Sunday, 31 July 2011

First Nations Land Claims

Go read Crazy Bitches R Us: Thoughts on Specific Land Claims.

It's a f**ked-up country we live in when the Contempt Party government can monopolize the news with their scripted "hunt" for alleged war criminals (so why aren't MacKay and Stevie Spiteful on that list then?) yet their ongoing bad faith negotiations with First Nations people and communities are quite absent.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Abortion Is Always an Issue: Part Umpty-Eleven

Ontarians are getting to know Tim Hudak.

Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have cut Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak’s lead to 10 points from 15 points in the past month, a new poll suggests.

Gee. I wonder how that defunding abortion dealie is working for him.

Forum found 56 per cent of Ontarians think women should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy in all circumstances with 35 per cent agreeing in some circumstances. Only eight per cent are outright opposed to abortion.

Hudak once signed a petition calling for an end to government funding for the procedure but has said he will not reopen the divisive debate, although he considers himself “pro-life.”

“The one thing that can kill the Tories is to be caught out on a social issue and there’s nothing like abortion in terms of a social issue,” said [pollster] Bozinoff.

And Hudak still hasn't answered the question: Does he stand behind his stated intention to defund abortion?

Fuck the so-called debate. Answer the question. MSM, do your duty.

h/t: gritchik

ADDED: Ooooo.

ADDED: More oooo. Mallick.

Friday, 29 July 2011

The People's Filibuster: The Aftermath, Part 2

I'm still tired from The People's Filibuster, but I had said I'd blog more about it.

Then I found that Matt Elliott at Ford for Mayor pretty much did it for me. The subtitle sums it up: 'Nothing changed, except maybe everything'.

All participants knew it was totally futile in terms of changing the tiny minds of the Fordophiles.

Matt notes two positive lessons from it. The exercise energized us Left Wing Pinkos. Of the 168 deputations, only one espoused anything close to Ford Nation's idiocy position. (And one or two others, depending on how one parsed their incoherence, may also have supported the Fordists.)

We were WINNING! And looking pretty good doing it. Smart, sane, thoughtful, well-informed people had come out and stayed out to advocate passionately for everything from libraries and bike lanes to dental and mental health.

And not only was Ford Nation notably physically absent. We were drowning them out on the Toobz as well.

As Matt puts it:
This marks twice now where Rob Ford has made a direct appeal to supporters to attend a consultation session, and both times very few in attendance ended up showing themselves as members of the Rob Ford crowd. The defence in social media circles is that Ford Nation represents a “silent majority” of important business types that don’t have time nor the inclination to attend consultations or fill out surveys.

And I guess that’s fair enough — for any government, it’s easier to draw out protestors than it is supporters — but you’d think that with an open process like last night’s it would be reasonable to expect a 5% or so minority of Ford supporters to make an appearance and support his policies. Instead, almost no one showed. Considering that Ford’s electoral win was primarily due to grassroots populism, it seems conspicuous that the mayor can’t even rustle up a half-dozen members of Ford Nation to wave the flag and talk about their continued desire to stop the gravy train.

I'd add one other note: The lefty/progressive city councillors were getting a load of the kind of support they could expect. And the 'centrists' were also learning how upcoming decisions might play out in their wards.

It's those centrists we need to target. I've posted a link to this longish, but very useful post on long-term strategy at the city level before. (It's worth a (re)read in light of last night's events.)

So, who are those centrists? Again, Matt is the go-to guy. He's analysed the votes (not many so far) and collated the results into a PDF rating how Fordish each councillor is.

Someone at Toronto Life turned that data into a handy map.

Anything changed? Dunno.

Something? Maybe.

Still, it's gonna be a long four fucking years.

BONUS: For a sense of what the City Hall Pyjama Party was like last night and early this morning, here are two accounts by people who were there.

Just Oozing Ethical Snake Oil

Go read Alison at Creekside: Ethical Snake Oil.

She also produced an excellent post deconstructing and excoriating Contempt Party government minister Peter Kent's "new and improved" public relations campaign to whitewash the tar sands.

It's time to re-post this lovely spoof.

The People's Filibuster: The Aftermath, Part 1

Here's the source of the hashtag #yellygranny, aka Mary T. Hynes, though you can see she doesn't really yell.

Some think she's mayoral material.

ADDED: Ooops. Natch, she doesn't like the handle.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

The People's Filibuster

Still watching The People's Filibuster*, as Niles styled it.

There are over 300 on the list. About 30 have spoken (they kindly moved people with children and disabled people forward). Score: in favour of service cuts 0; ^NOT in favour 30.

I just calculated that at max speed -- with no questions from councillors -- the earliest I could go on is after 1 a.m. Which is unlikely even if there is a bunch of no-shows.

And I can't imagine Fordzilla going without dinner.

What to do? Stay up? Have a nap? And when to get there?

Advice welcome.

*#peoplesfilibuster is a nice hashtag, yes?

UPDATE: FatFuckFord has just announced dinner break from 6 to 6:45.

UPDATE 2: This is moving faster now. Up to deputant #56. Maybe I should get my butt down there. But then I'd have to give up the Intertoobz and Twitter, having no cell phone, let alone smartphone.

UPDATE 3: Back. Decompressing. More tomorrow.

"Blame the mother" brigade strikes again.

In April 2010, [Raquel] Nelson, her son A.J., and her two other children, got off a bus in metro Atlanta and—with several other passengers—attempted to cross a 5-lane highway to get to her apartment across the way. The nearest crosswalk was nearly a half a mile in either direction. Most anyone would take the shortcut. Standing at the median in the middle, little A.J. reportedly saw someone else jaywalk and ran out into the street to follow. Raquel ran out after him to stop him. But it was too late. Both Raquel and A.J. were hit by a vehicle, and A.J. died in the hospital a few hours later.

The accident was tragic, and Nelson put her life at risk to try to save him, as any mother would. So how is it possible she may serve more time in jail than the driver who hit and killed her son—a man who admitted to having a few beers and some medication that afternoon?

The driver was released in October after serving a six-month sentence, but Raquel Nelson now faces up to 36 months in prison for vehicular homicide
From here.

I've been in US cities where multi-lane highways bisect residential neighbourhoods, without regard or concern for the lives of people who live in those communities. Urban planning favours the all-mighty imperatives of automobiles, their traffic and their operators.

Of course Raquel Nelson is African American. The racist double standard of the US legal system strikes again.

Grand merci to VK on twitter.

Total Waste of Time

Today, I'm going down to City Hall to speak to the Executive Council about proposed cuts to Toronto services. I'm in the middle third of the list of 302 registered speakers.

But really, I don't know why I'm bothering.
Mammoliti said Ford supporters haven't turned out before because they're busy working. He said he'll listen to all the deputants but complained that many will be "the same people, the same faces, that are always down here. I think a lot of them are being paid to be here.”

Man, these ConClowns can really stick to the message, can' they?
Toronto’s mayor has invited every taxpayer to tell him which city services to cut and which to keep, but his brother, Etobicoke councillor Doug Ford, says public input in budget discussions is being set up by unions, while the mayor’s supporters are too busy working to express their views at city hall.

