Well, This Explains A Lot

According to a study done at Brock University, Stephen Colbert was right. Reality has a liberal bias. (LiveScience). And part of being a small-c conservative is being not only unable to deal with a changing society, but also unwilling to adjust.

Well, we have right of centre politicians in Ottawa, the Legislature, and at City Hall.

We’re doomed.

More here at Jezebel, Wonkette, and Slog.

Need more proof? Arizona. (Gawker)

For The First Time Ever, A prairie dog Six In The A.M. Will Contain The Phrase “William Shatner Handcuffed To A Chimpanzee”

1 YEAH, GOT TO LOVE THE CONSERVATIVES for their commitment to smaller government – er, increasing the size of the federal bureaucracy and government (National Post), their commitment to getting the best bang for the taxpayers’ dollar – er, out of control increases in the government’s ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ sentencing plans (National Post), their commitment to heath care — er, spending $600,000 to shut down probably the most effective drug treatment plan Vancouver has (Vancouver Sun) and our excellent foreign policy – er, our army’s in deep doo-doo as it pulls out of losing the war in Afghanistan (National Post).

I’m linking to National Post stories? Are they on drugs? Am I on drugs?

2 STAY CLASSY PIERRE PELADEAU Recently Chiquita announced that it wouldn’t use tarsands oil to harvest or transport its bananas to market. This prompted that expert on civil discourse, Ezra Levant to tell a company official something about motherhood and sex – in that order – live, on the air, on the Sun ‘News’ Network. (Toronto Star)

3 BUT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN REALLY COOL IF HE DID, YOU HAVE TO ADMIT The CIA issues a statement saying that Barak Obama didn’t get teleported to Mars in an experiment in a California community college in the late 1980s. Seriously. (Wired) Five will get you six the Republicans and Fox News will be using this against Obama sometime during the election campaign.

4 OKAY ….. One of the greatest cellists in the world, YoYo Ma, meets a wombat on a bathroom floor in a Chicago theatre (Chicago Sun Times).

5 YEAH, THAT LADY BADEN POWELL WAS A BRA-BURNING BITCH Fox News announces a campaign to discredit the Girl Scouts. Yeah. (Media Matters via YouTube)

6 WHAT’S FOR DESSERT? I’ve just discovered a blog, The Bloggess, who must not only be one of the most interesting bloggers out there, but also has some of the most interesting commenters. She recently posted about who she would invite to her ultimate dinner party, and her guests include Queen Elizabeth (only if she’s drunk) and William Shatner handcuffed to Oliver the Chimpanzee (Wikipedia). In that case, I would invite Doctor Who because he’d know the chimp was the sane one in that relationship.

And some of her commenters seem to believe that Nathan Fillion has a twine fetish.

YOUR MUSICAL MOMENT OF ZEN First, go to this website, rainymood.com which plays a loop of rain sounds. Then start this video. Nick Drake, ‘Pink Moon.’

In The Event Of The Passing Of Margaret Thatcher

Apparently Britain’s Iron Lady is showing some signs of rust, and is headed to the recyclers (Daily Mail). So, there’s some debate in that sceptred isle about her upcoming funeral.

The British government does have contingency plans in case she kicks off, and she’s supposed to get a state funeral for some reason or other (Daily Mail). But, as that article suggests, that’s quite a pompous event, especially as opposed to the funerals of other British Prime Ministers that weren’t named Winston Churchill. And presiding over victory in the Second World War is a hell of a lot different than either presiding over victory in the Falkland Island conflict or fighting a civil war in your own country.

But this is Margaret Thatcher we’re talking about. This was a woman who opposed the welfare state. In my mind, expecting the British government to pay the estimated three million pounds sterling for your funeral – especially when you’ve got loads of your own money – is the very definition of being a welfare queen. And there are a few people in England who agree.

The Guardian has a great comment from someone who says that if Mrs. T thought the private sector should be the ones providing for people, not the government, then the private sector should pay for her funeral.

(Actually, it’s the commenters who are having the most fun with this.)

And talking about Thatcher’s funeral wouldn’t be complete without a couple of Scotsmen talking about their plans for the event on the British television show Mock The Week.

The Totalitarian Government in South Africa Must Accept Democracy, Stop Censoring Those Who Disagree With It, And Release Nelson Mandela … Damn, Keep Forgetting

The bill bans the publication of classified documents – even if the information could be in the public interest – and allows the government to class almost any category of information as secret. Anyone involved in whistleblowing or any journalist or editor involved in publishing such information could face 25 years in prison. The bill is also seen as a way of the government controlling how it is represented, and there are worries that its provisions are so all-encompassing that it could even curtail freedom of expression in literature.

