Thursday, August 30, 2007

Righteous repuglicans, Part Deux . . . .

From AlterNet today:
Why the GOP's Gay Wing Is Forced to Hide in the Bathroom

By Nina Burleigh, - Posted on August 30, 2007

The demise of Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig amuses those of us who enjoy watching right-wing heroes crash to the ground, spiked on their own hypocrisy. It further confirms my theory: prick any conservative and the kink oozes out. The rockier the rib, the more likely you'll find pink lingerie under the trousers or a bullwhip and manacles in the bedside drawer. You can bet those Beltway dominatrices, madams and escorts (gay and straight) have been able to buy second homes -- maybe even in Sun Valley! -- with their haul during W's reign.


The Republican Party got Bush re-elected in 2004 by playing the homophobe card. In Ohio, their minions went door-to-door in Amish country and warned the historically non-secular inhabitants that if they didn't get out and register Republican, gay marriage would be the law of the land. Tens of thousands of Amish men and women hitched horses to buggies, cracked their whips, and raced to the nearest polling place to vote to repel the Sodomites. With their unprecedented help, Ohio, that crucial state, slid ever so narrowly into the red column, sending the Bush regime back to the White House with four more years to plot how to bomb Tehran.


Republicans in Washington know there are probably more gay men in their ranks than there are on Castro Street. Still, against all logic and sense, they won't utter a word about tolerance. It's time for Republicans to embrace their own gay wing and stop fueling the sickness of suppression that drives men like Larry Craig into airport bathroom stalls. Until they do, they're headed straight for the toilet with him -- not that they shouldn't jump right in anyway.

When will this crowd join the rest of us in the twenty-first century ? ? ? ?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Can't Be Soon Enough . . . .

The countdown clock on the right sidebar for the amount of time left in office for you-know-who gives me comfort occasionally.
Inaugural Ceremony

The Swearing-in ceremony takes place on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol with the president-elect being sworn-in by 12 noon on January 20. Amendment XX to the U.S. Constitution states that the term of the President expires at noon on January 20.

This evening while watching the national news reports on two different networks, clips were shown of the pResident giving a speech at the American Legion convention in which he - multiple times - used the "word" nu-cu-lur.

The life-form can not be so ignorant after all these years of jokes being made about this annoying mispronunciation,
to not attempt to correct it. Or - as I've come to believe - he is probably continuing to do it as a badge of uneducated "honour".

Whichever it is, his time left in office can not pass too quickly.

Hopefully, this is one exit strategy that actually exists . . . .

Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Righteous repuglican in the Wrong Place . . . .

What is it with these guys ? ! ? !

Idaho Senator Arrested in Airport

Idaho Sen. Craig Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor Disorderly Conduct in Airport Arrest

The Associated Press - MINNEAPOLIS

Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho (R) pleaded guilty this month to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after being arrested at the Minneapolis airport.

A Hennepin County court docket showed Craig pleading guilty to the disorderly conduct charge Aug. 8, with the court dismissing a charge of gross misdemeanor interference to privacy.

The court docket said the Republican senator was fined $1,000, plus $575 in fees. He was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.

Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which first reported the case, said on its Web site Monday that Craig was arrested June 11 by a plainclothes officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the airport.

And how about this little tidbit from way back in 1982 ? ? ? ?

I'm thinkin' the Log Cabin Republicans are having WAY too much influence on this crowd . . . .

al's Timeline of Disgrace . . . .

From the Washington Post today:

A Timeline of Significant Events in Gonzales' Career

The Associated Press -
Monday, August 27, 2007; 1:37 PM

Some significant dates in the career of Alberto R. Gonzales, the nation's 80th U.S. attorney general who announced his resignation Monday.

1979: Receives bachelor's degree from Rice University, after enlisting in the Air Force in 1973 and serving at Fort Yukon, Alaska.

1982: Earns law degree from Harvard University; joins the Houston-based law firm Vinson and Elkins, whose client list included Enron and Halliburton.