“This is all orchestrated by the unions,” said Doug Ford Tuesday when asked about the opposition voiced by speaker after speaker at committee meetings to review the cost-cutting proposals of a consultant’s report. The service review has produced a list of money-saving options including closing Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, ending subsidies for 2000 daycare spaces and trimming budgets on everything from grass cutting to flower planting.

Meanwhile, Toronto can't be hurting for cash too badly, since FatFuckFord got his $13,362.25 fine for not removing campaign signs waived.

Ah, but the law does not apply to him. Apparently.

Now, this is a fun read. 'The Fords come unravelled'.
After eight months, the Ford administration has finally begun to come apart at the seams. Or at least its two figureheads, Rob and Doug, appear to have. Chris Selley, Jonathan Goldsbie, and Matt Gurney get all emo about the state of municipal politics.

Off to City Hall!

UPDATE: I'm back. They're doing presentations first. Then the 'deps' (as insiders call deputations, I found out) and there are more than 100 people before me. They've reduced speaking time to 3 minutes. Even so and even if lots of people don't show up, it will be hours before it's my turn.

So I came home to get some work done. Or not. Maybe I'll watch this.

Oh, and I saw Officer Bubbles! Back on the beat. Dealing with those dread pinkos.

Now I have more time to look for my real one of these:

UPDATE 2: Now on lunch break until 1:30. Have heard from only 7 deputants. Thinking: Do I really want to do this?

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Don't get all testerical, Mr Police Chief.

The police chief of a small South Carolina town will ask a jury to decide if a woman broke the state's obscenity laws by driving a pickup truck with plastic testicles hanging from the back.

Bonneau Police Chief Franco Fuda ticketed Virginia Tice, 65, in early July at a local convenience store after spying the adornment dangling from her truck.

South Carolina law considers a bumper sticker, decal or device indecent when it describes, in an offensive way as determined by contemporary community standards, "sexual acts, excretory functions, or parts of the human body."
Right. So one would think that Bonneau cops hand those $447. tickets to every truck driver passing through town whose vehicle sports a version of the mudflap below, thus generating thousands of dollars in revenue for that hardscrabble burg.
That would be an incorrect assumption to make, however.

"This is certainly not a staple of my ticket writing in Bonneau," the police chief told Reuters on Wednesday.

From here.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011


She's baaaaack.

Here's the real 'gotcha'

I saw this this morning and thought: 'what a smarmy twerp. I'm going to demand rebuttal space.'

I contacted The Star and was just told I can't even write a letter to the editor under a pseudonym.

Unfortunately, I had already almost finished what I was going to send them. So here it is in all its non-DAMMITy glory. I'm planning on having another go -- complete with linkies -- later.
On Monday, July 25, editors of the online version of The Star saw fit to publish 'The Curse of Gotcha Politics' by Mark Penninga, executive director of the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada and author of the web-page containing information on Tim Hudak’s 2009 position on abortion.

I wondered why this was appearing. Did Mr. Penninga have more information on Mr. Hudak's abortion stance? That would be good because, beyond a pledge not to reopen the abortion debate, Ontario voters do not know if he stands behind his 2009 position.

No, there was no more information on that issue.

Was Mr. Penninga or his Reformed Christian organization misrepresented in The Star and thus needed an opportunity to set things right?

No. Rather, he applauds The Star as the only media outlet to contact him.

So, where's the 'gotcha'? And what's his interest in it?

Amidst much faff about 'our use of media and technology, its dumbing-down impact on public discourse, and the hope of being able to have meaningful societal conversations about sensitive topics like abortion' and 'sensationalist "gotcha" politics', it appears that the gotcha was on him.

And I perpetrated it.

I am the unnamed blogger who 'happened to come across' the information that unleashed what Chris Selley at the National Post called 'online hellfire'. (I am also the target of a snide characterization as a blogger ‘with a chip on his or her shoulder'.)

To clarify, I have been blogging -- under a pseudonym, yes -- on women's rights and politics in general for more than five years. I didn't 'happen' on that information on Hudak's abortion stance -- he's in favour of defunding it, by the way -- I went looking for it.

And found it. Gotcha!

Now, suddenly, Conservatives and anti-abortion promoters are seemingly perplexed by the media and public's interest in this 'two-year-old article from an organization that nobody has heard of'.

Really? Then why did Penninga's organization think it useful for its members to know the position on 'pro-life' issues of the Ontario Conservative leadership candidates during the campaign in 2009?

Are Ontario voters as a whole not entitled to the same information?

I guess not. We are to be satisfied with the tight-lipped, Harper-esque 'we will not reopen the abortion debate' meme and refrain from 'sensationalist' politics.

Tut-tut, says Mr. Penninga. Mere chip-shouldered bloggers and 'Liberal spin-doctors' (that would be Warren Kinsella, who picked up the story from my blog) do not have the 'maturity and grace to understand' a serious issue like abortion. We 'poison the debate' and play 'cheap political games'.

My original question is perfectly legitimate. Would Tim Hudak as premier work to defund abortion? Yes, I know that abortion is a federal matter and he can't recriminalize it (however much his supporters may wish for that).

But health care is the biggest budget item in the province. And if you believe the squawking of the various Chicken Littles at the moment, the financial axe is about to fall on all kinds of things.

Medical services have been defunded in the past. Hospital beds have been closed.

Why not defund abortion? Why not defund certain types of abortion? Why not cut back on the locations it is available? Why not put up barriers to safe, legal abortion in the name of saving money?

Especially if it would garner the support of 'mature' and 'graceful' voters able to understand what this is about?

Mr. Hudak must answer the question. Would he defund abortion?

On a personal note: I'm delighted that a mere blogger, an ordinary citizen, could put the spotlight on this issue. All I did was dig a little. And find something that some would obviously prefer remain cloaked.

ADDED: Link to original post.

Yo! Fetus Fetishists! Breivik Is One of Yours!

Joining the furious back-pedalling from Anders Behring Breivik is LifeShite.

First, they get in the mandatory 'No True Christian/Scotsman' dealie: Not a Christian. Not atall atall.
While the mainstream media attempts to paint Anders Behring Breivik, the terrorist bomber and shooter who killed over 76 people in Oslo last week, as a “fundamentalist Christian,” a 1,500 page document he wrote reveals not only that he did not consider himself a Christian believer, but that he was a mason, held such anti-Christian views as supporting abortion for disabled babies, and that he also hired a prostitute prior to his killing rampage.

Eeeeek! No true Christian would ever hire a prostitute!

Then there's this:
Relevant to pro-life supporters, Breivik says that he supports abortion in cases of rape, and “if the baby has mental or physical disabilities.” (pg 1179)

Man, they had to wade through a lot of crackpottery (as P.Z. Myers styles it) to get to something fetus fetishists could disagree with.

Because even more relevant to 'pro-life' supporters, Breivik is like, totally, absolutely on board with the fetus fetishists.

