Saturday, May 27, 2006

Leslie Pinney lost her bid to ban books in the Township High School District 214 six to one, with Pinney against her school board colleagues. In celebration, the authorsof Freakonomics are offering signed copies of their book to the school district.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Oh, please. Yet another Christian idiot is trying to ban books without reading them.

Earlier, this month a fundie woman in Georgia attempted to ban Harry Potter books from the local schools.Of course, she didn't read them but did you expect those hooked-on-phonics types to have that level of literacy? Fortunately, the school board shot her down and Harry can remain to enlighten those savages in the deep South.

Recently a hausfrau, Leslie Pinney, on an Illinois school board is attempting to ban such books as Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner for being pornographic.

Now, The Awakening may have been pornographic ---say in the late nineteenth century--- but girlfriend, no one reads that now but Lit majors (like me) and middle-aged English profs (not me...I still look hot in fishnet stockings). Like many of the other books, Ms. Pinney has as not read Chopin and the author is not smutty by contemporary standards. In anyone's imagination, Mrs. Pontellier would not be a Playmate of the Year. It is ridiculous to ban something that has gathered the dusty name of "a classic". Oy, just don't show Leslie Pinney anything by the Brontes or (and this is being very racy) Djuna Barnes...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Four U.S. Marines killed in Baghdad.

I honestly do not want to hear the Religious Right whine about Christians being persecuted in the U.S. when soldiers are dying in Iraq for Amercian corporations who are bilking taxpayers as well as the government they are supposedly helping; and defending pious churchgoers who can (barely) fit their candy arses in gas guzzling SUVS so they can indulge in their yearly necrophilia worship at an environment killing megachurch. Wah. Grow up.


A British soldier,Lieutenant Richard Palmer aged 27, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
died yesterday from an IED in Iraq.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Vigilante militia are patrolling the Canadian border in hopes of keeping out terrorists and illegal immigrants.The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps plans to watch along the Washington state border to stop refugees fleeing Canada.

There's something wrong with this picture. Why anyone would flee to the United States when Canadian businesses are welcoming immigrants. It is a mystery to me. Canada, compared to America, isn't bogged down in a no win war and their dollar is rising against the U.S. currency. Furthermore, in Canada there is more tolerance for diversity and immigration because this country is sparsely populated and has a birth dearth. America can't attract tourists from Canada. So why are these whiners playing soldier at the border? Probably because their white tushes are in wedgies over America becoming a land of brown skinned people. The militias do not realize the anti-immigrant trend is futile. Eventually, diverse ethnic groups will outnumber Caucasians. And then where will the militias be? They will have a lot of explaining to do.
Three soldiers died in Iraq yesterday bringing April's total to a stunning 32 dead this month.

Meanwhile, Bob Woodruff is recovering as an outpatient. Prayers for the family of the dead soldiers. Speedy recovery for Mr. Woodruff.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Republican Party has descended to new lows in its quest for power.

Police arrested a Homeland Security press aide
on charges of sexually preying on a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl in an Internet chat room. Brian J. Doyle, 55 is being held without bail in Maryland pending extradition to Florida.

Meanwhile, Republican Curt Weldon is attacking 4-year-olds with brain cancer. The GOP candidate from the 7th district in Pennsylvania has bashed his opponent Joe Sestak for renting a house in Pittsburgh while his 4-year-old daughter receives treatment for brain cancer in Washington D.C.

Essentially, Curt Weldon is bashing Mr. Sestak for not being politically committed to the 7th district despite the Sestak's heroic commute between Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. to give their ailing daughter the best pediatric care. Once again, the GOP has shown itself to be disgusting filth both in its preying on teenagers and in its hypocritical trashing of those who, like the Sestaks caring for their ill daughter, show true parental family values.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Well, I said I wouldn't post anything more about Bob Woodruff but I have to note that he won the David Bloom Award for excellence in enterprise reporting. Here's to the continued best for Mr. Woodruff and his family.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Radio Free Canada is in hiatus on Bob Woodruff's condition. While there has been no more recent news, we can certainly hope he is progressing in his recovery.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The play My Name is Rachel Corrie is being put on by the Seattle Repertory Theatre in its new season.
And it should be like this. After all, she wasn't a New Yorker. She was a PNWer, one of ours.

