Saturday, May 30, 2009


After reading this profile of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts, I have a better sense of the whole issue of empathy, a key sticking point of conservatives, in the case of Sonia Sotomayor. The issue is not empathy as such, but who you are empathetic toward. Empathy is fine if you are empathetic to the rich against the poor; the president against the congress; men against women and the majority against the minority. It is only wrong if it is practiced the other way round. Empathy is to be reserved for one's own tribe exclusively and not extended beyond the village boundary.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Are The Tories Turning To Stalinist Jew Baiters For Ad Ideas?

One would think so, the way they are playing up the "Rootless Cosmopolitan" angle on their Iggy attack ads. I doubt they are, but they really do need to watch their language.

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And As For Climate Change

We're boned.
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What Yglesias Said

Matthew Yglesias on the ongoing saga of SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor.
The argument about Sonia Sotomayor consists of the idea that we should discount her career and her degrees because those are just the results of the kind of “preferential treatment” that poor Puerto Rican girls from the projects get. We’ve also heard that she has a troubling fondness for Puerto Rican food. That it’s unreasonable that she pronounces her name as if it’s a Spanish word. We’ve heard that she’s a soft-hearted woman who wants to set aside the law in favor of empathetic victims, and also heard complaints that she’s failed to set aside the law in order to help out empathetic white people. These kind of criticisms are going to drive Hispanics away from the conservative cause not because conservatives are criticizing a Latina, but because they’re criticizing her in terms that imply a generalized skepticism about the qualifications of all American Hispanics, a loathing of Latin culture, and a monomaniacal obsession with defending the interests of white people. And while not all conservatives have gone in for the full Goldfarb/Krikorian madman treatment, no prominent voices on the right seem interested in checking the tide of borderline bigotry from their camp. It’s a reminder that checking prejudice against non-whites isn’t something conservatives are interested in.
Aside from that the GOP is on to a winner.

Update: Next "argument" against her, she's a bitch and a ball breaker. What is this a public discourse or the locker room of a suburban high school?
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Ah, But The Strawberries

Yes he talks like Nixon, but I think Harper is entering the Queeg stage of his madness.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

GOP Suicide Watch

Tom Tancredo edition:

Update: Just to give you an idea of why Tancredo is talking out of his ass.
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Raise Taxes?

Expect this to become a point of contention, wasting many hours of TV and killing several trees. In reaction to a question from the Liberals yesterday, Psycho Steve said the following:
Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. When we did our prebudget consultations, the Liberal Party wanted two more weeks of employment insurance. We gave five more weeks of employment insurance, plus all kinds of additional money for training, for people both on EI and not on EI. These are measures to help the unemployed in this recession.

What we are not going to do is, every two or three months, come up with another economic policy, another budget, until we need to raise taxes. Our deficits are affordable, but they will remain short-term. (emphasis mine).
The phrase "until we need to raise taxes" was pounced on by the Liberals (as you can imagine). It sure looks like, from the context, that Steve is suggesting that at some point he will raise taxes. I suspect he wasn't suggesting that, just the opposite, that his government will never get itself into a position of having to raise taxes, but that is not what he said. From such slips do governments kill themselves.
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Question Of The Day

How big does the deficit have to get, before the Conservatives stop presenting themselves as good stewards of the public purse? How big does it need to get before people stop believing them? To me, this is nothing more than another example of the "let's cut taxes, but spend anyway" philosophy that has destroyed government finances wherever it has been tried. Like communism it is a failed experiment. Unlike communism, this zombie just won't die.
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False Start

I agree with Chantal Hebert. Ontario still sees itself as the economic heart of Canada. Ontarians want to know how the parties are going to get that heart beating again. EI reform (which I agree is absolutely necessary) is not a solution to Ontario's problem, so the Liberals (and the NDP) should not be surprised it is not harvesting them votes. Until someone comes up with a bright idea to save its economy, Ontario is going to be up for grabs.
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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How Not To Oppose A Supreme Court Nomination

By Charles Krauthammer:
"She (Sotomayor) is a believer in identity politics to the extreme. As we heard in the quote...where she said that she would hope that a Latina woman would be more wise than a white male, it tells her [sic] what her attitude is to race and gender and these categories...Her job on the court is to be an impartial adjudicator. And if she is not, if her empathy and her concern for certain ethnicities overrides the idea of justice and equal justice, I think that is a troubling concern."
The more white males hold pity parties for themselves, the more likely the Republican Party is headed for a world of hurt.