No contraception. No sex education. No abortion. No education or careers for women.

Yo! 'Prolifers'! He's one of yours. Deal with it.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Who is Franke James ...

and why is the Contempt Party government trying to shut down her exhibition currently scheduled to travel through major cities in Europe?

From here:
The Canadian Government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party, is actively working to shut down my solo European art exhibition, which is set to tour 20 cities in Europe. The government’s interference includes phoning the corporate sponsor, and persuading them to cancel their $75,000 sponsorship.

Canadian officials have also bullied the NGO, Nektarina Non Profit, and warned them repeatedly to cancel the exhibition because they are opposed to “Franke James.” They are doing everything in their power to make sure my show is killed. An employee with Amnesty International in Croatia reacted to the news by saying, “This is a sad day for Canadian democracy.”
A long time before he became the PM with 39% of the votes cast in the last federal election, SHithead aka Stevie Spiteful said to Susan Crean, the co-author of 'Two Nations' with Quebec activist/sociologist Marcel Rioux: "You should not have been allowed to write that book."

Take a Ride on the Gravy Train

Torontonians! Rob Ford wants to hear what you have to say.

Of course, it will all be a MASSIVE waste of time if the boneheads running City Hall treat actual human beings as they did its own online consultation.
Almost 13,000 residents who responded at public information sessions or online were asked to rank five funding strategies for the city. Freezing taxes and fees, even if it meant lowering service levels, was ranked as the last option, a fact many left-leaning councillors were quick to seize on as the city prepares to mull cuts.

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong dismissed the findings.

“It’s not statistically valid, those people self-selected, they decided to fill that form out as opposed to if you were to take a representative sample and have a pollster do it,” he said.

Come out to Rob Ford's executive committee meeting on Thursday July 28, 2011 at 9:30 am, Committee Room 1, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West.

Get added to the deputation list by emailing or registering with the city by phone 416-392-6627.

I phoned about an hour ago and the nice woman told me that there were more than 90 people already registered.

Here's what Ford said:
“I encourage people to come to the executive committee next Thursday,” he said during an interview on CP24. “Everyone has five minutes to talk to me personally at our executive committee. I invite the whole city. I don’t care if we have to sit there for three days. I don’t want to have people ... they have five minutes to tell me what business do you think we should be in. And it’s next Thursday at 9:30 at city hall. Come and let me know what you think – the average taxpayer out there – what are we doing right, what are we doing wrong. I want to hear from the people and I encourage them to come. “

Hm. Let's do the math for him, because he's clearly incapable.

90 people times 5 minutes = 450 minutes or 7.5 hours

We need just 180 more people to fill up the three days.

Let's do it!

Image source

Is This Thing On?

As a wandering commentor and grateful reader of informative sites showing the progressive side of Canada, I'd like to thank the DJ! crew for allowing me to sit on the team bench and yell encouragement to the big hitters.

I personally consider blogs to be heirs of the pamphleteers of previous centuries, a mix of passionate opinion and underheard intellect vying with sheer whackadoodle bravado for readers, and in the process, setting the drinkeries abuzz with argument, mockery and excitement. Perhaps, as in those times, they're even being monitored by the State as radicals.

I understand some people on the bleeding edge of the internets are debating whether blogs are becoming staledated when there is the immediacy of Twitter and other hotshot communications delivery methods now. Speaking as a less connected Canadian, I simply don't have timely access or visual acuity to keep on top of those immediate forms while I am on the move during the day. Some people can be brilliant and succinct off the top of their heads given 140 characters. Most of us? Me? 140 characters? I appreciate the chance to sit down and absorb the work of a number of interesting opinions and the references they offer.

Whether I can be an interesting opinion is a good question, one others will have to answer. DJ! has kindly given me keys to the printing room and I am happy to be one of the ink-stained wretches under its banner, daring the greatest truth and power of the internet, 'verba volant, scripta manent'. Words fly away but writing remains.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Surprise, Surprise . . .

P.Z. Myers has a quick look at the manifesto attributed to Anders Behring Breivik and finds it wanting (to say the least) in sanity.

DAMMIT JANET! readers will probably not be surprised that a man who could hate so comprehensively includes women in his plans.

Here's P.Z. with a quote from the document.
Oh, and one more thing I stumbled across (I have not read this 1500 page mess, obviously! I jumped through it and every page I leapt to contained outrageous crackpottery). He identifies three main enemies of Western civilization: Islam, Marxism, and feminism. But don't you worry about feminism! He has a plan to cure it!
1. Limit the distribution of birth-control pills (contraceptive pills): Discourage the use of and prevent liberal distribution of contraceptive pills or equivalent prevention methods. The goal should be to make it considerably more difficult to obtain. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points but would degrade women's rights.

2. Reform sex education: Reform the current sex education in our school institutions. This may involve limiting it or at least delaying sex education to a later age and discourage casual sex. Sex should only be encouraged within the boundaries of marriage. This alone should increase the fertility rate by 0,1 points.

3. Making abortion illegal: A re-introduction of the ban on abortion should result in an increased fertility rate of approximately 0,1-0,2 points but would strip women of basic rights.

4. Women and education: Discourage women in general to strive for full time careers. This will involve certain sexist and discriminating policies but should increase the fertility rate by up to 0,1-0,2 points.

Women should not be encouraged by society/media to take anything above a bachelor's degree but should not be prevented from taking a master or PhD. Males on the other hand should obviously continue to be encouraged to take higher education - bachelor, master and PhD.

It's all about fertility, ladies, and if only we keep you ignorant and trapped in the home, you'll start pooping out babies for us. Isn't that sweet?

(Note to P.Z.: It's always about fertility and control.)

Presumably these policies would NOT apply to the dusky women, just the 'preferred' women.

I doubt that exemption would bode anything good though.

ADDED: Michelle Goldberg:
Rarely has the connection between sexual anxiety and right-wing nationalism been made quite so clear. Indeed, Breivik’s hatred of women rivals his hatred of Islam, and is intimately linked to it. Some reports have suggested that during his rampage on Utoya, he targeted the most beautiful girl first. This was about sex even more than religion.

Go read the whole thing.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Hot . . . and NOT

It is very hot here, so I was thinking how nice this would be.

Then I remembered seeing this -- the world's tackiest sculpture.

Read about the 'artist' here.

Poor Marilyn. Still -- and forever -- a victim of patriarchy, unlike others.

Abstinence is "the best form of -- uh --"

Gov. Rick Perry confronted with statistics on increased teen pregnancy rates in Texas.
During an October 15, 2010 televised interview with Texas Tribune reporter Evan Smith, Perry's response was to reaffirm that "abstinence works." The audience laughed and Smith pointed out the state's abysmal teen pregnancy rate. "It works," insisted Perry. "Maybe it's the way it's being taught, or the way it's being applied out there, but the fact of the matter is it is the best form of -- uh -- to teach our children." Smith asked for a statistic to suggest it works [...]
From here.

