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

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Damn you, Voldemort!

Medical authorities warn that reading Harry Potter can cause head pain. Three children have been diagnosed with "Hogwarts Headaches". Doctors are silent on whether they are caused by the size of the latest book, the suspense, or the Latin. But they do agree on the remedy - plenty of television.

WARNING: the Washington Post article has some extremely laboured prose to link the story back to the books. Spookiest thing I've seen so far this Halloween.
... her daughter's headache was in all likelihood brought on by the size of the book, and suggested [she] take 20-minute breaks periodically to keep the headaches at bay, just as exclaiming "expecto patronum" protects Potter and his friends against the evil Dementors.
Second horseman of the Apocalypse:

"And here, to present the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Catherine Zeta-Jones!"

Okay, so she's reasonably smart as starlets go. Still.

In unrelated news, the 2004 Oscars will be hosted by Ahmed H. Zewail, noted for his dead-on impersonation of Zsa-Zsa Gabor, his soft shoe, and his contributions to the field of femtosecond spectroscopy - a triple threat.
Remember the crawl?

On the eve of a new Simpsons season, Matt Groening says Fox News threatened to sue over last season's fake "crawl" (refresh your memory here).

Good thing Fox saved its energy for the Franken suit, instead, eh?
New links

There have been a few new links added to my reciprocal link list (not a blogroll - adding links is too easy that way, and I'm sure you've seen the blogs with more links than anyone could possibly follow. I'll try to stay selective). I'm going to be trimming the list soon, so those of you who've listed me, update the link, or risk losing the two hits a week I send your way! And a word of warning to Bill Maher on the right side of my page - the same rule goes for you that goes for the left side: no posts for a month and I'm replacing you with Sully or something.

(I would like to point out that with a link from Path of the Paddle, I am now two incoming links of seperation from Salam Pax. Hoo-wah! Blogging fame is approaching! But I love you linkers all equally, really I do.)

And you'll note Atrios has finally been added to my "never heard of me" list. I was never going to add him, because I figured my few readers are already reading him or have heard of him, if they're interested at all in American politics. But given the recent Luskin flap (first on the most-talked-about list on Daypop, but CNN tells me people on the web are talking about Laci Peterson, and also about the interesting colour of the sky in their world), I thought it might be a nice and completely unnoticed show of solidarity.
Went to sleep in Canada, woke up in the USA

When did Canadians become so gun-happy? First off, it seems someone used a firearm to deliver four bullet-shaped memos expressing his or her dissatisfaction with TELUS service. I suppose an American might say he was simultaneously exercising his first and second amendment rights.

Maintaining the theme, in Edmonton four more shots were fired into a car, by a cyclist alongside it. Hey, who wants to be on a bike with roads like this if they aren't packin' heat?

Perhaps we could put the guns away, and return to the Canadian way of resolving disputes - by stoically putting up with stuff, or perhaps writing a terse letter to the editor.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Pants aflame!

James Bow has written an interesting post about the lack of success negative campaigns have been having lately. Apparently, the two leading parties in Saskatchewan have heard this message as well. Not that they're both running positive, issue-based campaigns - no, that would have made sense. Instead, they're accusing each other of running negative campaigns.

IN the debate Elwin Hermanson called Calvert a hypocrite because the NDP government had its own plan to sell off a stake in SaskEnergy. During this election campaign, the NDP has accused the Saskatchewan Party of planning to sell off the province's Crown companies if they form a government, something Hermanson has argued is misleading.

Meanwhile, Calvert says his opponent is starting to look desperate.

Elwin Hermanson deflected questions about his own party's stance on Crown Corporations by pointing to the NDP.
Here's an idea as innovative as it is counter-intuitive: be honest and forthright about your plans for government, expect the other parties to do the same, and then let voters determine which path they prefer.

Perhaps what's truly scary is that the CBC felt the need to interview a Political Science instructor (one Shadia Drury) at the University of Regina to explain this, when it should be taught in any elementary school Social Studies class. You normally have to hear Donna Moss asking absurd questions to get this level of basic civics on a television broadcast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

How to make everyone who doesn't think exactly like me feel excluded.

