Thursday, October 30, 2008
Good video. Manages to cover a good number of both Canajun & Murrican clichés.
(Disclaimer: The views expressed by this video are not necessarily those of blog publisher. Some Canajuns also seem to have contracted the virus of being uptight about immigration...)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Apparently the world loves Obama. McCain, not so much.
Here are a couple of partial screen shots:
Update: Oct. 26, 11:40pm
OK, so while I'm at it, here's a partial screenshot from a global Gallup poll commissioned by foreignpolicy.com.
Here's the first one:
See this photo here. It's from an article entitled: Another election nightmare in Florida? What are these people doing?
AP Photo/J Pat Carter
Well, I'll tell you. The caption for this photo is: People stand in line to vote early in Pompano Beach, Fla., on Oct. 23, 2008.
The article goes on to say that people stood in line for as much as two hours! In a voting place where there were "a couple of dozen voting machines and their operators...struggling in vain to keep pace with a flood of citizens. " And this for advance voting, mind you. Not even election day yet.
This is in Florida. In the good ole US of A. The country that is the beacon of hope for all struggling democracies. The light of liberty. The most election-crazy nation in the world! (I mean, really, where else does a presidential election consume the attention and energies of its people for more than a year?)
I am astounded that a country that holds so many elections should have its citizens standing in line for hours simply to vote. Haven't they figured out by now how to do it expeditiously?
(Remember when they had the troubles in Florida before? Of course you do, Mr. Chad...OK, remember Fidel Castro's remark about sending election observers to help out the poor Murricans? You thought that was just a joke, didn't you? Well, maybe not so much of a joke.)
Now, here's why I'm flabbergasted by the apparent unwieldiness of the Murrican voting system. You know, of course, that we here in Canaduh just had our own exercise in electoral inanity. The campain (sp. error deliberate of course...) lasted just over thirty days. None of this orgiastic self-flagellation and mutual-masturbation and puerile parodies of political poop-slinging going on and on in an endless round of gotcha journalism and obsessive attention to irrelevant details. Up here in Canaduh it's "wham bang thank you ma'am oops my minority government slip is showing!" Vote and be done with it!
In Canaduh we have a standing voters' list. They send you a card with your name and address on it, and the place where you have to go to vote. If you're not on the voters' list, it's easy enough to find out how to get on the list. And even if you don't get on the list before election day, there's a fairly simple method of making a declaration which will allow you to vote. (The only real flaw here is that there doesn't seem to be any serious attempt to ascertain whether the person is actually a citizen and eligible to vote. This includes people both on and off the list...Seems a little weird to me...)
On voting day, you take your card, show it to a couple of people, show them your photo ID (a new innovation since the last election), they give you a paper ballot, you go behind a little cardboard booth thingy and here's what you do:
You put a big X beside the name of your favourite candidate. The same way King John signed the Magna Carta. A big X.
You take it to Martha or Ethel at the table and watch them put it in the ballot box. Boom! Done!
When the polls close, they have somebody who passed Grade 5 arithmetic count the ballots. (I'm not sure, but I think they also have a scrutineer and he/she would be at least a high school graduate.) In other words, it's not rocket science.
On election day, I was escorted by a burly Yoni School attendant to the polling place, got my ballot, and was in and out in ten minutes!
So, all right, I admit I'm not intimately familiar with the US rigmarole. You have to register to vote first. But when you register, don't you get some sort of card or paper that identifies you as a registered voter? What more, then, do you need?
I suppose part of the problem is those damn voting machines. You know what I say? Toss em in the trash bin! Simple paper ballots. A big X. Why complicate matters? Unless there is some ulterior motive? I don't know, I'm just askin'.
Ultimately, I think it's a shameful state of affairs that the world's No. 1 democracy can't hold a national election in an efficient manner.
So, now, the second article is even more disturbing, in a creepy kind of way. The title of this article is: Chairwoman of N.M. GOP group calls Obama "a Muslim socialist".
