Monday, September 29, 2008

Mega Media Mania . . . .

Concerned about "Big Media"?

Me too.



Tell your friends . . . .

US Dollar Bill Re-Designed . . . .

In light of all the financial turmoil in the world economy precipitated by greedy Wall Street bankers, the US Treasury has decided to redesign the dollar bill.

Quite apropos . . . .

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Campaiging Canadian Style . . . .

Some photos from my activities on the local political scene here in Vancouver comprise today's post.

As noted here, my efforts are directed toward getting Michael Byers elected as the NDP MP in the Vancouver Centre riding. Recent polls show the NDP gaining ground both in BC and nationally.

Anything I can do to keep harper from obtaining a majority government will be well worth it.
If you're an eligible voter (we can't for three years), please exercise your right to vote and keep him and his ilk from destroying the Canada we worked so hard to emigrate to . . . .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Truth Shall Set You Free . . . .

Looks like there's a bit of financial friction between Germany and the US.

Just in from Reuters:

Era of U.S. financial dominance at an end: Germany
Thu Sep 25, 2008 12:16pm EDT

By Noah Barkin and Kerstin Gehmlich

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany blamed the United States on Thursday for spawning the global financial crisis with a blind drive for higher profits and said it must now accept more market regulation and a loss of its financial superpower status.

In some of the harshest criticism of the United States since the crisis threw Wall Street banks into financial disarray this month, German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said the turmoil would leave "deep marks" on both sides of the Atlantic, but called it primarily an American problem.

"The world will never be as it was before the crisis," Steinbrueck told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.
"The United States will lose its superpower status in the world financial system. The world financial system will become more multi-polar," he said.


Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, a partnership of her conservatives and Steinbrueck's Social Democrats (SPD), pushed the G8 to agree measures to boost financial market transparency during Germany's presidency of the club last year.

But their drive collapsed amid opposition from Washington and London. Merkel's party and the SPD are keen to claim credit for Germany's G8 push ahead of a federal election next year.


German criticisms of Washington were echoed by leaders of governments from around the world meeting this week at the United Nations in New York. Many criticized the financial record of President George W. Bush's administration and warned that U.S. financial mistakes now threatened the global economy.

The crisis has put the Bush White House, which has long advocated a hands-off approach to markets, on the defensive and forced it to rethink its financial policy.

At the same time it has emboldened voices in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, who are uncomfortable with American-style capitalism and who want tighter regulation of markets.

It appears the groping/massage georgie gave Angela didn't work out quite as he had planned . . . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Better get the Barf Bag . . . .

No wonder McSame's trying to postpone the debates:

At least she can't be accused of being "elitist," anyway.

Good grief, even Katie Couric looks skeptical, for crying out loud.

Tundra Trash a "heartbeat away from the Presidency"?

Please don't let the USian public be that "stoopid" . . . .

What is that Aroma ? ? ? ?

Two separate incidents - one in the US and one in Canada - occurred yesterday that got me thinking about politics and the media. Mind you, these were not isolated incidents by any means.

Check out incident #1, via The Politico:

Palin press may boycott UN conference
By: Kenneth P. Vogel
September 23, 2008 01:30 PM EST

NEW YORK – Journalists, displeased with Sarah Palin’s efforts to restrict their access to her, are threatening not to cover her events surrounding the United Nations conference here unless they're allowed more access.

The unfolding boycott is the latest development in a rocky relationship between Palin’s handlers and the press, in which the campaign has sought to tightly control her interactions with the media.

The campaign had originally indicated that the print reporters following her campaign would be among the small group of journalists allowed to attend the so-called “pool sprays” before Palin’s meetings with dignitaries on the sidelines of the U.N. meetings.

The sprays are basically glorified photo opportunities during which journalists can snap photos and film footage and – if they’re lucky – shout a question or two at Palin and her company before she adjourns for private meetings. On Tuesday, those meetings were to include Afghan President Karzai and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

But the imbroglio began developing Tuesday morning when Palin’s handlers informed the small print press contingent covering her campaign that the print reporter designated to cover the events, Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal, would not be allowed to cover the sprays.


The campaign also at first moved to bar CNN, the television network designated for pool duty, from sending its editorial producer – basically a hybrid print/video journalist – though the campaign budged when the network threatened to withhold its cameras as well.

Incident #2 occurred right here in Metro Vancouver last evening. Via the Vancouver Sun:

Tories keep candidate Cadman away from media

Andrew Mayeda - Canwest News Service
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Conservatives refused a request by the media to interview the woman at the centre of the so-called Cadman affair at a campaign stop in Surrey Tuesday.