1995-1997: Served as general counsel to then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas. (While in this position, he was involved in successfully hiding george's drunk-driving charge from 1976 in Kennebunkport, Maine. Way to start your ignominious career with bushco, al.)

There are more "significant" dates in his history of public life which you can see in it's entirety here.

I've saved the best one for last:

Aug. 27, 2007: Gonzales announces his resignation and Bush publicly accepts.

Now, if him and the rest of the crowd involved in the worst administration in US history will be brought up on War Crimes charges, there really is justice for all . . . .

al gone . . . .

ABC News just broke into regular programming to announce that al gonzales has tendered his resignation as Attorney General.

Ding Dong the Witch is Nearly ____ . . . .

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Worth Noting . . . .

From McClatchy today:

China offers travel advice: don't shout, don't fight

Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers - August 26, 2007 04:23:02 PM

BEIJING — Chinese travelers headed overseas now receive a brochure of behavior tips upon departure. Among them: Don't talk loudly. Blend into crowds. Avoid spats.

Perhaps the US State Department would be well advised to issue the same guidelines to US travelers . . . .

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Colbert on Arctic Sovereignty . . . .

Check Stephen Colbert's analysis of the race to the Arctic:

Pick the one you'd least like to spend the evening with . . . .

UPDATE: This just in via the Vancouver Sun

Note the last sentence: Wilkins also said he had no problems if Canada militarized its Arctic islands.

Of course he doesn't.

The US military machine will probably sell the arms to Canada . . . .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday Afternoon in Vancouver . . . .

Yesterday was the Vancouver version of the SPP - I prefer to refer to it as Deep Integration - protest rally. Although unable to attend as I am in Florida, here is a link to a pretty good recap of the event thanks to Alison (one "l") at "Creekside": (No, I'm not going to link to her as on occasion when I do, government entities start looking over our blog shoulder. She's way more radical than "drf" and I! :) )

At any rate, "drf" was in the city and I suggested he trek down to Canada Place and check out the festivities.

He had never had the pleasure of meeting Alison - I had at the First Annual Bloggerpalooza back in April - and knowing that she was going to be in attendance, I gave him a description of her and "drf" proceeded to scan the crowd for a likely facsimile of one Alison.

Spying an attractive woman with long dark hair, striking beauty, impeccably dressed, immaculately manicured and toting a sign that read: "Bowen Babes for Beheading Bush" he just knew it had to be Alison and proceeds to tap her on the shoulder.

Alas, as the woman turned around with a look of death in her eye, she assumed "drf" was attempting to hit on her. Little did she know - and you'd think she could have figured it out as you'll see in a bit - this was no woman-hungry pick-up attempt since "drf" is of the homosexual persuasion as am I. (Nice how that works out, eh?) The woman promptly proceeds to pummel poor "drf" with her sign and the expensive Gucci bag she toted.

"drf" - now shocked beyond belief - turns to run and escape this mad woman. Unfortunately, not knowing the protest rally was to include a march through downtown Vancouver, he had not chosen the most appropriate footwear for the event. Rather than comfortable walking shoes or sneakers, he opted to dress-to-impress with his new sexy, sling-back, "Come F_ck Me" pumps he had purchased at the Army & Navy Store's annual women's shoe event. As he begins to run off in terror, he promptly trips over one of the rally attendees. This one looked suspiciously like one of the poor souls in the lanes off of East Hastings that are a featured part of the "Sins of the City" tour sponsored by the police museum. Actually, he doesn't trip over the poor soul, but his sign that read: "I Will Protest for Smack".

Ankle severely twisted from the unfamiliar walking attire, "drf" is currently resting comfortably in room #314 of St. Paul's Hospital. Benevolent nurses and orderlies are keeping him supplied with Timbits and Double Doubles from the "Tim's To Go" at the corner of Burrard and Davie.

He is accepting visitors if you're in the area . . . .

Reasonable Al Gore Redux . . . .

