Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Commencement Address at Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois

This transcript is fascinating, as it also transcribes the catcalls, heckling and horn-blowing(??? Who takes a horn to a commencement?). What becomes clear is a total inability on the part of the graduating hecklers to understand a nuanced arguement. Clearly detailing the inellectual arridity of the Christian Right and its footsoldiers in Amerika, Hedges words would be taken as boringly mainstream anywhere else in the world.

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Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges is the author of American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, and has been getting a lot pf press recently. Understandably so--here's
a graduate of the Harvard Divinity School calling the leaders of the
Christian Right in Amerika non-Christians (okay, maybe a no-brainer for
anyone with some non-Amerikan theological training, but still
remarkable for being don "in-house"). This interview (available in both mp3 and transcript), is an interesting introduction to his arguments.

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a failure to grasp the value of democratic oversight

Simon Jenkins, an insider and former member of the board of British Rail, discusses the limits and problems of privatizing public companies. What makes this interesting is that he's a strong supporter of privatization.

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Wolf as Underdog

That would be Josh Wolf, a blogger and indie journalist in the states, targeted by the Bush administration. He's been locked up for six months now--the longest any journalist has ever been jailed in the US for refusing to comly with a subpoena. Amy Goodman, the Democracy Now journalist and author, writes about the case over at Truthdig.

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Democracy Now

You don;'t even have to download the show, you can just read the transcript of the interview. Chalmers Johnson raises the question "do you have to sacrifice democracy to maintain empire?"

AMY GOODMAN: Today, we spend the hour with the former CIA
consultant, distinguished scholar, best-selling author, Chalmers
Johnson. He's just published a new book. It's called Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. It's the last volume in his trilogy, which began with Blowback, went onto The Sorrows of Empire.
In those two, Johnson argued American clandestine and military activity
has led to unintended but direct disaster here in the United States. In
his new book, Johnson argues that US military and economic overreach
may actually lead to the nation's collapse as a constitutional republic.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Working Class Bitch

So I was terminated February 5, picked myself up enough to start visiting personnel agencies on February 12, started a well-paid temp job at $21 an hour on February 15, was interviewed February 16, and hired February 21--a mere week and a half after beginning to submit my resume--and began work yesterday as an Executive Assistant to a VP at a large corporation. What a wonderful thing it is to be in a hot job market, to be sure! I was a little nervous, since EA positions don't come open as much as regular admin positions, but obviously I needn't have worried so much. Something in me that had been twisted very tightly began to loosen the day I got hired.

It's been interesting seeing what large corporations offer their employees to retain them right now. Salaries are only the beginning. The place where I temped offered employees a flexible work week which allows them one Friday off a month, and I was told that Shell Canada offers its people 17 flex days a year at present, to help retain them during negotiations with Royal Dutch Shell. 17 days--the mind boggles, not to mention envies. On the other hand, I became familiar with the people at Shell through my old position, and while I know nothing against them, I didn't want to risk meeting former colleagues through the connection. Oh well!

My place offers free coffee...and free pastries Monday and Wednesday, and free fruit on Tuesday and Thursday, at least on my floor. I get substantial discounts on the company's retail offerings (I heard 50%, but haven't seen the package yet), I will get my benefits on March 1st instead of having to wait till I am done probation--they don't even call it probation any more, but "an introductory period". The perqs vary from company to company, but there are some very sweet deals out there, to be sure. I'm happy, though, with a boss who seems like a decent person and in a company that has cheerful, helpful people working for it. Of course, there are some mistakes I plan never to make again...when all is said and done, I'm still just a working class bitch.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Long Recovery Week 14

Clearly, things are looking up -- last night I went through the drive-in at Wendy's.
Now before you get yer garters in an uproar about global cow warming and all that, consider this: I drove up to the order window, wound open my own window, and passed out money, then took back my change then took in my drink and meal.
I did it all with my left arm.
Slowly, very slowly, my shoulder is getting better.
It's still very weak, and mobility is still limited, but it is coming back. I keep finding myself able to do things that a week or two ago I couldn't.
And I must be feeling optimistic about my eventual return to the kayaking -- yesterday I ordered a waterproof VHF radio.

Friday, February 23, 2007

They call it Colossal....

'cause you can't say big f**ker on tv.

Thanks to Lila for pointing out the footage.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Love This Woman!

