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

Contact me at revmod AT gmail.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

And with that...

... a happy and prosperous new year to all! We'll see you in 2004.
Get'cher links, links, right here...

Welcome a Canadian living in Scotland, Who ate all the straw?, to the reciprocal blog roll. For now, it seems, I still have that list, as opposed to my promised more-sensibly organized links.
Year in review

My archive links are to the left. Fill your boots!

If you prefer something more organized and satirical, Counterspin has a New Year's special that includes my best gal, Janeane Garofalo. Just two sentences about Paul Martin, and I'm hers for life.

Who am I kidding? I already am.

If you can endure the Sean Cullen portions, I'm sure it will be excellent. It will be broadcast several times over the next few days on Newsworld.
Maybe not so happy

This outgrew the comments section following this post. I was attempting to respond to Dennis at Moderate Republican, an interesting and very readable blog in its own right.

I'll save you the trip to the pop-up window, and begin here with Dennis' comment:

Ummm...I've read your blog for a while and like it, but I have to put my foot down. Canada had these measures and it didn't stop it from having a mad cow case. I would agree that we should institute better measures, but it's not like we didn't do anything. We did ban the use of feed with brain material back in '97, just as Canada did.

As I said, I agree to more safeguards and this might be a good opportunity to that. The USDA has issued a ban on using "downer" cows for one. But please don't resort to cheap anti-American jabs. I welcome constructive critiscism, but not this.

Still a great blog though and I mean that.
Okay, so I quoted it for the criticism, and nerely missed the praise. I'm such a negative Nelly. Just ask my co-workers, family members, friends, or intimate partners. Naturally, I started writing:

I haven't responded so much to my comments section in I don't know how long - a New Year's resolution may be in order.

I was very heartened to hear the downer animal slaughter restriction introduced today. It may have happened before I wrote the entry, but I'm just not as minute-to-minute as I'd like. You know - job.

I think what both countries should take away from this experience, but neither seems to want to take away, are the dangers of high-production industrial farming to the food supply. I was perhaps too harsh, but the NYT article scared me. I considered the possibility, upon reflection, that one could write similar articles about the Canadian beef industry, but that our reporters were seized by an irrational nationalism - which may explain the degree of consumer heroics Canadian farmers saw over the summer and fall.

I need to read and then write more about this. Industrial farming has done so much damage to our small rural communities, to the water supply, to the environment in general, and to the safety of our food supply that I owe it to myself to give it more time and thought. Both our governments are too ready to trust the industrial farm lobbyists.

I stand by the barn door comment, however. The technology exists to track every calf on the continent born from today forward. That needs to be mandatory on both sides of the border if we want to fully reintegrate the industry. I also stand by my desire to see the American beef and dairy industry clean up their act with regards to practices like scraping the spines clean, or the feeding of blood to calves, and to the extent that the concerns raised in the NYT article hold true for the Canadian industry, I am even more desirous. But that brings me to the missing link in my post, and my too-emotional reaction to the NYT article. Notwithstanding the tracking issue, the Canadian cattle industry may be committing the same dangerous practices as the American industry, and perhaps more. I can't imagine any farmer on either side of the border with a few hundred head being so irresponsible.

I spent the summer listening to my friends and neighbours ready to kill their mothers if it would get the border opened to their herds faster. I don't want to see another case of BSE on either side of the border, or even worse, a case of CJD from a hot dog that was scraped a little too close to the spine. The former would slow the industry's recovery to a crawl, and the latter would very nearly finish off those friends and neighbours.

This afternoon, while I wrote the initial post, I had a "Get Your War On" moment in my head. All I really wanted to write was "We need to take this shit seriously. I don't want my Burger King drive-thru to cause my brain to fucking melt."

Goddamn it, there go the child protection filters.

Anyway, repressing that, it turned instead into a more nationalistic screed than absolutely necessary. You're right, and I apologise. But if I find out that all I'm getting from the Canadian industry is tasty free-range ass meat, I might have to take the apology back. My point is, I'm really not sure, and I probably should be.

Thanks for the otherwise kind comments - the number of moderate-right types that seem to enjoy my stuff encourages me. And now that I know about your blog, I'll certainly be reading it right back.
Update: The new American ban on use of central nervous system materials is virtually the same as the Canadian ban. Still not complete enough (no feeding to humans or ruminants, but no ban on other use), but the same.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Lord a-goshen!

