Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doesn’t Customs Have Better Things To Do?

Non-intellectual Property

According to an article in today’s National Post, a new Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the works could turn border guards and other public security personnel into copyright police. Officers would be mandated with checking laptops, iPods and even cellular phones for content that “infringes” on copyright laws, such as ripped CDs and movies.

How customs officials will determine what constitutes infringing content isn’t clear. Under the proposed agreement any content that may have been copied from a DVD or digital video recorder would be open for scrutiny by officials — even if it was copied legally. A leaked document indicates that anyone found with infringing content in their possession would be open to a fine and/or the confiscation or destruction of their computer, iPod, etc.

Well this certainly sounds like an efficient use of the CBSA’s time and effort. Thank goodness there aren’t more critically important threats they should be dealing with. Not to mention the salutary effect it should have on the processing of passengers.

In God’s Name (Part 2)

The program encounters Stephen Green, the leader of a small but highly outspoken U.K. fundamentalist group called Christian Voice, a self-described “prophetic ministry” that demonstrates against Islam (that it maintains is the work of Satan), homosexuality, abortion, and various “unrighteous laws” that it feels have contributed to Britain’s societal decline since World War II.

Having reluctantly granted an interview following the group’s successful effort in helping close down the production of Jerry Springer – The Opera, Green is “blessed” by a passing seagull. While away from the camera washing his shirt, he decides that the bird poo was a message from God telling him not to participate in the program. (Not to worry though, he shows up again in later installments…)

We also meet Andrea Williams, the hyperactive dynamo behind the newly invigorated Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship, a more influential group that seeks to affect public policy on issues such as abortion and ultimately to “radically transform this nation for Christ’s purposes.”

The New Spitting Image!

Oh happy day! Look what I’ve stumbled across. An absolutely brilliant program called Headcases that just debuted in Britain last month.

This episode features caricatures of British Conservative leader David Cameron (the pompous toff) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (the sycophantic toady).

Update: Fun & Frivolity with Gordon Brown. They’re equal-opportunity rotters.



The opposite of architecture.

I’m sure James Kunstler would love that word. It comes via The Yorkshire Ranter who marvels in horror at the gallery of foreclosed homes in the Los Angeles Times:

It’s hardly got any windows on the street side at all! Just two huge garage doors. Those doors are a common feature throughout the show — houses whose outward appearance is totally dominated by monster garages, like a great big fat ugly gob. Anything human in the architecture skulks behind the garage, as if ashamed. It’s as if cars designed these buildings for their own use — realising, of course, they needed to make provision for the people, but sadly not being quite able to understand their needs.


The “Conservative” Mind

More specifically, what’s on the mind of so-called “conservatives”…

Following up on this post at Atheist Media which included the above video from The Hour about the laughably pathetic sinkhole of misinformation called Conservapedia, it’s more than a little interesting to learn what the top ten pages viewed are as revealed by AAR’s “Young Turks” some months ago…

Perhaps it will surprise you, or maybe not.

Right-Wing Myth v. Reality

Republican Myth v. Reality

Hey, kids, it’s Larry Craig “Bobblefoot” Day!

My, how “nummy”

Buddy, can you spare a lift?

“It seems incredible the Harper government purchased these heavy-lift aircraft and told us at the time we'd no longer have to rent [planes] and now we're going to spend another $900,000 to ship aid to Burma” — Dawn Black, NDP Defence Critic

Via the Globe & Mail
— Where are the planes now?

Last year, the Harper government spent $3.4-billion on four C-17 aircraft, known as Globemasters, that can carry a payload of 77,500 kilograms and fly 4,400 kilometres without refuelling.

1 At Canadian Forces Base Trenton, broken down and rated “unserviceable” because it is awaiting parts. It’s not known when these parts will arrive.

2 In Bangkok, broken down after an aid flight to Thailand last week to help cyclone-stricken Myanmar. It will have to be flown elsewhere to be fixed.

3 Believed to be in Texas being fitted with defensive aids that will help protect it from missile attacks.

4 Supporting the Canadian military mission in Afghanistan.

Three out of four planes out of service for one reason or another. Pretty impressive.

Note: Video is a C-17 Globemaster taking off from Abbotsford, B.C. in 2001.

One For All and All For One


Heh. I must say my timing certainly does suck mightily on occasion.

Not that this entirely unexpected burst of fraternal goodwill is displeasing. Quite to the contrary, it’s rather nice to see a story about party solidarity and unity for a change rather than the more usual tales featuring “unnamed sources” plaintively carping about Dion’s leadership.