I'll be darned. The Political Compass puts the lie to my self-described "moderation" - I'm heavily left, and heavily libertarian. I can live with that.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

We're all gonna die!

That's certainly true. And it might be from this solar flare. On the other hand, maybe we'll simply get some kick-ass northern lights. Look up to see the aurora borealis, or the face of God before your fiery death, around one am Mountain Standard.
Once in a while, the Onion nails it:

This is one of those times, though most of the joke is right there in the headline:

CIA-Leak Scapegoat Still At Large

Early in the investigation, the Justice Department ruled out several top Bush advisors, including Karl Rove - news that came as a relief to many citizens.

"I'm glad to hear they ruled out Karl Rove," said Janet Manning, a nurse from Davenport, IA. "I'd hate to have the scapegoat be someone highly placed. It should be someone of substantial position - otherwise, he won't deflect enough blame - but on the other hand, if they cast someone too close to Bush as the scapegoat, suspicion of the administration will be raised, rather than displaced. It would do more harm than good."

Monday, October 27, 2003

Fishing for trouble

Is there any chance I might be able to book one of these vacations at the Irving fishing lodge? They certainly seem to be very popular - it must be an excellent resort. And I like the Brick-style "no money down, pay no interest for two years" deal, too.

Yes, it looks a little suspicious that all of these Ministers stayed at this Irving resort for a holiday. But what should cabinet do? I mean, it's do business with the Irvings, or skip New Brunswick altogether.

[Environment Minister David] Anderson's visit took place months before his department issued new guidelines concerning sulphur content in gasoline. Irving Oil produces low-sulphur fuels.
Those bastards! Lobbying government for stricter environmental standards, and then being in position to cash in from those standards! What will these people stoop to?

I suppose a better New Democrat would understand that the Irvings are Super-Rich!(tm) and therefore inherently evil. I personally don't think cabinet members can really be bought as cheaply as this, by and large. This is an illustration that a Super-Rich!(tm) lodge owner gets to bend a cabinet member's ear for a few days more easily than I can, but if we're honest, I think we can all recognize that if the Irvings want a meeting with a Minister, they're going to get the meeting PDQ.

I'm glad everyone's lining up to pay the Irvings back, because the appearance of honesty is as important as honesty itself, but I don't think there's any need to dwell on this, or to suggest that this is proof of a dirty government deep in the pockets of the Super-Rich!(tm). At least, any more so than we thought before.
The Battle for Battleford The Thrilla in Regila Saskatchewan Election News

The Saskatchewan election is heating up. Polls show essentially a dead heat between the NDP and the Tories Saskatchewan Party going into the last week of the campaign. Tomorrow's debate will be certain to get my attention, as long as it doesn't conflict with the season opener of 24. I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Desiderantes meliorem patriam

At any time, there may only be one hundred sixty-five living Companions of the Order of Canada. There are three rankings to the Order of Canada, and Companion is the highest civilian honour of chivalry the government of Canada awards - the Canadian equivalent of India's Bharat Ratna, or Japan's Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.

Yesterday, Her Excellency the Governor-General named four new Companions to the Order of Canada. Of the four, two of them I could not care less about, though I'm sure they're very fine fellows - I mean, Companions and all. An economist and some sort of business-person... I'm sure you can find out a great deal about them if you're so inclined.

The other two, Leonard Cohen, C. C., and Stephen Lewis, C. C. both have biographies too extensive to try to sum up in my pithy little blog, but one good (short) one of Lewis can be found here. Meanwhile, there's more biography in a hundred-odd words written by Cohen than in ten thousand written about him. But for you non-Canadians in the crowd, here we go:

Stephen Lewis, C. C. is a former Ontario NDP leader who has done extensive humanitarian work since his political career ended, most recently as the UN's special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. My first exposure to him was as a pundit, where he appeared on Morningside with the late Dalton Camp for the Tories, the late Erik Kierans for the Liberals, and the late Peter Gzowski hosting. (That's gotta feel a little lonely for Lewis.) His calm, reasoned arguments were a big influence to my eventual settling on the NDP as my own party, and seeing what he's doing now, I think I can remain proud of my party choice.