Mawkishness on the March

When did it begin? Apparently in 1702. 'Mawkish' comes from 'mawke' meaning maggot and first meant 'sick', then 'bad tasting'. In 1702, it had its first recorded figurative use meaning 'sickly sentimental'.

But it took the mass media to really get it rolling as a cultural phenom.

Personally, it started for me with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Shocking, of course. Scary, yes. But something for strangers to cry about? Huh?

Mawkishnes's next grand display, I suppose, was the murder of John Lennon. Again, shocking. Scary, not so much. But not a case for tears.

Mawkishness really bloomed (sorry) with the death of Princess Diana (emphasis mine).
Members of the public were invited to sign a book of condolence at St James Palace. Throughout the night, members of the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and the Salvation Army combined to provide support for people queuing along the Mall. More than one million bouquets were left at her London home, Kensington Palace, while at her family's estate of Althorp the public was asked to stop bringing flowers, as the volume of people and flowers in the surrounding roads was said to be causing a threat to public safety.

By 10 September, the pile of flowers outside Kensington Gardens was 1.5 metres deep in places and the bottom layer had started to compost. The people were quiet, waiting patiently in line to sign the book and leave their gifts. There were a few minor incidents. Fabio Piras, a Sardinian tourist, was given a one-week prison sentence on 10 September for having taken a teddy bear from the pile. When the sentence was later reduced to a £100 fine, Piras was punched in the face by a member of the public when he left the court. The next day, Maria Rigociova, a 54-year-old secondary school teacher, and Agnesa Sihelska, a 50-year-old communications technician, were each given a 28-day prison sentence for having taken eleven teddy bears and a number of flowers from the pile outside St. James' Palace. This too was later reduced to a fine (of £200 each) after they had spent two nights in prison.

OK, flowers are traditional symbols of sympathy. But fucking teddy bears??!
Some criticised the reaction to Diana's death at the time as being "hysterical" and "irrational". As early as 1998 philosopher Anthony O'Hear identified the mourning as a defining point in the "sentimentalisation of Britain", a media-fuelled phenomenon where image and reality become blurred. These criticisms that were repeated on the 10th anniversary, where journalist Jonathan Freedland expressed the opinion that "It has become an embarrassing memory, like a mawkish, self-pitying teenage entry in a diary,... we cringe to think about it." In 2010, Theodore Dalrymple wrote "sentimentality, both spontaneous and generated by the exaggerated attention of the media, that was necessary to turn the death of the princess into an event of such magnitude thus served a political purpose, one that was inherently dishonest in a way that parallels the dishonesty that lies behind much sentimentality itself".

Some saw it as a cause for bleeding heart liberals to hang their angst on.
Some cultural analysts disagreed. Sociologist Deborah Steinberg pointed out that many Britons associated Diana not with the Royal Family but with social change and a more liberal society: "I don't think it was hysteria, the loss of a public figure can be a touchstone for other issues."

Ah, but then there was 9/11 and mawkishness became manly for hawks, too.

So, now mawkishness is for everyone and any sort of sad or shocking event. (Oooh, look at the company I'm keeping in that piece.)

And, of course, a certain Faux News personality lowered raised mawkishness to a (weird and fake) art form. (Bonus tracks: Five Great Moments in Glenn Beck Crying on Air.)

More recently, the Right Wing Noise Machine went into overdrive over the so-called Ground-Zero Mosque.

And I could go on and on with examples of other professional and semi-professional weepers, but you get the point.

Now technological advance has made mawkishness viral. Witness the virtual mound of flowers and teddy bears.

Yes. I'm a bad person.

ADDED: Ooh, am I prescient or what? 'Mawkishness' is now Word of the Day.

Image source

Stockwell Day on the tragic shootings in Norway

As usual, Alison at Creekside: Stockwell Day on the tragic shootings in Norway hits the mark with her rigorous documentation of Contempt Party idiots.

And as DrDawg observes, *awkward*...

Friday, 22 July 2011

State wildlife officer and registered nurse ...

There is a dearth of heroes these days. My co-blogger wrote about the Cons' testerical and shrieeky attempt to spin a StatsCan release about decreased crime reporting to their advantage.

Contempt Party senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu claimed last year that "those stats are being manipulated" but yesterday he backpedaled furiously when Radio-Canada asked exactly what he meant by that declaration.

It surprises me that, given what happened in Toronto during the G20, no one has suggested that people don't trust the police.

As well, there are more and more cases of cops' violence and criminal actions; reported incidents of the cops breaking laws, bullying people and disregarding the rights of complainants and alleged criminals have been caught on tape.

When their conduct is investigated, cops are ALWAYS exonerated.

So why report crime and get re-victimized by the police?

Thus it warms the heart and raises the spirit to hear about Shelley Hammonds, a state wildlife officer and registered nurse in Tennessee who spent three weeks tracking a starving black bear with a jar stuck on its head.
On June 28 [...] a utilities worker spotted it near the city of Newport water treatment plant. The bear had apparently been foraging in garbage.

Through days and weeks of sightings and near misses, Hammonds tried to capture the bear as temperatures hovered in the mid-30s each day.

“I honestly don't know how any creature on Earth could live through that kind of heat and dehydration, surviving on its own breath,” Hammonds said. “When you see an animal with such an incredible will to survive, you really want to help it.”

[...]Their paths crossed near Interstate 40 and she finally scored a direct hit with a tranquilizer dart. The bear eventually lay down in the parking lot of C&C Pawn Shop in Newport. Hammonds immediately hooked the bear up to an intravenous drip.

From 200 pounds, it was down to 115, she estimated.
One last word on police impunity. What does it take for a cop to lose his job? This, apparently.

Only in L.A. you say? Pity.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Stupid on Crime, Part Umpty-Two

Here's the thing about crime stats. You can squeal and lie and dismiss all you want. One stat does NOT lie. The homicide rate.
Canada’s crime rate fell again last year and is now at its lowest level in almost 40 years.

Crimes reported to police dropped 5 per cent in 2010. The decline spanned a wide range of offences, including the homicide rate, which fell by 10 per cent to a level not seen since 1966.

“Homicide is one of the few types of violent crime that almost invariably comes to the attention of police and, as such, is generally recognized as a country’s barometer of violence,” Statistics Canada said in a report released Thursday.

In addition, an index measuring the severity of crimes fell 6 per cent from 2009, reaching its lowest point since it was introduced in 1998.

The national crime rate, which has been falling steadily for the past 20 years, is now at its lowest level since 1973, Statscan said.

Because, unlike sexual assault or theft under/over or other crimes, which may be differently defined or reported, a homicide pretty well entails a dead person and dead people are hard to ignore or redefine.

There is much more uniform reporting of murder stats across jurisdictions, which is why they're preferred for international comparisons.

Here's the StatsCan report. Just about every sort of crime -- including youth crime -- is down markedly.

So what did the Stooopid on Crime Cons have to say? Here's Justice spokesthingy:
"We don't use these statistics as an excuse not to get tough on criminals," said spokeswoman Pamela Stephens.