Media travelling with Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested an interview with Dona Cadman, the Conservative candidate for Surrey North and widow of late MP Chuck Cadman, after Harper addressed a rally here.


However, the Conservatives ushered her and the other candidates out the back door of the conference hall before the media could speak with her.

Dona Cadman has alleged that Tory operatives offered to buy her husband a $1-million life-insurance policy so he would vote with the Conservatives to topple the
government in the summer of 2005. Cadman died of cancer weeks after the confidence vote, which the Liberal government survived.

"Local candidates' priority is campaigning in their local ridings, and not talking to the national media," said Harper's chief spokesman, Kory Teneycke.

Teneycke suggested Cadman did not want to speak with the media, but would not confirm if the party actually relayed the interview request to her.

Sound like quite similar incidents, don't you think?

One may be tempted to jump to the conclusion that the muzzling of the press
may very well be orchestrated by someone?

Perhaps a political "guru" or expert at controlling the message.

Excuse me for a moment, I've got to go close the windows. It seems there is one of Stanley Park's famed furry black and white creatures in the 'hood spreading his or her perfume around.

(walk, walk. peer out windows. scratch head in confusion. walk, walk.)

Well, I'll be damned.

That wasn't what it was at all.

Apparently, the infamous karl rove was in the area and the stench of his "craft" has just now made it's way to The West End from downtown Calgary.

Sorry for the confusion . . . .

(It's not bad enough the life-form has a beach house in the same county that we live in Florida, he's got to follow us here, too?!?!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Political History . . . .

An archaeological team, digging in Washington DC Alberta, has uncovered 10,000 year old bones and fossil remains of what is believed to be the first Republican Harper Conservative.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Damn . . . .

David Eby lost by 17 votes his bid to run for Vancouver city council on the Vision slate. There is a re-count scheduled.

An advocate for the Downtown Eastside's homeless for years, his contribution to city council operations would have been a welcome change.

His blog post on the results is here.

fabula's take is here.

A class act to the end . . . .

Saturday, September 20, 2008

V V V . . . . *

* Vision Vancouver Vote.

"drf" and I joined the new civic party here in Vancouver this summer - Vision Vancouver. Although we can't vote for any public office candidates 'til we're citizens in three years, we are able to join political parties and cast votes for those people seeking nominations.

Today was the big vote and we're awaiting the vote tallies to see who gets to go up against the ruling NPA candidates. Gregor Robertson has already been selected as the Mayoral candidate to lead the charge.

RossK at The Gazetteer and fabula have good updates of the action . . . .

Bridge Done. Send in the Clowns . . . .


Couldn't resist . . . .

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fillin' in the Gaps . . . .

Last week's edition of our local paper The Vancouver Courier had a well-done article by Geoff Olson on the work bloggers have done to reveal facts the MSM - initially, at least - seem to miss:

Bloggers fill in gaps with most interesting facts

War in Georgia illuminates mainstream media's failure to inform

Vancouver Courier - Friday, September 12, 2008


Consider the recent reporting on Russia's conflict with Georgia. From what I could see, North American mainstream media spoke with one voice: the Russian bear had mauled the independent republic of Georgia, threatening stability in the region. There was some mention of the breakaway republic of Southern Ossetia, which Georgia attacked first, but it wasn't really germane to understanding Vladimir Putin's alpha male display.

From the outset, the story from bloggers was considerably different. They pointed to the documentation of strong U.S. and Israeli influence in Georgia prior to the conflict. Just last week, the Washington Post reported what the bloggers had concluded many weeks earlier: both nations weren't just shocked witnesses from afar. So bloggers were on to something big, weeks before one of the respectable bastions of the press smelled something fishy. How could that be? Many bloggers hardly have barely enough cash to fill up their car with gas, let alone fly to Tblisi for a round of interviews.


In this case, a global network of bloggers zeroed in on the consistent stories about the Russia/Georgia debacle that didn't fit the authorized version from North American mainstream media, and brought them to the forefront of the web through a democracy of page clicks. In between the hyperlinks they rambled on about the new chess moves in Central Asia's "Great Game."

The bloggers beat the Washington Post to the punch by many weeks, just as they did prior to the war in Iraq, when they concluded that Saddam's WMD's were as fanciful as unicorns. When the mainstream media finally got around to acknowledging that pre-war whopper, many months after the bombs rained down on Baghdad, they pleaded manipulation by their sources, rather than concede their failure to investigate a story requiring no more resources than a high-speed connection. (Although Knight Ridder reporters Warren Stroebel and Jonathan Landay had done their homework and came to the same conclusion about Saddam's WMDs.)

