Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yet More Proof that School Smarts Does Not Equal Street Smarts:

John Kerry shoots himself in the foot at a California rally:

The Massachusetts senator, who is considering another presidential run in 2008,had opened his speech at Pasadena City College with several one-liners, joking at one point that Bush had lived in Texas but now "lives in a state of denial."

Then he said: "You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

What this statement appears to say is obvious; what I think Kerry meant to say was,

President Bush is a loser who didn't apply himself in school, and look at the pitiful mess he made of the country.

Unfortunately, it didn't come out like that.

Debate is already raging over whether Kerry's statement was accurate, whether he was courageous in saying something so non-PC, and whether his career and presidential hopes are now over.

(No, no, and yes.)

What's intriguing to me is how the fuss over what is at best a lapse of judgment parallels the fuss going on in Canada about the writings and statements of a candidate for high office with similar educational credentials and demeanor: Michael Ignatieff.

From the time "Iggy", as he has not-always-affectionately come to be known, decided to leave his ivory tower (Harvard) and bestow upon us his presence and his genius after an absence of around 30 years, he has repeatedly come under scrutiny for just the sort of gaffe Kerry made.

In fact, Ignatieff, currently running for leadership of the Federal Liberal Party, has managed to alienate the following groups and those who support them:

Ukrainians,

those opposed to the war in Iraq and the use of torture in interrogations,
(ironically, aka "liberals")

Arabs,

Jews,

Federalist Canadians
(i.e., those opposed to Quebec separation, probably about 90% of the population.)

Since there is considerable overlap here, except maybe between "Arabs" and "Jews", it is pretty incredible that Iggy continues to be the frontrunner in the leadership race for the Liberal Party.

Either the field is that lame, or his mystique has carried him through thus far; if the latter, I suspect (and hope) that he will fare even less well than Kerry did; if he does make it through the convention and becomes Liberal Leader, it will be a big boost for the Conservative Party of Canada, and that is not necessarily a good thing.


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canada: The New Australia?

In 1868, the last boatload of convicts exiled from Britain arrived in Australia.
A mere 138 years later, the first convict exiled from the US arrived in... Ontario?

I refer of course to the case of Malcolm Watson, a convicted American sex offender, who was given his choice of sentence by a judge:

Either a year in a US jail;
or
Three years' exile in Canada.
Where he already lives with his wife and three children.

I bet he had to think hard and long about that one.

But Canada is far from becoming the new Australia, and the main difference is, the convicts sent to Australia were meant to provide labour to a developing land.
Mr. Watson is meant to provide Canada with...???

Upon hearing the news of this case I remarked to an American friend, "WTF, that can't be legal?"
To which he replied, "Since when is the US government concerned with what is legal?"
Duh. How silly of me.

The Canadian and Ontario governments, happily, are not amused, and the latest news is that Mr. Watson was arrested today while trying to enter Canada from the US.

I'm not clear on whether he was in the US legally on probation grounds, or not. I don't much care. I am outraged that Canada is perceived as an alternative to incarceration. Are American judges so arrogant as to believe that being deprived of breathing American air is equivalent to loss of personal freedom? Having to live in Canada for three years is punishment?
And what gives a judge in New York State the authority to decide that Canada must accept this person even though he had permission to live and work here before his conviction?

I cannot wrap my mind around the concept of one country imposing an exile to another country - a friendly country - unilaterally. Canada must send this and any other American pervert home. We have enough of our own to deal with.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Required Reading/Viewing

For anyone who isn't already aware: Keith Olbermann on MSNBC has become the definitive voice of reason in the US.

Check out the latest in his series of "Special Comments" (sort of rambling editorials) which he aired last night. The topic is the use of terror in campaign advertising.

I recommend viewing the video even though it is long; however there is a transcript you can read.

I am proud and even humbled to note that some of his concepts are similar to ones I expressed a couple of months ago, even before the law abolishing habeas corpus was passed. What is going on in the US has so sickened and saddened me that I can't bear to think about it much less write about it but I am so glad someone (Keith) is.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Politically Incorrect?

News article that awoke me from blogging slumber:

MacKay dogged by scandal

Scandal, in Canada, is rarely what scandal is in the US - although the sponsorship thing was a pretty good one.

Nobody here is abolishing habeas corpus, trying to terrorize the public into re-electing them, or having inappropriate communication with pages. At least not that we know of.

What we do have, aside from an MP being booted from his party ostensibly on account of his blog (a whole other story, that) is a nice juicy hissy fit.

There is a big history here and I don't intend to go into it but it's summarized in the linked article. For now, it appears that the Canadian Foreign Minister, Peter MacKay, is, so to speak, in the dog house.

According to the article and others like it, in the course of a debate on a new environmental bill MacKay was asked if he didn't care about his dog; he may or may not have shot back, "You already have her," while pointing to the chair sometimes occupied by his ex, an opposition MP.

All I can say to this is


You GO, Peter.

I'm sorry, I can't work up a whole lot of outrage over this. It's funny.

In fact it's freaking hilarious.

The ex in question was heard to protest today about being disrespected. Yup, just like the respect she showed to another woman, her current beau's wife, by dating him while they were still married.
She is now named in the divorce. Nice.

She also whined about it making things more difficult for women in politics.

Yeah, like she didn't just burst onto the scene as a candidate for LEADER of her party, bolstered by Daddy's millions, and later abandoned that party and MacKay by defecting to the opposition. Real difficult it was for her.

As for other women, I doubt this will make much of a blip in the big scheme of things. Sure it is difficult but it's not as if men don't squabble and disrespect each other in Parliament. If women want equality we should be prepared to tolerate the same level of abuse as men dish out to each other.

Or not. But don't make it into a woman's issue.