Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just goes to show you...

...what morale can do for a team. I guess a personal endorsement from America's favourite jackass (well, maybe not, there's some stiff competition for that one) is enough to push a lousy team* over the top. Seven straight victories following his endorsement? That's impressive.

Still, I was kind of looking forward to seeing Colbert wear an Oshawa jersey on his show. (I grew up near Oshawa.) Ah well, guess I'll have to live with Stephen Colbert Day.

*I'm told they're a lousy team, anyway. To be honest, I've never seen them play because I just don't care all that much.

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On the other hand...

Here's a hypothetical: if while on the set of their hit television series Grey's Anatomy, Patrick Dempsey, with his hands around the throat of a co-star, had said in reference to Isaiah Washington “I'm not your little n***** like Isaiah,” would there be an uproar in the mainstream media? Would it be a “hard news” item?

It's pretty safe to assume that the answer to both questions is a resounding yes. And few, outside of white supremacist groups, would argue the case should be otherwise.

True, that. I suppose what I was saying before is that while I don't think Washington should have said the word, therapy is, to put it lightly, a bit much.


Redneck Saga

This is interesting, to say the least.


Hedgehogs and Foxes

Here's an interesting idea to mull over. Political philosopher Isaiah Berlin once wrote that there are two kinds of thinkers - hedgehogs and foxes. Hedgehogs have one big idea, foxes have lots of little ideas.

Now, I'd argue that while hedgehogs can make for great philosophers, they make poor leaders. Foxes are far more preferable as leaders than hedgehogs. Some hedgehogs can be great leaders, it's true, but much of the time, their "big idea" is harmful, and they're very reticent to back away from it, no matter how much damage it does, since it basically defines them as thinkers and leaders.

For example, I give you exhibit W: the current president of the USA. W is a hedgehog personified. He displays very little understanding of the world beyond his ideals. He believed that the war in Iraq could be won with this idealism - he does not pay attention to details and facts, because he simply does not care for them. You could see this in his debates with Al Gore and John Kerry. Gore and Kerry, definitely foxes, concentrated on details. W just stuck with a theme. Now, thematic argument is more appealing aesthetically, and since presidential debates are essentially performances, it is easy to see why W came out on top in the mind of the public despite being so thoroughly schooled.

I also present for example W's idol (no, not Jesus), exhibit 666: Ronald Wilson Reagan. (Note: the exhibit number is simply based on the number of letters in each of his names.) 666 was perhaps one of the most harmful presidents in US history. Well, before W, anyway. 666 was a hedgehog all the way, never caring much for details. In true Colbertesque fashion, it was not facts that mattered, but the overriding idea of what he called "freedom" (but what most sane people call "rob the poor to feed the rich.") 666 never deviated from his worldview, even when it proved harmful. The result was a staggering increase in the national debt and deficit, (he's not W's idol for nothing!) which during the next two presidencies, would cost each American $500 a year in interest alone. His 10% per year increase in defence spending, coupled with massive tax cuts... it's not even elementary economics he violated, but simple common sense - don't spend what you don't have! But it was all for the cause of "freedom," so to him, it was a-okay. Sounds familiar somehow...

Contrast that with exhibit NSBBCE (read: not so bad by comparison, eh?) and exhibit Chubbychaser, 666's two immediate successors. I'll be the last person to offer open praise of the current president's father, NSBBCE, but you do have to give him credit - he was not blinded by some idealistic worldview that made him make bad decisions. Oh sure, he invaded a country to protect his buddies' oil, but he had the good sense to not leave that country in a situation where hundreds of people were routinely killed as a matter of everyday life. And he did try his best to fix the damage 666 had done - and he was hung for it by the fanatics who were then beginning to take over his party (oh Newt Gingrich, you miserable bastard...) As for Chubbychaser, he presided over eight years of peace and prosperity, and for that was also viciously and personally and intimately attacked by the same miserable bastard. What these two men have in common, besides being two competent presidents in between two incompetent ones, is that they're both foxes - they didn't concentrate on one big idea, and that allowed them to adjust. They weren't ideologically driven, and to the extent that they tried to implement their agendas, they did so in a way that took into account those important little things called facts and common sense. Basically, W should have called for his daddy's help a long time ago, because daddy is a hell of a lot more competent than he could ever hope to be.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

The Nothing Election

A good piece from James Travers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

When Gay Rights becomes Postmodern Feminism

Well that was quite the hiatus.

Anyway, it's no secret that I devote a good portion of my space on this blog to talking about gay rights, perhaps not surprisingly as it's an issue that directly affects me on a personal level.

