Friday, February 29, 2008
1. A long nail with a big head. A duffy spike;
2. A short nail that's going to require a good aim;
3. A crooked nail that's going to need some straightening;
4. A finishing nail that matches the colour of the wood;
5. An extra nail which can help support the load.
Get me two pieces of wood.
Not a moment too soon.
Expect Day, Flaherty, Harper et al to begin quoting Pope Benny more often.
Yeah. Thanks for taking the shroud off the agenda. Christian dominionist, Charles McVety, is taking full credit for a change in the Income Tax Act which allows the federal government to censor anything McVety finds doesn't meet his Christian zombie brigade agenda.
A well-known evangelical crusader is claiming credit for the federal government's move to deny tax credits to TV and film productions that contain graphic sex and violence or other offensive content.This slimy piece of work is exactly what the Harper government is all about. In January 2006, just before election day, I wrote this about Harper and the coalition of Christian right-wing freaks that had gathered around him.
Charles McVety, president of the Canada Family Action Coalition, said his lobbying efforts included discussions with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, and "numerous" meetings with officials in the Prime Minister's Office.
Harper gathers support, either through candidates or directly, from groups which will expect their social issues to receive priority on any Conservative government order paper. Vote Marriage Canada, The Promise Keepers, Focus On The Family Canada, R.E.A.L. Women of Canada, Canada Family Action Coalition and Campaign Life Coalition are some of the groups which support the Harper campaign by either promoting their candidate or openly supporting the Conservative Party of Canada platform. All of these groups are homophobic, most are anti-abortion and most pursue an extreme right-wing christian agenda. While some claim to be non-partisan, that suggestion is quickly dispatched with one look at their election literature. Many of these groups are Canadian branches of larger US bodies led by proselytizing christian extremists.At the time several readers responded suggesting I was overstating the situation and being deliberately hyperbolic.
As much as Harper preaches "less government" he only means it in terms of taxation and delivery of programs. When it comes to social governance, a Conservative government would be in your face, in your bedroom and likely listening to your phone calls.
So, tell me which part of that prediction isn't now coming true?
After Harper's narrow minority victory in 2006, McVety was one of the first people invited to the Prime Minister's office. In September 2006, Marci McDonald wrote the cover story for The Walrus providing a glimpse of how ingrained the Christian dominionists had become in the Harper government. She too, was largely dismissed as exaggerating the problem even though we now knew what McVety was all about.
During the last election, as head of a handful of pro-family lobbies including the Defend Marriage Coalition, McVety emerged as a power to be reckoned with. He bought up the rights to unclaimed Liberal websites such as josephvolpe.com and stacked a handful of Conservative nomination contests in favour of evangelical candidates adamantly opposed to same-sex matrimony, a campaign he has vowed to repeat. As Harper navigates the tricky waters of minority rule—keeping the lid on any eruptions of rhetorical fervour from the rambunctious theo-cons in his caucus—it is noteworthy that he has continued to cultivate a man regarded as the lightning rod of the Christian right. Last spring, those around the prime minister drafted McVety to help sell the government’s contentious child-care policy, and on budget day he was the personal guest of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in the Commons’ vip gallery.This latest move is intended to shut down Canadian film and television productions which don't pass the "Disney" test of McVety's living room. But worse, far worse, is the absolute fact that a rabid Christian dominionist has penetrated government and is now writing policy.
McVety clearly has a strategy: Get the thin edge of various Christian dominionist wedges into government policy and when the time is right, drive them in as deep as possible. McVety wants a Christian evangelist theocracy and Harper is more than happy to lead it for him. Anything for power.
And while McVety is proudly taking credit for his attack on Canadian freedoms via the Income Tax Act, there is this whiny little line off his group's website:
(NOTE: Due to CFAC's political actions to support family, religious freedom and democracy, Revenue Canada will not allow us to issue charitable tax receipts.)Take note of the attempt to portray themselves as "persecuted". If Harper ever gets a majority, you can expect that McVety's groups, hardly beacons of freedom and democracy, will find a way to further amend the Income Tax Act to make themselves tax-exempt.
This isn't just dangerous. This is very dangerous. Bill C-10 should never have gotten out of committee. It is up to the opposition, the majority in Parliament and on parliamentary committees, to be aware that Harper is serving the Christian dominionist agenda. It's time they get off their asses and stop the creep towards a theocracy.
No more playing hooky from committee meetings, no more missing votes. Read every line of every piece of proposed legislation and do the required research. Do otherwise and we'll be in the same condition as the train-wreck that rests against our southern border.
He's successfully sold the media that pitch for a long time now but in the light of several recent developments its time to put the canard out to sea for the last time.
Libertarians do not impose political control of the arts. Libertarians have more respect for individual choice than to acquiesce in attempted bribery. Libertarians have little need to muzzle those around them lest it be revealed that they too have opinions.
Stephen Harper is an authoritarian conservative of the religious right. That's who does such things.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
I love the smell of justice in the morning, it smell like...schadenfreude.
This is a tree house at Alnwick Garden in Northumbria U.K. It is 6000 square feet and contains a 120-seat restaurant, a gift shop, two classrooms and two private dining rooms. Click on the picture for more.
And if you have one of those pictures just too big for that section of wall, well this might be a solution.
Hat tip Cap'n Dyke
That's where we're headed after a few years of Harperite majority.
