Welcome to the second, less frequently-posted decade of RevMod.

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Elsewhere, but some here, too

Ian Welsh has posted a good piece on the Conservatives attempt to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board. However, I don't think he's looking deeply enough. He sees transnational corporations wanting to grow wheat and barley, but while farms are getting bigger, transnationals have no interest in operating them. Employees have to be paid, whereas farmers work for damn near nothing.

The farms that want to see an end to the wheat board aren't transnationals, but they definitely no longer can qualify as "family farms" either - farm operations several sections large that benefit from the economy of scale that allows them to put machinery on their fields that qualify less as "tractor" and more as "industrial equipment." Those are the farmers that think they'll gain the same scale advantage moving their product without interference from the CWB.

To be sure, the CWB is not operating as well as it could, it having been designed for a different time. It's long overdue for an overhaul, something it's already starting to do for itself. But dismantling it is (to use a hoary old metaphor) tossing the baby with the bathwater. Toss it out, and in half a decade the same big farms will decide they need a marketing board again. That sort of cleansing fire could be a very good thing, except that NAFTA and the WTO, which grandfather the CWB, aren't going to be as friendly to a new marketing board.

If the Tories take apart the CWB, it's the end of the wheat business for small farms, but then again, small farms have been moving slowly away from wheat and barley for years, because the financial yield is too low. Five years forward from the dismantling, it'll also be the end of the Tories in rural western Canada, when the farms and small communities forget their own complicity in the CWB's destruction, and the end of the CWB replaces the birth of the NEP (something else Albertans have conveniently forgotten their complicity in) as the Great Betrayal.

Edited to add: I only wish the Western Producer wouldn't hide so much of its good content behind a subscription barrier. Pragmatic, left-leaning, and with deep roots in rural western Canada - who does that remind me of? Hmmmm.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More elsewhere

I've started in on my cleanup of this page. There's a whole bunch of staledated blogs over there on the left that will be leaving soon, and to the right, you'll notice I added a new member of the "must read" club. Macleans has realized that although the ideas of Liberal speechwriter Scott Feschuk got their asses kicked in the last election, the comedy of Mr. Feschuk, delivered in blog form, was huge. They've decided to translate that to a daily news page. There's some plug in for IE for the audio version that freaks my IE out, but it works just fine in other browsers.
In entertainment news (of a sort), Mike Bullard has signed a one-year contract to host a weekday morning talk show on XM satellite radio. The former TV personality says he will apply a sharp wit to comedy routines and segments with guests. Bullard did not saying whose sharp wit he'll be borrowing.
Go. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


The Calgary Grit has begun a review of the leadership candidates for the Alberta Tories. At the NDP convention this weekend, I seemed to be the only one who believed that F. L. "Ted" Morton is a serious playa, for his resonance with the hard social right, "More Alberta, Less Ottawa" crowd. There's more of those in the Alberta Tories than some pundits would have you believe. I'm looking forward to seeing what CG will have to say on the matter.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Revision Thing

I've just been watching The War of Words: The Story of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists (and for those of you who haven't yet watched it, go. Go now.). It got me to thinking about my own previous blogging, and the stands I took at various times. I'm particularly proud that I was willing to stand by my faith that the UN inspectors didn't find any WMD in Iraq pre-war because there were none to be found, and declared that as early as February 10, 2003. At the same time, I'm sure a more thorough search would find contentions I'm less proud of. I'm willing to change my mind in the face of new evidence or cogent arguments.

The point is that I'm happy to allow my work to remain on the record, if not to continue to hold every opinion I've ever expressed. To the left, you can find links to every word I've posted here, although changes to how I manage comments mean those will disappear from time to time. The reason I make this declaration now is that, as I developed this post, my search for things I might be less proud of reminded me that I've recieved criticism in the past, and I thought those criticisms might lead me to some sort of post I was less than proud of now.

Instead, what they led me to was Brock! On the Attack!'s archives, in particular, his post of February 29, 2004, where I was hoping to find some link to some post I might no longer stand by. Instead, I was reminded that the post contained some vauge ad hominem attacks and no substance.

Can't find it? It's because he dropped the post! Everything else still seems to be there, but for some reason, that post is gone. Fortunately, The Wayback Machine archives these things, so it can still be read. I don't know why he dropped it. But it raises an interesting question, to me, anyway. Do other bloggers regularly edit their archives to reflect their opinions in the here and now, the way the United States Administration keeps moving the target on reasons for war in Iraq? Is it wrong to do so? I'd be interested to hear from other bloggers on this.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Guess who hasn't been getting laid for a while?

Seeing as I'm the host of the Gaffe-o-Meter, it seems I should comment, so here you go:

Watching all the furor over Peter MacKay's comments during an exchange of heckling in the House, I'm trying to figure out who's being stupider over it all. Is it MacKay himself, who, although he got in a "good one", should have the political instincts to know when a "good one" will create a shitstorm? Is it the Liberals, and particularly Stronach herself, who looks at best disingenuous in trying to make MacKay's "good one" out to be some sort of example of the Tories' alleged general misogyny? Or is it the media, who are eating all of this up with a spoon, at the expense of the Tories nonsensical legislation?

Frankly, I barely blame MacKay at all, except in his actions since. The initial comment was neither premeditated nor just an angry rant. McKay was having some fun at his ex-girlfriend's expense. As friends of mine know, I have a lot of sympathy toward that. My only complaint is about his denial that he said it. Instead, he should have thrown a press conference: "Yes, I said it. I was implying that my ex-girlfriend is a bitch. It seemed funny at the time, and still kinda does. I'll leave Canadians to judge both those issues. However, here are some of the things I've done on behalf of Canadian and more recently Afghani women, most of whom are not power-hungry opportunists..... . Finally, a personal message to Tie Domi. Get away while you still can."

(Hmmm... power-hungry opportunists. He certainly has a type.)

I have some beef with the Liberals who should have just recognized a "good one" and moved on. They're now the ones who have shifted the focus away from the Clean Air legislation, when Canadians should be thinking very hard about that legislation and what it doesn't do. Stronach herself I blame a little less, because she was painted into a corner by her colleagues who made an issue of it. It doesn't really leave her in a position to say "I'm sad he's still hurting, because I'll always have a place in my heart for him. But Tie 'n' me, we got something really special....." Or, you know, whatever it is ex-girlfriends say in these circumstances. Still, she might have gotten away with "I think that caucus is a bad influence on Peter. I know he's not a misogynist, because I don't sleep with misogynists, but it's sad that he thinks he has to say things like that just to impress his new friends from the old Alliance party....." and then start naming names and examples.

Finally, the media. How can I blame them? "He said, she said" is so much easier to cover than a complex environmental issue, and it sells more papers.