There are many other examples. Consider last year's spectacular career flameout of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, after being outed for his hooker connections. That was a fascinating, salacious story, but there was an even more interesting angle to Spitzer's outing that received virtually no followup in the press. A month prior to his resignation, he publicly revealed that the Bush administration had dismantled state protections against "predatory lending," which had allowed banks and brokers to go off on their disastrous, subprime mortgage spree. (In his previous job as New York attorney general, Spitzer had led the legal charge to reign in both the lenders and their benefactors in Washington.)


Bloggers fill in the gap more with synthesis than analysis. The digital horses are already out, and it's too late to shut the barn door. The question is, can the newspaper industry effectively subsidize online vehicles from the revenues of their financially troubled print versions? And has the reading audience already been burned too many times by mainstream media's "agreed-upon facts" to care?

With that in mind, is it any wonder a growing number of those people with inquisitive minds are turning to blogs for their "real" news?

Nope . . . .

A Crack in the Law ? ? ? ?

The Toronto Star supplies this:

Drop law on sagging pants, judge rules - World - September 18, 2008

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla.–A judge has decided a town law banning sagging pants is unconstitutional after a teen spent a night in jail accused of exposing too much underwear.

Julius Hart, 17, was charged last week after an officer said he spotted the teenager riding his bicycle with 10 to 12.5 centimetres ( 4-5 inches) of blue-and-black boxer shorts revealed.


"The first time I saw this particular fashion, I disliked it," Hart's public defender, Carol Bickerstaff, told the judge. "And then I realized I'm getting old."

Will wonders never cease?

There are actually a few rational people in Florida after all.

Go figure . . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Illustrations of a Political Disaster . . . .

The whole Palin media circus in the US has totally disgusted me to the point that I would rather not talk about it, nor post about it.

Today, however, a good friend and former journalist (as opposed to what passes for same these days) sent me a couple of illustrations of the person I like to refer to as "Tundra Trash."

She wanted me to spread them around, so here 'ya go:

Sarah Palin, Librarian

And my personal favourite:

Sarah Palin Bags the Big One

Artist credit: Zina Saunders . . . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hugo's Revenge . . . .

This evening's Toronto Star reports:

Venezuela's Chavez revels in Lehman collapse
September 16, 2008 - Reuters

CARACAS– Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took a swipe at Lehman Brothers Tuesday, chuckling over the firm's collapse and dismissing its past criticism of the Venezuelan economy.

"They were always producing negative reports about Venezuela," Chavez told reporters. "They forgot about themselves ... and 'boom!' they were bankrupt."


Chavez's comments echo recent criticism of Lehman by his ally, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez.

Earlier this month, she said the firm should "worry more about their own books" after it raised questions about Argentina's economy.

Lehman filed for bankruptcy Monday.

Payback is a hell of a thing, huh ? ? ? ?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Canada, Mean ? ? ? ?

Yesterday Slate published an excellent piece by Christopher Flavelle summarizing the state of today's Canadian politics. Thanks to our friend IP at Idealistic Pragmatist for pointing us to it. Read the whole article here.

What's the Matter With Canada?

How the world's nicest country turned mean.
By Christopher Flavelle - Friday, Sept. 12, 2008

Last Sunday, news came that Canada—sensible, quiet, some would even say boring Canada—will hold an election on Oct. 14, its third in four years. Those outside the country may wonder what the problem is; in Canada, after all, health care is free, the dollar is strong, same-sex marriage is legal, and the government had the good sense to stay out of Iraq. You might think of Canada as the un-America, where the only debate ought to be whether to spend the country's growing oil wealth on faster snowmobiles, bigger hockey rinks, or Anne Murray box sets.

But beneath the calm exterior, Canada's political system is in turmoil. Since 2004, a succession of unstable minority governments has led to a constant campaign frenzy, brutalizing Canada's once-broad political consensus and producing a series of policies at odds with the country's socially liberal, fiscally conservative identity. Canada is quietly becoming a political basket case, and this latest election may make things even worse.

Just scan the headlines. In June, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that Canada—for years the only G8 country to post regular budget surpluses—was likely to fall into deficit this year, thanks to a reckless cut to the national sales tax. In February, the government proposed denying funding to films and TV shows whose content it deemed "not in the public interest," sparking cries of censorship from a sector that has historically received public support. In 2007, a member of the governing Conservative Party proposed a bill that would reopen the debate over abortion, a topic that governments both liberal and conservative have avoided for decades.

