Sunday, June 27, 2010

ah, alberta. home of so many interesting things.

this pamphleteer has been swamped, and not writing so much. not being in toronto, the G20 protests/riots/arrests are significant, but from my vantage point in an unnamed province it's just like any other G20 meeting.

so, here's something torontonians(even just plain old ontarians) might not know about but may want to have on their little radars:

the wild rose alliance.

for real, it's the new big party in alberta. it's kind of the like canadian(therefore, a bit watered down) version of tea party in america. very bizarre. they recently had an AGM where they voted down such policies as the right to bear arms and striking things out of the human rights act. but they kept in policy their plan to write an alberta constitution and they have no policy on things like gay marriage or abortion. this party will be the official opposition in alberta, but they have no policy on two of the most prescient issues on the canadian political scene?

to make things more palatable, they have a pretty lady as the leader. because noone brings conservatives to the trough like a pretty conservative lady.

and, in no way is this a dig on alberta. i grew up in alberta--in the middle of tar sands country, actually--so if i get any comments about west vs ontario, or toronto thinking its the middle of the universe, i'll publish them very grudgingly.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

world, stop getting worse!

i wrote this about how the moratorium on deep drilling put in place after the BP oil spill was being challenged and i thought that there was probably no way in hell that it would be lifted.

but when i read the news yesterday i saw something horrific:

"The U.S. government will immediately appeal a U.S. judge's ruling on Tuesday against the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico."

yeah, that judge DID overturn the ban on deepwater drilling. he said his decision was based on the 'fact' that the department of the interior didn't really have a great reason for the moratorium, and that they "assume that because one rig failed, all companies and rigs doing deepwater drilling pose an imminent danger."

um, that seems pretty fair to me actually, to assume that other mismanaged rigs might explode and create even more irreversible damage. the whole point of the ban was to avoid an apocalypse like situation in case of another explosion. there might only be a small chance it might happen, but if it did happen we would all be fuct. more fuct than we already are.

why? why, on the off-chance that this could happen again, would a judge rule to overturn a precautionary 6 month moratorium? it's only on deepwater drilling, and it only halts 33 exploratory wells. so really, it won't halt oil production.

so i was confused, kind of, until i received this article this morning : "judge who nixed obama's drilling ban has oil investments."

surprise, surprise.

guest blogger C wrote this about how BP was maybe positioned to make money from the spill on the recaptured oil, and this new judicial decision runs in the same vein.

the judge, Martin Feldman, (an appointee of ronald regean in 1983) owns stock in transocean ltd, the company that owned the deepwater horizon drilling rig.

it doesn't end there though, here's a list of his other investments:

"Ocean Energy, a Houston-based company, as well as Quicksilver Resources , Prospect Energy, Peabody Energy , Halliburton , Pengrowth Energy Trust , Atlas Energy Resources , Parker Drilling and others. Halliburton was also involved in the doomed Deepwater Horizon project."

while he isn't the only judge with investments in energy, many judges have recently sold their stock so that they can preside over the spill-related lawsuits or they've just outright disqualified themselves.

all of this in the face of another incident which caused more oil to pour into the ocean: "hundreds of thousands of gallons more oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday after an undersea robot bumped a venting system and forced BP to remove a cap that had been containing some of the crude."

like, maybe the industry SHOULD lose money. maybe the energy production system SHOULD be crippled for a little bit.

judge feldman was also recently appointed to a seven year term on the foreign intelligence surveillance court, a court that meets secretly to "consider government requests for wiretaps in national security cases."

i wonder, does judge feldman have investments in wiretap technology as well?

maybe i was overly hard on obama before. maybe he just didn't expect people to react to this spill with such acute greed and contemptible idiocy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

there are bedbug sniffing dogs?! WTF.

okay, you know what G20, this has gone too far.

everyone knows that toronto has a bedbug epidemic. an epidemic!!! the city is waging a war on the little fuckers, but they're practically impossible to get rid of and landlords don't have to tell you if the apartment you're renting has them.

everyone is always like "oh no, how do we combat this huuuuge problem?!"

for one: free dryers in every building. for real. this would help because bed bugs can't live through extreme heat. if every person could actually was everything they owned and dry it, it would put a dent in the problem.

for two: bedbug legislation. landlords should have to tell a prospective tenant that their future abode is positively infested with bugs.

for three: this shit. bed bug sniffing DOGS.

for the G20, the city is rolling out it's legions of bedbug sniffing dogs.

who knew these existed?!? why haven't they been used en masse before?!

so we get to use the dogs so that rich leaders don't get bedbugs in toronto, but we can't use them to scour hotels and hostels, where people are getting them and taking them away?? we can't use them in buildings?? we can't use them at our volunteer organizations?? hospitals?

sweet jesus, city of toronto, you've been hiding such a weapon from us?

sound cannons, protective walls, felling trees. we all thought that the G20 could get no worse... but it has.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"you're misleading all of these people, there's no pancake mix in there!!"

another hilarious video(today is a lazy day for pamphleteers). this student at grand valley state university chased a scary preacher lady away by calling her out for not having pancake mix.

it's funny because it's true--she doesn't have any pancake mix.

i love this. i love it so much.

"Low IQ, thats ok. I like my girls dumb that way."

this is hilarious. what else can we do but laugh at sarah palin? lyrics below!

They say when you go black you dont go back, but that aint true,
Cause I voted for Obama, now my balls are blue.
Sarah Palin, I wanna come back to you, I wanna be in your red instead, girl, Im fallin for you.

I cant control myself. Thinking bout Sarah Palin 2012. My opinion poll Favors you %100
Misses Palin, please be my next President.

Old man McCain tapped you for his VP
When youre president, girl, you can tap me any day of the week.

They say you need some foreign policy? Sarah baby, Im a country, come colonize me.