Update: Oh and Wendy E Long can't help but suggest that minority firefighters would not have done as well on September 11 (as if there weren't any there that day). Classy.
"She reads racial preferences and quotas into the Constitution, even to the point of dishonoring those who preserve our public safety. On September 11, America saw firsthand the vital role of America's firefighters in protecting our citizens. They put their lives on the line for her and the other citizens of New York and the nation. But Judge Sotomayor would sacrifice their claims to fair treatment in employment promotions to racial preferences and quotas. The Supreme Court is now reviewing that decision."
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Plus Ca Change

The original Canadian Harper was a litigious bully. Who knew?
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Not Un-Canadian

Lorne Gunter is afraid he is un-Canadian:
Not a fan of government monopoly health care? You're un-Canadian. Not big on easy unemployment benefits, official bilingualism, dismantling our military, beggaring our economy in the name of environmentalism, coddling criminals, huge public debts, activist judges, multiculturalism, foreign investment reviews, national energy policies and so on? Shame on you for being so un-Canadian.
Don't worry Lorne, just because someone is a Republican wannabe, that doesn't make him un-Canadian. That makes him certifiable. Hope that makes you feel better.
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Obama's Willing Dissemblers

It is said that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled off was to convince people he doesn't exist. As far as Obama is concerned, his greatest trick will be to convince people that "preventative detention" is a centrist policy, rather than a fundamental attack on the U.S. Constitution. Luckily, Obama has lots of help.
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Cheney Is A Liar? Color Me Surprised

The McClatchy organization unpacks Cheney's performance and it is not a pretty sight.

Update: And Mr. President, people are listening to what you are saying and they are not happy. Not happy at all.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Watched Cheney's "Performance"

And two thoughts occur. Why is Cheney still walking around free? He admits he loves torture and he supported its use (and still supports it). The man should be before the courts, right now. Second, for a guy who taunts the Obama for using euphemisms when talking about the war on terror, he sure seems to have trouble calling torture, torture. Suddenly, Mr. Plain Talk is all "enhanced interrogation techniques". I wonder why?

Update: As for President Smooth, I agree with Ian Welsh.
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When Did America Turn Yellow?

This is a country that defeated the combined forces of Nazism and Japan and faced down the Soviet Union. Yet it is too scared to put Muslim terrorists in its supermax prisons? This does not compute.

Update: I guess I shouldn't tar the whole country, for the craven behavior of Democratic Senators. These folks need some serious counseling. They are the Manchurian Senators. All the Republicans have to do is whisper "Muslim terrorists" into their ears and they pee themselves and whimper for salvation.
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My Feelings About California And Referenda

Summed up in a few short paragraphs, by Timothy Egan in the NY Times:
California’s problem is its democracy. The legislators, term-limited yet complacent, long ago threw in the towel. Now the citizens have had enough, expressing a pox-on-both-houses rejection Tuesday of every major ballot measure except the one that limited pay raises for politicians.

Think of Italy — which reminds me of California in so many ways — and its chronic inability to form a government. That’s California, with even better food and no parliamentary system.

l can’t blame the special interests: teachers, prison guards, the asphalt lobby. They’re only doing what special interests always do.

But I do blame the voters. They’re part-time citizens, and not very good at it. They shackled the tax system back in 1978 with Proposition 13, limiting how much government could take from a homeowner. It was a reasonable middle class revolt.

But then, in succeeding years, voters passed laws that packed California’s prisons with criminals (many of them petty) but also mandated that the education system get a lion’s share of the budget. On top of that, the voters made it nearly impossible to pass a budget. Then they walked away from their car wreck.

Voters, through ballot initiatives, do not govern well. Once in a while they act as a break to some particular act of legislative lunacy. But more often they’re absentee rulers, at odds with themselves.
Denocracy by referenda is an abdication of responsibility by the elected officials of the jurisdiction, a way to push policy making onto a process not designed to produce well considered policies. Don't believe me? Look at California.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Do Re Mi -- For Ben

I told you it is a great song and more apt than California Dreamin.

Lots of folks back East, they say, is leavin' home every day,
Beatin' the hot old dusty way to the California line.
'Cross the desert sands they roll, gettin' out of that old dust bowl,
They think they're goin' to a sugar bowl, but here's what they find --
Now, the police at the port of entry say,
"You're number fourteen thousand for today."

Oh, if you ain't got the do re mi, folks, you ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi.