And further to Al Gore's The Assault on Reason :

In this excerpt he compares the feelings the US citizens had after the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:

What did you feel? I don't know the words to describe my own feelings. But I would like all Americans to draw a line connecting the feelings they had when they saw the visual images of our soldiers, acting in our name, with our authority, torturing helpless people - and it was a matter of policy, even though the White House pointed fingers at the privates and corporals and said it was all their responsibility - with the emotions they felt during Hurricane Katrina when they saw those corpses in the water, people without food, water, medicine - our fellow citizens left helpless.
And of course in both cases the story is complex and many factors are involved, but I want people to draw a line connecting the feelings they had in both situations. And then I want them to draw another line connecting those responsible for both unbelievable tragedies that embarrassed our nation in the eyes of the world. Connect those who ignored the warnings about Katrina and then bungled the aftermath with those who ignored the warnings not to invade Iraq and then bungled the aftermath, and the line makes a small circle.
In the middle of that circle is President George W. Bush.

Regarding george's abuse of presidential signing statements, using the process more than all of his predecessors combined:

For example, after the administration dishonored and embarrassed the country by torturing large numbers of helpless prisoners, an overwhelming bipartisan majority passed legislation sponsored by three Republican senators - John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham - outlawing torture. Bush could have vetoed the law, but Congress almost certainly would have overridden his veto. Instead, he signed the law but announced that he did not, and would not, have to abide by it. This helps to explain why Bush has vetoed only one bill during his entire term in office. Why bother, if he can simply decide on his own whim which provisions of a law apply to him and which ones he will simply ignore?

Should we amend all of the textbooks in America to explain to schoolchildren that what has been taught for more than two centuries about checks and balances is no longer valid? Should we teach them instead that the United States Congress and the courts are merely advisory groups that make suggestions to the president on what the law should be, but that the president is all-powerful and now has the final say on everything? Should we teach them that we are a government of men, not laws? Should we teach them that we used to be a democracy but now we only pretend to be?

Good stuff.

Read it . . . .

Monday, August 20, 2007

How Convenient . . . .

The White House has announced when General Petraeus will present testimony before Congress on the Iraq war escalation.

The date is September 11.


I think not . . . .

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Deeply Integrating . . . .

This is the first mention I've seen in US media outlets of the upcoming Montebello conference. Surprisingly, it was in the Washington Post. Lately they haven't been exactly up to speed on "scoops." Since Canadian media outlets have made mention of the meeting for weeks, I guess it's not considered a "scoop" anymore. Well, maybe in the US it is . . . .

Bush to Tighten Ties With Mexico, Canada

The Associated Press
Saturday, August 18, 2007; 12:52 PM

WASHINGTON -- Never fond of interrupting his Texas vacation, President Bush is doing it this year to bolster ties with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, two friendly neighbors and vital partners.

Bush joins Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Montebello, Quebec, on Monday in hopes of expanding cooperation among their countries, which enjoy the largest trading partnership in the world.

The two-day North American Leaders' Summit appears to lack a signature issue, except perhaps a new U.S. push to halt Mexico's bloody drug wars.

Instead, the broad theme is economic prosperity, built around several topics: border security, competitiveness with India and China, product safety and energy solutions.

Underlying those points are technical but important matters, such as aligning border-crossing procedures and commercial standards.

"It's not necessarily sexy stuff, but it's essential to our security. It has to be done," said Roger Noriega, Bush's former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. "And it just so happens that Mexico and Canada have renewed themselves with the election of two right-of-center leaders who see the world a lot like Bush does."

Oh, Joy. Two leaders in our hemisphere who see the world as bush does.

Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, how 'bout you ? ? ? ?

Reasonable Al Gore . . . .

Our local library here in conservative-repuglican-land is becoming more Progressive-friendly thanks to our efforts. To counter the ann coulter, sean hannity and robert novak books in abundance, we have successfully gotten them to order "The One Percent Doctrine" by Ron Suskind, "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" by Rajiv Chandrasekaran and most recently "The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore. All have been great additions to our local literary options.