Hope you enjoy it. You'd better learn to cause there's no political will in the country to deny him his majority. The voters might, although that remains to be seen, but the other parties are perfectly content to shit themselves and whine about the mess.
Today they demonstrated their incompetence for us when they expressed their surprise that the Cons are intending to take over cabinet level control of the film tax credit program.
There are some who understand just how much the Harperites intend to legislate changes in the culture of the country.
Unfortunately none of them are sitting on the opposition benches.
But don't look for news reports like this in our national media. Oh no.
Wouldn't be fair. Wouldn't be balanced. Wouldn't be sufficiently deferential to the Harper motherfuckers racket. Might make Petey weep and no one wants that.
We're winning, winning, winning.
So shut up, bend over and spread your cheeks.
Feb 1, 2008
They were demanding that the Agricultural Chapter of NAFTA be renegotiated, the privatization of the energy sector be halted, and that the new Social Security law be repealed.
Common Frontiers Canada :
"The Globe and Mail has a mention of the march in today's Report on Business section where the crowd is described as "Thousands of mexican farmers...".
The Toronto Star didn't carry the story at all."
Cross posted from Creekside
The audio of the interview with Dona Cadman today is right here. Steve V has the transcript. It's well worth reading.
Ms. Cadman verifies the story contained in Zytaruk's book which says that her late husband, independent MP Chuck Cadman was offered a $1 million life insurance policy for his vote to bring down the minority Liberal government in 2005.
Steve's post also brings up an interview between CTV's Mike Duffy and author Tom Zytaruk. The CTV video is here (includes the Cadman interview). Duffy reveals a private conversation he had with Chuck Cadman where Cadman expressed that he would not bring down the Liberals because he wanted to make sure that his parliamentary life insurance payout occurred while he was still a sitting MP. Knowing that he was going to die, the insurance was clearly on his mind.
That little bit of information connects some new dots. Steve V in his own comments picked up on it immediately.
Duffy was trying to tone down the story, offering up a conversation he had with Cadman, wherein he said he didn't want to vote against the budget, for fear he would lose his seat in an election and the insurance he had as an MP because of it. Duffy said Cadman was concerned that he would die and his wife would suffer. What nobody has picked up, Duffy actually connects some dots here. If Cadman was concerned about his insurance as an MP, then it what better way to allay his fears in voting with the Cons, than to offer him assurance on that score. Insurance was on Cadman's mind, according to Duffy, which puts the offer into complete context.Cadman's survivor benefit, unless I have this mistaken, would have been approximately 2 years annual salary as a member of parliament. That would make a $1 million offer more - much more.
This thing is starting to breathe on its own.
Burke's Peerage: Queen Elizabeth II Descended from the Prophet Muhammad
This is connected to just pointing out that having ancestors named Hussein is more common among Europeans and Americans than is usually realized. Elizabeth II can't be descended from the Prophet Muhammad without also being descended from his grandson, the original Husayn / Hussein, since that is the line of descent of the Sayyids.
(UPI - 10 Oct 1986)
...Brooks-Baker said the British royal family is descended from Mohammed through the Arab kings of Seville, who once ruled Spain. By marriage, their blood passed to the European kings of Portugal and Castille, and through them to England's 15th century King Edward IV. '
Wouldn't this also make GWB a decendent of Mohammed too? Somewhere out there a wingnut is having a skywalker:
A couple of news reports on varying types of censorship have bubbled up from Fort Fumble on the Rideau. While they are unrelated, I'll comment on both. They'll remain unrelated, but perhaps it will show why one is necessary and the other is pure puritan politics at play.
First is this little bit describing a new criteria for Canadian-made films expecting to receive a tax credit for their production. (All emphasis mine)
The Conservative government has drafted guidelines that would allow it to pull financial aid for any film or television show that it deems offensive or not in the public's best interest – even if government agencies have invested in them.So, there are already a set of exclusions. This new bill is intended to expand that to meet some new standard, nothing of which is set out in any detail.
The proposed changes to the Income Tax Act would allow the Heritage Minister to deny tax credits to projects deemed offensive, effectively killing the productions. Representatives from Heritage and the Department of Justice will determine which shows or films pass the test.
Game and talk shows, news, sports, reality television and pornography are already excluded from access to the tax credits. The proposed prohibition would cover a sweeping range of material, such as anything of an explicit sexual nature, that denigrates a group or is excessively violent without an educational value.
“Bill C-10, currently at third reading in the Senate, contains an amendment to the Income Tax Act which would allow the Minister of Canadian Heritage to deny eligibility to tax credits of productions determined to be contrary to public policy,” Charles Drouin, spokesman for Canadian Heritage said in a statement. “... Upon royal assent of C-10, the Department of Canadian Heritage plans to update the eligibility requirements for the [Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit] program.”There's really no need to take this any further. The "contrary to public policy" statement is all that's necessary. The type of government run by Harper is such that anything can be deemed to be contrary to public policy. With no clearly defined criteria, it doesn't matter what the content is. If the Harperites don't like it, it will be denied tax credits - after it's been produced.
He said the department “has recently standardized and updated the list of illegal and other ineligible content.”