Journey to the Centre of Clinton’s Mind

David Rees @ The Huffington Post:

She has a point: June is a great month for political assassinations.

Why drop out of the race before all the assassins have had their say?

After all, we know Barack Obama has received multiple death threats — because he is black, of course, and because some of our fellow citizens think he’s a secret Muslim terrorist who is going to take the oath of office on the Koran and make us all pray to Mecca five times a day with that screechy music coming over the loudspeakers(?) and then he’ll crash Air Force One into the White House(?) and force our wives to wear those Muslim beekeeper helmets(?).

And the truth is, Obama has consistently failed to win over those voters who want to see him murdered.

Sorry, but I’m still astounded by Clinton’s remarks.

Star Trek: “The Slaver Weapon”

Good Saturday morning, boys and girls. Cartoon time!

In the shuttlecraft Copernicus, Spock, Uhura, and Sulu are en-route to Starbase 25 to deliver a stasis box — a rare artifact of the Slaver culture. The now-extinct Slavers used these objects to carry weapons, valuables, and other scientific instruments and data. The boxes can detect each other and evidence shows that another device is located nearby. The shuttle lands on an ice planet where hostile Kzinti lie in ambush. Written by Larry Niven based on his short story The Soft Weapon.

Links: Part 2 and Part 3.

The Road to Total War (Part 3)

A war that began with much enthusiasm in August 1914 and was expected to be over in a matter of months soon bogs down into the stalemate of gruesome trenches stretching across the Western Front. Efforts to break through the continuous front such as the Battle of the Somme in 1916 accomplish little more than futile slaughter — 60,000 British killed and wounded in just one day (total losses by the end of the “battle” several months later were ten times that). The first primitive tanks (then called “landships”) make their appearance, but too late to play a truly decisive role.

Big Bucks, Big Pharma (Part 5)

More about conflicts of interest with managed care and the pharmaceutical industry and a look at the efforts of groups such as the American Medical Student Association and No Free Lunch, a US-based advocacy organization that holds that marketing methods employed by drug companies influence the way doctors and other healthcare providers prescribe medications. These groups seek to convince physicians to refuse to accept gifts, money, or hospitality from pharmaceutical companies because it claims that these gifts create a conflict of interest for providers. They also advocate for less involvement of drug companies in medical education and practice in a variety of other ways.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Part 8)

Government is another “suspect” fingered in the film. The federal government joined in the auto industry suit against California, has failed to act in the public interest to limit pollution and require increased fuel economy, has promoted the purchase of vehicles with poor fuel efficiency through preferential tax breaks, and has redirected alternative fuel research from electric towards hydrogen.

Friday, May 23, 2008

MST3K: A Date With Your Family

“These boys treat their dad as though they are genuinely glad to see him, as though they really missed being away from him during the day...”

Über-creepy “social guidance” film from the 50s that advises children to do whatever is necessary to achieve harmonious, unemotional family relations. It’s hilarious even without the added wisecracking from the MST3K crew.

Did Hillary REALLY Say That?

A: Yes, she did.

My husband didnt wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it...

Today’s reason for Clinton to stay in: Obama might get whacked.

Simply amazing. Talk about classy.

Bill O’Reilly’s Producer

Hilarious new version of the now infamous outtake of Bill O losing it on Inside Edition.

“NAFTA-gate” Mystery Solved!

The Invisible Man

The investigation has been unable to determine who leaked the report, to whom it was leaked or whether there was only one leak.

Well, glad we could clear that up!

Update: He’s most certainly already toast, but in case it didn’t occur to anyone this is another black mark for Bernier.

Britain’s Worst Impressionist

Let’s drop in once again on the questionably named Britain’s Got Talent show, this time for some painfully bad impressions of three British MPs.

“Morpho Towers” — Liquid Metal Sculptures

Dynamic sculptures by Sachiko Kodama and Yasushi Miyajima that utilize the paramagnetic properties of ferrofluids (liquids that become strongly polarized in the presence of a magnetic field) to form spikes that move around the edge of two iron spirals.

Another Angry McCain Eruption

Mark Kleiman @ The Reality Based Community:

Of course McCain’s speech is convincing only to those who havent seen the Obama remarks it responds to, which contained no “cheap shot” and did not impugn McCain’s motives. The only cheap shot is McCain’s attack on Obama’s lack of a service record, hardly discreditable in someone too young to have served in Vietnam and too old to have served in Iraq. And also of course it makes a hash of McCain’s famous reluctance to exploit his own military record for political purposes.

It’s more than a little disconcerting how readily McCain can whipsaw from being an affable elder statesman to a nasty, embittered old crank.

