Monday, July 31, 2006

The greatest song ever?

It just might be!

PS: I'm very sorry for the Ignatieff-esque absence. I'll start posting again soon, probably tomorrow.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Salvia to stay legal

Read on.

And yet, pot remains illegal, possessing it an offence worthy of a life-long criminal record.

Let me tell you something about salvia - it messes you up. It is a fun drug. Unlike pot, which just makes you placid, happy, tired and want to consume unhealthy amounts of Kraft Dinner, Reese peanut butter cups, popsicles, popcorn, fruit juice, and other assorted goodies, salvia makes you see things. Oh, I could tell you stories. (But I won't.)

So I have to wonder, why is salvia legal, but pot is apparently the demon seed which must be eradicated to protect our families from its horrible destructive power? (Kind of like alcohol several decades ago!)

Well, it has a lot to do with the fact that pot has long been so demonized, right back to the days when it was made illegal largely due to racism and xenophobia against Mexicans, that people often don't possess the mental capacity to think clearly on the issue. They've been told so much that it's evil that they just accept the absurd claim at face value without even questioning it.

To me one of the single greatest injustices is mostly harmless substances like these being illegal to possess. It's so high on that list because it's so ridiculous - it should be a no-brainer to anyone who even bothered thinking rationally about it. And what's even more absurd is that a majority of people think it ought to be legal anyway - but the politicians still won't even touch it! It's so absurd.

Lebanese president, 86% of citizens, back Hezbollah

I think this is really all that needs to be said.

I feel sorry for the other 14%; as usual, the minority gets screwed by the majority's stupidity.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Coulter goes there (Plus - national security takes a back seat to homophobia)

Apparently, Bill Clinton is gay.

According to Ann Coulter, it is a sign of homosexuality if a man has sex with women. (I'm not kidding, watch the video for yourself.)

Message to all talk show hosts: Stop giving this woman legitimacy by having her on your shows! The only thing that separates her from the loon shouting crazy things from a bullhorn on the street is that she uses big words and has a nice pair of tits (one assumes).

On a similarly insane note, the US military has just fired another Arab linguists (because it certainly doesn't need any of those!) for the crime of being gay - he didn't even out himself, it was someone else. How considerate - good to know there are people concerned enough with the war on terror that they'll serve their country by outing their comrades.

This is what's wrong with politics

Agree or disagree with his politics, it's hard to listen to Noam Chomsky talk about the lack of real elections fought on issues and not notice examples of it. It's true, people tend to focus more on "likability" and "comfort" and "personality" than they do on where candidates stand on issues.

Take this ad, for example. Absolutely NOWHERE in that ad is there a single policy proposal. Not a single issue is addressed. The ad is entirely void of any substance. Oh sure, it makes Mark Kennedy look like a really nice guy, who's not a lawyer. But what does Mark Kennedy believe? What are his goals? What is his vision? Where does he stand on tax cuts, on healthcare, on foreign policy, on the environment, on gay rights, on... I don't know, puppies! Oh, and here's a good one - what PARTY is he running for? (The ad doesn't even mention that! For the record, he's a Republican - this could just be indicative of a trend of Republican candidates not using the party's tainted name.)

Personally, I think the reason for this isn't mass stupidity, but the fact that the two parties in America are so similar, that people don't even bother trying to tell them apart, and instead just figure that it's best to simply elect the guy who seems the nicest. What a sad way for democracy to languish.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Honestly, why do these people always have to flaunt it...?

I mean fuck, not all of us can be in love!

The parts don't fit

Oh my god, the parts don't fit! What are we gonna do? You wanna go bowling? Sure, this is not working!

Dr. John Corvino wins.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

That war that's been going on... (vis a vis Scott Brison)

I haven't really been blogging in too much depth about the mideast crisis because really, there's so much cyber-ink being spilled on it already that I felt that there was nothing more to say.

I would just like to point out that I agree 100% with Scott Brison's position on the issue. I'll admit, like any reasonable person I've been questioning my committment to my preferred candidate; understandable I feel, given that there are eleven candidates in total, and about five that I considered supporting. One of the reasons I've been a bit lethargic in this support has been for that reason - it's such a wide field, and I've wanted to be very careful about blindly supporting any one candidate, since most of them have their own distinct advantages.

But on this issue, Brison stands virtually alone among the contenders (with Volpe expressing similar but characteristically more bombastic views, and Ignatieff surprisingly not saying anything at all) in supporting my point of view, and it is serving to remind me why I endorsed him in the first place.

Brison is essentially alone among the (serious) contenders in voicing a distinctly pro-Israeli position on this issue. The rest of the candidates are mostly just parrotting the same wishy-washy ideas coming from most of the "nuance" backers - that is, that Israel has a right to defend itself, as long as it doesn't actually use any force whatsoever.