It isn't really censorship. It's actually a back-door method of shutting down the tax advantage to Canadian film and television production. It's just that if the government "reviewers" decide something doesn't meet their standard, whatever that might be, a production which is "in the can" and probably heavily in debt won't make it out of the government screening booth because without the tax credit the production company will probably not be able to afford distribution. In short, you'll never see it.
We shouldn't have expected anything less from the Harper crowd. It satisfies two overwhelmingly powerful instincts of the Harper Party: to eliminate government support of every social and cultural thing they can; and, to get government as deep into your social, cultural and personal life as possible without precipitating an armed revolt.
There is a third element which is truly nefarious. The Harper government plans to use the Income Tax system as a weapon to stifle anything they don't like - after it's made. It's a weapon and it is censorship. Once this bill passes no producer of Canadian film or television will know if they have the advantage of the Income Tax Act. The Canadian Revenue Agency won't be able to determine, based on a set of strict guidelines either. So a producer will never know, until after the government views the finished product, if a Canadian production meets the Harper government's unpublished standards.
In short: If you don't toe our line, we have the power to cause you personal financial damage.
The second item which arose comes from National Defence Headquarters in a message to all Canadian Forces personnel.
The Defence Department is advising Canadian soldiers not to post personal photos and information on social networking websites like Facebook, citing security concerns.That isn't really new. In fact, it is a reiteration of previous orders. While it may appear to most Canadians to fly in the face of individual rights and freedoms, the CF has the authority to limit what full-time serving members of the armed forces place in the public domain. It has always possessed that authority and it often varies in intensity depending on the types of operations the CF may be involved in.
The advisory was circulated in a memo obtained by CBC News. It warns soldiers not to appear in uniform in online photos and not to disclose their military connections.
"Al Qaeda operatives are monitoring Facebook and other social networking sites," the memo says.Well, there is some over-dramatizing involved. It's not just al Qaeda. The truth though is that a load of various groups do keep an eye on things like Facebook and MySpace. In fact, a lot of those groups use social networking sites themselves.
"This may seem overdramatic ... [but] the information can be used to target members for further exploitation. It also opens the door for your families and friends to become potential targets as well."
In reality, the direction from NDHQ is nothing but common sense. Putting too much personal information in the public domain is a risk for most people. In the case of service personnel, particularly those who are already in a hostile environment, personal security needs to be carefully monitored, even if it appears to be overdone.
The Defence Department says it is also concerned with postings of photos and information from the battlefront in Afghanistan.I just know there will be a cry that information is being censored here. It is.
On Feb. 14, military official Brig.-Gen. Peter Atkinson warned against such battle scene postings.
"The insurgents could use this information to determine their success or their lack of it ... and determine better ways to attack us," he told reporters in Ottawa.
There are two sides to a combat action. The other side knows what went on from their view. Giving them the view from your side is a very bad idea. But it goes further than that. Service personnel are subject to all forms of censorship, both in and out of theatre. They always have been. While the photos from the "boots on the ground" may provide some interesting and dramatic scenes, they impact operational security in a multitude of ways.
Censorship of information from an operational theatre has always been a fact of life for service personnel. Given my own experiences, what is being allowed now is far more liberal than at any other time in the past where troops have been committed to combat.
The fact remains that the leadership of the Canadian Forces has the authority to impose strict censorship on information, particularly that originating in an operational theatre, and they are still a long way from imposing it.
Canadian Forces policy has always been that information released to the public is done through official channels. The determination of operational security is made within the CF. Where that goes off the rails is when the government, (in Canada's case that means the Prime Minister's Office), sticks its political nose in. Then it becomes government information control.
In this case, the instructions issued by the CF to its personnel is reasonable and within its authority.
Hat tip Bob and Todd
We have The Rev. Paperboy safely out of The Woodshed and being held at the tasting bar of The Loaded Hog. We're assuming his picture will soon be added to the rolling list of celebs on their front page.
The posse, made up of JJ, CC, PSA, Chet , David, RossK, Poons and clearly several hundred others, did its usual magnificent job. We can sit back and await The Rev's next sermon.
In the meantime, geez... it's getting ugly out there.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The (former) mayor of Arlington, Oregon has lost her seat in a recall vote.
Photographs of her which appeared on a MySpace page. She was wearing a bra and panties which the voters of the small Oregon town thought was an inappropriate rig for a mayor. Never mind that the photos were taken before she ran for office.
The mayor of a small Oregon town who came under fire for racy pictures of her posted on the Internet was recalled in a close vote Monday.Ummm. You folks in Arlington are a bunch of amateurs. Really.
According to the person who spearheaded the recall drive, Ron Miller, the vote was 142 in favor and 139 against the recall of Mayor Carmen Kontur-Gronquist.
She came under fire after she posted photos of herself posed in lingerie on a fire truck on her MySpace page.
Kontur-Gronquist, who is quite clearly one very fit woman, is positively overdressed compared to the standard set by at least one Canadian small-town mayor. (Not safe for work)
That is Her Worship, the mayor of Houston, British Columbia, Sharon Smith. Note: she is wearing absolutely nothing but her ceremonial chain of office. That's right. That photo was taken while she held office.
She still has her job.
You folks in Arlington haven't heard the best part yet. She's has close ties to the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That's right. She's a conservative. We expect she'll be running for a federal seat in the next election.
Our bitch with her was that she was a participant in a constitutional scam. We took that seriously.