Susie Bright, that is. this woman is the Molly Ivins of sex, the original Dan Savage. She regularly kicks ass and takes names. Today, she's talking about the use of the word scrotum in chlidren's books.

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George Takei

This freaking rocks! This is the way to deal with these redneck homophobic assholes! Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck!

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hey! There She Is!

Heather Mallick, of course. Her As If column in the Globe was the best thing about saturdays last year. Now she's gone, and I've been wondering what she's been up to. Well, here she is! And boy does she sum up my impressions of 24.
And if you don't know who she is, here's her bio off the CBC site:

Heather Mallick has a nice old-fashioned M.A. in English literature from the University of Toronto. She has worked as a reporter, copy editor and book review editor at various Toronto newspapers and most recently wrote a column called As If for the Globe and Mail. She has won National Newspaper Awards for critical writing and feature writing. Heather writes a political column for the New York Times Syndication Service that runs internationally. Her first book, Pearls in Vinegar, based on an ancient Japanese form of diary, appeared in 2004. Her second, an essay collection called Cake or Death: The Excruciating Choices of Everyday Life, will be published by Knopf in April 2007.

Never Really Thought There Was A Case

CBC News is reporting that "Filmmaker Michael Moore did not libel the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, a U.S. court said Tuesday."


Yeah, Tilma. The Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) agreement between Alberta and BC comes into effect this April Fool's Day--and bids fair to make an april fool out of BC's premier Gordon Campbell's recent green conversion. Murray Dobbin writes a very interesting piece in The Tyee.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Other Blogs

In searching Food TV Canada, I noticed Canadian Food Blogs listed, which lead to Kayaksoup, which lead to Wild Coyote....and Wild Coyote's post. I don't know who made up the list, considering my bookcase a lot of books I own are not listed.

Here are the instructions:

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. +The Da Vinci Code(Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Predjudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. +The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. *A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. +Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. +Angels and Demons(Dan Brown)
13. +Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. +A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. +Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. +Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. +Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. +Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. +The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) and the other four volumes in the trilogy.
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The lion, the witch and the Wardrobe
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. +The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. *The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True ( Wally Lamb)
39. +The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. +The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43.+ Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44.+The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible (parts of it)
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. +Angelas Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. *Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. +Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. +The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. +Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. +Bridget Jones Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. +Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88.+ The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89.* Blindness(Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel(Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. +The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Lily Allen & a vid from England

Sent to mefrom my pal Clive. A little British music...catchy tune and hilarious vid....

Imagine - George W. Bush

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Long Recovery Week 12

This was a week of firsts.
Monday, I had my first bath. I decided that it was time to try to get in and out of the tub. Getting in was okay, but getting out still remains a little haphazard. However, I didn't fall, and it was very relaxing. Heck, I may even have another one tonight. (Long-time followers of my misadventure will recall that due to the tinyness of my bathroom and the awkwardness of my injury, I was forced to pee in the sink for a short while after my release from the hospital. I would like to state for the record that for some time I have been able to pee in the usual manner and into the usual bathrrom fixture, although I still occasionally pee into the sink because I am a lazy and gross bastard.)
Tuesday, I tied my shoelaces for the first time in three months. After getting home from my accident, the first phone call I made was to my niece who works in a discount shoe store to ask her if they had any sneakers with velcro instead of laces. And lo, they did, and they were delivered unto me, and I've been wearing them ever since. But after a recent long walk, I discovered that discount shoes aren't designed to be walked in over a lengthy distance, and since my plan is to walk home when I return to work, it was time for more comfy (and more expensive) shoes. And so it was that on Tuesday morn, I took my old expensive sneaks out of the closet, placed them on my feet and tied the laces with no discomfort in my battered left shoulder. Huzzah, huzzah.
And today another first: my first day back at work. What a, er, um, thrill it was to be back. Makes one hanker for the days when I could just sit home, rest, watch tv and get paid. And that was just last week!
Actually, it felt good to be back, if for no other reason than it represents another small step along The Long Road Back. The shoulder seemed to survive the day fairly well. And when I did my exercises in the evening, it seemed a lot less tighter than usual. Perhaps being back at work did it some good.
I stuck up a copy of my x-ray in my cubicle. Most people were shocked at the amount of metal in my arm.
"Is that permanent?" they gasped.
"Yes," I replied, "until someone figures that the going rate for titanium is worth digging up my cold and rotting corpse for."
I walked home, as per my plan, and although I was jealous of every bike rider that passed me and every kayaker in the harbour (there was only one, and he had to be crazy to be out on a stormy day like today), at the end of the day I feel a little more confident that one day soon I'll be back on my bike and in my kayak.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Because It Wasn't Enough Fun Before

