Posts from our progressive community

Gallery: Doug Ford campaign posters.

The Ranting Canadian - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 17:26












Gallery: Doug Ford campaign posters.

Stephen Harper's Advice: 'Don't Believe What You Sometimes Read'

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 09:48
That little gem was delivered by Dear Leader at a gathering of true believers outside of Hamilton the other day as he offered this confabulation:

"There are more people going to good-paying jobs today than in any other time in our history."

About the deplorable sellout he engineered in his sweetheart deal with U.S. Steel, he had this to say:

"We know there are still challenges in the labour market. We read about some today in this area. That's because we are part of a global economy."



While the party faithful applauded his words, a retired Hamilton steelworker voiced a sentiment that I think is felt by many, many Canadians :

Harper does nothing as U.S. Steel ‘shafts’ workers

I am truly shocked that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives can sit back and let foreign ownership of our industries walk all over Canadian workers and not say a word.

I worked at Stelco-U.S. Steel for 31 years. When I retired, I was told this is your pension for the rest of your life. A lot of people don't realize that a lot of our pension is deferred wages paid by employees. Our pensions are not some handout by the company.

Stelco was making a profit when U.S. Steel purchased it. The union continued to take concessions from the company and faced consecutive lockouts when they were ready and willing to sit with this company and negotiate a fair deal for all concerned.

U.S. Steel continues to shaft every Canadian worker and this federal government sits back and does nothing. We must send a message in the next federal election that Canada is not for sale under any circumstances. Harper and his cronies should start touring the soup kitchens and the missions to get a taste of what they are doing to hardworking Canadians who paid taxes all their lives only to get shafted when it's time to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labours.


John Sanislo, HamiltonRecommend this Post

Back Door Justice on a Friday Afternoon….

Left Over - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 08:48
NDP forces Commons debate on murdered, missing indigenous women Conservative-controlled committee didn’t recommend public inquiry but NDP seized debate opportunity

By Kady O’Malley, CBC News Posted: Sep 19, 2014 2:44 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 19, 2014 5:12 PM ET

http://montrealsimon.blogspot.ca/2014/09/the-ndp-forces-debate-on-missing-and.html

Ffinally, the NDP comes through in a  wonderfully calculated move that both highlighted the need for a public inquiry, and beat the Cons at their own game..timing is everything.

Anyone who thinks that the NDP isn’t ready for Prime Time better think again…

Probably your best blog to date, Simon..I feel exactly as you do..used to have a bumper sticker (common back in the day here in BC) that said “BC is Indian land” and of course, got my car vandalized and trashed because of it…’
The crap spewed in the media about the ‘kinder, gentler’ country that we supposedly are, free of all the problems that plague our Southern neighbors, is just not true..we have racism, classism and anti-gay and anti-women rhetoric in spades..just not as blatant, but definitely still there..
When the murdered/missing prostitutes from Vancouver were constantly in the news, there was a serious call for an inquiry, but they were only hookers, no one in power cared (or were afraid to ‘out’ their pals as patrons, which is more my guess…) and when after years, they finally arrested Willie Pickton, it seemed blatantly obvious that, although he admitted his own guilt, he probably didn’t do it alone…
My theory, amateurish and far-fetched though it may be,  is that whoever was acting with him might be acting still, and targeting these aboriginal women..but we’ll never know if things don’t change..and Emperor Steve and his KeystoneCons aren’t interested in the truth..their law and order rhetoric apparently doesn’t extend to First Nations  women, just their  rich pals…

MP Romeo Saganash  was brilliant and made the personal  a public outcry for justice…let’s hope something comes of it..and thank you NDP for  creating the wherewithal to get this back in the public sphere, where it belongs…let’s finally have some justice , the kind Canada is supposedly so famous for, the kind that can go a long way to making us proud of our country again.


Saturday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 08:15
Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne examines the Cons' economic record and finds it very much wanting:
Inequality has deepened under Mr. Harper’s watch, job quality has declined, wages have stagnated, economic growth has been anemic, social protections have been reduced while corporate profits and CEO pay soar.
...
(E)mployment and labour force participation rates are lower today than they were in 2006, part-time employment is up, corporate taxes are significantly lower (22.1 per cent in 2006, 15 per cent today) business capital investment saw no increase and has been static at 19.1 per cent of GDP, business R&D spending as a percentage of GDP has declined, exports as a percentage of GDP from 2006 to today have dropped significantly from 36.7 per cent of GDP to 30.8 per cent.