I suppose if Kontur-Gronquist had posed in an even skimpier swimsuit it would have been different... for some reason that escapes me and none of you could possibly explain.
Stephen Harper, and everything that stands with him represent the worst politics has to offer. Via Blast Furnace Canada and Far and Wide we learn that a dying Chuck Cadman was offered a $1 million life insurance policy to secure his vote in parliament to bring down the Liberal government of Paul Martin in 2005.
The widow of former B.C. MP Chuck Cadman says two Conservative Party officials offered her husband a million-dollar life insurance policy in exchange for his vote to bring down the Liberal government in May of 2005.Yeah. That would be Harper's compassionate conservatism shining through like a beacon. Enter yet another lying sack of shit.
The offer, which was summarily rejected by the dying man, is outlined in a biography of Mr. Cadman by Vancouver journalist Tom Zytaruk that is to be released on March 14. A copy of the manuscript, including an introduction by former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, has been obtained by The Globe and Mail.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is quoted in the book, Like a Rock: The Chuck Cadman Story, as confirming that a visit took place, and that officials were "legitimately" representing the Conservative Party. But he says any offer to Mr. Cadman was only to defray any losses he might suffer due to an election.
Sandra Buckler, a spokeswoman for Mr. Harper, said Wednesday that her boss never directed any party official to make any kind of financial arrangement with Mr. Cadman.Buckler was a lobbyist at the time. She wasn't there. This is starting to look a lot like Scott McClellan defending Karl Rove over the Valerie Plame outing.
The men arrived at Mr. Cadman's Ottawa office two days before the vote on the Liberal budget. It was apparent at that time that the House of Commons was evenly split on the money bill and the nod of the then-Independent MP would decide whether Mr. Martin's Liberal government would survive. "The Tories actually walked in with a list of offers written down on a piece of paper. Included in their proposal was a $1-million life insurance policy — no small carrot for a man with advanced cancer," the book states.And what did Harper know?
Dona Cadman, who is now running for the Conservatives in the Vancouver-area riding of Surrey North, was not in the office at the time. But she says her husband was furious when he returned to their apartment. "Chuck was really insulted," she said in a telephone interview with The Globe Wednesday. "He was quite mad about it, thinking they could bribe him with that."
Mr. Cadman died less than two months after the vote.
Ms. Cadman, who has read and approved the manuscript for the book, said she has "no idea" where the money for the life insurance was supposed to come from. "They had the form there. Chuck just had to sign."
"They were legitimately representing the party," Mr. Harper confirmed. "I said 'Don't press him, I mean, you have this theory that it's, you know, financial insecurity, and you know, just, you know, if that's what you say make the case,' but I said 'Don't press it.'."Don't press it. Try to buy the vote of a dying man... but don't press it.
Mr. Zytaruk said he saved the tapes of all of his interviews.
Unfit to be a dogcatcher. Calling him a swine is an insult to the porcine community.
Update: More from Jeff.
This may be a candidate for the Darwin Awards. Two balaclava-clad would be robbers, one wielding a machete and the other a samurai sword (go figure) might have done better to check out the patrons of the establishment first.
Machete wielding masked bandits picked the wrong club to rob yesterday - 40 biker club members were meeting there.Oh... oops.
Police said the robbers raided the Regents Park Sporting Club about 8.50pm yesterday, ordering people at the bar to lie on the floor.
But the robbers failed to notice 40 members of the Southern Cross Cruiser Club, gathered in the nearby auditorium.
"The two guys burst in with machetes and started waving them around and intimidating people," said bikie club founder "The Bear".Keywords to keep in mind if you plan on robbing a place. One of the regulars is named "The Bear". Unstuck... not happy.
"They walked in to try and do a robbery and thought there'd just be people playing bingo and poker machines.
"But there were also 40 blokes there having a social night and it's come unstuck for them."
The robbers immediately fled on seeing the bikies approaching, with one running through a plate glass window, leaping off a five-metre balcony and running through a bowling green, and the other escaping behind the bar.When being pursued by 40 unstuck bikers, a plate glass window is no obstacle. "Restrained" according to other reports means "hog-tied".
But biker club president Jerry "Jester" van Cornwall and other members ran to the back of the club, waiting for the fleeing robber to emerge from the back entrance.
"As this guy opened up the roller door we crashed tackled him in the doorway," van Cornwall told ABC 702 radio.
The man wriggled free, but was pursued and crash-tackled again by Mr van Cornwall, who restrained him until police arrived.
"It was very hard to see the expression on their faces because of the balaclavas, but I imagine it was something along lines of 'Oh shit, what have we done here?'."Pucker factor 5, Mr. Sulu.
Emphasizing the point that you should always know your target and if it's a biker hangout you might want to give it a pass:
Regents Park Sporting Club manager Eddie Kiosoff said the bikers had been regulars at the club for about a year, visiting a few nights a week.Just to clarify, the Southern Cross Cruiser Club is not an outlaw biker gang. They just don't like it when their evening becomes unstuck.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said he's concerned over threats by the presidential Democratic candidates to pull the U.S. out of the free trade agreement, suggesting they need to brush up on the benefits of the pact.
'We cannot create demand for product. Demand for product comes from consumers, and there is an economic slowdown in the United States.'—Jim Flaherty, finance minister
During Tuesday night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they would pull the United States out of the free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico unless it's renegotiated to include tougher enforcement of labour and environmental standards. During the campaign, both have been critical of NAFTA and what they see as its negative effect on American jobs.