Alternatively, they say that Israel has a right to defend itself, as long as it employs a "measured" response. Now, I find it hard to disagree with that - except that in most cases, the people calling for a "measured" response define "measured" a bit differently than I do; they define it in the style of the typical knee-jerk anti-Israeli world opinion that hypocritically and sanctimoniously holds Israel to a far more strict standard than any other country in the world. In other words, "measured" means that any civilian deaths are absolutely intolerable.

In the sense that any and all civilian deaths are always a tragedy in war, they have a point. But in the sense that every conflict sees civilian deaths, people who expect Israel to avoid any civilian deaths whatsoever... well, have just got to be kidding.

Scott Brison on the war:

"Israel does have a right to defend itself against unprovoked attacks from Hezbollah."

"[T]he fault in the initiation of this conflict was Hezbollah's. We should avoid a knee-jerk anti-Israeli positioning on this issue."

"I stand for the peace-loving people of Israel and the peace-loving people of Lebanon, and I stand against Hezbollah and its supporters."

"Hezbollah started this conflict. Hezbollah can end it by returning the soldiers and by disarming."

The Racist Standard

Kudos to Cerberus for this wonderful post. I've always said, one of the greatest things about the right-wing presence on the web is that you can see right-wingers the way they really think, when they don't have to deal with the irritants of civilized society, such as common decency. (The bars in downtown Peterborough are a good place for this too, but that's another story entirely.) This post should be saved for posterity.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

All life is sacred...

Unless they're brown, I guess.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

It could be worse

A lot of people are upset that Stephen Harper won't be at the AIDS conference in Toronto. But it could be worse; much worse. We could have a leader like George Bush, who actively seeks to prevent, distort and hinder scientific research because of his "morality." Bush is following in the Ronald Reagan mold of actively hindering research into the worst epidemic the world has ever seen. The difference is, Reagan's hinderance was based on homophobia, Bush's is based on... I don't even know what, but it seems to just be a pathological hatred of science.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The canon of my childhood...

I will be seeing this movie the day it comes out. The fucking DAY IT COMES OUT.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Is it racism to call the Palestinians backwards?

Or is it the truth?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Bush to veto bill for the first time in his presidency...

Unfortunately, it's a bill in favour of research into what could easily be the most revolutionary scientific medical breakthrough of our generation, stem cell research. To Bush, people with Alzheimer's, people who are paralyzed, people who suffer and desperately need this research, are second banana to a microscopic mass of cells.

Why is something this sick and insane allowed to happen without more outrage?

Hooray for torture and execution!

Hey, if we can't do it at home, why not get it done abroad?

That's the Stockwell Way!

I'm at a loss for words

Just watch. I was actually laughing by the end because it's so deliciously absurd.

Dubious Anniversary

It's been a year since the execution of Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, two Iranian boys whose crime was being in love with each other.

The method of their execution was deliberately designed as a slow, painful death by suffocation. The method of the assassination of their characters by the Iranian regime before and after their deaths is a PR campaign of transparent lies and deceit, alleging they were rapists and child molesters.

This should be a sobering reminder of what we're dealing with when we talk about the Middle Eastern regimes - we're not talking about decent men with whom we have a disagreement. These are brutal, evil men, and this is just one instance of their barbarism.

Monday, July 17, 2006

On religion

This is interesting stuff. I don't really have any comments to make about it, I just wanted to share it.

Belinda's ideas (2)

For those of you curious to read Belinda's proposals unfiltered by the media, she has a (non-MP) website set up at where you can read them for yourself.

She also made herself available through the Globe and Mail's website and took questions from readers. You can find this here. Give it a read, she doesn't just give one-sentence answers.

I'll admit, I never really took Stronach that seriously, but I'm starting to take another look now. If she keeps this up - concentrating on issues and policy as opposed to her public image - she may be able to convince people that she's more than "complex files" and "a bigger economic pie." Truthfully, I was indifferent towards her before, but now I'm glad she's a Liberal.

And agree or disagree with her proposals, that's quite irrelevant as far as her relevance goes. What she's doing is making herself relevant by raising issues, taking a clear stand on them, and discussing them and talking about them, with party members and with the general public. And for anyone who is inclined towards democracy, you have to agree that such activity is admirable.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Stronach's ideas

I'm going to distinguish myself from my hetero-male compatriots in Liblogs by not posting a picture of Belinda to go along with this story; I understand the urge to do so for them, as she is quite stunning, but her image need not grace every story ever written about her.

That being said, I'd like to hand out my second kudos of the day, to Belinda Stronach, for her ideas regarding the Liberal party. Honestly, it's good to see someone who one day aspires to be the leader of this party outlining some ideas. And it's important to look at it in this context - she does undoubtedly aspire to lead the Liberal Party in the future. Therefor, one has to wonder, why would she want to weaken the power of the party leader? Surely if she wanted to be leader, she would also want to be a powerful one.