But this report is throwing a spaniard into ConCrime plans:
"From the government's perspective, crime going down is probably an embarrassment," said Anthony Doob, a criminologist at the University of Toronto. "For the rest of us, it's probably a nice thing to have less crime in our community."

Doob said crime rates and punishment policy are not linked.

"The one thing we know with any kind of certainty is that (a falling crime rate) doesn't have much to do with policies related to punishment," said Doob. "Sending more people to prison may reduce the likelihood that they're committing offences while they're in prison but, if anything, it increases the likelihood that they'll commit offences after they've been released."

Why can' we have nice, productive, progressive evidence-based policies? Why, when we know the facts, know what works and what doesn't, do we ignore all that and behave stupidly? Why do we let stupid people run things?

Of all the lying, fear-mongering, venality, and just plain meanness on the civic stage at the moment, what most distresses me is the WILLFUL IGNORANCE.

We need to make courage politically desirable. Not only tell the truth, but act on it.


And a smoking gun!
The Irish are broadly lauding this week's thunderbolt from Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who denounced the Vatican's role in the past 17 years of abuse scandals. He accused the Holy See of downplaying "the rape and torture of children" and hiding behind its status as a sovereign state with its own secrecy-obsessed canon laws.

Astonished cabbies pulled off the road to watch the unprecedented speech on their smartphones. Victims of clerical sexual abuse, who have spent two decades trying to be heard and believed, cheered a day they thought would never come.

Watch and cheer with them.

The latest investigation, into the County Cork diocese of Cloyne, was published last week. It found that officials there were still shielding suspected pedophiles from the law until 2008.

That's 12 years after the Irish church unveiled a new policy requiring the mandatory reporting of all suspected crimes to police. And seven years after Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and head of the Vatican's powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ordered bishops worldwide to report all abuse cases to him, too.

However, the Cloyne report highlighted a 1997 letter from the Vatican to Irish bishops warning them that their new crime-reporting policy undermined canon law and had not won the Holy See's approval. For the first time, an Irish fact-finding inquiry found the Vatican culpable in promoting the culture of cover-up.

Shocking, innit?

Cue Tim Minchin! (EXTREMELY NSFW)

Contemptuous Cuts

Funny priorities those Cons have.

Over at Jason Kenney's ministry For Keeping Heathens And Scary Dusky-Skinned Folks Out Of Canada, approximately 1,000,000 applications for residency are stuck in backlog limbo. But MinJKenney is queening around the country, claiming the backlog was caused by the Liberals - or implicitely, civil servants working inefficiently under Lib government, but who are now up to speed in spite of staff cuts because the Cons are better taskmasters.

Thus Diane Finley follows suit, using her ministry to slash programs that benefit Dusky-Skinned Folks In Canada Who Aren't Dead Yet, also known as Aboriginal and First Nations citizens.
[...] Human Resources and Skills Development [has cut] $490,000 [in funding] to Wapikoni Mobile.

Over the past seven years, this non-profit organization has included the participation of over 2,000 aboriginal youth in 19 communities in Quebec and has helped them to produce over 600 films and musical productions. These productions have been seen all over the world and the producers have been awarded 40 national and international awards for their work.
From here.

So far nothing has appeared in the press or media in the rest of Canada. Le Devoir has been on the story and Radio-Canada has interviewed Manon Barbeau, the force behind this brilliant and successful program.
For the last eight years, an exceptional and pioneering media experience has given new means of expression and a sense of hope to aboriginal youth on reserves in Quebec.

The Wapikonimobile is a mobile video production unit – or rather three of them – travelling from community to community, providing video training and supervising the making of short films. For youngsters confronted with substance abuse, an epidemic of suicides and an almost complete lack of job prospects, this was an extraordinary opportunity, and they took advantage of it. Some 2000 of them learned production skills, and made some 450 films expressing their own realities. Some of those films had real cinematic qualities and were shown in festivals here and abroad.

But now, the federal Department of Human Resources has cancelled its half-million dollar grant, about half of the Wapikonimobile’s total budget– at a time when the production units should already have been on the road. Young people in numerous communities who have been looking forward to this experience for a whole year now find themselves without anything to do for the summer and without the means for expressing themselves. For what reason? Because, according to the minister, other projects offer better prospects for creating jobs and teaching skills.

Quebec’s excellent daily Le Devoir, which broke the Wapikonimobile story yesterday, has another story today (July 19th) revealing that the arts and the community and aboriginal sectors are hard hit by other little publicized Human Resources cutbacks as well. This is surely a sign of where things are going under the majority conservative government.

Write to Contempt Party Minister Diane Finley. Keep it polite. Be supportive of the program. Explain why you want your tax money to support Wapikoni Mobile and ^NOT the distribution of bibles to schools on reserves.

Oh. Wait. Perhaps you shouldn't mention that last bit. It may not be strategic.

Grand merci to Karyn who located source material in English.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Yes, Dan, Abortion Is Always an Issue

Yesterday on Twitter, Dan Gardner sniped about the 'non-issue' of abortion in the upcoming provincial election.

Warren Kinsella sniped back that women might not agree on that designation.

As we've said here many many times, women's reproductive rights are ALWAYS negotiable.

And as I keep saying, just look south to the insane War on Women being waged as the USian economy teeters towards the edge.

So. Yeah, Dan. Abortion is always an issue because our rights were so hard won and so susceptible to idle musings by weaselly wannabee pols.

Speaking of which, Tim Hudork has recovered his memory.
In Ottawa to announce a new anti-crime initiative, Hudak clarified comments he made Monday on an abortion pledge he "may have" signed. He told reporters he did sign the pledge, but stressed the issue would not become part of the government agenda if he wins the Oct. 6 election.

"It was a petition that came from my church in my riding back in 1998 that I brought forward as an individual member," Hudak said.

My new best pals, Ken Gray and Warren Kinsella, aren't buying the 'private citizen' spin the Con-Men are trying.

To quote WK: 'Well, he isn’t a private citizen. He’s someone who has a shot at becoming the most powerful lawmaker in the province. So, when he says he’ll stop funding abortion, it now means something.'

Something that should scare the hell out of Ontario women and their friends and allies.

One more WK link. You gotta go here to see the photo a reader sent him.

“I was always attracted to older men”...

This quote is brought to you by that paragon of journalistic integrity: SunMedia aka Sun Infotainment.

That much-vaunted integrity was on display when David Akin deign to step down from the heights of his high horse to rub elbows with hoi polloi - figuratively at least - and to defend his readers' right to view pictures of an accidentally exposed royal buttock.

In keeping with such rigorous standards of hard news reporting, the SunMedia hack who covered the trial of Bartley Sagmoen supplied the verbal equivalent of the porn industry's *money shot*.

A 15 year old adolescent girl allegedly declares “I was always attracted to older men”; ipso facto some girls are *naturally* inclined to feel libidinous urges toward grandfather figures. That would certainly be a self-fulfilling belief among pedophiles and SunMedia does appear eager to validate its readers' pathologies.