In God’s Name (Part 1)

Christian Fundamentalism… It’s not just an American phenomenon any more, as indicated by this BBC Panorama documentary from earlier in the week.

Hard-line Christian activists are now mobilizing believers in an attempt to make an impact on society nationally. Followers believe abortion and homosexuality should be illegal, there should be no sex before marriage and that the law of blasphemy should be strictly enforced.

They say the Bible is the definitive word of God and is literally true and are intolerant of other faiths. The film follows well funded and politically active Christian groups and shows them emerging as a significant voice in British politics.

What Tony Blair hath wrought…

Another Bernier Screw-up


“It doesn’t look good.” — Senior Conservative official

If there was any doubt whatsoever that Bernier would be shuffled out of the foreign affairs portfolio next month, this latest gaffe should seal the deal on that move.

Veep Sweeps: “Nightmare Ticket” Dead?

Via Al Giordano:

The Field can now confirm, based on multiple sources, something that both campaigns publicly deny: that Senator Clinton has directly told Senator Obama that she wants to be his vice presidential nominee, and that Senator Obama politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably said “no.” Obama is going to pick his own running mate based on his own criteria and vetting process.

So much for all of Clinton’s hypocritical grandstanding to senior citizens in Florida the other day.

McCain Rejects, Denounces Evangelical Kooks

As expected, John McCain officially threw Rev. John Hagee under the “Straight Talk Express” bus yesterday following the release of a recording earlier in the week in which Hagee claimed Hitler and the Holocaust had been part of God’s plan to chase the Jews from Europe and drive them to Palestine. Later in the day, Pastor Ron Parsley of the World Harvest Church — another one of McCain’s previously sought-after “spiritual guides” — was likewise pushed overboard after his vehemently anti-Muslim sermons were broadcast on ABC’s Good Morning America. News of the rejections sent McCain’s rating on the “God-O-Meter” plunging to a new low.

The Road to Total War (Part 2)

How modern nationalism embodied by the French Revolution and mass conscription introduced during the Napoleonic era changed the scale of warfare. Subsequent development of more effective weaponry like rifled muskets, the process of industrialization and a state of permanent psychological readiness for war set the stage for the impersonalized killing machine of the First World War.

Big Bucks, Big Pharma (Part 4)

More about the creation of “disease awareness” to promote potentially harmful pharmaceuticals that may actually be of little benefit. The comprehensive promotional efforts targeting medical providers are also looked at, including ethically questionable practices euphemistically described as “educational” for reporting purposes.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Part 7)

More suspects… The car companies are indicted for negative marketing, sabotaging their own product program, failure to produce cars to meet existing demand, and unusual business practices with regards to leasing versus sales.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Spring Fever!


“We are facing an economic slowdown. We are amongst the planet’s worst polluters. We still have to win the fight against poverty right here in Canada. Well, we need a plan.” — Stéphane Dion

Yep. Some of the “highlights” of Dion’s “good news” about the economy and environment during a recent speech at the Canadian Club of Toronto — also described at one point with great originality as “the politics of hope.”

If you come away from this piffle one iota better informed about his “vision” then you have some special kind of powers of detection that I appear to be sadly lacking.

Paraphrasing Trudeau to an audience of business executives about how the Liberals are going to “speak over the heads of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives...” Good messaging there! (If it’s that easy for me to snip a quote out of context, the Cons will have a field day with this sort of stuff.)

Oh, and his English coach should be sacked.

McCain’s “Friends” Feeling Jilted

Pity the poor lobbyists…

“If it was OK to have these people working for you in February, why is it not OK today?” asked one Republican lobbyist who counts a friend among the new McCain outcast class.

“McCain’s self-righteous bullshit has caught up with him. Now he’s got himself in a jam,” said another Republican lobbyist who asked to remain anonymous because he is a campaign volunteer. “He’s got to change the subject back to economic growth and taxation and the war on terror.”

And there’s this thought from another McCain supporter: “I find it a little offensive. It was good enough to get my $2,300 donation. If we’re not good enough, then send my check back. It pisses me off.”

Heh. More at Politico.

Drawing Conclusions: Stéphane Dion Must Go

Sketchy Dion

Okay, enough is enough. It’s time for Stéphane Dion to face reality and pack it in. Seriously. And if he can’t bring himself to acknowledge the blindingly obvious, then perhaps more forcible means of persuasion may need to be employed by those within the party who exercise influence over such matters to effect a coup.

According to the latest Toronto Star/Angus Reid opinion poll, Dion’s approval rating has sunk to its lowest level yet, with nine of 10 Canadians now saying they disapprove or are not sure of his performance as the head of the party.

