Thursday, December 18, 2008

Inaugural Enthusiast

So, I understand that Rick Warren, Dominionism with a smiley non-threatening Dr. Phil face, is giving the "invocation" at Obama's inauguration. (Why there is need for the shamans and witch-doctors of the local cargo cult to give an "invocation" at the elevation of an American president is beyond me, but I'm a dum furriner and a heathen atheist to boot.)

The next time an American says something to me about the separation of church and state and/or the Establishment clause, I reserve the right to first puke on their shoes and then kick them in the shins.

Fair warning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shameless Plug Time

Rustin's new book, Listen Up! A Native's Guide to New York City is now available for $6.50 at CafePress. Get yours before they vanish like a Midtown independent newsstand...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stupid Liberal Talking Points

...or Why The Big Three Bailout Is Actually a Bad Idea Too

The latest conventional wisdom in Left Blogistan is that the Big Three bailout must be a good thing, since Republicans are opposing it, most probably to bust the UAW. Pardon me while I *headdesk*. Does anyone around here but me remember what unions are for?!

Saving the Big Three to save the unions is like subsidising mobsters to make sure that the police have something to do.

The Big Three have made these threats before: I can't be the only one who remembers the '80s: Back then, it seemed like every month or so, representatives of the Big Three would be back at the government's door, palm out, flanked by a couple of sweating gorillas in suits, saying, "Chee, nice economy youse got here. Be a shame if somethin' wuz ta happen to it... Youse wouldn't happen ta have a few extra bucks lyin' around, kinda ta make sure nuttin' happens ta it, wouldja?" (And keep in mind, unions exist to protect workers against the exploitation of capital. Where's the union to protect the world against exploitation by the Big Three?)

If the Big Three were natural persons, instead of those fictive legal persons we refer to as corporations, they'd be looking at life imprisonment without possibility of parole, based on the number1 and frequency of their crimes; they're unrepentant, unreformable serial criminals. They've been on the brink of failure now (and being kept alive by massive government subsidies -- either in the form of actual subsidies, outright bailouts, tax credits and other "incentives," and public investment in infrastructure that directly benefits them, such as the Interstate highway program) for about three decades or longer. They have had countless opportunities to reform, restructure, and reinvent themselves. Their response has always been to buy a few more legislators, throw around some (empty?) promises about building another plant (to replace the ones that went elsewhere because of NAFTA) and crank up the consent-manufacturing machine (to the tune of trillions of advertising dollars) to make sure they don't have to sell what consumers really want, they can keep making consumers want what the Big Three have to sell, at least well enough to keep them limping along on their various forms of subsidy money for a while more. Suggest the kind of massive restructuring that would take away their near-monopoly/monopsony status, and their executives start slandering your character, which is a sure tell that they know that's the real solution, but they like the status quo just fine.

I'm against an auto industry bailout for exactly the same reasons I was against a financial industry bailout -- allowing a corrupt, exploitive, failing industry to remain on taxpayer-funded life support is basically giving the criminals at the top a free license to continue robbing us. So bailing them out is stupid. Considering that the Big Three are in large part responsible for many of the ills of the modern world, we don't owe them, they owe us.

By the way, now would be the time for some enterprising politician to be the hero by kick-starting that "green Apollo program" we've all been hearing so much about. Someone who could create millions of jobs by creating alternatives to dysfunctional, destructive car culture would solve the entire problem in one fell swoop.

1 A view in my folder of articles on the subject from Lexis-Nexis also shows antitrust probes in 1976, 1979, 1980, 1993 and 1994, plus breakup proposals for GM in 1980 and 2000.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hey MaximumPC...You are cordially invited to bite me!

In their article 50 Skills Every Real Geek Should Have the guys (I'm going to go with guys here) at MaximumPC once again perpetrate the usual:

I quote:

Run All Your Essential Apps on a USB Stick: Any real nerd is almost sure to have a USB thumbdrive in his pocket at all times.

Hide Porn From Your Significant Other: These features make it so that your browser temporarily stops storing any information about your activities on the web, meaning that your wife won’t get any nasty surprises the next day when Google autocompletes her search to something obscene.

So, uh, there are no female nerds in MaximumPC's world? Granted, there aren't a lot of us, but there are more of us than some people apparently think. I'll let Randall Munroe explain.

I applaud the effort to at least be sort of gender-neutral, in that you guys did say "spouse" instead of "wife" originally. (There are also apparently no gay male geeks in MaximumPC's world, which would come as quite a surprise to some of my friends.) Let's go all the way with that one next time, okay?

Also, I really have to object to Explain What E=MC^2* Means to a Liberal Arts Major. There apparently are no liberal arts major geeks in MaximumPC's world, either, which definitely excludes me.

I'm a female geek with not one, but two liberal arts degrees. I can build a computer from parts. I test software for a living. I don't program very well (yet -- I'm kind of a UI/UX design kind of person), but I can read source code in at least four programming languages, not all of which are old and related to COBOL. I hand-coded all the HTML in this blog entry. I'm such a big fucking nerd, I like writing documentation and I get off on over-commenting my code.

In other words, fuck you and your stupid assumptions very much. Think before you write next time, hmmm?

