Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010
This is Bolivia’s actual president, during an actual soccer game. His team (in green) was playing a team (in yellow) featuring the president’s number one political rival. That rival is NOT the man the president hoofs in the bag. No, that’s just some guy. Who was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time. Check this out…
This might be why Stephen Harper doesn’t play in those inter-politico hockey games up on the hill. He knows his competitive edge would get the best of him and he would end up spearing one of Ignatieff’s junior staffers in the groin. Either that or, despite his long-awaited book on the history of hockey, he doesn’t want anyone to know he can’t skate. Well, the president of Bolivia CAN play soccer. And he sure can kick some groin.
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
I have been puzzling for a while over the overall plan that Stephen Harper has leading into the next election. Which will take place in ninety years or something. It seems that the central platform of the Conservatives is rolling back all those things which are terrible invasions of the personal privacy of Canadians. There’s the census - telling the government how many bedrooms you have is a terrible infringement on your rights, and it will be done away with. Registering your guns – weapons whose only purpose is to kill things – is a terrible invasion of your privacy. Which is kind of odd…we spend 400 million dollars and seventy thousand man hours tracking down that guy who, before the G8 summit, bought an unusually large amount of fertilizer…only to find out he’s a farmer…but telling the government how many guns you have? Tyranny!
So I have a few suggestions for Mr. Harper and his government. If “invasion of privacy” is the way you’re going to go in the upcoming election cycle, there are many ways you can make sure people get behind you. Here are a few.
First of all, birqas for everyone! I find it to be a terribly invasive thing that when I go get a new drivers’ license photo, they demand to see my whole face. If the birqa were made mandatory in Canada for all drivers’ licenses, passports and health card photos, no one would feel this sting on their personal freedoms, and we would all breathe easier.
Second of all – you’d better make gay marriage entirely legal. I recently got married, and found it very intrusive when the good people at City Hall asked me who I was going to marry. Why should I divluge this sensitive information? What business is it of the govenrment what my spouse-to-be’s name is? And if you change the policy and make it unnecessary to provide all the appropriate names and details of a proposed spouse, then you won’t be able to check whether the marriage is gay or straight anyway, right? It’s just logical…
Don’t get me started on airplane security. Let me take three lighters, and not just two, through the little machine. Actually, no. Do away with the little machine altogether! What business is it of yours what’s in my carry-on? Or what I’m carrying on my person? Besides, the gun in my carry-on bag is properly registered…oh wait, not any more it isn’t.
You know what else really bugs me? Having to sign my name to take out a golf cart, in case I’m gonna wreck it up. Do something about that too, would you?
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
The more I hear about FOX News North, or, as it’s being called by Quebecor and Sun Media “a right wing network”, the more I am concerned. I get it though. We Canadians always like to follow the American example, a few years later. They elect a right-winger, so do we. Oh, you have a Reagan? We’ll give you a Mulroney. It’s Clinton now? Here’s our Jean Chretien. For about six weeks, there was a joke that Hillary, and not Bill, actually wore the pants in the family and was the REAL president. So we got Kim Campbell for six weeks. Ah, Bush I see. Well, we have a Harper. Yes, I agree, in most cases we gave the Americans a pretty poor copy of their guy. Or girl. But boy, we tried. You have a tea party? We have a Tea Party lite, this Alberta Rosey McRose Alliance or whatever it is.
Now, ten years later, we’re bringing FOX News to Canada. Oh, I know the arguments – this isn’t FOX, it won’t be a cynical sham of a news organization that functions only as a propaganda branch of the Conservative party and contains very little actual “news”. This will be…well…real news. I guess. But doesn’t the fact that this network is marketing itself AS conservative actually take away from the whole “news” thing? This is supposedly an attempt to combat the perceived left-wing bias of the existing major Canadian media. So…the mainstream Canadian media is totally left-wing, and the only way to balance that out is to run a specifically, branded right-wing media outlet!