---Izzy

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Rachel Corrie reading at the Riverside Church, in New York on Wednesday, March 22, 2006.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Bush administration is attempting to implement regulations that would permit pesticide testing on aborted human fetuses despite the White House's proclamations about the sanctity of human life. It seems, to the Bush government, fetal life is sacred until pesticide companies need a convenient sacrifice for profit. Where the hell is the Religious Right or pro-lifers about this issue, that aborted fetuses can be used for corporate profit but not stem cell research? Why are the voices of the pro-life movement silent?

Too, why is there no outcry that the Bush administration would permit pesticide testing on orphaned, mentally handicapped, and abused children because they cannot give legal refusal to any experiments ? Such experiments include tricking people into thinking that they are taking vitamins while the testers are in fact feeding the test subjects massive doses of pesticides. This disregard for vulnerable populations, the mentally handicapped and abandoned children, is similar to Hitler's T-4 programmes where the Nazis murdered thousands of handicapped (babies, children, and adults) and orphaned children in gas chambers such as the Hartheim Castle.

After reading all that I did about the pesticides being possibly tested on children, I wanted to throw up and crawl into a fetal position. Here in Canada, the mayor of Vancouver, Sam Sullivan, is a quad in a wheelchair and the University of British Columbia is thinking of offering college courses for Down's adults---basically auditing classes for people with LDs (learning disabilities). Unlike America, Canada walks the walk on the sanctity of life.

It is grotesque and morbid but not surprising that the Bush administration is following the same path as the Third Reich in targeting abandoned children, and the handicapped for experimentation and execution in the name of corporate profit. The world should turn and spit on the current American government for its callous disregard for the lives of the most sacred --- the children and the handicapped --- among us.

---Izzy

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Please sign this petition about the play My Name is Rachel Corrie. Let James C. Nicola, artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop know that censorship is wrong. Thank you.

---Izzy

Friday, March 17, 2006

Vietnam war deserter Allen Abney has been released from a Marine prison with a discharge so he does not have a tarnished record. He will be back in Canada in time for his brother's funeral.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Today is the third anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death.
Meanwhile, in Palestine the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine kidnapped Mark Budzanowski and held him until they realized that he had a Canadian passport. They released him, saying "We love Canada!" while giving him a business card for the PFLP. Mr. Budzanowski has returned to doing humanitarian work in Palestine.
Bob Woodruff is now in New York and recovering in a health facility. Here's the best to him and his family.


Two U.S. soldiers killed along with twenty other people including young children.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Two more soldiers died in Iraq on Monday
.
Meanwhile, more American troops, 700 soldiers are being brought in from Kuwait to "temporarily" deploy in Iraq for the third anniversary of the U.S. invasion and for the Shiite holy pilgramge of Arbeen which commorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali.
Vietnam War deserter Allen Abney might be released later this week with an other than honourable discharge from the military. However, due to the time it takes to process the order, seven days, he may not make it home in time for his brother Gerry's funeral. Let's hope the American government expedites the discharge and sends Mr. Abney home soon.
A Canadian arrested for deserting the Marines in 1968 will probably be released next week.

I suspect the Bush government finally realised what a hot potato they had on their hands with this one (okay, the administration is a little slow...). and they should not use Mr. Abney as an example to present and future deserters when Bush's ratings are not only in the toilet but flushed.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Four U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday. Meanwhile, Bob Woodruff continues to recover.
MOTHER NATURE KNOWS BEST

James Watson, who helped discover DNA, wants to tamper with germ-line (ovum and sperm) genetics to build "smarter" and more "beautiful" humans.

Designer genetics do not always, and seldom, work. Consider the latest fad of "designer dogs". Many of the "new" dogs have potential problems with hip dysplasia and eye diseases because of the faults in their respective breeds. It is an unwise cruelty to tamper with any life's genetics for superficial characteristics such as "intelligence" or "beauty", because the outcome may not be safe nor effective.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Police in Idaho arrested a man with dual American and Canadian citizenship in Idaho on Thursday. Allen Abney deserted the Marines in 1968 during the long conflict in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, there is a reunion of Vietnam war resisters from July 6 to 9, 2006 in Brillaint, BC.

It has been nearly 40 years since Mr. Abney's immigration to Canada. The Vietnam war is over. Now, someone in the Marines may be making a point about they are going to get tough with future deserters but this is what we call "a double-edged sword". Works great for hari-kiri propaganda to highlight that the war in Iraq is lost and anyone would be a fool to listen to a military recruiter.

Just lovely that the American government stepped in this one.... Squish!
SITE FOR THE WEEK

Each week, I will be posting a random but selected site for the reader's information. This week I am posting DEFCONAMERICA.ORG, a site dedicated against the Religious Right.