Not exactly great economic numbers. Add to this the over $600 billion in cash being hoarded by corporate Canada and Mr. Harper is heading into a federal election with more than a few economic weak spots.

Throw in the fact that wages are stagnant and inequality is growing and the only folks doing better are those at the top who are accumulating more and more wealth under Mr. Harper’s failed economic policies.
...
Inequality and poor jobs are not inevitable. Nor are they just because of technological change and globalization, as some would want us to believe. We can, with good economic policy, make a difference for the citizens of Canada, but we have to first believe that government has a role to play. - And Bill Curry reports on the Cons' latest moves to undermine the Canada Revenue Agency when it comes to "aggressive tax planning" and other abuses at the top end of the wealth scale - which of course only figure to make inequality worse.

- Meanwhile, Larry Haiven discusses the utter failure of corporate social responsibility as a check on business abuses. And Molly McCracken questions the point of a one-night "sleep outside" event which will mostly figure to provide cover for a complete lack of public inaction to combat homelessness.

- Jesse McLean reports that the Cons' strategy of letting drug companies decide for themselves whether their products are safe (rather than, say, meaningfully regulating them) has led to the distribution of ingredients found to be unfit for U.S. consumption. And it's hard to see how a name-and-shame approach to health and safety will do any particular good when it's directed at utterly shameless corporations.

- Finally, Jeffrey Simpson highlights the Cons' continued wilful ignorance about Iraq. And Michael den Tandt and Thomas Walkom both note that the NDP is right to challenge the deployment of troops when the Cons have no clue what they're supposed to accomplish.

Tainted Pharmaceuticals: Health Canada's 'Feeble Response'

Politics and its Discontents - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 06:11


The Toronto Star has recently been conducting some fine investigative work on tainted pharmaceuticals and the fact that Health Canada has been shielding the guilty companies from public scrutiny. The issue finally rose to a degree of national prominence this week when the issue was raised in the House. The 'answers' provided by Health Minister Rona Ambrose, however, were hardly comforting or reassuring. The bolded parts have been added for emphasis:
“Whenever there is a dangerous product identified, Health Canada inspectors act immediately. In the case of a drug produced by Apotex, Health Canada inspectors asked the company to remove it from the shelf and it refused,” Ambrose said in question period this week in response to questions spurred by a recent Star investigation.This somehow reminds me of the boy with the sign on his back that says, Kick Me.
In fact, the Canadian government, unable to force the company to recall the drug, twice asked Apotex to “stop sale and cease imports” from the Bangalore facility, Health Canada spokesman Gary Holub said in response to further questions from the Star.Apparently a believer in the old adage that you can catch more flies (an apt metaphor in this case, given the filthy conditions of Apotex's Bangalore plant) with honey than vinegar, our national health protector changed tacks:
“Although Apotex refused Health Canada’s initial request, it was determined that a more productive course would be to work with the company to quickly determine steps to ensure the safety of its products, over engaging in lengthy court proceedings with no immediate mitigation measures,” Holub said in an email.Amir Attaran, a University of Ottawa law professor who researches drug policy, called Health Canada’s response “feeble, inadequate and incompetent.”In the house, Ambrose claimed that she needs stronger legislation to act definitively and decisively against the offending companies:
“It will require tough new fines for companies that are putting Canadians at risk. Most importantly, it will give me the authority to recall unsafe drugs when I need to,” This claim of legislative impotence surely rings hollow, and does not explain the fact that Health Canada refuses to publish the names of companies contravening drug safety practices nor the names of the offending drugs.

Professor Attaran succinctly sums up the real problem: “This proves Health Canada is on the side of drug companies and not Canadians”.

I have nothing to add to his assessment.
Recommend this Post

Better Off?

