Author: Kate

Safety In The Garden

Over the past couple of days I’ve been preparing my garden and tending to some badly needed yard work. In so doing I’ve had a epiphany or two.
Have you ever wondered what special kind of idiot loses a finger to a lawnmower?

mower.JPG Well, spend three goddamn days trying to start the thing. By “thing”, I mean an ancient, 40 lb gas mower with a pull cord and a throttle spring that’s so worn that it requires a flat end screwdriver stuck between the air filter and the motor to keep the fuel flowing. Then, wait until the moment arrives that you are faced with the decision to turn it off – and restart it – to fix something down there…
I also learned that a Black & Decker electric whippersnipper works just as well with the rear plastic guard removed. Indeed, customized in this manner, Whippersnippers are capable of 360 degree weed whacking.
Just wear your boots.

De-Suffrage Me

Via James Joyner;

Elizabeth Eve never thought of herself as an exhibitionist. But these days, the 33-year-old history professor with the gold nose ring can barely contain the urge to lift her skirt and flash her skivvies.

Elizabeth never thought of herself as an exhibitionist, because she isn’t one. “Exhibitionist” would be dignified in comparison. Exhibitionists have the good sense to run away before they’re caught.
No, Elizabeth is no exhibitionist – she’s a walking twat joke.

“There is something so liberating and exciting about it, you’ve got to try it out,” she said recently as she fidgeted, fully clothed, on the couch in her friend Tasha’s Manhattan apartment. “I was teaching a class on imperialism, ” she continued, “and I was delivering all this material that was kind of new and upsetting, and everyone was getting all worked up and upset, and I was getting all worked up and upset, and all of a sudden, all I wanted to do was flash my underwear! It was crazy,” she said with a throaty giggle.

There’s a better solution. It’s called Monistat.

That’s because she wasn’t wearing just any panties. Elizabeth is part of Axis of Eve, a fledgling group of rabble-rousing feminists and anti-war activists who have taken to flashing their undies as a form of political dissent. The Eves, as they call themselves, are on a mission to sex up protest. They take to the streets wearing “protest panties” which come emblazoned with anti-Dubya double-entendres like “Expose Bush,” “Lick Bush,” “Give Bush the Finger” and “Drill Bush Not Oil.” When the Eves flash them at rallies, the effect is somewhere between a 1970s’ love-in and George Bush’s worst, frat- addled nightmare of a panty raid gone awry.

No, it’s somewhere between complete idiocy and total embarrassment.
If this is considered newsworthy political speech, carried out in the name of my gender, please, make it stop. Revisit this women’s suffrage thing. It’s not working. I know that some perfectly reasonable, sensible women will be hurt, but there’s a greater good to consider – I’ll gladly sacrifice my vote to save others.

UN Condemns Demolitions

Hot on the heels of UN condemnation of Israel for the destruction of homes of these refugees …
Bob Tarantino on the Sunday Toronto Star;

Anyways, on to my main man, Haroon Siddiqui. Haroon was very angry yesterday. He’s very grumpy about Israel destroying Palestinian homes. Now, personally, I think that imposing collective punishment on a group for the actions of individuals is, in most circumstances, grotesque. That being said, taking Hamas and Hizb’Allah at their word, Israel is in a state of war, so where the lines are drawn on these sorts of things gets moved around a bit. Besides which, I prefer to take the Naomi Kleinian view of the destruction of private property: it’s just legitimate resistance against globalization. What’s that? You don’t see the connection between Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes and opposition to corporate globalization? Funny, I don’t see the connection between a bunch of upper- middle-class white kids breaking McDonald’s windows while wearing their Nikes and opposition to corporate globalization, so I guess we’re about even.
Anyhoo, Haroon declares that Bush is supporting Israel in an effort “to win as many Jewish votes and donations away from Democrats as he can”. You know I can never keep this stuff straight: I thought the Jews ran the US government. If so, why does Bush need to win their votes? I’m so confused.

Go read the rest, he’s stringing them up, left and left – even the “Ombud”. That’s right – in the interests of stretching political correctness well past the point of absurdity, the Toronto Star has dropped the “man”.