Who cares about Afghanistan, or Healthcare reform
Who cares about Iraq, only rack I care about is yours

Let me come inside oval office, when you get frisky.
You can be my Bill, Ill be your Monica Lewinsky
No Cigar, Grab a taco, Show me where you want the beef,
Baby, I will make you scream.
Ill give your taco sour cream.

Am I turning red? Well, Sarah, youre the reason.
You like to hunt meat? Well, Baby, I am in season.

I saw you do some stand-up, on the Jey Leno show, it was alright
But I gotta be honest, y3ou made something else stand-up that night

I CANT CONTROL MYSELF, Thinking bout Sarah Palin 2012.
My opinion poll Favors you %100. Misses Palin, please be my next President.

Your baby had a baby, maybe you could a stopped her,
If you werent shooting wolves from a helicopter.

But its ok, youre pro life
And im pro you becoming my wife.

Like the Iditarod dog sled team,
you got the medicine you need

cause now you got a TV show on TLC.

I follow you on facebook, I follow you on twitter,
I follow you on FOX news, when Im on the shitter.

But in 2012, itll be time to leave Fox,
Cause Im gonna put my Ballot in your box.
You want a bridge to the Nowhere forest, well baby heres a bridge to the chorus.

I CANT CONTROL MYSELF, Thinking bout Sarah Palin 2012.
My opinion poll Favors you %100. Misses Palin, please be my next President.

sexy glasses with no rimsyou still make my head spin.
Pants suit, shot-gun, lipstick. Im in love.
Low IQ, thats ok. I like my girls dumb that way.
Theres Nothing more you gotta say, you dont make sense anyway.

I just read your book, Sarah, youre so damn naughty,
I want you to go rogue all over my body.

Lets fight for freedom, cause freedom aint free
Well have a Glenn Beck, mad hatter Tea party

You can see Putin and the Russians, from your back door, Baby who knew?
I can see myself, Russian to your back door, and Putin some babies in you.

I CANT CONTROL MYSELF, Thinking bout Sarah Palin 2012.
My opinion poll Favors you %100. Misses Palin, please be my next President.

this is why everyone hates americans.

remember in april how obama was all like "i'm reversing the ban on oil drilling off U.S. shores!! hurray for me!"

obama said then: "this is not a decision i've made lightly." he said that he was responding to not just the need for more oil, but the desire for it. americans don't really need as much oil as they think they do, they just want more.

obama said it would produce more jobs and keep american businesses competitive.

he said lifting the ban was part of a bigger plan to expand nuclear power and "clean energy sources".

yeah, then there was a huge deep water offshore drilling catastrophe. a spill that is still spilling. and now we all know what "clean energy" is because we can see it being scrubbed off of flailing herons with tiny little toothbrushes.

it took obama a year in office to make the decision to lift the ban. will it take a year for him to actually do something about the consequences of such decisions? as guest blogger C pointed out in this post, the oil is still spilling--more oil than we can even imagine. and BP is quietly collecting that shit("recovering", which means preparing for sale).

thankfully, some people in the government weren't just staring into space doing nothing for the past month. in may, the u.s interior secretary kenneth salazar imposed a moratorium on oil and gas exploration in waters more than 500 feet deep.

this is a pretty decent step i think.

but now, the evil gas and oil industry is suing salazar!! hornbeck offshore services inc and a few other service and supply companies not only sued salazar last week, they also sued the head of the minerals management service, and both federal agencies. they're asking that the ban be lifted post-haste!

hornbeck and the other companies are saying that they will suffer "irreparable economic harm" if the moratorium isn't lifted.

this is where i think obama should step in. i mean, i understand that he can't stop the lawsuit, but shouldn't he step up and give a speech about how we shouldn't put the economy in front of the environment? and how big oil and gas companies should just step off for a little bit??

isn't it just a tiny bit shocking that there are people(lawyers) out there who are actually like "oh boy, this is a good opportunity to benefit from disaster!" and then they give eachother high fives and kill an endangered bird for fun?

today obama had a meeting with BP executives and he emerged saying that BP agreed to set aside 20 billion dollars "to pay economic damage claims to people and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill."

what about the fucking ENVIRONMENT, you assholes?! what about how BP is responsible for this catastrophe?!

look at these jerks, in their stupid meeting, with place cards and glasses of water. there shouldn't be meetings. there should be TRIALS. is obama playing footsies under the table with them? seriously.

like what the fuck world?? obama, punish BP. make an example of them!!!! because as long as you're dithering about how to deal with this, greedy freaks are taking advantage of your complete lack of leadership and transparent subservience to the corporate lobby.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

trees, you've had your day....

according to this story in the national post, trees are FINALLY a security threat.

oh it took awhile. first water became a security threat, breast milk, shoes.

and now, trees.

before the G20 meetings start, security forces are going to start pulling up trees in the "protected zones". if you've ever been in downtown toronto i'm sure you're wondering 'which trees'? but, i assure you, there are a plethora of weapon-ready saplings just waiting for some grubby activist to get a bright idea.

even adam vaughn, my favorite city councillor, says that the trees should come down. he says "If they're removing any trees, it's because they don't want folks to jump over and launch things from above."

exactly. because activists are wily and you know they can climb trees because they spend most of their year in endangered trees saving them from being cut down.

i have been waiting for this day.. plotting. sure, i might not hate trees but it's true--they are a security threat.

you know why?

because squirrels live in those fuckers. and i HATE squirrels. i once had a squirrel build a nest under my window, and nothing could make it move. nothing. a mama squirrel is the most ferocious beast on earth and if you mess with her nest, you better watch out.

finally my landlord just filled the nest with insulation and the squirrel kind of went away, but not before she sat on my balcony and hissed at me.

don't worry, i doubt there were babies in that nest. if there are squirrel babies in a nest that becomes blocked, the mother will go so far as to eat through the wall dividing her and her young to rescue them.

it's true, look it up.

you know, i wouldn't be surprised if the G20 activists were working with squirrels, training them for the big day. there would be nothing more terrifying(or surprising) than a squirrel attack.

all of those men, in suits, walking to their fake lakes and meetings? and a squirrel flies at their face??? shit bitch, those trees need to come DOWN!

i fully support the decision to tear the trees down. i mean, we don't need "trees" in toronto. we need pavement, and cement walls, and sound cannons.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"you don't get there by playing from the rule book. you stack the aces, you load the dice"

Guest blogger C on how the rich are getting richer and the poor are eating kraft dinner every night.

