electricland: (Death java)

That is all for now.

(I have spent the morning at work squeeing and jumping up and down with my colleagues, including my Pennsylvania-absentee-ballot-wielding officemate. She says you're welcome.)


Nov. 3rd, 2008 05:12 pm
electricland: (Canadian)
So, tomorrow night I imagine I will be glued to the TV. I think I'd better lay in some alcoholic beverages to cushion the strain, because it will be TENSE. As with all US elections, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like being totally powerless to influence the outcome. Most of all I just want the damn thing to be OVER ALREADY, because the tension is killing me! dead!

I'm sure I don't need to say this, but to all the Americans reading this: please vote on Tuesday, if you haven't already. There is probably no secret to how I hope you'll vote. ;) But however you choose to cast your ballot... do it!

This campaign has been so nasty in so many ways, but there have been some bright spots as well. One of my go-to sites has been YA for Obama, a social networking site set up by Maureen Johnson. In her own words, it's "a community of YA writers and readers and friends who have joined together because of our commitment to Future United States President Barack Obama. We think he’s the right person for the job." The posts by Maureen and Scott Westerfeld and John Green and Judy Blume and other YA authors too numerous to list are great, but what really lifts my heart is all the teenagers on the site, many of whom are too young to vote in this election, but all of whom are so enthusiastic and optimistic and smart that it gives you hope for the future.

A site I just discovered today is Margaret and Helen ("Best friends for sixty years and counting"). Two cranky opinionated broads with a blog. It kind of rocks.
electricland: (Alien)
...I thought I'd pass this along to those who may be interested. Starting Saturday at noon, [livejournal.com profile] mrdankelly will
start watching 24 hours of horror films to raise money for the Obama/Biden campaign. My tortured analogy? Nothing I'll see during that 24 hours will be as scary as the past eight years of Republican rule. I've almost reached my goal of $1,500, raising a total of $1,380. Please help me put it over the top!


I'll be blogging during the course of the marathon, so please stop by to cheer me on as I push myself to my absolute physical limits by, uh, sitting on the couch and watching TV.


Dan Kelly
As a Canadian, I can't do the sponsoring part, but I can at least do the cheering-on part. Go Dan go!
electricland: (Canadian)
Fellow Canadians: go vote! (I did. Getting my annual post-Thanksgiving cold has proved useful in terms of getting things done around my neighbourhood.)

Back with me? Excellent. If you read a lot of blogs, as I do, and a number of them are American, you tend to come across the concept of "registered Republicans" and "registered Democrats" and "registered independents" a lot. It seems to be quite central to a lot of USians' political lives, to the extent that when the news on the vandalism in Parkdale-High Park and St. Paul's (which, in case you weren't sure, was TOTALLY UNCOOL in every way) hit south of the border, I saw at least one commenter from the US refer to the victims as "registered Liberals". (They may or may not have been, but they all had Liberal lawn signs.)

To me, this concept is a little bizarre. In my world, you show up at your polling place on voting day, you mark your ballot for your favourite candidate, and that's it. If you wish, you may choose to display a lawn sign for one or more candidates or volunteer for a candidate, but there's no insistence on you being officially a member of their party. Certainly there are registered party members in this country, and they play a huge role in choosing party leaders and so on, so more power to them. But I'm not a registered member of any party, and I'm not sure I actually know anyone who is (other than politicians). It just doesn't come up in discussion. On the other hand, maybe I'm just oblivious to the true state of affairs -- it's certainly happened before.

Clearly a highly scientific and not remotely self-selecting poll is called for!

[Poll #1278521]

In other news, Scalzi's post about the many ways USians can turn out unable to vote makes me so happy to be Canadian. *hugs Elections Canada*
electricland: (Canadian)
There's a little teaser on the front page of today's Metro that cutely says "Obama fatigue setting in?"

News flash: This is American politics! Every election goes on for like a year and a half! OF COURSE fatigue sets in! I personally have been sick of hearing about Obama, McCain, and everyone else for at least three months now! I'm just amazed nobody has thought to ask this before.

electricland: (Canadian)
I'm trying to ignore the U.S. election just at present. I am very fond of many Americans, but I find your elections boring and way too long and, because I can't influence the outcome but will have to live with the results, quite stressful.