Her name is Marcia Stirman. She wrote a letter to the editor of her local paper. Got a bit of flak about it too. But she is unrepentant. Here's what she said to the Associated Press:
I don't trust them [Muslims] at all. They've sworn across the world that they are our enemies. Why we're trying to elect one is beside me ... I still have freedom of speech and an opinion. If the Islamic group doesn't like it, well, I don't like what's going on in their camp, either.Now, I'm sure some of you remember all the bad publicity Barack Hussein Obama received because of the rants engaged in by his pastor in Chicago. What was his name again? Jeremiah Wright, that's right! And his church? Trinity United Church of Christ. (Am I reading that right? I think so. Or maybe Christ is just another name for Muhammed.)
Obviously, the purpose of pointing this out is to remind Republican supporters that they simply can't have it both ways...nailing Obama for radical black Christian views and simultaneously branding him a radical Muslim.
But the creepy part...
Do people really believe these lies? Apparently they do. Even Republican Colin Powell can't seem to convince people about Obama's Christianity. (Approx. 10 minutes into the video, or here right at the beginning of the video.) Or make them pay attention to the real question: Even if Obama were Muslim, so what? Does being Muslim disqualify you? Does being Mormon? (Being Catholic almost disqualified Kennedy...) But this is bigotry, pure and simple. As for the socialist part, check out this video on Democracy Now, in which the publisher of Harper's Magazine discusses this pseudo-accusation, and then further discusses how the US needs to have a serious debate about some possibly socialist-type actions in the near future, given the sorry state of the US capitalism.
So I wonder about statements like those of Ms. Stirman. Either she's completely stupid, since on the evidence Obama is neither Muslim nor socialist. Or she's deliberately spreading lies. Hoping that some people will be ignorant enough to fall for them.
I'm sorry, I have to say this: frankly, I'm appalled by the average level of political discourse and debate in the US.
(Aside: This quality of being appalled is what marks me as a true Canajun. You know those phrases we use to describe pairs or groups of animals, such as "a murder of crows" or "a gaggle of geese"? Well, given the frequency with which Canajuns are appalled by circumstances and conditions they encounter, I think any group of Canajuns gathered together should be called "a pall of Canajuns"...)
It seems to lie somewhere between the gutter and the sixth circle of Hell. When it's not vile insults and falsehoods tossed back and forth, it's information overload filled with obsessive trivialities and inanities. This applies to both the so-called MSM (mainstream media) and online sites.
This is not to say that you can't find good and useful discussion...interviews with the candidates, analysis by perceptive people, arguments by argumentative people. But a significant percentage, if not a majority, of the material is unadulterated content-less crap. Even my favourite vaguely liberal news sites are not immune from this. How many different ways can we squeeze out to pop the pathetic Palin persona? And for the right wingers: how many different ways can we pin the "domestic terrorist" tail on Obama?
It's tiresome, already, OK?
And furthermore, even the official debates, from which many people form their decisions on who to vote for, are superficial and somewhat boring. Commentators are reduced to picking apart the candidates' demeanour. This is a useless exercise. It tells you nothing about what he or she might do when in office. But we get to hear McCain say...again...how Obama agrees to meet with terrorists...without preconditions! (Only stupid people can't figure out this is such an oversimplification that it amounts to misrepresentation...) And we get to hear Obama say "tax cuts for 95% of the population"...again.
Then we get to read about it on the web or in the paper. And we get to watch the same thing only shorter on the evening news. And then the next day we get to see them at a rally in Snerdgrass Montana saying what they said the day before in the debate, but with a different accent. Or we get to hear Sarah Palin telling Pennsylvania that California is un-Murrican. Or that liberal is un-Murrican (as "Communist" was un-Murrican in the 50s...)
And meanwhile you've got a hundred different versions of Joe the Plumber spewing some kind of venom and hatred around the webcam, everybody minutely parsing the off-hand statements, looking for the tiniest bit of dirt to fling at their latest demon. As if they even knew what "parsing" means.
But to get back to the original theme. Ms. Stirman kind of brings me full circle to the discussion in the first part of this post, because she may be a prime example of why there should be an intelligence test before you are allowed to vote. Or at least some sort of knowledge test.
If you can't answer a simple fact-based question like "What religion does Barack Obama profess?" or "What country held John McCain captive and practised torture on him?" then No Vote For You Baby!
