Sunday 31 March 2013

Easter and fecundity, Easter and chocolate

My favourite Easter joke — which I told countless times as an adolescent because there was bound to be someone among family members and Francophone community who would take offense — was this one.

Jesus has been nailed to the cross, he's weakened by his ordeal and his disciples gather below him.  Peter notices him staring, struggling to say some words.  Resources are marshaled by the small group to get Peter up near Jesus so his last words can be heard. 

(Elaborate details on the maneuvers and acrobatics required to do so.) 

Finally Peter is propped up to a level where he can hear what Jesus is whispering: "Look Peter, we can see your house from up here."

Location, location, location. Ba-da-bing!

But seriously folks, it's become a tradition for me to allude to chocolate, as well as the pagan origins of Easter.  Check these inks to past posts about "spring spheres", and eclectic paschalaphilia.

Feast upon this splendid article about cocoa: its history as well as current current ethical and cultivation challenges.
Conveniently, cacao is already a hybrid by nature. “If one cacao plant is compatible with another, they will mate,” Adler says. “Cacao is a slut. A cacao pod can even have more than one varietal strain inside of it. It can be pollinated multiple times.”

There are more than 14,000 known varieties of cocoa beans around the world, the two most prominent being “Criollo,” which originated in South America and traveled to Mesoamerica, and “Forastero,” a native of the Amazon rain forest basin. As soon as they met, these two got it on, creating “Trinitario,” named after the island of Trinidad where their union was discovered.
"Cacao is a slut"... perfect, since it's a legal drug that stimulates production of endorphins and seratonin, those brain-happy substances.

While casting about the weird world web, using search terms for chocolate and also Claire Brétecher, I came upon an illustration of hers for a book of bandes dessinées, a fable about endangered species, over-breeding and extinction ...

What is the Occidental Bolot? A small mammal closely related to the dog with a rampant libido that makes it hump anything that moves, its fertility rate is decreasing.  Females now only produce a litter of 20 to 30 piglets.  Before the rise of CO2 emissions, they would typically birth 50.  This deplorable situation has incited the Bolot to seek refuge in a beautiful reserve dedicated to endangered animals...

Mmm.  Sounds amusing.

Friday 29 March 2013

My Easter Story

Years ago, my sister had gum surgery. (Note: Avoid if at all possible.) She was in pain and feeling shitty so I went to her place to keep her company.

It was around Easter and some network was running the de rigeur Ten Commandments. We were lounging on her bed watching and getting bored. So I went and found a bible (as an art history student, she sometimes needed to look stuff up), turned the sound off, and pretended to read relevant bits from it.

OK, she was weak but I was ON FIRE!

She'd laugh, then grimace in pain and tell me to stop.

Well, of course I didn't.

More laughing, more grimacing, more demands to stop.


This went on for quite a while.

I felt kinda bad, but I WAS ON FIRE!

Finally, she knocked me off the bed, physically shoved me down the hall to her front door, and literally threw me out of her place.

Only time I've ever been forcibly ejected from somewhere.

It was totally worth it.

Happy Easter. If you're suffering today, may you have as rotten funny a sister as me.

BONUS: How the Red Sea was parted.

Git your souvenir oilsands globe here!

The pitch (yeah, eh, eh, eh):

The innovator is Dan Murphy.

For extra fun, enter the search term "A Celebration of Tarsands!" at  youtube.

Thursday 28 March 2013

M408 Blowed Up Real Good

The Iron Fist of PMSHithead comes crashing down on Warawa's Wank.

Conservative MP Mark Warawa has lost his appeal to bring a motion condemning sex-selective abortion to the House of Commons for debate.

The procedure and House affairs committee upheld a decision by its subcommittee that Warawa's motion, M-408, isn't eligible to be debated by MPs, despite the advice of a non-partisan Library of Parliament analyst that the motion was in order.

Warawa has five days to appeal to the House of Commons. He said Monday that he has the backing he needs to bring the appeal, with the support of five MPs from two recognized parties. That appeal will lead to a secret ballot over whether the motion can be brought for debate.

Warawa said he's "very disappointed" but was going to take a few days before deciding whether to appeal. He can also introduce another private member's bill or motion instead of appealing the decision.
I never doubted that it was voteable. It was just a non-binding motion, after all, a shiny thing for the fetus fetishists in the CONtempt Party to amuse themselves with when they weren't being called upon to smear the Opposition.

A sop to the base, in short.

Who could have foreseen that the rigid control of the PMO would cause such a delightful ruckus?

And it appears that other zygote zealots were gobsmacked too.

Under the heading Parliament complicit with sex-selective abortions, Campaign Lie SHRIEEEKS.
"The decision to crush M-408 is proof that Harper will go to any extreme to distance himself from any reference to abortion, even if that means compromising on democracy," said Jim Hughes, President of Campaign Life Coalition.

And what do we have here?

Ooh. Very bad language from Paul Tuns, editor in chief of The Interim, 'Canada's Life and Family Newspaper'.

I'm calling it: SPECTACULAR FAIL.

Wednesday 27 March 2013

The Blue Army Chorus Revolts

The kerfuffle over Warawa's Wank is becoming even more FUN!

Another CON backbencher has been designated attack dog on this and calls the malcontents 'rogues'.

The Conservatives admit they have “rogues” within their party as one MP said his colleagues “must suffer the consequences” for their anti-abortion stance amid the most open show of rebellion under Prime Minister Stephen Harper to date.

He does have a point. All CON candidates campaigned knowing Harper's frequently repeated vow 'not to reopen the abortion debate'.

Yet they happily campaigned under the CON banner.

The NatPo quotes our pal Stephen Woodworth, he of Woodworth's Wank fame, and the noted anti-choice wordsmith does not disappoint.
“It may be that’s what’s at play here, that this abortionism philosophy has led the sub-committee members to put abortion above the independence of private members, above the right of Parliament to comment on an important issue, above the right of members to be able to vote on such an issue,” Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth said Tuesday.


abortionism (uncountable)
1. The advocacy or practice of abortion.