I actually liked the StephenGgordon article C is writing about, but I didn't love how he ended it:

"The extreme concentration of income to such a small number of high earners is unhealthy in a democracy. But a proper remedy must be based on a plausible theory of how high earners managed to acquire the bargaining power to extract such high salaries and to fend off tax increases. And we don't have one yet."

That just ain't true. There are plenty of theories about how racism and sexism, a society stratified by class, and a 'lean towards the rich' tax schema has led to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few privileged people.

There is actually a list of transnational corporations that owe taxes in canada--like, millions and millions of dollars in back taxes. They just don't pay and they don't get punished for it. Why? well that's what happens when corporate dudes and politician dudes are one in the same. They're family, they're married into the family, they're bros, they went to school together, whatever. When you've got someone scratching your back with gold plated fingernails you don't turn around and make them pay their backtaxes. Something like that is very obvious.

Anyways, on to the guest blog, which is very good:

"Stephen Gordon has a great opinion piece in the current issue of Canadian Business. In it he cites research from McMaster University’s Mike Veall revealing that top 0.5% of earners in Canada, those making greater than $250,000 per year, have somehow managed to increase their share of total income from 5.3% to 10.4% between 1982 and 2007. Put simply, this data reveals that the highest wage-earners in Canada have extracted 5.1% of the total income available to all Canadians from lower-wage brackets over the past two and a half decades.

I’m pleased to finally have hard proof that the rich continue to get richer in Canada while the poor and middle classes get poorer. A concept that older generations steadfastly deny is happening, likely because they’ve convinced themselves it couldn’t possibly have happened on their watch.

There have been several books published in the past decade or so talking about how the “rise of the creative class” or the “information technology revolution” has brought balance to the income classes of Western countries. “Experts” have been saying for years that with a certain amount digital savvy combined with an active imagination, anyone from anywhere can earn enough to live comfortably in Canada.

Of course, if you ask the millions of young adults in this country who still can’t afford the luxuries their parents already had at their age, like a home, a car or even a healthy meal every night of the week they’ll almost certainly call bullshit on the “information technology revolution”. Sure, they can operate a personal computer and find useful solutions to problems in the workplace but that doesn’t seem to be rocketing them up the corporate ladder like they were told it would.

The hard truth is that there’s only so much money circulating in any economy, which means there’s only so much money to be made. As long as older generations with old money continue to hoard their wealth, then younger folks won’t be able to increase their own wealth, regardless of how hard they work for it.

Governments will tell us that higher taxes levied on the rich, combined with more social programs for everyone else will ensure we all have access to the bare minimum. Aw shucks, thanks. In reality, the rich will always find clever new ways to evade taxes while taking advantage of social spending meant to assist lower classes.

Our employers will tell us if we work as hard as we can we will eventually be rewarded for it. If by “work hard” they mean day, night and weekend, and if by “reward” they mean our incomes will just barely keep up with inflation and cost of living increases, then this is absolutely true.

We’re only beginning to see a new class system emerging in developed economies. One that resulted from a massive population boom, that not surprisingly, turned public policy and economics in the favour of the greedy majority for as long as they’re alive, and likely even longer. Generations that follow this bubble, who knows how many, will pay for the insatiable appetites of the old and rich for decades to come. Furthermore, they may never gain access to the luxuries that those older generations still maintain they are absolutely entitled to.

My cynicism towards work and money are usually met with suggestions that I’m lazy and ungrateful, which is true, but why would I work my ass off trying to get ahead when it’s become all too obvious that I’ll never get back as much as I put in?"

Monday, June 14, 2010

shouldn't it be MS. universe?

dear miss universe canada pageant: you're picking the wrong battle on this one.

i find it completely baffling that the pageant could force one of their contestants to drop out because she was once in an advertisement for ashley madison. actually, it was an ad that was posted on these pamphleteers a long time ago (you can see it here)

the ads, which never even aired, were posted on the internet and brought to the attention of the organizers and sophie froment was unceremoniously booted from the program.

why?? well according to the beauties of canada website, she was dismissed because she“made some career choices that are not compatible with the image of women that our organization tries to promote; and which would disqualify her from representing Canada at the 2010 Miss Universe Pageant.”

oh, "career choices" that are not compatible with their images of women... riiight.

so it doesn't matter that ms. froment is a law student?? that she's intelligent? that she works hard to pay for school?

no offense other contestants, but i highly doubt that you're all angels that have done nothing to sunder the image of "women" that miss universe canada upholds. i bet there are a lot of pictures of miss universe canada contestants boobs out there. the only difference is that noone outed the other girls.

i seriously don't get why she had to leave the competition. men and women have affairs. some of them use ashley madison. so to be a miss universe contestant you have to, at all cost, promote monogamy and fidelity within marriage? is that in their contract??

i'm sure there are worse things out there than rolling around on a bed, covered in blue make up, wearing lingerie that isn't even revealing.

like what tiffany munro did. that was much worse. she said, at a high school, that she had to gain weight to enter the competition because the organizers didn't want the women looking “like some little African child with the ribs going on.”

why wasn't ms. munro disqualified?? is part of the image miss universe canada going for ignorance? stupidity? cultural insensitivity? racism?

not only did her comment shock the students in the audience but she also deeply offended and insulted her fellow contestants.

so, she's still allowed to compete? but a contestant who took a job as a model isn't?

according to the organization ms. froment had to go because it would be "unfair to her to have to compete in such circumstances, and it would be distracting for the rest of the delegates."