Kinsella reports via the CP wire that Bernard Lord won't run for the Mobius-Strip Party of Canada (tm James Bow). You people are so hooped - I can't possibly tell you how hooped you are. Hooped? You have no idea.
Happy to be Canadian, food-safety-wise

When Canada saw its BSE case in the spring, people who followed the news learned a whole lot about the database tracking of individual ruminant animals, so that any outbreak of BSE (or, presumably, foot-and-mouth or something else) could be quickly isolated, the appropriate animals culled, and our food safety protected. It's not a perfect system, but it's an important tool in the effort.

After waging their own battles with mad cow disease, Europe, Canada and Japan instituted government-regulated mandatory systems to trace animals from their birth to the grocery. They also require extensive testing of cattle herds, not the small risk assessment used in the United States that tests 20,000 to 30,000 cows or about 0.03 percent of the herds.

The United States does not require or have such records. But Agriculture Department officials said they would now speed up a project to create a national database for tracing animals. The system would be voluntary; farmers and ranchers could decide whether to register their animals in the data bank.

"At some point this could become mandatory," Ms. Harrison said. [story here]
What point would that be? Would that be at the point where you're dealing with BSE? Because, first, uh, that's freaking NOW, you idiots!, and second, to use a pre-industrial farming metaphor, that's closing the barn door long after the mad cow has left. We started tracking cattle in Canada six years ago, and it wasn't early enough to trace the roots of our BSE-positive animal conclusively.

Go read the link - it has scarier parts, too:

Last year, the Agriculture Department tested processed products from plants that use advanced meat recovery systems, which are meant to strip the last bits of meat from close to an animal's bone and spinal column, and found that 35 percent of the meat tested positive for central nervous system tissue.

Canadian cattle producers insist that this American case of BSE is our big chance to reintegrate back into a single North American industry. But I'm starting to wonder if it wouldn't be better for the Canadian cattle industry in the long term if we closed our border to American beef, and focused instead on the overseas markets, where they understand something about food safety.
Were they watching the same show I was?

August pointed me to a Newsweek article on The Daily Show. In both the article and the sidebar, they describe a bit done by Steve Carell on the McCain campaign bus:

'Daily Show' correspondent Steve Carell goes on John McCain's campaign bus and confounds the candidate with silly questions. McCain later plays the tape constantly for visitors.
I can't find the precise question he asked anywhere on the web, but here's the context. In the midst of a "lightning round" of questions ("Favourite book? Favourite movie?") Carell asked a question about McCain's focus on campaign finance reform, in the context of McCain's own collection of donations for various Senatorial races from some questionable big-industry lobbies. McCain looked caught in a particularily bright pair of headlights, until Carell started laughing, saying "Just kidding... I don't even know what that (the question) means!"

It was an amazing moment to me: possibly the most incisive question the candidate faced during the entire campaign, and it came from a "fake" news show. Jon Stewart is right - The Daily Show shouldn't be taken seriously. But so long as we live in a culture that turns election campaigns into horse races, court proceedings into Dick Wolf productions, tragedy into drama, and generally treats the news broadcast as an entertainment vehicle, any program with a critique of that culture will be considered seriously.

I only hope Rick Mercer can do half so well come January with Monday Report.

Monday, December 29, 2003

I guess I lied

I remained on holiday from this page, despite the catastrophic event that I promised would bring me back to it. Forgive me, but nothing seems more pointless than my little vanity punditry hobby in the face of such an immense humanitarian disaster.

Go support the people of Bam. Relief agency links can be found here (link via Bow)

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Ho ho ho II

That's it for me for a few days, barring some catastrophic or hilarious event. I'll be surrounding myself with loved ones, warm fires, and some form of nog-related drink that involves tasty rum. I'll also be attempting to uphold my reputation as a twice-a-year Christian, but I'll deal more with that come New Year's resolution time.

A very merry Christmas to you!
Ho, ho, ho

The Guardian reports that the Bush family, unlike me, got their Christmas cards out in time... and they had a somewhat longer list than I did.

The more interesting part of the story concerns the Cheneys:

His card quotes one of the nation's founders, Benjamin Franklin, declaring: "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
The story that follows regarding the Vice President's proclivities toward the massacre of birds is interesting and telling, but the word "empire" is the more worrying to me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Oh, no

BSE seems to have appeared in the American cattle supply. This is the worst possible news for Canadian cattle farmers, as well - on the heels of finally getting the US border opened to our beef again, I think we can expect them to close once more, defensively. Not to mention that international markets are likely to not differentiate between Canadian and US beef when it comes to electing to reopen their borders to North American beef.