Leonard Cohen, C. C. is a poet-turned-musician. He started publishing poetry in 1956, and started publishing music in 1968. Amazingly, he still does both, to as much acclaim as he received nearly a half-century ago. His music has been the soundtrack to my adult life, ever since I was introduced to it at a relatively late nineteen years old, in 1988. I heard the album I'm Your Man for the first time after I was talked into it by a salesgirl who I had a bit of a crush on. Frankly, she could have sold me anything in my condition at the time (and she did - I hope she was on commission), but I remain grateful she sold me that. I heard Take This Waltz once, and needed to own everything he had published. I had absolutely no idea, but it was several trips back to the salesgirl for me, so it worked out fine.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Fighting a cold...

... is not conducive to intelligent posting. I'll leave that to others for a day or so.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Chretien's legacy

In Pierre Trudeau's last term, he managed to win the Quebec referendum and repatriate the Constitution, with a shiny new Charter of Rights to boot. Bilingual, multicultural, liberal (in the small-"l" sense) Canada - these are Trudeau's legacies.

Chretien and his most-of-the-era finance minister Paul Martin managed to keep Canada's economy rolling, eliminate the deficit, keep interest rates low, and generally kept the country from spontaniously combusting, despite its best efforts to do so. The Prime Minister will be remembered for none of that. Instead, we're going to remember that Chretien was PM while we as a country learned to hate the United States.

I attended a rural wedding this past weekend, and I've never heard so many rural Albertans say some variation of "Goddamned Americans." They don't like Chretien, but they don't blame him, either, no matter how hard the new Conservative Party will try to convince us that we should.

(I posted months ago that I don't hate Americans at all. The political atmosphere is awful right now, but the people remain the same people I wrote about back then - America still has my respect and admiration, even if Dubya needs to be seriously bitch-slapped back to Crawford)

Who's to blame? Why do Canadians feel so much antipathy toward the USA right now? I suspect part of it is that we feel slighted somehow by a President that refuses to acknowledge our existence. Take Hesoid's word for it:

A President who takes everything personally, is a danger to the United States and the world.

This is just more evidence, in my opinion, that Bush does not have the temperment or common sense to be the manager of an Iraqi Burger King, much less President of the United States.
(forgive the lack of accented "e"s on the Prime Minister's name - apparently, my current character set wants to publish those as "Chrétien")

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Texas - where men are men, and the boy ain't right

I probably wouldn't be mentioning this, but for the opportunity to use that headline. George H W "41" Bush is awarding his self-named 2003 public service award to Ted Kennedy, giving Dubya a subtle but public spanking in the process. Read all about it over at Tom's.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Mighty merger mania!

Since I posted the first couple of times on the merger deal struck by Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay, I certainly have heard a surprising variety of perspectives.

As James Bow correctly points out in my comments section to this post, the Tories need to get pretty wide approval from their membership to go through with this. And some of those voters, if they aren't listening to David Orchard, might be listening to Joe Clark.

Gilles Duceppe noted this morning that while a merger might mean no more vote-splitting among conservative-minded people in Ontario, a strong Tory party will create splits among federalists in Quebec, and help his party along.

Update: Keith Brownsey from Mount Royal College told Newsworld there's lots of Tory membership-buying by Reform Alliance members, who will overwhelm the Clark/Orchard Tories. But in the end, he believes, the new "Conservative" party will look philosophically a whole lot like the current Reform Alliance Party, and the red Tories in this country will be searching for a new political home.

Jack Layton claims that one less party means more media time for the NDP. We'll see.
News of the future

As I considered the previous post last night (read it first!), I thought, what leaks should we expect in the future?