I checked out Al Gore's latest the other day and am about half-way through it. I found the following excerpt in the chapter entitled "Convenient Untruths" particularly good. He is describing how the bushco administration operates in regards to disseminating information to the US public. These paragraphs pertain to their one-time Iraqi point man Ahmed Chalabi:

Yet in spite of those analyses, President Bush chose to suppress those warnings and conceal that information, and instead he went right on conveying to the American people the absurdly Pollyannaish view of highly questionable and obviously biased sources like Ahmed Chalabi, a convicted felon and known swindler.

The Bush administration put Chalabi on its payroll and gave him a seat adjacent to First Lady Laura Bush at the State of the Union address. They then flew him into Baghdad on a military jet with a private security force. However, the following year the administration decided he was actually a spy for Iran who had been hoodwinking the president all along with phony facts and false predictions. Now Chalabi is a top official of the new government in Baghdad.

It has become common for President Bush to rely on special interests, like the one represented by Chalabi, for basic information about the policies important to these interests. ExxonMobil, for example, has apparently been his most trusted source of information about the climate crisis. Chemical companies are his most trusted sources on whether or not particular chemicals are hazardous to the environment. The major pharmaceutical companies are his most trusted advisers on the health risks of new drugs. Insurance companies are considered the most reliable source of data on any policy that affects them. And so forth.

And then, amazingly, the president seems to trust what these special interests tell him over and above objective information prepared for him by independent analysts who are charged with protecting the public interest. Since his ideology teaches him contempt for the very notion of "the public interest," he actually prefers to rely on biased information prepared by sources of questionable reliability - like Chalabi - who have a private interest in a particular policy outcome. The president has, in effect, outsourced the truth. (Emphasis mine.)

Once again, you've got to ask yourself: If ordinary folks like us can see stuff like this and be concerned about it, why didn't our elected "representatives" see it and apply their Constitutional responsibility of oversight over this crowd? Could it be they were protecting their cushy jobs and perks to the detriment of what was right?

A pox on all their houses . . . .

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Jon Stewart Rules . . . .

If you missed the candidate's forum on gay issues last week, here's Jon Stewart's take on it:

Enjoy . . . .

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Agenda With Steve Paikin . . . .

Having recently discovered The Agenda with Steve Paikin has been a rewarding and informative experience for me as someone immigrating to Canada. The program usually has an excellent panel of guests to discuss topics of interest to all Canadians.

Two recently rebroadcast episodes - "How Many Roads to Multiculturalism" and "Dual Citizenship" - were particularly good. They examined the differences and similarities in the many varied peoples who immigrate to Canada, and the pluses and minuses of dual citizenship.

As we don't get TVOntario broadcasts here in Florida - big surprise, eh? - the availability of the program via video podcast is welcomed. Until we are permanently in Vancouver our television reception is by over-the-air antenna only. Does anyone know if the programming is available on a cable channel there?

Check it out, if you have not already done so . . . .

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Reason to Despise the Life-Form *. . . . .

*Merriam Webster defines as "a kind of organism". An appropriate description of Karl Rove, I'd say.

From the life-form's statement today:

ROVE: I will miss, deeply miss my work here, my colleagues, and the opportunity to serve you and our nation, Mr. President.

But I look forward to continuing our friendship of 34 years, to being your fierce and committed advocate on the outside, and to the next journey we might make together.

At month's end, I will join those whom you meet in your travels, the ordinary Americans who tell you they are praying for you.

Like them, I will ask for God's continued gifts of strength and wisdom for you and your work, your vital work for our country and the world, and for the almighty's continued blessing of our great country.

Thank you again for this extraordinary opportunity.

Yes, let's invoke the name of the almighty, prayer and blessings. It's worked quite well with the masses in the past.

Gag me with a friggin' spoon, and hopefully one that has never come near this cretin's mouth . . . .

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Local Media Matters . . . .

Ross over at The Gazetteer has insight into local Vancouver radio and media news changes upcoming this fall.