Usage notes
This term appears to be used principally in pejorative fashion by opponents of abortion.
For a longer nuttier explication of the term see Abortionism: American's New Established State Religion.

And for those who may have forgotten Woody's previous feat of wordsmithy, here again is his deathless M312, Fixed-Wing Technology and Ballooning.

The title of this blogpost comes from the NatPo story, quoting Bob Rae.

[Rae] agreed with Conservative backbenchers that there should be more freedom for MPs to speak their minds and to vote free of party discipline. It’s no surprise they’re finally rebelling against Harper’s iron control, Rae said.

“I think they’re annoyed and tired of the harness. I think they’re tired of having to respond to everything by acting like the Blue Army Chorus and I think they want to be able to speak their minds,” he said.
As I said: FUN!

Tuesday 26 March 2013

So, where's the CONspiracy? Has #TGDN gone global or delusional?

#TGDN = Twitter Gulag Defense Network.

In case you don't gaze towards the Excited States of America much these days, or don't tweet, this little right-wing nutjob conspiracy hoohaw might have not caught your attention.

From here:
Twitter makes it easy to report accounts for spam. When enough users report an account, it automatically gets suspended. Some users abuse this feature by organizing a group to report or “spam-block” a single account in order to get it suspended.

Conservatives created the “Twitter Gulag Defense Network” or #TGDN to stop spam-blocking attacks. Aware that accounts with more followers are less likely to get suspended, they mutually followed anyone else using #TGDN. Now that their group is organized and members are protected, they have begun targeted spam-blocking of progressive accounts, exactly what their group was created to oppose. Ironic.
Bloggers at LGF have been diligently following this phenomena and its permutations. Many have posted about the various Hatriots and other right-wing, firearm-fetishizing nutjobs who are involved.

One of my twitter friends, @fem_progress, drew my attention to this item:
A little known policy slips quietly under the radar in January 2012 as our friends at Twitter announce they will censor tweets, if a country’s government requests them to do so. A year later, Australia becomes the first modern democracy to identify, filter and ban free speech whilst not in a state of War.

In recent weeks, the censoring of tweets by Australian conservatives, or, indeed anyone who dares to either engage in political debate or offer opinion on the ruling Labor-Green alliance, has become so pervasive many have thought it was a bug with Twitter. You can read Twitter’s well hidden censorship policy here.

But now I can reveal that Twitter is actively censoring Australian tweets at the direct request of the government.
It sounds like the rantings of disgruntled Australian RWNJs and neo-cons, but if that Twitter policy does indeed exist, it could be deployed in accordance with the whims of a tinpot dictator like PMSHithead, at the request of his PMO/Politburo, to censor progressive or anti-Harper conservative tweets.

So, if this Aussie idiot has stumbled upon a MASSIVE ploy by his government, why hasn't that happened in Canada yet?  Critics of the Harper regime have certainly been quite vociferous in their excoriation of CPC electoral fraud, its corruption, its censorship of scientists and other public servants, its quasi-legal and illicit manipulations, its incessant prevarications and Rovian tactics.

My intuition tells me that it serves a greater purpose to have us scurrying around in plain view, expressing our anger, our fears, our hopes.

Harper's CPC is focused on perfecting the military precision of a volunteer and staff infrastructure that will facilitate the rigging of the next federal election in their favour, while their opponents are distraught, scattered and distracted.

Their May 2011 machinations were a taste of things to come.  Alison at Creekside has done an extraordinary job of investigative work on this matter.

So we have to get cracking on the coalition and cooperation-building NOW.  Talk is cheap, and the Cons have millions in their election war-chest, likely from the Koch Brothers foundations and possibly more that will be siphoned off from public funds now that Kevin Page is gone.

MPs' Rights? Yeah, Right

This is adorable. (bold mine)
Backbench MPs are turning up the pressure in frustration over the Prime Minister's Office stifling debate in the House of Commons.
MPs who oppose abortion and want to see legislated limits for it are pushing back against caucus discipline, particularly in light of an all-party committee shutting down debate last week on a non-binding motion to condemn sex-selective abortion.

But they aren't the only ones upset with heavy-handed tactics on the part of the Conservative leadership. That frustration boiled over Tuesday in the House of Commons, leading several MPs to raise public complaints about a party that has so far maintained strict control over what its members can say.

"There has been predominantly informal discussion about what is, or what is not, our rights, and MPs have to decide what's wrong and what's right, and what our rights are," said one Conservative MP, who requested anonymity.
A bunch of white male fetus-fetishizing MPs, plus Elizabeth 'Nuance R Us' May, whinging about their rights as MPs under the most micro-controlling Prime Sinister ever.

And the issue? Right. Recriminalizing abortion. Stripping rights away from half the population.

Norm Spector pointed out:

Me, I'm going with lying, hypocritical scumbags.

ADDED: Aaron Wherry with what was said and what it means. 'Here's the rot.'

Monday 25 March 2013

Manifestos! Lots of Manifestos!

The decision to deem Warawa's Wank non-voteable is producing some foot-stomping, manifesto-issuing fun.

Fetus fetishists are turning against PMSHithead BIG TIME.

First, it was the Fetal Gore Tour Gang with its 'Against Stephen Harper: A Pro-Life Manifesto'. About what you'd expect but with a handy list of Harper's evil anti-life deeds.

Then SUZYALLCAPSLOCK got into it with her own screed. Same title, note.

Against Stephen Harper: A Pro-Life Manifesto

The problem is that there are a lot of pro-lifers in the Conservative party who support their leader, for whatever reason.

They figure: well, we won't get fetal rights, we might as well get a balanced budget (another illusion) and other conservative policies.

Here's my advice: If your MP carries the ball on pro-life issues, vote for him. [sic]

Otherwise, stop voting Conservative.

Yes, I realize we could get an NDP government.

But you have to understand: sometimes it needs to get worse before it can get better.

If you don't punish your politicians, they won't listen.

If they don't listen to you, you're screwed.