Northern Reflections - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 05:19
                                                            http://yrfn.ca/

The latest Conservative campaign ad proclaims that we are all "better off under Harper." But the latest EKOS poll suggests that Canadians don't feel that way at all. Rather, they believe we have entered what Frank Graves calls the "Age of Stagnation:"

So in a very real sense, progress — the promise of a better life, security and the comforts of middle class membership — has stopped. Moreover, the evidence is that the momentum of this new world of “progress lost” is in the wrong direction. The trajectories all point downward. Their gloomy outlook on the present fades to black when citizens ponder the future; only around ten per cent of us believe the next generation will experience the progress achieved by the previous generations.

The number of people defining themselves as middle class has fallen precipitously in both Canada and the United States. Here at home, the portion of the population which has fallen behind their parents’ incomes at the same period in life rises from 15 per cent to 34 per cent to 44 per cent as we move from seniors to boomers to Generation X. The long fall of the middle class is already happening; around 20 per cent have dropped out of self-defined middle class status altogether.
Lots of pundits haven't cottoned on yet:

The New York Times even says Canada’s middle class is the richest in the world (not true, but compared to what Frank Bruni calls ‘America the Shrunken’, we’re around par). The right wing commentariat gleefully seizes upon half-facts and shaky research to suggest that (a) this is a non-issue that only worries liberal policy wonks, and (b) things are going swimmingly well and anyone who says otherwise is prone to panic.
So Harper has right wing opinion makers on his side. Perhaps that's why he confidently suggests he is leading Canadians into a brighter future:

But to the public at large, this isn’t really up for debate. Canada’s ‘world-leading’ middle class is convinced it is falling behind. The public overwhelming rejects the notion that this is a crisis manufactured by the liberal intellectual elite. Furthermore, 73 per cent of Canadians reject the notion that income inequality is not an important issue. Even in the more conservative, anti-establishment constituencies, a clear majority recognizes the importance of this issue.
Never has a prime minister and his government been so disconnected to Canada's citizens. But you knew that. Didn't you?


@JohnToryTO: Veering hard right? Stepping into the asshole vacuum? WTF? | #TOpoli

Orwell's Bastard - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 05:00
Look, I'll be the first to acknowledge: this makes no sense on first review.

The guy's cruising. He's managed to define the comfortable centre, make himself the default anti-Ford candidate, and take advantage of Olivia Chow's miscalculations and bad positioning. All he has to do is not fuck himself up again, and he's got some very serious help to keep from doing just that.

And then Friday:
  • Opens the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid / Pride thing again, only to have it blow up in his face.
  • Thinks "some of my best friends are gay" constitutes effective damage control.
  • Blows off the Globe.
  • FUs @Goldsbie, both directly and indirectly.

So what the fuck is going on? Can only speculate: now that Olivia's started playing to her strengths, finally, he's afraid of losing support on the left, so he veers hard right in an attempt to milk what's left of Ford Nation before Brother Dumbfuck starts campaigning in earnest?

Maybe the latest numbers are prompting this, who knows, but really, John? You think you need people like this? Maybe it isn't a series of gaffes. Maybe this is a well-thought out strategic move that we mere mortals aren't smart enough to understand.

Let's see if we can follow the calculation here. He's ready to risk losing people who are basically progressive but willing to hold their noses and support him because Olivia's been running a shitty campaign and he's become the default "only one who can beat Ford" candidate. And he's willing to throw them away because he needs some of the stupidest, most deluded people in the world -- aka "Ford Nation?" You know, the people who think he's a closet Liberal in bed with Kathleen Wynne?

Or is there a simpler answer?

Internetz? Anyone?

Related posts:

Will Mike Duffy Force an Early Election or Harper's Early Resignation?

Montreal Simon - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 04:43


A few days ago I told you that I honestly believe that Stephen Harper is preparing for an early election to try to avoid the trial of Mike Duffy.

In case the trial should start soon enough to be a factor in the next election campaign.

And some of my friends said they thought I was pushing it, that he just wants to be ready so he can strike ANYTIME.

And they may be right. He may be looking for a war so he can pose as a Great Strong Leader. Or waiting for a big trial so he can pit the rabble against the judiciary.

But like Scott Reid, I believe that nobody should underestimate the impact of the Duffy trial. 
Read more »

The NDP Forces a Debate on Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

Montreal Simon - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 00:28


I couldn't have asked for a better sight to pick up my sagging spirits.