"The President is not taking the Plame outing seriously", said a senior intelligence official on Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


An administration official close to the President reports on Tuesday that the Plame investigation proceeds apace, and it has been discovered already that she may have eaten several kittens and puppies, at the behest of the CIA Director.


"We may never find the leaker *coughROVEcough* in the administration", an unnamed intelligence official cryptically said Wednesday.


On Thursday, a senior administration official claimed that "George Tenet can kiss my pasty white ass."


Intelligence officials leaked Friday that Karl Rove's dad sucks dick for coke, and that Mr. Rove may have been raised by squirrels.


Saturday, an unnamed State department official, cabinet member, and former general said "If I have to stop this car, you kids are going to be sorry!"
Thus ends the news cycle.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Fun with the print media

This is perhaps the sharpest bit of irony I have ever read in a straight-up newspaper article:

Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories" quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used.
Via Tom, via Atrios, via a hundred other people you can find in a daypop search.
First trouble

All the archives have moved successfully (hooray!) but with the new template (boo!). I'll manually revert them to the backups when I have some time on my hands.
Welcome aboard!

Kick the tires, check the resiliency of the links, critique my colour choices and HTML skills. I'm glad you came along for the ride.
The most recent winner of the "Nice Big Cup" award:

Step right up, Mahayhir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

He declared that "Jews rule the world by proxy", though in his defense, at least he acknowledged that the Holocaust actually happened.

(Perhaps we shouldn't have been so quick to unhypnotize Derek Zoolander.)

Mohamad joins previous RevMod Nice Big Cup winners Trent Lott and David Ahenakew.

Come get your award, Prime Minister!

Update: gags that rely on links better have links that frickin' work. Try it now.
More on merger madness

I can't find the quote online, so allow me to paraphrase. John Manley, in Calgary yesterday, was asked for his thoughts on the merger. He suggested that the new Conservative party would pose no serious threat to the Liberals, because Canadians like their moderate parties, and tend to replace governments with other moderate parties only when they see the current government as too lazy, incompetent, arrogant, corrupt, or some combination thereof. (Aside to Manley: if you were Liberal leader, I might have even considered flipping my vote - you're clearly a wise fellow. Ever considered writing a blog? Paul Martin does it.)

This is the trap that will cause this pattern to be repeated in the future - to become moderate enough to be electable, the Conservative Party will have to become too moderate for members in Alberta, who will leave the Tories and start up the Progressive Social Credit Reform Alliance, splitting the right once more.

But in the short term, the unification might be enough to give Martin a run for it come next election. It will certainly be good for the country to have another truly national party, though I have to admit this is going to be bad for the NDP, who stood to gain several seats when the larger outcome of the next general election looked certain. Third parties tend to suffer as people organize their vote around potential winners that seem more palatable to them, when there's an actual contest.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Shotgun wedding, fifteen years in the making.

Let's Make a Deal is finally over - Stephen Harper and Peter MacKay have taken door number three (wisely changing from door number one after Monty exposed a monkey with electrodes in his brain behind number two), and are going home with a year's supply of Turtle Wax and a brand-spanking new party: the "Conservative Party". That's right - the party of John A is "new".

(I think it's ironic that the one thread that really connects both parties is the one they're tossing out of the room: the Progressive Conservatives were named when the Tories absorbed the remainder of the then-waning Progressive Party, a grassroots western movement elected to press for democratization in Parliament. The Reform Party Canadian Alliance Conservative Party would do well to preserve that bit of their history, because it's the "Progressives" flavour that's going to keep the old Reformers comfortable in the party they left twenty years ago.)

What a situation. The RPC Alliance are ready to sign because Harper is turning out to be something less than the great white hope of the party (I'm not a big Layton fan, but you see more of him saying smarter thing on the evening news than you do of Harper, the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition), and they can't dump a second leader in two years. MacKay wants to sign so he can have a series of speaking engagements after he loses the leadership. "The topic tonight: how my deal with David Orchard didn't actually mean anything." Everyone wins, except the voter, who will be having her or his choices reduced by one come the next federal election.