I think we can also expect a reduction in beef consumption on behalf of American consumers. That will hurt us as well.

This was nearly inevitable, but it's really crappy news.

Update: Perhaps it's the Christmas spirit distracting everone, but I quickly poked around my regularly-read American blogs, and I can't find a single mention of BSE. Do they have any idea how far the ripples of this single case will spread? BSE has cost the Canadian economy nearly $2 billion dollars so far. Multiply that several times over, and you're dealing with a serious downturn in the American economy. Focus all that pain on half a dozen states and you have a political consequence to think about, too - if the American government handles this badly, doesn't cull enough farms, and a second case comes up, Bush will be fighting like crazy for electoral votes in what were safe (70%ish) Republican states yesterday. Okay, that's actually a good consequence, but lets hope the White House handles this well anyway, because too many livelihoods are on the line over the next three to six months.

American bloggers, I know you're busy with the wrapping and the nog and whatnot, but this is going to turn into a huge deal in the new year - you might want to bone up a bit.

Second update, Christmas Eve morning: Thanks to POGGe for the link, but my comments provider is not down with the HTML. Let me make it easier on my readers. POGGe writes: "Try Just a Bump in the Beltway. Melanie's on the job." And POGGe has more BSE links besides... off you go.
'tis the season to be letigious....

.... fa la la la la, la la la la.

No, that doesn't scan at all. But it does make sense, if you don't want the world to notice what a control freak you really are. And Paul Martin obviously understands this.

James Bow reports that the PMO is issuing a cease and desist order against paulmartintime.ca, for infringement of style and a URL that's too similar to the PM's own. And the order comes along with vauge threats, so that's great, too.

Dare to compare: - one of the sites is here, and the other is here. If you've checked off the "new windows" box in my right column, you should be seeing both at once. Are you having any trouble figuring out which is which?

Yes, the styles are awfully similar. They're supposed to be. It's a stylistic parody. I suspect the main trouble is coming from the combination of stylistic parody and serious, unfriendly content. But it doesn't take very much reading to figure out you aren't at Paul Matin's propaganda page.

This aping of styles isn't new on the Canadian web. BlogsCanada looks a whole lot like the Government of Canada. But since the content is innocuous, the Government of Canada doesn't seem to have any problems with the style being pinched - it's an homage.

I'm sure that if Paul Martin Time was producing content more to the PMO's liking, there would be no threats. It seems to me that right there is the legal test to say that the stylistic aping is within fair use. But I really hope the PMO comes to its senses, and no court is ever asked to decide.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Here at Revmod, Lord is the new Brison

I'm not saying that Bernard Lord is gay. He might be, but probably not - I'm not really suited to judge, and the question isn't really germaine to the conversation anyway.

No, what I'm saying here is that Bernard Lord is the new guy to watch. Will he or won't he? I think we can now safely say he will. But I love CBC's headline:

Lord refuses to quell leadership rumours.
So, what you're saying here is "maybe". Hee!
Orange alert at Christmas - does that make it a Mandarin Orange alert?

Wow, catching Saddam really helped us all become safer, didn't it? Talk Left points out that the US has more than ten times as many troops in Iraq, where Osama bin Laden isn't, than in the border territories between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he probably is.

Tom Ridge tells us al Quada is thinking of using airplanes as weapons again. Honestly, what are the chances of that, really? When planes were hijacked on September 11, 2001, I suspect most of the passengers, while scared, were first thinking, "Just sit tight, be calm --- now I get to spend a few days on an airstrip in Cuba." What are the chances that an airplane passenger, faced with hijackers, are going to sit idly by and let it happen? No, I suspect most people would risk their lives, expecting that their lives are already lost if they do nothing.

And al Quada knows this. Say what you want about this organization - bloodthirsty, nasty pieces of work, what have you - they can't be described as "stupid". They won't try this again. Something else, sure. Something dangerous and deadly, possibly. But running planes into buildings is done, unless they manage to sneak aboard a cargo plane - passengers make a repeat impossible.
The link I've been waiting for

You know, it's neat to me that serious writers, like Bow and Kinsella, like my stuff here enough to give it a nod. Sure, I call myself a writer, but I'm still waiting for someone to pay me to do it. Respect from "real" writers is the next best thing, however.