Polling since the convention in Montreal almost a year and a half ago has consistently indicated that the new leader is failing to create a positive impact with the Canadian public. Had there been any hopeful signs of improvement in this regard perhaps my opinion would be rather more sanguine, but the incontestable fact of the matter is that things are actually getting progressively worse: an ever-increasing numbers of people are forming a distinctly unfavourable impression of Dion — and not, it has to be reluctantly admitted, entirely without reason.

Update: MoS highlights the most salient challenge regarding Dion’s leadership that should be apparent to everyone following the roll-out of the Liberal policy on carbon tax (or “tax shifting”). As he says: “The carbon tax has a problem. It’s not so much a problem with the merits of the idea itself or the political hurdles it poses. Its main problem is the guy who says he’ll stake all to make it happen — Stéphane Dion.”

This is a complex, highly problematic issue by any measure. It would be a hard sell at the best of times, but even more so when energy prices are soaring, the U.S. economy is verging on the brink of a full-blown recession and the short-term prospects for many average Canadians are worrisome at best. Dion simply doesn’t have the masterful sort of communication skills needed to champion something as potentially divisive and inherently unappealing to the public as a carbon tax. The fact that the detailed policy has yet to be released by the Liberal Party means that, once again, the Conservatives are being given a free hand to frame the issue to their advantage.

As MoS says, “The carbon tax initiative is too important to be put to a referendum by a leader who can't even sell himself.”

The Road to Total War (Part 1)

Gwynne Dyer’s excellent 1983 National Film Board documentary on warfare. Although the geopolitical framework in which the film is set appears somewhat dated now, it’s still a thought-provoking reflection on the nature of war and the still-existent, quite real possibility of nuclear annihilation.

A little background on Dyer for those who may be unfamiliar with him. Born in Newfoundland, he received degrees from Canadian, American and British universities, finishing with a Ph.D. in Military and Middle Eastern History from the University of London. He served in three navies and held academic appointments at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Oxford University before launching his twice-weekly column on international affairs, which is published by over 175 papers in some 45 countries.

Because of his sometimes critical views about Israel, Dyer has been officially banned by the “pro free-speech” CanWest Global media group who refuse to carry his column.

Clinton Jumps the Shark

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton used a variety of preposterous arguments to convince her party to seat Florida and Michigan delegates, going as far as comparing the struggles of the voters in Florida and Michigan to those of abolitionists, suffragists, to the plight of Zimbabweans.

“In Florida, you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren’t counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner,” she said. “The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear: if any votes aren’t count, the will of the people isn’t realized and our democracy is diminished.” — Hillary Clinton

The only problem: Clinton herself had earlier agreed to the party’s plan to punish Florida and Michigan.

Andrew Sullivan:

How do you respond to a sociopath like this? She agreed that Michigan and Florida should be punished for moving up their primaries. Obama took his name off the ballot in deference to their agreement and the rules of the party. That he should now be punished for playing by the rules and she should be rewarded for skirting them is unconscionable.

I think she has now made it very important that Obama not ask her to be the veep. The way she is losing is so ugly, so feckless, so riddled with narcissism and pathology that this kind of person should never be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Obama, Clinton, McCain Join Forces

Presidential hopefuls John McCain (R-AZ), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) announced their plans to form what many Beltway observers have already dubbed the “2008 Nightmare Ticket,” a calculated move that political analysts say offers voters the worst of both worlds.

After nearly a year of verbal attacks and negative campaign ads, the nominees announced that, for the good of the country, they were willing to push their differences to the fore. “No other ticket is capable of rallying this nation around a clearer, more unified message of chaos and hopelessness,” the candidates said in unison from three separate podiums, each adorned with its own American flag arrangement and personal message. “Together, we will lead this nation into the future—a future where absolute deadlock over even the most minute decisions and total inefficiency on matters of the war, the economy, and the environment will launch a bold new age of confusion and social decay. For America, the only choice is [indecipherable]!”

The candidates said they had not yet decided who would fill the offices of president, vice president, and a new post the nominees are calling “the middle president.” They did, however, confirm that each would choose his or her own full cabinet, would be able to veto any bills the others sign into law, and would reserve the right to cast the tie-breaking, tie-making, and tie-rebreaking votes in the Senate.

Read more.

A Wake-Up Call from Scott Ritter

A passionate statement made by ex-WMD weapons inspector, Scott Ritter. He explains the Bush Administration’s plan for Iran, which could well lead to nuclear disaster.