When a teenager announces the existence of a long-held interest in sports for example, one can safely assume evidence of family support, coaching, participation in events and so on.

What *cultural* environment and which institutions would foster the development of yearnings for the sexual attention of older men, now that the Vatican Taliban has stopped protecting clergy who are sexual predators?

I offer this observation. Beauty pageants that require female children to exhibit themselves as creepy parodies of Vegas showgirls might possibly provide good training ground in that regard.

UPDATE - I removed the embedded video. Strangely enough, the adverts for the Ontario govt played fine though the ABC report about Eden Wood didn't. Click here to view it.

There appears to be a number of such events in the US; The Learning Channel has dedicated itself to producing a series that covers this phenomenon. Hard-hitting journalism and serious analysis? Nope, just sugar and spice and all things nice.

Fortunately, it seems Australians are not eager to deprive their daughters of their childhood and to deliver them as raw material to mold and shape into budding pedophile bait.

You can imagine the howls of outrage from the owners of kiddy pageant franchises who are being denied their right to exploit girls, to train them in the art of being valuable sexual commodities and to get rich doing it. Greed just doesn't get ANY respect these days.

Unless one might happen to be Rupert Murdoch, of course.

Grand merci to JB and JCP for source material.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

'Journalism' FAIL!

Why am I not getting paid when journamammals like this jackass presumably do get paid to get it wrong.
Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak is following in the path of his federal counterpart Stephen Harper and staying out of the abortion debate.

Last week, the Association for Reformed Political Action, a national non-profit Christian organization, posted text from a 2009 email written by a Hudak leadership campaign staffer that stated, "(Hudak) is pro-life and has signed petitions calling for abortion defunding and conscience legislation."

Hudak, later questioned by reporters at a press conference at Queen's Park, said he "may have" signed petitions in his riding calling to end abortion funding in the past, but would follow Harper's lead and leave the issue alone if elected Oct. 6.

Cripes. The link in that goes to this page at Association for Reformed Political Action, where right at the tippy top of the page under 'Clarification: Hudak story' it says:
An old ARPA article from 2009 has been getting a lot of attention in Ontario over the past few days in light of comments about Tim Hudak and whether he is pro-life. In light of that, we checked back through our old emails from two years ago to verify what was written. The content was correct, but it should have clarifified that the email came from Hudak's campaign team at that time, not Hudak himself.

Old. Story. From PC leadership campaign. In 2009.

Not. Last. Week.

What did happen last week is DJ! found said ARPA article and blogged it. Kinsella picked it up and the rest, as they say, is history.

Andy Radia is the useless goof's name.

Misogynists on Parade

Just how many misogynist fetus fetishists are being fielded by Tim Hudork's PC party?

Today, Kinsella serves up some 'choice' quotes from another one, Ottawa Citizen columnist Randall Denley, who is running in Ottawa West - Nepean.

He's been a columnist for quite a while, so there is no shortage of material.

My fave:
“Canadian women have been able to end the lives of their unborn children simply for reasons of convenience and with no greater social approbation than one would face for cancelling an inconvenient dinner reservation.” (December 1, 1996)

He is considered to be a 'star' candidate. The women of Ottawa West - Nepean need to know what he thinks of them.

The same paper today has a zinger by Kenneth Gray titled 'Hudak's Gutless Stand On Abortion'.

In related news, SUZY ALLCAPS isn't impressed with Hudork either. She's sticking with the Family Coalition Party.

Don't you hate it when shameless, gutless pandering doesn't even snare the nutbar vote?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Hudak Weasels

Well, at least they tried to get an answer out of him.
Hudak won't address abortion beliefs

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak appears to be shying away from his previous anti-abortion position.

When he was running for the PC leadership in 2009, Hudak told the Association for Reformed Political Action he is pro-life and had signed petitions calling for the defunding of abortions.

Hudak said Monday he "may have" signed a petition in that regard, but quickly added he has no intention of re-opening the abortion debate if the Tories win the Oct. 6 Ontario election.

However, the Opposition Leader refused to say if he still opposes abortion.

When questioned by reporters, Hudak said only that he would follow Prime Minister Stephen Harper's lead and leave the abortion issue alone.

The Campaign Life Coalition, an anti-abortion group, says Hudak was strongly opposed to abortion when he first ran for provincial office in 1995, but has since not responded to any of their questionnaires.

Other media on it: Toronto Sun, CTV, and LifeShite.

Are you happy with this? I'm not.

ADDED: The Star. And Kinsella exhorts bloggers and tweeps to keep up the pressure.

ADDED: National Pest.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Yo! MSM! Abortion Is an Election Issue


First, DJ! had the story about Tim Hudak's position on abortion. Then Warren Kinsella picked it up.

Now, a seemingly libertarian blogger is running with it.
In the last few days, the blogosphere and twitter have uncovered statements by Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP Tim Hudak concerning abortion and the role of the government with respect to abortion. The uncharacteristically unequivocal admissions about his convictions on the abortion issue now make one thing shockingly clear: the fact that Hudak is leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives makes abortion an Ontario election issue. Ontario voters would be well advised to read on.

He quotes from Hudak's statement to Campaign Life Coalition (CLC). But guess what? It's been disappeared from the CLC site.
That quotation appeared on the CLC website as recently as July 4, 2011. A cached version of it appears here. It is as though the twittering of the link to that page and quotation has led to a decision to hide the past: the page now says “The MP was not found”. The truth, apparently, can be rather inconvenient.
. . .
The release of Tim Hudak’s position on abortion has clearly led to a panic in the Progressive Conservative camp. Rightly worried that the electorate might learn who Tim Hudak is, they have begun filling the comments sections of blogs with the usual sorts of excuses.

No such comments here, but see Kinsella's link above for examples.

The blogger concludes:
The sheer volume of comments posted by Progressive Conservatives in defence of Tim Hudak make another thing clear: they don’t want the media touching this issue. That, alone, should tell the media just how important it is for them to ensure that Hudak states his position clearly, and currently. Specifically, it is now incumbent on the media to ask Mr. Hudak to state whether or not he has changed his views on abortion and the role of government, since he made them during his campaigns for office and leadership.

We agree.

Yo! MSM! Time to ask some inconvenient questions of Mr. Hudak.

ADDED July 18: Big City Lib has more. It was his staff who wrote the defunding abortion statement. Or, as BCL puts it, Not Helping. Question remains: does he stand by it? Would he defund abortion?

Saturday, 16 July 2011


My sweetie was out for drinks with some people from work last night. Young, not very political people, but lard knows he tries.

So, he dropped the fact that Hudak would defund abortion into the convo.

Of the four young women present, two didn't hear, didn't understand, or didn't react. The other two, however, goggled. Too young to remember the battles here in Canada and not paying attention to the War on Women going on in the Excited States, they were shocked at the very notion.

It had never crossed their minds that such a thing could happen.

And there you have it, fans of human rights. This is what we need to be pointing out to our young friends and acquaintances. Early and often.