Via [livejournal.com profile] thebitterguy, however, here's a weird Canada-related election tidbit. How very odd.
electricland: (election Harper)

Friday afternoon: Jen and I acted as runners and minions for [livejournal.com profile] crankygrrl and A in their quest for chocolate brown bridesmaids' outfits. Worked out pretty well. I had fun, although the people who were having to try on a lot of clothes, possibly not so much.

[And somehow I forgot all about Friday evening in there -- dinner with C and K and [livejournal.com profile] scapersuse and Cranky. I thought this update seemed short. Was great to see everyone.]

Saturday evening: met [livejournal.com profile] crankygrrl, [livejournal.com profile] pretentiousgit, and [livejournal.com profile] monkeycommando for drinks at Murphy's. Drank too much, owing to forgetting that water is better when you're thirsty. Much fun.

Yesterday: Got filling replaced. My dentist, who rocks, showed me pictures of before, during, and after. Also got the complimentary paraffin-wax hand treatment. Which has the disadvantage of leaving me basically without means of communication, although I suppose I could have screamed if I'd really needed to. (I didn't.) Left work at a decent hour! And went to a used bookstore over on McCaul that I've been meaning to check out. They keep the erotica and the children's books in the same room, which amused me. The plan from here on in is: leave at a decent hour, no matter how productive or otherwise I've been.


Kung Fu Monkey and John Scalzi on Stephen Colbert.

[livejournal.com profile] misia and [livejournal.com profile] mrdankelly discuss "illegal" immigration here and here.

Lest we in Canada get smug: Canadian Border Services agents behaving badly. Not cool, people. I don't care what the parents have done, you do not go after the kids.

And finally: Stephen Harper Doesn't Eat Babies: GO Transit. (Of course, as my dad said this morning, this is still awaiting third-party confirmation.)
electricland: (Canadian)
These figures on election spending gave me pause.

For roughly the same amount of money, about $20 $40 million, you can finance two four Senate campaigns in the United States... or an entire party's campaign, 308 candidates in total, in Canada.

(First link via [livejournal.com profile] shetterly. Actually the information on campaign spending is kind of an aside, it's got lots of interesting information on inequality and how wealth buys political clout. But it startled me.)

(Edit. I hadn't taken into account limits on individual candidates' spending, which run roughly an additional $60,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of voters in their riding. So average that at $80,000 per riding, multiply by 308 ridings, call it another $24 million for a party running candidates in every riding. Add the $18 million in party spending, if I'm reading this correctly, and that comes out to $42 million Canadian. Still seems like a bargain.)
electricland: (Alien)
Some links:

Via [livejournal.com profile] makinglight's comments section, also [livejournal.com profile] shetterly:

Cecilia Fire Thunder, Oglala Sioux Tribal President, is kind of annoyed at South Dakota's recent unpleasantness. So she's hoping to establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on the Pine Ridge Reservation, which is of course sovereign territory and no subject to South Dakota law (in this case and many others). Planned Parenthood clinics are, of course, good for much more than just abortions.

Ways to donate, in case you want to help with this.
Next, Salon has more on a disturbing story:

[T]he anti-birth-control movement's efforts are making a significant political impact: Supporters have pressured insurance companies to refuse coverage of contraception, lobbied for "conscience clause" laws to protect pharmacists from having to dispense birth control, and are redefining the very meaning of pregnancy to classify certain contraceptive methods as abortion. In increasing numbers, women and men opposed to contraception are marshaling health facts and figures to bolster their convictions that sex for anything but procreation is morally wrong and potentially deadly. Although its medical arguments are really just thinly veiled moral and religious arguments, using findings that are biased and unfounded, the rising anti-contraception movement, echoed by the Catholic Church, is making significant inroads. Leaders of the pro-choice movement know it, are worried about it, and realize they can't take it lightly, as they mount their own strategies to battle it.

"It is very hard to awaken people to the threat," says Gloria Feldt, the former president of Planned Parenthood, "because who can believe that something so accessible can be at risk? But that's what [people] said when they started attacking Roe, and now look at how close we are to losing Roe."
And Dan Savage notes:

Straight Rights Update: Earlier this month Republicans in South Dakota successfully banned abortion in that state. Last week the GOP-controlled state house of representatives in Missouri voted to ban state-funded family planning clinics from dispensing birth control. "If you hand out contraception to single women," one Republican state rep told the Kansas City Star, "we're saying promiscuity is okay." On the federal level, Republicans are blocking the over-the-counter sale of emergency contraception and keeping a 100 percent effective HPV vaccine—a vaccine that will save the lives of thousands of women every year—from being made available.

