City Council (8:30 am): Our council is up at the crack of dawn to discuss external funding and a debenture bylaw for the global transportation hub.
Tuesday, June 2
Finance and Administration Committee (12:15 pm): Considering property tax exemptions for Regina Education and Action on Hunger (REACH), Regina Foodbank, and the Regina Airport Authority.
Wednesday, June 3
Paratransit Advisory Board (5:30 pm): Looking at the paratransit registration process, April 2009 operation statistics and an update on service hours for June 2009.
As always, full reports and agendas can be downloaded at the city's website.
I have just read one of the most racist books I’ve ever come across. The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu or as the American edition that I have just read is called The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Apparently Americans need to be sold on the more exciting insidiousness of the novel rather than the mysterious mysteriousness of the novel. The novel was written in 1912 by Sax Rohmer and was the first in a series of thirteen novels featuring the arch supervillain Dr. Fu Manchu.
“Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of the true cat-green. Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern Race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government---which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man.”
I've been reading a lot of pulp fiction lately and this novel is one of the first few that gave birth of the super-villain. Mysterious deaths, death trap after death trap. Secret labs in secret evil layers - evil henchmen with ninja skills and awesome rope strangling techniques. This novel has it all except a hero to root for.
The novel follows the adventures of a Sherlock Holmes rip-off named Nayland Smith, who has just returned from Burma and is on the trail of a threat to the British Empire.
"A fiend who, unless my calculations are at fault is now in London, and who regularly wars with pleasant weapons of that kind. Petrie, I have traveled from Burma not in the interests of the British Government merely, but in the interests of the entire white race, and I honestly believe--though I pray I may be wrong--that its survival depends largely upon the success of my mission."
The Dr. Watson like Dr. Petrie follows Smith on his adventures. He also writes them in novel form, much like Dr. Watson so he is in fact the narrator of this adventure. They try to stop Dr. Fu Manchu by running around and usually arriving seconds too late to stop whatever evil Fu Manchu was planning. Whatever Fu Manchu's vast plan is - it's never revealed. The only reason the two get even close to stopping the good doctor is that Fu Manchu's slave - the beautiful Karamaneh is in love with Doctor Petrie. Petrie himself is infatuated with her - constantly referring to her charming accent. Smith pretends to be some sort of intellect and spends most of the novel insulting the Asian race at every chance he gets. And his take on women is just as bad. His advice to Petrie on how to win Karamaneh.
"You don't know the Oriental mind as I do; but I quite understand the girl's position. She fears the English authorities, but would submit to capture by you! If you would only seize her by the hair, drag her to some cellar, hurl her down and stand over her with a whip, she would tell you everything she knows, and salve her strange Eastern conscience with the reflection that speech was forced from her. I am not joking; it is so, I assure you. And she would adore you for your savagery, deeming you forceful and strong!"
The only way I could get through this novel was to root for Dr. Fu Manchu. Smith is a racist idiot. He blunders into death after death trap only to have the beautiful Karamaneh save his and Petrie's life time and time again.
Throughout Smith and Petrie's racist tirades, there is this bizarre praise that they continually heap on Fu Manchu. "He has the brains of any three men of genius."
"What perverted genius was his! If that treasury of obscure wisdom which he, perhaps alone of living men, had rifled, could but be thrown open to the sick and suffering, the name of Dr. Fu-Manchu would rank with the golden ones in the history of healing."
Of course near the end of the novel Fu Manchu acts more like the evil villain that he is known for.
"They die like flies!" screamed Fu-Manchu, with a sudden febrile excitement; and I felt assured of something I had long suspected: that that magnificent, perverted brain was the brain of a homicidal maniac--though Smith would never accept the theory.
"It is my fly-trap!" shrieked the Chinaman. "And I am the god of destruction!"
In the end Fu Manchu gets away to attack another day but not before he saves the life of a detective that was helping Nayland Smith and Dr. Petrie. The detective attacked Fu Manchu and instead of Smith getting poisoned the detective was. So Fu Manchu - being the evil super-genius that he is - cures him.
"Say no more, Mr. Smith," he interrupted; "you misunderstand me. I do not quarrel with that, but what I have done from conviction and what I have done of necessity are separated--are seas apart. The brave Inspector Weymouth I wounded with a poisoned needle, in self-defense; but I regret his condition as greatly as you do. I respect such a man. There is an antidote to the poison of the needle."
This is an evil genius? Obviously I was right to root for Fu Manchu. There is much potential in this story. And to blame the racism on the year that it was written seems like an easy out to me. H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines was written in 1885 and it's treatment of the native Africans expresses much less prejudice than one would imagine. In fact one of the main heroes is a native African who Allan Quatermain helps to regain control of his kingdom. Oh well. Still without Rohmer's Fu Manchu there would be no Ming the Merciless, no Dr. No and no Lex Luthor.
Plus what do in the event of a zombie attack.
Personally I think this book is more helpful. And damn funny too.
1.) Can this guy sue the political leaders who created policies where he could be deported and tortured?
2.) Can these people sue for the destruction of their homes and lives during a military action many consider to be chock full o' war crime?
3.) Can this guy's family sue the individuals, organizations and religions that incited lethal hatred against him?
Just wondering how broad our definition of terrorism is here. Are we helping people sue all terrorists--which is absolutely fine by me--or just the ones who speak Arabic?
I know my position will be consistent. How about our Prime Minister's?