Ah, but there's the rub - maybe she doesn't want to be a powerful leader. Maybe she is the type of principled politician people are always yearning for, willing to acquiesce power instead of give it? Very few people are that principled, and I'm not entirely sure Belinda is one of them - but points to her for making me believe, at least for the moment, that she is.

Bennett fires salvo at Volpe

And why shouldn't she? She's got nothing to lose; he, on the other hand, has plenty. Kudos to Bennett for being, to my knowledge, the first Liberal leadership contender to show some guts and call Volpe on his dirty campaign. In a Globe and Mail letter published today (registration required,) Bennett said that if the Liberal Party is serious about cleaning up its act and facing Canadians, its leadership contenders need to acknowledge the "elephant in the room" that is Joe Volpe's sketchy campaign tactics. There's no reason not to from an ethical point of view - from a political point of view, those hoping to score Volpe's support at the convention are being shrewd. And spineless.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Oh Noez! The Internets!1!

Ted Stevens is quite the guy, isn't he? The man in charge of regulating the internet... well, in Jon Stewart's words, "doesn't know jack shit about computers or the internet." Pretty apt description if you ask me. Warning - too funny. Don't eat or drink while watching that clip.

If you aren't familiar with Ted Stevens, this is the man who zealously pursued nearly a quarter-billion dollars in federal funding to build a bridge to nowhere, and has a habit of throwing temper tantrums on the Senate floor. (One of his most famous ones was when he refused to allow money to be diverted from the bridge to nowhere to help New Orleans during Katrina.)

Gavin Newsom speaks out

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, who attempted to legalize gay marriages in his city in 2004, has a message for his fellow Democrats - grow a spine! I couldn't agree more. According to Newsom, a "vast majority" of Congressional Democrats favour gay marriage, but they don't have the "moral courage" to say so; he bases this, he says, on first-hand knowledge.

I tell all of my fellow Democrats this is not going to go away. As long as we allow this to be dangled in front of us because of our unwillingness to say publicly what so many of us are saying privately, it will haunt the Democratic party. And it will be used as a wedge issue just as it is being dangled in front of congressional candidates in the November election.

Not every Democrat in Washington agrees with gay marriage. But I will make the case — based on some strong evidence — that an overwhelming majority do. But they just can’t say it. And that is a limitation that is causing more damage than the issue. Because, again, it shows a weakness of character.

This is really one of the great final civil rights struggles, and again I say to my colleagues in the Democratic party: Why are you a Democrat if you can’t stand on a fundamental construct that has always distinguished our party. That we didn’t sit around. We advanced the issues of equality. We engaged the American people head on.

Preach it!

Jon Stewart break

It's nice to have a Jon Stewart break every so often. I'm without television for the summer (boo!) so I've missed him desperately. Here, Jon talks about Joe Lieberman and Rick "frothy mix" Santorum. Good stuff.

Kennedy the new frontrunner?

The Star thinks so. Interesting. Though this bugs me:

It has been conventional wisdom in the party that MP Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke Lakeshore) has had a strong lead, followed by former Ontario premier Bob Rae.

That's not the sense I've been getting at all. It seems that the media has been trying to portray this race as one between Ignatieff and Rae, but that's just because Rae is the most recognizable name, and Ignatieff is surrounded by controversy.

I think Sully's trying to tell us something...

It's not often one sees a blog post highlighting the spiritual advantages of mushrooms (not the kind in spaghetti sauce) but I found one. Mad props for writing it, though it makes me wonder if his own conversion to Catholicism was a result for some experimentation. I mean, there's a store in my town run by born-again types used to be pretty heavy into the halucinogens.

But I digress. If I ever take mushrooms, I'm going to have to leave myself a tape recording wagging my finger at myself if I end up converting to a religion as a result of the experience, trying to talk myself out of it.

...well, fuck, what else is there to write about in the summer?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Isn't this just heartwarming?

Apparently, it doesn't matter what your most fundamental beliefs about the nature of the universe are. All that matter is that you hate gay people. Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that these factions, usually so hostile to each other, can put aside condemning each other to eternal damnation to oppose the greatest threat to the western world today (according to the far right)?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

It's summer, what do you expect?

Substantive blogging? I wish. -_-

Anyway, very few things can manage to be bizarre, adorable, and creepy all at the same time, but this pulls it off nicely. Hey, there's nothing wrong with an oppressive, power-hungry quasi-dictator planting a kiss on the belly of a small child. But it's still f*cking weird.

Those little inconsistencies

20% of Spaniards go to mass.

42% of Spaniards believe in God.

80% of Spaniards consider themselves Catholic.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Last day to join the party!

