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January, 2013:

Shows in technicolour…

… that some members of the ReformCon caucus are regressive throwbacks to the 19th century.

I’m sure they prefer “their women” to stay in the kitchen too.




..or reality?

You be the judge.


The danger of religion…

…the harm that Stone Age thinking has done and continues to do.

Here is a great article penned by Neil MacDonald, who discusses a new book (Lawrence Wright’s investigative book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief),that looks at Scientology and the power that it can wield in American society. And while granted that the Scientology kooks are the extreme, the same can be said to some degree for most of the other mainstream religions.

Take the Catholic Church. What other global organisation can you think of that as a matter of policy has for years shielded some of its members accused of and guilty of systematic child molestation.

Or, common to Catholicism and most sects of Protestantism, gays and lesbians are considered abominations.

Or take how, under the guise of Islam, how women and young girls are routinely descrimanted against, physically abused and prevented from the same opportunities as men.

Faith. The crimes committed in its name.

After the FBI uncovered evidence in the 1960s that Scientology had systematically infiltrated government departments with church spies, Scientology’s tax-exempt status was revoked, triggering a two-decade war with Washington.

According to Wright, the church in that time filed 2,500 lawsuits, swamping government lawyers. Scientology agents dug into the private lives of IRS staff, looking for evidence of drinking or marital cheating, then planted news stories on them.

It offered a $10,000 reward for dirt on the tax agency.

Eventually, the IRS backed down, defeated. But fight any temptation to cheer.

Effectively, what we have here is a profit-making machine that disregarded the law to pursue restitution of its tax-exempt status, which in turn made it even more potent, even more immune to the rules that govern the rest of us.

Yes, other big profit-making entities push government around, too — just take a look at Wall Street — but none has the body armour of a church.

Skeptical? Ask yourself this: If it were proved that senior employees of Microsoft, or Bank of America, had been sexually assaulting minors worldwide for decades, overwhelmingly young boys in their care, and senior company management had been complicit, either ignoring the abuse or actually taking steps to cover it up in order to protect the company’s image, how long would it be before that company would be facing a Justice Department strike force? Or bankruptcy?

Yet the Roman Catholic Church was, at most, dented by such horrific revelations. Individual priests have been charged worldwide, yes. But efforts to hold the church hierarchy responsible for the crimes that were covered up have been exceedingly rare.


Hit gun manufacturers’ cash flow…

… hmm… Not a bad idea. The Mayor of Chicago has sent a letter to the TD Bank, and other financial institutions to withdraw Smith and Wesson’s revolving line of credit. This request is intended to pressure Smith and Wesson and other gun makers to quit fighting against stricter automatic weapon controls.

I wonder how the banks will eventually respond to this.

Unfortunately, the revenues accrued through increased sales might render this moot. But given the opposition that the pro-sanity lobby (anti gun lobby) is facing down south, any help would be valuable.


Friday miscellany…

… colder than Vic Toews at a homeless shelter edition.

Robbie’s Follies… Will he stay or will he go? We’ll know this morning.

As I am apt to do once in a while
, I lamented the absence of a party leader, outside the GPO, with the balls to start the process of abolishing Ontario’s discriminatory and wasteful dual school system. A commenter came back saying that maybe I should be looking for a leader without balls (i.e., a woman).

Now it looks very likely that this will be the case as the OLP holds their leadership vote this weekend

Will the new leader move on the separate school file? Doubtful. But one can only hope.

For those of you who are interested, Scott and some other Progressive Bloggers will be live blogging from the convention and streaming photos at (Twitter account is @Prog_Blog).

The Americans “get” it.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State nominee John Kerry calls global climate change a “life-threatening issue” and says the United States must play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming

I never thought I’d see the day when Canada was an environmental laggard behind nations like the U.S. Sigh.


Here is what happens when you rely too much on the performance of one economic activity to base your fiscal policies on.

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford, in her first TV address, warned Thursday of tough fiscal times and multibillion-dollar revenue shortfalls due to the “bitumen bubble.”

She said the bubble — the difference between the benchmark price for oil in North America versus Alberta’s oilsands bitumen — has grown so wide it will take a $1-billion bite out of this year’s budget and $6 billion the next.

“As we prepare this year’s budget, it means we have to make some very difficult choices,” Redford said in the eight-minute TV spot aired around the province.

I don’t mind Premier Redford. She is preferable to some of the right wing whack-jobs you can find out there in the foothills. But I’m sure most non-Albertans aren’t shedding any tears over Alberta’s financial woes.




Scared ya, didn’t I!


Sun News Network, that fearless foe of state subsidies for the CBC, wants you, Dear Television Viewer, to directly subsidize it to the tune of $18 million a year.

Have no doubt, that’s just the beginning, but it would nicely cover losses the company says now amount to a modest $17 million a year — hardly a corporate killer, one would think, but apparently enough to get Sun News queuing up at the public trough.






…shorts and sandals temps!



Network television, and remembering…

… why I gave it up in the first place.