Ministers like John Hagee are pushing for a first strike on Iran, and this is the man coming to the forefront to back John McCain whose foreign policy is to stay the course established by George Bush.

Speaking of Hagee… Be offended, dear hearts.

Big Pharma, Big Bucks (Part 3)

How pharmaceutical companies increasingly engage in “disease mongering” — that is, promoting health conditions themselves for the purpose of medicalizing normal conditions of everyday life (e.g., “adult ADD” and “social anxiety disorder”) and normalzing relatively obscure conditions to create the false impression they’re common (e.g., “restless leg syndrome”).

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Part 6)

This episode looks at various questions surrounding battery technology and features an interview with Stan Oshinsky and his wife Dr. Iris Oshinsky of Energy Conversion Technologies who invented a superior form of battery to that originally provided by GM Delco. Oil companies such as Chevron and Texaco purchased the intellectual patents from Oshinsky but refuse to allow for production licensing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Robot Rumpus

I might make this a little nighttime (afternoon for me) tradition around here for a while… They’re a nice break from politics and anything at all serious.

Homemade Electric Car

Well, here’s one answer to the high price of gasoline. A self-described computer geek from Kennedale, TX bought the 1993 Eagle Talon from a junkyard for just $750, pulled the engine and spent about $4,000 to convert the gas-guzzler to run on electricity alone doing all the work himself in his garage at home. The car can hit 55 mph and costs less than $10 per month on electricity to charge the batteries — enough to go about 300 miles.

Future Schlock

…“Alien Invasion: Repelled; Intergalactic Portal: Closed”

A McCain advert based on his bizarre speech from last week outlining various “accomplishments” of the old geezer’s imagined presidency in retrospect.

Tommy the Troll — R.I.P.

Well, that didnt last long. Silly git.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Unintended Consequences

Oops! It seems the Harper government’s proposed amendments to Canada’s youth laws would actually make it more difficult for courts to detain chronic young offenders and car thieves, according to Manitoba’s prosecution branch.

Under the legislation being advanced by the so-called Conservatives, “a kid could have one conviction, re-offend, get hauled before court, get bail, re-offend again the next day, go before court again and still get bail.” It’s actually a step backwards from the current system.

Don’t these assclowns actually think these things though beforehand? It seems that an inordinate amount of their hastily concocted legislation is hopelessly flawed or ill-conceived.

Big Pharma, Big Bucks (Part 2)

A look at the phenomenon of high-priced “me too” drugs and “lifestyle” pharmaceuticals that offer little or no improvement over existing generic medications.

A Word About Comments

They seem to be a bit frigged up this morning. Haloscan is being flaky.

Promises v. “Accomplishments”

Protecteur Supply Ship

Uh oh. It seems that the navy’s support ship project is running into money problems before the contracts have even been awarded, suggesting that the Stephen Harper government’s vote-getting “Canada First” defence plan may be underfunded from the get-go.

Hmmm. Sandy Crock said this was already “accomplished”… Go figure.

While it’s a good thing that the government is establishing a long-term spending plan that will aid in development of an organized national shipbuilding policy, it’s essential that the fiscal projections aren’t skewed to an artificially low level just for the sake minimizing the “sticker shock” of the expenditures involved. Perhaps the actual costs should have been properly determined through negotiations between the DoD and various contractors before Harper and his Defence minister went running around announcing all sorts of lavish promises of equipment they may not really be able to deliver on.

Send in the Trolls

McCain’s Monkeys

From the McCain website:

“Select from the numerous web, blog and news sites listed here, go there, and make your opinions supporting John McCain known. Once you’ve commented on a post, video or news story, report the details of your comment by clicking the button below. After your comments are verified, you will be awarded points through the McCain Online Action Center.”

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if The Stephen Harper Party tried something similar in the next election campaign, if they’re not doing so already. Far-fetched? Well, seeing as the McCain campaign is already using this practice to spread their message, I’d have to say not. Couldn’t possibly happen in Canada you say? How naïve.

Who Killed the Electric Car (Part 5)

The shredding of both old and brand new electric vehicles to wipe them out of existence. Bizarre.

Key Constituencies Moving to Obama

Via Gallup:

After nearly 20 grueling weeks on the campaign trail since he shook up the Democratic primary race by winning the Iowa caucuses, Obama has finally stretched his lead over his chief rival into the teens.

Having previously captured nearly the maximum level of support from black voters, Obama's latest gains have come from a broad spectrum of rank-and-file Democrats. At least for now, he has expanded his position as the preferred candidate of men, young adults, and highly educated Democrats, and has erased Clinton's advantages with most of her prior core constituency groups, including women, the less well-educated, and whites.

