A Giraffe Hunter in a Ditch is Worth Two in the Bush. Or Something.

by matttbastard

Newt teh Perfessor outdoes himself on the future of gender in an excerpt from a mid-90s lecture:

Traditionally, he said, “if combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for thirty days, because they get infections and they don’t have upper body strength.” On the other hand, in the space age, “if combat means being on an Aegis class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve ships and their rockets,” a female may be better equipped than a restless male, who is “biologically driven to go out and hunt giraffes.”

One wonders if Newt is biologically driven to blithely amplify the sound of one hand clapping to a deafeningly irrelevant crescendo. Every time teh Perfesser speaks my brain short-circuits and replaces the fatuous, pseudo-intellectual taint-fiddling with an infinite tape-loop of ‘Baby Elephant Walk’. Which, as far as coping mechanisms go, is certainly better than repeatedly slamming one’s head in the passenger door of a rusty Datsun hatchback.

But not by much.

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(Long) Guns and Butter, Meet Fox News North

by matttbastard

Over at his humble pad, Progressive Bloggers head honcho Scott Tribe warns NDP leader Jack Layton that his party may face electoral consequences if his maddeningly milquetoast stance on Canada’s Long Gun Registry leads to its repeal:

Rather then whining in the papers that the voters who support keeping the long-gun registry should not be blaming the NDP if the registry gets killed, Jack should stop being naive and realize the Harper government is playing the NDP for suckers. The NDP has always claimed it is the party that stands up the most against the Harper agenda in the House of Commons; well, here’s it’s chance to really walk the walk – a chance to make a difference, rather then a symbolic vote or putting forth a symbolic motion/amendment against.

As for electoral considerations, and if those are also what’s in play here over principles, the NDP should remember that for every rural riding the NDP fears it may lose because of that member voting to keep the gun registry, it’s going to be pummelled in its urban ridings and in its lone Quebec riding as failing to keep the registry. Rest assured that the Liberals will be reinforcing that message in every NDP held riding in Urban Canada and in Outremont, if the NDP fail to stop Bill C-391 from passing.

With respect to Tribe and others, I just don’t see this as much of a game-changing, hot-button issue outside of Quebec and rural Canada. In Ontario (and, it should be noted Quebec), the economy is going to loom large in any future Federal campaign, as the rapid Northern expansion of the rust belt continues to drastically affect employment and living standards across the region.

Focusing on Harper and the general public’s fear of what he may do with a majority parliament is still a winning campaign strategy for the Liberal Party of Canada. No matter what, urban (and Eastern) Canadians really, really doesn’t trust that sonofabitch. And rightfully so.

With all that said, one wonders how the Foxification of Sun Meida [sic] will affect campaign coverage —  who will drive the narrative of any upcoming campaign? Will Harper hold off on dropping the writ until the CRTC acquiesces to PMO pressure and allows the Sun TV licence to go forward?

Progressives should be very much concerned about the possible effect of what is, essentially, a defacto arm of the PMO having such a deep stake in the Canadian media landscape. Anyone within the Canadian progressosphere who gives even an inch to David Akin (to say nothing of Brian ‘Kneepads’ Lilley) should, IMO, hand in their VLWC cards post haste. That dubious pair now works for the Devil himself , having eagerly sold their journalistic credibility for 30 quarters and a pound of moose flesh cooked Blue rare in the kitchen of 24 Sussex.

Bottom line: don’t tell me that issues of real importance like gun safety (or, for that matter, the economy) will be on the table come election time. Instead, be prepared for Ezra Levant to try and beat the left into bemused submission with an endless barrage of hyperventilating wingnut minutia.

And don’t be surprised to see the so-called “mainstream” (or, as Kory Teneycke, channelling the Thrilla from Wasilla, would call it, “lamestream”) press follow his lead.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Cameron Tories Quietly Castigate Single Mothers: J.K. Rowling Brings Teh Pwn

by matttbastard

A kinder, gentler Conservative Party (UK)? That’s certainly the image Conservative leader David Cameron has been desperate to project ever since he took the reigns of the so-called ‘nasty party’.  But Harry Potter impresario (and single parent) J.K. Rowling isn’t buying the Tory’s New Labour Lite makeover. Rowling notes that despite the fuzzy rhetoric, Cameron’s Tories exhibit the same naked contempt for the poor they did during Maggie T’s tenure — especially towards poor women:

Yesterday’s Conservative manifesto makes it clear that the Tories aim for less governmental support for the needy, and more input from the “third sector”: charity. It also reiterates the flagship policy so proudly defended by David Cameron last weekend, that of “sticking up for marriage”. To this end, they promise a half-a-billion pound tax break for lower-income married couples, working out at £150 per annum.

I accept that my friends and I might be atypical. Maybe you know people who would legally bind themselves to another human being, for life, for an extra £150 a year? Perhaps you were contemplating leaving a loveless or abusive marriage, but underwent a change of heart on hearing about a possible £150 tax break? Anything is possible; but somehow, I doubt it. Even Mr Cameron seems to admit that he is offering nothing more than a token gesture when he tells us “it’s not the money, it’s the message”.

Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150”, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation.

As they say, read the whole damn thing, then read it again — and, if you are a UK citizen of voting age, maybe think twice before uttering the foreboding words “I’ve never voted Tory before, but . . .”

h/t Chris Bertram

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Irony is Dead, Redux

by matttbastard

 

Education reformers were out in full force at this past Sunday’s Perry-Palin rally in Texas (I truly heart Moran Country). 