The Trust Meme

A year or so ago, I was talking provincial politics with a friend in the Saskatchewan government. She made what I thought was a strange statement – that women in Saskatchewan didn’t “trust” the conservative SaskParty leader Elwin Hermanson. There was no further attempt to explain what this meant – just a blanket statement that he wasn’t “trusted”.
I wondered, trust as in “trust to do”? Trust not to do? Trust with your wallet? Trust in a dark alley? I didn’t ask at the time, and I should have – how do you even know this? Polling? And what prompted the governing NDP to ask such a undefined question in the first place?
The NDP had been push polling, of course – seeding a meme into the voting public, to draw upon later during a campaign. When the election was called, the local media fell in line, making the never defined “trust” question part of their own coverage of the election.
Well, the trust meme has already surfaced in the federal election, and on cue, it’s being pushed by the media.
It’s astonishingly counterintuitive – in view of the arrests and premature shutdown of the ADSCAM hearings, the biggest scandal in Canadian government history. Yet it doesn’t stop CTV’s Lloyd Roberston and Tom Clark from raising the “do Canadians trust” question when referring to Conservative Stephen Harper, in the guise of political analysis.
Harper is going to have to find a way to respond to this without defensiveness, that throws attention back on the question itself – to draw a white hot circle around the bigotry of a media and Liberal default position that suggests that “Western Canadians can’t be trusted”.
He went part way yesterday with his response to the media questions after the election call, and is being widely quoted;

“You know, in this country, you can be a Canadian without being a Liberal. The government seems to forget that. That’s why they need to be defeated. “It’s that kind of arrogance that leads to the waste, mismanagement and corruption we’ve seen.”

Not a bad start. We’ll need more of this.

Hope For Paraplegic Mice

Facetious subject line aside, this looks promising.

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rats with spinal cord injuries regained 70 percent of their normal walking function with a three-part treatment hailed as a breakthrough in paralysis research at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
The study at the university’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, due to be published on Monday in the June issue of the journal Nature Medicine, produced results “by far greater than what we’ve seen in anything else,” said the principal researcher, Dr. Mary Bartlett Bunge.
“It opens up a potential new avenue of treatment for human spinal cord injury,” said Bunge, who declined to speculate when human trials might be attempted.

Zinni Plays the Jew Card

Joining the parade is former head of CENTCOM under Bill Clinton, retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni.

CBS 60 Minutes – Accusing top Pentagon officials of “dereliction of duty,” retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni says staying the course in Iraq isn’t a reasonable option.
“The course is headed over Niagara Falls. I think it’s time to change course a little bit or at least hold somebody responsible for putting you on this course,” he tells CBS News Correspondent Steve Kroft in an interview to be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The current situation in Iraq was destined to happen, says Zinni, because planning for the war and its aftermath has been flawed all along.
“There has been poor strategic thinking in this…poor operational planning and execution on the ground,” says Zinni, who served as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Central Command from 1997 to 2000.

Zinni blames the poor planning on the civilian policymakers in the administration, known as neo-conservatives, who saw the invasion as a way to stabilize the region and support Israel. He believes these people, who include Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defense, have hijacked U.S. foreign policy.
[emphasis mine]

This is the same Zinni who masterminded the Clinton reprisals to terrorist attacks on the WTC and targets overseas. Among his achievements:

  • the strategy that destroyed a drug factory in Sudan in reprisal for the 1998 bombings in Africa that killed over 80.
  • the single day missile attack on a nearly abandoned al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, killing 20 wanna-be terrorists. He himself has since called it a “million to one shot”, in contradiction to Clinton’s claim that they missed Bin Laden by hours.

  • Zinni, in 2001

    “In weighing that out, without great intelligence, it’s a million-to- one shot,” he says. “Should you take it? Yes. You might get something, but in the absence of that, you can send [bin Laden] a message, maybe cause him to go off balance and set him back a little bit.”

    Zinni is flogging a new book – “Chicken Soup For The Terrorist Soul – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Unbalance Bin Laden”.

    Global Warming And Asthma?

    About a week ago, news shot round the world that a spike in asthma rates has been attributed to global warming and rise in CO2 emissions:
    New Jersey Star Ledger

    The third-grader at the East Orange Charter School was diagnosed with the life-threatening condition when she was just a year old. Predictions of higher pollen counts and rising temperatures exacerbating asthma in America’s cities is a scary prospect for her.

    A report recently released by researchers at Harvard University predicts that poor and minority children in America’s cities will experience worsening asthmatic conditions due to global warming and air pollution. As the climate warms up, allergens such as pollen and mold will flood the air, interacting with urban pollutants such as ozone and soot to fuel an already growing epidemic of asthma.

    New Zealand Herald

    “The combination of air pollutants, aero-allergens, heat waves and unhealthy air masses increasingly associated with a changing climate causes damage to the respiratory systems, particularly of growing children, and these impacts disproportionately affect poor and minority groups in the inner cities,” the report says.

    Globe And Mail

    America’s cities, blanketed with smog and climate- altering carbon dioxide, have become cradles of ill health and are fostering an epidemic of asthma, according to a report yesterday from a leading group of Harvard University researchers and the American Public Health Association.

