iamom: (Default)
From a recent episode of one of my favourite satirical podcasts by the darkly hilarious stand-up comedian and comedy writer David Feldman:

The worst thing I ever did to my father-in-law was marry his daughter. Happy Anniversary... It's Feb 3rd, which is our 22nd anniversary, and I'm proud to say that I can still fit into her wedding dress.

The Florida primary was Tuesday and Newt Gingrich lost big, but Newt is not dropping out. He assured his supporters that he's not leaving, because his race for the presidency is not some cancery chick he's tired of banging.

Mitt Romney was unapologetic about going negative in this week's Florida primary. Mitt said, "When taking fire, I shoot back." Mitt learned that the hard way during the Vietnam War, when he was a brave Mormon missionary in Paris.

In that same interview Romney said, "A leader can focus on the very poor, but that's not my focus." If elected, Romney won't focus on the poor, unless you count creating more of them.

Romney won big on Tuesday by spending millions telling Florida that Washington has stop thinking every problem can be solved by throwing money at it.

This week, voters in Nevada go to the polls, and Mitt Romney looks like he's going to win big after picking up an endorsement from Donald Trump. Donald Trump and Mitt Romney are living proof that there is no limit to what you can achieve in this great country of ours, so long as you're willing to have incredibly rich parents.
iamom: (iam)
Interesting story in this morning's news about an NDP candidate who resigned after extensive (and I mean, extensive) video footage was found on PotTV.com which shows him smoking pot while driving, taking LSD, and so on. The CBC reporter presenting the story said something like, "This information could have been found easily enough simply by Googling his name."

When Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican VP candidate pick in the US presidential election, I found myself aghast at the lack of background checking that had apparently been done once the extent of her background was eventually revealed over the days following her selection. I thought to myself, "What are these GOP organizers doing, putting in someone with so little experience," etc. and so on...

The same thoughts apply to this case, except substitute NDP for GOP. My stomach churns in sympathy for those working in Jack Layton's office this morning. Lotta weird feelings must be swirling around today as they push past this (ahem, unfortunate) event and move on.

(Incidentally, in the former case involving Palin, I'm no longer convinced that it was incompetence on the background checker's part that allowed Palin to slip into the VP candidate slot; I pretty much think that picking her was 110% on purpose, and that the GOP felt that her huge attraction from the conservative right in that party would at least outweigh these nitpicking little details about her past. Undoubtedly, this should turn out to be true.)
iamom: (bush hunger strike for nepal)
Reading Peter C. Newman's scathing review of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's autobiography, My Years As Prime Minister, in this Saturday's Books section of The Globe and Mail had me laughing out loud this morning. I wanted to put some of the highlights of the review in here for posterity.

On his atrocious English language speaking skills:
Canadians watched with fascination as le p'tit gars de Shawinigan disgorged disconnected words instead of marshalled ideas. He once promised to enact reforms, "the better the sooner." It was virtually impossible to follow his train of speech, always on the point of derailing itself. He turned incoherence into an art form. When he was tackled about the absence of proof that his government's Quebec sponsorship program (later proved to have been criminally fraudulent) made sense, he replied: "The proof is the proof. And when you have a good proof, it's proven." (see this youtube clip)
On the general quality and truthfulness of the book, especially in comparison with the other main biography of Chrétien:
This chronicle of his 10-year reign doesn't live up to its billing. Its cloying perspective and deliberate avoidance of key issues guarantees that Lawrence Martin's Iron Man: The Defiant Reign of Jean Chrétien will remain the definitive study of the period. Martin portrayed his book's chief protagonist as exercising an instinct wonderfully at one with the country's broad wash of citizenry and their values, but devoid of the intellect with which to clothe it. "He was born not with a silver spoon in his mouth, but rather a cement mixer," Martin concluded.
On his taking personal credit for his three majority election wins:
He takes full credit for having won the trio of elections he called between 1993 and 2003, not bothering to acknowledge the kamikaze tendencies of his opponents. How lucky can one politician get: to have run against the hapless Kim Campbell and her unerring instinct for own own jugular; followed by Preston Manning, who boasted the finest medieval mind in the Commons; and finally having to contend with Stockwell Day, who has made a spectacular recovery since, but at the time believed in the possibility of dinosaur petting zoos.
That last bit cracked me up, reminding me of how former Canadian Alliance / Conservative leader Stockwell Day, a staunch Creationist, publicly stated that he believed that dinosaurs and humans co-existed on Earth before dinosaurs became extinct. And to think that he might have become our Prime Minister. Sheesh.