In Stephen Harper's miserable Parliament, where democracy goes to die. Where there is all the time in the world to talk about war, but no time to talk about all those murdered and missing aboriginal women.

And absolutely no time or money for an inquiry into why that happened, why it keeps happening, again, and again, and again. 

And what can we do to stop this MASSACRE...



There was the wonderful sight of the NDP outsmarting the Cons and forcing a debate on the issue.  
Read more »

Musical interlude

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 17:39
For a reunion weekend:

Barenaked Ladies - The Old Apartment

Take Your Foul Postcards and Go Home, It's Over

Dammit Janet - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 17:04
There is plenty to say about the brand-spanking-new Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

But for now, I want to focus on one exhibit, entitled "The Safety of Women."

The default position of the museum is stridently progressive. That factor alone will lead many to conclude it is biased and ignores the sentiments of many Canadians.

For example, in one gallery visitors will view videos depicting forceful pro-life and pro-choice arguments. The videos appear on screens above a circular table with digital tablets that allow visitors, upon completion of the videos, to vote on the issue -- for or against.

It's all fair save for the fact the subject of that exhibit is called The Safety of Women. It is a reference to the 1988 Supreme Court decision that found using the Criminal Code to deny a woman's access to safe abortion services violates her rights to "security of the person" under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The exhibit is factually accurate, and unfailingly fair. Having said that, the title of the exhibit leaves no doubt the museum is celebrating the SCOC decision as a victory for human rights. That alone will be viewed as offensive by those who condemn abortion.Let's repeat that, shall we? "[T]he museum is celebrating the SCOC decision as a victory for human rights."

A new museum funded in large part by the Canadian Harper government celebrates abortion rights.

Oh, and look at this.

Once the CMHR is open, the operating budget will be provided by the government of Canada, as the CMHR is a national museum. The estimated operating costs to the federal government are $22 million annually.Yep, that's right, fetus freaks. Your tax dollars will continue to be handed over by your friends the Harper Government to CELEBRATE abortion rights.

It's all over. The fetus freaks have lost. Decisively.

And while all things ain't hunky dory in Lawless Abortion Land, there is clearly no going back now.

Even the Harper Conservatives, so willing to meddle in areas outside their jurisdiction or remit, dare not mess with this museum exhibit.

Because it is the only fitting accompaniment to the life-work of a true hero, Dr. Morgentaler.



Whose life-work is now properly commemorated for all time. At taxpayer expense.


Image source.

Harry Potter and the cauldron of STIs...

Dammit Janet - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 12:58
That headline doesn't quite capture all the cheekiness, humour, irreverence and tongue-twisting (at times!) facts overload (but in a GOOD way) of an Insight Theatre *show*.  

You must attend one to get their infectious (ouch!) jokes and insightful moments.  I won't give away any punchlines; suffice to say JK Rowling's penchant for quirky names is amply explored in the naughty bits... err, skits about Sexually Transmitted Infections.  Hilarious, inspired and clever! 




The lively and talented writers/performers are adolescents who work with Planned Parenthood Ottawa staff to produce this amusing and informative show.

Last evening I spoke with Catherine Macnab and Lauren Dobson-Hughes who are respectively director and board president.  Insight Theatre is a gem in a crown of multi-faceted education and community outreach programs. We spoke about advocacy, the challenges of reproductive justice issues, pro-choice and The March for Lies, since the event is one that DJ! mines shamelessly for its unintended humour.  

Since hundreds and hundreds of Catholic Schools students who are bussed to Ottawa for the March wander about downtown Ottawa afterwards, volunteers wearing PPO shirts show up to give out information packets with its own PPO branded condoms in the ByWard Market, on Elgin Street and around Parliament Hill. 

The range of programs offered by PPO can be found here.

Unfortunately there are no videos posted yet from this year's repertoire, but here's a golden oldie from 2013:


To book a performance: all the information.

Defending our right to choose

Cathie from Canada - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 11:33
The days when old men get to decide what a woman does with her body are long gone. Times have changed for the better. #LPC defends rights.