"It is a concern," Flaherty said to reporters on Wednesday when asked about the candidates' comments. "I realize they are in the middle of a presidential nomination race, so they have many things on their mind. But I would think that it's very important that whoever the nominee is enters into a discussion with those who are very knowledgeable about NAFTA."
"NAFTA is of tremendous benefit to Americans. And perhaps the nominees have not had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the benefit to Americans and the American economy of NAFTA."
What? You worried there Jim? Sniff sniff or something.
You don't get to pick the driver when you hitch your horse to someone else's wagon.
I wouldn't have found much common ground with William F. Buckley Jr.
I'll give him his due. When he finally knew he was wrong he wasn't afraid to admit it. In that regard, he accepted that the Bush administration invasion of Iraq was a mistake.
When The Club For Growth Political Action Committee ran a right-wing political ad in January 2004 with the words "... latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading …" to describe American liberals, the first vision I conjured was William F. Buckley Jr., born into privilege. I was also aware that he was instrumental in merging traditional American conservatism with libertarianism, creating the Republican party of Ronald Reagan and ultimately providing us with George W. Bush.
Despite his ideology, he possessed and exuded intellect. While I could never agree with his ideology, his passing leaves a void. We are left with the intellectually lazy, half-witted children of conservative exclusionists. Born with silver-spoons in their mouths, they are abysmally poor copies of Buckley as they spew out vacuous garbage in an attempt to justify their entitlement to comfort and perquisites they have done nothing to earn.
Buckley is gone. He takes with him his defence of southern segregationism and his support for the odious Senator Joe McCarthy. He is replaced by ordure with the scruples of a weasel.
The Rev. Paperboy is weakening. During the night (east of the International Dateline and west of Greenwich) The Rev. sneaked in a crew and put new vinyl siding on the blog. Yesterday, despite heavy negotiations, The Woodshed continued to be held hostage.
I think with enough pressure we can finish this today. Once we've got The Rev. suitably rummed-up, we can all return to current events... like Brian "With Bells On" Mulroney getting those bells rung for him and crawling back into the sewer system.
Of course, The Rev. is a real "Rev" (has his journeyman preacher ticket) and if he hadn't been holed-up trying to camouflage The Woodshed we could have used him on another mission. It seems Roger Moore dressed up as a conservative Christian minister (they have a uniform?!) and breached the "security" of Ben Stein's piece of "God dun it" drivel.
We need to get The Rev. back on the keyboard. Let's face it, we have Canadian finance minister, Jim "Would I Lie To You" Flaherty, handing out $25 million for the 2010 Olympic torch run. The up side of that is, thanks to Flaherty there will be lots of people with curbside seats. No... they won't have to arrive early to get a good spot. That's where they live.
So, one more day should do it. Save The Rev. from himself.
Compare this story in Canada, and in particular British Columbia,
Court limits police wiretaps
B.C. ruling makes emergency surveillance illegal without judge's approval
Neal Hall - Vancouver Sun - Tuesday, February 26, 2008
In a ruling that has national ramifications, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has struck down a section of the Criminal Code that allowed police to intercept private conversations without a judge's authorization.
The section applied to emergency situations when a person's life is in danger.
Justice Barry Davies ruled last Friday that Section 184.4 of the code is unconstitutional because it violates the "Section 8" rights of six people accused of kidnapping.
Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms covers the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.
Since the ruling was made by a justice of a superior court, it applies across Canada. But it will not take effect immediately
with this story in the US:
House Defeats FISA Extension
Feb 13, 2008(The Politico)
House Democrats were unable to hold together their caucus on a key intelligence vote on Wednesday, as a coalition of Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and liberals helped defeat a measure to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act as the deadline approaches.
The measure, which failed 191 to 229, would have extended the bill an additional three weeks to work out differences with the Senate on the issue of granting immunity to telecom companies which aided the federal government in wiretapping.
The Democratic bill was undone by strong opposition from Republicans and 34 Democrats, including both members of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition who want to see a bill passed, and liberal members who oppose many other aspects of the wiretapping program.
Looks like our decision to move North of the 49th is looking better and better . . . .
(Cross-posted from Moving to Vancouver)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I've lived in the Victoria, BC, area a few times. Aside from the days when the intersection of Douglas and Yates, known as "Pusser's Corner" back in the day, was alive with sailors in their "number two" rig, the city used to have a reputation for being extraordinarily quiet.
Things, so to speak, seem to have changed.
A naked couple have been arrested after allegedly having sex in a moving car.You might note that rather than take the story from the local Victoria newspaper, the link is to a British news site. Global coverage. Better than the Olympics.
Their highway hi-jinks startled motorists in [Victoria] British Columbia, Canada - who called police to expose the bizarre traffic violation.
A second nude woman was spotted, but appeared to have been dropped off at her own home before officers could swoop.
After hearing about the romp on the Trans Canada Highway, police in Victoria traced the car's owner through reports of his licence plate.
When they arrived at his home, they arrested a man and a woman in their twenties - but were told the second woman had been taken home already.
Victoria Police Constable Kris Rice said: "There were some reports that they seemed to be wanting attention from other drivers as they engaged in sexual acts.