Of course, this wouldn't prevent people from voting based on their hatreds and prejudices, but at least we would know that these people were deliberately allowing their hatreds to rule them in the face of facts.
On the other hand, if you think you've got long waits to vote now...what circle of hell is reserved for those who have to write a test before they vote?
Technorati Tags: US Politics, US Election
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I don't hear much from HWSRN when that whole Oktoberfest thing happens. He's like Shantideva during that time. The Shantideva of Beer. He eats, sleeps and shits. Not much else.
But perhaps, just like Shantideva, he possesses more enlightenment than meets the eye. He dragged himself into the Yoni School this morning to tell me all about his adventure on Friday night, the second last night of Oktoberfest.
The Black Forest Band, BFB to those who know, is famous for doing their own unique version of the Hokey Pokey. Friday night, just as they finished the song, some drunk or deluded guy, actually pretty clean-cut, well-dressed and normal-looking, grabbed one of the microphones off the stage. (Naturally, security was not on top of the situation...too busy watching gurls...)
The guy began screaming into the mic, "You're all a bunch of effing lemmings! Don't you see what they're doing? They're trying to brainwash you! Don't listen to them...!"
This went on for about fifteen seconds. At first nobody could figure out where the yelling was coming from. The band uses in-ear monitors and so they all heard what he was saying but couldn't figure out who was saying it. Not even the guys in the front line. But HWSRN, who resides in the back beside Phil In the drummer-guy, went out front and noticed the doofus on the dance floor.
Doofus was raving. It was necessary to shut him up. (Still no sign of any activity from the security people who, sez HWSRN, were really very lax all week long.) HWSRN calmly walked to the edge of the stage, looked down at Doofus, and then gave him a swift cuff upside the head. Not hard, just enough to get his attention. Doofus glared at HWSRN, and threw the mic at him, which he caught. And HWSRN promptly gave Doofus a little bonk on the top of the head with the mic. Then security decided they could handle Doofus and escorted him off the premises.
Within ten minutes, the news had spread around the whole club complex...the tent, the club, the basement bar, the parking lot attendants, buspersons, bartenders, waiters & waitresses. HWSRN was instantly famous.
He sez the guys in the band razzed him a bit, Mr. Grumpy Buddhist, non-violent cuffing somebody upside the head. But HWSRN replied with, "Sometimes what you need is just a little satori." Sudden enlightenment. That's what Doofus received. Just a bit of a smack to wake him out of his self-induced trance.
HWSRN sez his life is more or less complete now that he finally actually got to smack somebody upside the head...a phrase which he has used frequently over the years...
(A Sort of Postscript: Ironically, Doofus probably wasn't entirely wrong...The Hokey Pokey, and Oktoberfest partying in general, involves repeatedly repeating certain phrases, like (in the Hokey Pokey) "Polka Heads, Polka Heads". And Zicke Zacke Hoi Hoi Hoi. And E-I-E-I-E-I-O. And in the Chicken Dance, BFB has a habit of sending out semi-subliminal messages: "Let's Drink More Beer..." So there is a sort of indoctrination going on. You get a crowd of several thousand people with their hands splayed on their heads like a rooster's comb shouting "Polka Heads!" over and over, and one might think there's a certain collective insanity going on. But brainwashing and lemmings...well, that's a bit of exaggeration. There's nothing more nefarious going on than silly fun fuelled by beer.)
HWSRN also brought some photos taken over the course of the nine days, and some also from the pre-Oktoberfest show which included Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, and Burton Cummings. So here are a few backstage-type shots...
(A Sort of Second Postscript: BFB recorded the last 4 days, so stay tuned for live recording CD in the future.)
Monday, October 13, 2008
And after that, consider today's philosophical brain-teaser: What if the Hokey Pokey really wuz wut it's all about?
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
And what is this telling fact telling us? It's telling us that Stephen Harpie had no compelling reason to call this election. It was simply cuz he was tired of working with his Constipated minority government, tired of having to cooperate with others. He can't even cooperate with his own ministers, let alone members of those other nasty inconvenient parties. Instead, he does his best to muzzle them. The fact is, Stephen Harpie does not play well with others.