    Except that…. it’s not what the report says.
    Cantstats surveyed the actual report;

    The focus of the Harvard report is not the relationship between asthma rates (in children or adults) and increased levels of CO2 or global warming.
    It had a larger purpose. “This report examines the direct impacts of CO2, as well as climate change, focusing on urban centers; examining synergies between air pollution and climate change and connections between climate change and emerging infectious diseases � in particular, West Nile virus, a disease carried by urban-dwelling mosquitoes that presents new problems for public health and mosquito control authorities.” (Epstein, pg. 4)

    In fact, they revealed (exerpts):

  • No data is given on the purported link between rising asthma rates and climate change or increases in CO2. No numbers of asthmatic children from different cities are given. There is no attempt in the report to account for other reasons for the increase, such as better diagnostic techniques in younger children.
  • The report uses numbers without footnoting the source.
  • The amount of time explicitly devoted in the Harvard report to rising levels of asthma in children is miniscule and yet the media presented this aspect almost exclusively. The Harvard report is by no means devoted to exploring causes of asthma in children. It states only that the largest increase in asthma occurred in preschool-aged children (an increase between 1980 and 1994 of 160 percent). It is indeed worth asking whether the researchers ever intended to explain the causes of asthma in children, or whether they used this point to draw the media in. Television reportage was accompanied by photos of preschoolers in doctors’ offices using inhalers- certainly a more riveting audience hook than a general item on climate change.
  • Where the Harvard report frequently uses the words “may” “might” or “potential” to indicate the possible effects of climate change, the media did not.
  • The report is in fact a summary of other studies. The media reported it as if it were a set of new scientific findings, specifically on the relationship between asthma rates and climate.
    They have more. And footnotes, too!

  • Writ Drops. With A Thud

    It’s officially official.
    The election call will be made tomorrow. Martin is heading to the polls with an Ontario base angry at broken election promises by the provincial Liberals, ADSCAM’s wrapup was ugly and unconvincing, and Quebec support for Liberals is collapsing in favour of the Blok. The West? Still hates ’em and the announcement about insignificant changes to the gun registry won’t have earned anything more than cynicism.

    Who knows why he’s determined to go now. My suspicious nature suggests there is more to learn on the ADSCAM front, or ominous signs for the economy ahead. Or some known unknown? Not much else makes sense.
    Speaking of which, how may photos do you think they shuffled through at the Ottawa Citizen before they settled on this one? Heh.

    Memo to Media: Another Story To Bury

    The Command Post brings this breaking news from CNN;

    Dozens of people killed in a U.S. attack in the Iraqi desert Wednesday were attending a high-level meeting of foreign fighters, not a wedding, and photos shown to reporters in Baghdad support that belief, according to the senior coalition military spokesman.

    Kimmitt said that troops did not find anything – such as a wedding tent, gifts, musical instruments, decorations or leftover food – that would indicate that a wedding had been held.
    Most of the men there were of military age, and there were no elders present to indicate a family event, he said.
    What was found, he said, indicated the building was used as a way station for foreign fighters crossing into Iraq from Syria to battle the coalition. “The building seemed to be somewhat of a dormitory,” Kimmitt said. “You had over 300 sets of bedding gear in it. You had a tremendous number of pre-packaged clothing — apparently about a hundred sets of pre-packaged clothing.
    “[It is] expected that when foreign fighters come in from other countries, they come to this location, they change their clothes into typical Iraqi clothing sets.”
    At Saturday’s briefing for reporters in Baghdad, Kimmitt showed photos of what he said were binoculars designed for adjusting artillery fire, battery packs suitable for makeshift bombs, several terrorist training manuals, medical gear, fake ID cards and ID card-making machines, passports and telephone numbers to other countries, including Afghanistan and Sudan.

    Watch for no mention of this.
    Update – as of this morning, Sunday May 23th, I can find no mention of this development on either the CBC or CTV sites.