i actually feel like if i were a contestant it would be more distracting for me to have to compete on stage with the racist girl who says offensive things about "africans" starving. but hey, that's just me.

hypocrisy, miss universes canada, is not a great quality. certainly not a quality that you should be promoting to young miss universe hopefuls across the country.

oh no!! steriods!!!

we're living in pretty difficult times right now. the majority of people i know are highly qualified but can't find a decent job. mainly because of the huge amount of applicants for each job, employers get to pick through and pick out the people who they can pay the least, make work the most, and push around without worrying.

so there are no jobs and that sucks. what sucks even more though is when you see something that obviously indicates an available job.

like, there's clearly a job available at the toronto star, for a proof reader and spell checker. seriously, would a major newspaper run a headline story with a spelling error otherwise???

dear toronto star: i know a lot of people who could make sure this never happens to you again!! hire one!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

guest blog: hans on heels

guest blogger hans!! hilarious. read on:

"I was recently asked what I thought about the media furor surrounding a course offered by South Thames College (in London, England) called ‘Sexy Heels In The City’, which uses taxpayers’ money (aka public funding) to teach teenagers how to walk in high heels, shop for shoes and properly perambulate a catwalk.

Well, *obviously* it’s stupid. But at least one can take solace from the fact that this is a college which also offers courses in astrology, seashell beading, and cupcake decorating for children’s birthday parties. It is, therefore, not to be taken that seriously (even though it is actually one of the top vocational colleges in London). Brits can also take solace from the fact that at least their government hasn’t managed to achieve the criminal incompetence involved in wasting over $1.1 billion on unlicensed security personnel and sonic cannons necessary to protect the $2 million fake duck ponds that it’s building in Canada’s largest city, which it’s also shutting down until the duck pond is finished and the beach party over. Anyhow I digress. But with just cause.

Unfortunately, universities are beginning to offer all too many of these sorts of courses, generally as part of their ‘community outreach’ initiatives. Memorial University of Newfoundland, for instance, offers a “Dining Etiquette” course each semester (I actually signed up for this but then dropped it when I saw the unexciting options on the four-course meal that accompanies it), in addition to courses in “Wine-Tasting” and “Scotch-Tasting” (the latter would be more appropriate for South Thames College, which was in fact founded in 1895 thanks to a whisky tax that was used to generate the revenue to build it).

Of course, at the same time the growing majority of university instructors are underpaid, contractual and lack decent benefits of any sort; moreover, universities are closing their rural campuses and eliminating subsidies for youth or seniors (who used to be allowed to take courses for free at most universities). It’s little surprise, then, that the only people left to take “outreach” courses are the high-earning Scotch drinkers who would like to learn better how to drink their Scotch, or the borderline abusive, manic corporate parents who think their daughters must learn how to wear heels to survive in life.

Courses like ‘Dining Etiquette’ and ‘Sexy Heels...’ are, astoundingly enough, often defended by the campuses that offer them as teaching future politicians and businesspeople the “non-book-based life skills” deemed necessary to thrive in their respective fields. So what exactly is wrong with expecting to see high heels in the world of high business?

Well let me introduce a concept, and it’s called ‘discriminatory representation’. It refers, quite simply, to the use of images or ideas that convey potentially negative stereotypes about groups of people. For instance, television shows that depict women in bikinis, or aboriginals in war paint. And it’s increasingly being used to call out, and prohibit, the depiction of such stereotypes.

Now those obsessed with free speech probably recoil in horror at the thought of banning bikinis, war paint and blackface. Well, ensconced in their happy-bubble-universe of rainbows and sunshine where nobody suffers discrimination, they *would*. The rest of us are concerned about the real world, where stereotypes shape people’s judgment and interactions with each other and manifest themselves in discriminatory practices that are violent, hurtful and divide our society in deeper and deeper ways.

The use of anti-discrimination laws to combat these stereotypes – let’s stick with the issue of stereotypical women’s dress for now – is growing. A 2004 human rights case in British Columbia involved a female employee at a nightclub, who was asked to wear a bikini for a special promotional event one night at the bar. She refused, relations with her employer (who assigned her the worst jobs as punishment and urged her to quit because he would keep making life difficult for her) became strained, and she filed a discrimination suit which she won. She was awarded over $6000 in lost wages, tips, and as compensation for injuries to her sense of dignity (she had meanwhile obtained a different job; otherwise her damages might have been more). In this and other cases (including a similar one in Ontario), the key to these dress codes being ‘discriminatory’ is that the requirement to wear a bikini (or high heels, or skirts instead of pants) was only directed at the women in the workplace, and not the men. A dress code that applied to both, would not have been considered discriminatory (i.e., no t-shirts, or no body piercings). Quebec – as usual – is even more progressive: a dress code requiring female employees to wear skirts and high heels was struck down by a tribunal in 1997, on the basis that it insulted the dignity of those workers by requiring outfits that drew attention to aspects of their body. In a loosely related case, a human rights tribunal also ruled against a Canadian grocery chain that required its employees to tuck in the shirts of their uniforms. Employees who described themselves as “full-bodied” argued this drew unwanted attention to their...bodies...and that they deserved the right to untuck their shirts, since it caused no hardship to the employer. The human rights tribunal agreed.

But back to bikinis and high heels. Increasingly, organizations, companies, and sometimes even state governments are beginning to recognize discriminatory representation and outlaw it by law or policy. The Memorial University of Newfoundland Students’ Union, for instance, passed a policy outlawing ‘discriminatory representation’ in its services, events and operations; this policy was used to force the campus bar to ban the annual appearance of the “Bud Girls” during its Superbowl broadcast (as well as other appearances of bikini-clad performers). Sheffield College in the UK – perhaps a competitor to our Sexy Heels College? – has an excellent ‘Equal Opportunities Policy’ which in addition to banning harassment between and among staff and students, also bans the use of textbooks or other teaching materials which contain images or other forms of ‘discriminatory representation’.

