third party advertising

Here's one of those third party political ads a British Columbia judge just said were, in fact, legal (The Tyee). It's basically like all the right-wing attack ads we've seen for 30 years. Except, kind of funny. And contains actual facts.

Why you should fill out a best of regina ballot

You should vote in our Best of Regina reader's poll because there really, truly are good people in this town doing all kinds of things that make life here better--making art and music that enriches, volunteering in the community, running awesome restaurants and feeding me, ah, I mean us.

These people deserve to be recognized--they really, truly do--and our dumb write-in Best Of Regina popularity contest is a great way of doing it. SO! Vote!

WHAT? You say you're not motivated enough by civic duty and the urge to publicly praise the worthy? Gadzooks! Well then, what about choclate? Are you motivated by chocolate? drop off your filled out ballot at our office (#201-1836 Scarth St.) and you can grab a couple (or I dunno, a handful) of candy eggs from the basket on our reception desk.

WHAT? NOT ENOUGH??? Well, what if I told you...

...one lucky person who enters this contest will win...


It's true! Fill out a ballot* and you could win a $500 gift certificate for a reasonably awesome Regina mall. How many people fill out Best of Regina ballots anyway? Five hundred? A thousand? Fifteen hundred, tops? Good odds--better than the lotto, that's for sure.

VOTE NOW! Deadline to recieve ballots is 5:00 p.m., Thursday April 2.
*or e-mail bestof@prairiedogmag.com for a digital ballot

Best Of Regina!

You wouldn't know it from the total lack of blog posts, but our world-famous super-awesome Best Of Regina reader poll is going on right now. Maybe you didn't hear me--it's going on RIGHT NOW!

But there are only four days--FOUR DAYS!--left to vote for Regina's Best Restaurant, Best Shoe Store, Best Veterinarian, Best Hairstylist and, erm, like a hundred other categories.

You can vote in one of two ways: you can pick up a copy of prairie dog, fill out the ballot and drop it off at our office--we have chocolate Easter eggs! Yum! Or, you can e-mail bestof@prairiedogmag.com for a handy digital ballot.

More on this topic later.



Kooky British MP George Galloway won't be coming to Canada. A federal judge has upheld the ban.

Last time I was ranting about this I said it was ridiculous to bar Galloway when we were welcoming George W. Bush, whose administration endorsed torture, flouted the Geneva convention, launched a massive domestic spy program, bombed and invaded Iraq (a country that has never attacked the U.S.), bankrupt the U.S., denied global warming, undermined science while pandering to faith-based psychopaths and, why not, probably killed and cooked goddamn kittens.

But why focus on Dubya? Surely we must've let other thugs into Canada.

Well of course we have. One such thug is the late, unlamented Indonesian dictator (oops, soory, leader sounds much respectable) Suharto, welcomed into Canada for the 1997 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference. You might remember the event: RCMP pepper-sprayed protestors (and jouralists, including, famously a cameraman) who were quite reasonably miffed that their country let a (western-backed) tyrant implicated in genocide in east Timor in.

Remember? Then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien joked about pepper spray at a press conference. At the time I fully expected the government to fall. I was so silly and naive.

You can read more about Suharto, and the West's relationship with him, here (the Guardian).
You can revisit the CBC's coverage of APEC here.

So, to review:
Warmonger/torturer/idiot: that's okay.
Tyrant/genocidal dictator/good old-fashioned imperialist puppet: that's fine
Obnoxious, belligerant pacifist politician who criticizes Israel and sometimes pretends he's a kittycat: NOT ALLOWED IN CANADA!

Even the United States let Galloway in. This is ridiculous and unacceptable and unbelievably selective. And if it turns out Minister Kenny Vs. Spenny directed officials to restrict Galloway's entry, he'll need to resign.

At least the judge recognized there are problems with the prohibition on Galloway, which is sort of a partial victory, I guess.

But overall: not cool, Canada. Not cool.

Tune In!

Mitch Diamantopoulos, head of the U of R School Of Journalism and a founder of prairie dog, is on the CBC right now, defending the need for a well-funded independent public broadcaster. Go listen! Links to follow.

UPDATE: Listen online here.
UPDATE 2: Listen old-school at 540 a.m., 102.5 FM.

Hilarious moment: a caller (a CBC supporter) was just asked by Blue Sky host Garth Materie to take a guess at the average salary of local journalists. The caller guessed $80K. (Possible correction: publisher Terry says the guy said $60 K.)

And everyone working in local journalism laughs, and laughs and laughs.

I don't have numbers but I guarentee if we're talking about average, we're looking at well south of $40 K. I wouldn't be shocked if it was under $30, on average.

UPDATE 3: Some stupid asshole caller is calling the CBC biased against conservatism (oops am I using loaded, non-impartial language here?) and is using as his example the CBC industry's alleged non-coverage of a recent phoney scientific conference in New York denying man-made global warming. Uh huh. Well, maybe consensus theories about global warming are incorrect. Also, maybe Jesus rode dinosaurs, evolution is just a crazy hypothesis and gravity is all wrong--we're really held to the planet by underground magnets buried 2000 years ago by angels.

Apparently CBC opponents = global warming deniers. By the way, that conference was briefly blogged about on dog blog, here.

The CBC is a lot more polite to anti-fact terrorists than prairie dog will ever be, let me tell you.

UPDATE 4: Well, the show's over. If I can find out about a re-broadcast time, I'll let you know.

This Week at City Hall

Tuesday, March 31
Board of Revision (9 am)
Development Appeals Board Hearing (5:30 pm)

Wednesday April 1

Executive Committee (11:45 am): Considering a submission by Jason Hall (yes, this Jason Hall), a Regina landlord who has issues with the way the city's Maintenance Bylaw is being applied. Alongside this, the committee will look at a report from staff regarding bylaw complaints (4,000 of them) made by the Regina Landlord's Association. Also, the committee will reconsider a new Housing Incentives Policy in light of the provincial budget.
Regina Urban Environment Advisory Council (5:30 pm): Considering a volunteer water monitoring program.

As always, you can download complete reports and meeting agendas on the city's website.

Six In The Morning

1 MULRONEY'S MONEY The public inquiry into the former prime minister's relationship to a bags-of-cash-lobbing German arms dealer is underway. First up: Former defence minister Bill McKnight. (CBC)

2 FOXY HARPER The prime minister who's content to let 800 jobs go down at the CBC appears on the cartoonishly right-wing American broadcaster, and brags about Canada's bank regulatory regime which (it says here) he would've probably dismantled had he had the chance before it all blew up.

3 CHYRSLER ME A RIVER Under pressure from the White House, GM's CEO resigns while another automaker is told its recovery plan needs a do-over, this time with more Italians. Meanwhile, the market tumbles. It's all here. And here. (New York Times, the Guardian)

4 JUNO WHAT'S BORING? Nickelback's last record was allegedly the best album released by Canadian musicians last year. Yawwwwwwwwwn. (Toronto Star)

5 MOVE IT OR LOSE IT Canada's biggest city is divided over the fate of an urban coyote. (Toronto Star)

6 BUS BOO-HOO (This one's from Friday but we haven't posted on it yet so I'm putting it up now.)

In a California-esque display of a la carte democracy, University of Regina students voted down a $69/semester bus pass fee (or $17.25/month) that would've been a huge step forward for a functioning transit system in this city.

