Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dude, I Am You!

Being a political junkie has its price: constant disappointment. I find it very difficult to reconcile our collective short-sightedness with what science teaches us about the universe and so I surf from site to site looking for solace occasionally. I generally start with science related sites: magazines, the numerous science blogs or the catalogue of spectacular pictures collected over at the Hubble site. Today I got lucky and came across this video entitled "Science Saved My Soul." It lifted me off my chair and put unspoken thoughts into words and images more eloquently than I could have given several lifetimes to try. Enjoy! 


A couple of words contained in the video are probably NSFW.  The images are awe-inspiring, and that's probably not safe for work either. Please leave a note.

Iggy Stands Up For Something -- Part I

Okay, I don't want to be seen as a piker here. Yesterday I was begging for Mr. Ignatieff to stand up for something and, oddly enough, today he did! Now it's a long laundry list of things he decided to stand up for so there's a danger that it may all get lost in the miasma of media translations and therein lies the problem he must solve if he is ever to govern.
 It's not enough to stand up for principles -- it's a great place to start and all -- but you have to make them heard! Witness how the churlish John Ibbitson of The Globe and Mail reports on Iggy's policy speech. He seems to say that Iggy shouldn't be holding these positions because some of the policies he's repudiating are those of previous Liberal governments. So advocating for these principles he believes in and are, for the most part, supported by the majority of Canadians is not only untenable but it is going backwards in time. Seriously, that's his argument.

So let's have a peek at the list Mr. Ignatieff is advocating for: There's a call for renewed commitment to peacekeeping operations, a campaign to ban cluster bombs, renewing Canada’s commitment to limit global warming to within 2 degrees C, increasing the number of African countries receiving aid, and increasing the emphasis on diplomacy and development, rather than concentrating primarily on defence. Issues the majority of Canadians (non-Conservative voters that is) are likely in agreement on.

To John Ibbitson though, this means it's 1999 all over again. Well, I'm not convinced that's a bad thing for Canada or for Iggy. The Liberals were popular and in power in 1999 so let's hope that that this kind of talk doesn't dissuade Mr. Ignatieff from these policy positions. More importantly though, Michael Ignatieff needs to follow through with part II of standing up for something and that is making sure it is heard!

Iggy has to get up every day and repeat them until the press has no choice but to report what it is he is standing up for. And his fellow MP's repeat the exact same messages day in and day out until it breaks through into the consciousness of Canadians. Then maybe, just maybe, he'll stand a chance against the always on message Conservative machine that has undercut him at every turn. It might also help if he paid less attention to the polls.

Cataloguing the Crazy: US Mid-term Elections!

I like Keith Olbermann a lot. My only qualm is not with him but with the fact that he is generally preaching to the choir. There are false equivalencies aplenty in the MSM and one is that he's the left's version of some of the right wing's media personalities -- and that is patently false! He has no opposite number on the right. He may wave his arms and get apoplectic from time to time but he generally has cause and more importantly he's got his facts straight. Unlike those on the right if he does make a mistake he corrects it and apologizes. The following special comment from him is incisive and illustrative of the kinds of people running under the banner of the Republican party this election cycle. They may call themselves the Tea Party but they are just extremist right-wing Republicans.



So get ready for a long day for Democrats in the US tomorrow. I've been holding out hope that they wouldn't lose the House but the litany of polls say otherwise. The landscape near as one can tell on Wednesday morning will have the Republicans in charge of the House and the Democrats barely holding on to the Senate.

Sadly it appears if things like physical attacks by the right on a Moveon worker and death threats inspired by Glenn Beck will have no consequences for the tea party types. There was a time when this would have turned people off and made them choose another way. Maybe because it's so commonplace it has no consequences. There are seemingly no consequences for ratcheting up hate speech, even when talking about the President.

And that's what a lot of this insane rhetoric is all about, it's about a black man in the White House. And they couldn't do it without the help of Fox, who daily aid and abet in the hate-mongering -- it's time to boycott them completely. Even conservatives believe them to be cheerleading for Republicans and being actively partisan. Jimmy Carter agrees with that assessment.

And in spite of the daily attacks on his character, Obama remains surprisingly popular.

Sarah made up some stuff about the media and the tea party guy she backed in Alaska that, even though no one can verify a damned thing she says, Fox News is obsessively reporting as fact.

Enjoy the surprises and be prepared for the disappointments -- it's going to be a mixed bag tomorrow so far as those elections are concerned. The only given in all of this is that the right will not tamp down the attacks and two more years of this kind of vitriol may land the Republican party right where it was in 2008. Let's hope.