It's 1987 all over again

Mayor Pat Fiacco, on the surface, picked a real bad place to trash Brad Wall's government, but if I were Mayor Mullet, I would do the same thing (CJME). For the past two years, the Sask. Party government has conducted its financial affairs like a spoiled brat trust fund kid who has now run out of money, and much like what happened from 1987 to 2005, the senior levels of government will starve the lower levels for funds to balance their books.

Six in the Morning

1. IT'S REALLY COLD: The Globe and Mail says snow is hammering the east of Canada while a deep freeze has hit the west. Temperatures here, they say, are nearing minus 30°C. I have news for you, Globe and Mail, nearing minus 30°C nothing. The pipes in my back bathroom have frozen up. It's bloody colder than that. Minus 33°C last I checked the thermometer out my kitchen window. If I had anything scheduled to do outside the house today it isn't happening. (Globe and Mail)

2. DOC UNDER FIRE FOR ABUSING WELFARE REQUESTS: A Toronto doctor involved with the anti-poverty movement is accused of signing paperwork so that patients can get extra welfare money for food for medical problems they may or may not have. The doctor, Roland Wong, admits he's bending the rules but not breaking them. Some quotes from the good doctor:
"The first question always asked is, are these people scamming the system? I would say 'no.' When [former premier Mike] Harris came in, they reduced all benefits by 25 per cent ... rather than dismissing them as scammers, help them if you can."

"Poverty is pervasive, and we know that poverty is the major determinant of health. Given that, can we just let it go on?"

"You realize this whole thing is brought against me by politicians - not patients.

You know what, I don't care if he is scamming the system. Scam away. This guy's my hero for 2009. (Globe and Mail)

3. RENTERS EVICTED IN WINTER: Saying they want to send a clear signal to landlords, the Fire Commissioner evicted the tenants of a Halifax Street apartment building. The building was apparently not up to fire safety codes -- not by a long shot -- and for everybody's safety, the tenants had to get out. Now the tenants are being put up in a motel by Social Services and are being forced to find new places to live in the midst of a brutal cold snap while Regina's vacancy rate is still punishingly low. Way to stick it to the... erm... landlords there. (Leader Post)

4. BRITS TAX BANK BONUSES: In a pre-budget document the UK government is rolling out a one-off "super tax" of fifty per cent on bonuses over 25,000 pounds. (Globe and Mail)

5. WHAT? FIVE POINTS IN AND NO CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE NEWS: Still too fucking angry to type about anything climate-change related. According to Murray Dobbin, Harper was caught out earlier this year pledging to derail any climate deal but it hasn't been reported in the media anywhere (but by Murray Dobbin, of course). Climate deniers are holding a counter summit and continuing to flog the email scandal horse. And as far as George Monbiot is concerned, all these denier's efforts to dupe the public about climate change are working. On a slightly happier note, at least the White House realizes the whole email scandal is silly. (DeSmogBlog and Guardian)

6. GATORADE DROPS TIGER WOODS DRINK: Okaaay, I'm sure the talk show hosts are all over this one. "Are you kidding me? I want me some of what Tiger's been drinking." My question: has anyone made the crack that they should rename the drink Wood's Wood? Because if they had... it wouldn't be very funny. But it's one of those things that, you know, popped into my head and I couldn't get it out. Until now. Sorry to inflict that on you. Won't happen again. (Globe and Mail)

UPDATE: In case you were worried, the temp's gone up a smidge and my pipes have thawed. I'm still not going the hell outside.

Anti-Abortion Religious Fascists Piss Me Off

So my sadistic, Whitworth-poking publisher handed me a press release from LifeCanada. The release was about a survey LifeCanada commissioned on Canadians' attitudes toward abortion.

According to LifeCanada, Canadians don't much like abortion. Surprise!

The headline reads "Poll: Canadians Favour Abortion Limits", and the press release opens thusly: "For the ninth year in a row a majority of Canadians have rejected the status quo on abortion. Over half say there should be legal protection for human life before birth and over two-thirds say abortions should only be paid for by taxpayers in medical emergencies or in cases of rape or incest."

Now, I'd be curious to hear what percentage of Canadians agree with LifeCanada's mission statement: "To promote the sanctity of all human life from fertilization to natural death through public education. To advocate for the preborn, the disabled, the infirm and the elderly who are all uniquely created by God."

The Toronto Star has a column on LifeCanada here.

You might think LifeCanada is a kooky extreme Christian group with little to no real power, but I say the thinking they represent is dangerous and becoming more popular. More and more Canadians--especially in Saskatchewan--are electing politicians to the governing Conservative party who share LifeCanada's desire to impose their pushy, old-fashioned religious garbage on the rest of us through laws and/or the sneaky and underhanded de-funding of services. For example, just within the last month, Conservative Saskatoon-Dumbolt MP Brad Trost helped organize a petition to defund Planned Parenthood International and Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott (Ass-katoon-Wanuskewin) praised the inadequate abortion services in his city.

This holy-rollers can't separate their extreme religious beliefs from their public jobs serving ALL Canadians, and have no business being in politics--but Canadians keep electing them.

This American-style right-wing garbage is moving from the fringes to the mainstream. It has to stop.

We're living in degenerating times. From tax-cut anarchists getting away with saying whatever stupid crap they want in public without being laughed off their podiums, to wanton enviroment destruction, to health care privatization to freedom of (AND FROM) religion, Canada is descending into ignorant and mean-spirited politics.

Yeah, we're all going to have to get a little more political to fight these shenanigans.

Things we can all do: donate to our favourite, non-Conservative political party and/or publicly active, non-profit advocacy group (Council Of Canadians, David Suzuki Foundation, Planned Parenthood, habitat for Humanity, etc.).

E-mail letters to newspapers magazines and other media. (Make your letters relevent to something they've published/broadcast recently, stick to the word limits and don't ramble: keep to one topic.)

Make it known to loudmouths and idiots around you that you have zero patience for the idea that their goofy personal religious views should be enshrined in law. When some jackass starts talking about saving babies or how immigration is ruining the country, don't just sit there and take it. Tell them they're a jerk and demand they shape up. We've got to get peer pressure working for us.

There's your Wednesday pep talk, fellow heroes. Now get to work. You and me, we've got to save this country from the hobgoblins who want to take hard-won rights away and drag us back to the 17th century.

And by the power of Greyskull, we're going to have fun doing it.


Pick of the Day: Combat Improv

For some time now, Regina has boasted a pretty active improv scene. The trailblazers, of course, were the General Fools (pictured). Starting out with shows in the mid-'90s at the Royal Sask Museum, and continuing on with short and long-form improv performances at the Exchange and the Globe that owed more to theatre than sketch comedy, they inspired dozens of young Reginans to take up the art themselves.

While the Fools reunite from time to time, most of them have moved on to other gigs -- some as actors, others as teachers, librarians and whatnot. The improv scene's still got some zip to it though. I think they're taking a break over the holidays, but a group called Mix Improv has been doing regular Thursday night shows at Aegean Coffee & Tea on Hamilton & 12th. And for several years now, Combat Improv has been doing monthly shows at the Exchange. There's one there tonight, in fact. So if you're in the mood for some improv, check it out.

I couldn't find any video of Combat Improv to post. So here's a short featuring Tatiana Maslany of the General Fools which was filmed in Toronto a few years ago as part of showcase of young Canadian improv talent. (YouTube)