Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why does the Conservative Party of Canada take Canadian sovereignty for granted?

To my member of parliament:

What is it about Canadian sovereignty that makes the Conservative Party of Canada take it so contemptuously for granted?

We live a good life in Canada. While I often do not agree with the light sentences our justices hand out to violent criminals, I've been gratified that American-styled paranoia hadn't filtered across the border after eight years of George W. Bush (that was, until we hosted the G20 Summit).

I like being subject to Canadian laws, which don't have room for torture, extraordinary rendition, "sneak and peak" searches of my home, detention without charge and particularly that I don't yet have to be fingerprinted in order to enter a grocery store.

But then I read in the Vancouver Sun about Bill C-42.

The bill is preposterous.

I would be apt to say that no self-respecting Canadian would entertain such a bill -- that a foreign country would have power over who boards a flight in Canada -- but then I don't need much reminding that the Conservative Party of Canada is not comprised of self-respecting Canadians.

I'll quote from the article I read to tell you what I find so troubling:
If Bill C-42 passes, then passengers leaving Canada on a flight to Cuba or France, for example, while flying over the U.S. would have their name, birthdate and gender subject to screening by U.S. Homeland Security, which involves running that information through various government databases to determine whether there is a terrorist threat.

If you have the same name as someone on a no-fly list, you may be questioned, delayed or even barred from the flight. If your name does not match, Homeland Security tells the airline that you may have a boarding pass.
I understand that the United States has tumbled in the last decade into a posture where reason is ridiculed, paranoia is policy and all people are guilty until grudgingly proved innocent.

Why are we importing this reprehensible mindset to Canada?

Why are we abdicating our sovereignty in this way?

The Americans also asked (and threatened) Canada to join in their adventure in Iraq in 2003. I recall the American ambassador to Canada at the time making not-so-veiled threats that if Canada didn't join American in its planned atrocity in Iraq, that there would be "repercussions."

Is Canada once again being threatened? If so, why isn't there anyone in the Conservative Party of Canada brave enough and proud enough to be Canadian to stand up for Canada's sovereignty?

There must be favors involved. There must be quid-pro-quo involved.

Or, is Stephen Harper merely nostalgic for the good ole Christo-fascist days of BushCo?

Wouldn't it be funny if there was an American named Stephen Harper who was on a no-fly list, and our own Prime Minister was one day affected by this?

Have you ever interacted with people in charge of the American border? They make up the rules as they go along. Depending on their mood they'll let people enter America or ruin their lives.

Is the Conservative Party of Canada really interested in letting those ham-handed, reactionary thugs meddle in our affairs?

The answer has to be no.

So, why does the Vancouver Sun have it so wrong? Has a prank component been added to Canada Day that I'm unaware of?

Or, does the Conservative Party of Canada really hold Canadians in such contempt?

I suppose I already have my answer.

The Canadian consciousness and Stockholm Syndrome

You think you know someone.

Then they turn around and shock you with an outrageous statement that, at first, you take as a poorly executed joke, but then you realize the person is serious. And you look at them -- the longer you've known them, the worse it is -- and wonder Who the hell are you?

This is how I feel about Canada.

There's a strong and active Canadian presence on the Web site Reddit.com. More and more, I'm astounded and bewildered by views put forward by my fellow Canadians. Not all of them; there still appears to be a few reasonable people in Canada, but a troubling number of people posting in Comments sections of stories have belief systems that are virtually alien to me.

Well, sounds like to me you just can't handle people thinking differently than you do, I hear a harrumpher harrumph from the back benches. Sounds like you believe anyone who doesn't agree with your opinions is wrong! That's very narrow minded in my judgment!

No, I actually learn from people who don't think as I do. I find opposing opinions educational.

The belief system I find so alien, yet so pervasive in Canadian life is Canadians' embrace of their abusers, their tormentors; their compassion for wrongdoers and dispassion for the wronged. It's like a our national consciousness is gripped by some type of Stockholm Syndrome -- enough to make our electorate a lame, naked entity that inspires fear in no politician.

A few examples:

"I will not forget what they have done to me" 20 people arrested at the G20 tell of "inhumane" treatment at the hands of police.

Response:
To be honest most of them are hilarious.
She was seething after a 19-hour detention. “I’m vegan. I haven’t had anything to eat until three hours ago.”
This is inhumane treatment?
Enns was strip-searched at the detention centre. He couldn’t sleep with the fluorescent lights.
Seriously, I have to side against the press and the protesters on that one. Building such a fucking hype out of nothing, making us and the rest of the world believe we live in a police state... for what? Selling copies. This is bullshit.
Another:
Duh. The "protesters" are REALLY agitators. I mean what are they actually protesting? World government? Peace? ...