More here. (The Guardian)

U.S. Republicans: The Party Of Life

Unless you’re an American in a coma with no health insurance.

Or a convicted criminal in Texas, where no innocent person could ever possibly be convicted of a crime.

Listen to the applause and cheers. I wonder what percentage of that crowd calls themselves Christian? I don’t remember Jesus executing criminals or letting sick people die. What a bloodthirsty, arrogant, self-righteous mob of miserable, savage, stupid hypocrites. Real Christians should fight back (nonviolently!) against this garbage.

Via Talking Points Memo

I Know, I Know But Rick Perry!

Salon has a properly fizzing, bang-on rantnalysis on the Texas’ sociopath idiot governor who could be President of the United States in 2012:

The GOP “establishment” prefers this evangelical nitwit with fringe tendencies to that evangelical nitwit with fringe tendencies, sure. This Dominionist purposefully evoking some of the most radical far-right movements and ideas of the last 200 years is so much more electable than this other one! I mean, Rick Perry may be a neo-Confederate sympathizer with a recurring tendency to bring up secession, but he doesn’t look as weird in a photograph as Bachmann does, I guess. Perry’s flirtations with neo-Confederate organizations and symbols — ably documented by Justin Elliott — are so extraordinarily reprehensible that it should immediately and permanently disqualify him from being taken seriously for national office. The Confederacy was not a bunch of generally well-meaning dudes who went a little too far, it was a gang of racist traitors who launched a bloody war to defend a monstrously unjust institution. Having neo-Confederate sympathies in America should be equivalent to supporting the reconstituted Fascist party in Italy, or worse. It should not be considered something that 50 percent of the nation should be willing to look past, or even embrace.


Back to real work.

The Texas Governor Who Thinks Prayer is The Solution To Problems Will Announce His Presidential Candidacy This Weekend

Texas governor Rick Perry, a man spectacularly unfit for secular public office, will apparently announce a run for the presidency this weekend. If he gets the Republican nomination — and he’d have a strong shot — and then beats Barack Obama in the 2012 election, it’s all gonna end in tears. And environmental catastrophe, and policy that only benefits the wealthy, stupidity, and restrictions on secular freedoms and what the hell, maybe nuclear war with China, who knows (but probably not because his allegiance to his corporate puppet-masters will supersede his faith). Yet hordes of Americans will vote for him. Ugh.

But hey, Pat Roberson likes him. “[Rick Perry] has founded his administration on the bible and I might add, it works.” Ahhhhhhhhh.

(Official preemptive Seanbot caveat: no Seanbot, I’m not bashing every act of prayer here. I’m bashing prayer when it’s used as replacement for good public policy that helps people. I’m bashing the abuse of prayer, when its used as a get-out-of-doing-your-job-free card by wicked politicians. Any time a politician tells people they don’t need government help, they just need God, well, that’s a self-serving scam of the “hey, it’s not my fault the way I’m running things screws you over” variety. If there was a loving Christian God I don’t think he’d like bogus prayer much, either.)

Norway Update

Just completely horrible. From The Guardian:

The detonation took place near the 17-storey government building where the prime minister has his offices and the headquarters of Norway’s biggest tabloid paper, VG. Witnesses said tables in the paper’s basement cafeteria were smeared with blood and scattered with glass and other debris. Residents were told to stay away from the town centre, or stay in their homes and hotel rooms.

In what Norwegian police said was a co-ordinated attack, about 700 youth members of the Labour party, some as young as 15, who were holding their annual summer camp on an island of Utoya, a lake west of Oslo, came under fire by a man dressed as a policeman armed with an automatic weapon. According to tweets by people at the event, some children escaped by climbing trees, hiding in the bushes or swimming away from the island. One party youth member tweeted: “We are sitting down by the beach. A man is shooting clothed in a police uniform. Help us! When are the police coming to help us!”

Counter-terrorist police flew to the island and it was reported that a man, described in reports as tall and blond, had been arrested.

The Guardian also has a live blog on the Oslo attacks here.