ISAIAH 51:11

Iraqi hostage Tom Fox found dead.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Two U.S. soldiers died in Iraq today.

Meanwhile, the American military is experiencing a desertion rate of 8,000 personnel since 2003.

I have no problem with military deserters simply because the Bush administration is shafting vets by cutting their benefits to the number of $10.3 billion over five years, mostly slashing health care. Furthermore, the Bush administration is not adequately compensating its current soldiers. Essentially, according to a survey by Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, military personnel are the lowest paid employees in America.

If the Bush administration endangers American citizens in not very well considered wars, there should be sufficient compensation for the military's trouble. To quote Sun Tzu's Art of War under the second chapter entitled Waging War: "There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare."

---Izzy
SATURDAY 3/11

Craig and Cindy Corrie, Rachel Corrie's parents, will give a presentation about their recent trip they took to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This will be followed by a theatre piece about Rachel Corrie called Daughter of Courage at Consolidated Works, 500 Boren Ave N, 633-1086, 3 pm, free.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

As a Pacific Northwesterner from native stock, I am claiming the peragotive of critiquing the recent uproar about the cancellation of the Rachel Corrie play in New York.

Everyone take a deep breath and sit down. Valerian tea is under the cosy, if you need it. Hops and passionflower are optional. We all require a few good calming herbs, given the nature of the uproar but anything stronger would not be legal. Are all of you settled?

First, let's deal with Vanessa Redgrave urging a lawsuit against the theatre in question. Respectfully, I must ask Ms. Redgrave to sit in the corner and read Shakespeare's advice about lawyers in King Henry VI, Part II, Act IV, Scene II. There is no need to throw bad money after good. Your anger over the censorship is justified but the principles involved are already being tried in the court of public opinion. And she is a bitch to reckon with, "...a sovereign mistress of effects", to quote the Duke of Venice in Othello, Act I, Scene III. More so than any legal trial.

Next, we come to Mr. Nicola. Your excuse about scheduling is not acceptable. Dayplanners are good things. Barring that, Yahoo! has an online calendar and for the technically literate, you can get Google Desktop which has nifty plug-ins like its Calendar. Furthermore, simply talking to a few of your Jewish friends does not qualify as going to that community in question.

Katherine Viner's complaint in The Guardian was on target and understandable. Any artist hates to see their work shunned because of baseless and quisling fears.

The best for last. Alan Rickman's outrage over the cancellation was very eloquent. Yes, no artist or activist lives in someone else's pocket or cowardly behaviour. Radio Free Canada hopes that My Name is Rachel Corrie does make it to the American stage.

ADDED COMMENT ON 03/08/06:

However, I am writing this as a simple take on the nature of censorship. I do not claim to be proficient in Middle Eastern politics or to the circumstances of Ms.Corrie's unfortunate death of which I have read varying accounts. I think it is fair to write that the censoring of the play does a disservice to furthering the conversation about the Middle East or the conflicts between Jews and Palestinians.

---Izzy
IRAQ UPDATE


A senior Iraqi army general was shot dead in Western Baghdad.

Meanwhile, ethnic and religious loyalties are threatening to tear about the Iraqi security forces.

Dana Reeve, tireless champion for the disabled,of lung cancer at age 44.
BOB WOODRUFF PROGRESS

Bob Woodruff is speaking and walking according to ABC NEWS.

Monday, March 06, 2006

REPORTER DOWN/DEDICATION
Photojournalist Toby Morris, a reporter for Zuma Press was shot today in Iraq. The injuries are not life-threatening.

In other news: The doctor who cared for Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt, Dr. Richard Briggs, has returned home to his Tennessee home. Here's to all the dedicated medical personnel in the middle of the Iraqi and other conflicts.
Fifteen people killed in Iraq including US soldier .

Meanwhile, in disrespect to soldiers who have died in Iraq, a a t-shirt company Carry A Big Sticker is listing the fallen in protest of President Bush without any relatives's permission to list their deceased family members on the garments in question. This is rude and unfeeling to the grief that families have when their loved ones die so tragically. Radio Free Canada does not mention any soldier by name in consideration of the families left behind. Instead I aggregate the information to show sorrow and dismay at the current administration's foreign policy.

Izzy

Sunday, March 05, 2006

HOLLYWOOD FLIPS THE BIRDIE

Well, I didn't come close to guessing the picks but the surprise to Middle America wasn't the gay themes of Capote, Brokeback Mountain, or the political themes of Good Night and Good Luck, nor even the award for best song about pimps. The greatest theme of the awards, and the one the Religious Right will miss in condemning Hollywood as being out of touch with most American morality was the celebration of imperfection in the human condition.