It's a big hullalaboo and these "protestors" just want have a chance to get "wronged" so they can blog about it.

Here's a tip, even if you're not throwing rocks at the cops, don't be on the side that is. And if you are, you deserve to get rushed by riot cops.
Then, some voice of reason:
That's right! Because arresting innocent people and detaining them in improper facilities for arbitrary amounts of time is Hilarious, and cause no real harm to anyone. Nevermind our rights, this is all a gas!

Did you find the several cases of outright police brutality as hilarious? The young man who had to have stitches to the forehead? the mayoral candidate thrown to the ground and kicked repeatedly? The people attacked and detained with no reason? Naw naw, that shit is all Hilarious.

Just because you aren't impressed with how brutal the police were in Every case doesn't mean this isn't a significant and deeply worrying attack on citizen's rights.

You're disdain for your fellow citizen's and their rights disgusts me.
Or, how about the mind-blowing comments under this article: Woman dies after staff allows battery to run down.

Response:
Mistakes happen. I think the usage of the word "allows" to be somewhat misleading; a staffer forgot to transfer the patient back to a bed ventilator and the alarm system in place was too quiet to be heard even by the visiting husband. This is very unfortunate, but I don't believe her 61 year old grandmother was a "guinea pig," which implies intent, and Melissa Jarabek seems pretty bent on getting some money out of this.

There's a more thorough article here; http://www.vancouversun.com/news/woman+dies+after+workers+allow+ventilator+battery+down/3183099/story.html

I don't want to live in a Canada where doctors, nurses, and staffers are going to be held fiscally accountable for these kinds of errors; it discourages people from entering the profession and encourages those that are in it to inflate their wages drastically to compensate for the inherent risk.

It's worth note that Fraser Health Authority is just a publicly funded region. If they were to be found liable, it would come from the budgets they normally allocate to patient care and equipment, or from the taxpayers themselves. It's not like they're going to deliver the bad news to their shareholders.
My reply:
What you're expressing here is horrifying, farcically insensitive and naive as hell.

"Mistakes happen"??? The medical staff here weren't changing a bicycle tire. A person's life was in their hands.

You're very laissez faire about the whole thing when it's someone else's family member.
Another:
Humans make mistakes. It happens. It will always happen. No one is perfect.
Really? This is how some Canadians think?

Canadians have a terrible tendency to feel compassion for the perpetrators of a wrong, and not for the wronged party. Maybe that's what accounts for our dismal treatment of aboriginal Canadians.

Could this explain why our judges routinely hand out egregiously light sentences for violent crimes?

Does this explain how our politicians can blithely shove aside Canada's Auditor General when she moves to audit MPs' use of public funds?

Sure, Canadians grumble -- grumble under our breaths like kids at the back of a classroom.

But at heart, we embrace our abusers, we re-elect our tormentors. We give lavish pensions to our national miscreants, scoundrels and wastrels.

We have provincial human rights tribunals in place to prosecute and persecute anyone whose opinion we don't like -- because disagreeing with someone else's opinion is viewed by these skewed, illegitimate bodies as violating someone's human rights. [Note: I'll allow that this is definitely a reach, but it appalls me to no end that it's not a terribly far reach.]

From the atrocious bungling of the 1985 Air India disaster, to the desperate sins of Brian Mulroney, to thuggish misanthropy of Jean Chr├ętien, to the daily brutality of Canadian bureaucrats, Canadians embrace their abusers and curse their fellow sufferers.

It's one thing to be the passive grumbler, but it's shameful and ignoble to embrace one's abusers. It's wrong to have compassion for wrongdoers at the expense of the wronged.

Let the downvotes begin.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The only reason why I wish politicians lived forever

Whenever a politician dies, the media goes through this exhaustive, undignified, morbid, bend-over-backward exercise in canonizing the deceased.

Now it's Robert Byrd's turn.

I don't think I'll ever witness anything, though, as nauseating as the deification of Ronald Reagan when he finally passed away.

I rue the day that George Bush senior dies, or when Dick Cheney or Henry Kissinger dies -- not that there's much chance of those re-animated corpses ever konking out.

It's just that the "honors" and "remembrances" are, essentially, an asbestos blanket of bullshit.

Remember when Strom Thurmond died? You would have thought he cured cancer and somehow made racial segregation a beautiful thing. The fact that he was a rancid old racist was whispered here and there, and only became a focus when Trent Lott stood up to insert both Florsheim shoes in his mouth.