Roger Ebert Explains Why The Republicans Are Doomed

And in doing so, he helps those of us who recognize corrupt, vicious and stupid right-wing freaks when they see ’em feel a little less alone:

There are trigger issues in which the GOP no longer reflects the thinking of mainstream Americans of either party. In Tuesday’s charade as the House put the Tea Party debt legislation to a vote, what we saw was an example of the kind of coalition voting common in Europe, where separate parties arrive at an agreement to govern. There are now essentially three parties in Congress: Democrats, Republicans, and the Tea Party. Reasonable Republicans with a sense of the possible do not subscribe to the Tea Party’s implacable ideology, but they feel they must deal with it to placate its zealots. They are essentially in a coalition with a third party.

The whole article is here.

Here’s why I like it.

I read about Canadian politics and American politics, and I read about the never-ending  ugliness in both, and I despise it because I want to live in a nice country but we keep electing these right-wing jerks*. Over and over. Behind their tough-talk tax-cutting, science-slandering, union-pummeling, budget slashing, program-axing, arts-maligning, faux-Christian demagoguery, too many politicians are doing less and less for regular people and rationalizing more and more bullshit about how we need to do everything the elite business class wants (see tax cuts, above).

It’s been going on since Reagan, and it’s ridiculous, and I’m sick of it. But I feel like I’m living in an Emperor’s New Clothes reality where there’s no open, widespread public acknowledgement of just how shitty our business class-run politicians often act (just to be clear: I’m talking about the Wall Street gangs and the Enrons and petro-thugs, not your favourite, local small business owner.)

And then, hallelujah! Roger Ebert’s piece calmly and confidently points out just how out-of-touch the U.S. Republicans — the flagship party of our current radical-right-wing era, and a meaner, dumber and more powerfully devolved version of Stephen Harper’s team — are with most regular people.

It’s… hopeful. I liked it.

And more importantly, it’s a good, smart read. Enjoy.

*Yes, I’m still boggled and bitter that the Conservatives, Canada’s own Republicans and the party that stands for homophobia, unregistered gun ownership, arts censorship, daycare program cancelling, prison-building and global -warming denial can pull in 40 per cent of (an admittedly low-turn-out) vote. Their supporters are misguided and naughty.

Lesbians 1, Security Goof 0

A security guard at San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum (“connecting art, people and ideas”) told two women to stop holding hands. This did not go well for him:

Daryl Carr, museum spokesman, says museum officials are active in supporting the LBGT community and that they have asked that the guard, who works for a private security company, be reprimanded.

The kicker? This happened at an exhibit on the life of author, thinker and cultural patron Gertrude Stein, who was a lesbian.

Misogyny, Stupidity And Tyranny In New Hampshire

The state’s executive council has massacred Planned Parenthood. I hope people in New Hampshire who aren’t crazy can find a way to win this fight. From Jezebel:

The New Hampshire Executive Council has voted to cancel the state’s contract with Planned Parenthood, rejecting up to $1.8 million in state funding — “about 20 percent of its total annual funding” — and has also “stripped its authority to dispense low-cost birth control and antibiotics to uninsured patients.”

And now the the usual Whitworthian bleating:  being personally anti-abortion is acceptable (hey, that’s what choice means!) but anyone who thinks their personal anti-abortion beliefs should be forced, directly or, like here, indirectly, on the rest of us is a jerk who’s unfit for for public office. I’m looking at you, Brad Trost, and every single bum in your Saskatoon-Dumbolt riding who voted for you.

Co-ordinator Quits Over Vic Park Lecture Censorship

The Regina Downtown Business Improvement District’s community recreation programmer has resigned after a public lecture he organized was censored by Regina Downtown. Neil McDonald provided a statement to prairie dog explaining why he decided to leave his job. Excerpt:

The decision to censor Dr. Emily Eaton’s discussion about Palestine and global economic sanctions is truly disappointing and one that I was not able to reconcile my personal beliefs with. We live in what is supposed to be a Democratic society and the fact that we are unable and unwilling to allow a University Professor to discuss course content about a serious global issue is in direct conflict with our basic rights. When a free society half way around the world can not support a half an hour discussion, it is not surprising that tragic situations like what is occurring in Palestine exist.

Ouch. More after the jump.