I understand where they're coming from. I understand how transit funding failures in this city have fueled an unsustainable car culture. I fully recognize that students are being asked to pay to fix a problem that they didn't create. I know--I know--there's a lot of blame to go around for the disaster that is Regina transit's grievous under-funding.

And I realize that high post-secondary tuitions have really fucked student's futures up, so every time they're asked to pay more, they balk. I sympathize.

But the fact is, that fee would've made this city a better place and would've improved connections between the campus and the rest of Regina. It would've been a step forward.

it also would've helped a lot of students get through the year without cars, which would save them piles of money.

Bottom line for me: students who voted "no" to the pass have many legitimate points. But this was a chance for them to show some vision and civic leadership. And, they failed.


Suburb Fun Facts

At Council's March 23 meeting they considered a concept plan for a new development called "Skyview" which is proposed for the lands north of the Lakewood subdivision. Council postponed making a decision on this until their April 20 meeting and seeing as I wasn't there, I've no idea why they did this. But I do know a few fun facts about Skyview!
  1. According to the report, Skyview will add 510 units of housing to the city.
  2. High density housing will comprise 220 of those units and cover 2.84 hectares.
  3. Roadways through Skyview will cover 4.21 hectares. That's 1.37 more hectares than high density housing!
  4. All tolled, roadways will cover 18 per cent of the surface area of Skyview.
  5. Regarding this application, Regina's Transit Department commented that "There is no budget in place to enable provision of transit service to this neighbourhood." Also, the report notes that "The Transit Department also stresses that current operating budgets do not provide opportunity to expand into new areas".
For the record, I'm not picking on Skyview because it's some kind of anomaly. It's probably a pretty typical suburban development -- and a small one to boot.


Saturday Morning Cartoon

They don't make 'em like this any more:

Jonny Quest - Intro
by aemracerex

(Via Daily Motion, copyright violation and the late, great Alex Toth.)

UPDATE: The took the link away, but you can see the opening here as of June 2009.


How soon they forget ...

I remember attending the U of R in the 1980s, when everyone was being collared by social activists, demanding that they stop drinking Carlings beer, South African wines, DeBeers diamonds, anything that could economically benefit the South African economy. Boycotting the economic process that kept a a racist, demagogic government afloat was the only way to bring about social change, the ANC's argument went.

And a generation later ... (New York Times).

New Dog!

The new prairie dog came out yesterday. So what's in this one that makes it worth your valuable time? That's what you want to know, right?

VIANNE TIMMONS Gregory Beatty interviews the U of R's first-year president about the state of the campus and the importance of connecting with the community.

BEST DEFENCE Female circumcision is a tradition in many African cultures. It's a cultural practice where teenagers/girls have their genitals surgically modified as a right of passage. That's a nice way of saying they have their clitorusses (clitorii?) chopped off. The western world generally condemns this as a hienous human rights violation--I sure as hell do--but one academic who's voluntarily experienced the ritual came to Regina to defend it. Vanda Schmockel, who hasn't written for us in a while, checks out the lecture and stays remarkably judgement-free.

TREVOR HARRIOT He's got a beautiful new book about Saskatchewan birds and a bone to pick with conservation efforts (i.e., there needs to be more of them). Stephen LaRose interviews Herriot, and it's a good article.

ALSO: Sugar Ray Leonard, discussed; the Saskatchewan budget, analyzed; The Visitors reviewed; news, insinuations and fears about suburban "parking lagoons"; Gywnne Dyer talks about space aliens; David Suzuki pouts over pesticides; John Conway calls the Saskatchewan Party government a bunch of Darth Vaders (what will Murray Mandryk say?); reviews of new music by Attack In Black, Swan Lake and Willie Nelson; and a strange editorial by a very over-tired yours truly with a couple of glaring boo-boos, including one that kind of wrecks the point of the excercise. Typo-wieners, to your e-mail!
(Cover photo of University of Regina president Vainne Timmons by Darrol Hofmeister/sharpshooter photography)


Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten in the Afternoon

Because I was feeling a little guilty about not posting anything yesterday, here are four more news items to round out the second half of your day...

7. GEO-ENGINEERING SCHEME DEVOURED BY CRABS: Climate scientists trying to seed a section of ocean with dissolved iron so as to encourage the growth of CO2 devouring plankton succeeded! And then were quickly thwarted as millions (nay, billions!) of microscopic crab-like predators swept in to devour said plankton. Had the scheme paid off, it would have been a step forward for geo-engineering -- a newish, likely star-trek-inspired field that is attempting to find ways to change the planet's climate to cope with the effects of runaway global warming. Yeah... no way something like that could go awry. (AFP via GoogleNews)

8. ANOTHER REASON TO CHEER THE DEMISE OF THE NATIONAL POST: Over at DeSmog Blog, Mitchell Anderson looks at the ironies and hypocrisies in Lorne Gunter's calls for the dismantling of the CBC now that Gunter's own meal ticket is on the verge of financial collapse. I'd be able to wallow in the schadenfreude at the thought of Gunter lining up at soup kitchen or warming his hands over a flaming oil drum in a shantytown except that I know that CanWest is going to get that handout it's panhandling for. Like Anderson points out in his piece, Harper needs good little soldiers like Gunter and his crew at the Post, while he's happy to see the CBC go down the crapper because they generally won't roll over and be a good dog. (DeSmog Blog)

9. WHAT THE CBC IS CUTTING: To cope with its $171 million deficit, the CBC will be scaling back on sports coverage and on the number of episodes for some marquee shows. It's good to see that there are still no plans to add commercials to CBC radio. But, the most disturbing news is that 80 jobs will be cut from CBC News and jobs will also be lost at the Fifth Estate. (Globe and Mail)

10. ADA LOVELACE DAY: March 24 was the first Ada Lovelace Day, a day in which bloggers celebrated the achievments of women in technology. Ada Lovelace was a 19th century countess who, through her work with Charles Babbage, has been creditted as being the first computer programmer. (My daughter is named after her.) Suw Charman-Anderson, the organizer behind Ada Lovelace Day, hoped to get 1,000 bloggers to pledge to write about women who've done inspiring things in science and technology. 1,980 signed up. You can peruse some of the posts people wrote here. (FindingAda.com)

Sunshine, go away today ...

To paraphrase a song that seemed to be airing constantly for 30 years of CKCK radio ...

Don Morgan can't (CTV) even (CTV) run his own department (Murray Mandryk, L-P), I'll be damned if he thinks he should be running the CBC (Bill Stovin).

The issue whether the tape of the transmissions between RCMP officers on duty at the time of the Curtis Dagenais shooting spree should be played in public is a thorny one. Practically, I see no need to hear those reports. I'm not fascinated by the morbid side. But there's a legal question the CBC is bringing up: if the tape is played in open court, which is supposed to be public forum, then how can the judge turn down a request to have the audio played in public?

Don Morgan didn't think about those things when he opened his mouth. Don Morgan doesn't apparently, feel the need to think about a lot of things.

Six in the Morning

Yeah... I know... wasn't this supposed to be done yesterday? What can I say? I was fresh back from Ottawa and killed the day playing with my daughter.