I can't even guess at the rancorous lies and rhapsodizing hypocrisy that will fill the Web and Cable news cycles when Bush senior, Cheney, Kissinger or any of those other old gargoyles disappear from this earth.

I'm not saying we should drag their corpses through the muck. Just bury them without the epic poems written in treacle and fecal matter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Camo-Covers: disguise your shoes and shield your dignity

There is no more humbling equalizer among human beings than the biological imperative that we seek the relief of a toilet at some point in our day.

It's an awful, socially awkward, often career-limiting frailty in the human condition.

Elimination.

Among men, at least, there is exists the Sanctity of the Urinal: men silently tend their business with ne'ery a glance, nor a word directed toward anyone else at nearby urinals.

It's in the same Code league as the sanctity of the confessional practiced by the Catholic Church, or the code of vendetta practiced by Corsican mobsters.

It is sacrosanct.

As is the prohibition on urinal-to-toilet-stall communications.

Verboten.

But, humiliation that no code can protect against is when someone entering the rest room recognizes the shoes of the hapless boob perched upon a toilet within a stall.

Sure, it'd be great if everyone had the money to own a dedicated pair of "Shit Shoes" -- a secret, unrecognizable pair of shoes to be worn while seated within a toilet stall. But who can afford that?

That's why Whetam Social Technics created shoe "Camo-Covers" to disguise people's identities when they are using a toilet.

Camo-Covers are inexpensive and easy to use. They fold up and fit easily and unobtrusively in a trouser pocket.

They come in a range of styles from Hip Hop, Work Boot, Yuppie, Executive and the new "Hey Man!" Sandal look.

Camo-Covers are durable, and tests have shown they can be reused up to four times. They are also bio degradable, so Camo-Covers can be flushed after use.

Best of all, Camo-Covers are made from the patent-pending BriteWeave fiber, so in a pinch, they can be used as toilet paper. If there is anything worse than having to use a toilet in the first place, it's finding out too late that there is not toilet paper.

In extreme circumstances, Camo-Covers are even edible.

So, the next time "natural calls" don't be just another rube in the stalls.

Get Camo-Covers. They'll cover your shoes and shield your dignity.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Most would move to Canada, if they could: Poll



There's no doubt this is true: Most would move to Canada, if they could: Poll. Canadians live well.

What often goes unreported, and which so many Canadians are in complete denial about, is the underbelly to our amiable national character: our shrug-of-the-shoulders culture; our pathological passive-aggression; the flaccid tyranny of official do-nothing-ness.

Example: B.C. mom Judith Jarabek-Gray died because provincial government caregivers let the battery run out on her ventilator:
On Jan. 21, after she'd spent 16 days in the $6,000-per-month facility, staff took her off her bed ventilator -- which was supplied with continuous power by a wall socket -- and moved to a chair ventilator, attached to a battery with a six-hour life span.

Returned to the bed one hour later, she remained attached to the chair unit.

Jarabek said staff visited "eight or nine" times in the next several hours, but "not one picked up on the fact" she was on the wrong ventilator.
. . .

Jarabek has discovered in the past several months that Fraser Health can't be held accountable under the law; the Family Compensation Act in B.C. does not permit people to seek justice for pain and suffering in cases like her mother's.

"The law allows for people to be negligently killed and there's no recourse," she said. "There is no culpability. I'm not OK with that."
Official response: shrug of the shoulders.

. . . the Family Compensation Act in B.C. does not permit people to seek justice for pain and suffering in cases like her mother's.

There's no way this can exist, yet it does.

As for the unconscionable "pardon system" in Canada by which convicted criminals can apply to have their records wiped of all taint or stain if they manage to live five years crime-free, it's an outrage to reason, to civilization, a slap in the face to any notions of right and wrong.

For non-violent crimes -- I can go along with it. In fact, I advocate creative sentencing when it comes to non-violent offenders, rather than simple incarceration. So long as the punishment -- and yes, the justice system should exist to punish offenders, not merely to rehabilitate them, as though our penal system were some kind of personality spa -- drives home to offenders that it's not worth their while to break the law.

But the Canadian pardon system is an equal opportunity affront.

If it were not for the preternaturally fast action of MPs, infamous sex murderer Karla Homolka would be eligible to apply for a pardon, and the hopelessly myopic, out-of-touch, incompetent, insensate National Parole Board, would surely grant it to her.