Or is it? I will acknowledge that there may be a small lean to the left in our bigger networks, specifically CBC. But what exactly defines that lean? The big offender, if you listen to the hard right, is the CBC. Watch their news and try to figure out where the left-wing bias argument originates. I really don’t see it. And when people complain about the crazy-left CBC, what do they cite? David Suzuki? Debatable as it may be whether Global Warming is a left-wing issue (and I think it’s utterly insane that it has become that), just having David Suzuki makes you left wing? Was it reporting on the abuse of Afghan detainees makes them left wing? Or was that just facts?
I think I might defer to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show on this one. His skewering of FOX News is brilliant – although he acknowledges a modicum of left-wing bias on the part of the mainstream media, he suggests that the FOX News response to that perceived imbalance is WAY out of proportion. This is hilarious:
And that’s the danger I see in FOX News North. I think it will start out as an attempt to “balance” news coverage in Canada. But it’s only right-wingers that actually see that “bias” in the first place. So the only thing this new network will do is add a previously-unheard conservative voice. Which will be fine to begin with. Like FOX News was OK to begin with. They started out as a minor cable “news” network. But now they are the single biggest wedge dividing the American political discourse, polarizing the climate to an unconscionable degree. The longer FOX News runs, the more the debate becomes increasingly polarized. And the crazier and more vicious commentators have to be to cut through the more moderate rhetoric that’s out there – that’s what produces Andrew Breitbart and Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter and Bernie Goldberg and all the other nutters who claim to have some kind of expertise in domestic affairs.
So that’s where we’re headed. But here’s the thing. I don’t think FOX News North should be stopped. I don’t even think it should be protested. All I ask is this – don’t call it “news”. You are obviously going out of your way to produce a television product that plays to a certain demographic base (the same one that listens to all of that right-wing talk radio…quick, name a left-wing talk radio station…) with admittedly slanted and one-sided coverage.
That’s fine. Have your network and run whatever programs you want. I’ll probably even watch! I watch O’Reilly and Glenn Beck and occasionally even that hack Sean Hannity on a regular basis! (I watch because they amuse me, but that’s beside the point.) Just don’t pretend it’s “news”. Calling something “news” implies at least an effort to make coverage balanced and fair and nonpartisan. And your very mission statement is proof enough that this is not, at all, what you intend to do. You intend to present the right-wing side of everything. And truly, as someone who leans far more left than right, I welcome that. But let’s avoid falling into that awful, disgusting polarizing pile of crap that is the American political system at the moment. And the best way to do that is to make sure that you don’t refer to your new television network as “news”.
Thursday, September 2nd, 2010
I spent some time outside yesterday. I had to mow the lawn, and I managed to get the lawnmower out of the shed, then the extension cord. Then I put them back. Satan was poking me so I went back inside. I’ll wait until it’s a little cooler to do my yard work. I soothed the heat rash I recieved while golfing the previous day. The one thing I can’t imagine doing yesterday is playing a serious tennis match. Here’s why:
For some reason, the clip has Super Mario music with it. Here’s what Victoria Azarenka normally looks like, when not collapsed on the court at the US Open.
Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
Enough about that Brett Favre interception. It’s all I’ve been hearing on sports shows for the past week. I agree – it was a bad decision, and a poor throw, but it was not that big a deal. The one he threw in OT against the Giants in the NFC Championship with Green Bay? That was a big deal. The one against the Eagles when he was with Green Bay? A big deal. This one was not.
A stupid penalty (coach’s fault) pushed the Vikings back out of field goal range. They needed ten yards to have a reasonable shot at making a field goal. Although he had room to run, Favre was playing on one leg, and wouldn’t have made it ten yards. He forced the throw, but he had to. Had his receiver made a miraculous catch, they have a chance for the game-winning field goal. Had the ball fallen incomplete, they’re headed to overtime. So an interception is the same as an incompletion in that situation. No fault.
I must say, however, that I know the NFL was really, really hoping for a Favre-Manning Super Bowl showdown. That NFC Championship game broke all kinds of ratings records simply because Favre was involved. My wife was interested in that football game (and took the Vikings loss much harder than I did). Now, I’m no Vikings fan. But I do wonder, with the NFL hoping so desperately for Favre to play in the big game, how it ended the way it did.