As "drf" and I enjoy local "Talking Head" shows, Ross' take on the local scene is greatly appreciated.

Now if we could just get Ross off the table at Olympic Pizza while performing his Karaoke routine all would be well . . . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Can We Leave Now ? ? ? ?

As background, there is hope and anticipation in our area about a new "international" airport being built on land donated by a huge local developer. This will be "the saviour of the real estate and tourist industry" for decades to come. Possibly, but we have our doubts.

To give you an idea of how uninformed and unaware of world events the people in our part of Florida are, the following should give you some indication:

KBR has history of fraud
August 5, 2007

Company has signed $9-million contract for airport project

By Tony Bridges News Herald Writer

The company hired to oversee construction of the new International Airport has a history of mismanaging government contracts that goes back at least 10 years and includes allegations of overbilling and fraud.

Houston-based KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton,
is a global construction and logistics company used by the Pentagon in operations from the Balkans to the Middle East. Since the beginning of the Iraq War, the company has been paid more than $20 billion in taxpayer money to feed, house and support American troops there.

While the company’s domestic airport projects appear to have drawn no criticism, military and civilian auditors repeatedly have turned up problems with KBR’s performance overseas, and have complained about the company’s efforts to stymie government oversight.

KBR last week signed a $9 million contract to supervise and inspect the work of companies building the new airport, a project expected to cost about $330 million. Airport officials said they did not know about KBR’s troubles and focused on its track record with airport and municipal projects.

“We did go through a rather extensive selection process and review,” said Airport Authority Executive Director Randy Curtis. “We were not aware of KBR being subject to any investigations.”

And later in the article, when referencing billing and accounting issues:

As far as public funds are concerned, the contract requires KBR to make recommendations to the airport authority on construction progress payments, but KBR will not be handling the payments themselves, Curtis said.

And, the contract also requires KBR to keep careful records of billing and expenses, which will be available for inspection by the airport. Curtis said airport officials will be watching those records.

“All of us take our responsibility to oversee this project very seriously,” he said.

Yeah, probably as seriously as you researched the company before you awarded the contract, huh?

Can we leave now ? ? ? ?

Dems On Gay Issues . . . .

Here's the link to the Democratic "debate" on gay issues last night broadcast on the Logo network. On the center/right under "Watch the Forum" there are links to each individual candidate's clips from the broadcast.

Check this one out, and see one more reason to support Dennis Kucinich.

The rest of the "major" candidates leave a lot to be desired from the viewpoint of LGBT issues, especially Bill Richardson. He is obviously uncomfortable and given two chances to clarify his answer to Melissa Etheridge, still screws up.

Too bad the two candidates that have our best interests at heart - Kucinich and Gravel - don't have a snowball's chance in hell of getting the nomination, much less the postion . . . .

Democrat's Descent ? ? ? ?

Excellent piece by Alexander Cockburn at The Nation in today's AlterNet:

How the Democrats Blew It in Only Eight Months

By Alexander Cockburn, The Nation
Posted on August 10, 2007

Led by Democrats since the start of this year, Congress now has a "confidence" rating of 14 percent, the lowest since Gallup started asking the question in 1973 and five points lower than Republicans scored last year.

The voters put the Democrats in to end the war, and it's escalating. The Democrats voted the money for the surge and the money for the next $459.6 billion military budget. Their latest achievement was to provide enough votes in support of Bush to legalize warrantless wiretapping for "foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States." Enough Democrats joined Republicans to make this a 227-183 victory for Bush. The Democrats control the House. Speaker Nancy Pelosi could have stopped the bill in its tracks if she'd wanted to. But she didn't. The Democrats' game is to go along with the White House agenda while stirring up dust storms to blind the base to their failure to bring the troops home or restore constitutional government.

