Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why Conservatives Can't Govern

"But like all politicians, conservatives, once in office, find themselves under constant pressure from constituents to use government to improve their lives. This puts conservatives in the awkward position of managing government agencies whose missions--indeed, whose very existence--they believe to be illegitimate. Contemporary conservatism is a walking contradiction. Unable to shrink government but unwilling to improve it, conservatives attempt to split the difference, expanding government for political gain, but always in ways that validate their disregard for the very thing they are expanding. The end result is not just bigger government, but more incompetent government."
Meth plague? Never mind!

"Meth is among the least commonly used drugs.

Rates of methamphetamine use have remained stable since 1999.

Rates of methamphetamine use by high school students have declined since 1999.

Methamphetamine use remains a rare occurrence in most of the United States, but exhibits higher rates of use in selected areas.

Drug treatment has demonstrated to be effective in combating methamphetamine addiction.

Misleading media reports of a methamphetamine "epidemic" have hindered the development of a rational policy response to the problem."

The Harper government (with eager media & law-enforcement help)used the meth panic in the last election as one of the cornerstones of its "law and order" platform of mandatory minimum sentences and prison construction.

Anodyne's link to the Donald Fagen song of the same name yesterday sent me uneasonally back to John Greenleaf Whittier's splendid Snow-Bound (which I try and remember to read whenever actually snowbound, a rare occurence) which adopts its stop/start octosyllabics...Whittier's bicentennial is next year, must ask Ben F. if there's a conference planned...

"Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag, wavering to and fro,
Crossed and recrossed the winged snow:
And ere the early bedtime came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts.
The old familiar sights of ours
Took marvellous shapes; strange domes and towers
Rose up where sty or corn-crib stood,
Or garden-wall, or belt of wood;
A smooth white mound the brush-pile showed,
A fenceless drift what once was road;
The bridle-post an old man sat
With loose-flung coat and high cocked hat;
The well-curb had a Chinese roof;
And even the long sweep, high aloof,
In its slant spendor, seemed to tell
Of Pisa's leaning miracle..."

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Charlie visits our nation's capital! Posted by Picasa

Terror Plot: Canada Stays Cool

"How serious was this threat? It seems clear that CSIS could have put a stop to it at any point since 2004 when they first discovered it, something they claim to have done with a dozen similar plots just by letting the terrorist wannabes know that they were on to them. Why didn't they? If the purpose of intelligence gathering was to stop the plots, why let this one go on for so long when a single meeting with the leading figures would have shut it down? Is it possible that this conspiracy was allowed to develop in order to "wake Canadians up" as the militarists and pro-Iraq-war pundits keep suggesting is necessary?

Certainly the high drama around the arrests and the court appearances seemed far beyond what was required and created an atmosphere of perceived danger unwarranted by the nature of those arrested and the evidence against them. It had all the atmosphere of a military operation, not a police action. Did the RCMP think that another band of unemployed teenagers was going to mount a rescue attempt? Many civil rights experts and lawyers questioned the actions and worried that they would undermine the possibility of a fair trial."
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Alice Munro's Vancouver

"A narrow six- or seven-story hotel, once a fashionable place of residence, in the West End of Vancouver. Curtains of yellowed lace, high ceilings, perhaps an iron grill over part of the window, a fake balcony. Nothing actually dirty or disreputable, just an atmosphere of long accommodation of private woes and sins."

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006


"Angry young men are the tinderbox and Islamism is the match. The country will probably have better luck than most at “putting out the fire”, she adds. But who, I wonder, is really lighting the match? For a very unpleasant — albeit initially innocuous — phrase has now found its way into the papers. The accused 17 — and, indeed their families and sometimes the country’s entire Muslim community — are now referred to as “Canadian-born”. Well, yes, they are Canadian-born. But there’s a subtle difference between this and being described as a “Canadian” — as other citizens of this vast country are in every other context. And the implications are obvious; there are now two types of Canadian citizen: The Canadian-born variety (Muslims) and Canadians (the rest).

If this seems finicky, try the following sentence from the Globe and Mail’s front page on Tuesday, supposedly an eyewitness account of the police arrest operation: “Parked directly outside his ... office was a large, gray, cube-shaped truck and, on the ground nearby, he recognized one of the two brown-skinned young men who had taken possession of the next door rented unit...” Come again? Brown-skinned? What in God’s name is this outrageous piece of racism doing on the front page of a major Canadian daily? What is “brown-skinned” supposed to mean — if it is not just a revolting attempt to isolate Muslims as the “other” in Canada’s highly multicultural society? I notice, for example, that when the paper obsequiously refers to Toronto’s police chief and his reportedly brilliant cops, he is not referred to as “white-skinned” (which he most assuredly is). Amid this swamp, Canada’s journalists are managing to soften the realities of their country’s new military involvement in Afghanistan.

More than 2,000 troops are deployed around Kandahar in active military operations against Taleban insurgents. They are taking the place of US troops, who will be transferred to fight even more Muslims insurgents in Iraq.

Canada is thus now involved in the Afghan war — those who doubt this should note the country has already shelled out $1.8bn in “defense spending” in Afghanistan and only $500m in “additional expenditures”, including humanitarian assistance and democratic renewal (sic) — and, by extension, in Iraq. In other words, Canada has gone to war in the Middle East."

Terror in Toronto or Tempest in a Teapot?

"It may not be much of a legal charge, but it's great stuff for the press, and we've had the words cell, al Quaeda, and terrorism repeated countless times. There is not the least justification yet for any of these words.

We must keep in mind that a group of unhappy young men can easily be manipulated by a clever intelligence agent or policeman. Seduction and psychological manipulation are at the very heart of producing what is called human intelligence. There is often a rather fine line between young conspirators being observed by undercover agents and foolish young men being manipulated into incriminating themselves."

(via ::: wood s lot ::: )

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Monday, June 12, 2006

fine new Tyee Books section...
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via CB Ginger Cat Trees Bear

"Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

After about 15 minutes, the bear descended and tried to run away, but Jack chased it up another tree.

Dickey, who feared for her cat, then called Jack home and the bear scurried back to the woods.

"He doesn't want anybody in his yard," Dickey said."

Our late black & white Frog was similarly territorial, regularly chasing very big dogs off the property sans ceremony--clear memory of the face and saucer eyes of an unholy pug suddenly remembering an urgent appointment elsewhere, tippytoeing backwards...

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a bunch of John Fahey videos at YouTube includes interviews and a great version of "In Christ There is No East and West"...
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Sunday, June 11, 2006

irresistable Swedish hip-pop of the moment is Robyn's self-titled new (ish) album. Smart, funny, uncluttered, would sound good coming out of a close & play dangling from the wheels of a banana cruiser. And when I told R that the new Dixie Chicks is the best Fleetwood Mac album in a while I meant it in a good way--its politics give it the hard edge that divorce gave "Rumors"...

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