UPDATE: Joan Walsh, the editor of the excellent online magazine Salon, has a pretty good blog post here. People following the story are going to hear the phrase "Christian Terrorism" a lot in the next few days. It's still unclear with the killing is motivated by religion--though it seems unlikely it wouldn't be. We'll have to wait and see.
UPDATE 2: A suspect is in custody, reports the Kansas newspaper Wichita Eagle. The Eagle is following this story--if you're interested keep an eye on developments at kansas.com, here.
But I'm still pissed off about it. The United States is our influential neighbour to the south and their foolish, old-fashioned, emotional/hysterical ideas on social policy inspire and motivate Canada's troglodytes, jerks and nutjobs. (New York Times). And then I have to read about their stupid ideas. (National Post)
But this video makes me feel better because it reminds me that my side of the fight for truth, reason and civilization has all the cool, smart people.
You can find more from Robert Tisinai at his blog, here. And in case you care, I originally found this link on the Stranger's blog, Slog, here.
I saw the show as a series of five-minute shorts, each ending in a cliffhanger, that followed Hercules (which is a Saturday morning cartoon for another weekend). Over a week, DM would tell a full story. My favourite was the ridiculous epic, "Custard". Here's a sample:
Clearly the work of people who'd watched too much Monty Python. And read too much Douglas Adams.
Via YooToob and copyright violation.
It wasn't that I didn't want to see Drag Me To Hell - I just hate going on opening night. I also had my doubts about the film. Raimi hasn't done a horror since 2000's The Gift (which was pretty good and you got to see Katie Holmes naked). But ever since Spider-Man 3 I've lost a bit of faith in Sam. And then there's the fact that the movie is rated PG-13 (14A in Canada). Most horror movies in the PG category suck. But there are times in this film when I wonder how did this movie get a PG rating? And this movie is the perfect movie to see with a big crowd. I'd rather not give anything away but it's one of the funniest gory, nasty, vile movies I've seen in awhile. And the ending is perfect. Maybe not for everybody but dammit I enjoyed it.
(Slinks back, hoping Stephen is so distracted with the New Game that he counts this as a "real" blog post.)
One quick note for Reginans--Regina Wascana Plains MP Christine Tell is out of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport and into Government Services, which means she's the MP in charge of liquor stores now. Maybe she'll let us distribute prairie dog through the LBs again! Yeah!
Here's a link to kitten-bonking central. Not much to see at the moment but since someone went to the trouble of making and posting this eruption of adorableness, the least I can do is provide a link to their home page. Thanks, unheralded content provider! And thanks to Dog Blog BFF Peakay for alerting us to this.
By the way, Rick says gas went up in Fort Mac this a.m.--it was apparently 98.9 last night. So, Saskatchewan still wins with the highest fuel prices in the West. Go team!
Gas in Winnipeg:
Both photos taken yesterday afternoon/early evening. You'd think with a bigger oil patch Saskatchewan gas would be cheaper. Nope. Snort.
Thanks to Carle Steel and friend O' Dog Blog Peakay for the pics.
2 QUIET ON THE KOREAN FRONT U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates says missile-happy North Korea isn't moving its troops to attack the South. And speaking of South Korea, that country is mourning its former president, who jumped off a cliff last Saturday. (New York Times)
3 DOLLAR GOES UP! The Loonie flexes its might. (Globe And Mail)
4 TRUST GOES DOWN! An NDP MP says a Canada Post contract with Purolator smells fishy. (CBC)
5 IT WOULD BE SIMPLER IF WE JUST LEGALIZED POT The Supreme Court says a convicted, home-based marijuana farmer--a 57-year old Vancouverite whose garden was showcased in Gardens West magazine--will keep her house. (Toronto Star)
6 STEVE'S FAVOURITE HOCKEY TEAM IS IN TROUBLE Noooo! I went through all this nonsense with the Jets! Now my current favourite NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, are in trouble and making noises about needing public sector help. Boo! Hiss! Boooo!
A piece of angle iron. But I'll get back to that in a minute.
Several months ago prairie dog ran a story about the Viva Apartments. In case you didn't read it, the Viva was another of those three-story walk-up apartments that was up for condo conversion. Thanks in large part to dogged activism of one of its tenants, Christina Luberti, that condo conversion was stopped. The only condo conversion to have been denied by city council in... well... ever, despite the city's vacancy rate plunging from 1.5 percent to 0.5 percent in the last year. And despite the fact that city policy states that condo coversions are supposed to be denied if the citywide vacancy rate drops below 3 percent unless 75 per cent of tenants support the conversion and none of them indicate they will face substantial hardship as a result of it.
The Viva conversion was halted not because of the vacancy rate being 0.5 percent, by the way. Council has passed several condo conversions while the rate was that low, both before and after and the Viva controversy. No, the conversion was halted because Luberti was able to demonstrate to council that there was not 75 percent support for it among Viva residents.
Throughout the process, representatives for Viva's property manager, Nicor, warned that rents in the building were below market and that to finance the substantial renovations the Viva needed, rents would have to go up dramatically if the conversion was not approved. Some saw this as a threat. On more than one occasion, I even heard it described as the developer was holding city council hostage.
To soften things, Nicor came forward with a seven-point tenancy agreement for residents in their apartment buildings that were facing condo conversion. It guaranteed them multi-year tenancy along with rent controls. And while Nicor was lauded repeatedly for coming forth with such a generous agreement, it's worth noting that the agreement council saw is very different from Nicor's original offer to tenants. It was thanks to negotiations and pressure from the city and thanks to tenant activism and the threat that several Nicor-managed conversions were imperiled that the property manager relented.