Now a University English instructor has linked to me, and I'm experiencing a calm, zen-like trance of coolness. It makes me wish I'd actually gone to UNB-Fred to finish my degree, like I'd planned. Give Scribblingwoman a look if your tastes lean to the literary - she can write (natch), she finds the most interesting links, and she's a Buffy fan. I get the feeling, looking around, that the blog is primarily meant to be read by her students, but you know, funny thing about the internet...

(Speaking of Buffy, sorry for the lack of posts lately. Season Five has kept me pretty occupied, bawling like a baby. I'm such a sucker. I finished it yesterday, so I should be set now until Angel Season three hits the stores. A part of me regrets that I wasn't watching with the rest of the world as Buffy was broadcast, but a bigger part is glad I'm getting to see the series, episode by episode, without missing a single one. That same bigger part is glad that I was able to reduce the "Glory" character to twenty hours of my life, instead of a year.)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Another progression




Congratulations, Beckie!
Weblog roundup, pt. III

For some reason, this post has been getting a lot of blog traction... links elsewhere, as well as a busy comments section. First of all, thanks for the links. Second, I have no idea why the comment link shows only one - there were six at the time of this posting. Third, I probably should have included Fletcher in the list of cross-posty types as well. I knew I'd skip someone obvious if I attempted the list.

The focus of the responses has been on my definition of this group as "centre-left". I wrote this to The Middleman's comment section, after his vigourous argument that he's not left-wing:

In my own defense, I wasn't all that interested in the ideological label when I wrote the post - and unlike Kinsella, I wrote "centre-left". The reaction to this has convinced me that the "centre" portion of that claim is the operative word. I have no problem with labelling my own politics, but I've never heard anyone use "blue ND" (the opposite of "red Tory"), which is where I put myself.

Mostly what I was attempting to point out was there seems to be a group of bloggers - a group you and I both fit well in, I think - that link frequently to one another. We quote one other, we respond to one anothers' posts, and when one of the set discovers something interesting it tends to work its way around.

I think it's neat - I think we're collectively different enough that we're offering more than "me-too" punditry, and yet cumulatively we're adding more to the Canadian political discussion than we ever could alone.
(edited from the original comment for readability)
Now to get Kiefer

I didn't care much for Jack Layton when he ran, and cared even less for him when he decided to wait for a general election to run for a seat in the House. But he continues to prove himself a smooth operator. Today, he's managed to convince Ed Broadbent to run once more for a seat in the House of Commons.

I, for one, am happy to see Ed return - less for the extra seat (though I think he's safe to win it) and more for the voice in the caucas room. There's been a lot of turnover in the party since Ed's day, and a little extra continuity to more successful times will do the party good.

"No." "No." "Forget it." "No!" "No." "Uh-uh." "Nope." "No."


Guess what comes next in that series? I think we can expect Bernard Lord to become the flag-bearer for the non-Reform portion of the Conservative party in the leadership soon. And if the Conservatives are serious about taking a run for government, Lord might be the best chance they have to avoid Reform III-ism.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Robert Stanfield, 1914-2003

Bob Stanfield, "the greatest Prime Minister Canada never had", died yesterday in Ottawa. One of my earliest political memories was a school bus seatmate with a Stanfield sticker on his lunchbox ("Where can I get one? I must have one! He's the luckiest kid in the world!" - I was a weird kid), and the locals dining out for weeks on his line: "If I were to walk on water, the press would say I'm only doing it because I can't swim."

Stanfield was predeceased by his party.

All geeked out

I went to see The Return of the King last night, so my posting today is likely to be slim and sub-optimal. I might be a little tired.

What did I think of the film? Well, I think we're all too used to trilogies starting strong and getting weaker. I'm sure it's a function of producing the three films at once, but Return of the King avoids this trap, maintaining the same high standard as the first two. Essentially, if you liked them, you'll like this one. But Jackson is a little too in love with his sprawling vistas and lingering battle scenes to completely suit my tastes - he could have done without twenty or thirty minutes here, without losing any of the essential character of the film --- the same reaction I had to The Two Towers. Maybe I should quit seeing these movies at midnight.