Hudak has to lose.

ADDED July 17: Brian Lilley helps spread the news. Um, like, Brian, you weren't going to vote Conservative until you read that?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Tim Hudak Would Defund Abortion

Back here we asked whether Tim (The Doofus) Hudak is a fetus fetishist.

A: A mealy-mouthed maybe/sorta/but don't quote me.

Went looking and found something rather more substantial from a gang calling themselves Reformed Christians (bold mine).
In an email to an ARPA [Association for Reformed Political Action] Contact, Hudak made it clear that he is pro-life and has signed petitions calling for abortion defunding and conscience legislation. The same email mentioned that he strongly agrees with conscience protection for health care workers. Added to this he has recently made it clear that the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal should be scrapped.

Ah yes, when the cowardly fetus fetishists won't or can't make abortion illegal, they simply defund it. Like they're doing so effectively in the Excited States.

So, while as previously reported, the more rabid fetus fetishists aren't that keen on him, this bit about defunding abortion needs to be more widely known. Doncha think?

I am no-way, no-how a Liberal. But if the goddess has any mercy atall atall, she'll spare Torontonians from the triple whammy of Harper/Hudak/Ford.

This gang deserves a look -- and maybe some support.

ADDED: Oh, gee, look who reads DAMMIT JANET! Warren Kinsella. h/t is sure a thing of the past, innit?

ADDED: Now with h/t. Thanks, Warren.

ADDED: My goodness, this seems to be growing legs. Good.

ADDED: I can't comment at Kinsella's. (Tried twice. Don't have the sekrit decoder ring?) I wanted to say that this is an entirely legit question. He made that statement in 2009. As premier *shudder* he'd be responsible for health care and its costs. Where better to start 'controlling' costs than by defunding abortion?

ADDED: Big City Lib has a question.

ADDED JULY 16/11: Kinsella still on it.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Blowing bubbles and the maximum wage

We are living in a world where a number of ongoing systemic crises are being ignored because many people---a large and vocal minority---believe that they will never be touched by the results of these crises. Most of these people are totally wrong about this. There are only a few of them who have any hope of evading negative outcomes. Because it is so, whether they genuinely believe that there are no crises or are playing a cynical game is another matter, but they have made use of battles over race, gender, immigration, abortion, and so on in order to distract from their disproportionate control over the world, and the increasing wealth transfer and global robbery that now ensues openly.

That wealth transfer is the direct result of blowing bubbles, which is enabled by wealth transfer, which enables the blowing of more bubbles.

It turns out that we don't just need a minimum wage. We need a maximum wage (written for a US context but works well almost everywhere):
They glory in income inequality and wish it to expand instead of contract. Enough of that. They are destroyers of the American Dream.

But people who seek to shrink income inequality — to insure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all and not just some — must now focus as much on the maximum wage as the minimum wage.

So, be it proposed:

“That any enterprise receiving taxpayer funds shall not compensate that enterprise’s highest paid person in an amount greater than twenty-five times what the lowest compensated person receives.”

Hear hear. But I have one minor complaint. I actually think it should apply to all enterprises, not merely ones that take taxpayer funds. Although the most odious of them do, in fact, take taxpayer funds, in the USA if not also in Canada. Actually, all enterprises benefit from our collective investments: in our roads, in our sewer systems, ...

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Michele Bachmann and Praying Away the Gay

Woohoo! The MSM has picked up the story of Michele Bachmann's hub Marcus's Pray Away the Gay biz, with undercover footage proving that the Bachmanns are telling porky pies.

And. Also. She's a great big whiney titty-baby. Call the cops! Her house was egged! Twice!

And that Marriage Vow she signed with the paragraph on how Jim (Crow) Dandy Great slavery was for black families? Well, apparently she did ^NOT read that bit.

Which is now beside the point as the wingnuts who issued it have removed the offending bit.

Mother Jones is staying on it, though. They're compiling The Michele Bachmann Guide to Slavery.

But, hey, not to worry. There's no fucking way she can be elected, right? Bill Maher is ^NOT complacent.

In related Canadian news, the New Democratic Party has heeded the campaign started by our pal Mark at Slap Upside The Head to remove charitable status from bogus Pray Away the Gay groups.

Good on ya, Mark, and all the others who got involved in the Slap into Action campaign!

ADDED: MoJo still on it.

Image source

Saturday, 9 July 2011


Hi folks. I told you this was not a great time in my life to join another blog, so I haven't been around much, but I absolutely have to point y'all to this excellent article by now ex-CTV Québec City reporter Kai Nagata on why he quit and what he wants to do with his life.

Consider Fox News. What the Murdoch model demonstrated was that facts and truth could be replaced by ideology, with viewership and revenue going up. Simply put, you can tell less truth and make more money. When you have to balance the interests of your shareholders against the interests of the viewers you supposedly serve, the firewall between the boardroom and the newsroom becomes a very important bulwark indeed.


Take newsroom aesthetics as an example. I admit felt a profound discomfort working in an industry that so casually sexualizes its workforce. Every hiring decision is scrutinized using a skewed, unspoken ratio of talent to attractiveness, where attractiveness often compensates for a glaring lack of other qualifications. The insecurity, self doubt, and body-image issues endured by otherwise confident, intelligent journalists would break your heart. And clearly there’s a double standard, a split along gender lines.


Jon Stewart talks about a “right-wing narrative of victimization,” and what it has accomplished in Canada is the near-paralysis of progressive voices in broadcasting. In the States, even Fox News anchor Chris Wallace admitted there is an adversarial struggle afoot – that, in his view, networks like NBC have a “liberal” bias and Fox is there to tell “the other side of the story.” Well, Canada now has its Fox News. Krista Erickson, Brian Lilley, and Ezra Levant each do a wonderful send-up of the TV anchor character. The stodgy, neutral, unbiased broadcaster trope is played for jokes before the Sun News team gleefully rips into its targets. But Canada has no Jon Stewart to unravel their ideology and act as a counterweight. Our satirists are toothless and boring, with the notable exception of Jean-René Dufort.


Right now, there’s a war going on against science in Canada. In order to satisfy a small but powerful political base, the PMO is engaged in a not-so-clandestine operation to dismantle and silence the many credible opponents to the Harper doctrine. Why kill the census? Literally in order to make decisions in the dark, without the relevant data. Hence the prisons. Why de-fund scientific research?


I thought if I paid my dues and worked my way up through the ranks, I could maybe reach a position of enough influence and credibility that I could say what I truly feel. I’ve realized there’s no time to wait.

I have to resist the temptation to quote the entire thing. And I relate to it both politically and personally. I've made a similar choice recently and am in the process of tearing down a life I could mostly have kept in some manner if I wanted to, although I haven't been nearly as bold or as drastic as Nagata in going about it, and I'm probably a lot more likely to land on my feet. And Nagata's critique is applicable well beyond just journalism.

(h/t Warren Kinsella)

Friday, 8 July 2011

Slavery Bad. No. Slavery Good. Wait. I'm Confused.