At the national level, Italy recently established a commission to monitor the portrayal of women on state-funded television. The anti-sexism watchdog will report to government “if it spots too much flesh or female stereotyping...The commission is bestowed with powers to censure programme-makers.” In France, the governing party has introduced legislation to ban websites and media that promote anorexia or bulimia through the encouragement or valorization of excessive dieting, as well as legislation requiring media (such as magazines) to publicly identify and label all photographs that are airbrushed or otherwise electronically modified (in order to highlight the artificial nature of these images which often form the basis of body image ideals). The Liberal Democrats – who are now part of the governing coalition in the UK – also introduced bills in the past demanding the government label electronically modified media images, particularly of women.

What do we conclude about all this? Discriminatory representation is pervasive and bad. A course on how to wear high heels is silly and a waste of money; but the notion that high heels should be considered professional attire is dangerously sexist, discriminatory and contested in human rights and labour law. But it’s been patchy progress. Last year, The Excalibur (York University’s campus paper) decided a fashion show was the best way to promote its cutting-edge journalists (remember back when campus papers used to be progressive? You know, just after the Internet was invented?), American Apparel advertising reps are using public billboards to live out some weird Freudian fantasy that nobody can quite figure out, and now South Thames College pulls this on us.

What do we do about it? Raise awareness that discriminatory representation is a problem and pass policies against it. Does YOUR workplace have a dress code? If so, check to make sure it’s not discriminatory. If it is, file a complaint. Does YOUR university, students’ union or other organization have a policy banning discriminatory representation? If it doesn’t, then start the move to make it happen."

you down with H.S.T( yeah you know me)

Guest blogger C on HST and the NDP. I have to admit I don't know a lot about the HST and how it will effect, well, ME.

Will my groceries be more expensive?? Bike parts? Should I be purchasing sharpie pens in bulk??

Anyways, iIcan neither confirm nor deny what C has to say.
"Apparently, informing the public about the nature of the new HST is a “blatantly partisan spin effort.” At least according to NDP MPP Peter Tabuns.

The Ontario government has included a letter describing some of the main items that will now be levied with HST as well as a description of additional personal income tax cuts designed to offset the tax, and signed by Premier Dalton McGuinty, with a Sales Tax Transition Benefit cheque mailed to every qualified individual in the province.

The Ontario NDPs, likely in an attempt to cash in on earlier opposition to the Federal Conservatives emblazoning oversized novelty cheques with their own party logo, are stirring up quite a fuss about the letters. Unfortunately, the HST letters don’t have a Liberal logo on them, so the only partisan message is the signature of the Liberal Premier which, like it or not, needs be on every piece of important correspondence delivered from the government to the people.

I’m not the biggest fan of the HST, I see it as just another portion of my income that’s going to end up in the coffers of a cumbersome Liberal government. However, I’m not completely opposed to it. It’s generated useful revenues in other jurisdictions and let’s not forget that we do live in the most populated province in the greatest country in the world. That’s a privilege that’s going to cost every single Ontarian dearly, and rightly so.

Furthermore, with the concept of conservation finally beginning to catch on, it’s a perfect time to reward those who buy less and conversely, tax those who buy more. On a philosophical level, I truly believe North Americans will never change their consumption habits until they’re forced to. Our culture is built upon working too hard and then rewarding ourselves through meaningless buying. Even if the HST only triggers minor changes in individual spending habits, the overall impact of buying less and using less is better for the individual, society and the planet.

There is some irony in an NDP opposition that gives lawn signs to its supporters saying “Stop the HST”, but won’t commit to stopping it should they be elected into power. It’s also a little contradictory for a party whose entire governing philosophy is built on social spending to flatly reject a consumption tax, without any real justification for doing so. Rather than forcing a new tax on the public and sitting back to reap the benefits, the Liberal government is educating Ontarians about HST and giving us a little scratch to offset the transition. I’m certainly not gonna complain. I already cashed my cheque."


new look!

blogger unveiled it's new design tool, and it was like "redesign your blog!! it's fun!!"

it IS fun.

it's like a haircut for blogs!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"one bullet in the chest and four bullets fired into his head at close range"

i hope that the recent information released about 19 year old furkan dogan, a turkish/american citizen aboard a ship attacked by israeli forces, will shake some people out of their stupor of 'self defense' and 'right to blockade'.
nine people were murdered that night one of whom was dogan, shot five times at close range. four out of five, in the head.

stephen saperstein frug of attempts writes of the latest reports:
"If confirmed, it will certainly put the lie to any claim of self defense by the shooter. A bullet in the chest might well be self-defense (by an aggressor, of course -- the Israelis shouldn't have been on that ship in the first place, and they were the ones attacking -- but nevertheless understandable). A bullet in the head at close range... possibly, probably not but possibly, that's self-defense too. Three more? That's murder. And calls into question the entire rest of the scenario."

jim buie, an american blogger residing in the same town in turkey that dogan was from, writes of the man:

"This young man obviously was a respected member of the community. He was studying at a private high school in Kayseri, similar to the one I teach at, and hoped to become a doctor. He was a neighbor of a student of mine."

on mondoweiss they're asking "can the israeli government kill american citizens with impunity?" what will the american government do to ensure that there is a real investigation into the murder of one of its own citizens?

this is a really great article as well.

the amount of sneering indifference some people have shown towards the loss of life not only on the flotilla but in israeli occupied palestine is just sad. but, this horrific incident has finally and unequivocally proven why we need to stand with palestine.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"ground your kite or we'll shoot!" or, happy birthday E!

the latest thing to be restricted during the G8/G20 meetings: kites!!

because you can do a lot of dangerous things with a kite. for reals.

so if you're thinking of doing some kiting any time soon you should probably think again, or else you'll end up in jail with a ruined kite.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"no real or imagined relationship with the Canadian people."

Another guest blog from C.