As such, this is a story I've been following with some interest. At first I didn't really care; I thought Mr. Washington shouldn't have used the word obviously, but I did not pay it much mind. But as the story continued to appear again and again on gay news sites and then in the mainstream media, I was forced to take notice.

Eventually, it turned into a full-on PC-fest, with Washington making the obligatory rounds with gay groups, going through the motions and promising to be more sensitive in the future, and blah blah blah. It's all a big show, of course. Washington is an actor, and actors market their public image. Essentially, even when they're not on set, they're still acting. Washington's apology was forced and meaningless, much like the apologies of Mel Gibson and Michael Richards after their infamous anti-semitic and racist slurs last year.

I thought that would be the end of it. He'd apologized, done the damage control, and moved on. But, in a chilling sign that the gay rights movement may be dilluting its morally correct position by going down the path of lunatic, post-modern feminism, some crazy things have happened. First I read this, which just blew me away. Make Washington's character gay? That wouldn't make sense within the show's continuity, something of which fans of the show are well aware.

It makes sense in a twisted sort of way. The PC Police want to control reality, so why should they not also want to impose their up-is-down, Orwellian vision of the world on fiction, as well? But to push this to even more absurd lengths, Washington has entered counseling (that's right) in order to understand why he said what he said.

Understand why he said what he said? He called someone a "faggot" in anger. It's not brain surgery, and you don't need $100/hour therapy to figure it out. I've used the word, in jest and in anger. It's only a word, and like all words, is meaningless without context. The important thing is not that he used the word, but whether or not he actually is homophobic, and quite frankly, that's none of our damn business. Leave this poor man alone!

If gay activists want to concentrate on homophobia in the entertainment industry, they may want to turn their attention to why this travesty of a writing decision was undertaken. (Read the story and the comments, they're quite illuminating.) I actually found the calls to retcon Washington's character into a faggot to be kind of ironic, considering that another TV character has so recently been retconned into a breeder.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

He admitted mistakes

George Bush admitted he made mistakes in Iraq. It's a miracle.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I knew I wasn't that clever... :(

What should appear on the Liblogs feed right next to my post? Aww...

Do the Cabinet Shuffle

It's hard to think of a worse choice for Environment minister than John Baird. First of all, this is a man who is very clearly not given to reasoned debate or consensus-building. He's more the "shout at the top of your lungs so as to drown the other side out" type. Not exactly surgical or nuanced in his handling of the issues of the day.

Second, his record speaks for itself. He is one of those "government involvement is always bad" types, not really the best position one can hold if the goal is to actually make any substantive moves forward on the environment. I suspect, as do many others, that Baird was given the portfolio not because he particularly competent or suited to the role, but because he is good on his feet and has an uncanny ability to twist any discussion into a self-rightous tirade about the Liberals. It shows that Harper's main concern on the environment isn't so much damage control of the ecological type, but rather damage control of a more political type. Just what you'd expect from Harper.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The United States Practices Torture

So says the FBI.

``I did observe treatment that was not only aggressive but personally very upsetting,'' one agent wrote, describing seeing a man left in a 100-degree room with no ventilation overnight. ``The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently literally been pulling his own hair out throughout the night.'

That's torture. Leaving a man overnight to bake in an oven is torture. And there are still people who defend the indefensible, and others who deny that the United States tortures prisoners. They call themselves conservatives; I call them sadists.


And another thing...

I can't understand for the life of me why so many conservatives, who frequently attack those who aren't right-wing crazies for being anti-religion, or call the entire left-of-centre atheists etc., are so... unChristian. It never ceases to amaze me how completely the message of Christ seems to be lost on these self-appointed defenders of the faith. Take this for instance. I will grant you that Saddam Hussein was an awful human being, but... I wonder if Jesus would have approved of taunting a man as he was put to death? Hell, I wonder if Jesus would have approved of executing people in general? The point is not that Saddam Hussein did not deserve to be executed; by most standards he probably did. The point is that it is wrong to kill people in cold blood, period.

Incidentally, I wonder who personally signed more death warrants in the period between 1996 and 2000 - the president of Iraq or the born-again governor of Texas? Something to ponder.

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Why are conservatives so obsessed with polygamy?

I think it's a legitimate question, given how many of them complain about it... even though it isn't legal, and most people don't think it should be. Oh, it probably will be legal some day. But that will only happen if and when a majority of people think it should be - in which case, what's wrong with it, anyway?

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Iraq in 2007

What to do? A clear and cogent, if depressing analysis. It's almost unbelievable how bad the situation in Iraq has been allowed to get. I can't understand how anybody can still support George Bush. In a less civil time and place, as the commander-in-chief of the military, he would be required to commit ritual suicide for this rank incompetence.