Here's a better idea than this merger. Make every vote count - adopt proportional representation. I didn't love the idea when the NDP was first trumpeting it in Alberta a few years back, but I've become convinced over the last few weeks.
I know I haven't been posting

But there's a surprise for my loyal readers in the works... watch this space.

Happy birthday, sweetie!

Monday, October 13, 2003

An excellent reason to be thankful

We spend a lot of time assigning blame for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Instead of that, several academics and former leaders have put aside the generations of war, occupation, and terrorism, to search together over a couple of years for a workable agreement, which they've now unveiled. Called the Geneva Accord, it calls for Israel to return generally to the 1967 borders, calls for the Palestinian Authority to give up the "right of return", and generally calls on both sides to calm the hell down.

As has become standard operating procedure, Ariel Sharon's government has rejected the deal before it's even been discussed. I'd call that "proving the point of the opposition politicos who were involved." Having said that, I think this deal will have legs. I think average Israelis are sick of feeling under siege, and perhaps sick of being perceived as occupiers. I'm sure the missile strike in Syria and the giant wall cutting across their backyards make some Israelis think twice about the price of a constant war stance. For their part, the Palestinian Authority is making positive noises, and they might be able to keep this proposal alive while Sharon tries to ignore it.

I'm thankful for people like this, who think "taking matters into their own hands" means something unrelated to Bronson-esque vigilanteism. At a time when governments around the world are displaying their skill at organized violence, I'm thankful there are citizens who are taking peace into their own hands. Mr. Sharon, Mr. Bush, tear down this wall!
Too much turkey to write

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Very subtle - nicely finessed.

Hesoid reports that some slick PR fellow has been signing letters for soldiers serving in Iraq, saying how great everything is, and sending those letters to small-town newspapers across the USA. And each letter is pretty much the same. Hey, no one's ever going to notice that. Or perhaps they did.

Saturday, October 11, 2003


First from the left coast: as Shmuel of Echoland pointed out in my comments section last night, the Straight may not be in so much trouble after all. The B.C. Department of Provincial Revenue will be undergoing a face-saving "review" of the newspaper tax policy. And the review will no doubt find that the Georgia Straight is in fact a newspaper - that entertainment listings are as much editorial content as stock listings.

(This echoland is a pretty cool blog - who else links both Sully and Atrios? Shmuel is perhaps a little too focused on the more obvious extremes of politically motivated language alteration. But it's to be expected - he's (she's? - I suspect not, but "Shmuel" doesn't speak to this goyim of any particular gender) a liberal arts student, and therefore seeing the worst excesses (and I feel so much better for knowing the word "womyndatory" - that exceeds even my own English department / Women's Lit experiences)

From here in Alberta, another election sign on the horizon: the Tory propaganda machine is warming up the engine for another blitz. Hey, remember when the Tories spent a whole bunch of Provincial government money to convince you that private hospitals are a very good thing? I remember it like it was only yesterday, even though it actually went on for about six months before the writ was dropped. I found myself angry that these commercials were running during the six PM local news broadcast, a time that political advertisments during a campaign are verboten. I was angrier that the Tories were spending my money, not their own, to convince me of something I didn't agree with. And yet, I thought, the people who should be REALLY angry are the people who are already convinced, and watch their tax money burned to tell them something they already know to be true.

But either way, for or agin', left or right, red or blue, government money should never, ever, EVER be spent to convince people of a political argument. Think about it - what ads do you see from the Federal government? "Here is our web site / find out how the changes to such-and-such a policy will change your tax form / Canada sure is pretty, and filled with a virtual rainbow of people". Sure, the Liberals are convinced that the better you feel about Canada, the better you'll feel about them, and yet, most people can see that a government (not a party, a government) is well within its perview to convince you that the Jurisdiction is a good place. Alberta ads, as well as the annual provincial-government-purchased message from the Premier, has a far more specific political message. Last election, it was "Private hospitals are a Good Thing." This time out, you (if you're from here) will spend three million dollars hearing how good energy deregulation has been for you. That ad campaign will be happening even as you subsidize your own utility bill, making you feel like you haven't been hit so badly.