— Justin Trudeau, MP (@JustinTrudeau) September 18, 2014
I'm glad to see Trudeau and the Liberal Party hit back hard against the so-called Liberals who thought they could generate some traction for the Harper Cons by criticizing Liberal policy requiring MPs to vote pro-choice on any abortion bills:
"Anyone is entitled to hold their own personal views, but Canadians deserve to know that when they vote Liberal they will get an MP who will vote to defend women's rights in the House," party spokeswoman Kate Purchase said in a statement.
"Women's rights are long-held Liberal values that we will not back down from."Not surprisingly, the National Post editorial board has weighed in to decry Trudeau's "troubling stance".
But it is absolutely clear that Trudeau never said, and is not saying now, that Liberals must support abortion.
Rather, he requires that  Liberal MPs must promise to support a woman's right to make her own choice.
And these old men never will.




h/t illustration 

Arrrrrrrrr! Ahoy there mateys!

A Creative Revolution - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 09:16

It is International talk like a pirate day! 

So beware all ye landlubbers and Scurvy dawgs! 

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

We be flyin' the ACR IPD flag! Raise a glass and sing a bawdy sea song!

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

 

 

 

The Real Face Of Stephen Harper

Politics and its Discontents - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 08:42
As we embark upon a year-long election campaign, we will increasingly be exposed to propaganda from all parties vying for our vote. But the propaganda emanating from the Harper government will deserve special scrutiny.

To be sure, we are constantly told how much better off we are under the compassionate ministrations of the cabal than we ever were under previous governments. Such claims, of course, ring hollow to anyone who has followed the machinations and manipulations of the regime for almost the last decade.

Nonetheless, many seem unwilling to engage their critical faculties when it comes to politics, and will respond best, not to facts, figures and allegations, but rather to the human toll exacted by a government whose demonstrable concerns rest almost exclusively with the business agenda.

The following brief news video, about a corporate betrayal aided and abetted by the Harper regime, perhaps speaks loudest of all. The tale of U.S. Steel's purchase of Stelco, granted with some severe stipulations under the Foreign Investment Review Act, is a graphic reminder of where the Prime Minister's true loyalties lie.

Recommend this Post

Friday Morning Links

accidentaldeliberations - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:08
Assorted content to end your week.

- Umut Oszu contrasts the impoverished conception of rights being pushed thanks to the Cons' highly politicized museum against the type of rights we should be demanding:
In their modern incarnation, human rights were fashioned after the Second World War and entered into widespread circulation in the 1970s and 80s, when they came to be deployed by Western governments and non-governmental organizations as part of a Cold War “battle of ideas.” Designed in predominantly civil and political rather than social and economic terms, the rhetoric of human rights has since been mobilized to focus attention upon egregious violations of such entitlements as the right to vote, the right to assemble and the right to express oneself freely.

In practice, this focus on civil and political rights has prevented human rights advocates from tackling the problem of why so many people, in Canada and throughout the world, do not have their basic social and economic rights — chief among them the rights to health, housing, education, and employment — satisfied adequately.

Further, the socio-economic conditions under which violations of civil and political rights take place are nearly always ignored, rendering every such violation a more or less isolated act of injustice, to be condemned and countered on its own terms.
...
No more than a few kilometres from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights lies Winnipeg’s North End. Well known for its inter-generational poverty and chronic underinvestment, the area has long been regarded as one of the most destitute in any major Canadian city. Closer still, in the very heart of The Forks, is a newly erected monument to Manitoba’s countless missing and murdered aboriginal women — a reminder to locals and visitors alike that the city has grappled for decades with exceptionally high levels of crime, much of it directed against First Nations peoples.
...
It is one thing to document large-scale atrocities like the Holocaust, Holodomor and Armenian genocide — events as worthy of denunciation as any in humanity’s collective history. It is another thing entirely to confront the socio-economic deprivation and exploitation with which so many around the world continue to struggle. Without the latter, the former is simply garish spectacle. - Gus Van Harten breaks down the disastrous effects of the FIPA - though the Cons have made sure that it's too late to do anything to avoid the damage. And Alison examines the connection between China's investments in the tar sands and the degradation of environmental standards.

- PressProgress points out the juxtaposition of perpetually higher unemployment and continued decreases in the percentage of jobless Canadians who have access to EI benefits.