We have to punish those conservative politicians who think they can take our vote then not give us ANYTHING in return.

When we stop volunteering for Conservative campaigns, when we stop giving, when we stop voting, they will pay attention.
Master Chess Player PMSH seems to have stepped in it this time.

And everyone can play.
If M408 is found to be voteable, opponents can squeal 'HIDDEN AGENDA!' If non-voteable, everybody can squeal 'DEMOCRACY SCREWED!'

And now, so-conned citizens -- the whopping 5-6% of Canadians who want to ban abortion altogether -- are maybe finally getting the message: PMSHithead doesn't give a rat's ass about your issues.

Fetus Fetishists Enabled Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell's trial for murder has begun and the fetus fetishists are fapping themselves into a frenzy. As we pointed out here, he will be The Poster Boy for Evul Abortionists forever, or until another one comes along.

Also in that post, we pointed squarely at the fetus fetishists themselves for creating the stigma, harassment, and onerous and pointless regulations that allow such monsters to operate and, indeed, flourish in poor neighbourhoods.

But this little morsel is delicious. It seems the clinic harassers did NOT target Gosnell.
One former patient at the clinic told a state Senate committee that women in her neighborhood knew Gosnell offered the cheapest abortions available. Another Gosnell patient told the Associated Press that she had intended to go to a Planned Parenthood clinic but was scared away by antiabortion protesters. An acquaintance suggested Gosnell's clinic, where protesters - ironically - were not an issue.
Suburban church ladies and gents didn't feel comfy in the 'hood?

And now for some SHOCKING news. Bill O'Reilly, loudest enabler and cheerleader for the assassination of Dr George Tiller, is making shit up about the case.

Really, O'Reilly, the facts are bad enough. But liars gotta lie, I guess.

And I'll note again for our dim Canadian fetus fetishists -- this would not happen in a civilized society that treated abortion as a private medical procedure. You know, like Canada.

Saturday 23 March 2013


Further to this post, Thomas Walkom confirms what DJ! had speculated about, with regard to the sincerity of the Harper government's re-configuration of the MASSIVE Employment Insurance job training funds. 

The federal government says it is serious about job-training. It is not. 

If it were, it would not make it so easy for business to hire cheap workers from abroad. 

This is the dirty little secret about job-training in Canada. Employers don’t train workers because most don’t have to.[..] 

But employers know they don’t have to train. Instead, they need only wait until the last minute and then complain of labour shortages. 

Over the last decade, as my friends at the Globe and Mail have reported, the number of temporary workers admitted to Canada has more than tripled, from 101,000 to 338,000. 

This in the midst of the worst recession since the 1930s. Business insists that such workers are needed because skilled Canadians are unavailable. 

But far too often the real reason is that foreign workers are willing to work for less. The Conservative government has codified this practice by permitting Canadian employers to pay their foreign workers up to 15 per cent less than the going wage. 

For anyone in need of inspiration to counter the Conservatives' odious union-busting tactics, follow what's happening in Toronto, on Twitter with this hashtag: #clcctc13 and of course, Vicky Smallman @vickyatclc and Rachel @rachelmack too!

Friday 22 March 2013

Democracy at Risk!!!!!

The decision to deem Warawa's Wank non-voteable is becoming even more fun.

The parliamentary expert had no problem with either the jurisdiction or possible repetitiveness of M408, aka the Gotcha Motion That Proves Pro-Choicers to Be Enthusiastic Murderers of Pre-Born Women. Those were the flimsy excuses the committee cited: that abortion/health is a provincial matter and the subject had been voted on recently (Woodworth's Wank).

Natch, Warawa shrieked about democracy, independence of MPs, yadayada.

(When any fool with more than one functioning neuron could see the Iron Fist of PMSHithead clamping down on any whiff of the dreaded abortion debate.)

Today, it seems Warawa is getting some support.
Here is where Mr. Warawa might get the support of those who otherwise oppose his views on abortion. Regardless of how one feels about his motion, regardless of how uncomfortable it might make the leadership of Mr. Warawa’s party, every MP and everyone who is represented by an MP should be concerned if Mr. Warawa is being prevented from putting a motion before the House simply because some people oppose its sentiment or would rather it not be brought forward. Never mind the very fraught matter of abortion, this now threatens to become a question about the nature of parliamentary democracy and the independence of MPs.
This is delicious. If M408 is found to be voteable, opponents can squeal 'HIDDEN AGENDA!' If non-voteable, everybody can squeal 'DEMOCRACY SCREWED!'

In short, PMSHithead is between a rock and a hard place.

Good spot for him, isn't it?

For interested watchers -- popcorn!

By the way, this is the committee that will hear Warawa's appeal.

Image source.

Science: The Tipping Point?

Warawa's Wank, aka M408, or the Motion to Pretend Conservatives Give a Shit about Women, is a classic political gotcha.

Frame an anodyne sentiment in such a way as to make it difficult to oppose. When critics try to expose it for the sham it is, the trap is sprung!

'Gotcha! You support discrimination against females! You are in favour of sex-selective abortion! SHRIEEEK!'

Cue up the video editing machine and commence production of attack ads.

So as this pig-ignorant government muzzles scientists, shuts down world-renowned research facilities, and just generally behaves like illiterate vandals, we thought a science-related gotcha! from the Fucking Useless Opposition® would be fun.

Look! The FUO put their pointy little heads together and came up with one all on their own. This past Wednesday, Kennedy Stewart (NDP, Burnaby-Douglas) put forward this modest proposal.
That, in the opinion of the House: (a) public science, basic research and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making; (b) federal government scientists must be enabled to discuss openly their findings with their colleagues and the public; and (c) the federal government should maintain support for its basic scientific capacity across Canada, including immediately extending funding, until a new operator is found, to the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area Research Facility to pursue its unique research program.
Basically: a) science good, b) communication good, and c) please, pretty please throw a little interim dough at ELA.

The facty-sciency version of mom's apple pie, yes? Who would vote against that?