Anyway, around the time Viva was being considered, Nicor had four other buildings up for conversion. All were passed and those tenants were protected by some version of the seven-point agreement. As the Viva conversion was denied, those tenants are not protected at all.
And I had a chance to talk to Christina Luberti recently and found out that her rent will rise from the low-$500 range when Nicor took over management of the Viva to the mid $800 range.
"It feels kind of punitive," she remarked.
She says that in her discussions with the Nicor-employed building manager the rent hike is to finance work on the facade and the common areas. She says she doesn't know what kind of work the building needs that's so expensive it would require such a substantial hike in tenants' rents.
I asked her what work had been done so far. She pointed to a piece of angle iron bolted to a post alongside the front steps -- the piece of angle iron in the picture above. Several of the buildings tenants are elderly, she says -- one being in her 80s -- and they've been asking for a railing out front for years. That angle iron is Nicor's solution. You'll note that it is only secured on one end and waves freely at the other. The ends were left cut sharp until Luberti wrapped them in electrician's tape so none of the neighbourhood kids would get injured on them.
The lesson to developers in the Viva should have been that the city's condo conversion policy had teeth -- if a conversion didn't meet city standards then it could get turned down. It could be argued that the example of the Viva is why so few conversions were brought to council in its immediate wake, and why developers have been so ready of late to accept a restriction included with the latest wave of conversion approvals that any building converted to condos must remain 75 percent rental.
But the example of the Viva also shows that in the absence of any provincial rent-control scheme or some kind of independent tenants' rights group, the developers really do hold all the cards in this game.
As reported earlier on Dog Blog, city council approved three more condo conversions on Hamilton Street.
Canoe.ca reports that a boost to the province's liquor taxes has made Alberta beer as much as $5 a case (of 12) more than other beer.
Why the tax hike in Conservative country? Because Stelmach's government wanted more revenue from booze. Well geez, maybe they shouldn't have privatized it then. In fact, as the article says:
"The government that helped push Alberta to the lonely peak of prices refuses to discuss the impact on customers -- people who once naively believed liquor store privatization would lead to cheaper suds.
Although in fairness the article also blames minimum wage hikes and the cost of aluminum for Alberta's high-priced pints so I'm not sure there's a coherant economic analysis here. The minimum wage comment just seems like a cheap shot. And everyone knows REAL Canadians don't drink beer from, shudder, cans.
Then again these are Albertans, not Canadians, we're talking about.
So who has the cheapest beer? Good old Manitoba. Hey--don't they have an NDP government there? I'm so disillusioned.
2 CTV SABOTAGED DION: BROADCAST STANDARDS The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council says the network was wrong to show unflattering parts of an interview with the former Liberal leader. (Toronto Star)
3 GM BANKRUPTCY PLAN DETAILS Shareholders could get more shares than under the deal they rejected. Phew! (New York Times)
4 CANADA PEDDLES NUCLEAR ASSETS Okay, I skimmed this quickly so maybe I missed it, but isn't the word "privatization" missing from this story? Is this a case of a shaky, soon-to-be-out-of-office government bringing in private companies just in time for them to snuffle up profits from two new reactors, and a pending deal with India? Your guess is as good (probably better) than mine. But I think we can all agree that a public-private partnership would be best for Canada's nuclear sector because that way government can eat the losses while industry snorts up the profits. What better way to make an already troubled technology worse? (Globe And Mail)
5 NORTH KOREA KEEPS FREAKING EVERYONE OUT U.S., South Korean troops are on high alert. Yikes. (Guardian)
6 SMOKING BAN STARTS FRIDAY We'll all have to quit smoking on the can at work. Tragic, truly tragic. (StarPhoenix)
The Edmonton Sun reports that the Canadian government has "quietly" unloaded heritage tableware from Rideau Hall. Which might or might not be important to you (or me). But what is anger-stoking is the fact that these valuable antiques were sold to anonymous bidders at prices far, far below their value.
The full story is here.
There's an excellent chance there'll be an election before the year is over. When that happens there's a very good chance the Conservatives will be turfed from government by the voters.
As my co-worker who forwarded this to me says, "someone literally needs to count the silver when they leave."
Apparently, that means nine councilors have now declared their intention to run so far. And to my shame I can only name Councillor Clipsham as another of them. Mayor Fiacco, as most probably also already know, has also begun his reelection campaign.
As the election draws nearer I hope to do profiles of all the candidates. Which is to say, you'll probably be getting way more municipal election coverage out of the p-dog than you can handle, frankly. Consider yourselves warned.
Well, judging by comments from Peter MacKay, (Leader Post) it would seem the Conservatives have been taking economic advice from my dear departed grandfather. Perhaps the PM has been getting messages from my grampy -- Mackenzie-King style -- through his cat.
Before a gathering of the "defense industry elite," MacKay was proudly declaring today that the recession will not slow military spending. In fact, according to the Post article, he claims, "the Canadian economy as a whole will be buoyed by the sustainable economic benefits that accrue through domestic and global opportunities in and beyond defence and security."
Personally, I find it ominous when a government links the word "sustainable" with anything to do with the military.