-  Toby Sanger thoroughly debunks Stephen Harper's faith-based assertion that perpetual corporate tax giveaways pay for themselves, while Canadian for Tax Fairness notes that tax cheats can rest comfortably knowing that the CRA's ability to crack down is being systematically destroyed. Which is to say that those of us who see taxes as an important means to achieve social ends - such as, say, funding mental health services - have all the more reason for concern.

- Mike De Souza reports on the Cons' refusal to answer simple questions about their climate change negligence, while Margo McDiarmid highlights the ineffectiveness of regulations governing coal plants. And in case there was any doubt whether there's a meaningful difference between the Cons, the Saskatchewan Party and the oil lobbying industry, the seamless transitions for Rob Merrifield and Tim McMillan should put that to rest.

- Finally, Justin Ling exposes the Cons' push to get MPs to vote against trans rights - as well as their strategy of once again using the Senate to override the will of elected representatives, this time based on the Harper Cons' desire to maintain discrimination.

sexism, magic, and pre-famous cameos: watching "bewitched" on netflix

we move to canada - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:00
The best use of TV, for me, is as a sleep aid. But I never thought I'd revisit comedies from my early childhood.


I've watched a bit of comedy in bed, while ready for sleep, for my entire adult life, and quite a few years before that. Tuning in to something funny has always helped me tune out the pressures of the day. Like many people who have struggled with insomnia, I have strict rules about what I can and can't read, see, or talk about before sleep. TV comedy is the perfect sleep prep.

But only certain comedies work, and there are so many that I don't like. Depending on what re-runs are available or what cable package we had, I sometimes had to schedule my bedtime around TV schedules! Kind of crazy.

Streaming Netflix via Roku has been the perfect solution. I'm guaranteed something funny to watch every night, whenever I want, and in order: insomnia meets OCD. Plus I can watch 10 minutes and conk out - taking three nights to finish one episode - or watch three episodes if that's what it takes. I've burned through so many comedies on Netflix - I'll fill in the history below - that I had to get creative about what might qualify. When I saw Bewitched was available, I gave it a try.

It's funnier than I remembered, and not as offensively sexist as I expected. Sure, Samantha is referred to as "just a housewife" - not a homemaker or a stay-at-home mom, but a woman married to a house - and she spends all her time cooking, cleaning, or shopping. And sure, her only desires are to love and please her man, and to support him in all his manly endeavours.

But she's not the only woman in the show. There are the secretaries, of course, respectfully referred to as Miss So-and-so. And there are female executives, too, and they're not always played for laughs. Gladys Kravitz is a harebrained gossip, but her husband isn't much better. And of course, there's Endora.

Agnes Moorehead's most famous role, as the foil to Darrin Stephens, turns out to be funnier - and more complex - than I remembered it, too. Endora loves to flaunt her power, and only her love for Samantha keeps her in check (and Darrin in human form). There's sexism in the stereotype of the meddling mother-in-law, but more often than not, Darrin is getting his comeuppance for his weaknesses: for not trusting Sam, for jumping to conclusions, or for his own hubris, in thinking he might be stronger than Endora. In a feminist reading of Bewitched, Endora is a woman at the height of her power, and although she has to exist outside the normal sphere, she is free and nearly unstoppable.

Samantha herself, try as she might, cannot shoehorn herself into the housewife role. This is not portrayed as her own failing, but as the silliness of a husband who is too uptight or insecure or conservative to enjoy his mate's talents. I expected Elizabeth Montgomery's Samantha to be another version of Barbara Eden's Jeannie: a powerful woman trapped in a gilded cage, always trying to please her Master. I was wrong. Samantha Stephens is intelligent, confident, dignified, and playful. She might have promised Darrin not to use her witchly powers, but when she gives in, she's right, and he looks ridiculous.

Perhaps the most fun thing about watching Bewitched is a parade of guest appearances by people who would later become famous. Paul Lynde was famously Uncle Albert, but I didn't know that he appeared first as a nervous driving instructor, so flamboyantly Lynde that he was actually toned down by half as the uncle. So far, in addition to Lynde, I've seen Maureen McCormick, who would later be Marcia Brady, Eve Arden, Raquel Welch, Vic Tayback, Arte Johnson, June Lockhart, James Doohan, and the biggest future star so far, Richard Dreyfuss, who didn't even rate special guest billing. Scrolling through Bewitched's IMDb entry, I see several to come, including an uncredited turn by my favourite voice, June Foray as baby Darrin.