As proof, I offer this excerpt from Harpie's Grade 1 report card:
Stephen does not play well with others. He has a tendency to be aggressive, supercilious and dismissive of others' feelings.Ms. Michaele Jean
Who's the best leader? Who has the ephemeral qualities of leadership? Why, Stephen Harpie, of course. And not just leadership, but strong leadership. That's what Canaduh needs, a strong leader! (Do I hear Mussolini, anyone?)
Leadership implies vision and goals. Stephen Harpie had neither of these when he called the election. OK, he had a goal. The goal was to win a majority government. But what he planned to do with this majority? Well, that's what we're not too sure of.
I will even admit that Harpie has been a reasonable administrator of the national angst. But "leader" and "administrator" are two different animals.
Vision and goals. That's what I want to hear! I want someone to sit down with me at the town hall meeting and answer the question: Whither Canaduh?
(I want someone to answer the question: Why does Larry use words like "whither"?)
I want somebody, anybody, to display even the smallest particle of statesmanship. I want all these guys and gals to demonstrate that they're not simply rowing the ship of state around in circles, hoping no one notices. (And just as an aside, I think that's part of why Obama is so appealing. He's selling vision.)
So anyway, M. Dion & the Belmonts has been hammering away since the debate about Harpie's lack of a plan. And for once, at least, Dion & Belmonts is quite right. Harpie has no plan. (Ironically, at least one of the Constipated attack ads accuses M. Dion & the Belmonts of exactly the same thing. File this under category: Pot Calls Kettle Black.)
Actually, Mr. Harpie's partly right too. M. Dion & the Belmonts has a plan, but only sort of. His plan is to sit down over lunch for 30 days with a bunch of experts and policy wonks and come up with a plan. How's that for a plan?
In the final analysis, Mr. Harpie's election plan has been torpedoed by external events. (Read: US market meltdown.) He's had no good sound bite for this one. He has no idea really what to do about it. (I don't think any of the other leaders do either...)
Harpie called the election for now because he anticipated that Canaduh's economy was about to tank. Better to have the majority before that happened than have to call an election in the middle of a recession. What he didn't foresee was the panic that's currently circulating and how quickly it would infect Canaduh.
So now we're all stuck without a plan. I hereby dub this Planless Plan The Greenback Shift.
Friday, October 03, 2008
With something like 20,000 entries, nobody really expects to win, but you do expect a fair shot at it.
But now there are questions being raised about the impartiality of the judging. The finalists have already been announced. One of them is named Gerry Mosby. You can hear his entry here.
Here's the thing: another friend of Voin's did some Googling and discovered that Gerry Mosby is a friend and co-worker of Bob Rock and Lou Pomanti, two key figures in the Hockey Anthem Challenge hierarchy. Voin's friend Nick found a bunch of links linking these individuals. Here they are and I think you should check them out for yourself:
Of course, there could be more than one Gerry Mosby.
But if not, then this whole contest smells a bit off to me. And it reinforces for me the wisdom of having blind judging in contests of this nature. It's way too much of a coincidence that one of the five finalists happens to be a friend of the two top dogs.
The Mothercorp blog has this to say about it:
Now with regard to the potential conflicts of interest, in the event judges had personal or professional contacts with contestants, they were disclosed and appropriately noted through the selection process. Again, the final selection of semifinalists were made through unanimous agreement of the senior jury.Seems a little thin to me...disclosed and appropriately noted...The blog and Facebook pages have received questions and comments about potential conflicts of interest. The actual comments don't appear on the blog. Why not? I haven't checked the Facebook page.
Finally, I have to say, I was not impressed by the way Mothercorp handled the issue of the original Hockey Night in Canaduh theme. I think it was mishandled. And the bad vibes just seem to be rolling on. I give them a 10 minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
The Dualling Debates
I watched both election debates simultaneously tonight. OK, not simultaneously, but serially. Some of this and some of that. Here are my firm conclusions:
- Canaduh should pull out of Iraq immediately.
- Gilles Deceit's eyes are exactly the same colour as Paul Newman's.
- If Stephen Harpie had been president of the United States, there would be no need to bail out Wall St. (On the other hand, Canajuns would still be debating whether to pull out of Iraq.)
- Sarah Palin pales in comparison to Elizabeth Mayormaynot.