2 TALKING URANIUM Public consultations on the nuclear reactor that's being pushed on us kicked off in Saskatoon yesterday. (StarPhoenix)
3 ESSENTIAL LABOUR LAWS? DOO-DIDDLEY DANDY The blatant, naked attack on organized labour that is the Saskatchewan government's essential services legislation is working fine, says Saskatchewan's Labour minister. (StarPhoenix, even though it's Leader-Post writer Angela Hall's story. But I can't find the link on the L-P's site. Wacky!)
4 NORTH KOREA RATTLES SWORD, RANTS CRAZILY The world's squawkiest rogue state seems intent on launching a regional war. Jerks. (Guardian)
5 GO PENS Pittsburgh--the U.S. city that charmed the crap out of me when I visited it last year--has a hockey team in the Stanley Cup finals for the second year in a row. (TSN) Meanwhile the Phoenix Coyotes ownership clusterfuck muddles along. (CBC)
6 TAX TIME! The City has mailed your property tax bill. Remember, you're not being gouged, you're paying for civilization and a stable city. Yes, that's expensive--but the alternative sucks. (Leader-Post)
(UPDATE: Actual research has determined that 6,322,732 Californians voted in a way that is consistent with being a homophobic coward and snivelling bigot, while 5,796,637 voted for tolerance and, by extension, sunshine, rainbows, love and goodness. Also, the state has over 38 million residents and, um, actually, had a record-breaking near-80 per cent voter turn-out in November 2008. Not 40 per cent. Cough.)
So anyway, this sucks if you're gay and Californian. Or if you don't think the masses should get a vote on the very personal choice of who is allowed to marry whom.
Full story in the LA Times, here.
Divorce and adultery remain legal, of course, so the married "family values" bigots pushing this discrimination are free to bang their congregations/secretaries/interns. And hey, since we're all angry anyway, here's a link to a news story on one random hypocrite homophobe's messy personal life. (The Stranger) I'm going to go out on a limb here and say a lot of the most agitated opponents to same-sex marriage have serious personal issues that they're dealing with by parading their prejudices around in public. Psychiatry, people! It can help!
Meanwhile, gay marriage is legal in Saskatchewan. And, since 2005, in all of Canada. No thanks to the well-documented opposition of one odious political /minority government (New York Times). So if you're gay and in California, move here! Our booming economy needs workers and we even provide free universal health care to Canadian citizens (and we love recovering Americans!). As for winter, well, uh, maybe it's better you not ask about that.
2. Mr. T. At Wrigley Field. Singing. Hide the children. (Total Pro Sports)
3. Access Communications explains why CTV's Save Local TV campaign is full of it. (CJME)
4. The Regina Chamber of Commerce is pressuring for a nuclear reactor the same way a spoiled brat is screaming for a pony for Christmas (CJME). In lieu of a big long post about how the Regina Chamber of Commerce is made up of people with no business sense at all, I introduce you to our latest Type-O-Wiener winner's blog (SaskBoy).
5. About a week ago, the U.S. government made a big splash about arresting guys who were going to launch terrorism acts against Jews in the New York area. Turns out that not only the whole plot was bunk, but the main informant made his statements so the FBI could pay for his health insurance. (NY Daily News via Crooks and Liars)
6. Iggy doesn't like the EI program that the Liberals created, and Stephen Harper thinks people who lose their jobs are whiny sucky-babies. Prepare for another Thanksgiving election. (Globe and Mail)
2 NOM NOM NOM The Governor General cuts out and eats a raw seal heart. How can you have the guts to eat a raw seal heart but not have the stomach to allow our democratically elected parliament choose its prime minister according to the wishes of the majority of its members (see: last fall's coalition debacle)? (Toronto Star)
3 BIG DAY FOR GAY MARRIAGE Speaking of democracy, the legality of California's Proposition 8--the democratically-passed constitutional amendment barring gay marriage in the state--will be ruled on by the California Supreme Court today. (LA Times)
4 I CAN HAZ ELECTION? Count Iggyula says he can "foresee" one in the "near future". Perhaps he's using his vampire powers? Seriously, dude looks like Dracula. (Globe And Mail)
5 MIND THOSE MISSILES North Korea is sure doing its best to freak everybody out/piss everybody off. (The Guardian)
6 NOW THAT'S LOYALTY Little slow on this one, so apologies. Last Friday Regina MLA Sandra Morin endorsed NDP leadership candidate Dwain Lingenfelter--after the Waterhengate scandal tainted his campaign (but he was cleared! wail supporters). (Leader-Post)
Crime Prevention Advisory Committee (12:15 pm)
City Council (5:30 pm): After a long absence from council meeting lineups, the condo conversion is back in full force. Three are being considered this evening: 2151, 2153 and 2163 Hamilton Street.
Things are getting even more convoluted of late. The city is working with developers to impose a requirement that 75% of units in newly condo'ized buildings remain rental suites. The city even has proposed legal agreements with the developer of the Hamilton buildings that'll impose a reporting requirement on them (in which they have to prove they're abiding by the agreement) and penalties if the number of rental suites drops. This has all been done in light the city's 0.5% vacancy rate. Lawyers for the developer are balking at the 75% requirement now that CMHC has released numbers stating the current vacancy has risen to a whopping 1.2% and is expected to escalate to an unimaginably lofty 2% sometime next year. The lawyers will argue tonight that because the rental market has returned to pre-2008 levels (that hearkens way back to last year) they shouldn't be treated differently than developers from back in those days.