And finally, from the collected Alberta and Saskatchewan fronts. Ralph Klein, dissatisfied with merely buying the Alberta election a year early,is stumping for the Saskatchewan Party. And Lorne Calvert responded exactly the right way:

I have no political will, if the idea is that we should somehow, as a province, adopt the agenda that's now afoot in British Columbia or the political agenda that's afoot in Alberta," he told reporters on a campaign stop in Regina. "If that's the plan, then I'm not in. We are going to carve our own way here. I don't want to be B.C. east or Alberta-lite, or Manitoba west, or North Dakota north. I want to be Saskatchewan first.
Look, Ralph, just because you and Gordo can talk over booze problems and hospital closures, that doesn't make the two provinces One Big Province. And just because Saskatchewan elects New Democrats, that doesn't make it a vastly different place. Our political interests differ from Saskatchewan by three letters, and they aren't NDP. They are O-I-L. Otherwise, we're part of pretty much the same huge prairie expanse from Winnipeg to the Rocky Mountains.

Not that Saskatchewan shouldn't make their own way, as Calvert suggests, but to suggest Alberta has more in common with BC than Saskatchewan speaks more to Klein's political small-mindedness than it does to historic fact.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Opening night

The local NHL hockey team has begun another season, and after two periods of play, the Calgary Flames have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Better luck next year, guys!
Left-wing media in trouble

First of all, via my buddy Bill, the retired blogger from Tracking Bear604, the government has told the Georgia Straight it isn't a newspaper, and assessed the Straight fines and back taxes approaching one million dollars. Anyone who has ever been in Vancouver and thumbed a copy of the Straight knows this is absurd. It is additionally absurd that if they replaced their arts and entertainment listings with television listings, they would remain qualified as a newspaper.

Given that I've just spoken kind words for Izzy Asper, the late owner of virtually every other media outlet in the Lower Mainland, I shouldn't have to speak again about the value of having a wide variety of voices in the media marketplace. My suggestion would be that you e-mail the BC Premier and let him know that there are few actions more anti-democratic than closing a critical media outlet.

Rabble's money troubles are entirely self-inflicted, however. Not that they're particularly irresponsible or anything, just that they're an online service, and we know how profitable those always are. They're on a pledge drive, to ensure a longer-term survival. Since I get a bunch of my best stories from them, I'll be giving them some cash. You could, too, you know, just to insure that my me-too punditry continues on with the modicum of quality you've come to expect.
When a day just isn't enough

As August pointed out, the White House is choosing to mark the brutal and violent death of gay-bashed teenager Matthew Sheppard on October 12, 1998 by proclaiming Marriage Protection Week, beginning October 12.

What in God's name is wrong with these people?

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Fun day with Blogger

Strangest thing. I couldn't view an updated page all day, despite Nucleus' ftp server having the fully updated page present. It was like all it had to offer was a cached copy.

So, sorry my ramblings seem to come so long after the facts this week. I'm dancing as fast as I can, here. The single "news from around the globe" was actually meant to be an entertaining quick series of posts. I'll do it the next time something gets far more media attention than it deserves, I promise.
News from around the globe

Israel says its bombing run into Syria Monday was to strike at "terrorist camps". That claim may be 100% true, and yet Israel has already proven itself almost Bush-like in its desire to err on the side of destruction. What - Bulldozing the West Bank and putting up a giant wall wasn't good enough for you people?

Now Syria is promising military retaliation if it happens again. Now, let's be honest, that particular war will be somewhat one-sided, with Syria on the losing end. It speaks to Syria's desperation that it would make these sorts of threats, because it can't easily back down from them.