- Alaska is closer to Canaduh than it is to Russia.
- M. Dion and the Belmonts will never be Prime Mystery of Canaduh because his mouth is the wrong shape and that's why he has such trouble with English. Ditto Deceit.
- Jack Layoff and Joe Biden would make a great ticket...somewhere.
- No matter whether you're Canajun or Murrican, you can't escape George Bush.
- Hockey moms are master debaters, but only if they have cute bangs, know when to wink and how to dress a moose.
- Stephen Harpie is not a moose.
- Elizabeth Mayormaynot be the Roly Poly PM.
- Jack Layoff and Joe Biden would make a great vice-president...somewhere.
- Stephen Harpie and Sarah Palin would look good on top of a wedding cake.
- George W. Bush's most disastrous decision was to cut arts funding so that now there are no climate-controlled trucks to move the old bones back and forth from one museum to another. Does this mean there will be no more conjugal visits between the Senate and the Common Bawdy House of Commons?
- Stephen Harpie's most disastrous decision was to sit around the table with four opposition leaders on national television.
Nonie sent an email to her mail list and I'm including it here:
I finally got home from London to check emails, stack the bills and ward off the evil spirits of being broke and give God thanks for all my blessings. I came home Wed Sept 17 and sat down to check my emails before heading off to bed. I stood up and felt the whoosh of intense pain explode up the top of my head. I thought – oh shit- I’m dying. So being the spiritual gal I am I whispered ‘dad, mom, matthew, aunt annie, aunt mary – then realized there’s too many loved ones gone. But I heard no one so I figured – you had your chance buckos, I’m going to get through this one. I crawled up the stairs to my daughter’s room and told her to get me help fast. I was up at Fergus in no time and had that magical glow of –get her in there stat- look on my face. I had my cell phone and went to work. Let’s see – I should call block busters and order that movie. No nonie. Call your pal wayne of acoustic traditions in orangeville. He answers and I tell him what’s going on as the concerned doctor comes in to tell me my chances of survival and I might not make it though the night. Wayne hangs up and I’m on a bumpy ambulance ride to London from Guelph. We affectionately call wayne ambulance chaser cause he was hot on our heals. When I get to London they say they need to go in and take a look – will they need an electric screwdriver or will the old coil trick up the groin work. All I can say is – I’m glad I was out. When they woke me some 6 hours later the operation was done via the groin- thank God and the good medical staff London.
I woke doing the best chicken dance I could muster and looking around in the twilight zone. It really was a freak show. My poor children looked like they’d been through the wringer. I just wanted to hug them both. One of my best pals and cousin from Victoria was on a plane within an hour of hearing. Wayne was there with Eugene who looked shell shocked and that’s about all I can remember. Waking the next day crying out DRUGS. How about some morphine. No, that stuff is bad. By the 3rd day I was begging for it. Wow, head injuries hurt. I went through an array of room mates. Some good – some down right irritating. Well, we do lose a bit of patience with these head injuries. It put good use to all those words I learned while hooked on uncensored ‘sopranos’.
Every day I got better and the only consistant thing was the really rotten food.The most wonderful thing was sitting on the couch with my daughter today going through cards and emails and feeling like I understand why I got better so fast. Prayers and good wishes are so important, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I can’t wait to hug every one of you. I am going to put the cd release concert on – just need to gather up the energy a bit. Love you all and thanks for everything, nonie
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
For those interested, Howard gave a speech in which he urged Australian participation in the so-called Coalition of the Willing to invade Iraq and forestall any WMDs and possibly discover Osama bin Laden having a drink in some little cantina in Baghdad. Mission accomplished.
In 2003, Harpie was Leader of the Opposition and he was trying to get Canaduh to go along with the Bushwhack plan. He made a speech. It turns out that it was the same speech that John Howard gave.
Now, I'm forgiving enough to say, "Who cares?" I'm not surprised that Harpie didn't know it was a case of plagiarism. You hire a speech writer, you expect him to write a speech, not borrow it. And if you have to Google every speech someone writes for you to make sure it's not cribbed from someone else, you might as well write it yourself. I will remind everyone, however, that plagiarism torpedoed the presidential hopes of a current US vice-presidential candidate, namely Joe Biden, back in the 80s.