The GOP's message to straight Americans: If you have sex, we want it to fuck up your lives as much as possible. No birth control, no emergency contraception, no abortion services, no life-saving vaccines. If you get pregnant, tough shit. You're going to have those babies, ladies, and you're going to make those child-support payments, gentlemen. And if you get HPV and it leads to cervical cancer, well, that's too bad. Have a nice funeral, slut.

What's it going to take to get a straight-rights movement off the ground? The GOP in Kansas is seeking to criminalize hetero heavy petting, for God's sake! Wake up and smell the freaking Holy War, breeders! The religious right hates heterosexuality just as much as it hates homosexuality. Fight back!
Finally, because it's never too late to keep those hits coming and this seems like an excellent post for it: Bill Napoli.

napoli (not to be confused with the proper noun, which indicates the Italian city)
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): napolied
Pronunciation: nA’poli

1. To brutalize and rape, sodomize as bad as you can possibly make it, a young, religious virgin woman who was saving herself for marriage. 2. To hella rape somebody.

Etymology: From State Senator Bill Napoli’s (R-SD) words on an acceptable description of rape that would merit an exemption from South Dakota’s abortion ban.

[Edited to add stuff. I knew I had more than I originally put in...]
electricland: (Default)
The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It, New York Review of Books

Haven't read it all yet, but it looks interesting. (And hey, Paul Krugman again!)
electricland: (Canadian)
[livejournal.com profile] azerbic isn't letting the maybe-we-should-bomb-Al-Jazeera-ha-ha-ha-just-kidding thing go, and by the sound of it, she's quite right. Go, read. (She also points out that Al-Jazeera staffers have a blog, "Don't Bomb Us". Worth checking out.)

In other news... dammit, I thought the no-confidence vote was scheduled for 4:30? (Love that photo of PM the PM with pink horns -- OK, fine, I know they're flowers.) Not that it will make a lot of difference. I do sort of hope the GG tells Stephen "All right then, do you think you can make a government? Be my guest."

I was quietly applauding Stephane Dion on the radio this morning -- not sure if it was the news or Metro Morning or The Current. Something along the lines of "Stephen Harper doesn't believe in global warming, and Gilles Duceppe doesn't believe in Canada, but I thought better of Jack Layton because he believes in both those things." It was shameless politicking, but he made the point well. Made a nice change from John "Nobody in the world outside of the Liberal government believes there's anything remotely enviable about the Canadian health care system" Crosbie on Friday.

Quite liked the guy from the ACLU (he's in Part 2, about 11 minutes in) this morning on the ever popular "They're trying to abolish Christmas!" argument. (I was in the shower when the guy from the Liberty Council was on, which is probably just as well although it does not qualify me as a balanced commentator.) He made, I thought, several good points, but the best part was when he said "If a store, or a person, or a community, decides that they want to have holiday spirit rather than Christmas spirit, it is not Christian to threaten to sue or to threaten to take actions or boycotts because the politically correct term, or the term that is politically acceptable to Liberty Council or others, is not used." Well, that and when he pointed out that back in the 19th century Christmas trees were evidence of creeping paganism in Christmas and needed to be stamped out, and now certain groups get all bent out of shape if someone decides to call them holiday trees.

I am not a Christian (it's probably telling that that's what I automatically say, rather than, e.g., "I am not a Jew" or "I am not a Buddhist"), but I grew up more or less in the Christian tradition and went to an Anglican high school and lived in an Anglican theological college for a year and have many Christian friends of various denominations, and it does seem to me that people would be better occupied worrying about the rampant commercialization of Christmas rather than its imminent demise. Its possible demise in the public sphere is another question (although in my opinion it's unlikely, at least in Canada -- of course I'm all for celebrating every possible holiday in the public sphere). Utterly Obvious Insight of the Day: I think episodes like this have a lot in common with what happens when automatic assumptions of white privilege or male privilege are challenged. Liberty Council is probably an outgrowth of that feeling.
electricland: (Default)
This was the point made by Jon Stewart, the brilliant host of "The Daily Show," when he visited CNN's "Crossfire": there should be a distinction between news and entertainment.