Convicted child molester James Graham was granted a pardon. Crimes don't get much more heinous than harming, scarring, morbidly sexually abusing, and traumatizing children for the rest of their lives.

National Parole Board of Canada's response to his petition for a pardon? A shrug of the shoulders and use of the only rubber stamp they have: Yes.

The national police in Canada, the once vaunted Royal Canadian Mounted Police have run amok like a band drunken fraternity boys for years. Response of those in authority: shrug.

In a perfect world, Canada would be the perfect place to live.

Unfortunately, there are things in this world such as crime and sickness that befall us. Once a person goes down one of those chutes, they're at the mercy of the most proficient shoulder shruggers in the nation.

Why?

Because Canada is a place where there is no accountability for poor actions by those in positions of responsibility.

Those who previously occupied those positions of responsibility ground off all the rough edges of accountability over a period of decades so that their shiftless, incompetent, sometimes malevolent future-cestors.

The underbelly of the Canadian national character can be described as flaccid tyranny. Maybe it's simple passive-aggression. Trouble is, nobody cares enough to look into the problem, much less rectify it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Opus Dei on Moving Day

Today I helped a friend move.

His parents and some nieces were helping at the new house. My buddy's brother came over around dinner time with his five year old daughter and ten year old son.

The ten year old boy was one of those fun, bright kids who's smart and interested in stuff. He was telling us about continuity errors in movies he'd seen and unrealistic portrayals of dead people by bit players in Beetle Juice.

He was pure executive producer material.

We were talking about super heroes and he mentioned a book he was interested in reading about some super hero I never heard of.

"But I don't have thirty-two dollars to buy it," he said.

I suggested he try the library.

"I go to a Catholic school," he said, "and they wouldn't have this book -- it has mercenaries in it, and mercenaries are definitely not Catholic."

"Have you ever heard of Opus Dei," I said, and suddenly all the adults in the room were looking at me.

"No," the kid said.

"They have mercenaries and they're ultra Catholic," I told him. The kid was blown away. He didn't believe me.

"But killing is against everything it is to be a Catholic," he said, "I mean, killing somebody like Hitler or Mussolini might be OK, but killing is wrong!"

Imagine a ten year old kid knowing about Hitler and Mussolini!

"Actually, the Pope during World War II liked Hitler and Mussolini," I said.

The kid was agog with shock. One of my friends said to someone else, "Oh man, we should be filming this!"

"What?" said the kid, stunned, responding to my statement about Hitler and Mussolini.

"Yeah, Hitler and Mussolini hated Jews and Communists, just like the Pope. He thought those dictators were great!"

Reading the kid's confused expression as to why Catholics would hate Jews, I told him, "Catholics believe Jews killed Jesus. I mean, you and I know it was the Romans, but Catholics hang on to that old hatred."

"But you shouldn't hate anybody!" the kid pleaded.

"I know. You're right. But that's the Catholic Church for you."

"But Jewish people are God's people!" he said.

"I know," I said. "Jesus was a Jew."

The kid looked at me quizzically and said, "Jesus was everybody!"

Around then my friend's parents and brother decided to leave. The ten year old nephew left. I told him it was fun talking to him. He said he looked forward to continuing our discussion at some later time.

I couldn't believe how smart that little boy was.

A few minutes later, my friend's brother gave a quick knock on the front door and leaned in telling my buddy what to bring to some BBQ they were going to the following day.

Feeling like I might've said too much to the guy's son, I called over, "Sorry about bringing up Opus Dei."

He gave me a flat look and said, "He just told me he doesn't believe in God anymore."

He was joking. I know he was joking. He had to be joking.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Won't happen . . .



. . . but could you imagine how insufferable the United States would be if they won the World Cup?

First, they'd demand the World Cup be played every 6 months, rather than every 4 years, and hosted only by America cities.

From CNN.com:
First half goals from midfielder Valter Birsa and striker Zlatan Ljubijankic looked to be enough to guarantee Slovenia would reach the last 16, but it proved only the signal for a courageous fight back by the U.S.

LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan pulled the first goal back in the 48th minute as he smashed his shot into the roof of the net with ferocious power.

The equalizer came with nine minutes remaining as Jozy Altidore headed down for Michael Bradley -- son of coach Bob Bradley -- to convert with an equally emphatic strike
.
Normally, I'd note "emphasis added" but all I did was bold the CNN writer's verbal ejaculation.

It's just that during the Olympics or the latest American invasion of a sovereign nation, the US portrays itself simultaneously as the overlord and the underdog.

"The greatest nation that ever was with the greatest military and athletes!"