Look at the awards honoured. It was not a lack of ethics, instead it was an award for best actor, a man with a drinking problem who turned his life around. The best film and best song were about the racism that black people face everyday. The best director was for a man whose father fled to Taiwan after his paternal grandparents were executed by Communists.

In other words, the Oscars weren't about being white, male, and Protestant. The spectrum of human experience is what American culture should be. And what the 78th Oscars showed the world.

---Izzy

P.S. Bush's approval ratings are at an all time low.
IRAQ UPDATE

British and Australian troops are expected to be pulling out of Iraq in May and there are rumours that the United States will be withdrawing its troops in 2007. If the Iraqi security forces can maintain order, a dubious supposition since the Iraqi police are rag-tag, corrupt, and without proper equipment.

Meanwhile,another US soldier was shot dead north of Baghdad on Sunday.

---Izzy

GET THE MEDS

God is talking to Tony. At least that is what Prime Minister Blair has hinted in his recent interviews about Iraq and how he will be judged on his decisions regarding the conflict. Last year the PM said that history would judge him.

I think the term is called "grasping for straws" or to put it in Biblical language, he is messing with Leviticus 19:12, among other verses.

Personally, I would be worried about history because, once your mouth is shuttered by death, Clio the Muse of History is a harsh and fickle mistress.

---Izzy










Recently, the Alan Rickman/Katherine Viner play My Name is Rachel Corrie was cancelled by the New York Theatre Workshop. There are two versions of the story involving the cancellation. The first reason, according to the playwrite Katherine Viner, was the situation was too edgy with the recent elections of Hamas and Ariel Sharon's ill health to produce the play.

The second reason
from the New York Theatre Workshop's artistic director James C. Nicola was that there was inadequete time to prepare for the staging of the play. If anyone has a definite take on this, please e-mail me so I can update my information. Thank you.

Meanwhile, Vermont Bread and Puppet Theatre is producing its own version of the Rachel Corrie drama through Seattle's Consolidated Works arts center March 8-11. If you are in the area, you may buy tickets here.

---Izzy

Saturday, March 04, 2006

WOODRUFF UPDATE
Bob Woodruff is making good progress,according to a Newsday article. He is also sitting up and smiling after severe head injuries and broken ribs. This from the Detroit News.

We here in Canada are still rooting for him and cameraman Doug Vogt.

---Izzy

PROGRAM NOTE

When Radio Free Canada writes about casualities in Iraq, I am deliberately leaving out Iraqi dead and wounded because I cannot keep pace with the amount of local mortality and injured. This is just an acknowledgement of all the tradegy.I feel the same sorrow for the Iraqis as I do those from Commonwealth nations.

---Izzy

MY OSCAR PICKS

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Capote” (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
George Clooney in “Syriana” (Warner Bros.)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Reese Witherspoon in “Walk the Line” (20th Century Fox)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Catherine Keener in “Capote” (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)

Best animated feature film of the year
“Howl’s Moving Castle” (Buena Vista)

Achievement in directing
“Brokeback Mountain” (Focus Features)
Ang Lee

Best documentary feature
Alex Gibney and Jason Kliot
“March of the Penguins” (Warner Independent Pictures)

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
“Brokeback Mountain” (Focus Features) Gustavo Santaolalla


Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
“Travelin’ Thru” from “Transamerica” (The Weinstein Company and IFC Films)
Music and Lyric by Dolly Parton

Best motion picture of the year
“Capote” (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)
An A-Line Pictures/Cooper’s Town/ Infinity Media Production
Caroline Baron, William Vince and Michael Ohoven, Producers


Adapted screenplay

“Capote” (UA/Sony Pictures Classics)
Screenplay by Dan Futterman

Original screenplay
“Crash” (Lions Gate)
Screenplay by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco
Story by Paul Haggis

We'll see what happens. Notez bien, I'm just doing the big awards.

---Izzy

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

BRING THEM HOME

Four British soldiers die from a roadside bomb attack.

Meanwhile,a third of all returning U.S. soldiers are seeking mental health care for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


The war on terror isn't being won. In Iraq, it is descending toward civil war. The conflict is also being brought back in the hearts and minds of returning vets whose health care the Bush administration is slashing veteran benefits. America owes better to its brave veterans. It's time to pull the plug on this farce of a war.

___Izzy

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

THE OTHER WAR

One GI dies in Afghanistan fighting and two are wounded.