"Both were determined to be in the nude."
The woman was taken to a hospital for psychiatric assessment, while the driver will likely only face such charges as driving without due care and attention, because police did not witness any sexual acts.
On Feb 13 2008, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals unanimously upheld the 2005 double homicide conviction of Texas teenager Gerardo Flores for helping his girlfriend end her pregnancy of twins. Under the Texas' Prenatal Protection Act, Flores received a life sentence.
"We are very pleased with the Court's opinion," said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life. "The highest criminal court in Texas has again recognized that unborn children are individual persons worthy of protection from murder and assault the same as other persons already born. The Court essentially held that unborn children are babies."
From Canadian LifeSite News: "The decision comes just weeks before the Canadian House of Commons is scheduled to proceed with the second hour of debate on similar legislation for Canada (Bill C-484 - the Unborn Victims of Crime Act).
"Such a decision by the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals will hopefully inspire Canadian Parliamentarians to pass Bill C-484 into law." said Marie-Christine Houle, Executive Director of Women for Women's Health, a group which has been advocating for the passage of the bill."
Bill C-484 permits separate homicide charges to be laid for the death of a fetus when a pregnant woman is attacked. Con MP Ken Epp who introduced the bill is openly anti-choice but has pleaded with opponents to accept that its wording only applies to wanted fetuses, that it is not a stealth attempt to re-criminalize abortion in Canada, that his Unborn Victims of Crime Act is entirely unrelated to the various "fetal homicide" laws adopted to such disastrous effect in 37 states in the U.S.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, persons do not gain legal status and rights in our society until they have completely exited from the birth canal, alive.
We Move To Canada caught Ken Epp on a call-in cable show. Not a direct quote, says Laura at WMTC, but "a very close paraphrase" answer from Epp to the question of why this bill was necessary :
"Because we want to recognize the humanity of that unborn child. Whether that child was killed three months before birth or three months after birth, it was still a child, there was still a loss of life. The other side might wish to deny the humanity of that unborn child, but we want the law to recognize it."
One body. One person. One count.
Cross posted from Creekside
I agree with Chet. Flaherty's budget is flat. It's also dangerously close to a deficit on the surface and may actually be one now. As was previously pointed out here, Flaherty has been playing with the numbers, noting that selling Crown real-estate and then leasing it back shows revenue in one year and then a 25 year long commitment which is a contingent liability.
Given that Flaherty feels there is a need to further pay down the federal debt, he's given himself next to no wiggle room. If his revenue assumptions fall short, even by a hair's breadth, he's put the country into a deficit position.
The one thing Flaherty seems to be making something of a big deal over is his introduction of a Tax Free Savings Account. It's not a bad idea, but it's hardly worth cheering over.
It is after-tax savings. The contributions, to a limit of $5000 annually, are not tax deferred as for a Registered Retirement Savings Plan. Only the interest on the investment is tax-free. Given the same amount of money placed in RRSP, tax deferred until withdrawn, the RRSP actually makes more money. If you scroll down to the comparison to other investment vehicles in the budget document, the actual funds remaining after taxes is identical. However, most people expect to have a reduced income when they start drawing RRSPs which would mean that the tax advantage is with the RRSP.
There's another issue. How many people actually have $5000 kicking around to store in one of these TFSAs? Most people don't make the maximum allowable RRSP contribution. Unless you have the ability to bank and save that amount of money, this becomes a savings vehicle for a limited number of people and certainly not low-wage earners.
If you were thinking of borrowing some money, banking it in a TFSA and then deducting the loan interest on income taxes, that has been covered too. It's not allowed.
Oh yes, it doesn't start until after 2008. As I said, it's not a bad idea, but it remains to be seen how many Canadians will be able to take advantage of it.
If you have been claiming non-prescription vitamins as a medical expense on your income taxes (and have been in a tugging match with Canada Revenue Agency) you can stop doing it, even if you won a court case on the issue. Despite the argument that taking vitamins reduces your dependency on the medical system, Flaherty is having none of it.
Budget 2008 therefore proposes to clarify the wording for eligible drugs and medications to ensure that those that may be purchased without a prescription remain ineligible.
Overall, Flaherty has taken the federal government right to the horizon of a deficit without a buffer and without a rainy day fund.
The real problem, of course, is that Flaherty cannot be trusted. When a member of the Ontario government he lied and deliberately hid a $6 billion deficit.
So don't let this thing put you to sleep. Given Flaherty's track record, there's a good chance we'll be facing a significant deficit before he ever gets a chance to produce another one.
Being as we're all tied up trying to "rescue" The Rev. Paperboy and I have other consuming issues to deal with, I'll send you on a walk-about.
Reader Cat pointed this out yesterday and Alison presents the plight of Afghanistan's women, seven years on.
Red Tory puts his highlighter to the page. Things that should not be forgotten.
Think Flaherty's budget is is going to show the last year in surplus? That's not his, nor is it a Conservative track record. When you run the numbers, something doesn't look right. The World According to cdlu explains.
In the meantime, if you haven't joined the posse, we're growing to save The Rev.
Rev. Paperboy, is being held hostage by... it doesn't matter. It's the hostage part that counts. (We love hostages. Break out the 16 inch barrels, the knee pads and those funky things we wear on the leg.)
So, we're going to rescue the Rev.