And yet ". . . all the chips are stacked against our ragtag group of lovable losers and misfits."

Dream Team. Miracle on Ice.

When Irish swimmer, Michelle Smith, was breaking records and winning medals in the 1996 Summer Games, it was a sore loser on the American swim team who accused her of steroid use, tainting all of her accomplishments.

Michael Phelps won 200 gold medals at the 2008 Summer Games, everyone believed he was able to do it because he ate Subway.

What best encapsulates the dyspepsia I experience over America's dual role as underdog and overlord in international sports is the Michael Johson/Donovan Bailey rivalry and contest.

It all began when Gnome in Chief of NBC Sports, Bob Costas -- who has eyes that look like they're filled with aquarium water -- made the ridiculous statement that Michael Johnson was the fastest man on earth because when he split Johnson's 19.32 200 meter run in half, it gave him a theoretical -- in the empty arena of the Costas mind -- a 100 meter time of 9.66. Which bested Donovan Bailey's 9.84.

As Sports Illustrated panned this crooked athletic mathematics: "If you think of Johnson's time in the 200 as the product of two equal 100s—which, of course, you can't—you must consider that one of them includes a flying start; off a flying start in the Olympic 4 x 100 relay, Bailey ran an 8.95."

Which led to . . .
The long-awaited match race between Michael Johnson and Donovan Bailey turned into a travesty, further wounding an ailing sport: Bailey, the 100-meter Olympic champion and world-record holder from Canada, had for several weeks undercut the only reason to run the race at all, protesting repeatedly that it wouldn't determine the World's Fastest Human, because he had won that title in Atlanta. This was scarcely 24 hours after Bailey had threatened to pull out of the race in a dispute over the track design and then had issued a pathetic press release, stating that he was running "under duress" caused by the organizers' ineptitude.
See what happened here:



Right -- Michael Johnson crapped-out when he saw that he wasn't going to win.

So, sure, let's see how far the ragtag, misfit gang of American soccer players do in the World Cup. No matter what happens, there will be complaints and excuses and requests for "do overs."

This is not anti-Americanism. It's anti-braggart, anti-loud-mouth, anti-blowhard. Everyone wants to see the guy who shoots his mouth off take a fall. It's like a natural fucking law.

Reason #421,986 why America should pack it in

From WASHINGTON (CBS4/CNET) Internet Kill Switch Proposed For President:
The days of freedom on the Internet, even during a time of national crisis, may be coming to an [end] under a new U.S. Senate bill. The legislation would grant the president emergency powers to seize control of or even shut down portions of the Internet during times of national emergency.

It's been dubbed as an Internet "kill switch" the president could flip. However, the idea behind it is not new. A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August allowed the White House to "declare a cybersecurity emergency," and another from Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would have explicitly given the government the power to "order the disconnection" of certain networks or Web sites.
The President of the United States should have the power to shut down the Internet?

Uh . . . no.

The time for niceties has passed: No, America, you do not have the maturity or the sense to be in charge of an "Internet kill switch."

Christ almighty, the United States barely managed its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons during the Cold War.

And after George W. Bush cracked the floor on just what sort of muddled, evil miscreant can take high office in America, such things as an "Internet kill switch" need to be future-proofed against the Sarah Palins, Dick Cheneys and Donald Rumsfelds of tomorrow.

Can you imagine President Sarah Palin when the Bristol Palin Sex Tape comes out? Kill switch! Hell, I can see her hitting the switch if some Web site posted a photo that made her ass look big.

And, of course, the other wretches seeking the Oblong Office would surely use it for far more nefarious, malevolent and self-serving reasons.

Of course, there's little explanation why such a kill switch should exist at all.

The American media was long ago bought-and-sold, hamstrung, made compliant, complacent, tamed, house-broken, obedient, subjugated, subservient, cowering, eager-to-please its masters. They can't jump on the official, phony narratives fast enough.

The kill switch on the free press in the United States was punched around the time of November 22, 1963. Let's not kid ourselves.

I remember the morning of September 11, 2001, going about my morning ritual of news reading as I sipped my first coffee at work. Around the time my wife called to tell me she saw, live, on television a plane hit one of the World Trade Center buildings, I found myself unable to bring up CNN.com to see what was happening.

I guess the forces who brought the Twin Towers down that day, and subsequently launched the country into two unwinnable wars, chasing boogeymen to the far corners of the world look back with wistful fondness to the ah-shucks carefree days of President John F. Kennedy's assassination, and those of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy -- back before this troublesome Internet came about with its blogs and on-the-spot videos. This irritating, unpatriotic information-sharing.