I tend to agree with what he's saying here, mainly because Stephane Dion was my number one sweetheart and I thought it was really sad when he was unseated by Ignatieff and his scary smile. also, I'm pretty sure michael ignatieff is a vampire. But this is besides the point for now.

Read on below for some astute observations on Canadian politics right now:

The Liberal Party of Canada’s insatiable hunger for power is emerging again as party leader Michael Ignatieff dismissed talks of a coalition with the NDP as “absurd”.

One would think, given the successful formation of a coalition government in Britain as well as Harper’s current communications crisis surrounding the lot of “Message Event Proposals” currently circulating through the media, that Ignatieff might just be looking at his best opportunity to unseat the minority Conservatives to date.

Alas, perhaps the only political group more determined than the Conservatives to concentrate power in the PMO is the Liberal party. This was never more apparent than a few years back when Paul Martin, determined to wrestle the leadership from his predecessor Jean Chretien, began slowing eroding loyalty by creating damaging divisions between Liberal party members. It was the infighting that resulted from these efforts that continues to plague the party today, even more so than the fallout from the sponsorship debacle. Too many power-hungry Liberal politicians jockeying for position have created an ideal climate for Stephen Harper’s skilled messaging strategists to pick apart the lowly, aimless Grits.

Even more recently Stephane Dion paid the price for his so-called “lack of leadership” when his party turned on him for exploring an alliance with Elizabeth May and the Green Party. I’ve fully believe all the talk that “Dion was not a leader” actually meant that “Dion was not a politician”, a plainly obvious fact that endeared him to me even more. Never mind that he actually had a platform that he was passionate about and that he was the only true embodiment of Liberal values since Jean Chretien. Unfortunately he didn’t do enough favours for his Liberal colleagues. He didn’t stroke their massive egos enough and he was devoured for it. And with Dion went the Liberals last best effort to unseat Stephen Harper.

As a result, today we have a minority Conservative government slowly but surely imposing right-wing policy on a too-complacent opposition. Examples of this trend continue to pile up. Whether it’s the government’s refusal to take responsibility for misleading the public about torture in Afghanistan (remember when Harper was a glowing beacon of accountability), or when they shit on the arts community and Toronto Pride, or the ongoing saga to abolish the long gun registry, the Conservatives continue to sell themselves as a centrist government while behaving like the reformists they truly are.

What better time to bring together the true centre-left of the Canadian political spectrum to create a proper and effective opposition? The Conservatives continue to manufacture countless opportunities to fuse NDP and Liberal values into strong, truly Canadian policy initiatives that would represent a stark contrast to Conservative policy, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, Michael Ignatieff isn’t willing to concede his delicate and incredibly limited power for the better of the country.

I said I’d never vote for Michael Ignatieff for two reasons: First, he wasn’t elected by his party members but rather elevated to the leadership in what essentially amounted to a coup against Stephane Dion, and secondly he has no real or imagined relationship with the Canadian people. He’s a social elite who lived outside the country for the better part of his adult life. The notion that he is capable or deserves to be Prime Minister of Canada, even in the context of a coalition, is truly absurd.


"What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.”

great post at activist teacher today

Some Big Lies of Science

"In fact, the scientists and “experts” define reality in order to bring it into conformation with the always-adapting dominant mental tapestry of the moment. They also invent and build new branches of the tapestry that serve specific power groups by providing new avenues of exploitation. These high priests are rewarded with high class status."

The Money Lie, The Medicine is Health Lie, and Environmental Science Lies.

you should read it, it's good!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sex and the City 2 :: Film :: VUE Weekly

this is pretty much the best sex and the city 2 review ever:

"Once upon a time, a young gay man encountered a critically-acclaimed HBO series, only to ask the question 12 years later, "Do all women turn into thoughtless, self-serving bitches once they reach the top of the New York social ladder?"

I began to wonder about this after one of my favourite shows of my early 20s went to hell in a hand basket after following the mad popularity of its sixth and final season with a feature film, going from a weekly trailblazing dose of cultural references and unconventional romance to a lacklustre Vogue fashion spread drunk off its ass on pink martinis. Going over and over in my head for months where things went wrong, I decided to do what half of the other gay men on earth had already penned in on their calendars—see the disastrous sequel for myself on opening weekend, and just maybe, if I downed two pints at the bar next to the theatre before going in, it might not be as bad as all of the other reviews told me it would be.

Meeting Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha at the fabulous Theatre One, right next door to where a bulked-up Jake Gyllenhaal doffed his shirt for a Disney epic, I was carried off to a number of exotic locales: a perfectly legal gay wedding in Connecticut, a luxurious first class trip to Abu Dhabi and of course, that cozy little brownstone apartment with the closet that never seems to run out of space. Everybody who was anybody was there, from Liza to Miley to Penelope to Aidan, the guy that half of Carrie Bradshaw's fans wish and whine she would have ended up with.

Meanwhile, on the upper east side of the theatre, two hundred or so straight girls laughed, gasped and squealed through the whole ordeal, not caring this way or that if the movie lacked the smarts that went over most of their heads when they watched the show. They were just happy to have their very own film event to drag their boyfriends to, and have the chance to draw just as much attention to themselves in their H&M dresses and knock-off Chanel shoes as any hobbit or a Jedi might.

It was then that I realized, while this movie prioritized new outfits in every scene over its botched character arc and possibly racist undertones, maybe I was wrong to judge an event sequel that couldn't possibly be compared to itself as the cable series spring chicken whose relevance was timely and limited. Secretly looking forward to the opening of this shitbox as much as anybody else, I distinctly remembered that I also saw Spiceworld on its first day.

In short, everyone must go through life to learn that one valuable lesson: your most important relationship is with the summer franchise blockbuster you'd cut off your left arm to see before anyone else does. "


money makes the world go 'round.

guest blogger C on the silver lining for BP in this whole "oil spill" catastrophe!

Thanks to BP the Gulf of Mexico may be a complete environmental disaster but at least all that oil isn’t going to waste.