    Peter Warren Plays The Fool

    On today’s nationally broadcast Peter Warren Show, I listened to a segment featuring a guest representing a group that is lobbying in Canada against “gay marriage”. The arguments offered nothing new. They’ve been beaten to death on both sides all over the blogosphere.
    However, an incident occurred in which Warren allowed a lengthy, uninterrupted badgering of the guest by a caller. The caller had challenged the guest – he stated that with [paraphrasing] “a 60% divorce rate , how can you say gay marriage can undermine the institution?”
    The guest immediately countered that 60% wasn’t accurate, that Stats Canada put the divorce rate at around 38%. The caller disputed this and challenged him to produce the “source”.
    Apparently, Stats Canada isn’t a source.
    The host remained silent, on the sidelines. The caller began to ridicule the guest – “You say I’m wrong, but can’t back up your figure. You admit you don’t know.”. The guest acknowledged he didn’t have an exact figure, but refused to back down, repeated that Stats Can was his source, and the exchange continued in this way, back and forth. At one point, Warren interjected authoritatively that the divorce rate was 52%. Of course, the caller did not challenge Warren to provide a source for his figure, nor did he offer one for his own. He continued at the guest – “Why should I believe you when you don’t your own figures or provide your source?”.
    By the time that Warren finally moved on to the next caller, it had been firmly established by a two to one concensus that the caller and host were right, (60% is closer to 52% than it is to 38%) and the guest had been wrong – caught in an embarrassing lack of knowledge, or deliberately understating the divorce rate to support traditional marriage.
    While it added nothing to the debate about gay marriage, it provided an interesting example of debating phsycology, and for a host with the experience of Peter Warren – inexplicable journalistic sloppiness. Or was it simple bias? The badgering he indulged on the part of the caller had nothing to do with establishing what the divorce rate was. It was designed to de-legitimize the guest, and by extension – his message. Truth and simple fairness no longer mattered.
    Of course, the guest was right, and Peter Warren and the caller, both wrong. This article confirms that divorce rates in Canada (they do vary from region to region) are currently 37% and falling. Source: Stats Canada

    Understanding The Enemy

    Bill Whittle .

    I, and others who see a terrible threat in the growth of Radical Islam, did not invent this term. It is considerably older than my humble self; besides, I do not speak Arabic. It is their term. And unlike people determined to hide until this problem goes away, I am determined to take Islam at its word.
    Finally, consider this: Muslims are angrily at war with Buddhists in East Asia. Muslims are at enraged with Animists in Africa. Of course, none of this approaches the sheer hatred that Muslims bear towards Hindus in the South Asia peninsula. And this foaming hatred blanches compared to the white-hot fury Muslims feel to the Christian American Crusaders. And this fury is but a candle to the incandescent, boiling, supernova of murder they feel toward the Jews.
    Does anyone beside me detect a pattern here? You know, my Dad told me once, “Bill, if more than three people in your life are utter, total assholes, then maybe it’s you.”
    I am not a religious person. I do not have a horse in this race. But everywhere I turn in the world today, I see Radical Islam – – and not the United States — at war with everybody. And I have no choice but to conclude that this is not a blip or a hiccup. It is a growing threat. And it needs to be met head-on. Right now.

    And for our apologist friends;

    The truly remarkable, astonishing and galling issue here is that while the multi-culturalists are the ones shrieking the loudest about understanding different people and different values, they are the ones absolutely least willing to take themselves at their own words and so they consistently apply western thought models to people who think nothing like we do.

    It’s long, and worth your time.

    Supersize Stupid

    In the Morgan Spurlock schlockumentary Supersize Me, Spurlocks schtick is to live for a month on nothing but McDonalds food – with the preordained expected consequences.

    Spurlock starts out the picture of health, a strapping 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds. Three doctors and a nutritionist, who reappear throughout, examine him and attest to his well being. But within a few days he’s vomiting out of the window of his car. And it’s downhill from there. Spurlock’s body goes through a general deterioration that surprises even his doctors in its rapidity. (His girlfriend, a vegan chef, is beside herself.) Gaining weight is just the outward sign: His liver becomes toxic, his cholesterol skyrockets, his libido sags, he gets headaches and becomes depressed

    Something already doesn’t ring true about this. I hate McDonalds food, but I can think of ways in which to eat sanely at McDonalds for a month without puking out the window or putting on 50 pounds. Not to mention the obvious – there are too many college students alive and well today to buy this.
    The Filthy Critic has issues with his methodology;

    Like I said, Morgan Spurlock is a fucking pussy. First, he only took on one vice, when it’s common knowledge that you need to counter one with another. Like drinking is healthiest when you smoke. Or a crack addiction is optimized with a delusional paranoia. As a heavy drinker with a hell of a lot more than thirty days under my belt, I’ve got a little advice: push through the pain, you baby. Get past the depression, the illness, the shakes and diarrhea. Sure, that first month is full of ups and downs, but after that you reach equilibrium. You don’t feel so sick or queasy, and you learn to love your captors. It’s like the Stockholm Syndrome, except with cheeseburgers for you or $1.50 drafts for me. When you have your bad days, you learn to self-medicate; hit the fries or hooch until the sadness goes away. On a really shitty day, hit the trifecta: Supersize Fries, a fifth of Old Mariner vodka and a soft bed of dirt under the junipers behind the ice skating rink.