In the Excited States, they really like to punch those hot buttons, but really you gotta hand it to the odious Tea Baggers for rolling so many of them into one gigantic nookular flustercluck.

Again, today, we present the malignant confluence of racism, abortion, and homophobia.

Fetus fetishists have used race to present the case for fetal 'personhood' and to assert that the abortion 'industry' is perpetrating a racist genocide on duskier hued USians.

They have a history of such shenanigans.
For example, in 1976, journalist William F. Buckley wrote, “One hundred years from now Americans will look back in horror at our abortion clinics, even as we look back now in horror at the slave markets.” That same year, Dr. Jack Willke, founder of the National Right to Life Committee, compared Roe v. Wade to the 1857 decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford in his book Slavery and Abortion: History Repeats. This argument continues to resurface even as recently as January of this year, when Rick Santorum argued on Fox News that Roe denies fetuses “personhood” the same way Dred Scott denied African Americans “personhood.”

But Ms. Magazine goes on to point out that they have it bassackwards.
The slavery analogy makes much more sense as an argument for choice, not against it. Slavery is about losing one’s freedom and personal autonomy over one’s body and life. As Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, so eloquently put it: “No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body. No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother.”

In addition, laws prohibiting or restricting access to abortion treat women as chattel, enslaving them physically by controlling their bodies and ideologically by subjecting them to the tyranny of an imposed morality.
. . .
We must turn the anti-abortion movement’s use of the slavery analogy on its head. Let’s remind the world that even though we may never agree about the personhood or rights of the “unborn,” the personhood and rights of living women are indisputable.

OK, got that? Slavery bad. Abortion = slavery of fetuses. Or something.

But wait. No. Slavery good.

Recently, there was the spectacle of the Fetus Fetishist Pledge to be signed by all ReThuglican presidential candidates.

Now, there's a new one: The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY, also to be signed by ReThug hopefuls (link to PDF of whole nauseating thing there).

A quote from the document:
Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

Take your time blinking at that.

Now to commentary from Jack & Jill Politics, which bills itself as 'A black bourgeoisie perspective on U.S. politics':
Given that families were broken up regularly for sales during slavery and that rape by masters was pretty common, this could not be more offensive. I mean, putting aside the statistics on this, which are likely off-base, I could not be more angry. When will Republicans inquire with actual Black people whether or not we’re ok with invoking slavery to score cheap political points? It has to stop. It is the opposite of persuasive and is another reason Republicans repel us. It’s hard to believe that Michele Bachmann would be foolish enough to sigh this pledge.

Oh yeah, Crazy Eyes is the first -- no doubt of many -- to sign it.

I read the whole thing. It's really really difficult to pinpoint the MOST offensive and/or stupid bit of it. Go read and consider yourself.

But hands down, this is the creepiest bit (italic in original).
Recognition that robust childbearing and reproduction is beneficial to U.S. demographic, economic, strategic and actuarial health and security.

Robust? 'Robust' seems to be a dog whistle to Christianists. Indicating just what, I'm not sure. But I am pretty sure that these opportunistic ignoramuses would not approve of 'robust' reproduction among the OTHERS: non-Christians, Blacks, gays, Latinos, progressives. You get the idea.

Or as commenter The Mound of Sound put it here on another post about Crazy Eyes: 'Three words: crazy - shit - bat. Rearrange and repeat and repeat.'

ADDED: Go read Anthea Butler. Seems this 'slavery good' gonna bite ReThugs BIG TIME.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Discussion Boards Dead? Discuss.

I cut my virtual teeth at babble, which, I just learned celebrated its tenth anniversary in April. I joined in 2002 or 2003, near enough to 9/11 that the OMFG-handholding-minute-by-minute-planes-crash-into-WTC thread made for riveting reading. (I just had a lazy look for it, but couldn't find any threads older than 2005.)

There was some major unpleasantness, totally ignored in the anniversary story, and a bunch of babblers left in high dudgeon.

Judging from this, same old shit is going on.

Many of the dudgeonistas fetched up at something initially called 'babble strike' or somesuch but became after a democratic vote (natch) enmasse. (I was pumping for 'Herding Cats', which got some, but not enough, votes.)

Further unpleasantness and a further rift ensued, this time dudgeonistas found themselves at Bread&Roses. That's where deBeauxOs and fern hill met and started our blogging careers at Birth Pangs.

Just to round out the round-up of Canadian non-partisan political boards, I should add Free Dominion, aka The Dark Site, where I frequently still lurk.

So, nowadays, leaving aside my FD lurking, I rarely go to any of them. They seem just plain sad to me. They seem to function mostly as link-farms where people stash stuff they may want to go back to. Membership is much diminished and the personal schticks are getting pretty old.

Once vibrant -- B&R in particular was the chosen hang-out of some of the snarkiest lefty bloggers and blog-commenters -- now left behind in Twitter-dust.

On a slightly peripheral note, I hate the new Facebook, but still occasionally visit some political groups I joined around the second prorogation to see what people are talking about. But I don't -- and never really did -- feel any connection to it.

Blogging and tweeting are enough for me.

What do you think?

Is Michele Bachmann a Fag Hag®?

Gee, I dunno. Listen to the beginning of this.

JoeMyGod had it first. (Read the hilarious comments there.)

Now, Mother Jones is on it.
Politico's James Hohmann published a story Tuesday on the unique role of Rep. Michele Bachmann's husband, Marcus, on the campaign trail. Aside from the obvious points about how he's had to pick up the slack on the home front since his wife left for Washington, the piece notes a few of the recent controversies that could become "liabilities" on the campaign trail—namely, the fact that his family farm received subsidies, and that his Christian therapy practice accepted Medicaid funding.

That might be a stretch. The fact that Marcus Bachmann received farm subsidies is bad because they're the kind of government handout the candidate loves to hate, but it's really not the kind of thing that sways voters—especially when you consider that a lot of Republican primary voters also receive farm subsidies. There is one part of the Marcus Bachmann story, though, that is already becoming an issue for the Bachmann campaign.

In addition to the fairly commonplace practice of accepting Medicaid payments, Bachmann's Christian therapy clinic has also been accused of dabbling in something called "conversion" or "reparative" therapy, in which gay people are supposedly cured of their gayness through steady doses of prayer. The American Psychiatric Association does not endorse "conversion therapy" and has suggested it might have damaging mental health consequences. But as Hohmann's story notes, Marcus Bachmann is not a member of any of Minnesota's three major professional organizations for psychologists. For Marcus Bachmann, this is bigger than science; it's a moral imperative. Gays, he has said, are like "barbarians" that need to be "disciplined."

. . . The problems don't end with the therapy, though. Marcus' fiercely anti-gay language has itself spawned the predictable, unsubstantiated "takes one to know one" backlash.

Lotsa fun links at Mojo. Celebs, including Cher, weighing in. Andrew Sullivan has a couple of very funny clips.

And for more fun, follow MarcusBachmanIsSoGay.