No more posts here until we have the Rev. Paperboy safely back in the bar with a bottle of (I'm saying rum... how about you folk?). Agreed then. Rum. OK, you Scotch drinkers can bring some of that along, but keep it cheap.
Git on over there! We can do this real quick.
And for those of you without a horse, this will keep you thinking of us
Monday, February 25, 2008
I don't know if Ken Epp is a good Member of Parliament or a bad Member of Parliament. He's not my MP. I don't know whether he's promoting a religious agenda or a secular one. In short, I cannot, with a clear conscience call Ken Epp what I think I would like to call him.
I do know that the legislation he is proposing with Bill C-484 is nothing but a copy of the Christian Dominionist social conservative US Republican garbage intended to provide human status to something that has yet to take a breath.
I have read Epp's defence of his bill in the comments section of a gut wrenching post. Right here.
I appreciate the comments people are making on my Bill. However, I plead with them for compassion. My bill specifically and explicitly excludes consensual abortion. It applies to the case where the woman has DECIDED NOT to have an abortion. She has CHOSEN to bring her pre3gnancy to term, and to give her child birth, care and love. Do you really believe that your case for consensual abortion is so weak that you have to sacrifice the right of a woman to choose to maintain it? Surely the ultimate denial of a woman’s right to choose is to have her pay with her life for CHOOSING to have a baby!Mr. Epp, with all due respect, horseshit. You know it and I know it.
Please read the Bill. See that it is totally focussed on the victims. See that it cannot possibly be used to charge a woman for anything that SHE chooses to do in this regard. See that the charges only apply when the mother-to-be is the victim of a criminal act. Please think. Here is a woman who has no support in our criminal code for HER CHOICE at the present. This is for her, her family, and the unborn child that was taken away from them by a criminal act, against her will, without her consent, and with violence which she most obviously has not chosen.
Thanks.Ken Epp, MP
Take a read here and explain how your bill will improve matters, Mr. Epp.
As it stands, though, the Criminal Code already allows for more severe sentencing when the victim of an attack is pregnant. Hive off the aggravation charges to a separate charge related to the fetus, and you’re back to a shorter sentence since criminal sentences in Canada typically run concurrently.That's not a guess. That's Canadian law and its administration.
I am at a loss to understand how the mother in your scenario, Mr. Epp, is protected. In your scenario, she is dead. By the equation you provide punishment for an offender times two. But the offender, in your scenario, still receives a life sentence with parole eligibility after 25 years. Your scenario does nothing but elevate a non-breathing group of cells to the status of a hominid while diminishing the status of the living, air breathing being.
The force of your bill, sir, is to make a woman less of a person than the potential human she is carrying. Feel free to read the word potential one - more - time.
If you were a good lawmaker, and I have no evidence to support your record in that regard, you would be well aware of what has happened elsewhere when similar bills found their way past the sanity of legislative process.
And if I might be so obnoxious as to provide you with yet another line of thought, one should be asking why it is that you are so concerned with what is happening inside the body of a woman. It's not your body; it's hers.
When, exactly, did a woman become only the contents of her womb? She is a fully formed life, a person who is known and loved by those around her. When this woman dies violently, long before her time, she’s missed for who she was and who she could be ... not for the fetus she carries. Why isn’t that important enough? Why aren’t women important enough? Answer me that, you anti-choice misogynist.Yes, I know. Another emotional female... who read your intentions like a book.
This has been dealt with at length by many. But the fact is, Mr. Epp, you are trying to squirm past the definition provided by the Supreme Court of Canada. You didn't get your anti-abortion bill and you've found a sleazy way to try and make it work. The ad-men who put this together for you should be so proud because they did something most decent lawyers wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.
I suppose, Mr. Epp, that any group of multiplying cells in a persons body requires protection. A man, for example, with testicular cancer has cells multiplying in his reproductive organs. At least, that's what it looks like.
But what if it's the second coming of Christ forming in a man?
Work on it. And check your religious beliefs at the door before you start meddling with my secular legal structure.
Readers: Go here and demand that Stephane Dion whip the vote against this odious bill.
Graphic shamelessly stolen from LuLu.
(Courtesy of McClatchy, Washington Bureau)
U.S. voices support as Turkey seeks to 'eliminate' Kurdish rebels
Nancy A. Youssef and Steve Lannen | McClatchy Newspapers - Posted on Mon, Feb. 25, 2008
WASHINGTON — As the Iraqi government watched in anguish Monday, Turkey's ambassador to the United States set an ambitious goal for his country's incursion into the northern Kurdistan region of Iraq: "to eliminate" a Kurdish rebel force of at least 4,000 fighters.
In Washington, the Bush administration left no doubt of its overall support for the Turkish operation to deal with the Kurdistan Worker's Party, commonly known as the PKK, which both the Bush administration and Europe consider to be a terrorist organization.
The Turkish incursion, which began last Thursday, involves a U.S.-equipped army invading a U.S. ally in the most stable and most pro-American region in Iraq.
"It's obviously not an ideal situation," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said. "We hope that this is a short-term incursion so that they (Turkey) can help deal with the threat." (Emphasis mine.)
Well, no shit, Sherlock, re: "Not an ideal situation."
This whole this whole clusterf_ck sounds like an Abbott and Costello "Who's on First" sketch.
Will someone please take charge of the asylum ? ? ? ?