You want to buy you a home or a farm, that can't deal nobody harm,
Or take your vacation by the mountains or sea.
Don't swap your old cow for a car, you better stay right where you are,
Better take this little tip from me.
'Cause I look through the want ads every day
But the headlines on the papers always say:

If you ain't got the do re mi, boys, you ain't got the do re mi,
Why, you better go back to beautiful Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Tennessee.
California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see;
But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot
If you ain't got the do re mi.
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The Puppet Masters

Though I dislike MoDo and her flip columns, I find little in today's offering to disagree with. Obama has Cheney's hand so far up his ass, he thinks he has something caught in his throat.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Glenn Greenwald Speaks

You listen:
As usual, what must never be mentioned are the torture victims themselves, including the 100 or so that were actually killed while in U.S. custody. It can't be overstated how self-centered, petty and amoral it is for the Tim Kaines and Erica Williamses of the world to insist that their little partisan desires justify telling the victims of our torture regime that it's time for them to pipe down and accept that there will be no accountability for what happened to them because we have Important Things to do and can't and don't want to be bothered by "looking back." What kind of a country commits brutal crimes and then insists that they can't be burdened with disclosure and accountability because they're too busy or because it's too burdensome?
To answer Mr. Greenwald's question, a country that is no longer a republic, but an empire.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Speaking Of Non-Voters And Electoral Reform

There is a new group on the web. I support their aims (although I suppose I can't join because I intend to vote federally as long as the vote subsidy is in place).
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The Mystery Of The Non-Voter

From today's Globe:
Elections B.C. had more than 200 advance polls, 1,500 voting locations and 700 mobile teams going to places such as long-term care facilities and lighthouses.

Elections B.C. did a good job, Harry Neufeld, chief electoral officer, said in an interview.

Yet the turnout was abysmal.

The efforts of the election office cannot reverse the trend, Mr. Neufeld said. "I own only part of this turnout equation. I fully recognize I have an important part to play and I need to get information out to people ... but I cannot give motivational messages."

The biggest group of non-voters think voting has nothing to do with them.

"That's a group that is extremely hard for me as an administrator to reach out to. But it does not mean they cannot be reached," Mr. Neufeld said. (emphasis mine)
I wonder why non-voters think voting has nothing to do with them? Could it be they see voting as waste of time because they know that, in the end, their vote (unless they vote for one of the two big parties) is a waste of a walk to the polls and their political opinion is meaningless? Nah, that's crazy talk. The real reasons are and will forever be, shrouded in mystery. It's just easier that way.

Update: Oh look, a clue.
The dismal voter turnout doesn't surprise pollster Mario Canseco of Angus Reid Strategies. A week before British Columbians went to the polls, the firm conducted an online survey and found a high level of dissatisfaction with their ballot options.

“You are sitting in a coffee shop with five people, two of them aren't happy with the choices,” Mr. Canseco said this week. “We are stuck in a two-party system and no one is broadening their base.” (emphasis mine)
I do hope someone, someday, puts these clues together and solves this mystery!
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Torture As Politics By Other Means?

That seems to be the case in the U.S.. Torture under the Cheney Administration was just another tool to use to justify the war in Iraq. The American republic is gone.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Now With Minty Freshness

The Obama Administration is a typical liberal enterprise. First, it cries rivers of tears for torture victims, but lets the torturers get away with their crimes. Now, it is carrying on the kangaroo court system set up by Chaneyco in Cuba (all the while deploring the original system). Ah liberals, they love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

Meanwhile: Jack Layton still wants to become Canada's Obama. God help us all.

Update: As ususal Glenn Greenwald is all over this.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thank God We Have Killed Electoral Reform

Now we can enjoy the fruits of a two party state, just like our American cousins. Below you will read a passage from the Washington Post. In it, you will see the relentless logic of the two party state made plain. The context of the quote is the progressive reaction to the Obama Administration ongoing coverup of Bush era lawlessness.
The political consequences are hard to figure. While there is clearly upset in many quarters of the Democratic base for Obama's decisions regarding investigations into harsh interrogation techniques and now his reversal on the release of the photos, it's hard to imagine that come 2012 these same voters will cast their votes for the Republican nominee.
That's pretty clear. If progressives are unhappy, too bad. They are stuck. So, they can support a party that covers up torture, or they can support a party that engages in it. I want me some of that. What sane person wouldn't? It is, after all, stability in action.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We Live In The Best Of All Possible Worlds

"There is a concatenation of all events in the best of possible worlds; for, in short, had you not been kicked out of a fine castle for the love of Miss Cunegund; had you not been put into the Inquisition; had you not traveled over America on foot; had you not run the Baron through the body; and had you not lost all your sheep, which you brought from the good country of El Dorado, you would not have been here to eat preserved citrons and pistachio nuts."