The Globe and Mail review was perhaps the most critical I've read, but also possibly the most interesting, with its considerations of the homoerotic relationships and such. This bit spoke to most of all:

Director Peter Jackson's realization of this monumental Celtic fantasy of an evil, all-powerful ring, and the solidarity of supernatural and human heroes to defeat marauding hordes of monstrous subhumans, ends with a bang (and then ends again with less of a bang, and then ends with a few more smaller bangs for about another 40 minutes until the movie fades out).
This experience is felt doubly so at three am.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Weblog roundup pt. II

I'm reluctant to draw this list. The blogosphere does not deserve to endure formal organizing. Nonetheless, onward.

As I was starting to rebuild my links, as promised, a pattern emerged of a heavily cross-linking cabal of Canadian centre-left political bloggers. Spicer, Ikram, Kinsella, POGGe, Middleman, Bow, myself (I'd like to think), and at least one that I've somehow managed to miss until now: The Armchair Garbageman.

He (I'm going to say "he" unless corrected - GarbageMAN, you see) writes well, and has that snarky tone I work so hard to emulate. I hope I don't lose all my readers to him. Then again, there's the whole Alberta thing.... he's another T.O.'ian. Regardless, once the link list is rebuilt, you'll be seeing him there.

I'm sure there are several others I have likewise missed. Forgive me... I'm keeping up as best I can.
Weblog roundup pt. I

In the wake of the Maher Arar case, a number of Canadian blogs have been pointing out other cases of Canadians with accusations of terrorist-related activity hanging over their heads, imprisoned around the world. POGGe has an excellent roundup of those cases and posts.

... if we dump our principles the moment they become inconvenient then they were never really principles at all - they were just slogans.
Couldn't have put it better.

(He missed my own "little-known prisoner" tale, but it was posted some time ago. Abdullah Almalki still sits in a Syarian cell, much like the one Maher Arar spent the better part of a year in.)

Monday, December 15, 2003

New Edition required. The blog listings, not the boy band.

I've added another Torontonian, Anderw Spicer, to the reciprocal blog listings on the left. Is it just me, or are there a whole lot of places on that list to read about the latest on Dalton McGuinty? Where are the Alberta left-wingers / centrists? Stop laughing.

It occurs to me that more and more, there's overlap between the two sets of listings I have on this page - I think I need to come up with more useful dividing lines than "those who list me" and "those who don't." Perhaps political/non-, or Canadian/non-... any ideas are appreciated.
Legal Issues

Donald Rumsfeld has announced that Saddam Hussien will have full POW protections, unless it's discovered that he was actively involved in - er - waging war against the coalition troops.

I can understand the White House's desire to protect the soldiers it sends abroad, but honestly, since 9/11, the Americans have tried to treat attacking their military as terrorism. Guess what - it's not. That's war.

As with so many nebulous questions of law, Talk Left has a great deal on the legal minutiae of this situation as it develops.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Dust off the "Mission Accomplished" banner

Saddam Hussien has been captured. This is obviously good news, if not as good as the White House and American news outlets are going to be making out. And the celebration among Iraqis, unlike the whole statue/liberation made-for-television moment in the spring, appears real, and so it should be.

I hope, but don't expect, that this moment will take the legs out from under the insurgency. I hope, but don't expect, that this moment will mark a serious beginning to shifting power from the United States to Iraq.

I need to remind everyone of this "Get Your War On" classic from March. Sure, Hussien's a bastard. He was a bastard when the west was supporting him fighting Iran, too. I hope that under interrogation, Saddam tells us what Donald Rumsfeld knew, and when he knew it.

I also need to remind everyone of a basic principle of the democratic rule of law - justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. This was done very poorly or not at all in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic - we need to learn from that experience. There may be nothing that can be done about the conspiracy theories that will spring up among the more paranoid types in the Islamic world (the same people who are convinced that the Mossad was behind 9/11, for instance), but a fair and open process led by people who have no revenge motivation will help considerably in reducing their resonance.

(Hey, Prime Minister, some free advice - it's not "Iraqians")

Friday, December 12, 2003

The decline of the British Empire is complete

They'll give a Knighthood to anybody.
Nice place!

Fearthainn has the same URL, but an attractive new site. Go. Enjoy.
In with the new

Congratulations to Prime Minister Paul Martin. Twenty-first's a charm!

I'm not going to try to read the new cabinet appointments too deeply. There's one good sign I'm willing to go out on a limb about - Bill Graham still in Foreign Affairs suggests an intent to maintain some continuity in our face to the world... a face that's looking pretty good these days. On the other hand, Graham might also be the source of some reluctance to look deeper into the Arar case, so I suppose it cuts both ways.