According to the Associated Press, BP’s latest containment cap strategy, which has been considered a relative success (relative to doing nothing, apparently), was collecting about 11,000 barrels of oil per day until Sunday. BP plans to ad another recovery vehicle to the effort, effectively increasing the recovery capacity to roughly 20,000 barrels per day. That’s not close to all of the oil leaking from the breached drilling site but it is a fair amount.

In another story, BP estimates it may be August before a permanent containment solution is in place. Now that’s a real bummer for every living thing in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as along the Louisiana and Florida coastlines, but it’s not so bad for BP. If we consider that 20,000 barrels of oil per day is currently being collected from the site, and we can expect this to continue until, at best, August 1st, then we can determine that somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.2 million barrels of oil will have been collected over a two-month period.

If we take that one step further and multiply that by the current price of oil, which is currently hovering around US$71 per barrel, we can determine that BP stands to recover about US$85.2 million worth of oil.

I consider this a conservative estimation, since it assumes that the Gulf of Mexico site will be completely contained by August 1st, which it most certainly will not be. Also, I haven’t factored the usual skyrocketing prices of oil in high summer.

Regardless, I’m just so pleased to know that despite the overwhelming environmental devastation caused by poor planning at BP and seemingly non-existent regulation by the US government, at least it’s not a complete financial loss. Entire species of birds and sea creatures will be wiped out, but the wheels of capitalism will continue to turn.

It makes one wonder why BP would really want to stop the flow of oil from the Gulf of Mexico site, since that would represent a complete loss on the initial investment. Perhaps it does explain BP’s early attempt to drop a giant box on the site to stem the leak, a strategy almost certain to result in complete failure, but also certain to buy time while the company devised a way to recover losses.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

THIS is why the pamphleteers are voting keith cole:

toronto pride made a bad, bad decision. censoring freedom of speech(which is exactly what they did when they decided to ban queers against israeli apartheid) at a pride event was not only completely unjustifiable but it has also exposed pride TO's true mandate: censorship for sponsorship.

for immediate release is this statement from Keith Cole, the These Pamphleteers endorsed Mayoral candidate.

keith was asked to hose PRIDE's 2010 ALTERNA-QUEER stage on Saturday, July 3. This is his response:


I must decline the offer to host PRIDE’s 2010 ALTERNA – QUEER stage on Saturday July 3rd, 2010, South Stage. It is with great sadness that I must say NO to host one of PRIDE’s best music venues due to Censorship and complete ignorance and respect for individuals right to Freedom of Speech by PRIDE.

I love Alterna – Queer. It is and has been one of the best stages at PRIDE for years. The music, the people, the vibe and the bands have been great in the past and 2010 has a great line up of talent indeed, but PRIDE’s decision to dictate censorship and prevent freedom of speech leaves me with no choice – I must decline PRIDE’s offer to host this event. As a human, an artist, a gay and a 2010 Toronto Mayoral Candidate I cannot nor will I ever support an organization that acts as censors and denies people freedom of speech.

PRIDE has made a dangerous and sickening decision. PRIDE now has censorship mechanisms in place and freedom of speech has been challenged today and for the future. Any individual, any group, any person is now at risk at being censored by PRIDE and denied freedom of speech – who or what will be next? A group? An individual? An artist? A band? An idea? A painting? A book? A body-part? A name? A memory? A thought? A drag queen? A dyke? A fag? It could be anyone or anything next. We, the queer community, are the major stakeholders in PRIDE – not governments, corporations, banks, condo developments or beer companies etc… We are what made PRIDE and we will continue to define our PRIDE.

PRIDE will happen with or without government / corporate sponsorship. We will march, gather, protest, party, celebrate and keep on fighting the good fight. Free speech is worth fighting for and censorship must be stopped no matter what the price.

The community will not forget this terrible decision made by PRIDE.

I love the event Alterna – Queer and I love the music but I love freedom of speech and I can never, ever support censorship.

Sent with a Proud, Free & Uncensored Voice,

Keith Cole

Contact: Keith Cole 416-944-0077 /

Friday, June 4, 2010

"don't be taken in by his welcome grin"

this article about michael bryant and darcy sheppard was in eye weekly and i'm only going to pick out the tiniest part of it, because i think it's outrageous:

"I’m also sad for Michael Bryant, that the high-intensity events of a few minutes of one night should forever alter the course of his life. His career has been derailed and, in the eyes of many, his reputation ruined but, more importantly, he will forever live with the memory of that night — the fear he felt, yes.

But also: he killed a man. That’s his burden to carry forever.
I have no desire to wade into the entrenched arguments over the merits of this case (though I suspect others will think I’m already neck-deep). But this much appears clear to me: Darcy Sheppard did not deserve to die. And Michael Bryant does not deserve to be punished."

i actually laughed when i read that.

why does someone who committed a crime, whether intentionally or not, deserve to be punished? because that's the law? because we have law for a reason? because we all pretty much agree to abide by the law?

like a lot of people, i'm getting kind of sick of hearing about how "living with it" is enough of a punishment for bryant.

why is it just enough for michael bryant?? why isn't it enough for anyone in that situation?

one of my colleagues told me a story about a family friend involved in a hit and run incident, a person was killed. he feels horrible, guilty, he has to live with the fact that he killed someone.

he got 18 months in jail, he's in jail right now.

maybe if he had enough money to get the services of a PR firm and enough political clout to pull strings he wouldn't be in jail right now, but he didn't have those things.

we do not live in a society that considers "feeling bad" enough of a punishment. i'm sorry people, but that's how it works. if we want a different system then maybe we need to change the system, but right now if you kill someone you go to jail.

unless you're michael bryant, have pockets lined with money and an expensive phone filled with politician and lawyers' numbers. then you just have to cry some crocodile tears, hail some mary, and "live with it."