One notable change for Clinton: she now has less than 50 percent support from Hispanics — which as Andrew Sullivan points out could be due to her controversial comments about “white voters” supporting her. Clinton has also lost support among women, Easterners, whites, and adults with no college education. The only major demographic group still supporting Clinton to the tune of 51% or more is women aged 50 and older. This group’s preferences have changed little during May, at the same time that Clinton’s support among younger men (those 18 to 49) has declined by nearly 10 points. Many groups that previously supported Obama (men, 18- to 29-year-olds, postgrads, and upper-income Democrats) now support him even more so, in some cases by whopping margins. In other words: he has expanded part of his own base.

The argument that Clinton is the most electable of the two is becoming more tenuous than ever.

Clinton & the “War on Women”

The last ditch, desperate gambit of fanatical Clinton supporters. The Village Voice’s Allison Benedict (whose “lady parts do not ache for Hillary Clinton”) isn’t buying the imaginary War on Women:

“Here’s the thing: There is plenty of sexism—more than enough, thank you very much—in this country. Which is why it’s so sad to see Hillary’s supporters (and lately even her female detractors, and way too many column inches) elevate her to some kind of goddess warrior, symbolizing the decades-long fight for gender equality, absorbing the entirety of history’s catcall in one massive blow, and then standing tall again because that’s what women do. Powerful stuff, except that she’s a lying, race-baiting insult to our collective intelligence. Powerful, if she and her husband hadn’t sold out poor people in the ’90s or if she had stood tall like a woman against the war in Iraq or if she wasn’t right now trying to change the rules of the game and stir up the worst kind of identity politics. Powerful, if her most fervent supporters weren’t threatening to vote for John McCain out of spite...”

Inside the Taliban (Part 10)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Are Politicians Failing Our Lobbyists?

Outlook Poor for Kennedy

As everyone knows by now Sen. Edward Kennedy has been diagnosed with a malignant glioma. Here’s the National Cancer Institute’s explanation of the tumor:

“Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumor, accounting for more than half of the more than 18,000 primary malignant brain tumors diagnosed each year in the United States. The outlook for patients with malignant gliomas is poor. Median survival for patients with moderately severe (grade III) malignant gliomas is three to five years. For patients with the most severe, aggressive form of malignant glioma (grade IV glioma or glioblastoma multiforme), median survival is less than a year.”

Whatever one’s feelings about his politics, sad news that the last great Kennedy Lion may not be long for this world.

As a side note, in rather classless fashion, Kate takes the opportunity to scold the “old buffoon” over the Chappaquiddick incident and cites another callous ideologue who wagers on the most likely “gag-inducing nonsense” she guesses will be uttered by liberal cable news pundits. Uncouth, but sadly, not unexpected.

Update: Sen. Robert Byrd breaks down while paying tribute to his old friend.

Army Radio: U.S. to Attack Iran This Year

Another “October surprise” in the works?

From Israel Today:

A senior Israeli government source told Army Radio on Tuesday that US President George W. Bush intends to launch an attack against Iran before the end of his second term.

The Israeli learned of the planned attack from a senior US counterpart who was a member of Bush's entourage during the president's visit to Israel last week.

The official said that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are convinced that military action against Iran is necessary immediately, but that the move is being held up by “the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.”

Hizballah’s recent success in exerting control over Lebanon had reportedly led to the decision that an attack on Iran, Hizballah’s ally and sponsor, must take place this year.

Note: The above video is from September of last year.

Update: Unsurprisingly, the White House flatly denies the Army Radio report stating that the Administration prefers to resolve concerns about Iran’s push for a nuclear weapon “through peaceful diplomatic means.” Well that sounds entirely convincing, doesn’t it?

Update2: Here’s the video from CNN.

Big Pharma, Big Bucks (Part 1)

Via the Media Education Foundation:

Big Bucks, Big Pharma pulls back the curtain on the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry to expose the insidious ways that illness is used, manipulated, and in some instances created, for capital gain. Focusing on the industry’s marketing practices, media scholars and health professionals help viewers understand the ways in which direct-to-consumer (DTC) pharmaceutical advertising glamorizes and normalizes the use of prescription medication, and works in tandem with promotion to doctors. Combined, these industry practices shape how both patients and doctors understand and relate to disease and treatment. Ultimately, Big Bucks, Big Pharma challenges [Americans] to ask important questions about the consequences of relying on a for-profit industry for our health and well-being.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Part 4)

Selective Vision


So Kate cites a kooky, anti-Zionist diatribe by some inflammatory provocateur at Daily Kos and baldly states: “Scratch a leftist… You’ll find an anti-Semite.”