Every single one of the blockheads running this country including creationist chiropractor and Minister of (Destroying) Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, and former bingo-caller and Minister of (Destroying) the Environment, Peter Kent, voted against it. And the Prime Sinister himself, of course.

Doesn't your maple-leaf imprinted heart swell with patriotic pride?

I keep whinging asking: Where is the goddam tipping point? When will people wake up to the fact that, in the words of co-blogger deBeauxOs, 'Toxic Harper killing everything that is Canadian?

Is this it? Dunno, but here are some relatively new initiatives that look like a good beginning: Unmuzzled Science, Evidence for Democracy, Science Uncensored and Death of Evidence.

Check them out. Get involved.

Pretty please?

Thursday 21 March 2013

Dark Deeds! Pulled Strings! Conspiracy!

Aaaand the temper tantrums and dark allegations on the demise of Warawa's Wank begin.

The question was brought up unexpectedly at the Sub-Committee on Private Members’ Business on the day the government is set to release its budget for 2013, meaning newsrooms across the country are locked up.

The sub-committee vote, believed to be at the instigation of the Prime Minister’s Office, was unanimous.
Oo. 'Unexpectedly'! And during the budget lock-up!

Fun, isn't it, when fetus fetishists -- themselves masters of sneaky, back-door tactics -- get a little payback.

Also. They're lying. I asked Kady O'Malley whether it was unexpected.

Indeed, she posted an alert this morning in her Orders of the Day and, in fact, covered it with the ensuring report here.

And here's Warawa himself alleging that democracy itself is in serious peril and vowing -- vowing I tell you! -- to take this all the way to the Supreme Court.

Well, no. But it may get very interesting.

From Kady's report:
In any case, Warawa has the right to appeal the decision of the subcommittee -- which, I'm told, he will all but certainly do -- by making the case for reconsideration before the full procedure and house affairs committee within five days of the subcommittee report being tabled thither.

If he fails to persuade the committee to overturn the ruling, Warawa can put the question to the House of Commons as a whole -- provided, that is, that he has the support of at least five MPs -- by filing a motion with the speaker, who will then proceed to call for a vote, which is conducted via secret ballot over the next two days.
Secret ballot! Wot fun!

Warawa Wankless!

It was unanimous.

As predicted in countless private members' business-related posts passim and, most recently, in today's OotD, Conservative MP Mark Warawa's non-binding motion to condemn sex-selective abortion has been deemed non-votable by unanimous vote of the subcommittee charged with overseeing private members`business.


Warawa can appeal.

Oh look.

Stay tuned. We all love a good conspiracy theory, don't we?

UPDATE: Tantrums have begun.

Wednesday 20 March 2013

"No Free Ride" — brilliant!

From one of Canada's respected, award-winning veteran film-makers, this video about Hudak's morally vacuous ideological position with regard to Ontario workers.
Together, Hillier and Hudak make the specious argument that Ontario’s declining manufacturing sector and rising unemployment, relative to other provinces, can be blamed on unions. Their analysis ignores the upheavals of globalization, the appreciation of the Canadian dollar, and the commodity booms that benefited other regions.

And it conveniently overlooks the historical reality that in Ontario’s boom times, the private sector was far more heavily unionized than it is today. Competing against right-to-work states won’t prepare Ontario’s highly educated workforce for the high-tech, high-value jobs of tomorrow.
More here, and here.

The federal Cons who are facilitating the destruction of the Canadian manufacturing industry are now bellowing and bleating about a lack of skilled workers.  This fatuous disinformation ploy is their opening volley in a tactical attack upon post-secondary educational institutions and programs.  More spin to follow, as their disingenuous communications campaign is rolled out.

Harper and Finley's real goal is to justify their greedy grab for the Employment Insurance budget of $2.5-billion it transfers to the provinces for skills training. 

Bruce McDonald.  His impressive filmography includes many movies that I have watched, and rewatched over the years particularly _Trigger_ about two regretful punk rocker grrrls, with the luminous Molly Parker and the incandescent Tracy Wright.

The Cost of Crime

But does this report include unreported crime?
A new report says per capita spending on criminal justice — including federal and provincial jails, court costs and policing — has climbed 23 per cent over the past decade even as Canada's crime rate fell 23 per cent.

Funny thing about the Canadian constitution: Feds make criminal law, provinces pay about 75% of the cost of enforcing it.

Or, as our pal Kev says:

What we can't afford is much more of this gang of corrupt, lying vandals.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Defund Abortion: 95% Less MASSIVE!

So, how did the promised MASSIVER second annual defund abortion bunfest turn out today at Queen's Park?

You be the judge.

First (and only?) report:
Despite wind, sleet, and temperatures of minus six, more than 350 people attended the Defund Abortion Rally organized by Campaign Life Coalition Youth at Queen’s Park on March 19.

While the crowd was small at the start of the noon-hour event, causing concern among organizers, it quickly grew during the presentations of the first two speakers.
That must be something of a letdown after last year's MASSIVE showing.
TORONTO, Ontario, October 24, 2011 ( - Over 2,000 pro-life Ontarians stormed Queen’s Park on Saturday, calling on the province’s politicians to ‘Defund abortion!’
. . .
The crowd, estimated at 2,300 by CLC national president Jim Hughes, called on Queen’s Park to drop abortion from the list of procedures covered by provincial tax dollars.

'Stormed' might have been a better verb for this year's -- actually last year's -- event. It was originally scheduled for just after the expected landslide win for Tim Hudork as premier. Hm. Hurricane Sandy caused the postponement of that jollification. (Though the people of Ontario kinda had a hand in it by rejecting the Hudork as just too creepy.)

And at the rescheduled event, bad weather may have delayed or cancelled the battalions of Catlick school kids on buses.

It is a cruel gawd they worship, isn't it?

Or maybe She's not and She's trying to tell them something.

ADDED: Joyce Arthur provides the talking points for fully funding abortion.