That city council probably shouldn't have been approving all those condo conversions back in 2008 when the vacancy rate was 1.5% seems to be immaterial to these lawyers. (City policy says they shouldn't approve conversions if the rate is under 3%.)
Also on the agenda, a review of the RPL's audited financial statements; external financing recommendations for the general capital program and for water and sewer utilities; and recommendations around the 2009 general and utility capital debenture bylaw.
In short, council should be an interesting affair tonight and I can't make it, dammit! So if anyone reading this does go to council tonight, feel free to post your thoughts in the comment section for this post. I'd be curious to hear what goes down.
Tuesday, May 26
Development Appeals Board Hearing (5:30 pm)
As always, you can download full meeting agendas and reports on the city's website.
This Japanese show was about a one-eyed space bandit who stands around on the bridge of his cool-looking (and part wood!) star-battleship, and broods. And broods more. Unlike western entertainment, the Japanese understand the power of stillness. And brooding. Lots of brooding.
So I asked my friend Sylvain about it (he'd know! He's French!) and he told me this cartoon is Space Pirate Captain Harlock, and it's a classic. The Wikipedia entry is here.
Happily the introduction to the French-dubbed show--the same version 12 year-old Steve would've seen--is on YouTube. Instead of Space Pirate Captain Harlock, it's called Albator, probably because it makes a catchier theme song. (Actually Wiki says it was to avoid confusion with beloved Tintin character captain Haddock but I'm skeptical.)
Here it is, happy Saturday morning!
I'll make up for it with weekend posts, I promise*.
As you were!
Cover by Dakota McFadzean
The May 21 prairie dog is being distributed throughout our fair town as I'm typing this. I think it's a pretty swell issue and I think you should pick it up. Here's an overview of the articles that actually are worth your precious time.
THE BEST LIBRARY IN THE WORLD the Regina Public Library's plan to renew/rebuild/rework the Central branch is underway, but details aren't settled yet, so it seemed like a great time for prairie dog's writers to rant about what they'd like to see in a reinvigorated downtown branch. To toot our own horn, I think we've gota pretty darn good little starting point for this public discussion, here. A must-read for fans of public projects and for anyone who thinks we should dream bigger dreams.
THE NDP'S NUCLEAR SCHISM No surprise here but the provincial NDP has a tricy path to walk on the little matter of nuclear reactors. Going into the leadership convention, candidates range from robustly anti-uranium to "well, let's study it and base decisions on facts" coyness. Stephen LaRose penned this feature on a topic that's one of the big fault lines in the party.
DELAY OF PLAN The downtown plan has been delayed so that "stakeholders" can go over it with a fine-toothed comb. Maybe this is all right. Or maybe, just maybe, this is a nefarious maneuver to weaken the document. Paul Dechene is suspicious, though not yet alarmed.
ALSO: Conway on how scumball politicians have poisoned democracy, Dyer on the disaster that is the West's Afghanistan policy, Suzuki on endangered species non-laws, Beatty on the Dunlop's current show and Castillo on Angels and Demons because he couldn't get into an early showuing of the new Terminator flick. Plus News Quirks, Street Wear, Queen City Confidential, Typo Wiener, CD reviews, Margoshes on a golf course restaurant, News Briefs, 14 days of event listings and more. Pick it up! Oh--and send your comments to email@example.com. Our letters page has been a little light lately. So sad!
In the early 20th century, the government built a fence running the length of the country in a failed attempt to contain the horrible hares. Didn't work, but nice try. This link will take you to a photo of Australia's famous Rabbit Proof Fence.
2. The L-P and the S-P are committing environmental crimes by killing trees to produce their nuclear industry analysis stories. (L-P) The most informative of this series -- wich isn't saying much -- was printd today. Nobody apart from the U.S. Navy has ever built nuclear reactors on time, on budget and safely. But to anybody in the nuclear industry -- and in the anti-nuclear movemet, that's not news. What is the atmosphere like in Asperland, anyway? (L-P)
3. Something that's guaranteed to go over budget and to leave the Saskatchewan tapxpayers owing billions of dollars. And they want it NOWNOWNOW. Doesn't anyone at the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce know how to run a business? (L-P)
4. About a decade ago, when the CBC ran a story about a family being harrased by residents of Govan, rual radio and newspapers wll filled with callers, letter writers, commentators an editirals about This Attack On Who We Are. Well, Gormley did the same thing this week. Oh yeah, it's all the left-wing media's fault. (CJME)
5. Speaking of which, here's a video of Rawlco radio's last staff party. (TorStar)
6. Tom Burgess and Norm Fong ... well, I suppose someone could have made a case. But Dan Farthing? Dunno. I think that if Farthing had come from Ottawa or Waterloo instead of Saskatoon, his Rider career would have been a lot briefer and less notable. All told, this is a weak group getting inducted into the Rider Plaza of Honor this September. (L-P)
Wednesday, May 20
Executive Committee (11:45 am... you'll have to run if you want to catch it): Seems to be just reports to consider and file this week. They'll be looking at a report about the Northeast Sector serviceability and roadway network, one about external financing for the Global Transportation Hub, and the annual report from the Urban Environment Advisory Committee.
Community and Protective Services Committee (4 pm)
Thursday May 21
Regina Arts Commission (7 pm): Will be considering recommendations for civic arts funding in 2009.
As always, you can download complete agendas and reports on the city's website.