Newman closes his review thusly:
Still, My Years as Prime Minister is valuable because it fills in some blanks and explains why, over the years, Canadians have become so cynical about politics that even when cabinet ministers admit they lied, nobody believes them. The Chrétien who emerges from this auto-hagiography is a politician who trails no history, except the conviction that his performance was flawless. This, though he was the first Liberal PM to be overthrown by his own party.
Personally, I'm glad that he's gone. Stephen Harper is not necessarily a better PM, but he's different. I was never proud to have Chrétien as our PM while he was in there. He was an arrogant leader who routinely embarrassed Canadians with his incomprehensible speech and never once took responsibility for egregious errors for which he was personally responsible.

Hmm, that sounds like another world leader I know...
iamom: (Default)
Americans over 45 are probably more likely to remember George McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate and Vietnam war opponent who lost handily to the incumbent, Richard Nixon, two years before Nixon's near impeachment for Watergate. According to McGovern's Wikipedia entry, he now sits as global ambassador on hunger for the UN.

He was interviewed in a 2007 Rolling Stone issue (RS 1025/1026) to mark the 40th anniversary of The Summer of Love, 1967. I thought that his reflections on the presidency of G.W. Bush had some luscious bite to them.
You have a doctorate in history. Give me your unvarnished take, as a historian, on the legacy of George W. Bush.
He's easily the worst president in American history. I don't think that's exaggeration at all. Nobody has put us into such a god-awful mess as this one. Nobody.

What do you think motivates him? Is he just incompetent, or is he an ideologue?
Both. He's terribly incompetent in managing the ship of state. He doesn't know where to begin -- Karl Rove and Dick Cheney are calling the shots. I don't think he has a glimmer of reality on the big issues before the country: global warming, the escalating arms race, the war, the environment, education. He's a disaster.
iamom: (Default)
Colbert denounces the results of yesterday's elections and laments the downturn that America will surely experience as a result of electing a Democratic majority...

http://colbertondemand.com/videos/The_Colbert_Report/Colbert_Calls_it_Quits
iamom: (zoe at 4)
So the Democrats have won the House and may also take the Senate. Much back-slapping must have been had last night. It would be my hope that the Democrats perform strongly enough in the next two years to take the Presidency in 2008, although who knows what might happen after that.

I heard a CBC Radio news report this morning about an Israeli rocket attack made into the northern Gaza Strip. 18 people were killed, mainly from some family strategic to Hamas command. In response to this seemingly unprovoked attack, Hamas has declared that the current cease-fire between Israel and itself has, through Israel's attack this morning, become null and void. Renewed attacks against Israel by Hamas militants should be expected. And so the cycle resumes. (Good show, Israel!)

An insight about Afghanistan came to me earlier this week. Didn't the Soviets spend the better part of the 1970s and 1980s trying to quell the military resistance in Afghanistan? How can we Canadians expect that a few PRTs (Provincial Reconstruction Teams) and several hundred troops are going to be effective at "defeating the Taliban"? I wonder if the Afghani warlords (or whoever is responsible for tactics over there) laugh at the weak strength of our current forces allotment in Afghanistan.

This next snippet is typed by Zoë:

hello my name is zoe

my doll's name is annabell

11 121314
16
15171819
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2122
iamom: (bush hunger strike for nepal)
This made me chuckle a little bit. It's from an e-mail newsletter Michael Moore sent out this morning. As per his norm, he's nothing if not dramatic.
Friends,

Tomorrow night, those who sent 2,800 of our soldiers to their deaths -- all because of a lie the president concocted -- will find out if America chooses to reward them -- or remove them.