Was the Israeli massacre on that Gaza-bound aid flotilla the final straw?

It's one thing to show on a blog the obvious controlled demolition takedown of the World Trade Center buildings, but quite another to show the aftermath of bloodthirsty Israeli commando raid on an unarmed ship.

No, I don't believe the minds that brought us the Department of Homeland Security color-coded threat level system should be anywhere near this mythic "Internet kill switch."

To be honest, given the current state of the Web, part of me would almost welcome a complete wipe.

Afterall, the people who brought us linux from the fruits of their spare time and passion for technology have surely created a better -- albeit command-line-driven -- Web alternative. I'd love to give a try.

I wouldn't mourn the loss of most of the crap that comprises the Web (some may believe this blog is an example). But that's just me.

That's the one good thing about guys like Joe Lieberman, who I've read is among the sponsors of the "kill switch" bill -- if he's only now thinking of such a thing now, then many other, smarter, more soulful people have not only considered the concept, but doubtless have built a workaround to it.

But honestly, pack it in America. Guys like Texas Republican Congressman Joe Barton shouldn't be in positions of power or responsibility. Barton should be out in a Texas field, sun shining on his neck, learning firsthand why it's not a good idea to piss in the wind.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Environment and Electric cars and stone-stupid fuckheadedness

I'm sick of the so-called "climate change" debate.

When did we stop calling pollution "pollution"?

I want "green" initiatives to work because I'm sick of breathing, eating and drinking pollution.

No offense, but I couldn't care less if the snows are melting on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Really.

And I'd like to own an electric car because I'm sicking of paying more and more for gasoline and hearing the chorus of cries about "peak oil."

No offense to the blue-billed flapjack of south Narnia, but I don't want an electric car in order for it to flourish as an organism.

Most documentary film watchers know of the dismal decision by General Motors in the late 90s to kill the electric car, the EV1.

My dad was a milkman in the 1950s in a small Ontario city, and drove an electric delivery truck to make his rounds. The vehicle had range enough for him to do his route and return to the dairy. The electric truck was also well able to keep up with traffic -- the speed of which is the same today as it was then.

Interesting that my father had technology available to him in the 1950s that I don't have access to today.

Engineers working on the next generation of electric decry battery life. "The batteries are too big and don't hold enough juice!"

Why wouldn't electric cars have solar panels on their roofs to make up for this?

Decades from now, after we've fried the circuit board of our civilization, people will look back on this generation and most of the generations of the 20th Century and marvel at the sheer stone-stupid fuckheadedness of our race.

Between wind, sun and waves, we've got all the power sources we need.

Instead of harnessing them, we marched behind the Dick Cheneys of the world, and their culture of built-in obsolescence, right off a cliff.

If I'm going to go off a cliff, I demand to go in an electric car.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

GOP Nominee Proposes Landmines For Mexico Border

GOP Nominee Proposes Landmines For Mexico Border

This is just the sort of outside-the-box thinking we need to solve social problems, such as illegal immigration.
Republican nominee for a northern New Mexico congressional seat, Tom Mullins, said in a radio interview: "We could put land mines along the border. I know it sounds crazy. We could put up signs in 23 different languages if necessary." He also suggested that terrorists could carry a nuclear weapon across the Mexican border.
The Mullins Plan, as it's now called among Teabagger groups and patriot units, is ingenious in its simplicity:

Large numbers of Mexicans would be hired to plant the round, disc-like "seeds" of the "Frisbee Tree" along the U.S./Mexico border. They would begin planting these "seeds" near the American side, working their way back into Mexico.

When the work is completed, they would be informed via bullhorn that the "seeds" they planted are, in fact, deadly landmines.

This would expel the first wave of illegal immigrants, it would get those awkward landmines laid, and with the laborers safely out of America, they won't even have to be paid!

As happens with most people who dream up extraordinary ideas, Tom Mullins is hedging on his brilliance:
Asked Monday to clarify, Tom Mullins emphasized that he does not advocate [protecting the American border with landmines].

"I am not suggesting we do that," he told The Associated Press.

. . .

"When I heard it, I said, 'Well, that's an interesting concept,"' Mullins said.
Tom Mullins better make up his mind soon because his idea has caught fire in Arizona, which may steal all of his thunder by instituting the idea before Mullins makes it to the Senate.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Windsor's Catch-22 -- the Morality Unit is on AND off the job

Imagine a fire department that kept bankers' hours. If someone's house caught fire after 4 p.m., or on a weekend, they would simply be out of luck.