Please read the whole article. I know, I know, what does a USian writer know about Canadian politics? Read it. You'll see.

And then, those of you that can vote, please do.

Those of us that can't are depending on you . . . .

Friday, September 12, 2008

stevie Can't Be Bothered . . . .

Apparently, King stevie is just too busy pursuing his majority government (Horrors!) to take care of small items like legal proceedings he initiated.

From the Globe and Mail this evening:

Harper seeks delay in hearing over Cadman libel suit

TIM NAUMETZ - The Canadian Press

September 12, 2008 at 5:09 PM EDT

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper wants a judge to put off a hearing in his $3.5-million defamation suit against the Liberal party that is scheduled to be held during the federal election campaign.

Mr. Harper's lawyers filed an “emergency” motion for an adjournment with Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland, court officials said Friday.

It is expected that Richard Dearden, Mr. Harper's lawyer, will argue Mr. Harper's campaign schedule prevents him from paying close attention to the legal details of the lawsuit he filed over an allegation that Conservatives attempted to bribe a terminally ill MP in 2005.

The move came at the same time lawyers for the Liberal party filed their own motion with Judge Hackland asking him to order Mr. Harper to produce documents which Mr. Dearden has failed to provide, despite promises to do so.

Come on, stevie.

You started the petty proceedings.

The least you can do is fulfil what's expected of you.

Jerk . . . .

Pack Your Guns, We're Goin' to the Park ! ! ! !

Good grief, is there no end to the stupidity down there ? ! ?

From Congressional Quarterly on Thursday:

Senate Panel Votes to Permit National Park Visitors to Carry Guns

Sept. 11, 2008

With solid bipartisan support, a Senate panel approved legislation on Thursday to allow loaded guns in national parks.

The Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved, 18-5, a draft bill by Sen. Jim DeMint , R-S.C. It would allow people to bring loaded guns into national parks and wildlife refuges unless state laws bar them from doing so. Park Service regulations now allow guns only if they are unloaded and stowed.

“The purpose of this bill is to protect innocent Americans from violent crime in national parks,” DeMint said.

Park advocacy groups immediately decried the move and warned it could be far more difficult for park rangers to stop poaching. “America’s national parks shouldn’t be made a political football in the gun debate,” said Bryan Faehner, associate director for park use at the National Parks Conservation Association.

The push to allow firearms in the parks has been a rallying point for the National Rifle Association. A non-controversial public lands measure was held up for months when Tom Coburn , R-Okla., unsuccessfully tried to bring up a floor amendment on the same topic.

'Ya know, I don't know what to say.

So I won't . . . .

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ferguson Rules . . . .

Pale over at Creative Revolution posted this Craig Ferguson rant today. Since moving up here, we have missed his Late, Late Show as we don't subscribe to cable.

Thank you, Pale.

Priceless . . . .

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Florida Joining the 21st Century ? ? ? ?

What's goin' on down in Florida since we left?

From McClatchy yesterday:

Poll: Florida gay marriage ban falling short of needed margin

Mary Ellen Klas | Miami Herald

September 08, 2008

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist continues to ride high job approval ratings, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, but the luck's not as good for the ballot amendment he supports -- the measure to ban gay marriages.

Florida voters are satisfied with the governor's performance, with 61 percent saying they have a favorable view of Crist, compared to 25 percent who say he's doing a poor job. But he isn't on the ballot this year and the proposal on the November ballot to enshrine in the state Constitution a definition that marriage is between a man and a woman falls short of the 60 percent approval threshold.

Voters support Amendment 2 by 55-41 percent, with Republicans favoring it 76-21 percent while Democrats oppose it 51-45 percent.

And now today, also from McClatchy:

Florida court strikes down 31-year ban on gay adoptions

Carol Marbin Miller | Miami Herald

September 09, 2008

A Monroe Circuit Court judge has ruled that Florida's 31-year-old gay adoption ban is ''unconstitutional'' in an order that allows an openly gay Key West foster parent to adopt a teenage boy he has raised since 2001.

Declaring the adoption to be in the boy's ''best interest,'' Circuit Judge David J. Audlin Jr. said the Florida law forbidding gay people from adopting children is contrary to the state Constitution because it singles out a group for punishment.

Florida is one of only two states — the other is Mississippi — that forbids gay people from adopting.