I got a note from my doctor while still on stress leave, saying I was cleared to return to work without limitations. I brought it in to the nice lady in HR at 8:00 am this Monday morning. She checked it, ushered me into theoffice of the Vice President of HR, and scuttered away while he terminated me for reasons that he said he would not be discussing with me.

Terminated. With a whole extra week of severance pay because I signed the agreement saying I wouldn't sue their asses off. I've met their pet me, I wouldn't be suing anyhow, because I am sure if I did I would find myself in far worse trouble, and none of it illegal...just slimy.

I have revised my resume and my references, and have three personnel agency interviews lined up for next week so they can start telling new companies how fabulous I am. But I still think somebody deserves a punch in the head. For all I know, it could even be me...for trusting my former company to play fair....

Even Our Thoughts Are No Longer Private

This report in the Guardian newspaper details how scientists can now (allegedly) divine your intentions from your thoughts. Are you lying? a racist? this new technique claims to be able to be able to distinguish your intentions by scanning the activity in your brain. So even the privacy of our own skulls has been breached--soon to be owned by a major corporation near you.....

One Way To Quit

The only thing I can think is that Bart Jones has decided to quit--or maybe the managing editor has decided to. How else to explain this reasonable and balanced piece of reporting on Hugo Chavez in an Amerikan newspaper?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Would I want these assholes on my street?

Check out this through-the-window video of a humvee negotiating the streets of Baghdad. This alone would make me start looking for a gun. Typical arrogance of the triumphalist invader.

America Christo-Fascism

We must attend to growing social and economic inequities in order to stop the most dangerous mass movement in American history -- or face a future of fascism under the guise of Christian values.

Dr. James Luther Adams, my ethics professor at Harvard Divinity School, told his students that when we were his age -- he was then close to 80 -- we would all be fighting the "Christian fascists."
So writes Chris Hedges over on Alternet, and I believe him. If it's not too late already. This doesn't just concern Amerika, but after an experience I had in Mississauga this summer, it's clear that Canadians have a great deal to worry about also--and not just the "world's longest undefended border."

Are you fucking kidding me?!

12 BILLION dollars--that's the amount of money that disappeared from the CPA in Bahgdad. Check out the Guardian story here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Long Recovery Week 10

It's funny how I can suddenly discover that I can do something without even thinking about it, or that I can still find that there are very simple tasks that I cannot do.
For instance, last week after physio, I ran for the bus. Not that the running itself was a surprising thing -- I'm not much of a jogger, but up until my accident I was riding my bike five days a week, so I was in shape enough to run if need be -- but the fact that I was running and my shoulder seemed pretty okay with it was an unexpected surprise. It wasn't until I got on the bus that I realized that I had run a couple of hundred metres with little discomfort.
Mind you, later that day I couldn't get my socks off. As I stood in front of the laundry hamper, I decided that the socks I was currently wearing were due a wash. So, still standing, I bent my left knee, lifted my left foot, reached down with my right hand and pulled my sock off. After lowering my left foot, I lifted my right foot and without thinking reached down with my left hand and did not have the strength to take off my right sock.

The good news is that I am feeling more and more human and I'm venturing out more. Here's me last week at Gyro Park. Dig the "physio beard."

Monday, February 05, 2007

Battlestar Galacticons

Here's a great article on Neocons who use sci-fi and fantasy analogies, and how many of them are upset at the third season of Battlestar Galactica which depicts many of the Galactica crew as insurgents against a Cylon occupying force even going so far as to use suicide bombers against the first graduating class of human security forces police recruited by the Cylons:

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who writes regularly about Galactica’s politics on NRO’s group blog, The Corner, also picked up on parallels between the show and the war on terror. Goldberg took particular glee in attacking Galactica’s anti-war movement, which he said consisted of “radical peaceniks” and “peace-terrorists” who “are clearly a collection of whack jobs, fifth columnists and idiots.” Goldberg also praised several characters for trying to rig a presidential election. “I liked that the good guys wanted to steal the election and, it turns out, they were right to want to,” wrote Goldberg. Stolen elections, evil robots, crazed hippies … what more could a socially inept right-winger want from a show?
But alas, this love affair between Galactica and the right was not to last: in its third season, the show has morphed into a stinging allegorical critique of America’s three-year occupation of Iraq. The trouble started at the end of the second season, when humanity briefly escaped the Cylons and settled down on the tiny planet of New Caprica. The Cylons soon returned and quickly conquered the defenseless humans. But instead of slaughtering everyone, the Cylons decided to take a more enlightened path by “benevolently occupying” the planet and imposing their preferred way of life by gunpoint. The humans were predictably not enthused about their allegedly altruistic rulers, and they immediately launched an insurgency against them using improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers. Needless to say, this did not go over very well in the Galacticon camp.
“The whole suicide bombing thing … made comparisons to Iraq incredibly ham-fisted,” wrote a frustrated Goldberg, who had hoped the struggle against the Cylons would look more like Le Resistance than the Iraqi insurgency. “The French resistance vibe … is part of what makes the Iraq comparison so offensive. It’s a one-step remove from comparing the Iraqi insurgency to the (romanticized) French resistance.”

The article goes on to mention further sci-fi allusions, including a writer who thought that:
“[i]t’s time to institute Disintegration Chambers in our major American cities,” he said, referring to a Star Trek episode that featured two tribes who preferred to fight wars by disintegrating their own people rather than sending them into live combat. Even though the episode was actually an allegory about the perverse methods governments use to shield their people from the brutal costs of war, he took quite a fancy to the idea of forced disintegration, especially for his ideological foes.
“Here’s the deal,” he wrote. “We decide what constitutes torture, and identify it as the following: insufficient air conditioning, excess air conditioning, sleep deprivation, being chained to the floor, and other forms of psychological stress … Those who disagree with these techniques must sign a record that registers their complaints. When a terrorist finally spills the details on a forthcoming attack on, say, Chicago, the people who signed the register and live in Chicago are required to report to the disintegration chamber.”

Friday, February 02, 2007

Climate Change Unstoppable

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations issued a their latest report today, conclding that global warming is "unequivocal" and that human activity is the main driver, "very likely" causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950. [See here, here, and here.]
The report, using their strongest language yet on the issue, said now that the world has begun to warm, hotter temperatures and rises in sea level "would continue for centuries," no matter how much humans control their pollution. "The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice-mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that is not due to known natural causes alone," said the report.
The report finds that sea levels will rise between 7 and 23 inches by 2100, and it also concluded that seas would continue to rise, and crowded coasts retreat, for at least 1,000 years to come (by comparison, seas rose about 6 to 9 inches in the 20th century).
The report also finds a new wrinkle in the climate change story: a drop in the pH of seawater as oceans absorb billions of tons of carbon dioxide, which forms carbonic acid when partly dissolved. Marine biologists have said that could imperil some kinds of corals and plankton.

The President of the United States said, “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”
Oh, sorry. That wasn't the current President speaking.
It was President Lyndon Johnson.
In 1965.

Living in his own private reality bubble, the current President, "President" Bush, is rejecting mandatory carbon caps, but likes the idea of giant space mirrors.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Does Losing Mean Waking Up?

In a blog post on Alternet, Jan Frel raises some interesting questions about just what it might mean if Amerika acknowledged that it has lost in Iraq. He seems to suggest that people might recognize that the American government is broken and there might be no way to fix it. Don't really know why it should--after all, after their defeat in Viet Nam, the fact that no matter who occupied the White House, the rulers remained the same group of Fascist monsters certainly seemed to disappear from public discourse. ML King noticed, but they shot him and his successors decided to shut the hell up.
Weatherman decided "got to revolution, got to revolution," but funny, they found that the citizens weren't really behind them. And, as the Airplane said, "one generation got old/one generation got sold/this generation got no destination to hold" which is as true as it's ever been. No, any talk of revolution is now and only ever will be "sound[ing] like a whisper" south of the border. No, the way I see it, it's up to the rest of the civilized world to just wall off this cancerous tumour, and let it fester until they've finished eating their own young and sending each other to the ovens. Then we can salt the earth behind them and get on with our own unfinished revolutions--like democracy.