One of my favourite sections is the reference made to my man Russ Feingold:

The one Democrat acting on principle in the Gonzales affair has been Senator Russ Feingold. He at least tried to dig into the visit of chief White House counsel Gonzales, as he then was, to the bedside of Attorney General John Ashcroft, to get him to sign off on the illegal wiretaps. And how did the Democrat-controlled Congress deal with Feingold's efforts to nail Gonzales for his efforts to undermine the Constitution and for his prevarications under oath? It promptly legalized the eavesdropping.

Those heady, euphoric days immediately after last November's election are becoming a memory, eh, Democrats? Perhaps it's time the Democratic leaders stopped monkeying around and get on with the policies the people elected them to do . . . .

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

You Can't Play In My Sandbox . . . .

Today's On Point radio program with Tom Ashbrook on NPR featured a story concerning global sovereignty. The current activity between Canada and Russia in the Arctic was the main topic. No doubt the US will soon enter the fray with the dwindling natural resources south of the as yet untapped area. (For some unknown reason the audio links on the site are inoperable. I'll update when available)

Global Resources Wars

By host Tom Ashbrook:

This hour On Point: flags and ice and the new resource scramble at the North Pole and around the world.

It was a quirky story in the US news media, and a national triumph in Moscow.

Last Thursday, in the frigid wake of a nuclear powered ice-breaker, Russia sent two mini-submarines 13,000 feet beneath the Arctic ice cap, and planted a titanium-encased Russian flag on the seabed of the North Pole.

"The Arctic," declared expedition leader Artur Chilingarov, "is ours." And with it, Moscow hopes, a huge share of the massive oil and gas reserves under the melting pole.

The US and Canada laughed, but not for long.

Fred Weir, Moscow Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor
Michael Klare, Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College and author of "Blood and Oil"
Michael Byers, Professor of International Law at the University of British Columbia
Eric Posner, Professor of Law at University of Chicago Law School

One of the panel discussion participants, Michael Byers, is a professor of international law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He cautions to not become hysterical at this point over the activity in the area. Hope he's right.

Ashbrook interviews a US Coast Guard lieutenant currently on the largest cutter in the fleet that is mapping the area for who-knows-what purposes?

The listener call-in comments are particularly interesting. Typical of the "us-or-them" US mentality is one caller who advocates setting up alliances with Russia as opposed to Canada in the battle to control resources. It would be interesting to get stevie harper and peter mackay's take on that type of attitude.

Now this headline from the CBC today:

Planned army base, port in North heat up Arctic quest

I wonder how all this figures in to the Deep Integration/SPP discussion?

How this plays out over the next few years should be quite a show. Get your popcorn and grab a seat . . . .

Gay Endorsements . . . .

Courtesy of Reuters:

Gay endorsements have scant impact on voters
Wed Aug 8, 2007 11:13AM EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It does not matter to most voters in three key U.S. states whether a presidential candidate has the backing of gay rights groups, according to a new poll on Wednesday.

Somehow, this is not too surprising . . . .

"I'm Baaaccckkkkk ! ! ! !"

Four weeks after departing from Florida I'm back "home" with the Four-Legged-Child. It was great to see her and our friends "Honey" - who retrieved me from the airport - and "Boopster" - who kept the FLC company while we were both absent the premises. Other than that, though, the HH (Heat & Humidity) of "home" was not so pleasant. "drf" and I spoke this am and at the time it was a balmy 93 F here, while in Vancouver where "drf" remains a 66 F was registered. I'm sure when later today a temperature of 100 F with a heat index of 110 F is expected, I will look back fondly at the 93 F.

The trip back was uneventful, but the "red-eye" Continental flight was completely full - not conducive to catching a few winks. Also, there was a nice (?) 4-hour layover in Houston prior to returning to Florida. Since my ticket was a "freebie" frequent flyer redemption I guess I can't complain too much. (Especially due to my expressing displeasure at a previous Continental flight and receiving "shut the bitch up" President's Club passes which I redeemed!)