* Amazing. I apparently know the superscript tag, and the people with the Geekier-Than-Thou complex didn't use it. Must be all those footnotes I have to use because I was a liberal arts major and I'm hardcore about citing sources... Oops.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Americanization in Progress, Please Wait...

The situation here is getting pretty dismal, although the jokes are great, and this is the most fun thing to happen in Canadian politics since either Confederation or maybe this.

LOLitics aside, though, I'm getting worried by the rhetoric coming out of Harper and his supporters. Harper has consistently tried to paint the proposed coalition government as "undemocratic," even though he's the one who promised to (try to) govern as though 37 or so percent of the vote gave him a "mandate."* Also, this morning, on Radio-Canada** (where yesterday, one of the announcers referred to the proposed coalition as "un coup d'etat"), I heard a really rather remarkable exchange, recorded live (and in English) at what might have been a pro-coalition rally. Someone said, ""We need a change," and another, very angry-sounding man started screaming, "We voted Harper in! You can't change that! You're a traitor to our country!"

The number of ways in which a Harper supporter challenging the patriotism of a political opponent is remarkable in the Canadian context is mind-blowing. First of all, I have never heard such a thing said about anybody's political opponent, ever. It's simply not a place where it is normal to go in terms of the Canadian political discourse. People here simply do not tend to frame arguments in the context of appeals to patriotism.

Secondly, since when is the Canadian right about patriotism anyway? Calling a political opponent a traitor is absolutely absurd from a member of a contingent whose leadership has spent the last 20 or 30 years telling us all how great the Americans are (and that we should do everything they say without question), telling us how our quality of life sucks compared to the US (which it does assuming you're rich, and which it most assuredly doesn't if you aren't rich), telling us all how much better off we'd be if we simply allowed them to turn Canada into USA North (and how stupid and deluded we are for not seeing that they're right), working for Republicans (I'm looking at you, Dianne Haskett), cutting shady backroom deals with US leaders (like some of the NAFTA shennanigans), getting cozy with right-wing US think tanks (like Harper's numerous connections to the National Citizens' Coalition), and on, and on, and on.

My reaction is basically thus: Your entire schtick since the emergence of the Reform/neocon bloc in Canadian politics has been that the United States of America does everything better than Canada does and the US should therefore be emulated and obeyed in every respect, and now you're impugning the patriotism of the 60+ percent of the electorate who disagrees with you?! What are you, too stupid to live, completely mind-colonised by the Americanoid thought-virus, just generally contemptuous of Canadians as a whole, or all of the above?!

It would be hilarious if it weren't so tragic.

I for one do most emphatically not welcome our new Americanoid overlords, and you're going to have to drag me out in chains if you expect me to like it. I didn't vote for any Republicans or Republicanoids, and if they want or expect me to want to be an American, they're going to have to let me vote in actual US elections. And then deal with the results.

Author's Note: I'm sorry if the tone of this post comes off as completely anti-American. While I don't object to Americans, I do object to creeping Americanism in Canadian politics, especially as it concerns the blind, fact-free embrace of the premise that everything the US does is better than what Canada does -- even for the Canadian context and in defiance of the will of the electorate -- and that Canada should do whatever the US wants it to do. That is a profoundly anti-sovereignity stance, and I cannot tolerate it. Canada must be allowed to go its own way and develop its own course, not be transformed into a clone of the United States because of the actions of a well-financed ideological minority.

Update: (6 December) A friend of mine has been banned from Facebook because of Harper supporters flagging his comments as spam when he was mocking them on a pro-Coalition forum they were inundating (dare I say "spamming") with their talking points. He says,
I made comments making fun of Harper on an Anti-Harper webpage and Pro-Harper spammers of that webpage decided that instead of addressing me, they would simply report me as 'spam' to the Facebook team. Naturally Facebook being the soulless, faceless, white-washed corporate tool that it is, sided with Harper's fans who were attacking the people on the page and not me, who was defending it.

So let me just take this opportunity to warn each and every free-thinking person online that Stephen Harper and his supporters are actively attempting to ban, censor, out-shout and overwhelm every major discussion forum regarding the subject of Harper or Canadian politics.

Go to and and look at the discussions if you don't believe me. They are not trying to debate, they are not trying to form useful discussions, they are not trying to discuss points or share in ideas, they are simply attempting to overwhelm the sites with their message, trained to repeat the talking points that they have been given by their Right Wing mailing lists.

Which leads to the inevitable question: Who is Canada's Richard Viguerie? There's a name I would dearly like to know. Whoever it is needs a little midwinter sunshine, I think...

* Are there any right-wingers who don't project faster than a Cineplex Odeon on a Saturday night during a school break?

** Radio-Canada has been paradoxically pro-Harper, especially considering that it's a) a public broadcasting station, and therefore will be first against the wall when the neocon privatisation revolution comes, and b) a French-language station, which means it'll get an express ticket to be first against the wall when the Harperoid Alberta-Uber-Alles-English-Only (Bilingualism-is-a-Failure) revolution comes.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Completely Frivolous Post on a Most Exciting Subject

Submitted for your approval...Canadian history in the making...

(Mostly making us laugh our fucking asses off, that is...)

h/t handsvermillion.