January 23, 2006

What better place?

Just received this invitation from the Canadian Association of New York. Apart from the odd (though profoundly Canadian) instructions to ask Glen if you can please watch the election results, could they have come up with a more appropriate name for a place to hold this event:

If you are interested in watching the results come in with a few friends, Ship of Fools, 1590 Second Avenue (between 82nd and 83rd), has agreed to show election coverage if any interested Canadians show up - just ask for Glen and he will help you out.
Posted by campbell at 07:05 PM

June 30, 2004

Ken Dryden, MP

http://www.bildmitteilung.us bildmitteilung

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June 29, 2004

Paul Martin for Dogcatcher

I happened to be in Toronto for the last 3 days of that vicious, vicious election campaign. The tension was palpable and I chose to leave before the inevitable rioting and sectarian violence of election day.

That was a joke, of course. Liberal Paul Martin won on a rousing platform of reduced waiting lists for doctor's appointments. Americans will be excused for thinking I'm kidding here. Of all the questions of terror and security, peace and war, justice and freedom, wealth and poverty that could have been debated, Martin chose to stand on how long people should wait to have their hangnails treated.

Actually, the nasty subtext of the campaign was the panicky belief that Conservatives should be kept from power by any means necessary. I guess, although they never explicitly said so, the Tories were envisioned as wanting people to wait longer to see their doctors. No doubt they were promoting a kind of survival of the fittest as so many would die of impacted toenails before their appointments—a culling of the herd, so to speak.

Stupid white man Michael Moore even managed to stick his snout in, telling Canadians that they shouldn't vote Conservative. It's remarkable how the people who complain loudest that Americans should stay out of other country's business can't resist the temptation to dictate precisely how other people should behave in their own borders. But then Michael Moore is a notorious fascist who goes out of his way to be the essence of Ugly American.

The meddling of Moore and that other political paragon Ralph Nader* points out the real problem for Canada. As I said, the nasty subtext was that somehow the Conservatives were a sort of "George Bush Light" that would mean the end of civilization as Canadians know it. The result was that many stampeded back to the Liberal party.

In this way, many otherwise intelligent Canadians were behaving like those of my fellow Democrats down here who support John Kerry, as if there is some nobility in not standing for anything and just being the "not" candidate.

The sad part is that Canadians have so climbed up their own asses with their "not-American" vision of their society that they don't even allow themselves to have their own politics anymore. They can only think in terms of positioning themselves vis-a-vis what is happening to the South. No wonder they no longer function adequately on the world stage, they don't even run an election for a position greater than Northern Dogcatcher.

*Fair Disclosures: I had a personal run-in with Nader 30 years ago and told him he was a toad (in different words). Time has not altered my opinion a bit. When living in Canada I only voted once federally, for the social democratic NDP while my riding—Outremont—voted Liberal, as it still does, apparently.

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March 19, 2004

Deconstructing Kerr-ida

I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.
John Kerry
To pretend, I actually do the thing: I have therefore only pretended to pretend.
Jacques Derrida

John Kerry is channeling Jacques Derrida! Now we know who those foreign leaders are that are pushing JK for President: they're French deconstructionists. Kinda makes sense, in a pomo sort of way.

As a followup, it intriguing to ponder that Berkeley philosopher John Searle has criticized Derrida for his "distressing penchant for saying things that are obviously false." Yet another remarkable parallel.

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March 02, 2004

Super Tuesday

I've already voted today for John Edwards, for the reasons outlined in this article by Joel Rogers from The Nation (see, that loony rag is still good for something).

However, I disagree strongly with Rogers' analysis of Iraq (you've probably guessed that) and I will not vote for Kerry in November if he secures the nomination. To change Rogers' formulation somewhat, I'd vote for Homer Simpson before I'd vote for John Kerry.

Nevertheless, iacta alea est...

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February 16, 2004

Legal Diligent Mexican Workers

From the one hand not knowing department:

The New York Times Book Review has a review of David Shipler's new The Working Poor: Invisible in America:

In the chapter ''Harvest of Shame,'' he deftly shows how government crackdown on illegal immigrants creates ''migration within the migration,'' as an army of immigrant workers races from strict-enforcement states like Ohio to more lenient ones like North Carolina, and notes that ''when a migrant stops moving . . . he starts to enter America.''

But down at the bottom of the web page, the Google AdWords box helpfully contributes ads apparently triggered by the article. How about some "legal-diligent-mexican-workers"? Or just ship the work to Mexico directly!

Hey, Times readers know how hard it is to get good help these days (that don't get arrested for visa violations, anyway). Thanks for these suggestions!

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January 22, 2004

The Unhinging of the Candidate 2004: Part 2

I think I've figured out Howard Dean's strategy based on that Monday night outburst. As Rod Serling used to say "Submitted for your approval".

Consider:
1. Dean's statements on guns "And on gun control, for example, I do not believe in gun control…" Times of London, 18 December 2002 (pdf).

2. The ferocity of the attacks on him in Iowa: Dean under fire at Iowa Debate.

3. His general demeanor of channeling Howard Beale.

4. His wigged-out Iowa performance (RealPlayer Video).

Put it all together and it looks like a ploy to psych-out his debate opponents. Dean has put them on notice: "fear my inner psycho."

They're going to have to wonder "If I say something a little too tough, is this guy going postal?" "How good is the security at these events anyway? Did someone frisk him or run a metal detector over him" "What's that bulge up under his left arm?"

Gotta make them think.

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January 20, 2004

The Unhinging of the Candidate 2004

Excuse me, Governor Dean, is that spelled Yaaaaargurgle?