(Cross-posted from Moving to Vancouver)
Right. Mitt Romney didn't really quit the campaign for the GOP nomination for president. He only suspended it... kinda sorta.
Oh, where does one begin? Let's do McCain.
It seems McCain has run afoul of campaign finance legislation. When his campaign was on the ropes during the summer of 2007, he opted into a publicly-funded financing system. Once he had developed enough traction and there were enough campaign donations coming in, he wanted out. The primary reason for that is that it limits the cost of his campaign to $60 million and imposes strict fund-raising limitations.
There's no problem with opting out... as long as the candidate didn't take any of the public money, or take a loan based on the guarantee of public money. But it appears McCain did take out a $4 million loan using the public-funding guarantee. Lindsay has details, here and here. The most delicious part of the whole thing is that McCain was one of the authors of campaign finance reform legislation and now finds himself unable to live with it.
He's spent about $46 million already. If the US Federal Election Commission nails McCain he will be running a relative pauper's campaign against privately-funded juggernauts and will not be able to spend money until September.
Not to mention the fact that McCain is now dealing with something of a scandal.
So back to Romney. As Jeff explains, McCain's nearest competitor, Mike Huckabee has a problem with the split personality of the Republican party and doesn't stand much of a chance taking the nomination away from McCain with his over 900 delegates. Ron Paul is deeply despised within his own party and the "also rans" are busy rotating on their thumbs.
... the only candidates still in the race challenging St. John are Mike Huckabee, whose refusal to state that taxes are a tool of Satan and refusal to state that women aren't tools of Satan makes him a less-than-attractive candidate; Ron Paul, who's so deeply unpopular among rank-and-file Republicans that he could well lose his seat in the House in next Tuesday's Texas primary; and Alan Keyes, who is Alan Keyes.That leaves... Mitt! The ASPCA's dog delivery guru.
Josh Romney, one of former Gov. Mitt Romney's five sons, says it's "possible" his father may rejoin the race for the White House, as a vice presidential candidate or as the Republican Party's standard-bearer if the campaign of Sen. John McCain falters.Josh, being none other than one of the five brothers Romney who
So, Romney now appears poised to pull the tarp off the Mittmobile, put his sons back into kevlar boxer shorts and wait for the Republican party to gore itself from the inside out.
Honest Mitt. We want you back. Political death-watch on your own party becomes you... and there's no telling how much laughter we would get from this guy.
It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
2nd Term Inaugural Speech
January 20, 2005
Lofty words from an administration which couldn't find democracy in a dictionary even if you tore out all the pages not containing the word.
Shouldn't Karl Rove be in prison by now? Although, I guess if you were in northern Alabama last night, you watched something else. WHNT-TV the CBS affiliate which broadcasts into northern Alabama censored that part of the program and then lied about it. Yes, they have strong ties to the Republican party.
Impolitical and Crooks and Liars has much more.
You can read Jonah Goldberg's "print on paper between two covers" or you can get a Reader's Digest version here. Who knew that Lucianne Goldberg's little beast could create a following of wannabes.
On the other hand, we're thinking of offering competitive paint drying as a spectator sport.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
That would be everybody who participated. I know that doesn't fit the competitive blood-sport of many of these types of awards, but that is what I saw and how I participated. There are no losers.
Now, the ones who acquired a plurality of votes (on a one vote per IP system) are at A Creative Revolution who, with the help of 900 ft Jesus, (if there were others, let me know in comments and I'll fix it up), developed, promoted and administered everything.
We placed first in the category for which we were nominated: Best Support Bro.
I have something to say about that. My fellow nominees share that award. And if the organizers don't mind, I would like to make that point when the badge goes up on the sidebar.
I said "we". Cheryl can take full credit for my awareness of feminist issues. While I have always felt that change was necessary, I was much less aware of the kind of challenges women faced until someone actually pointed them out. I'm guessing she'll have something to add to that.
I thank everyone for your support, not just of me, but of this first-time-out-of-the-chocks awards.
Ya done good. Now hop on over and click on the video, after you read what Heather Mallick had to say.
Well done to all participants, and big WELL DONE to A Creative Revolution for all the hard work. (Even amongst the two-year olds).
Mrs. Mills, as always, deals with a rather delicate situation. Well, maybe not so delicate.
I am attending a black-tie affair and have chosen my dress for the occasion. I have quite an ample bosom, which I would normally have trussed up in an appropriately supportive garment, but the dress is cut in such a way that a normal bra would be exposed for all to see. Is it acceptable to go bra-less, bearing in mind the amount of potential jiggling around and nipple definition?Far from leaving the poor woman in a dilemma, Mrs. Mills roots through the drawer and comes up with the answer. And pay close attention to her measurements.
Going bra-less is all down to how confident you feel, as you will discover that your cleavage has an ineluctable power to draw the gaze of men. The eyes of all the women will go in the opposite direction, rolling upwards with exasperation and not a little envy. To avoid a Janet Jackson-style “wardrobe malfunction”, you should use what is known in fashion circles as “tit tape”, although packing tape might be more useful in your case, if you really have a handful to keep in check. (One handful = 4 tbsp or 6in, depending on what you are measuring). You would also be wise to refrain from pogoing or turning cartwheels, at least in the early part of the evening.Catch the rest of Mrs. Mills at the Times Online.