crowdsource This Bad Boy RE: Library Voices Review

Bling bling!!!As James “Jimbrolaya” Brotheridge just pointed out, Stephen “Wizzy” Whitworth has directed visitors to this site to visit the poll to the side to figure out who’s going to review Library Voices’ late-summer pop bombshell, Summer of Lust.

You can go with your gut, of course, and feel like you’ve helped out by picking one of the dog‘s staffers to go through the record. Or you can take the advice of Jimbrolaya there and vote for esteemed columnist/political greyhound/articulate opinion generator John Conway to finally pick up the album reviewer’s mantle and ascend gloriously to the throne with about a dozen locally-crafted indie-pop confections in hand.

But let’s not kid ourselves – you don’t wanna hear what these hipster doofuses have to say. You want to hear what the people think! The people must rise up and control the means of reviewing!

I am announcing a contender for the definitive Library Voices review, one that circumvents bogus, un-punk stuff like “fact checking” and “authority” and “any kind of compensation whatsoever”. All you have to do is participate.

Continue reading “Let’s Crowdsource This Bad Boy RE: Library Voices Review”

Oil Lobbyists Have Learned Ventriloquism And Are Using It On Natural Resources Canada

Okay, okay, it’s not very surprising, but it’s still pretty chilling: Natural Resources Canada is literally taking dictation on oil sands policy from – you guessed it! – the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The Edmonton Sun reported on Tuesday that

In newly released emails and internal records, department officials said the strategy to “turn up the volume” and get “the right attitude” on oilsands advocacy was actually proposed by high-ranking officials from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers during a March 2010 meeting involving senior federal and Alberta government officials, as well CEOs from oil and gas companies.

In fairness, if the government wants to promote the oil sands, who better to go to than the people behind it? Surely the fine folks at the CAPP don’t have any vested interest in wanting to use the considerable media resources of the Canadian government to explicitly promote their business venture, nor do they have any motivation for wanting direct control of the messaging coming out from the Canadian government, except for wanting to make more money. Right?

The revelations also coincide with the recent release of an Environment Canada report, quietly posted online, that said the oilsands sector is projected to triple its carbon dioxide pollution over the next decade if companies do not improve their environmental performance. This would virtually cancel actions of other Canadian industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Ha ha ha, oil & gas lobbyists. Don’t you ever change.