In only slightly-related news, Israel lost its most prominent Canadian supporter in Izzy Asper yesterday. I had a lot of respect for Izzy: remaining in Winnipeg and running his media empire from there, and not being nearly so overbearing as Conrad Black when it came to pushing a political agenda through his newspapers. Sure, Global's kind of a trashy network, but isn't it better for the country to have a third network to compete with CTV and CBC? Thank Izzy for that.

Heading west, Saskatchewan is going to the polls, and the hardest thing for the current NDP government to survive will be the barnacles that accumulate on any government after a dozen governing years. Plus, now that Grant Devine's cabinet has mostly done their time, they'll have their ballots back, and will probably be voting for the Saskatchewan Party.

Here in Alberta, a major report on fixing the public school system has been released, with ninety-five recommendations. Frank Brusaker, the head of the ATA, likes ninety-four of them, but doesn't want school administration (principals and vice-principals) to be removed from the ATA. Frank, a word of advice: if you try to cherry-pick these recommendations with that sort of NIMBY request, the government will use that as an excuse to pick and choose more widely. Sure, they'll give you your administrators back, but imagine what you're going to lose in the exchange. Decide if it's worth it.

And all of this is to point out what should be obvious. To people around the world, to people in Canada, to people anywhere but in the State of California, more pertinent things have been happening than the election of a gun-wielding, Humvee-driving robot to Governor.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Free at last, free at last

Thank God Almighty, Maher Arar is free at last.

For those non-Canadians who aren't hearing much on this story, Arar is a Canadian citizen, traveling through the United States on business in September of 2002. His name set off some sort of red flag at an American customs gate, because INS officials questioned him for several days about his al Quada connections, before inexplicably shipping him to Syria, where he's been sitting in a prison ever since.

Let me say again. I've never blogged about this, because the initial event happened before I started blogging. A Canadian citizen, travelling with a Canadian passport, was sent by the American government to Syria! Since then, another question has started to emerge: did some Canadian in authority conspire to make this happen? Ikram Saaed asks the question on his blog, Path of the Paddle, and his overview of the evidence is well worth reading. Perhaps now that Arar is free, the question will be asked more openly.

Either way, the Americans should never have sent Arar to Syria. If Arar was Bin Laden's PR guy, you don't ship him to Syria. They could have arrested and prosecuted him, making sure that Canadian consular officials would be an involved part of the process that way, or they could have sent him to Canada to be arrested and tried here. I think one of those two things would have happened, if there was any evidence of an al Quada connection and intent.

One other thing deserves to be pointed out. Syria, a repressive country with a horrible justice system (if Amnesty International is to be believed) has released a Canadian in their custody. The United States is a theoretically free country with an open and fair justice system, and Canadians among others continue to rot in Guantanamo Bay.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Coming Attractions: Molson

Two Calgary theatres will soon be serving alcohol before a film, which is going to make my Return of the King midnight geekfest much more tolerable.

Mothers Against Fun Times Drunk Driving opposes the licensing, claiming that children will have easier access to alcohol. Now, going by traditional movie-house markups, I don't think this is too large a worry - what seventeen year old is going to get drunk at fourteen bucks a wobbly-pop?

MAFT MADD is also concerned that adult moviegoers will drag their drunken asses out onto the street after the film. Which never, ever happens when people are leaving bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, golf clubhouses, casinos, or their own homes. And none of those others enforce a two-hour sobering period before driving. I dislike drunk driving as much as the next person, but when did MADD become the bloody Temperance Union? (Do you suppose this is how those anti-smoking crazies got started? "Hey, you can put up without smoking for two hours through a movie" became "You're standing too close to this fellow's Hummer with your cigarette... there's a fine" awfully damn quick. I digress.)

Now, if I were the theatre owner, I might have reason to be concerned. The last thing I want while I'm screening, say, Gigli, is an audience liquered up and prone to rioting. In as much as you can get a decent riot going in a place named "Silver City".
Sgt. Robert Short, Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger

Canada lost two soldiers of our 1900-strong contingent serving in Operation Athena. Prime Minister Chr�tien, with an eloquence he only ever seems to achieve in written statements, eloquently included in a written statement: The news today is a painful reminder that defending our values and doing our duty can come with a very high price.
CFL News

Why is the media trying to make such a stink about Paul Martin meeting with Premiers over the Grey Cup weekend in Regina?