Somehow though she seems to willfully ignore the fact that more than 94% of respondents to the poll attached to the diary entry think that the writer is a shameful, moronic, anti-Semitic turd.

It’s difficult to see how the writer — one “Neo Libertas” — can be described as a “leftist” in any sense of the word. If anything, based on his cross-post at a site called “The Truth Shall Set You Free” he seems much closer in orientation to the extreme right, crackpot John Birchers and Libertarians. In fact, the writer states: “Yoo-hoo. It’s up at DKos. waits for the wave of indignation from historically challenged Ziotards and finally an autoban.”

Well, nice try, Kate. I’m sure all your slack-jawed minions will nevertheless happily assert that your baseless smear against all liberals is indeed the truth, without, as usual, ever letting the pesky “facts” of the matter get in the way of things.

By the way, I wonder what kind of hostile feedback and negative polling Kate would receive from her readers in response one of her own (or Kathy Shaidle’s) hateful screeds against the swarthy Mooslims if a similar kind of poll were attached to her post. Just a thought…


Another blow for so-called “accountability” by the Harper government. It seems that the Ombudsman created by Accountability Act won’t have power to review contracts with MPs, ministers and CSIS. As NDP MP Pat Martin says: “I can’t imagine any justification for exemptions or exclusions. We enthusiastically supported this and at no time were we made aware that there would be exemptions or exclusions from it.”

Super Chickens!

Gutless Douchebags

When the going gets tough… the shiftless recreants of the right get busy — moderating anything displeasing out of existence, deleting comments or even flushing whole posts down the memory hole.

Perhaps no one has expressed the spineless creed of these misologistic douchebags better than the ever-dissembling “Conservative” spinner and aspiring fabulist Sandy “Crock-o-the-Matter”:

“Some comments have been deleted so as not to get involved in any discussion with anti-conservative bloggers who seem unsettled by these accomplishments [sic]. While I enjoy a good debate, I will not get dragged into someone’s else’s problem with the Harper government record. Instead, I would suggest that visitors go to the government and mainstream media sources I have used.”

There you go folks. Contradictory FACTS and reality-based information is your “problem” and Sandy will have nothing to do with any of it. So there... Harrumph! Comments that aren’t fulsome endorsements of Sandy’s drossy pack of lies and propaganda will either never see the light of day or will be summarily axed — it’s the “conservative” way.

Update: Responding to some more critical comments about her list of so-called “accomplishments” Sandy writes: “If you want justification on any entry, contact the PMO or CPC or the department that is involved. I have sourced my entry and that is as far as I am going to go in this ‘gotcha’ type of thread.” I have to say that’s the most amazing response I’ve ever heard in light of the fact that it’s rife with easily demonstrable errors and falsehoods… Whatever. As a simple “Canadian citizen who has a blog” it’s rather unimportant I suppose that her credibility and integrity now rate a big, fat ZERO.

Inside the Taliban (Part 9)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dumbfuck Radio

Conservative Girls Smell Funny

Ugh. I just endured the first half of “Girl on the Right” Wendy Sullivan’s ghastly new webcast called “Brass Balls Radio” that is… well, no need to reinvent the wheel, so let’s have our friend and fellow glutton for punishment Balby describe it for you:

“It’s the usual kinda blogcast-bad — a long, smarmy, self-important, unfocused, ill-informed and not very funny conversation between two folks, stitched together with clumsy edits when they run out of stuff to say. Imagine the pointless chatter of your least favourite morning DJs stretched to unbearable length, or overhearing a desultory conversation on a long bus ride between two people trying to impress each other. Her and some older guy who doesn’t really get to say much.”

I forced myself to take a few notes:

On Nancy Pelosi in the Middle East:
“I hear Nancy Pelosi is in Iraq. I believe she’s fighting with the Taliban, although I’m not sure. It’s kind of funny considering she was in Israel the other day. I think it’s quite possible that she just stole secrets and sold them to the little brown people.” [Discussion with her co-host then went on to suggest that Pelosi is “probably giving them suicide bomber tips.”]

On Baby Boomers:
“The most spoiled generation in history. The first generation to go to university and you know… they just don’t know how to live in the real world. They’ve never been hungry. They’ve never had to work for a living. They had everything handed to them.”

“We’ve had the hedonistic generation and in my lifetime, mercifully, they’re going to die. And then we can get back to business as usual.”

On Parenting:
“I should have been beaten way more often. I think my parents were of that generation that was just starting to get out the regular beatings, you know, which was unfortunate.”