* * * *

I am always looking for more comedy. So if you've got a hidden gem to recommend, please do! Just don't be offended if I try it and don't like it. Comedy is funny that way.

Past pre-sleep-comedy has included The Simpsons (completely random and out of order), Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad (first two seasons only), and King of the Hill. Eons before that were Seinfeld, Mad About You (shout-out to Murray, my favourite TV dog), The Honeymooners (one of the funniest comedies of all time, and I've seen every episode a dozen times or more), The Dick van Dyke Show (Nick at Night), and the occasional Frasier.

So far on Netflix I've burned through The Office (US), Malcolm in the Middle (greatest sitcom ever), Community (Netflix ends in the middle of a season!), Parks & Recreation (until it stopped being funny for me), and Brooklyn 9-9. I'm loving Shameless (UK only) but it's not pure comedy, and often not right for bedtime. Allan and I watched Episodes together, and are now watching BoJack Horseman. So those don't count.

I am waiting and hoping for Netflix to get: The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the original Bob Newhart Show, M*A*S*H, and Barney Miller.

Magic Steve

Northern Reflections - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 05:52

                                    http://www.stonecoldmagicmagazine.com/

Between now and the next election, Stephen Harper will try hard to be a magician. He'll try to make his record disappear. Michael Harris writes:

That is a conversation Harper isn’t anxious to have, for any one of a number of reasons. The mismanagement and bottomless dishonesty on display during the F-35 acquisition process, for instance.

Then there’s the PM’s performance during the Wright/Duffy Affair. You remember how he treated the the truth on that occasion as a kind of multiple choice exercise in storytelling. Should the PM be subpoenaed to Mike Duffy’s criminal trial, he won’t have recourse to the ‘creative option’ — not without consequences.

Or recall the belly-flop of judgment that resulted in the appointments of Bruce Carson, Arthur Porter and several other weak links to powerful and sensitive positions.

There are lots of other things Harper doesn't want to talk about:

Certainly Harper’s not keen to talk about his calamitous record with the Senate — promising not to appoint any senators and then stacking the place with every idle Tory hack with a heartbeat. And then came the unconstitutional legislation to reform the Red Chamber, followed by the drive-by smear of Chief Justice McLachlin.

Or maybe Steve doesn’t want to talk about why he has spied on Canadians since coming to office in 2006, sticking the long nose of government deeper and deeper into its citizens’ privacy. In a police state, you might put union rallies, or a vigil for murdered native women, under surveillance — as they have been in Harper’s Canada. In a petro-state you might spy on a public discussion about the oilsands — but in a democracy? In Canada?
So, like a magician, he'll try to create distractions and change the subject:

Stephen Harper would rather talk about beheadings than the dead room he has made of public discourse in Canada — and his dismal record after eight years in power.
 He'll certainly talk about the other guys:

Brian Mulroney called Tom Mulcair the best leader of the Opposition since Diefenbaker. Harper says he’s not fit to run the country because … well, because he doesn’t excel in the corporate ass-kissing department. No lip-liner for Tom.

And Justin? Justin is a callow little defiler of young brides and his father was a slut — or at least that was the gist of Ezra Levant’s recent unhinged rant on the person the polls keep saying will be Canada’s next prime minister. As Scott Feschuk cleverly put it on Twitter, this was Ezra’s “magnus Trudeau-pus … the masterpiece Ezra has been working toward all his life: Trudeau steals a kiss.”

And he'll rely on other folks like Ezra Levant to do his talking for him. When it's all said and done, maybe Ezra will make Magic Steve go away.

Stephen Harper's Insane and Deeply Disturbing Comeback Plan

Montreal Simon - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 05:47


In my last post I told you how Stephen Harper's obsession with destroying Justin Trudeau is slowly driving him over the deep end.

Making him believe that only by destroying Justin can he make himself popular again.

But he does have a Plan B.

And as Michael Harris reports, it's just as CRAZY.
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