Well, today's the last day to join the Liberal Party and have your say in the leadership vote in the fall. I'd recommend doing it - you can sign up online, it's easy and fast, not to mention cheap.

If you're considering voting for Scott Brison, you can join through his website here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

May the farm be with you

This is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen.

Leadership poll update

I'm telling you, I love this thing. It just keeps surprising me.

At this point, every one of the candidates (except for Ken Dryden) has been the winner at some point or another. Currently, Michael Ignatieff is walking away with the gold in a fifth round victory against Stephane Dion. (55.2 to 44.8)

So yeah, keep voting.

Meanwhile, over the Cuckoo's Nest...

I've called conservatives writ large "crazy" before, as a hyperbolic jest, usually with other liberal-minded friends. I know, of course, that conservatives aren't crazy - that's just silly.

Still, that doesn't stop the right-wing blogosphere from trying to prove me wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it.) See here, for instance, here, here, or here.

See, apparently, the luminaries of said blogosphere have uncovered a murderous plot by the New York Times to aid in the assassination of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld by al Qaeda terrorists. Now, I would say that I wish I was making that up, but honestly, I'm glad I'm being 100% serious here. It just goes to show you how unhinged these people have become:

The New York Times has taken the gloves off. In the June 30th edition of its paper, it has printed huge color photos of the vacation residences of Vice President Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, identifying the small Maryland town where they live, showing the front driveway, and in Rumsfeld's case actually pointing out the hidden security camera in the event that their friends and subscribers at al-Qaida get lost. - Denny K

And because al Qaeda already must have an inkling that Rumsfeld and Cheney live somewhere in the greater Washington, D.C. area, right? So what's the harm in handing them all the details, right? - Michelle Malkin

Make no mistake about it, there is a war going on in this country. The aggressors in this war are Democrats, liberals and leftists who began a scorched earth campaign against President Bush before the initiation of hostilities in Iraq. - FrontPage Magazine

Maybe the Times would say that the jihadis already knew about the lens in the birdhouse, since it's well known that high-ranking government officials take security precautions. - Power Line Blog

The offending article is, of course, this innocuous puff piece in the New York Times' travel section. Now, personally, I find it a bit absurd to think that the New York Times is somehow helping al Qaeda by publishing this information - I mean, logically, if the New York Times can find it so easily, I doubt it would be much of a problem for al Qaeda or other assorted crazies. (And let's not even touch the downright insane accusation that the left is actually working with al Qaeda.) But that doesn't stop the right-wingnuts from reacting in a way that's so deranged, even I'm surprised at how far they've gone.

And how far have they gone? Well, they've actually started an organized effort to publish the names and addresses of the editors of the New York Times, presumably so that al Qaeda et. al. can blow them up, too.

Unclaimed Territory summarizes beautifully:

So, to recap - America is currently at war and its enemies are domestic liberals and The New York Times. This war was started by Al Gore and Jimmy Carter when they opposed the invasion of Iraq. The New York Times is allied with Al Qaeda and their latest plot against America is to provide their terrorist friends with a roadmap to the vacation homes of Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld so that they can be assassinated. That is what is being reported today by three of the largest "conservative" blogs on the Internet, along with Horowitz, the leader of the conservative effort to wipe out anti-conservative bias on college campuses.

These people don't even live in reality anymore, they live in some construct of their own creation, sort of like an echo chamber, but profoundly more insular and out of touch.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What is conservatism?

In the United States, anyway, this is what it has become. It has no values anymore beyond power - the maintaining of power, and the defence of unlimited, unchecked, unbalanced, unquestioned, and unopposed power for the executive branch of government, a defence of a quasi-dictatorship within a nominal democracy.

GST cut does nothing for lowest income bracket

Well, I was out yesterday buying a bottle of pop, and instead of costing me $2.29, it instead came to $2.28. Thanks, Stephen! I wonder if the bank will let me open a special savings account for all the pennies I'm going to save thanks to this wonderful tax cut?

The London Free Press writes today that the GST cut does nothing to help the lowest income bracket (they get GST rebates, anyway), and actually hurts them because, to afford it, Harper had to jack up their income taxes by half a percent, anyway. That's not to mention the fact that it's panned by almost every serious economist out there, who all agree that income tax cuts are the way to go, as they spur economic investment.

This is just banal...

There's just something I find weird about this article.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Cuban Revolution

Not the kind you're thinking. The niece of Fidel Castro is leading an increasingly popular movement in Cuba to modernize the country's machismo sexual politics, pushing for acceptance of gay people and transsexuals. Read on, it's a fascinating piece. With liberalization comes tolerance, with tolerance comes freedom, with freedom comes democracy; they are all inextricably linked, classical liberal values.

The parts don't fit

Oh my god, the parts don't fit! What are we gonna do? You wanna go bowling? Sure, this is not working!

Dr. John Corvino wins.