1. AMERICAN CITIES DEAL WITH SHANTYTOWNS: The number of shantytowns in and around major US cities is on the rise. (NY Times)

2. GROUP CALLS FOR PHOSPHOROUS INQUIRY: Human Rights Watch is calling for an inquiry into Israel's alleged use of white phosphorous during its 22-day offensive against Gaza. (Al Jazeera)

3. RED RIVER ON RISE: Flooding of the Red River is much higher than anticipated. Things are very bad for folk in North Dakota, getting very bad for smaller communities in Manitoba, and Winnipeggers are bracing for the worst. (Globe and Mail and CBC)

4. MONTREAL PROTOCOL SAVED PLANET: Scientists have been saying for years now that the Montreal Protocol, by severely limiting CFC, likely saved our planet from death-by-UV. And this week, over at scienceblogs, geologist Chris Rowan lays out the evidence that global regulatory action is the reason we'll have an ozone layer in 2060. (Science Blogs)

5. INTERNET TO PUT TELESCOPE MANUFACTURERS OUT OF BUSINESS: Well... not really. But NASA has agreed to put 100 terabytes of space photos online through Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope project. (TG Daily)

6. MATH MAKES BUSES RUN BETTER: Mathematicians at the University of Burgos, Spain, have come up with a way to use a math strategy called the taboo search to improve bus wait times and travel times by 13%. (Science Daily)


Another Eruption

Volcanoes have been in the news lately, so I thought I'd share this with you. In our March 26 issue I have a City Life Top Six on infamous April Fool's Day hoaxes. It was a riot to write, as there's been some doozies over the years. One that didn't make the cut occurred in 1974. On the morning of April 1, the residents of Sitka, Alaska awoke to the alarming site of a long dormant volcano on Mount Edgecumbe belching black smoke. Turned out that a local prankster named -- and I kid you not -- Porky Bickar had flown a bunch of tires up to the crater and lit them on fire. Not good for the environment, admittedly, but as a practical joke damn funny. (ImagesSmarter)

On a related note, I'm bracing for a firestorm with my March 26 Ask Greg. (skyrock.net)

Wild In The Afternoon

I'm not sure how long this has been on the Web but here's the trailer for the really weird-looking (in a good way) Spike Jonz adaptation of the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are.

Click on this link, then click on some more links and be bitter that I can't find a quality embed.

If I had kids I'd ban them from drek like Shrek and force-feed this kind of thing down their little throats. Yes, I would be a terrible parent, it's true.

The music, which seems a little out of synch with the trailer's cut, is Arcade Fire, by the way.

UPDATE: I wouldn't really ban my hypotherical kids from watching Shrek. But don't ask me to pretend it's a satisfying, imagination-nourishing film. It is not. It's glib and shallow. Ha! What do you say to that?

UPDATE #2: I've had some complaints about the general ass-ness of that link, so here's another. This video claims to be embed-able, but it lies, lies, lies!

UPDATE #3: Let's try this one:


Do you really need to send that text?

The increasing boldness of cellphone users inside movie theatres is reaching new highs. It's seems socially accepted to TEXT during the screening. Guess what. The theatre is dark FOR A REASON. The screen glare is impossibly distracting and singlehandily ends with the suspension of belief any half-decent flick requests. My call is for all those annoyed with this inconsiderate behavior: SPEAK UP! Movie etiquette can't defend itself.


City Hall Update

I know this is usually Paul Dechene's beat, but he was out of town last week on personal business and missed this rivetting exchange (Break) between the mayor and an unidentified city councillor during debate at a planning commission meeting on the topic of architectural day lighting. And who says municipal politics is boring?

Space Colbert!

Stephen Colbert is at it again, subverting someone's ill-considered write-in vote contest to the greater cause of his own personal glory.

Next year he should get himself voted into the NHL's All Star Game. There can be, what, 12 Habs? One Colbert should be okay.

Also, a note to all Dog Blog posters: our official tag for anything Stephen Colbert-related is "The Genius That Is Stephen Colbert". Thank you.

(via The Stranger)

The Second Battle of Ypres, Fox News and the Battle For Canada

(picture courtesy Archives of Ontario)

When the German army made its first use of poison gas on the Western Front in the First World War, they launched it at Ypres, a sector held by two classes of troops they felt were inferior -- Africans in the French colonial forces, and Canadians. When the Germans launched their first attack with chlorine gas at Gravenfastel, Belgium on 22 April 1915, about six thousand French and French colonial troops died within 10 minutes, and a four mile gap opened in the Allied line of battle
(Wikipedia), where the 1st Canadian Division were in the middle.It was up to them to restore the line until the British Second Army could come up with more troops and artillery to plug the line.

By the second day, the Canadian troops had come up with an unorthodox way of inventing their own gas masks. They urinated onto their handkerchiefs and tied them around their mouths and noses in order to block the poisonous gas. Crude and ineffective, the Canadians used these improvisational defenses to block the German advance, at a horrendous cost: of the 10,000 strong division, more than six thousand were casualties, and 2,000 were dead.
(About.com) How they did this, with inadequate equipment such as the Ross rifle and the Oliver webkit, is beyond my ability to comprehend (Trenches on The Web).

What does this have to do with today? Well, I have a major problem with Canadian involvement in Afghanistan. It's illustrated here (Planet S). The problem is, though, that Canadian soldiers are increasingly asked to do the impossible, and will almost certainly be cast into the dustbin of society by the very same right-wing mushwits who sent them off to war in the first place.

It's no surprise we see gomers such as these clowns (YouTube) -- who couldn't survive the first hour of boot camp be it in the Canadian armed forces or the U.S. -- waxing poetical about our military capabilities. 118 Canadian troops have died in Afghanistan since 2002 -- four are killed in combat the week these guys start telling us how to run our military -- and this is the thanks we get.

Even worse, many Canadian right wing bloggers believe they should show more solidarity to Fox (the propaganda arm of the Republican Party) than to the Canadian armed forces. (Dr. Roy's Thoughts). So much for 'supporting the troops.'

In the end, I call for a decidedly Canadian method of protest. It would be in tribute to the veterans of Ypres, and to our armed forces. Whenever we encounter Fox News gasbags or their right-wing apologists in Canada, we should immediately bring out a cotton handkerchief (Kleenex won't do, it's too light), urinate on it, and hold it over our noses.

If you have better way to tell those idiots to p**s off, I'd like to know about it.

Oh yeah, SaskBoy (Abandoned Stuff by SaskBoy). What he said.

EDITED: a couple of additions. Courtesy Warren Kinsella's commenters, a couple of U.S. military bloggers would like to wipe the walls with those Faux News twits, here (BlackFive) and here (This Ain't Hell).

As well, one of those clowns had a gig at Edmonton's Yuk-Yuk's canceled on him. (Edmonton Journal).


The Last Picture Show

Seems to me that since Vulcan, Alberta doesn't actually have a movie theatre, the townsfolks' ambitious (and somewhat vainglorious) campaign to host the much-anticipated (TrekMovie) May 9 premiere of Paramount Pictures' new Star Trek flick (MetaCafe) is a tad illogical. (Vancouver Sun)

Digital projection... The jury is out

Last Friday I watched Knowing, a rather mediocre flick (review on next Prairie Dog) that wouldn't have any importance in my life if it wasn't because of the digital quality of the projection.