Not that I think the officials would have thrown the game and given it to the Vikings. But I found it amazing that in overtime, they did such a terrific job of throwing it the Saints’ way! That non-existent pass interference call where the receiver wasn’t even touched. The “catch” that was clearly not a catch. The fourth-and-inches where it looked as though the ball was knocked loose and came to rest short of the first down line. Here you go, Saints. Not that it really matters. Whoever won that game was just going to lose to the Colts anyway.
Also, enough with this bizarre conservative backlash against the people who are upset at Stephen Harper for proroguing Parliament again. The big argument seems to be “well, Jean Chretien did this more than once, so you can’t bitch”. Two things to say there – first, Chretien proroguing Parliament because he felt there ought to be a break while Paul Martin took over the leadership of the Liberals is not the same thing as Harper doing it to avoid scrutiny on the torture of detainees.
Second, you can’t get retroactively upset about something. The reason people didn’t complain when Chretien prorogued is that it made sense, was not politically motivated, and was a matter of course. The reason they’re bitching now is that it has happened twice in the past year, both times for self-serving political reasons. To now start jumping up and down and yelling at Chretien makes no sense. You weren’t mad then, you aren’t really mad now.
Actually, one more thing – to complain about Chretien doing the “same thing” would suggest that the only people complaining are Liberal supporters. Like, their guy did it too. I think that you will find the people who are complaining are not Liberal supporters, for the most part. They’re people like me, who believe our country runs better when there are checks on the power of the government. And people who think that having an opposition is what makes our government work. And that removing that opposition by shutting down the system is callous and opportunistic, and that it’s cheaply partisan political nonsense, and not a procedural thing at all.
Okay. As long as people can stop talking about those two things, I can stop writing overly long posts about politics and football together.
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
The biggest story in the States today appears to be the Harry Reid story – how he suggested, in supporting Barack Obama for president, that Obama being a “light-skinned” black man who spoke without a “Negro dialect” would be helpful in his run for the White House. All of a sudden I am hearing all kinds of shouting from the American right wing about how Reid must therefore be a racist. I think perhaps his language was ill-chosen and perhaps he shouldn’t have used those words, but of course there’s nothing specifically racist about what he said. I wonder, if you already are a racist, but you’re not fully aware of it, if it means that you can no longer understand what actually IS racism?
The big talking point appears to be Trent Lott – if what he said was racist, then what Reid said was racist. Lott, of course, said that America would have been better off had they elected a racist, segregationist president. To think the two are the same thing indicates that you have absolutely no clue when it comes to racial issues. Which could well be a by-product of being a racist.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
I had this brilliant idea last night. We all know that the federal government gets more vacation time and sick days and the like than do the rest of us. And that’s fine, we have grown accustomed to it. But I’m a little concerned that it has become so obvious to Stephen Harper that Canada has no need whatsoever for a federal government at all. After all, if he can just put a “do not disturb” sign on his bedroom door and stay inside sucking his thumb because the rest of the country might ask him some difficult questions, then it has become perfectly clear to me that he, and his government, are not needed at all. As I am certain the same has become clear to him.
However, the solution is not to abolish our government. You know how badly Mr. Harper wants to hang on to power, so he wouldn’t go down without a fight. And yes, an armed insurrection would call the government back into session, being an emergency and all, but that seems to me to be the wrong way of doing it.
So this is what I propose – we, the Canadian people, follow the lead of our government. If they are not in session and working, that means they are on vacation. Since the federal government has the power to decide when Canadians take vacation (and what days are stat holidays and so forth), then they have clearly chosen to do so in this case. It would follow, then, that if they have imposed a mandatory vacation on themselves, then they have, by extension, imposed one on the rest of the country.
So I suggest we all go on vacation. No one should be working until after the Olympics, when we have a regular, governed country again. After all, who wants to go to work, driving on those lawless roads through the treacherous winter of Canada when there is no government in place to protect us? It’s obviously vacation time for everybody. So go on vacation! And if your boss won’t let you, demand stat pay – time and a half, or whatever it is. I’m going to a meeting right now to demand mine…let’s see how it goes.