And it really matters because the subjugation of news by entertainment seriously harms our democracy: it leads to dysfunctional journalism that fails to inform the people. And when the people are not informed, they cannot hold government accountable when it is incompetent, corrupt, or both.

Read it. Seriously.
electricland: (mine seagulls talisker)
I thought this post by Mark Schmitt (via [livejournal.com profile] poorman_rss) was interesting: Pump and Dump Politics.

He's talking about Bill Frist's insider trading, and the culture that it seems to exemplify:

Investors as well as executives don't look at a company as something to build for the long term; they need to beat their numbers in the current quarter. And for the most part they assume that by the time things get tough, they'll be out. The insiders will bail out before the suckers; the CEO will move on to some other company. Or, if worst comes to worst, he'll retire with a nice package guaranteeing health care, use of the company plane for life, and a nice package of stock to sell when someone else turns the company around.


And what is our political culture except another version of pump and dump? Everything from war to tax policy to energy policy to the Medicare bill is a short-term effort to boost the president's political stock, with the long-term costs left to some bigger sucker.
I have nothing really to add to this, but it did spark some mildly connected thoughts: 1. Everyone should read or watch The Corporation. 2. It's an interesting corporate-governance issue. Recently in Canada, institutional investors like the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (which with $88 billion in assets is a force to be reckoned with) have been flexing their muscles and demanding better governance, better accountability, better citizenship etc. Is this going on in the States at all? 3. It occurs to me that this could be taken as yet another government-should-get-out-of-the-market notion, which it isn't at all. I'm always thrilled when institutional investors play the heavy, but that's just a nice complement to regulation and enforcement, not really a substitute for them.

Via [livejournal.com profile] gristmill_rss, linking for convenience because I haven't really had time to read it yet: Save energy, build more efficient cities.
electricland: (Canadian)
[livejournal.com profile] archaica posted this New Yorker article on health insurance by Malcolm Gladwell. Very interesting indeed -- I recommend it. [ETA: I am also going to make a dentist appointment RIGHT AWAY.}

It put me in mind of this frequently referenced essay on "health care zombies", discredited ideas that will not die [PDF]. Posting the link so I can come back and read it all the way through one of these days.
electricland: (don't panic)
Bush Vows to Eliminate U.S. Dependence on Oil by 4290

"It is the president's hope that hydrogen fuel cells, nanotechnology, or the recycling of human beings into fuel will hold the key," Marburger wrote. "Whatever the people of the 50th century feel is appropriate."

In a detailed policy statement, Bush elaborated on the plan, expressing the hope that a third party, perhaps one comprising robots or super-intelligent, genetically engineered man-beasts, will help reduce America's dependence on fossil fuels.

"I am calling on the popularly elected cyborgs of tomorrow to support this sensible measure to ensure the security of the nation," Bush said.

Some industrialists, particularly major auto manufacturers, expressed reservation over Bush's initiative.
electricland: (Cold Comfort)
I cheered (quietly) reading the comments of the judge who sentenced Ahmed Ressam:

Judge John Coughenor called the sentencing of Mr. Ressam, a failed claimant for refugee status in Canada who used a Vancouver motel as his base for assembling explosives to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, the most difficult decision in his 24 years on the bench.

But he pointed out that all proceedings took place "in the sunlight of a public trial" without the indefinite detention of Mr. Ressam, subjecting him to a secret tribunal or denying him the right to a lawyer -- procedures U.S. authorities regularly employed against suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"Unfortunately, some believe that the tragedy of Sept. 11 renders our Constitution obsolete. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won," Judge Coughenor declared, his voice heavy with emotion.
Indeed. Let that be a lesson to all our governments (Canada, with its "security certificates", is hardly innocent of these kinds of tactics either).

Actually, the last part made me giggle, too.

(BTW, the Globe's Insider Edition really gets up my nose. I am already a subscriber to your paper edition. NOW you want me to pay MORE to get "exclusive web content"? Fuck you. No. And I had to Google to get this story -- it wasn't visible from their home page or their Ressam page, which is just bizarre.)


electricland: (Default)

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