UPDATE: Oh dear. From fetus fetishist friendly Stun News a different number of ralliers.
Around 200 pro-life advocates gathered around noon as part of a two-hour demonstration organized by the anti-abortion group, Campaign Life Coalition.
Not 350? The organizers lied inflated the count by 75%? Say it ain't so.

Image source, @blissblogs posted at 12:15 pm.

Monday 18 March 2013

Sauce for the Gander

It appears that fetus fetishists are getting a dose of sauce for the gander.

A U.S. company that provides software solutions to nonprofit organizations has refused service to the Canadian pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition, accusing it of supporting “hate, prejudice and bigotry."

Campaign Lie hired a consultant to find a 'databank solutions company', who recommended The Databank in Minneapolis.

But [CLC's] Fonseca says that after filling out a form on the company’s website to view a free online demo on behalf of CLC, the consultant received an email reply from Bridget Kelly, The Databank’s sales manager. It stated, “Please continue your search for nonprofit software. Our company values are not a good fit for your organization's mission. There is no need to view our online demonstration today. Thank you.”

At that point the consultant wrote a strongly worded e-mail to the company, calling its decision "outrageous. The company’s CEO, Chris Hanson, wrote back, and far from apologizing, dug in his heels. “Campaign Life Coalition positions on just about every issue are in direct contradiction with not only our personal beliefs and company mission, but also many organizations we currently work with,” he said.

“Sorry if you feel offended by Bridget’s response but I’m offended by organizations that seek to violate and restrict the human rights of women, gays, lesbians and others. The only amicable resolution for hate, prejudice and bigotry is to eliminate it.”
Oh yeah, the people so quick to call for boycotts of products and companies they deem sinful don't like it a bit when someone has principles of their own -- like standing up for human rights.

I don't have a need for 'database solutions' but I know where I'd go if I did.

h/t @notmuchelse

Toxic Harper killing everything that is Canadian.

Possibly the only truly honest statement Harper has ever uttered was his 2006 threat to reconfigure Canada: “You won’t recognize Canada when I’m through with it”.

More here.  And here.

An article in the Winnipeg Free Press deconstructs the Harper government communications strategy that stamps PMSHithead's brand on every media event.

Internal documents show the prime minister's department micro-managed a media event staged by Parks Canada, trying to erase the venerable agency from a public announcement while promoting the Harper government.

The incident is a case study in communications control from the centre, a signal feature of the governing Conservatives since they first came to power in 2006.

The event was an Oct. 17, 2011, news conference in Halifax to announce an agreement to transform Sable Island, a fabled sand crescent 290 kilometres off Nova Scotia, into a national park reserve.

The deal had been meticulously negotiated by Parks Canada with the Nova Scotia government over the course of a year, and proud officials wanted a splashy announcement as a way to celebrate Parks Canada's 100th birthday in 2011.[...]

Alas for Parks Canada, the carefully wrought plan started to unravel days before the event when a vetting team at the Privy Council Office began to pick apart the agenda, the news release and two background documents, demanding changes. The office is the central organ of the federal government, under the control of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.[...]

When the Privy Council Office finally responded, officials demanded a raft of changes, many of them designed to quash Parks Canada's identity at the event.

A so-called "backgrounder" for handout to news media, for example, erased the agency's name altogether.

"I note the only change was that Parks Canada was 'disappeared,'" an agency official noted. "I have never seen our name completely eliminated in this manner before."

The stage backdrops for the news conference in Halifax were to have included a Parks Canada banner celebrating the agency's centennial in 2011. PCO told officials to get rid of it.

"No Parks Canada banner — the brown and yellow is ugly. Please stop using this," an unidentified official demanded in a note.

Remember, the Harper government has slashed and burned essential, front line services as well as exemplary best practices and performance achievements in world-respected programs, such as the Experimental Lakes Areas, "the one-of-a-kind outdoor laboratory that has informed the world about the effects of contaminants such as mercury, acid rain and phosphorus".  

But it has hired hundreds of communications hacks to crank out propaganda in line with the PMO aka Harper's Politburo's tactical campaign of disinformation through speaking points regurgitated by Attack™ MPs. 

And then, there's the millions of $$$ spent advertising Harper's brand of conservatism.

Update: More calculated BS from the Corruption Party government: 
Canada’s longstanding shortage of skilled workers has apparently made Prime Minister Stephen Harper mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore.

Sources tell [DJ! emphasis] CBC News that, for the past year, the prime minister has been banging heads in his government to come up with new ways to help Canadians get the right skills for the right jobs — namely, thousands of vacancies that companies are begging to fill.
This is a classic message-framing tactic, straight from the Karl Rove / Tom Flanagan play-book on media manipulation.  Next step: Diane Findley will be wringing her hands over the *fact* that non-union, cheap imported indentured workers have to be imported from China and other authoritarian regimes to fill those jobs in the tarsands and other raw-resource extraction industries.

Saturday 16 March 2013

Hey! You Guys! Stop That! Or . . .

Despite attempted blocking by misogynists from Iran, Syria, Russia, and the Vatican Taliban, there has finally been an agreement at the UN's Commission on the Status of Women meeting.
NGO ActionAid welcomed news that the CSW had managed to reach an agreement, following the failure of members to do so last year. The commission took up the topic of ending violence against women in 2003.
It should be shocking that ten bloody -- and I mean bloody -- years later ending violence against women is a contentious issue.

But, sadly, it's not.

And I have some news for Vivian Thabet.
Vivian Thabet, women's rights programme director at CARE-Egypt, said: "It has been sad to see some governments at the CSW attempting to unravel longstanding international commitments to protecting women and girls. Women's rights have become a kind of bartering chip to be traded away for political agendas that have little or nothing to do with the interests and wellbeing of women and girls."
Women's rights aren't becoming bartering chips, they always were and still fucking are. See, for example, the Excited States, where women's healthcare rights were aborted to get Obama's 'reform' package passed.

Still, we grrils should be grateful that a buncha countries are at least giving lip service to the notion that maybe beating, raping, killing, and starving women and girls is to be frowned on.

Yeah. That'll work.