    I think I’ll go see this – right after I sit through Bowling for Columbine.

    Delaying, Decisively

    Presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry is hinting that he may continue to presume, and not accept the nomination at the Dem convention in July. A delay would allow him to avoid campaign spending limits. (At what point does presumption become assumption, with its associated peril?)
    Bill Quick is running a bumper sticker contest. My favorites so far;

    John Kerry once made $750 million by saying “I DO”
    Now he’ll make $75 million by saying “I DON’T!
    BrINg 200 MillIOn DoLlaRs iN UmArkEd BiLLs oR I wOn’t AccEPt tHe NomInatiOn – AnOnYmous

    Heh. If lowly blog commentors are coming up with stuff this good, the late night talk shows will have a field day.

    Just The Beginning

    More on the Supreme Court decision to uphold laws limiting freedom of speech of interest groups during elections. If there is a single reason to have this current government defeated that trumps all others – it is this one. This is dangerous territory the party that brought us gun registration, “hate speech” laws, and taxpayer funded party campaigns have herded us into, and they know precisely what they are doing.
    Bob Tarantino lets ‘er rip

    Henceforth, a limited number of ideas are permissible in Canada during elections. Only those ideas mashed through the grinding wheels of party politics or backed by major media corporations are not verboten. Try to make your voice heard, be you conservative or communist, and you could go to jail. For trying to communicate. It’s just the beginning. Our government (executive, legislative, and judicial branches each) and the media have just told us we’re too stupid to possibly be able to parse “too much” information. They’ve just told us that henceforth they will be the ones to determine what we hear. Successive federal governments have desperately tried to silence opposition. Now, with the full support of a stacked judiciary, they’ve done just that. We. Just. Got. Fucked. And it’s just the beginning.

    Go read it all.
    And if I were involved in a well-funded organization, this is the moment I’d pour about twice the $3000 limit into a few ridings, and force this issue to the surface. Advertise the dangers of the law itself. Force them to lay charges and pull them down.
    A billboard campaign that is targeted towards repeal of the very law that makes it illegal should be sufficient irony to garner attention. It should be done the moment the writ is dropped. Make this an election issue before Canadians go to the voting booths and make Paul Martin stammer to defend it.

    Political Ineptitude


    Even the Flames are having a hard time getting used to the attention that comes with being on the A-list. Flames president Ken King thought it was a crank call when his cellphone rang in the final minutes of Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over the Sharks and he was told it was Prime Minister Paul Martin’s office.
    “I said, ‘Yeah, I’m Daffy Duck and I’ve got a hockey game to watch here’ and I hung up,” King said yesterday.

    Well, duh.
    (Tickets to the Calgary games for the Stanley Cup finals sold out in 90 seconds.)

    Cacha�a Recipe

    As the Small Dead Animals contribution to the perpetual blog drink mixing meme, I offer this recipe.
    I recieved a bottle of the sugar cane liquor that is the basis of Brazil’s national drink as a going away gift from my Brazilian hosts in April. A couple of weeks ago I had friends staying for a couple of days, and we ran out of rum. Too late to run out for more. The obvious solution – open the liquor. Without the required ingredients (tropical limes, sugar) to make Caipirinha (pronounced ky-pee-reen-ya), we came up with our own recipe for the cacha�a (pronounced oh-my-god-this-is-made-of-fermented-calf-scours ).
    1 1/2 oz� cacha�a
    pour over ice
    Attempt (vainly) to put tinfoil cap back on bottle to control odor.
    Debate the wisdom of what you are about to do. “Give it a chance”. ..”They wouldn’t go to the trouble of bottling this stuff if it tastes as bad as it smells” …. “maybe it’s better with the limes” … Hold breath… take slow sip.
    Invent new expetives.
    Add 3 gallons of running water, flushed through mouth.
    Take 1 regular kitchen sink. Again, holding breath, pour remainder of cacha�a down drain. Add 3 cups vinegar, follow with 1 cup bleach, full strength. Remove empty bottle some distance from house. Open windows.
    Re-evaluate everything you thought you knew about Brazilian compliments and generosity.

    Little Miss Hooter?

    It creeps me out to see little kids on toilets in diaper ads. You know that out there, somewhere, some degenerate is taping it for his later enjoyment.
    One of the commentors has a pithy observation;

    If Abercrombie and Finch, Howard Stern and Ossie Osborne are the touchstones of this generation’s morality, why should this latest example of “declining decencies” come as a surprise?

    Much as Jeff Jarvis would beg to differ.
    hat tip; Zygote Design