Update: Just noticed - no Brison. Huh!
Out with the old...

Warren Kinsella has republished a Canadian Press article about Prime Minister Chretien's last full day. I've said it before, but I'll say it one last time - I'm going to miss Chretien. Specifically, the Chretien we've had for the past year... his political deathbed conversion has been very good to Canada.

Warren, can I help you out with some entry-specific permalink code?

Thursday, December 11, 2003

"Now we're haggling over the price"

Alberta Premier Ralph Klein criticized the American move [to deny Canadian companies the right to bid on reconstruction projects] but also condemned Ottawa's decision not to support the U.S.-led war.

"I can say it right now: I told you so," said Klein, who wrote letters to U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci to express Alberta's support for the Americans during the war. [Full story here]
You know, if the Premier had expressed concern on principle that Canada was doing the wrong thing by not joining or supporting the Iraq war, I'd respect that. But all I've ever heard him say is that we had to get involved, because it would cost us money to piss off the Americans. And he was right.

My readers seem perceptive... do I actually need to put a name to this? The name wouldn't be entirely fair - whores only open their legs.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Oh, my

Good thing I have mergers and new cabinets and what-not to discuss - I couldn't compete with American news as covered by Militia Commander General JC Christian. I particularly like the title of his links to left-leaning blogs: "Probably French". Hee!

People think I look ridiculous because I wear camouflage all of the time. They giggle and make comments about how it doesn't quite cover up my belly. They don't understand about the fine line I walk as a militia commander. I have to wear the camouflage to show the people that we are here to defend them when the NWO's armored divisions begin rolling out of Vancouver, BC. [post here]
Best left to others

So Canadian companies don't get to bid on serious Iraq reconstruction contracts right now. Boo-frickin'-hoo. First of all, if the whole country is really going to be handed back to the locals in the next several months, there will still be lots of rebuilding contracts available at that point. If control is truly in the hands of Iraqis, I can't imagine the bidding process then will favour countries that broke everything with their bombs in the first place.

There is a much better analysis of the Wolfowitz Directive over at POGGe.
The Brison watch concludes

Scott's walked the floor. I'll be honest, I did not see this coming. If this happened in a week, I'd say it was a strong sign of trouble in the Conservative ranks. Happening this quickly, it feels like something he's been planning since he first saw the writing on the wall regarding merger.

Perhaps I'll go further. Was Brison planning this while trotting out his Spencer rebuttals? Was he trying to increase his Q rating in advance of dumping his old party?

I'd like to repeat a bit of what I quoted yesterday: "[Brison] voted for merger because he thinks the country needs a united alternative to the governing Liberals..."

If I was a Tory - especially an anti-merger Tory - I'd be pretty pissed right now.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Maybe I overspoke, maybe I didn't

This story on canada.com (so, essentially, the story which may have been in the Post, but I didn't want to sully my hands with that particular brand of ink just to find out) claims Scott Brison won't be running for the leadership. It tells us this through the following paragraphs:

It appears Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison, who finished third at the Tory leadership race in May, will not run this time around.


Mr. Brison, who is openly gay, is uneasy about the Alliance stand against same-sex marriage and its reputation as socially conservative.

The Nova Scotia MP, who finished fourth in the last Tory leadership race, voted for merger because he thinks the country needs a united alternative to the governing Liberals, but said: ''My doubts have grown in recent days that this [new] party will reflect the kind of Progressive Conservative values that I've felt proud to support.''
There you have it. Come out in the National Post, and drop a place in the standings.

My point here is that this sort of reliability suggests you might want to take the story with a grain of salt.

The Globe adds this tidbit:

Tory MP Scott Brison has [along with Manitoba Tory MP Rick Borotsik] also said he will not remain in the party if it is led by Mr. Harper.


Mr. Borotsik also added: "if Stephen Harper is taking this party forward, then that shows to me that it's nothing more than a continual metamorphosis from the Reform [Party] to the Alliance to the Conservative."
(I've reversed these two paragraphs - only full disclosure here at RevMod)

I think that's a standard I can go by - if Harper wins, expect to see the strikeouts I alluded to on Saturday.

(For the record, Brison came fourth of the four candidates left on the second ballot. Try to find specific results - man, what a grueling and fruitless search!)