No, the plagiarism doesn't bother me so much. What does concern me though is being reminded of Harpie's stance vis a vis Iraq back then. Personally, I knew (had an instinctive sense, a gut feeling) that invading Iraq was exactly the wrong thing to do. Not just me, of course. Many Canajuns. Many Murricans. Many world citizens thought this was bad business. And, of course, we've all been proven right.
But not Stephen Harpie. No sirree, he was all gung ho to go. Jean Cretin, the PM at the time, ultimately said, in his inimitable Franglais, "No go." And altho I didn't have much use for Cretin, I thank the stars he didn't drag Canaduh into that crazy man's war. Stephen Harpie, however, would have put us smack in the middle of that quicksand. That serious misjudgment alone should disqualify him from being PM.
The quality of her responses to the most important questions the US is facing today is no better than you might expect from an average high school student not quite prepared for the exam. Or, let's say, no better than the average Fox News watcher. Seriously. I mean, I remember what I used to do when I wasn't quite sure of the answer. She parrots the party line, speaks in generalities, and wanders away from the question because she simply doesn't have the facts at her fingertips. Really, the Murricans should expect much better from their vice-presidential candidates.
I mean, really...any idjit can say Eye-ran poses a potential nuclear danger and we shouldn't talk to them until they say "Uncle". Any idjit can say the US will obtain a victory in Eye-raq whether they like it or not. Any idjit can say we must support Israel because otherwise we're risking another holocaust. But Sarah Palin is not just any idjit. She's the vice-presidential idjit. (And I don't care whether she's the governor of a state...even us smug Canajuns have been known to elect idjits.)
And I'll pass without comment on some of her more outré ideas about the history of the world. However, my friend Windsor sent me a quip from Kieran O'Shea, in response to a question posed on the Cafferty File onCNN.com:
"I'm terrified at the prospect that [Sarah Palin] could someday become president. Someone who believes that humans domesticated dinosaurs should never have access to nuclear codes."Nuff said.
Meanwhile, I know it's already old news, but hey! I'm not the Canajun Press! I watched the first presidential debate and here's my take on it.
Although Obama didn't lose the debate, I don't think he won either. He made his points but not with the kind of fire I would have liked to see. And he almost entirely failed to scoop up the innumerable opportunities for drama that McCain spread out on the table for him.
Here's what I think Obama should have said:
1. Mr. McCain, I'd like you to look me square in the eye when you make false or distorted statements about my platform and my record. Do you think you can do that?
2. After the second or third time of McCain saying, "Mr. Obama just doesn't understand..." he should have said, "Come off it, McCain, who is the one who doesn't understand? Here we have clear evidence (economic meltdowns, Iraqi morasses...) that things are not working very well, and you are the one proposing we stay the course. Either you are misleading the Murrican people or you simply don't understand!" And I mean, put some force behind it.
3. Never mind portraying the cool head under pressure. In my books, it's OK to display exasperation when it's warranted or can be effective. When McCain said, "Victory in Iraq is the central issue of our times..." Obama should have stopped him dead in his tracks and nailed him to the wall. (McCain certainly didn't have any scruples about interrupting Obama...) He should have said, "John, John, two things: First, the war in Iraq is certainly high on the list of priorities but I'll tell you right now that several million mortgage holders have another issue which is the central issue of our times. And second...Victory! Victory over whom? These Iraqis over here? Or those Iraqis over there? Are you suggesting we are fighting for a victory over Iraqis? Victory over Al Qaeda? That's a non-starter since Al Qaeda didn't exist in Iraq until we invaded...I challenge you to define "victory" in Iraq and tell the Murrican people how you intend to achieve this!"
All in all, Obama was just too polite, too agreeable. He spent too much time agreeing with McCain and being defensive when there was no need. McCain had his talking points, to which he returned over and over, no matter the question. Victory. Maverick. Obama doesn't understand...All of which are eminently assailable. Obama should have done more wailing and assailing.
(And one last little footnote: I nearly puked when I heard McCain say, "I know the vets. I know them and I love them and I'll take care of them..." Thank you thank you Papa McCain. Your paternalism warms the cockles of my cynical heart.)