I was used to the scratches, the holes, the circle in the top right corner when is time to change the roll. Digital projection is impossibly crisp, High-Def perfect. It's like watching a gigantic plasma TV. Then again, is that what I want? Going to the movies is an experience in itself, and to perceive the texture of the film was part of it. Also, can cheaper productions even compete? Digital projection may increase the gap between Hollywood churn and low budget quality films, especially when the audience is likely to fall for the pretty colors.

Joe Republican versus the Volcano

When U.S. President Barack Obama made his not-quite State Of The Union address to Congress last month, he outlined what he wanted to spend in the upcoming fiscal year. As is custom, the Republican Party had a chance to respond, and that job fell to Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who mocked government spending for, amongst other things, a volcano monitoring service.

Well, there's a Republican state having issues with a volcano. If Jindal was president, they would have little other option but to throw a virgin down the volcano, which eliminates this person ...

h/t to Americablog 2.0

Today In Volcanoes

Apparently there's one erupting in Alaska right now. Kaboom! (Guardian)

Seven And Eight In The Morning

More news!

SASKATCHEWAN'S AIDS CRISIS There were 174 new cases of HIV diagnosed in the province last year, compared to 124 the year before. The new infections are apparently concentrated among injectible drug users. The CBC has details. Apparently this will be a top story on the CBC's morning news show, The Current this a.m.; you can listen to that program here. (CBC)

MEGA-MERGER Suncor takes over Petro-Canada despite legislated ownership restrictions that would seem to prohibit the sale. Full details, including repeated use of the phrase "new champion in the oil patch", are available here. (Globe And Mail).

This Week at City Hall

Even though I'm sitting in a cafe in Ottawa, thanks to the miracle of the electro-interweb, I can still post a preview of this week's thrills and chills at Regina City Hall. Buckle up, kiddo....

Monday, March 23
Regina Crime Prevention Commission Meeting (12:25 pm): Considering plans for Crime Prevention Week (May 25 to 30), the commission's 2008 Annual Report and the 2009-2010 Work Plan. Also looking at crime statistics for January 2009. (Crimes against people are up by 34 reported instances or 15.5 per cent compared to Jan '08. There were, however, 267 fewer crimes against property which is a 27.4 per cent reduction.)
City Council (5:30 pm): Considering the concept plan for a development north of the Lakewood subdivision, requests for financial support and tax relief for three affordable housing projects (yay!), and a discretionary use application so that the Grasslands commercial development can go ahead and the parking-lot-ification of the Harbour Landing area can begin. (For more info on Grasslands, read this post here.) Also of interest are an update on the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant Upgrade project, a request to purchase vehicles for the city's fleet, an update on the city's Infill Housing Strategy and a report detailing a new system for monitoring environmental indicators for residential development.

Wednesday, March 25
Board of Police Commissioners Meeting (9 am)
Regina Planning Commission (4 pm): Considering an application to rezone a lot in the Gardiner Heights Addition area so that an apartment building can be built there. The address for this is 510 University Ave. If approved and built, the development will yield 150 units. Can't tell if they'll be rental or condo. Either way, it's hard to see a downside to more high density housing. Another nifty tidbit buried in this report is that the city is currently improving the pedestrian infrastructure in and around Quance Street.

As always, full reports and agendas can be download on the city's website.

Six In The Morning

Happy Monday, here's the what's-up.

1 SHOCK TESTIMONY The inquiry into Robert Dziekanski's fatal tasering resumes today as the RCMP officer in charge of police who, "excited delirium" notwithstanding, appear to have caused Dziekanski's death, testifies. Meanwhile, RCMP commissioner William Elliott asks for public sympathy for officers who face incredible pressure in their jobs. (CBC, Globe And Mail)

2 MORE CAR TROUBLE Sweden is standing firm: government is not getting into the automobile business. But supporters of struggling SAAB are surly. (New York Times).

3 Last week's Provincial budget makes Sask. environmentalists nervous. (Yes, I know this is from Friday but it's a decent article) (Leader-Post)

4 GALLOWAY ALL THE WAY Supporters of the (to put it mildly) outspoken British MP say they will challenge Citizenship And Immigration Canada's decision to bar him from entering this county. (CP/Toronto Star)

5 PAYING THE BILLS In the U.S., apparently bad economy = more strippers. (AP/Toronto Star)

6. BC LIBERAL LEADER A GRANNY-KILLING, BABY-EATING CANNIBAL? Election spending restrictions spark wacky ads in British Columbia. (Globe And Mail)


The Alternative To Limbaugh Is...Canadian?

Former George W. Bush speechwriter and noted Conservative David Frum (whom you might remember from this post yesterday) wants to save the Republican Party by steering it away from social conservatism and Rush Limbaugh-style belligerence.

Well isn't that Canadian of him.

I've got a better idea: let it die, then reinvent conservatism so it's not synonymous with bloodthirsty warmongering, racist, homophobic and classist bigotry, raping the environment for profit, apocalyptic Christian mysticism and free-market fetishism.

Make it cautious, compassionate and focused on values. But real values, like making sure everyone in this society has opportunities and ensuring that we leave this planet in something resembling good condition for our (well your children anyway).

I'd like to see a better brand of conservatism too. Frum's not the guy. He had his chance, and he backed the bad guys.

Get a real job, buddy.

(Globe And Mail)


Conway vs. the LP

So, my old buddy Murray Mandryk (Leader-Post) took a poke at John Conway (Leader-Post). For someone to the political right of Conway, that's as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. It's even easier this time, because Conway is right and wrong at the same time on the issue of mill rate setting.

Conway is right in the way that the two most important things a government -- whether a school board, a town council, or a province -- can do is to set its own tax rate and decide how its going to spend its money. In the end, school boards are going to become little more than glorified parent-teacher associations under the Sask. Party initiative.

And if the New Democratic Party had done the same thing being proposed today when they were in power, the Saskatchewan Party would be handing out pitchforks and torches to the angry mob. And most of that mob would be Sask. Party supporters, either through an astroturf campaign (Urban Dictionary, definitions 1 and 2) or by rural residents genuinely angered that school boards were going the way of health districts -- more accountable to governments than to the people they serve.

About 15 years ago, I was the editor of a newspaper in Castor, Alberta (about halfway between the Saskatchewan border and Red Deer) when the Alberta government announced its plans to do the same thing to its school boards. And the ranchers, farmers, and small businessmen who made up the local school boards were saying the same things about that proposal that John Conway said in today's L-P.

But Conway is wrong -- dead wrong -- about other things on this same topic. Parents of children going into the Saskatchewan education system -- whether they're in Beauval or Swift Current -- expect their kids to be taught the same curriculum with pretty much the same resources available. Most of a school division's major expenses -- light, heat, teachers' salaries, pensions -- are the same. Teachers' contracts, for example, are negotiated on a province-wide basis. The provincial government -- not the school trustees -- does the talking for management when contract talks are under way.

As well, the province sets the standards as to how many children should be in a class, how much money the school board will get in its grant from the provincial government, and how it will spend its capital budget. The school board can recommend -- but in the end, they can't sign cheques without going Mother May I to the Department of Education.