I made a conscious decision quite a few years back to shun network TV. The interminable and juvenile ads bugged me and there really wasn’t anything on that grabbed my interest anyways. I’m not BIG TV watcher so am picky about what I glue my eyes to for an hour or more.

It’s not that I think that all TV programming totally sucks. There has been and is some good entertainment to be found on the box. Buffy the Vampire Slayer,  Lost, The X Files and St. Elsewhere were all quality network shows. And “cable” TV did even better with The Sopranos, Rome and currently A Game of Thrones.

So, when my wife suggested to me last h=night that I watch the new Kevin Bacon flick, The Following, I was more than a bit leery.  Was this going to be an incredible waste of an hour? But, having been a bit of a Kevin Bacon fan (LOVED him in Tremors and Apollo 13) through the years, I gave it a go. And you know what? It is a pretty good show. I may watch it again. But here is what I observed after having been away from the world of Global, CTV, CBS, etc. for a while:

  • More gore. Lots more. The Sopranos was a very violent show – no doubt – but the gore level on The Followers would have made Tony dry heave. This is a significant change from the network TV I remember.
  • The ads are even more annoying than ever. Seriously. And there are more of them. They are shorter in length but in greater numbers.
  • Our own government is responsible for some of these ads. Once again, can someone PLEASE explain to me why the Harperites are still spending taxpayer dollars shilling the Economic Action Plan? Wasteful and annoying all at once…
  • Camera work has improved and the quality of the video is better – as the audio. But maybe I’m noticing that just because I now have a kick-ass TV!

You certainly won’t be seeing my TV time scream up to the Canadian national average (28.5 hours per week) – mostly due to the ads – but you might see me give a show that has given good reviews more of a chance I would have a week ago.


Friday miscellany…

… the “Ah!”, edition.

Saturday is Gun Appreciation Day in the U S of A!

No, this isn’t an Onion article.


Like a million monkeys hammering in a million keyboards, something coherent might eventually pop out. Such is the case with the Ottawa Sun in this article which argues against the forced inoculation of health care workers.

Don’t misunderstand, I get the shot each year, as do my kids. It works. Period. And I’m a real whiny sick guy.

But, unless it is a condition of employment that is clear to the employee before they accept an employment opportunity, demanding them to be immunized after that point is just not right… and a slippery slope.
So Uncle Tony Clement got indignant with a protester back in my old hometown. The Pres of the local NDP association called him out on a couple of things as did a few others at the protest held outside his New Years levee.

One protester asked Clement whether there was any Native consultation regarding Bill C-45. “We consulted Canadians. We had a consultation called a federal election,” Clement answered. “What I find is there’s a lot of misinformation about (Bill) C45. C45 still maintains a respect for the environment-“ “It’s an anti-democratic act-“ Mobbley interjected. “You’re very good at interrupting, aren’t you?” Clement fired back. “If you’re going to interrupt, you’re being very disrespectful, civil discourse is what people in Canada want. If you cannot participate in civil discourse that you don’t deserve to govern.” At that point, voices were raised, one protester demanding Clement stop, “talking to us like we’re children, please!” Apparently fed up, Clement wished the group a “Happy New Year.” Still being interrupted by one protester, he walked up to the man, addressing him face to face. “I’ve got 56 per cent of the vote in the riding sir,” Clement said, then heading back inside the restaurant hosting his levee.

Civil discourse! Of COURSE! And the CPC is such a good role model for civil discourse, isn’t it?

And here is the latest example of the CPC version of civil discourse:

Publicly calling a reporter out for being “controversial” only because said reporter was asking some hard questions about Dean del Mastro’s campaign spending? That’s controversial? That is “doing his JOB”!

OTTAWA — In an unusual, if not unprecedented personal, public attack against a journalist, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office has questioned the credibility of one of the two reporters who first broke the story about alleged election spending irregularities by a Conservative MP. Harper’s office issued a statement through embattled Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro’s office Thursday in response to an Ottawa Citizen/Postmedia story published Thursday reporting that RCMP officers had stepped in to help Elections Canada investigate the MP’s 2008 election campaign spending. The PMO’s statement, sent to a newspaper in Del Mastro’s Peterborough, Ont. riding, referred to Postmedia’s Stephen Maher as a “controversial reporter.” The statement read: “It is worth keeping in mind that Postmedia recently retracted a story written by controversial reporter Stephen Maher because it made false claims against a Conservative riding association.” Maher’s story, published in November, was about donations to Conservative party donors in a Montreal riding. It was not retracted but was subject to a clarification under the label ‘For the Record.’ In a confused back-and-forth Thursday, Del Mastro’s office first said that the statement had come from the Prime Minister’s Office, and after initially refusing further comment, the MP later changed his mind. “They’re my statements,” he told the Peterborough Examiner. “I did not write them. I agree with them.” >

Classy. And very civil.


Re: Lance Armstrong. Is it over yet?



Changed the temp unit of measure…

… To Fahrenheit to show my American friends how trippy Canuck weather can be.

Yup. A 30 degree swing in 24 hours or so. It’s all good.



A classy move to honour one of the best…

… Musicians ever.

Props to Granada, Spain for naming one of its squares in honour of the great Joe Strummer.