Image source

Friday 15 March 2013

Definitely NOT a Couple of Farm Boys

I just watched this again. Cracked me up just as much as when I first saw it this morning.

Pay attention to the guy on the left around the 2:30 mark.

If it's faked, these guys are genius actors.

Thanks to our very funny Twitter pal, SherryBGood.

Misogynists United

What would unite Russia, the Vatican, Iran and other conservative Muslim states in common cause?

Those uppity women.

An "unholy alliance" of Iran, Russia, the Vatican and others is threatening to derail a U.N. declaration urging an end to violence against women and girls by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights, some U.N. diplomats said Wednesday.

Delegates to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women are racing to reach a consensus deal on a final document by Friday and some diplomats say the future of the commission - a global policy-making body created in 1946 for the advancement of women - is at risk if they fail to broker a compromise.

"There's this sort of unholy alliance ... coming together to oppose language on sexual health, reproductive rights and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) rights," one senior U.N. diplomat said. "It's tough going, but progress is being made."
So, of course, Canada's own staunch defender of preborn women, Mark Warawa, would be totally down with the draft declaration, yes?
A draft declaration urges member states to take a number of measures, including the elimination of any impunity in violence against women, by prosecuting and punishing perpetrators; allowing women and girls to have control over their sexuality and access to health care; doing away with harmful practices such as female genital mutilation; providing services to victims of violence such as emergency contraception and safe abortion where permitted by law.

From now on, we should ask all backers of Warawa's Wank if they also support the UN's efforts to actually protect women.

Whose safety?

A group of students stage an impromptu theatrical intervention, to welcome Con MP Stephen Woodworth (of Motion 312 infamy) to the University of Waterloo.

There are more students protesting his appearance at a *Campus Crusade for Life* club than there are Zygote/Embryo/Fetus zealots present to hear him...

One of the proChoice agitprop performers said to the cops shielding Woodworth from verbal remonstrations and the Vagina-Lady: "Why are you concerned about his safety and not the safety of our uteruses?" 

Here's an overview of DJ! previous posts about Woodworth's Wank.

Grand merci to Canadian Cynic for bringing another Woodworth FAIL to our attention — though I disagree with his comment. Buffoon antics are the perfect way to foil rightwing christian fundamentalist ideology and tactics!

Meanwhile, with M408 the antiChoice forces within Harper's CPC get ready to launch another attack against women's reproductive justice rights and pregnant women's right to choose to carry (or not) their pregnancy to term on March 28 - right in time for Easter! 

Con MP Mark Warawa's Motion 408 is also a thinly disguised attempt to criminalize abortion, women, and the healthcare professionals who provide medical support.

ADDED: According to the Notional Pest, the artist known as Vulveeta is from WLU and he made that nifty outfit.  Those rightwing christianist conservatives like Woodworth just suck all the fun out of fundamentalism.  So dour and sour.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Money-Where-Our-Mouths-Are Time

LeadNow needs $10,000.

Donate to crowd-fund the opinion poll that could prove Canadians support political cooperation.

We know Canadians are ready for political cooperation to defeat Harper and pass crucial reforms. Now, we have to prove it.

We’ve put together a major opinion poll that could show widespread support for cooperation and rock national media and party leaders. Now, we urgently need your help to fund the poll. If enough of us chip in right now, we’ll be able to release the results before voting begins in the Liberal leadership race.

Every dollar gets us closer to commissioning this vital opinion poll - can you chip in right now to help make it happen?

At the beginning of the Liberal leadership campaign the only candidate in the race with a strong pro-cooperation position, Joyce Murray, was ignored by national media. But now, with just a few weeks left to the final vote, she is near the top of the race, and everyone is watching.
I mean, shit, if crowdsourcing can raise $2 million in a day for a movie based on a defunct teen-cult telly show (that I'd never heard of), surely a bunch of concerned Canadians can get this done.


Is Blob Blogging Wingnut, aka SUZYALLCAPS, the new pontiff's Twitter coach?

Reactions were mixed.

As one said: "No need to shout, your holiness."

This does not augur well.

More information about the Catholic Corporation's new CEO, Francis 1st.

Monday 11 March 2013

Sanctifying Mother Teresa is a PR stunt

to distract from all the scandals in the Catholic Church.  Also, she raised millions of dollars for the Vatican Taliban - which is actually why they're canonizing her, I suspect.

Here's the latest about her.
A study conducted by Canadian researchers has called Mother Teresa "anything but a saint", a creation of an orchestrated and effective media campaign who was generous with her prayers but miserly with her foundation's millions when it came to humanity's suffering.

The controversial study, to be published this month in the journal of studies in religion/sciences called Religieuses, says that Teresa - known across the world as the apostle of the dying and the downtrodden - actually felt it was beautiful to see the poor suffer.
This was posted at DJ! about Mother Teresa, in response to yet another drive-by smearing of Margaret Sanger by the usual bunch of lying antiChoice zealots.

The conclave to elect the new pope is scheduled to start Tuesday.  Meanwhile, Canada's very own Ayatollah Ouellet is performing for the Vatican Taliban: 

This media circus around the election of a new Church CEO diverts public attention from its sordid history of sexual violation and abuse of women and children that continues unchecked in many countries.

Very recently, this occurred at an Ontario school under the jurisdiction of a Catholic school board.
Some parents in two Durham region Catholic schools were shocked when their elementary schoolchildren came home bearing a letter from their parish priest that included provocative questions. The letter, a call to return to Catholic practices, came with a two-page “examination of conscience” and invitation to reflect on sins before going to confession.

Have I committed adultery or fornication?

Have I become intoxicated?

Have I been disobedient or disrespectful to my husband?

Have I taken active part in any non-Catholic worship?

Other sins included: “Have I done unnecessary servile work (physical labour) or shopping on Sunday?” and “Have I denied my spouse his or her marriage rights?” 
Catholics. Once upon a time in Ontario, pressure from Francophone communities and Catholic organizations led to the creation of *Separate schools*, which set a precedent, in allowing the establishment of other publicly funded religious educational institutions. 