"Excellently observed," answered Candide; "but let us cultivate our garden."

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What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

News Item: Stephen Harper Appoints Global Warming Denier and Common Sense Revolution Author To The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
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Sunday, May 10, 2009


Spoilers ahead. If you haven't seen the neww JJ Abrams Trek read no further. You have been warned. I need to talk about this so if you don't want to know go make yourself a cup of tea.

Alright then. First, I want to say that I loved the new film. It is full of energy and the spirit of the old Trek is certainly there. But. Didn't you know there was going to be a but? But, holy cow, did Abrams ever mess with the universe. By killing not just Kirk's father but Spock's mother and his entire planet, Abrams has tossed the Star Trek canon into the trash bin. I feel a little conflicted by that. Part of the appeal as a fan, is the knowledge of the "history" of the Federation from Archer through to the end of Voyager. Now, that history is gone, or at least in doubt. History has changed and not just a little bit. And that is disturbing to an old guy like me. An unknown future is bad enough, but a changed history (even a fictional one) is really bad.

I have thought a lot about what the consequences of this new reboot are. Amok Time can't happen because Vulcan is gone and T'Pau is probably dead as is Spock's fiancée. It is true that Balance of Terror can still take place, but the Federation now know what Romulans look like and they would be on guard for a sneak attack.

Also, the Romulan jealousy of Vulcan can never be explored anymore , because Vulcan is gone and its people are dispirited (at least by Vulcan standards) refugees. So, a lot of the tension between Romulus and the Federation during Picard's time is not going to happen. And speaking of TNG, does Khitomer come under attack by the Romulans now and does that lead to the Khitomer Accords between the Federation and the Klingon Empire; or is Yesterday's Enterprise closer to the reality of the new timeline? You see what I am getting at? Without the continuity of the timeline, anything is possible. Now that is good in some ways. It will foster the imagination of future writers, but it is wreaking havoc on my sense of "reality", and that makes me sad.

I am in a funny place. I am mourning happily. I mourn the loss of "my" Trek, but I am happy that the mythology lives on -- even in this new and unfamiliar form. I will get over the mourning eventually and I look forward to what the new future history has in store for me. What more can one ask from a popular entertainment?
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Friday, May 08, 2009

Quote Of The Week

From Chantal Hebert:
For all the recent talk of a change in dancing partner for the minority Conservatives, the Liberals remain the cheapest date on offer to the government in the House of Commons.
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Citizens And Politics

Now that the government's always laughable "reason" for keeping Abousfian Abdelrazik out of his own country has been exposed as a lie, we should apply Occam's Razor to get to the real reason.

The simplest explanation for the government's quite frankly, childish and crazy treatment of one of its own citizens is that the governing party needs Mr. Abdelrazik kept where he is until the courts tell the government to bring him home. Why would they need him to be kept away until the courts order him home? Logic would suggest that that would make Doug Finley's fund raising job much easier if the governing party can tell its supporters that "activist" judges in the courts made the government bring him home and so they must send more money to the Conservative Party in order to ensure only good, conservative judges are appointed. Crazy? Maybe, however Conservatives have been known to muse about such things, and it is the simplest explanation for an otherwise unexplainable mystery.
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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Shorter NHL

We would rather bleed cash, subsidizing hockey in a part of the world that never sees naturally occurring ice, than allow a billionaire to bring hockey to a part of the world hungering for our product.

The people running the NHL are frickin geniuses.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Not Only Is Obama Ok With Letting Torturers Walk Free

But he also seems to love him some Military Tribunals. The more of Obama I look observe, the more Bush I see. Oh well, at least Americans will get free health care! H/t to Cathy.
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Shorter Jacob Weisberg, Liberal

"We are all guilty of torture so we should not prosecute anyone." I do love the old "Everyone is responsible, so no one is responsible" jive. It's a classic.
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Friday, May 01, 2009

You Want A Sign We Are Losing In Afghanistan?

Read this. It is a decent thing for the government to be doing, but still, if you are helping your employees to flee the country, you know that country is not doing so very well.
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Iggy: The Trudeau Of The Master Class

Ignatieff is more conservative and more open to nationalism
That is a statement of the blindingly obvious by the Globe, this morning when comparing Iggy to Trudeau. Trudeau, for all his faults (and God knows he had thousands, the biggest of which was a complete indifference to the economy) was at heart, a liberal reformer. Iggy, on the other hand, will be a reliable defender of the big banks and big oil. Iggy has never met a status he didn't want quo.
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