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Hey, What About East Dakota?

Dean seemed to blow a gasket last night. Definitely, this guy is right on the edge:

And you know something? You know something? Not only are we going to New Hampshire, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico! We're going to California and Texas and New York! And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan! And then we're going to Washington, D.C.. To take back the White House!

We will not give up. We will not give up in New Hampshire. We will not give up in South Carolina. We will not give up in Arizona or New Mexico, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan! We will not quit now or ever! We want our country back for ordinary Americans. And we're going to win in Massachusetts! And North Carolina! And Missouri! And Arkansas! And Connecticut! And New York! And Ohio!

He seems to be wandering all over the damn place. At what point in that speech did he decide he had to try to name all states: Oh, yeah, and Samoa! And West Dakota and ... and ... North Arizona! And Alberta!

Drudge wins the headline war this time: Dean Goes Nuts!

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Space Alien Endorsements

Michael Moore weighs in. And I do mean he weighs in.

Oh, the humanity.

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January 06, 2004

The Real "L" Word

At least some of my fellow Democrats aren't afraid of the "L" word anymore. I mean the other "L" word, of course.

Dean Endorsers:

Bill Bradley. Loser. (Lost to Al Gore in the 2000 primaries.)

George McGovern. Loser. (Lost to Richard Nixon in the 1972 election.)

Al Gore. Loser. (Perhaps the biggest loser of all time.)

Do we detect a pattern here?

Oh yes, and Jimmy Carter half-endorsed Dean. Half-Loser. (Won one in 1976, lost one to Reagan in 1980.)

Dean looks like a shoo-in with the Losers vote.

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October 16, 2003

Putting the Weenie Back in Halloween

The Kucinich campaign continues to delight with its absurdity. The latest comic twist: suggestions for Kucinich Halloween House Parties, complete with cut-out Dennis mask:

Here's a fun house party theme - Have a Kucinich Halloween Party! [...] Ask all your guests to come dressed as Dennis John Kucinich. [...] Here's a mask you can print out

Maybe you'd like to wear your Kucinich mask while you take your kids out trick-or-treating.

Maybe you can go door to door with your Kucinich Mask on, registering voters or canvassing for Kucinich: "Hi, I'm Dennis Kucinich. Would you like to get rid of the frightening HMOs, terrifying NAFTA, and spooky war profiteers? Would you like universal preschool? Would you like to help me send President Bush back to Texas -- Hasn't he been haunting the White House long enough? Join my campaign. This is no trick.

Wow. As Count Floyd (Joe Flaherty) used to say on SCTV*: "OOOH. Scary stuff. Very scary."

Imagine what this could look like:

Guaranteed to ruin Halloween faster than razor blades in apples.

*gratuitous Canadian content to fulfill CRTC requirements.

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September 02, 2003

Body Politic Fluids

So, they removed the Ten Commandments statue from the Alabama Courthouse. The Constitution has been spared. The Union remains strong. I can sleep soundly at night. Praise the Lord! Oops, sorry. Wrong cheer.

I enjoy a thoroughly pointless dust-up as much as anyone, but it did seem to me that Judge Roy Moore went about this thing the wrong way. Now, if he had placed elephant feces [Chris Ofili The Holy Virgin Mary] on the Commandments, or maybe suspended them in urine [Andres Serrano Piss Christ]...

Then he would have had battalions of National Public Radio listeners throwing their bodies in front of the statue and screaming to their congressmen to make sure THEIR constitutional rights were protected.

Instead, we just get to witness another "My Amendment can beat up Your Amendment", nyah-nyah, contest.

As a practicing atheist myself, I suspect that some in the more hallowed NPR precincts believe that the Constitution guarantees us "Freedom FROM Religion".

We can only hope that there is an outcry against some NEA-sponsored art show soon so the judge can cite the removal of this artwork (tedious as it was) as precedent.

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August 27, 2003

Don't Drink The Kool-Aid

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I See Dean People

Last night, I happened to go outdoors just as a trainload of people from the Dean rally disgorged on the street. All I can say is "Oh...no-o-o..." To be honest, my expectations were not high to begin with, but this admittedly random sample didn't raise my hopes.

Maybe these were supporters trucked in from Vermont and just staying with local people. But they sure all looked like Vermonters ‒ in every shade and color, from white to ecru to bone. I didn't notice any Vermont cars, so perhaps these people actually walk amongst us. [Shudder.]

Anyway, the GOP vultures are circling. There is a distinct smell of 1972 in the Dean ranks, in their demeanor and their "true believer" vision for how this election will go down.

Their statements and blogs speak of "taking back" the Democratic Party, and wanting to "bring people back into the political process". Sure. This is classic insurgency rhetoric ‒ the most annoying being the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" slogan (not even an original for Dean). Worked for the Bolsheviks in 1917 and look how well that turned out.

The conventional wisdom is that you have to run more to the party extreme in the primaries, moving to the center for the general election. In fact, on the evidence, this entire Dean thing seems to be a fringe of a fringe, left of the left-of-center. Sort of the way Vermont is a kind of smugly self-righteous neo-utopia that can only exist parasitically on money spun out of New York and Massachusetts, but still remains too holy to admit it.

We're witnessing the political form of binge-and-purge, the binge being the Clinton-Gore years. Given the poor quality of the current roster of Democratic candidates, given the current disarray among Democrats, and barring the entry of Wesley Clark, I'd give Dean a better than even shot at nomination. Should that happen, Bush wins with a landslide, with maybe Vermont and Washington going for Dean.

Then all the Dean people go away.

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