(Also, TEH NUGE!!!1one Ain’t no party like a Tea Party partaaaay.)

h/t Adam Serwer

Photo: Bryan Fotographer, Houston Press

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

NY-23’s Mission Accomplished Moment: Thanks For Coming Out, Kids

by matttbastard

Ban-happy GOP purity gatekeeper Eric Erickson struggles with maintaining his already tenuous hold on reality as he gamely attempts to squeeze broken eggshells into lemonade (or something):

The race has now been called for Democrat Bill Owens.

This is a huge win for conservatives.

“Whaaaa. . . ?” you say.

There are two big victories at work in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

First, the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives. In 2008, many conservatives sat home instead of voting for John McCain. Now, in NY-23, conservatives rallied and destroyed the Republican candidate the establishment chose.

I have said all along that the goal of activists must be to defeat Scozzafava. Doug Hoffman winning would just be gravy. A Hoffman win is not in the cards, but we did exactly what we set out to do — crush the establishment backed GOP candidate.

And make no mistake, despite the Beltway spin, we know for certain based on statements from the local Republican parties, that they chose Scozzafava based on advice from the Washington crowd.

So we have demonstrated to the GOP that it must not take conservatives for granted. The GOP spent $900,000.00 on a Republican who dropped out and endorsed the Democrat. Were we to combine Scozzafava and Hoffman’s votes, Hoffman would have won.

Yes, and if only Bill Owens had been kidnapped by bug-eyed extraterrestrials from Ganymede, Scozzafava and Hoffman’s votes could have combined to form a giant robot that would crush godless liberalism once and for all!

If only.

TBogg tickles the 800lb gorilla in a navy power suit/red tie combo:

And Erick and Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson and Rush Limbaugh and Tim Pawlenty and George Pataki and the New York Post all endorsed Doug Hoffman and now the Republican Party (that Erick wants purged of nonbelievers) should listen to  him because the teabaggers favorite son just lost a seat that Republicans have held for 140 years.

Right. This makes sense.

Pssh. Wevs. Pay no attention to the greaser in waterskis sporting a Palin 2012 button:

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Iran: Dreams Underfoot

by matttbastard

(Image: sterno74, used under a Creative Commons licence)

Following the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, Tom Regan’s Terrorism and Security Briefing for the Christian Science Monitor became a must-read for anyone who wanted a daily general analysis of counterterrorism/counterinsurgency developments around the world. Unfortunately, Regan no longer compiles the briefing. But, late last week, he quietly emerged from an undisclosed location to pen this must-read take on the ongoing post-election turmoil in Iran.

Regan notes that the West may be projecting its own collective desire for transformative political reform in the region onto a murky, still-fluid situation that is not quite the widespread democratic uprising that the mainstream media and Western political establishment would have us believe:

…I strongly believe that what are seeing in Iran is something like a reality based TV show. It’s based on a real incident, but it’s still being shaped by the show’s writers and director (ie, the western media) to be the most interesting to a Western audience. We’re only seeing the bits of tape that conform to what the western media ([which] represent us) want the story to be. It’s real but it’s not reality.

First, this is most definitely NOT a national revolution. This is a protest largely based, as I said, in northern Tehran, the more affluent and prosperous area of the city where most of the universities are located as are (surprised) the hotels where most western journalists stay. As Time’s Joe Klein (who just got back from Tehran) noted in an interview on CNN yesterday, there is no protest at all in southern Tehran, the largest part of the city where the poor and less-educated live. This is Ahmadinejad ’s base. And there is almost no protest at all in rural areas. The regime is firmly in command in most of the country, and the more repressive elements like the Revolutionary Guard have yet to really make their presence felt.

You know, this beginning to sound like Beijing 20 years ago.

Now, there is always the chance that a revolt driven by a relatively small number of the country’s population will succeed in overthrowing the country’s regime. Especially in Iran, where one revolution has already done that. But that was a revolt approved by the large majority of the people against a hated despot. This is not the same situation. If there is hatred of Ahmedinejad it comes no where near close to the hatred felt for the Shah. It’s just not going to happen.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

h/t Karoli via Twitter

Related: Patrick Martin provides a history lesson on Mir-Houssein Mousavi, a most unlikely champion for Western-style liberal democracy, while John Palfrey, Bruce Etling and Robert Faris of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society share an informative survey of the overall Iranian web presence (which–surprise–may not conform with what we’ve been voyeuristically observing via Twitter). Elsewhere, Dana Goldstein gives us these two mustread posts on the role Iranian feminists have played in the uprising (h/t Ann Friedman). Also see the one and only Antonia Zerbisias (taking a welcome respite from blogging about her thighs and pention [sic]) for more on how–and why–the women of Iran have taken the lead in demonstrations.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

Read This Now: Liberal Follies

by matttbastard

Thomas Walkom asks a question that’s been on the lips of many Canadians as Iggy and Steve thumb-wrestle over the reins of Parliament: “Who are these ludicrous Liberals? And what exactly is it that they want?”

They say they’d handle the recession differently. But they rarely say how. And when points of difference do emerge – such as the handling of employment insurance – they invariably backtrack.

For the Liberals, the time is never right. They come up with endless excuses for never forcing an election on the minority Harper government: They don’t have enough money; they don’t have enough candidates; their leader is too new; the polls are inauspicious; the weather is too warm; the weather is too cold

In the spring, they say wait until fall. In the fall, they say wait until spring.

When Stéphane Dion was their leader, they blamed him for everything. But at least Dion, with his plan to replace income with carbon taxes, gave some hint as to what he might do if elected.

By contrast, current Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is terminally vague. On the big economic questions, he attacks the government without saying what he’d do differently.

Ignatieff presents this as an asset, arguing that the point of being in opposition is to oppose. But in the context of the worst recession since the 1930s, his failure to articulate a clear alternative simply leaves the rest of us confused.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

Recomment this post at Progressive Bloggers