There are now many French non-denominational school boards that offer education in French in all regions of Ontario without the religious indoctrination. 

The time has come to remove public funding from the Catholic schools, as the Church appears to consider them their own property. Let the Vatican support them financially, since they exploit them as an extension of their propaganda arm, the notorious Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Let them direct their staff to do fundraising with the promise that if they succeeded as well as Mother Teresa did, they will be canonized too. 

ADDED: Someone retweeted this of mine. An apt reminder of the other disturbing aspect of Catholic School Boards, which is to authorize child abuse, and the portrayal thereof, when it suits an ideological agenda. It's okay if you're a *good* Catholic.

Please note the presence of a Knights of Columbus official in the background, not currently demonstrating against the purported abuse of zygotes, embryos or fetuses, by women or medical professionals.

Friday 8 March 2013

Our Long Municipal Nightmare Continues

The latest RobFuckingFordFiasco is still developing, so maybe I should hold off.

But what the hell? Lookit that picture!

After a bunfest last night sponsored by Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee (whatever that is), Sarah Thomson, former mayoral candidate and no fave here at DJ!, posted that photo to her Facebook page with some allegations.

Former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson says she wants an apology from Mayor Rob Ford for allegedly touching her inappropriately and making a suggestive remark to her at a party on Thursday night.

“He told me he was in Florida and I should have been with him because his wife wasn’t there,” Thomson told the Star on Friday. “I didn’t expect that. Rob doesn’t normally act that way towards women, so I was a little bit shocked and then we posed to get our picture taken and he grabbed my ass during the pose.”

Starting last night and ramping up as I type, all kinds of claims of lies and set-ups and drunkenness and substance abuse are flying around.

Ford's defenders are very LOUD. They're saying Thomson's story changed, she was drinking, Ford was NOT drinking (lookit that picture again), Thomson's out to get Ford etfuckingcetera.

She's being criticized for taking it to Facebook, for not being more discrete, again etfuckingcetera.

In short, she's being trashed.

However this turns out, on International Women's Day, we have yet another example of two seemingly eternal features of the patriarchy.

1. However a woman handles a sexual assault, it's the wrong way.

2. Women lie and can't be believed over men. No matter the circumstances.

Here's Neville Park's tidy summation.

Happy International Women's Day. Ford's timing is, as always, impeccable.

Bonus: Right now, Thomson and Daniel Dale of the Star are doing a live online interview. I assume it will remain available at that link when it's over. If not, I'll come back and update.

Added by deBeauxOs - Since Rob Fucking Ford's credibility is at issue, just thought I'd stick this in here, too.
Mayor Rob Ford has angered teachers and parents at the Etobicoke high school where he coaches football — and prompted an investigation by the Catholic school board — with comments the teachers say depicted the school in a “demeaning way that was filled with untruths.”
Read the whole story.

UPDATE (12:45 p.m.) Team Ford is going with Total Mystified Denial. Not She Misinterpreted. Not I Apologize Not That I Did Anything Wrong.

And not only denial. He calls her a liar. As in this gob-smacking sentence.
What is more surprising is that a woman who has aspired to be a civic leader would cry wolf on a day where we should be celebrating women across the globe.

I believe that wolf will come back to bite him on his MASSIVE ass.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Sorry for your loss and for our PM, Venezuela

If you, like the people of Venezuela, are appalled by PMSHithead's sanctimonious anti-condolence message, you can send your own.

First, what he said. Note no mention of Chávez's family.
Harper said in his short statement on Tuesday that he hopes the death of Chavez brings a more promising future for the Venezuelan people.

"At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights," Harper said in a statement Tuesday evening.

Harper also said that he looked forward "to working with (Chavez's) successor and other leaders in the region to build a hemisphere that is more prosperous, secure and democratic."
Translation: My buds hear you got a shit-load of oil and they want it.

It's Louise McKinney's (Proud_Libtard) idea. She sent an email to the Venezuelan consulate in Toronto and it bounced back. I did the same with the same result. She suggested we send our messages to the Venezuelan embassy in the US. So I did that.

Or we could just send Venezuelans -- and everyone else for that matter -- here.

Vaginas Retaliate!

The University of Cincinnati recently played host to the campus-roving display of huge nasty photos linking abortion to genocide and slavery and bad breath. You know, the FetusMobile people.

Well, some smarty-pants students came up with an absolutely brilliant idea and are pulling it off in spectacular fashion.
Nearly a dozen billboard-sized photos of vaginas in various states – including shaved ones, others that are blemished, and still some with tampons inserted – are slated for display today and tomorrow at the University of Cincinnati as part of a student-sponsored “Re-Envisioning the Female Body” exhibit.

The female genitalia photos are in direct retaliation to an anti-abortion display hosted by prolife students at the university last May that included graphic images of aborted fetuses, its organizers state.

“Their billboard-sized photographs equated mutilated fetuses with genocide victims in an effort to shame women,” states Female Body exhibit organizers on their Facebook page. “Our demonstration serves to call attention to the vaginas as a site of conflict … its purpose is to incite conversation about the objectification, exploitation and discrimination of women’s bodies … it points to the negative disposition our society holds toward the vagina.”
. . .
“The pose that I chose reflects this idea that a woman’s body is sort of medicalized,” Kate Elliott, the University of Cincinnati student who co-organized the exhibit and took the vagina photos, told City Beat. “I overexposed the images so they’re really jarring. They’re not cutesy or subtle, they’re right up in your face.”

There's a Facebook page with one of the photos and lots of comments, natch.

Whose work would aspiring feminist portrayers evoke? The Grand Mistress of Vagina Art, of course.

The University will not interfere.

Image source

Police brutality: cops walk, again.

More evidence that cops are not subjected to the same *justice* system standards that ordinary citizens are.
Two police officers charged after an incident with an elderly man that court heard involved a Taser, won’t have to face trial since the case was delayed too long.