As good as things look for the Democrats, do not pop the corks and start the partying yet. Do not believe for a second that the Republicans plan on losing. They will fight like dogs for the next 24 hours -- relentless, unforgiving, nonstop action to squeeze every last conservative voter out of the house on election day. While the rest of us go about our day today, tens of thousands of Republican volunteers are knocking on doors, making phone calls, and lining up rides to the polls. They're not sleeping, they're not eating, they're not even watching Fox News. A day without Fox News? That's right, that's how insanely dedicated they are.

But the reason they have to work so hard is that, before they can get the vote out, they first have to completely turn around the massive public opinion against them. Almost 60% disapprove of Bush. Over 60% are opposed to the war. Those are landslide numbers. And the American people are not going to turn pro-war or into Bush-lovers by tomorrow morning. So it should be easy for us, right?

Yup. Just like it was when we won the popular vote in 2000 and when we were ahead in the exit polls all day long in 2004. You know the deal -- the other side takes no prisoners. And just when it seems like things are going our way, the Republicans suddenly, mysteriously win the election.

Well, it's not really that mysterious. They're out there busting their asses this very minute, right down the street from you. What are YOU doing? You're on a computer reading my cranky letter! Stop reading this! We have only a few hours left to wrestle control of the Congress away from these "representatives" who, if returned, will continue shipping our young men and women over there to die.

Here's what I'm imploring you to do right now:

1. Go through your address book on your cell phone and computer and call/e-mail everyone you know. Tell them how much it would mean to you if they vote on Tuesday. If they don't know where to vote, help them find their polling place.

2. Contact MoveOn.org ASAP. They will connect you to the folks who need you to make calls.

3. Contact your local Democratic Party headquarters. There are close races in nearly every state. They'll put you to work -- on the ground or on the phones. Or go to the local HQ for the Dem candidate running for the House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate and say, "Put me to work!"

OK, turn off the computer -- and I will, too. There's serious work to do. The good news? There's more of us than there are of them. Let's prove that, once and for all.

Is there anything more important that you have to do today? Nothing less than the rest of the world is depending on us.

Yours,
Michael Moore
www.michaelmoore.com
mmflint@aol.com
iamom: (delete bush?)
Via [livejournal.com profile] aldoushuxley, I believe, this op-ed piece issues forth a concise and directed indictment against the G.W. Bush presidency. The following excerpt sums everything up nicely:
There may be little Americans can do to atone for this presidency, which will stain our country’s reputation for a long time. But the process of recovering our good name must begin somewhere, and the logical place is in the voting booth this Nov. 7.
Indeed, the reputation of America abroad must be in the proverbial tatters. I can't help but think that the optics would be good for regular Americans if they were to roust as many Republicans from office as possible tomorrow.

So go to it! All whatever-the-crazily-low-percentage-of-registered-US-voters-
who-actually-fills-out-a-ballot-in-midterm-elections of you.
iamom: (yale schmale)
This is kind of amazing...
iamom: (Default)
My favourite quote:
When Harper exits a caucus meeting it’s not entirely clear if the title “smartest guy in the room” immediately shifts to his parliamentary secretary or the jade plant.
Too funny! The rest of the article is worth reading too, and it gives resounding applause to Bob Rae in reference to the current federal Liberal leadership race. Surprised that Mercer took such a clear and personal stand on that issue...

http://syndicated.livejournal.com/rick_mercer/16114.html

or

http://rickmercer.blogspot.com/2006/09/smartest-guy-in-room.html
iamom: (flying)
The Rick Mercer Report website has lots of other great satire from this election, but when they played this ad on the election results show last night, I totally cracked up laughing. One of the Liberals' major blunders in this campaign had to do with their strategy of fighting Harper on exactly the same terms as they did in the last election: namely, by trying to scare voters wanting a change against voting for Harper because of his "scary right-wing ideologies." Unfortunately for the Liberals, Harper's campaign was run so much better than theirs and focused so strongly on issues and policy that these ads, which ran on a heavy rotation throughout the whole campaign, probably went a fair ways to alienate prospective Liberal voters. The ads also made Paul Martin look desperate, which is not a good image for a Prime Minister to have.

Anyway, those ads were quite ridiculous for the most part, and this satirical sketch by Rick Mercer poked fun in all the right places.