Monday, December 08, 2003

No time today

I'm getting killed at work, so my thoughts on Jim Prentice's candidacy for Conservative leader, and Scott Brison's refusal to run, will have to wait until much later today. I'm sure you're all on the edges of your seats.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Little midnight updating

I was re-reading some of what I wrote this week, and came to a single conclusion - the Century Gothic was attractive, but unreadable. Why didn't someone tell me?

I'm moving on to Arial until someone has a better solution, and suggests it to me.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Merger update

Even now, the Tories are debating and voting on merger. I watched a little of the debate, and the biggest cheer came for John Crosbie, who made the most cogent and convincing argument in favour of merger (though the chair half-heartedly attempted to cut him off mid-way):

Post-merger, the Conservative party can have a number of traits that boil down to "moderate," and have a chance at winning an election. Or they can be regionalistic and socially conservative, and have no chance of winning. From Crosbie's perspective, the PCs might do themselves some harm, but there is no risk to the country whatsoever.

Damn - that John Crosbie is pretty sharp. He's got a great future in politics.

Update: No surprise - the Tory merger vote passed. No surprise, I say, because of how many delegates are rumoured to have voted in both this and yesterday's Alliance vote. I think there would be a lot less criticism of this from the Orchard part of the party if they'd frozen the membership roll the day the merger negotiations closed, yet this likely still would have passed. Either way, now it's done, and there's little Orchard or anyone else can do about it at this point.

Depending on the next few months, expect to read "The Reform Canadian Alliance Conservative Party" here in the future. To you Conservatives, you members of that new entity, a word of advice: Don't become that party! Listen to Crosbie! Moderate = electable!

Thursday, December 04, 2003

The "Texas is screwed" part is an aside

Via Kevin Drum, I've come across this post by Jeanne d'Arc at Body and Soul. The reason I blog this is because she mentions the five-paragraph essay, exactly the model I learned to write with in Junior High school. Surprisingly, I couldn't write for shit in Jr. High.

The model is getting smacked around in the linked post, and rightfully so. It's an okay model for learning, but it should probably be replaced for more complex writing by the time a student hits - I dunno - twelve years old. Twelve ought to be old enough to get one's mind around more complex writing.
Cats sleeping with dogs

Here's a sentence you probably never thought to read here at RevMod: Ezra Levant is right. In his December 1 column, he suggests that the prosecutor involved in the Michael Jackson case may be nursing a long grudge against the bizarre singer.

This opinion is shared (and, needless to say, much better referenced) by Talk Left. Do you suppose Ezra is reading the left-wing blogs?

I'm not one to judge the guilt or innocence of people based on what I hear on television. I don't know what Michael Jackson did or did not do, and frankly, I don't care very much, either. But I think people should be concerned when it appears that a prosecution has this degree of political influence connected to it.

So, again, Ezra is right. I'm shocked too. It just goes to prove that even a blind squirrel finds a nut on occasion.

Bud Long takes note of what seems to be a dip in general political blogging activity. I think both the observation and his reasoning for it (Iraq quagmire) make a lot of sense, but I still have plenty of material. It's likely difficult for my readers from the U.S. and elsewhere to get excited about Rob Anders and Larry Spencer, but I suspect I'll be continuing the recent domestic focus.
Timing is everything

Anyone who doubted that the social conservative wing of the Alliance is attempting to mark territory pre-merger need only listen to Rob Anders, Member of Parliament for Calgary-West, this week. Anders has elected to make a public stink about Bill c-250, which has already been passed by the House.

Let's review what c-250 is supposed to do. I can understand and sympathize with people who are suspicious of hate speech laws. The right to freedom of speech is central to a functioning democracy, and restricting that freedom is not something to be undertaken lightly. But given that we have such legislation, I think we should make sure it covers people who have actually faced genocidal actions taken against them. I think it should cover people who face intimidation and threats because of who they are.

When I wrote about it back in January, the fear-mongers were flogging a claim that c-250 would have police on doors, confiscating Bibles and locking up preachers. I argued then that the fear was absurd. Supporters of c250 felt the need to reassure, so the bill was amended to explicitly insure that no religious text would be restricted by this legislation. And yet Anders flogs his fear-mongering unabated.