This would be the same nuclear facility the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission wanted to keep closed for more maintenance back in 2007 out of concerns that the reactor might not be safe.
Former CNSC president, Linda Keen, told parliament that the odds that the reactor could fail were one in a thousand. That's one one-thousandth the international standard of one chance in a million. And that means you're 15 times more likely to see a reactor failure in Chalk River than you are to win the Regina Public Library home lottery.
Probabilities can be scary that way.
That Linda Keen, by the way, is the same CNSC president Stephen Harper had fired for being "a Liberal appointee" who wanted to keep the facility shut down for some inscrutable political purpose. Apparently, it didn't occur to him that Keen could simply be a cautious public servant trained in science who was employing science to scientifically assess the risk of a public facility going boom.
Or maybe it did. We all know what our PM thinks about science. Either way, he passed an emergency bill through parliament and had the reactor fired back up.
And here we are, two years later and it looks like maybe that Keen lady was on to something after all.
Of course, what's the big deal about a little spilt heavy water, right? The leak's been caught and is being fixed so clearly they're on top of things down there in Chalk River. Well, maybe, except it turns out the leak was only spotted after the reactor automatically shut down due to a power failure.
So when they speak of finding the heavy water leak, they might want to consider employing the adverb "inadvertently".
And, just to ladle a little local coincidence onto this, the Chalk River shutdown happened on the very same day the Leader Post launched their puffy, feel-good nuclear lovefest series. "Are nuclear reactors really safe?" wonders the headline of their first installment. It's a good question.
2. The most credible American speaker on the issue of torture is a former World Wrestling Entertainment superstar. (Crooks and Liars, Huffington Post)
3. CKCK Regina is to have an open house this afternoon on its 'Save Local Television" campaign to have its owners, Toronto-based Globemedia, soak cable customers for an extra $15 a month for another revenue stream. Meanwhile, that 'local' television station is buying more shows ... in Los Angeles ... the same shows that will be seen on CBS, NBC, and ABC (Globe and Mail). Remember the success of Corner Gas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueler?
4. Remember how the last time Chalk River crapped out it was all the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's fault? Well, the same thing happened again. Whose fault is it now? (CBC via Scott's Diatribes)
5. Why the Saskatchewan NDP needs a brain transplant ... 1,100 forged signatures? Oh that's not fraud ... (CJME)
6. The single most disturbing thing you will ever see today ... Craig Ferguson does Britney Spears. (HuffPo)
(Thank You Shutdown Corner)
1.) HAMILTON JETS? Bankruptcy hearing for a crummy NHL team is today (TSN). Meanwhile, CBC has a huge feature on the Balsillie power play their website. Meanwhile, the AHL's Manitoba Moose are one win from the Calder Cup finals. UPDATE: Meanwhile, editors type "meanwhile" a lot when they're rushing.
2.) PRE-PEOPLE Much hullablaoo over a fossilized primate believed to bridge the evolutionary gap between human and lemur. (Guardian)
3.) CONRAD BLACK'S LUCKY BREAK Fraudster newsman gets to take his sob story to court, again. (Toronto Star)
4.) NO SEX PLEASE, WE'RE CHINESE Communist officials order giant boners bulldozed. (Globe And Mail)
5.) FOLLOWING CALI'S LEAD Obama to introduce new auto emmissions standards. Get on the damn bandwagon, Canada. (New York Times)
6.) NUCLEAR REACTORS ARE LIKE TOTALLY SWELL, AND STUFF! The Star Phoenix and Leader-Post address the topic in the first unbelievably shitty instalment of a five part series. (Leader-Post)
Obama was giving the commencement address at Indiana's Notre Dame university--a Catholic college, and therefore (in theory at least) anti-choice on the issue of abortion. Several graduates reportedly decorated their morterboards with crosses and baby feet in protest of Obama's presence. (I'm going to have to find a photo of that because that sounds damn creepy. Maybe the Guardian's writer meant "crosses and baby footprints"?)
With his characteristic eloquence, Obama called for understanding on both sides of the debate.
Sounds good to me. So here, in the spirit of understanding and reaching out to people who don't agree with my pro-choice views (and actually want to change laws to take freedoms away from everyone who doesn't agree with them, but I digress), here are 10 ways anti-abortion activists can actually help fetuses without being a bunch of facists who just want everyone to do what they say all the time.
1) If you're opposed to abortion, don't have one.
2) Fight for strong sex education programs in schools. Sex education = less pregnancification.
3) Provide information about sexual alternatives for youth: activities like heavy petting, oral sex and mutal masturbation can have carry zero risk of pregnancy if properly done.
4) Push for inexpensive or better, free, birth control.
5) Demand politicians increase financial support for low-income housholds. No one should be pressured toward abortion because they can't afford a baby.
6) Free universal day care. See above.
7) Support a fair, progressive tax system that puts the cost of society on those who can afford it, rather than on middle or low-income housholds. Reducing financial stresses on ordinary households mitigates a risk factor associated with unplanned pregnancy. Agitate against the flat tax movement, which is a thinly-veiled attempt to reduce the taxes of society's wealthiest members at the expense of the rest of us.
8) Vote for politicians who support strong public services like education, health care and other social programs--all factors in reducing unplanned pregnancy (compare: Europe vs. the U.S.).
9) Develop a reality-based understanding of human sexuality. Many experts agree that reality is a healthy place to live in.
10) Support gay marriage and gay rights. No one should ever get pregnant because they're trying to prove they're not gay when they in fact are.