RCMP Const. Mitchell Spears and Transit Police Const. Ken Jansen were both charged with assault after an incident at Surrey Memorial Hospital with patient Keith Booker that was witnessed by a nurse, court heard previously.

Spears, the officer who arrested Booker on April 22, 2010 and took him to hospital, was also charged with assault with a weapon.

B.C. Provincial Court judge Ronald Lamperson decided Wednesday all charges in the case, which saw an “institutional delay” of 22 months, would be stayed.

Meanwhile, research has confirmed the presence of a two-tier criminal *justice* system, with regard to First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples.
Aboriginal people are so vastly over-represented in Canada's federal prison system that current policies are clearly failing them, according to a new report by the Office of the Correctional Investigator.

The report found "no new significant investments at the community level for federal aboriginal initiatives. No deputy commissioner dedicated solely to and responsible for aboriginal programs, planning, implementation and results. And worst of all, no progress in closing the large gaps in correctional outcomes between aboriginal and non-aboriginal inmates," Howard Sapers, the correctional investigator for Canada, said during a news conference in Ottawa.

The report was tabled in the House of Commons Thursday morning — only the second special report ever written by the investigator since the office's creation 40 years ago.

The trail of many social policies which have marginalized one group of our population "defines systemic discrimination," Sapers said.

Grand merci to Ikwew for source material.

Monday 4 March 2013

More Fashion Tips from Cops

You think they'd learn.

From the same police department whose fashion tips inspired the international movement, Slut Walk, now fashion tips for pedestrians who don't want to get hit by a fucking car.

Toronto police kicked off a weeklong pedestrian safety campaign called “Do The Bright Thing!” on Monday morning at Union station.

Officers will talk to people at the subway station concourse all week, encouraging pedestrians to wear bright-coloured or reflective clothing when possible.
Making a grocery list, I tweeted.

The smarty-pantses who follow me responded.

Because it's just like rape, eh? If you dress like a slut, you're asking to get raped. And if you dress like a normal human being, you're asking to get hit by a car.

Because drivers, like rapists, can't help themselves. Rapists see a slutty looking woman and they just gotta rape. Drivers see a slow, defenceless pedestrian and they just gotta drive into him/her.


DJ! proposes the Dark Walk. Masses of humans wearing ordinary clothes taking over the sidewalks and crossing streets legally and carefully and, you know, walking.

Or maybe cut out the middle man and just dress like victims already.

Image source

UPDATE: Checking the referring sites, I found that this post has attracted the attention (no doubt short) of an appropriately named discussion board called The Slymepit. (I won't link.) It seems to exist to exude venom at sites like Atheism+, Skepchick (and its founder, Rebecca Watson), and FreeThoughtBlogs, centering on PZ Myers. It's a narsty, narsty place. And, of course, humour impaired. *waves at slymepitters*

Sunday 3 March 2013

Vic Toews: Opposition didn't stop us from appointing a crook

When I saw this tweet, I thought Stephen was kidding.

He's not. (Bold mine.)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper downplayed concerns Thursday over an arrest warrant for Arthur Porter, the former head of the committee that oversees Canada's spy agency.

While Harper was minimizing worries about Porter's top secret security clearance and privy councillor status, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews attacked the opposition parties for not challenging the government on the appointment when they had the chance in 2008.
Don't that beat all?

The Corrupt Party of Canada has reached the nadir of Opposition-blaming, I think.

What's for Dinner? . . . Who the Hell Knows?

OK, I get that most (normal) people are not interested in politics. As long as all is relatively well in their little worlds, people don't much care who's in charge.

But what I DO NOT GET is how people can be unconcerned about the food and water they ingest.

Oh yeah, there are recalls and scares and stories, like the horse meat 'scandal' and the more recent revelation that tuna ain't tuna.
84% of fish samples labeled "white tuna" were actually escolar, a fish that can cause prolonged, uncontrollable, oily anal leakage.
Then there are bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

Alberta shit-beef



Some of these are stupid mistakes, compounded by failures of the regulators whose budgets are being merrily slashed all over the world.

Right now there are 42 products listed on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's website. How many would there be if the agency had better resources?

Don't know, do we?

But most of the mislabelling and contamination, I would submit, is attributable to sheer corporate greed. Again, compounded by lack of oversight.

Here is a interview by Amy Goodman of Melanie Warner, author of a book I'm not sure I'm brave enough to read called Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal.

Warner is talking about the nutritional value (ha) of processed food, specifically cereals. She's talking about vitamins being added to them. (This is a transcript but I'm tempted to go listen to it to hear Goodman's tone of voice.)

MELANIE WARNER: And I was really surprised to learn where some of these vitamins come from. I never really thought about it in much detail, as probably most people don’t. But it turns out that they’re—these vitamins are not coming from the foods that contain them. Like vitamin C does not come from an orange, and vitamin A does not come from a carrot. It’s very far from that. They come from things that really aren’t actually foods. Vitamin D, for instance, was probably the most shocking. It comes from sheep grease, so actually the grease that comes from sheep wool. You have giant barges and container ships that go from Australia and New Zealand over to China, where most of—a lot of our vitamins are produced. About 50 percent of global vitamin production comes from China inside these huge factories, very industrial processes. A lot of vitamins are actually chemical processes.


MELANIE WARNER: And they’re very technical and complex.

AMY GOODMAN: A lot of people, if they’re with someone, they’re looking at them right now. Wait a second. So, China gets all these shipments of sheep wool from Australia, and they’re pulling the sheep grease off of them to make vitamin D?
Yep. China is doing that.

China, where some of the world's most enthusiastic capitalists have made literal killings in the food biz.

Remember the pet food recalls?

And the absolutely horrifying case of infant formula adulterated with melamine to fake up the protein content?

And yet people seem to be OK with allowing the private sector to monitor and regulate itself?

People are OK with greedy bastards putting lard-knows-what in our food to make a few more pennies or yuan?

People are OK with governments cutting science and inspection budgets and muzzling the scientists whose work we pay for?

Why isn't this a HUGE issue?

I don't get it.

Image source and scary blog from the University of Guelph.