As for the funding part, the NDP ran out of excuses long ago not to return to a 60/40 province/municipal sharing arrangement for school divisions.

Conway is making the mistake of trying to fight the last war. And if the Leader-Post wasn't owned by CanWest, and actually had a reporter on the education beat, the reporter could have told his/her editor that this story is hardly front-page material, even on a slow news day.

Another Cat Video


Full context here.

Okay, I'm not saying George Galloway isn't mental. I'm just saying he shouldn't be banned from speaking in Canada. A pussycat like Galloway clearly is no terrorist.

Okay And Not-Okay

This is allowed into our country:

This is not allowed in our country:

I'm going to need more videos of kittens...

Mandryk Vs. Conway

Murray Mandryk has a column in today's Leader-Post slamming prairie dog columnist (and author, and school board trustee, and U of R dept. head in sociology) John Conway's criticism of the provincial budget's change to school board tax collection--specifically that school boards can no longer set their own mill rates, which determines the amount of taxes they can raise.

Mandryk on Conway:

"But the problem with Conway ... is you never quite know where his personal political agenda ends and his concern for educating children begins."

I like newspaper columnist feuds, they're fun. And actually I often enjoy (and have even been known to agree with) Mandryk. So there.

Nevertheless, allow me to contribute my own offering to the squawking:

If Mandryk is implying my columnist has some kind of sinister "political agenda" for this province and is putting this "agenda" ahead of children, then Mandryk can go [deleted] [deleted] his [deleted]with a honey-buttered egg-beater. [Deleted].

But seriously, I think the difference in the two columnist's opinions comes from differing levels of trust in the provincial government. Murray Mandryk thinks the new system will be fine because his default position is trust in the government's numbers and more sinificantly in their intentions.

Conway thinks the new system sucks because if the province's numbers are off, school funding is [screwed] and the boards will be powerless to do anything. He doesn't trust the government's numbers. Or their intentions.

Who's right? We'll see, won't we? Me, I give more weight to the opinions of a political sociology Ph.D with a deep knowledge of Saskatchewan history and a demonstrated commitment to social justice issues than to a Leader Post political writer who portrays my columnist as a privileged extremist (privileged because he has public platforms, unlike Mandryk who's on CBC radio every Friday and has his LP column, but those don't count I guess, and an extremist because Conway's political views are out of sync with current corporate news propaganda fashion, though that seems to be changing as capitalism continues its meltdown taking corporate news with it).

To sum up: Mandryk seems to think others have agendas while he (and presumably his business) do not. Booo.

It is a good thing the province is directing more cash to schools. How about a compromise: they give school boards more cash but school boards keep their mill rate powers? Huh? Huh? Anyone?


The news story on Conway's budget criticism is here.

Mandryk's column is here.

And also: it's just prairie dog, not the prairie dog. No "the".

Don't Worry Be Happy

Sure we live in a country that welcomes people who start bogus wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people and bars democratically-elected politicians who criticize war.

But don't think about that, think about how cute these animals are.

Awwww! So cute!

So Who The Hell Is George Galloway, Anyway?

Here's a video. See what you think.

Galloway's overheated rhetoric makes me uncomfortable--his speculation about Israel planning an attack on Iran last November seems waaay over the top. But should he be barred from Canada? No. Way. Especially not in the same week Bush gets in.

Also: I wonder if David Frum got beat up a lot when he went to school.

Well hasn't this been a fun morning of angry blogging. And people wonder why we post cartoons and dolphin videos on dog blog.

Sask Government Tells CBC How To Do Its Job

In other slippery-slope news, yesterday the Star Phoenix reported that Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan asked the CBC to not broadcast interviews with convicted cop killer Curt Dagenais.

Morgan also told the Star Phoenix his government would not censor the interview, they just didn't think it should be broadcast.

How magnanimous of government to not censor the media. Truly we live in a free society.

As can be read in the story, the CBC says they often interview convicted criminals because this can provide insight and present all sides of a story to the public.

Sounds like journalism to me.

(Tip of the hat to "you know who you are" for sending me this link.)

In other freedom of speech news, prairie dog is still banned from distributing in Saskatchewan's government-run liquor stores.

Canada Bans Pacifist, Welcomes War Criminal

Yesterday, an outspoken and somewhat wacky British Member Of Parliament was banned from entering Canada for two university speaking engagements on security grounds in the same week George W. Bush, who ordered the invasion of Iraq on bogus pretenses, was allowed into Calgary for a speaking engagement.

British MP George Galloway was banned by Canada Border Services Agency officials. Pertinent minister Jason Kenney, who has the power to overturn stupid and evil decisions, says he will not do so.

Galloway is accused of supporting designated-terrorist organization Hamas (trying to use neutral language in a loaded topic here) because he helped deliver aid to the Gaza Strip during the widely-viewed-as-excruciatingly-horrific Israeli attack earlier this year that were sparked by the widely-viewed-as-"asking for it" rocket attacks against Israel (that were sparked by yadda yadda yadda that were sparked by historical etc.).

The decision by Canadian officials is stupid and makes the Minister (whom we're sure had nothing whatsoever to do with banning Galloway) look like an asshole who doesn't support free speech unless it's the kind of free speech he likes.

Critics (e.g. me) suspect Galloway is actually being barred because he says inflammatory things about how the war in Afghanistan is wrong. In other words, he's being banned for being anti-war.

Opinion: You can't call British MPs terrorist supporters when they're not and ban them from Canada. That's fascism.

Here are links--read them and you'll know as much as I do and possibly more since my reading
comprehension is suspect when I'm this pissed off.

-The Toronto Star's initial report.
-Today's TorStar article saying Galloway will challenge the decision.
-Toronto Star column on why this decision is nuts.
-The Globe And Mail's story on this fiasco.
-The Guardian's initial report.
-The Guardian's Saturday story.
-The Wikipedia entry on George Galloway for those interested in a litany of his wacky shenanigans (which include public boasting of having sex with Greeks).

UPDATE: The Regina Mom, AKA prairie dog contributor Bernadette Wagner, has alerted me to her post on the recent stupidities of federal Conservatives. You can read it here. It discusses much more thoroughly than I have a litany of shenanigans from Canada's immigration minister. Recommended.


Dolphin Bubbles

Proof, as though any was needed, that dolphins are an amazing species.

Sixless In The Morning

I have zero time to write a top six news this a.m. but this blog needs a morning post--so how about a cartoon? This is probably my all-time favourite National Film Board of Canada short. It's by Richard Condie, who was nominated for an Oscar for The Big Snit, and it's called The Apprentice. It's about learning and creativity, and the value of obstacles and what we can learn from adversity (and how it can even save us from disaster without us realizing it). And to my tastes it's reallyreallyreally funny.

Incidentally the NFB has a Web site that you can find a lot of their animation on but last time I checked (maybe a month ago) this one wasn't there, hence the embed from the copyright-plundering nightmare that is Yootoob.


Why Stephen Colbert Will Never Appear On NBC Again. Ever.

Not safe for work, but funny as anything.

(found on Bob Cesca's Awesome Blog.)

21st Century American Capitalism ...

as explained by Calvin and Hobbes.

h/t to Crooks and Liars

Friends in High Places

You know how the National Post always keeps harping on how the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is unfairly encroaching on their territory because of its subsidy?