Rick Mercer's Liberal Attack Ad
(1.3 MB Windows Media File)
iamom: (coltrane)
           

Canada Federal Election Results 2006
   
Well, I couldn't be happier with the result. I was sick to death of the 13-year Liberal reign, and I was completely fed up with Paul Martin. I, apparently like many other Canadians, was ready for a change. I was also very glad to hear that Martin will step down after this campaign. He's good and ready to go, and many will be glad to see him leave.

Granted, I'm not an ardent supporter of Harper and the 'new' Conservatives, but they're the only other party that could have realistically formed an alternative government to the Liberals. I'm also not as scared of their apparent values as a lot of people seem to be. (Now that same-sex couples have the same civil rights as opposite-sex couples (as they have for a few years now), I think that the same-sex marriage issue is a non-issue.) Plus, having the Conservatives form a minority government should also effectively hold them in check, as it were, and give the country a chance to see just how skillful Harper will be at governing. Even if they'll be a bit hamstrung by virtue of their not holding a majority in the House of Commons, the fact remains that if their policies and governing style are good enough, then they'll win enough support in the House to achieve their objectives.
   
As could be expected, the Bloc Québecois holds the balance of power. I would have rather seen the NDP in that position, and with an extra couple seats for either the Conservatives or the NDP, this would have been possible. But my impression is that the Bloc has some key strategies in alignment with the Conservatives, especially pertaining to the fiscal imbalance between the federal and provincial governments; decreasing the size and power of the federal government (i.e. decentralizing power and funding to the provinces); and electoral and democratic reform. If some or all of these issues are addressed in a Harper government, I'll be extremely pleased. I won't even care how many right-wing freaks out West call for a free vote on abortion. (Such a vote wouldn't even make it second reading in the House anyway, so who cares?)

I hope that electoral reform makes some real headway. The split between seats won and popular vote is too wide, especially in the regions. At the national level, the NDP won 17% of the popular vote but only 9% of the seats. The voting results for Nova Scotia are even more telling of the imbalance: the vote split between Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats is 37%, 30%, and 30%. Yet the seat split between those three parties is 55%, 27%, and 18%. It's obvious that there's something wrong with a system that so heavily distorts the popular will of the electorate.

(On a personal note, I voted for Alexa McDonough, former head of the NDP, since she's in my riding of Halifax and I wanted her to be back in Parliament. Another fairly close race in my area was in [livejournal.com profile] grammardog's riding of Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, which re-elected Mike Savage, the Liberal incumbent and son of former Liberal Nova Scotia Premier John Savage. Lawyer Peter Mancini was the NDP candidate in that riding, and I believe that it was previously held (i.e. before 2003) by New Democrat playwright Wendy Lill.)

One thing's for sure -- last night's results were a cliffhanger, and I think that they engaged more people than usual in a political campaign. I mean hell, [livejournal.com profile] grammardog actually went to an all-candidates meeting in her riding and even asked questions! That's saying a lot right there. :)
iamom: (iam)
The Canadian federal election campaign is now in full swing, and I've been enjoying the coverage so far. But this [fictional] campaign update from Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin on comedian Rick Mercer's blog really cracked me up. This great highlight:
Actually I might just sit back and watch Belinda kick Harper’s ass in Ontario old school. The woman is on fire! She was at the Canadian Club yesterday and she defended joining my government by saying “It’s not where you sit it’s where you stand!”

Not a bad line! Personally I think she should have said what I told her to say:

“Well the thing is, well, umm standing and sitting are of course, entirely different… and umm therefore when I went into public life I was er...committing to a course of action that involved sitting down for what is right unless of course standing was required which is a position that I have always held.”
I actually believe that Paul Martin has a good brain, but he's an astoundingly inarticulate public speaker and a zen master of the political dialect that issues forth countless paragraphs of dull verbiage that are completely bereft of content and logical insight.