Continue reading “Co-ordinator Quits Over Vic Park Lecture Censorship”

And With This, John Lithgow Announces His Candidacy

On a recent Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert did justice to a Newt Gingrich press release by giving it a dramatic reading by John Lithgow. (The press release, apparently, was even better in the original Klingon.) Can’t embed it, so head over to Gawker and watch one of the greatest performances of political satire since Colbert gave it to Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Dear Mr. Ignatieff Part Duh

You spent your entire career as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada — sans the five week electoral campaign — cowering in fear of Stephen Harper and his minions like a wet puppy. This (Toronto Star) was the thanks you get for not articulating a vision of Canada any different than Harper’s and catering to the 10 to 15 per cent of the Liberal Party membership who think more like Harper than Trudeau. Thanks to demoralizing progressive Liberals so much that they’ve found a new home in the NDP — or at least the Jack Layton Ego Trip.

Michael Ignatieff. Worst. Canadian. Politician. Ever.

ADDENDUM: What he said. With both barrels. (Lawyers, Guns and Money)

Dear Writers: “E-Mail” Has A Hyphen

From Washington Post copy chief Bill Walsh’s excellent blog, The Slot:

The problem with “e-mail” is that it’s not a simple compound noun. It’s an initial-letter-based abbreviation, and no initial-letter-based abbreviation in the history of the English language has ever morphed into a solid word. The “e” isn’t simply a syllable — it’s the letter e, for Chrissakes, like the X in “X-ray.” Nobody lives in an “aframe,” nobody drives a “zcar,” and you will find no example parallel to the illiteracism “email.” “Email” (the French word for “enamel,” by the way) divorces the e, ee, eee! so that the first syllable begs to be a schwa sound. Uhmail. Uh.

Prairie dog is with Walsh on this one. Dissenting writers are ordered to surrender immediately. No more “email” in this paper. No! Bad!

For further reading I recommend Walsh’s book Lapsing Into A Comma. It’s very good. And really funny.

We Must Destroy Art That Offends Our Religious Beliefs In Some Vague Way We Can’t Coherently Explain

Angry French religious extremist idjits have destroyed a print of artist Andre Serrano’s “Piss Christ”. From The Guardian:

Piss Christ is part of a series by Serrano showing religious objects submerged in fluid such as blood and milk. It was being shown in an exhibition to mark 10 years of the art dealer Yvon Lambert’s personal collection in his 18th-century mansion. Last week the gallery complained of “extremist harassment” by Christians who wanted the image banned. The archbishop of Vaucluse, Jean-Pierre Cattenoz, called the work “odious” and said he wanted “this trash” taken off the gallery walls. Saturday’s street protest against the work gained the support of the far-right National Front, which has recently done well in local elections.

So we have fascists on one side and art on the other. I think I’ll stand with the art, thanks. On the bright side:

The culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, condemned the vandalism as an attack on the fundamental freedoms of creation and expression. A police complaint has been filed by the gallery and the guards.

I have a hard time imagining a culture minister in Canada sticking up for controversial art. The important thing is, art isn’t all about craft–the best art is an expression of ideas. Here we have a work about a symbol of an alleged saviour whose mythology is bound in blood and flesh and physical humanity, and people are saying it must be banned? Pshaw.

Is Harper The Teflon PM?

Here’s a clip that pretty well sums up tonight’s leadership debate for me….

Harper Doesn’t Accept Truth by Paul Dechene

Ignatieff lays out a lot of Harper’s dictatorial behaviour and Harper’s response is simply that he doesn’t accept the truth of that attack. He doesn’t deny the attack, he just doesn’t accept the truth of it, then he moves on.

It’s how much of the debate went. Iggy, Layton and Douceppe kept taking shots, Harper would just deny them, shrug them off then talk about something else. It was a pretty effective strategy. The National Post’s livebloggers concluded the PM played a strong defensive game and I have to admit they’re right.

Even though the opposition leaders tried to focus the debate on Harper’s anti-democratic behaviour and his government’s corruption, nothing seemed to stick. Personally, I’m not seeing the debate changing Harper’s nine point lead much. I’m calling it a win for the Cons.

Incidentally, right after the debates ended, we recorded episode zero of the Dogcast in which we discuss the debate as well as many other very nerdy topics (Dr Who! The Shadow! The Royal Wedding!). Expect to see that on the blog in a few days.

Sexual Karma In Cheesehead Country

He’s a Republican state senator in Wisconsin; she’s his wife. He is a strong supporter of Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting bill (Gawker). He’s run off with a 25-year-old.

One day, she answer’s the door. It’s a group of Wisconsonites with a petition to recall the senator for his support of the legislation. They’re holding a demonstration to publicly shame the senator. Go to his new love nest with his floozy, she says. And let me sign the petition. Why not? The maid already has. (MAL Contends via Gawker)