Pot, meet kettle. What color is it?

Tip of the lynch lid to Warren Kinsella

I'm Jealous Of Nerds

I want this. (New York Times)

Six In The Morning

Too much going on and going down not to have one of these linkapalooza doohickeys here today. Here's a pertinent smorgesbord of stories.

1. BUDGET! Well, consensus seems to be it's a reasonable budget that doesn't take a lot of risks. The opposition NDP says the Sask Party's estimates on provincial revenue are off but I guess we'll see about that. Frankly, nothing amazing, nothing too horrifying. Unless of course you stop to consider that this provinces' economic success is entirely linked to fertilzer and fossil fuels, in which case you'd probably want to run into the streets screaming and tearing your eyes from your face because that's not any way to keep us strong, long-term. But that's a problem of the paradigm, not the budget.

The new hospital is nice.

The cash transfers to cities are great.

Waiting to hear what the art/culture crowds think of it. Still like to see culture get its own department, sorry, ministry. Being shoe-horned in with sports and tourism makes me nervous.

Probably a hell of a lot more could've been done to help the poor/unemployed/situationally fucked and to position Saskatchewan for long-term success. I'm sure an NDP budget would've been wildly different here. Hahahahahahahahaha, that's a good one.

We'll have more in next week's prairie dog. I am optimistic there will be at least some limited insight.

In the meantime, here's reports from the CBC and the Leader-Post.

2. FRANCE! In Saskatchewan, changes to labour laws are definitely making it harder to unionize and are (arguably) a blatant violation of human rights. Our take? La la la, hooray for the boom! Unions have ruined Saskatchewan long enough. La la la! In France, meanwhile, public sector workers are striking over President Sarkozy's handling of the economic crisis (let's give tax cuts to the super-rich!) and... 80 per cent of the French people support them. Huh. La la la! (Guardian)

3. GUNS! A Saskatchewan Conservative MP who fought against gun control laws will be honoured at a dinner in Mississauga, Ontario for his, cough, efforts to improve the country we all share. MP Garry Breitkreuz' dinner has a raffle prize: a Beretta handgun. Critics* say this is tasteless and reinforces the perception that gun control foes are out-of-touch assholes with a poor grip on the facts surrounding gun violence. (Toronto Star)

4. RAPIST! Austrian psycho-dad Joseph Fritzl changed his plea on the murder charge to guilty, and he's been sentenced to life in prison. He'll probably be locked up in a secure psychiatric facility, probably forever. Good. (Guardian)

5. CBC! The national broadcaster is cutting executive bonuses and "selling assets" (uh oh) to deal with advertizing shortfalls. But no commercials on the radio as had been previously discussed. Phew! (Globe And Mail)

6. DEATH PENALTY! New Mexico repeals it. (New York Times)

*me for starters.


Re: The Banana Splits

For anyone who read my Doodlebops blurb in the 14 Days Top Six of the March 12 issue (pp. 20) here's some info on The Banana Splits (Wikipedia) (YouTube). Mind-expanding stuff, at least for a pre-teen living in Whitmore Park in South Regina.

13th Ave to be Rebuilt

At last night's Cathedral Area Community Association annual general meeting, Councillor Fred Clipsham announced that this summer 13th Avenue -- the street itself -- will be dug up and rebuilt. Sounds like it'll be more than just a resurfacing job. The plan is to dig up the entire roadbed -- the sidewalks will also likely get redone -- and then build a spiff new avenue. Once completed, 13th Ave will sport something that Regina cyclists have been longing for: bikelanes. Also, the drainage should be improved which means this might be the last winter of mini-skating rinks at major intersections along that street.

Work will not start until after the conclusion of the Cathedral Village Arts Festival.

Exciting News!

It's a busy day in Saskatchewan but you wouldn't know it from the way this alleged journalist is sitting on his ass in front of this screen. Stephen Whitworth is not a morning person but publisher Terry Morash has cast him as one in this sitcom called prairie dog.

Even worse, the coffee is too hot and I burned my lips.


News item #1: Gregory Beatty is at the legislature covering the budget proceedings. I suspect he is once again going dressed like a hobo. Greg is punk.

News item #2: Paul Dechene will be along with a post this a.m. following up yesterday's controversy on Canada's christian, evolution-averse science minister. [update: that post went up as I was typing this.] As with yesterday's post on the topic, there will be an illustration. Puty likes to draw dinosaurs.

News item #3: Next week, Dog Blog gets a new look, courtesy prairie dog designer Alex Whyte. I have seen it. It is good. No more cookie-cutter template for us. Exciting!

Six in the Morning

1. SCIENCE MINISTER NOT A CREATIONIST TWIT? In a CTV interview, Gary Goodyear clarified his stance on evolution saying that of course he believes in it. He followed that up with:

"We are evolving, every year, every decade. That’s a fact. Whether it’s to the intensity of the sun, whether it’s to, as a chiropractor, walking on cement versus anything else, whether it’s running shoes or high heels, of course, we are evolving to our environment. But that’s not relevant. And that’s why I refused to answer the question."
Every year and decade? So fast. Who knew? Paul Wells' quip is probably the definitive one on this. More on the story as it evolves. (Globe and Mail)

2. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TABLES NEW HOUSING POLICY: Regina's executive committee will not make a decision on a new housing incentives policy until after they've seen what's in today's provincial budget. The policy would provide tax incentives for new multi-family dwellings and per-unit grants for new affordable housing. The committee did, however, approve funding commensurate with this policy for three affordable housing projects presently underway: a good sign there's support for the policy on the committee. (Leader Post)

3. HARPER DELUDED ABOUT CANADA'S RECOVERY PROSPECTS: A year after leaving his post as Bank of Canada governor, David Dodge is saying the current economic crisis is going to be long and deep, it will fundamentally alter the nature of capitalism, and Harper's claim this country will have a fast turn around is "unrealistic." (Globe and Mail)

4. CONSERVATIVES CONSPIRE TO INFILTRATE STUDENT GOVERNMENT: Tapes reveal the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association is putting together front organizations with an eye to getting their members into student governments. Their ultimate goal? Among other things, defunding left-leaning groups like OPIRG. (rabble.ca)

5. IBM TO BUY SUN, WILL MOON BE NEXT? IBM is rumoured to be planning a $6.5 billion takeover of troubled server-maker, Sun Microsystems. (Guardian)

6. PRINT IS DEAD IN SEATTLE: The Seattle Post Intelligencer printed its last edition yesterday and moved its operation online. Some incorrigible wiseacre made a cheeky modification to an office wall on his last day. (Gawker)


Final Thoughts On Today's George W. Bush Visit

I reviewed Lily Allen's new disc It's Not Me, It's You a couple issues back. It's a good album, lots of sharp-tongued, pop music fun with boatloads of naughty words (and I don't mean "boat") and nasty wit. It's rude and childish and juvenile and I love it. Here's a link to a Yootoob bootleg of Allen live, singing my favourite song off the disc. Judging from the line "You want to be like your father, it's approval you're after" I'll go out on a limb and say this is about Canada's guest of the day, George W. It sure as hell isn't about Luke Skywalker.

Warning: copious F-bombs. But you can see that from the video's title.