Granted, he still makes a bit more sense than Dubya. Marginally, anyway. Fewer redunancies, at least. I just heard a sound byte today from Bush in which he said, "Illegal immigrants that cross our borders illegally are breaking our laws." Brilliant. Truly concise, cutting analysis, that. Don't know what we'd do without such high levels of intelligence in the U.S. Commander-in-Chief.
iamom: (portrait)
Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority federal government elected in 2004 has just been toppled by a vote of non-confidence in the House of Commons at Ottawa. Minority parliamentary governments are always at some risk of dissolution, but for whatever reason, yesterday was the day the three federal opposition parties banded together to vote Martin's government out of existence. (On minority parliamentary governments.These are created when the party with the most seats elected wins the election, but does not have the numerical majority of seats in the House of Commons; therefore, if the opposition parties vote together on a motion of non-confidence against the sitting federal government, they will constitute the numerical majority in the House of Commons and effectively shut down Parliament, thereby triggering a federal election.)

The CBC has devoted a lot of its coverage so far to determining whether or not Canadians want to have an election campaign over the Christmas holidays. Like we'd all be broken up inside by not having an election while the tulips are blooming. (That was Martin's original suggestion, by the way: to call an election after Gomery Part 2 is released in February.) I don't think it matters when the election will be, though. Nor do I think people care about when the next one falls (although I haven't heard anyone state a compelling reason why the election should be called right now as opposed to six months from now, or longer). Frankly, nothing about this election really matters to me at all. Nothing the federal government does has any real impact on my day to day life. Does it?

One thing that is clear to me is that politics have no substance. The verbal buffoonery that passes for debate in our House of Commons does not fulfill even the most basic definition of that term. The questions posed by MPs seldom (if ever) pertain to specific policy issues so much as they contain clumsily-designed bits of provocative verbiage whose objective is to make it into that night's 15-second audio clip on the news.

And so on.

Politics is a game played by gangs of inarticulate thugs who rake off half of our own incomes each year to provide us with essential social and government services, but for whom there is no means to evaluate their actual performance. We can't check on their progress from day to day, nor can we tell if they're effective at their jobs. If the federal government were a non-profit organization, their administration costs would probably not fall within acceptable ranges. But since they have no oversight on their own activities other than themselves (and a Senate which can only be populated with patronage appointments), the only occasion that ordinary Canadians have to hold their elected officials to account is if they visit their federal election voting booth.

In my particular riding of Halifax, my MP is (former national NDP leader) Alexa McDonough, and irrespective of which party I would like to support in this election, she'll have my vote for strategic reasons. My strategic reasons arise from my newfound appreciation for a minority federal government. I genuinely like the collaborative style of governing that's forced to evolve with this structure. Parties on seemingly different sides of a debate are forced to adopt the common aspects of their platforms in order to make any progress in the House. This isn't a bad thing; it allows each participant to put forward their best ideas and if those ideas are good enough, then they'll be supported by the majority. In theory, anyway.

The next obvious question for me is whether or not we have the right political leaders in place to synthesize those ideas and to create an appropriate culture for effective collaboration in the House. Ironically, I suspect that Paul Martin might have those qualities, but he sure hasn't been able to demonstrate them in the 18 months he's held office. (Not that Harper's helped him there, either. Hello, Stephen? Can you talk about anything other than how corrupt the Liberal government is? Haven't heard an idea out of you yet there, little buddy!) Poor guy, that Paul Martin. I bet he curses Jean Chrétien in five languages before going to bed each night!
iamom: (flying)
Michael Moore pulled together a synopsis of recent polling data demonstrating that a majority of Americans:

-- disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq;
-- think that going to war in Iraq was a mistake;
-- think that the war in Iraq wasn't worth it;
-- think that the Bush administration intentionally misled people to make the case for war in Iraq;
-- no longer trust Bush or his administration;
-- feel that Bush is not a strong leader and that he does not share their values; and
-- want the war in Iraq to be stopped ASAP and to bring the troops home.

More data can be found at PollingReport.com (which is a veritable treasure trove of information, btw).

Here's to Bush leaving his presidency in a suitably ignominious departure that leaves his reputation and his legacy sullied forever. It's only the least that he deserves. And same for Cheney. I heard someone say on the radio a little while ago that there had been talk to have a Cheney/Jeb Bush ticket for the next election, but that this will clearly not happen now, thank God.

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Dustin LindenSmith

January 2013

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