So to the political question: why are we hearing about this now, will the bill in the hands of the Senate, who are unlikely to make changes? I think this might just be an effort from the soc-con wing of the Alliance to both deflect from the controversy around Larry Spencer, and yet reinforce the message Spencer sent last week: the new Conservative party will be open for business to bigots and homophobes. I think that merger forces need to consider Scott Brison's warning of turning two circumstantially unelectable parties into one permanently unelectable party. Harper and company need to step on this, hard, if they want a political future in Canada.
The reciprocals keep coming

I've added All Things Canadian to the list on the left. The unnamed author has just started up, and has already posted plenty - hockey and politics, it seems. Jon should like that. Edited to add: three days, and already a broken link: his link to information about Larry Spencer on the CA site is already dead. That didn't take long, but look for that link to function again if Larry gets invited back. Further edited to add: now the link routes to Spencer's press statement. Busy webmaster over there.

I've also abbreviated the name of "Peace, Order, and Good Government, eh?". Amatuer political hacks like myself like to be overheard talking about the federal government's "POGG powers," so I feel both justified and smart. The longer name took up two lines unhighlighted, and undermined my sense of aesthetic balance. I'm all about the aesthetics, folks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Can't really post today

New management at work - we're stepping lightly for now around "surfing" and whatnot. I'll be verbally slapping Rob Anders later... stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The asshats have spoken

Larry Spencer's EA says communications to the constituency office are running 80-20 in support of the MP.

Earlier today, I was reading Colby Cosh attempt to convince the world that we should just ignore MPs who make comments like these - "weird, unsourced nonsense about gay recruitment". Sure, it's crazy, and very few under of any political stripe in this country under thirty-five years old thinks the government has any business legislating where my penis goes (with the adult consent of the recipient, natch). Don't paint the Alliance with this brush. I was almost convinced.

When eighty percent of the calls to a constituency office - hundreds of citizens - are nodding agreement with this guy, this is more than batty old Aunt Marge. We need to be loud, vigilant, logical, and thoughtful. (Sure, I like the term "asshat", but I always assume I'm preaching to the choir.) If Stephen Harper is serious, if he is saying that this thinking is not part of the Alliance party, if he's saying that he rejects Spencer's outlandish remarks outright, then he needs to speak up to these hundreds of constituents. He needs to send a message, and if that means tearing up the card of one old anachronism as a warning to the hundreds of others who have expressed support for Mr. Spencer, then he needs to do it.
There are known knowns

I'm getting a few hits this morning regarding Donald Rumsfeld claiming the "Foot In Mouth" award. He won for a statement I published in April, as "found poetry" published by Hart Seely. If that's what you're looking for, here's where to find "The Unknown".

Monday, December 01, 2003


I'm not willing to draw any certain conclusions based on this, but David Kilgour's website certainly offers a more rational explanation for his comments last week:

I do not in any way believe that homosexuality leads to incest and/or polygamy and in no way meant to imply that they are related.

My comments stem from a concern that were a law to be too broadly written, it might be legally impossible to prevent any individuals from marrying. I deeply regret that my comments may have been misinterpreted as disparaging towards gay and lesbian Canadians.
I don't find this argument entirely convincing - it comes from a similar place to the fear that adding homosexuality to the protection from hate speech would ban the Bible (a fear evidently not shared by Mr. Kilgour, which to my mind adds weight to his credibility). But taking Mr. Kilgour at his word here, his argument is at least within the realm of serious public debate, as opposed to Larry Spencer's lunatic ravings. The two do not deserve to be compared.


The other correction isn't really a correction per se, but an add-on. Remember my evaluation of Scott Brison on Friday? I heard him again this weekend, and one thing finally sunk in - he has launched his leadership campaign around Spencer's comments.

Over and over again, he talked about the "family values" critic, corrected each time by someone noting that Larry Spencer was the "family affairs" critic. I know this seems to be shaving the point rather thin, but this was intentional use of language that most Canadians associate, negatively, with social conservatism, and he's using that language as a stick to beat up Harper. He's staking out an interesting piece of ground: "The Reform and Alliance parties have carried around the baggage of social conservatism for fifteen years. Elect me leader, and never again hear the word "homophobic," he seems to be saying.

I'm not sure how successful this campaign might be - after all, there's a certain element of the Alliance party (Larry Spencer's "we", as in "we can live with [Brison]") that doesn't think social conservatism is a bad thing at all - it's a reason they found the Reform Party attractive in the first place. The Conservative merger, even if it passes, may be doomed to fail in the longer term, split on these lines. (Someone quoted John Crosbie to me in Babble, and it deserves to be repeated: "It's the 90% of Reformers that give the other 10% a bad name." Hee!)