St. Patrick's Day bonus: apparently this is from a show in Dublin!

Ironic? Yes. Shocking? Sadly, No

Intrepid Dog Blogger Paul Dechene already made note of this story, but clearly, it needs a rant. As the Globe And Mail reported early this morning, federal Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear is refusing to state whether or not he believes in evolution--saying only "I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't believe anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate."

Sigh. The Cons recent cuts to funding scientific research across the country--and just as insidiously, their absolutely insane tactic of directing the funding that's left by demanding that it go to science projects that will "benefit business"--doesn't seem all that shocking now, if it ever did.

The simple fact is evangelicals--which, like his leash-master Stephen Harper, Gary Goodyear is--are pretty much universally opposed to unfettered freedom in terms of scientific research. And really, who can blame them? For centuries, science has been coming up with nasty little facts that bump up hard against religion--the earth is round, maybe you shouldn't have burned all those "witches" after all, and hey--it looks like those dinosaurs were really old!

Which, of course, brings us back to evolution, the scariest fact of all for evangelicals (and fundamentalists of all religious leanings, it should be noted).

Simply put, evolution is a fact--and it's a fact that's wiped out, among thousands of others, evangelical beliefs like the 6,000-year-old earth (hello, Stockwell Day), the Adam and Eve origin story, and, in recent years, the idea the HIV/AIDS is a plague from god to rid the world of homosexual sinners--or, for that matter, that homosexuals simply "choose to be gay."

But back to Gary.

Again under the "hardly shocking" category, Goodyear has been endorsed by "Vote Marriage Canada"--who are against same sex marriage, of course--along with numerous other evangelical groups, including Charles McVety's Focus on the Family Canada. I wonder if they're happy that the big G is in charge of the country's science portfolio?

I'm sure they are--but the rest of us should be absolutely outraged.

In the midst of the biggest recession we've seen in my lifetime, at least, our Conservative government is abandoning any hope of maintaining Canada's position as a leader in scientific research--at the very time a U.S. president is (finally) placing an emphasis on it in that country. If you didn't think that was enough to drive the best and the brightest from this country--ladies and gentlemen, we present to you our creationist minister of Science and Technology. How long before the Big Valley Creation Science Museum in Alberta becomes the centre of government-funded research in this country?

Clearly, Gary Goodyear has absolutely no business in this portfolio, and should be removed from his position post-haste--and if Ignatieff's Liberals have a shred of backbone, they won't stop screeching about that until it happens. I'm not holding my breath on that--but I am maintaining a tiny shred of hope that Canadians across the country will vent enough outrage to make it happen.

Ah, well--it's not all bad. At least we can finally stop feeling bad for the Americans and their eight-year slide into ignorance and fundamentalism--because now, they feel bad for us! Who saw that coming back in the Dubya days?

Happy St. Patrick's Day From Some Guy's Cat


(Located via YooToob search)

Extra-Ranty Bonus News

It's St. Patrick's Day. I'm not Irish (but I drink at their pubs) but I am wearing a green shirt. This is partly because I had two and only two clean shirts to choose from this morning and the other one was brown. Brown! You see my situation here.

But you don't care about that, so here's some news links with comments.

PRINCE ALBERT IS OKAY WITH IT Asurvey suggests Prince Albert residents don't mind having a nuke plant in their backyard. (Leader-Post). Well, fine, they have a right to their opinion. But I feel obligated to point out the following problems nuclear energy has, if my understanding is correct :

1.) it's not "green" because significant emissions are produced in the mining and transporting of uranium, plus, the primary need for this plant unless I am sorely mistaken is to power tarsands extraction which is extremely, ultra, mega not-green 2.) nuclear plants are famous for multimillion dollar cost overruns; this is not cheap energy 3.) there isn't a satisfactory way to dispose of nuclear waste 4.) (most important in my view) the money invested in this expensive, outdated, dead-end and outdated technology could and should be invested in sustainable energy research (solar, wind, geothermal, and weird, cool new things we haven't thought of yet) that will bring us through this century and into the next 5.) from bombs to bullets uranium has a tendency to end up weaponized and the planet doesn't need any more of that bullshit 6.) uranium is a non-renewable resource, do we really want to pour more money into yet another short-term solution to our planet's power needs (correct answer: no) 7.) nuclear plants have the potential for cataclysmic mishaps (see: Chernobyl), and more informed critics than moi say their capacity for (and history of) casual environmental destruction form leaks is horrifying.

(pauses to inhale)

So basically: nuclear is not green, it's not a long-term solution to anything, it's a waste of money, it's potentially dangerous, it's a step backwards instead of forwards and it's possibly extremely evil militarily.

But I imagine a nuclear plant would be good for P.A.'s economy short-term. And Bruce Power might make a couple of bucks too.

I wonder how violently my P.A.-living hippy friend's head is exploding today. My guess is an 8.4 on the head-exploding scale. Fortunately she has kittens to hug.

NO CAMERAS! NO JOUNALISTS! After I typed this up I realized Paul had already written about it but too bad, I want to squawk on the topic. So: George W. Bush! He should be arrested as a war criminal (yes, you can quote me on that in perpetuity). Instead, he's making a pile of cash as a lecturer. But the most annoying part of his speaking engagement today at Calgary's Chamber Of Commerce is the fact that journalists won't be let in. Although in fairness, if I recall correctly there weren't any press passes for Bill Clinton's visit to Regina. Or Al Gore's. (Someone please correct me if I'm wrong). So maybe this attitude towards the media is less reflective of Bush being a dick than it is of all ex-presidents being dicks. (Calgary Herald)

MAYBE THE RULES WILL APPLY TO CEOS, AFTER ALL (HE SAID HOPEFULLY BUT SKEPTICALLY) Well, Obama sounds like he means business when he says he wants AIG executives' bonuses cancelled. (Toronto Star)

CONDOMS GIVE YOU AIDS! After I typed this up I realized Paul had already written about it but too bad, I want to squawk on the topic. So: why do people turn away from religion? Does their sinful lust for the forbidden pleasures of an immoral lifestyle drive them from the Lord? Well sure if you're lucky I guess. But it's also because of asinine comments like the one reported on here. As long as religious leaders like the Pope say things that are not only demonstrably untrue but can also directly contribute to people contracting HIV, their privaleged positions as moral authorities will be challenged by actual experts. um, and bloggers. Grr! (Telgraph)

SPEAKING OF RELIGION... Here, courtesy of YouTube and copyright violation, is a Veggie Tales video about the origin of St. Patrick's Day.