Here's the headline of the CBC online story: Martin criticized for planning First Ministers get-together at Grey Cup. The only criticism in the story comes from Stephen Harper, who is clearly practicing up for the day Martin takes the big chair, come November or February or any time in between. The Harper complaint properly comes in paragraph seven of nine, and paragraph eight has the Prime Minister responding with, esentially, "What's the big f'n deal?"

How about Canoe (essentially, the Sun Media chain)? Martin acting like PM already. And again, the only criticism comes from Harper, and again, the PM and his spokespeople have no word of complaint.

There's a certain element of the media that thinks it can sell newspapers and make the next election closer (selling more newspapers again) by beginning to pull Martin down now. But here's the thing: the PM-in-waiting is meeting with the Premiers, of his own volition, to talk out some issues that he needs to deal with come his ascention. How could this possibly be a bad thing? Yes, he's not yet the Prime Minister. But he's going to be, give or take an actuarial percentage. Would the Calgary Sun be happier if he walks into the PMO cold, and says, "Now what do I do?" Would Stephen Harper be happier if Martin never met with the Premiers at all, and started passing laws without any consideration for the regional interests that Harper likes to talk up?

Give me a break. Chr�tien knows this is a responsible course of action, however much he and Martin may not care for one another. Is there something in the job description of the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition that says he must be intentionally obtuse? If he tries to score points on this crap, he's going to get ignored on more serious issues.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Meet Karl Rove

MR. McCLELLAN: I've made it very clear, from the beginning, that it is totally ridiculous. I've known Karl for a long time, and I didn't even need to go ask Karl, because I know the kind of person that he is, and he is someone that is committed to the highest standards of conduct.
So spake Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary, today, during a shitstorm the likes of which has not been seen in the press room in some time. Considering that I permalink to the Daily Howler, you can imagine how heartened I am to see reporters doing their jobs. Today proved once and for all that Ari Flescher was the savviest man in politics to leave when he did.

Edited to note that the quote was from a few days ago. The shitstorm is ongoing.

So, despite my playing-card links yesterday, people don't seem to be too sure about this Karl Rove guy. After all, how bad can the guy be, if he's "committed to the highest standards of conduct"?

I found so many profiles of bad Rove behavior with a daypop search on "Rove", I can hardly list them all. But here's my favourite, because it predates them all:

February 15, 2001: Some wonder to what extent Rove will use the power of the federal government against those who would cross the President. Rove's past suggests such worries are not unfounded. "This guy is worse than Haldeman and Ehrlichman," a source who worked in Hightower's office twelve years ago said in a recent interview, referring to Nixon's advisers at the time of the Watergate break-in. "He'll have an enemies list." The interview ended with a request common among sources speaking about Rove, even those no longer involved in politics: "I'd prefer you didn't quote me on this."
Read the whole article. Do your own Google search.

Much of the blogosphere is backing off, as Ambassador Wilson did, on the contention that Karl Rove is behind the Plame leak. The more I read, the more this seems to have a recognizable, "Rovian" autograph on it. Do not let yourself be distracted by Novak's denials or Wilson's retreats.

Some of the left-wing bloggers I've been reading today sound downright giddy about this. I'm not entirely giddy - after all, the actions of an unknown (*Cough cough rove cough*) White House staffer has contributed to undermining intelligence sources about the locations and ownership of WMDs. As a result, those weapons might instead be used at some future time to kill me.

At the same time, knowing that the chances of Bush winning a second term have become, over a week, extremely slight, will help me to sleep more soundly. And watching the White House stonewalling, suffering, squirming --- my alliteration skills are not what they once were --- is, I have to admit, a popcorn event.