“I think my whole life would have been different if I’d been beaten more. I might have gone to college… if I’d been beaten more. You need the abuse.”

On the Bible:
If you do read the Bible, if you read the New Testament, there’s no smiting.”
[Wrong. For example, Acts 23.3: “Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?”]

I’m not sure if I can tolerate sitting through the remaining half hour. Further transcriptions may require a team effort of some sort in order to distribute the pain and suffering.

Monty Python: The Light Entertainment War


Largely overshadowed by Bush’s provocative remarks to the Israeli Knesset last week was John McCain’s crystal ball gazing speech describing what his presidency would look like… in retrospect. More than anything else, it was a bizarre exercise in wishful thinking somewhat reminiscent of a SNL skit from May of 2006 in which Al Gore reflected on his own wildly successful first term in office.

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Part 3)


Oh goody! Sandy One Note’s latest iteration of her hacktactular list of “Accomplishments” is out. Now with in a really teeny-tiny typeface! Small fonts for small deeds, I guess.

No Country for Old Men?

“I’m older than dirt and I have more scars than Frankenstein,” has been a standard McCain line on the campaign trail for some time and it makes perfect sense for the cranky septuagenarian to pre-empt the issue of his advanced age with self-effacing humour just as he did in his appearance on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.

Should it matter that he’s a cancer-prone geriatric known to suffer from “senior moments” (as Fox News anchor Britt Hume described his repeated confusion over the difference between Shia and Sunni Iraqis) who has been a fixture in Congress for almost a third of a century? The serious answer is “No” but it’s still a fair question given that a recent Pew Research Center survey found that 50% of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for someone “in their 70s.”

Queen Victoria (Part 2)

A bit of trivia about Queen Victoria… In 1865 she ordered that six Royal Navy gunboats be sent to Bolivia to sink their fleet after relations between the two countries soured. Her admirals, however, quickly pointed out to her that Bolivia has no coastline and, therefore, no naval fleet. Victoria then sent for a map and a pair of scissors and figuratively cut Bolivia from the world.

Inside the Taliban (Part 8)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Who Killed the Electric Car? (Part 2)


Being a “social conservative” means always finding something to whine about.

Douchebag Alert: JoJo Prissypants has deleted the post and all related commentary.

Coughing Up a Hardball

I posted on this a couple of days ago, but it’s sooooo sweet that perhaps it’s worth a repeat — here, courtesy of Rachel Maddow filling in for Olbermann on Countdown. Matthews expands on talking points, double-speak and the power of buzzwords.

As Nicole @ Crooks & Liars says: “We’re quick to call out Matthews when he does something wrong, I think it’s incumbent upon us to let him know when he’s done well too.”

Queen Victoria (Part 1)

Seeing as it’s Victoria Day weekend and all…

Real Estate Ad Speak

While every kind of sales profession traffics in a certain degree of linguistic mendacity to embellish their wares, surely none seems to do it with such shameless abandon as estate agents. Here’s an advertisement from 1890 by a fabulist named James Hutchinson that would be pretty hard to top for its staggering hyperbole. It appeared in the “Dub. News” and is quoted by Charles Carroll Bombaugh in his delightfully titled Gleanings for the Curious from the Harvest-Fields of Literature:

To an Oppidan, a Ruricolist, or a Cosmopolitan, and may be entered upon immediately:
The House in STONE Row, lately possessed by CAPT. SIREE. To avoid Verbosity, the Proprietor with Compendiosity will give a Perfunctory description of the Premises, in the Compagination of which he has Sedulously studied the convenience of the Occupant. It is free from Opacity, Tenebrosity, Fumidity, and Injucundity, and no building can have greater Pellucidity or Translucency — in short, its Diaphaneity even in the Crepuscle makes it like a Pharos, and without laud, for its Agglutination and Amenity, it is a most Delectable Commorance; and whoever lives in it will find that the Neighbors have none of the Truculence, the Immanity, the Torvity, the Spinosity, the Putidness, the Pugnacity, nor the Fugacity observable in other parts of the town, but their Propinquity and Consanguinity occasion Jocundity and Pudicity — from which, and the Redolence of the place (even in the dog-days), they are remarkable for Longevity. For terms and particulars apply to JAMES HUTCHINSON, opposite the MARKET-HOUSE.

Are you doing laundry in the love of God?

And other curious ways to get a “harvest” from the Almighty… Let the “miracle seed-planting” begin and the “anointing” flow! Learn how YOU too can be a healer!

Inside the Taliban (Part 7)