Six in the Morning

1. SCIENTISTS WORRY SCIENCE MINISTER A CREATIONIST: Gary Goodyear, a chiropractor by trade and presently our Minister of State for Science and Technology, refused to answer a Globe and Mail question about whether or not he believed in evolution by responding: “I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate." Heads up, Gary: belief in evolution is a question of science -- your portfolio -- not religion. And while I'm here, this is what SkepticWiki has to say on the subject of chiropractic. (Globe and Mail, SkepticWiki)

2. POPE SAYS RUBBERS WON'T ERASE AIDS: In his first explicit comment on the subject, Pope Benedict has said that condom use is not the solution to Africa's AIDS epidemic. Maybe he thinks the solution is abstinence clowns? (Globe and Mail, SciencePunk Blog)

3. A "W" IN CALGARY: Protesters are expected to be out in force today as George W Bush gives his first post-presidency speech at the Epicentre of Oilmageddon. (rabble.ca)

4. PETA TO MAKE CLOONEY-FLAVOURED TOFU: You read that headline right. PETA is hoping to turn a sample of George Clooney's sweat into a tofu flavour. You know, sometimes I think PETA is a collection of the greatest comic geniuses of all time. Sometimes not. (SFGate)

5. DID YOU MISS PI DAY? We celebrated at our house with a big ol' blueberry pie we bought at the Farmers' Market (which is held Saturdays at the Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre). When was Pi Day, you ask? March 14, duh. Why am I posting about it after the fact? Because this Pi video is too awesome not to share. (SciencePunk Blog)

6. PRAIRIE DOG BLOGGER A GROGGY IDIOT: Frequent prairie dog contributor, Paul Dechene, woke this morning and, thinking it was Wednesday, groggily fired up his computer then went on to complete five items towards his mid-week "Six in the Morning" blog post before realizing that it was in fact Tuesday morning. Not wanting to waste all that effort, the idiot posted those items anyway. Will he do a Wednesday "Six in the Morning" as scheduled? Tune in tomorrow to find out.


Black Tuesday

Bush, Bush, the musical fruit
The more you eat, the more you toot!

No, that's not quite strong enough.

How about ...

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

George W.

Fuck off George. I have zero interest in abetting your desperate effort to rehabilitate your reputation and shift blame for all the current crises to the Obama administration.

There, that better sums up my disgust at knowing that tomorrow George W. Bush (arguably the most inept and demonstrably evil president in U.S. history) is flying into Calgary to give a talk at some swank $4000 a ticket reception.

According to the Globe & Mail, activists are planning to protest, and the idea's even been floated that Bush should be arrested, charged with war crimes and shipped to the Hague for prosecution. Of course, the odds of that happening in Calgary are remote. Vancouver, maybe. Or Montreal. But not Calgary. (Stampede Foundation)

One Set Of Rules For CEOs, Another For Everyone Else

Here's a great article (Salon) by author, blogger, columnist and constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald on the double standard of giving bonuses to AIG CEOs while demanding concessions from union workers. To recap: AIG paid out $165 million in executive bonues to its economy-destroying executives that it would not have been able to pay out had the United States government not bailed their bankrupt asses out with the rapidly dimishing wealth of its citizens, who must wonder how their taxes get blown on this kind of shit. AIG's excuse? "we have to pay them, it's in their contracts, it's the law, wah wah wah." (New York Times)

Greenwald points out unionized autoworkers had legal contracts too, but the U.S. goverment demanded those get changed as a condition of the bailout. He also points out that the United States has once again been implicated in torture (as recently as today, in fact), which oh by the way is against international law. (Washington Post)

As Greenwald so elegently puts it:

"Apparently, this "we are a country of law" concept means that hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money must be transferred to the AIG executives who virtually destroyed the financial system, but it does not mean that something must be done when high government officials get caught plainly breaking the law. What an oddly selective application of the "rule of law" this is."

Good, anger-making, bullshit-cutting-through stuff. In case you missed it up top, the link's here.

Six In The Morning

Our Monday morning annotated list o' links to things newsworthy/awful/entertaining:

1 NOT WORTHY The net worth of Canadian families has fallen 4.4 per cent, which is apparently the biggest drop on record. (Globe Amd Mail)

2 PSYCHO RAPIST DAD PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO MURDER Anger is not healthy and retribution doesn't solve anything; still, the fact this despicable thug faces a maximum sentence of 15 years if he's found innocent of murder is bonkers. He already pleaded guilty to incest, rape, coercion and false imprisonment. Let's put that into English: this evil shitpile of an alleged human being admits to locking his daughter in a basement for 24 years, making her his rape-toy and fathering seven children by her, six of whom are still alive--and he should be in jail forever. Ideally in a basement. With no windows. Chained to the wall. Christ, what a monster. (Guardian)
3 NO RED TAPE REQUIRED I'm really, really glad cops are able to bust Internet child pornographers, but is it really too much to ask ISP providers require a warrent to release users' personal information? (Toronto Star)

4 WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HALIFAX BUS DRIVERS? Two recent incidents involving transit workers, one alarming (barring Muslim woman in veil from boarding a bus), one kind of funny (bus driver attacks seal hunt protestor's toy seal). (CBC Halifax)

5 I DO MY LITTLE TURN ON THE CATWALK Japanese robotmakers introduce a sorta-human-looking fashionbot that shuffles along on permanently bent knees and looks surprised when it's supposed to be smiling. It's stupid and it barely works but we all realize this is a stepping stone to the sexbot revolution, right? And people will probably be test-humping these things inside of five years if they aren't already? The CBC online article says these things could eventually work with humans and "care for the elderly and sick". Uh huh. Just checking, don't want anyone kidding themselves about inevitable our cyborg-sex future. (CBC)

6 SHAME, SHAME ON DOG BLOG This weekend we blogged about Dick Cheney, Denmark, Curling and Mars, yet we totally missed this local story about an escaped bull that ran amok in downtown Regina and attacked a pedestrian's prosthetic arm. Apologies to our legions dissappointed readers. We'll try to do better. (Leader-Post)

This Week at City Hall

Tuesday, March 17

Executive Committee (11:45 am): Big things on the housing front this week. City administration will propose a new housing incentive policy that, if approved, will substantially enhance tax-exemption incentives for rental developments. The proposed policy also recommends providing grants for secondary suites and capital grants of $10,000 per unit of new affordable housing. In light of its recommendations in this proposed policy, city administration is also recommending financial support be given to three affordable housing projects currently underway.
Works and Utilities Committee (4 pm): Considering the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant upgrade, a 30 vehicle purchase from the province, the special tax levy for alley maintenance, the 2009 traffic signal installation program and much more.
Development Appeals Board Hearing (5:30 pm)

Wednesday, March 18
Parks and Community Services Committee (4 pm): Reviewing city administration’s recommendation to provide funding for 16 groups under the Community Capital Partnership Program. Also considering the administration's funding recommendation for another 16 groups under the 2009 Festival Funding Program. Of particular note, New Dance Horizons is slated to receive a special, one-time grant of $12,500 to resurrect the Fire & Ice Carnival for 2010.

Thursday, March 19
Regina Arts Commission (7 pm): Considering their 2008 annual report.

You can attend and present at any of these meetings. Full agendas and the reports under consideration can be found on the city's website.


What a Dick

To paraphrase Stephen Clarkson and Christina McCall in their award-winning biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau "He haunts us still." (CBC)

Hack Journalism

According to the official Dog Blog counter, this is the 200th post on this blog. That gives us one up--numberwise, anyway--on the Alberta curling rink skipped by Kevin Martin. All they've managed to do is ring up a 26-game winning streak at the Brier over the last two years. Tonight, they eviscerated Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton 10-4 to claim their second consecutive Brier title. (MSN) Now, it's off to Moncton for the Men's World Championship April 3-12. Jennifer Jones, (CBC) meanwhile, will represent Canada at the Women's World Championship in Gangneung, Korea March 21-29.