Thursday, June 3, 2010

we only have one left... we'd better take care of it!

this is a sad, sad day.

rue mcclanahan of the golden girls died last night, at 76.

not only is it sad because blanche was my favorite golden girl but the tragedy is especially poignant because now we only have one golden girl left.

betty white, it's all on you. you are the last of your kind.

much like the last unicorn, you are now doomed to wander the earth alone and eventually save it from evil.

maybe that's a tall order for an 88 year old, but if any 88 year old can do it it's betty white.

now that there's only one golden girl left, shouldn't we be protecting her somehow??? can betty white be made a UNESCO world heritage site??

"stop badness. promote goodness."

very, very important!! thanks hans!

"Want to help stop discrimination against transgender persons in Canada? Here’s a rare and important opportunity and you have until June 8 to take part.

In 2000 - TEN YEARS AGO - the Canadian Human Rights Review Panel *unanimously* urged government to add 'gender identity' to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Human Rights Act. 10 years later, it still hasn't happened.

Because of this, transgender persons continue to face discrimination, and a growing number of provincial governments are taking advantage of this to cut provincial health care funding (where it exists) for many trans persons.

THIS TUESDAY - June 8 - a private members bill to amend the Human Rights Act and Criminal Code of Canada (to include protections for ‘gender identity’) will reach final hour of second reading in the House of Commons and, if it passes, will move us closer to the important goal of protecting trans persons under the Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code of Canada (for hate crimes). The vote will be on June 9. That gives a few days to send an email to your MP urging them to support it.
How can you help?

1. Learn about the issue. Below is a copy of the hansard debate from first reading, which gives a lot of great info about this issue.!/note.php?note_id=398056126939&id=17410495321&ref=mf

2. Check out MP Bill Siksay’s website for information about the status of the bill:

3. But most importantly, WRITE YOUR MP TO SAY, “VOTE FOR THIS BILL, YO.” You can be more eloquent than that. Or if eloquence isn’t your thing, you can just use this sample letter, provided precisely for that purpose.

4. What?! Don’t know who your MP is or how to contact them?! Well neither do I, to tell you the truth. That’s why I go HERE to find out:

Easy as rhubarb pie, wha?"

do it!!!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

dear anonymous commenter: fuuuuuuuck you.

i really dislike anonymous comments. i think they're really wimpy and usually just a way for someone to express something heinous without being identified.

so, to anomymous commenter # 2, on this post: you are a coward. to say something so disgusting and hide behind an "anonymous" is unacceptable.

this idiot wrote the following on my piece about the MURDER of darcy sheppard and i didn't even want to publish it. but i don't believe in censoring anything, so i'm publishing it in the hopes that it demonstrates a little bit of what i wrote about how the PR spin on this case has completely distorted the facts and made a human being's death acceptable and necessary.

the comment:

You're right, why would a person do such a thing like attack a car, or reach into it's window, much less more than once in one night... right he might be looking for a fight. Uhm you forgot to mention the part in the article where Sheppard attacked a car earlier. He was looking for a fight, he got one. I was out walking late with my girlfriend that night not far from where all this happened, and if Sheppard had not ridden Bryants car into a fire hydrant, my girlfriend and I could have been Sheppard's next victims. We didn't have a car to fight back with. Better him dead than me and my girl.

"uhm", have you ever been hit by a car, "anonymous"???? while you were riding a bike?? because it isn't fun.

you and "your girl" weren't driving around hitting cyclists and i'm sure that noone would have wasted their time trying to pick a fight with two moron yuppies walking around yorkville on a fucking date. in fact, as my brilliant friend elle pointed out, you and your girl were more likely to be hit by bryant's car when it started "going out of control" than being attacked by darcy sheppard.

michael bryant HIT darcy sheppard with his car. he drove on the WRONG SIDE of the road. he then LEFT the scene of a crime which is illegal.

this guy wasn't out looking for a fight, and don't flatter yourself that anyone would ever target you for any reason except that you're a prick.

so thanks for reading the blog, thanks for taking the time to register your opinion. but next time you want to make big claims and grandiose statements about how it's GOOD that someone is dead, don't hide behind anonymity.

update--a very smart response to "anonymous" from elle:

Anonymous, it is so great that you would put your own self interested hypothetical situation above the reality that someone did die in this incident. However, let's take a moment to think about that hypothetical situation anyways.

Apparently, Darcy Sheppard was being aggressive with people in CARS that day; therefore, I'm sure he would have posed no real harm to you and your girlfriend. However, Bryant's driving was out of control and he could have very easily hurt someone or even kill them. OH WAIT A MINUTE! THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED!

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what kind of person Darcy Sheppard was. He is dead. He is not on trial. And Michael Bryant is responsible for his death whether you (and the courts) would like to acknowledge this or not. I am a driver and I am absolutely positive that if I hit someone accidently - let alone killed them because I was driving recklessly - I would not be let off so easily. After all, I can't afford a PR firm to spin the story.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

keith cole for mayor!


Better Ballots is hosting a mayoral debate tonite and it will be the first debate to include our favorite candidate: keith cole!!

it starts at 7pm, june 1st, at Hart House.

it's free and open to the public, and will run about 90 minutes.


oh, meet me at blue edge park.

so the city is getting a new park and we get to name it!!

can we please, PLEASE not let "the Junction Triangle" happen again???

city of toronto, please choose a better name for this park than "Blue Edge"?


vote here:

women walk out of positions at al-jazeera?

i really like al-jazeera. i think it's a really good news source(i hate the term "alternative news source") and so i was a bit surprised to read this today: "Al-Jazeera Walk Out"

according to the daily mail, five female newscasters walked out of their anchor positions after the company criticized them for their "clothes and decency."

apparently the women repeatedly appeared on television wearing "make up and not covering their hair" and Al-Jazeera claims "they have the right to enforce a dress code that reflects their spirit and principles."

the women said that their deputy editor in chief made "offensive remarks" about them and their choice of dress.

it'll be interesting to see how this develops.

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