FOOTNOTE: The Guardian's story mentions a recent U.S. poll that found most Americans are opposed to abortion. Well, maybe they are and maybe they aren't. Here's a different interpretation of that poll, from syndicated sex columnist/gay rights advocate Dan Savage, who's the "Editorial Director" of The Stranger, a free weekly in Seattle.
I guess Iraq really was a Christian crusade by a psychotic theocrat. Yet more evidence that religion needs to stay the hell out of government. It gets people killed.
Screw Phoenix. Move the team to Canada. And move Nashville too, while you're at it. I like the Preds--with no resources they're consistently one of the best-run teams in the league. But seriously, screw Nashville.
And, just because I'm all worked up and I freaking hate that Phoenix has an NHL team, here's a (Finnish) flash from the past...
UPDATE: Well, NHL commish Gary Bettman sure knows how to take the vinegar out of critics. He's apparently saying that if the team moves, it should go back to Winnipeg. Does he mean it? Who knows. But it's a good way to undermine support for Balsillie here in Canada. (CBC)
UPDATE: In this Q & A, the Telegraph says 80 thousand people are believed to have died in Sri Lanka's civil war. And over here at the BBC the estimate is "well in excess of 70,00 [sic] people", but I think they mean 70,000.
2 HOORAY FOR THE NORTH AND FOR TOM TOO Well here's some good news--the CBC will keep its LaRonge bureau open, after all. And it sounds like Tom Roberts, who, if you didn't know, is awesome, won't be taking an early retirement. Phew! Now if we can just get a massive injection of cash into our beseiged public broadcaster, maybe our country can move forward on this file. (CBC)
3 SMELLS FISHY TO ME The AWOL Saskatoon cancer doctor beloved by his patients has officially resigned. In a Saturday story, the StarPhoenix interviewed the chair of a stem cell advocacy group, who was apparently "fighting back tears" over the resignation. What the hell? Is the program under political attack because it uses stem cells? Was this doctor a closet serial killer? What goes on here?
4 IT'S NOT THE MONEY, IT'S THE MESSAGE Yesterday the Leader-Post reported that the tab for fired civil service employees has hit $11 million. But really people, this isn't about the money, the "cost to taxpayers". When you let people go without cause you have to pony-up the cash. Simple as that. No, if there's a problem here it's that qualified, non-political public servants have been getting canned in droves. That's just not good. Government needs non-partisan civil servants to provide a little thing called "facts" to politicians who often (usually) aren't experts in the areas they're legislating on (which is okay, by the way--I don't expect my politicians to know everything about everything). When you get rid of, or intimidate into silence, informed independent opinions, you move away from reality and into ideology. Are the Sask. Party's firings going beyond the merely political and into the reckless? That is the real question. The money is a distraction.
5 REAL-LIFE TERMINATORS The New York Times has an editorial condemming American use of unarmed combat drones. It's worth a read, so go read it. What? Lazy? You don't wanna? Fine, be that way. But here's the article's eye-popping factoid: it's reported that drones have killed 14 terrorist leaders. And 700 civilians. Yikes. (New York Times)
6 "OH BABY [THUMP] OH BABY [THUMP]" Here's one for Dog Blog's libertarian readers: a British woman has been arrested for having loud sex. There's to be no moaning in the New World order! The article's in the Toronto Star--yay Canadian content!
I guess I'm not surprised. Recently discovered Neanderthal fossil remains suggest the species--which vanished 30 thousand years ago--might have been eaten to extinction. By the ancestors of modern humans. Hooray for us, we won. Go team homo sapien. Yay.
You can read the full story here, in the Guardian.
(Photo is from Quest for Fire, 1981)
Fun little cartoon, really popular a few years back. It's all girl-powery and shit, and the villains (especially the creepy lobster-clawed devil drag queen) are neato.
If you want to see something really weird and awesome, google-up the PPG series finale, "See Me Feel Me Gnomey", which was apparently never shown in the States because Americans are a buncha weenies afraid of bizarre yet fascinating animated rock opera.
Or alternately I guess I could just give you a link...
So today's Guardian has a story about a made-in-France, production-ready car that's powered by compressed air. It's perfect for city driving. It's inexpensive. Air France KLM and Indian car maker Tatu are investing. Read it all here. Wow.
1.) Why was this developed in Europe and not North America? (Answer: because we suck.)
2.) Does our oil-loving prime minister realize that the age of fossil fuel is coming to an end? What's he doing to prepare Canada for this changing world economy? (Answers: nope and nothing)
3.) Are Saskatchewan politicians aware that apparently saner nations want to get over their destructive addiction to oil and they're moving in that direction regardless of the impact on Saskatchewan's petroleum-powered economy? Are we ready for this resource export-weak future? (Answers: dunno but probably not, and no, we're totally screwed.)
Well, good for France, Europe and India. As for Canada, to invoke teh Internet parlance:
2. ENVIRONMENTALISTS CHEER BC LIBERAL WIN: Last night, Carbon Tax Campbell won his third mandate. (DeSmog Blog)
3. TORY ATTACK ADS ATTACK ATTACK ADS: The Tories' first wave of anti-Ignatieff ads have been launched on YouTube. They take aim at Iggy's years out of the country and his party's deployment of internet-based, anti-Tory ads. (Globe and Mail)
4. WASN'T EXPECTING THAT: Pope goes to Bethlehem and calls for a Palestinian homeland. (Guardian)
5. PALIN WRITES: In an effort to keep Tina Fey's impersonation relevant, erstwhile VP candidate, Sarah Palin, is planning to put her "journalism degree" to good use and publish her memoirs. (Guardian)
6. DOWNTOWN PLAN POSTPONED, P-DOG WRITER HAS FREE WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Occasional Prairie Dog writer, Paul Dechene, complained about the city's decision to postpone its Downtown Plan discussion to a later date. (As previously reported on the DogBlog.)