Speaking of bitching, I've got to write a letter to our local rinky-dink airport's manager. We have four, count 'em, four gates that are occupied at this airport throughout the day. Needless to say, the times that all gates are occupied is very minimal. Why, then, does it take an average of 30 minutes after the plane pulls up to the gate to get the damn bags to baggage claim? Basically all of the flights in and out of here go through one of the larger hubs that are an hour to an hour and a half flight. The thirty minutes at the local airport on the ground is a big portion of the total travel time. Why am I telling you my complaints?!? Sounds like being back in the good 'ole USA is not so good for my disposition.

Got to go now while I'm still steamed . . . . .

Monday, August 06, 2007

Very Gay Pride in Vancouver . . . .

Ah, August in Vancouver:

Beautiful weather.

Four nights of incredible fireworks.

Gay Pride parade and festivities.

"drf" and I thought there were larger crowds about for this year's Pride. Local media confirmed that last evening.

Last year's event drew 309,000 peple. This year the official estimate was 385,000.

Looks like more and more folks are discovering the charms of our future home . . . .

Sunday, August 05, 2007

And The Winner Is . . . .

We're pleased . . . .

The winner of this year's HSBC Celebration of Light fireworks competition is our very own Canadian team!

All three countries participated in the Grand Finale last night. Just as the show began the winner was announced.





We thoroughly concur with the judges' decision this year . . . .

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Deep Cove Day . . . .

Neither "drf" nor I had been to Deep Cove, northeast of Vancouver, so today we hopped on Translink bus #211 and went out there for the afternoon.

The day started out "iffy", but became progressively better. As I am writing this, it is gorgeous.

Deep Cove is a
charming waterfront community on Indian Arm which is off the Burrard Inlet. As a reference to those familiar with Vancouver, Burrard Inlet is the body of water that the Lion's Gate Bridge spans. In addition to the water, it is also surrounded by mountains, so the scenery is beautiful. Lots of shops, restaurants boutiques line the downtown area, and there is easy access to a hiking trail through the mountains. We took a short hike - about 40 minutes each way to a point overlooking the harbour and town.

Glad we
went, and we'll be back.

Tonight is the fireworks finale and tomorrow is the Gay Pride parade.

Life is good . . . .

Disappointing Dems . . . .

Departing for what's currently referred to as "home" on Tuesday is not made any easier by news such as this and this

Senate Votes To Expand Warrantless Surveillance White House Applauds; Changes Are Temporary By Joby Warrick and Ellen Nakashima - Washington Post Staff Writers Saturday, August 4, 2007 The Senate bowed to White House pressure last night and passed a Republican plan for overhauling the federal government's terrorist surveillance laws, approving changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order. The 60 to 28 vote, which was quickly denounced by civil rights and privacy advocates, came after Democrats in the House failed to win support for more modest changes that would have required closer court supervision of government surveillance. Earlier in the day, President Bush threatened to hold Congress in session into its scheduled summer recess if it did not approve the changes he wanted. (Ed. Note: Perish the thought that they delay their vacation to actually accomplish something for the American people. Does the Iraqi parliament summer recess come to mind, folks??)

Democrats "have a Pavlovian reaction: Whenever the president says the word 'terrorism,' they roll over and play dead," said Caroline Fredrickson, Washington legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Democrats take home few victories Margaret Talev | McClatchy Newspapers - last updated: August 04, 2007 08:39:33 AM
WASHINGTON — Democrats promised voters a lot in exchange for winning back the majority in Congress this year: a change of course in Iraq, a return to old-school bipartisanship and a broad domestic agenda. Seven months later, however, as lawmakers prepare to return to their home states for their first major break — the annual August recess — the results are mixed.

People who thought the Democrats taking over both houses of Congress in last year's elections would be the panacea for the troubles in the US need to think again.

Canadian Permanent Residency status can't come soon enough . . . .

Thursday, August 02, 2007

China At Bat . . . .

Last evening's fireworks competition was produced by China.

The displays were rather uninspiring for the first portion of the
performance, but they got progressively better.

I think the problem I have with China's show - as in
previous years - is the rather dull music that accompanies the show.

That said, the
performance had a very strong finish.

Glad I'm not one of the judges . . . .