Or a police department that was open 9-5. If someone broke into your home after 8 p.m., you'd have to wait until the next morning to phone the police and report what happened.

Neither situation exists in any city of any size because of one reason: no reasonable person would stand for it.

Then I read in The Windsor Star: "Neighbours take Windsor students to court over parties."

It seemed like a simple matter of some university students sewing their wild oats at the expense of a few nights of their neighbors' sleep.

From the article:
Neighbours have called police and the city's bylaw enforcement office hundreds of times. Officers would attend and issue warnings, but the rowdy parties continued. The neighbours would complain again, and police would tell them to call bylaw enforcement. Bylaw enforcement would tell them to call police.
Round and round!

What do Windsorites pay taxes for if not for world class bureaucracy?

Windsor police were called to the party house 118 times between February 2008 and May 2010.

How did the nefarious party scoundrels outsmart the best legal and law enforcement minds in Windsor?

They didn't have to. Windsor's bureaucrats did it for them.

Police "opened what they call a POP file -- short for problem-oriented policing. The idea was that every call about 460 Askin wouldn't be treated as a new incident, but rather as more evidence of an ongoing problem. The file was assigned to the morality unit."

Windsor has a morality unit. I did not know this until today. A morality unit.

First, why in the world in the Year 2010 would Canada's gambling and strip club capital have a morality unit? It's fighting terrorism by shutting down one rub-and-tug joint at a time? It's elevating the social air in Windsor by thwarting one stripper-perpetrated handjob at a time?

Secondly, why would a noise complaint be assigned to a morality unit?

The noise in question was a nuisance, not moral or immoral. What would this morality unit be expected to do? Show up some night when the party house was in full thrall and take out their morality measuring equipment and evaluate and assess the moral level of the cacophony?

Better yet was the response from Bureaucrat-in-Chief, Ann Kalinowski, manager of compliance and enforcement: "We've issued warnings. . ."

Maybe no one in Ms. Kalinowski's experience has ever let a warning come and go unheeded. Unfortunately, in the larger world, this happens quite often. One party issues a warning and the warned party does not heed. For some very damaged souls, warnings are not enough.

Issuers of warnings should be aware of this.

Then Ms. Kalinowski explains "We've done the educational component."

What that might entail, I have no idea, though I have an image of Ms. Kalinowski doing an Al Gore-styled PowerPoint presentation on her laptop in the living room of the offending house, amid empty beer kegs, overturned furniture, underwear stuck to the wall, dirty socks on the floor.

Whatever the "educational component" was comprised of, the ingenious noisy louts eschewed the law once again, continuing to take their neighbors hostage with their unabated noise.

From the article:
"[C]ity officials couldn't lay a charge because they never witnessed the disorderly behaviour themselves.

"There's just not enough evidence in this case," said Lee Anne Doyle, the city's chief building official who oversees bylaw enforcement.

The problem lies in the hours bylaw officers work and the way they are deployed, say neighbours.

After 11 p.m., bylaw officers work only in the city's downtown core, Kalinowski said. In the case of Askin Boulevard, "most of the complaints come in the middle of the night." Besides, she said, due to health and safety concerns, bylaw enforcement officers can't respond to rowdy house parties.

"If there are crowds and drinking, they won't attend." Kalinowski said.
They won't attend?

They.

I imagine "they" resembling the by-the-book uniformed cop, Levitt, in the old TV show Barney Miller.

I recall an episode when geeky, pudgy Levitt was assigned to a plain clothes detail and he showed up for work in a ridiculous denim suit. Seeing the odd looks cast his way by the other detectives, Levitt said, "Do I look 'street' enough?"

I imagine Kalinowski's office employing a legion of Levitt's whose jobs is it to "attend" parties, but whom have never been properly invited to parties, or otherwise wouldn't know a party if they drove their cars through one.

If there are crowds and drinking, they won't attend . . . bylaw enforcement officers can't respond to rowdy house parties.

That's like saying to cops, You may only pursue suspects who do not run from you.

This is a solid gold bureaucratic turd. A complete and utter embarrassing Catch-22: that one of the aspects of a crime or infraction of city bylaw is a pre-requisite for investigators not to investigate.

Firefighters may combat fires except if they are hot.

. . . bylaw enforcement officers can't respond to rowdy house parties.

The only parties bylaw enforcement personnel may investigate for noise or nuisance are those that are quiet and where no drinking is going on.

How does Canadian society hamstring itself this way?

I realize we're a passive people, we don't have fiery marches in the streets, we don't overtake government buildings or flog bad leaders.