"Planning Commission was going to spend their monthly meeting on this thing," said Dechene. "It's huge. Over 200 pages. I'd booked off my entire Wednesday night."
"I can't say I was 'looking forward' to another night of endless planning deliberations. But I'd resigned myself to it, you know?" continued Dechene. "But now... I've got nothing to do. Want to see a movie?"
When asked what this "Downtown Plan" is all about, Dechene said, "The Prairie Dog's been covering it for a year and half now, but they don't have a website so you're SOL on that front. Couture at the Leader Post has a pretty good summary on their site today. Try that. Because good luck finding the effing thing on the city's website. The Plan's been out for six days now and it hasn't made their front page. They've got it buried under housing or some [expletive]." (Leader Post, City of Regina)
Headmistress Cheripop Purr* of the Saskatoon-based Rosebud Burlesque Academy is coming to Regina on June 13, to teach an intensive burlesque workshop. If you've ever wanted to give the art of classy, retro striptease a try, you should totally sign up. Headmistress Purr is an amazing teacher; even if you've never thought of yourself as a "dancer" she'll make you feel confident and you'll have a blast.
You can register online for the workshop at www.ascherarose.com (Home of local belly dancing classes) and check out the Rosebud Academy's other shows and classes at their homepage.
* Otherwise known as the awesome choreographer and dance teacher Jackie Latendresse.
(tap, tap, tap, tap...)
Breakfast is probably out because freelance writers don't like leaving their homes in the middle of winter (why was it snowing this morning?). And I guess this procrastinating editor will just have to be patient and take that 6ITM post when it's ready.
So in the meantime I'll just be sitting here reading this horrible, horrible column by Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald on the Obama (not Bush!) administration's suppression of evidence of the extreme torture inflicted on former Guantanamo prisoner Binyam Mohammed. Yeah, just when you think it's bad some jerk working in the news media has to go and type the phrase "genital slicing".
Awesome news. Turns out there is a chance armageddon won't be environment or war related. Researchers from the University of Texas have discovered a tiny phorid fly that may be about as bad, pending some massive genetic mutations. The files "dive-bomb" the fire ants and place their eggs inside the unsuspecting bugs. The maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away the ant's brain, and the ant starts exhibiting zombie-like behavior. Eventually their heads fall off, and die. It's just a matter of time for the movie, "Attack of the Zombie-Ants" with Richard Grieco, Erika Eleniak and Gary Busey.
Here's a recap of what happened, in the likely event no one reading this watched or cares about Miss USA.
Close to the end of the competition, Prejean was asked by a judge whether all American states should legalize gay marriage. After saying (incorrectly) that Americans could choose same sex or opposite sex marriage (they actually can't in most states but I digress), she said:
"And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised."
Here's a YooToob clip:
Prejean didn't become Miss America that night (she was first runner-up). She later said her anti- gay marriage remark cost her the crown. Well, ya think?
More entertaining however was the in-retrospect-not-surprising photos that "emerged" of Prejean modelling topless. Those pics, the release of which a reasonable person would assume were payback for Prejean's, one might say, bigoted and idiotic views, launched a controversy around whether she would hang onto the Miss California crown.
(Of course it's stupid that to a lot of people tasteful and tame semi-nude pics of a model are controversial while a model's bigotry and ignorance toward gays and lesbians aren't, but this is happening in America. We can't expect things to make sense.)
Here's the LA Times story on Prejean's pageant loss and the subsequent scandals over the photos.
Annnnnnnyway, after dangling in the wind for a few weeks, Prejean has learned she'll be keeping her crown as Miss Kali. And I guess she's just so excited she had to spread the word. So Prejean, and her now-unbared boobies, scampered over to James Dobson, head honcho of the conservative Christian organization Focus On The Family (FOTF) to talk about her experience.
Naturally, the right-wing radio host is championing Prejean as some kind of she-bin-dun-wrong victim of free speech suppression (it's always Christians who are being oppressed; the oppression where gay people are told they can't marry doesn't count) .
But what's interesting about the Dobson interview, which you can listen to here, is the creepy bit about how Prejean thought Satan was speaking to her through the pageant judge who asked her the gay marriage question.
A quote, transcribed by Dan Gilgoff on his US News And World Report blog, God And Country: "I felt as though Satan was trying to tempt me in asking me this question. And then God was in my head and in my heart saying, "Do not compromise this."
Full article here.
The bottom line: Prejean might not be a bigot, after all. She thinks she recieved spiritual transmissions during a beauty pageant? I'm going to go out on a limb and say maybe she's just psychotic.
Christianity. Sometimes it's tough to be a fan.
UPDATE: Miss USA judge Perez Hilton, who asked Prejean the question, says God told him to (LA Times).
UPDATE 2: The Miss California organization apparently bought Carrie Prejean breast implants before the Miss USA contest. Why do I get the feeling that absolutely everybody associated with these pageants is going to go to hell when they die? (LA Times)