Circuit judges in Florida have found the statute unconstitutional twice before, both in 1991, but both challenges stalled. A Miami case expected to be heard next month may provide an additional challenge to the law.

Maybe we should have left sooner.

Hey, it's not like we didn't try to . . . .

Oh, Goodie! More Money for the Defen$e Indu$try . . . .

From Reuters yesterday:

U.S. plans $7 billion missile-defense sale to UAE

Mon Sep 8, 2008 7:47pm EDT - By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration is planning to sell the United Arab Emirates an advanced U.S. missile defense system valued at up to $7 billion that could be used to defend against Iran, people who have attended briefings on the matter said on Monday.

The Pentagon is set to notify the U.S. Congress of the proposed sale, which would be the first of the so-called Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, several people familiar with the matter said.

Something about this latest development in the ever-increasing oil for arms for money saga brings to mind the segment of Syriana between Prince Nasir (Alexander Siddig) and Bryan Woodman (Matt Damon) in which Nasir is explaining how power plays out in the Middle-east:

Prince Nasir: "I studied at Oxford. I have a PHD from Georgetown. I want to create a parliament. I want to give women the right to vote. I want to create an independent Judiciary. I want to create a new petroleum exchange in the Middle-east and cut the speculators out of the business. Why are the major oil exchanges in New York and London anyway? I'll put all of our energy up for competitve bidding, I'll pipe through Iran to Europe like you proposed, I'll ship to China, anything that achieves efficiency and maximizes profits to my people, profits which I'll then use to rebuild my country."

Bryan: "That's great, that's exactly what you should do."

Prince Nasir: "Exactly, except your President calls my father, says, 'I've got unemployment in Texas, Kansas, Washington State.' One phone call later, we're stealing out of our social programs to buy overpriced airplanes. We owed the Americans, but we've repaid that debt."

Check out the DVD to see how the Prince makes out.

Hint: It's not a happy ending . . . .

Monday, September 08, 2008

September Sunset . . . .

No earth-shattering news from here today.
How 'bout some sunset shots over English Bay
from earlier this evening?

The Lady Alison advised me that BC, in fact,

also had sunsets when I posted same
our Florida locale.

The Four-Legged Child agrees.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

This Year's Undecided Voter . . . .

Our friend David Drucker posted this cartoon today:

(Cartoon: Bruce Beattie)

I thought it highly appropriate for all past and future emigrants from the US to Canada . . . .

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Billion Here, A Billion There and Pretty Soon You're Talkin' Real Money . . . .

Big announcement today courtesy of Reuters:

Rice announces $1 billion in aid for Georgia
Wed Sept. 3, 2008 -
by Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday announced at least $1 billion in aid to help U.S. ally Georgia rebuild after its conflict with Russia over the separatist enclave of South Ossetia last month.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice unveiled the package to help reconstruct Georgia's economy and infrastructure that was destroyed during a short war with Russia, which crushed Georgia's attempt to reassert control over South Ossetia.

"We are responding to what we consider to be urgent needs," said Rice.

Now hold on just a damn minute, condescending!

Why don't you and your ignorant boss "help reconstruct" the US' "economy and infrastructure that was destroyed" by eight years of The bush-league Administration ? ! ?

How 'bout some of the "urgent needs" you have at home, you twit?

Maybe you could promise a billion or two to a program for national health care, huh?

Possibly a billion toward skill retraining for all of the unemployed due to corporations sending US jobs overseas, huh?

Maybe a billion dollar commitment to improving veteran's health facilities, assuming they ever come home. How 'bout that?


Those programs would actually help folks at home and not put any $$$ in your war-machine buddies' pockets.

You people are despicable . . . .

Monday, September 01, 2008

Protest Photos . . . .

"drf" and I attended the first of probably many more protest rallies in Vancouver today.

The event today was to protest our local provincial government's policies. Led by LINO* gordon campbell, this bunch is one of the more arrogant political organizations I've ever seen - north or south of the 49th parallel.

Signs Distributed by the BC Federation of Labour

The Crowd

More of the Crowd

The Trucks Converging on the City

Some of the 75 Trucks that Participated

Global TV Reporter Interviewing Attendees

The Back of Federal NDP MP Candidate Michael Byers
(Yay, Michael ! ! ! ! )

Vision Vancouver Parks Board Candidate Aaron Jasper
(Yay, Aaron ! ! ! ! )

I actually got to speak with Michael Byers on his way out of the rally and got an update on his progress. Great guy, and needs your support to make it to Ottawa . . . .

*Liberal in Name Only