But how did we devolve to a level where a neighborhood can be held prisoner by three crafty cretins whose purpose in life appears only to cause other people trouble?

Really? Windsor can't do any better than this?

The producers of the Police Academy franchise must be notified about this immediately!

US recession finally affects governmental thuggery



There was a time when politicians were insulated by phalanxes of body guards and blacksuited-black-shades-wearing protectors whose job it was to repel any members of the electorate misguided and ignorant enough to attempt to address them.

Well, those salad days are long gone as budget cuts have everyone tightening their belts.

This has led to unseemly scenes like that acted out by Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) who had no choice but to perform an assault himself when asked by some noodle-brained upstart whether or not the congressman "supported President Obama's agenda."



It's a dark day when politicians are left to perform their own hand-to-hand combat with citizens.

Ever since the small mishap at the Watergate Hotel in 1972, the American electorate has forgotten all propriety and believes it can simply ask its elected officials questions.

Didn't the Bush administration do enough to demonstrate that only the wretchedly unpatriotic question government officials? Wasn't that made abundantly clear?

I guess not. And we're left with the pathetic sight of a distinguished congressman sully his own hands by having to slap around a citizen himself.

We need a return to the simplicity of the W. days when the national credo was Shut up and shop.

Friday, June 11, 2010

At Heart We're All the Same: The Universality of Stupidity

You mean my community isn't the only one that periodically beats up on teachers? I don't believe it!

But after reading this blog post To: The Honorable Chris Christie, in which a teacher rips the governor a new asshole over criticism that governor recently ladled onto teachers, I see that my community is not a rogue state in its ignorance.

Around here, all it takes is a slow news day for one of the editorial writers to dust off one of the hundredth generation mimeographed screeds about teachers being overpaid, underworked, whiny and pampered.

Sure, I had my fair share of bad teachers when I was in school, but as I entered the workforce -- the wonderful, mythical, streamlined paragon of efficiency: the free market system; corporate life! -- I realized every professional has its requisite number of duds.

It's when politicians start in on teachers that the irony and hypocrisy and downright fuckheadedness truly comes to a head.

Politicians who aren't outright criminals, whores and gangsters are rarer than albino alligators.

BP plans to defer dividend after pressure from Obama



In a wrong-headed move that will surely do nothing to stop the catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, BP announced that it will defer dividends after being pressured by the Obama administration.

If the Obama administration was truly serious about tackling the monstrous hemorrhage of oil in the Gulf, if would instruct BP to increase its dividends. These dividends would then be placed 5,000 feet beneath the Gulf's surface, around the punctured pipe. Each dividend recipient would merely have to dive for their check, and in order to receive it, wrap their belt around the pipe.

As America's free market economy proves, again and again, there's no greater motivator than self-interest and money. I say we put those sound principles to work to solve this ecological and economic disaster in the Gulf.

Milton Friedman and Dick Cheney would applaud this proactive approach.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Blindfolds & Tequila

Spig McIntyre needed rescuing.

He was a stranded contractor on an Internet team that relied on the headless blunder IT department to make fixes to the company Web site.

"But we own the user experience on the Web site," his manager declared at a meeting, exuding smiling goodwill, tranquility and Alpha-and-Omega-ness.

How wonderful, thought Spig. We own the user experience. We cannot do a thing to improve it, but by gawd we own it.

Spig wrote to a friend:
"Owning the Web site's ‘user experience' is like someone pointing to a car and saying, ‘You own that car.' But when you move to get into the car, you're stopped and told: ‘Hey, you can't drive the car—you just own it.'

"Then you see a guy who's blindfolded and sucking on a bottle of tequila led to the car. He's helped in behind the steering wheel.

"'Is that guy OK to drive?' you ask and you're told, 'Don't worry! You own the car!' But you can't help yourself, and you say, 'If I own the car, can't I control who drives it?' And the person you're talking to looks at you like you just coughed up a snail. 'Uh, no,' the person says, 'you don't get to own the car and drive the car.'

"All the while, the blindfolded guy drives recklessly around in the car, fumbling with the steering wheel and his tequila bottle and cell phone, going up the curb, smashing into fences and parked cars.

"'Could we just take the tequila away from the guy?' you ask, but the person you're talking to is already shaking his head. 'Or the blindfold?' you say, 'can't we take the blindfold off? The guy's going to ruin the car if he can't see where he's going.'"

"'You own the car,' the person says. 'You own the car.'"
Hurrah for pride of ownership!

Hurrah for employee engagement!

And finally, hurrah for hurrah's sake!