The death toll for American troops in Afghanistan is 266 since the invasion of the country and numerous others have been wounded in both conflicts.

There are an estimated 765 American troops wounded from Afghanistan.


Izzy

TRAGIC UPDATE

Two British Soldiers Die From A Roadside Bomb In Iraq which puts the tally at 103 for that country.

There have been more than 1300 Iraqi deaths
since the Golden mosque bombing in Samarra.


From one article I read (and I barely got through it without losing dinner),morgues have the dead piled in cages where the bodies wait until claimed. The process is basically automated with the deceased being photographed and the pictures identified through a computer base regardless of the state of the corpse.


There is no, in the midst of this civil war between Sunnis and Shiites, any exit strategy now for the United States except one that involves turning tail and running like the nation's whipped dog of its foriegn policy.


---Izzy

Monday, February 27, 2006

NO SURPRISE

In more setbacks for the Bush administration,another U.S. soldiers dies, and some Sunnis and Shiites make friendly overtures to one another against the American and British occupation. But you could see this one coming for a long time. Before anything else, a foreign power that has invaded a country and is building four super bases is a threat to a nation's identity.

The United States is not a liberator to the Iraqis, but a conqueror that is increasingly a target for homegrown insurgence. This war will end in a shameful end for America because there is no love for the country in the Middle East. Even the arch conservative, William F. Buckley has conceded the Iraq war has failed miserably and there is no honourable way to disengage from the morass.

---Izzy

Sunday, February 26, 2006

THE FEARLESS LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD

Our Great Commander-In-Chief, George Walker Bush, got in a bit of biking scrape last year.

Where is Chevy Chase for the satire when you need him?

---Izzy

MORE SENSELESS DEATHS

Two U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bombs.

I hate blogging. This is painful. Prayers for the family

---Izzy

HISTORY GIFT

Occasionally on these pages, Radio Free Canada will post a random History Gift from one of the Commonwealth countries.This Gift is from Scotland.
Enjoy!

---Izzy

IRAQ UPDATE

Another dead soldier (noncombat) and ID of previously killed.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

COPYCAT

Well, isn't that special....

The Religious Right, in one of its responses to the soaring popularity of gay films in the Oscar nominations, has created a ripoff t-shirt that uses the breaking of the Ten Commandment tablets on Mt. Sinai as Brokeback Mountain.

While it is flirting with copyright infringement of the movie, this garment idea from Second Coming Clothing company is also not very creative. The appropriate word here is "tacky". I wouldn't be caught at the Rapture wearing it. Even Heaven has standards.

Recently, shirts from the Brokeback filmset were auctioned for $100,000 to benefit a childrens' charity . Unlike the 'me-too!' tawdriness from the Christian company, the Brokeback shirts are an authentic part of movie culture.

---Izzy

Thursday, February 23, 2006

PATRIOT GUARD

The Patriot Guard continues to shield families from Rev. Fred Phelps and his mongrel interpretation of Christianity. Yea, Patriot Guard!

---Izzy
ABC CAMERAMAN UPDATE
Bob Woodruff continues to heal from the IED attack while ABC cameraman Doug Vogt is on his way home.



Here's to the continued recovery of both men.



Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues to be bloody with seven soldiers killed by IEDs Wednesday, bringing the death total of American troops to 2287 dead and 9007 wounded.

All our prayers to Woodruff, Vogt, those in Iraq and their families.



---Izzy

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

JESUS, IS THAT YOU?

According to some sources, the New Tribes Mission has been inciting peaceful native people in Venezuela to violence by giving them guns.

Whatever happened to the idea of Jesus as the Prince of Peace?

---Izzy

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

VP ASSASSIN UPDATE

VP Hunting Victim Recovers.


Pity.

----Izzy

SAGO MINE SURVIVOR IS RECOVERING

The sole survivor of the Sago Mine disater is recovering.
REPORTER UPDATE
Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt continue to recover from the IED attack in Iraq.


Happy Birthday to Alan Rickman.



60



Born on this day in 1946.



Cheers from all your fans.



---Izzy

TRUE HEROES

“The Reverend” Fred Phelps and his fellow Westboro Baptist Church members are touring the country to protest at solider funerals. Phelps’ claim is that IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are killing American military personnel in Iraq because God is punishing the United States for permitting homosexuality, among other so-called sins.  

Hookay… so someone in Kansas forgot to take their meds this morning. Gays aren’t allowed in the military so why should God bother with that particular sector of society? The claims of Mr. Phelps and his followers that God is targeting  soldiers and miners is somewhere off in an imaginary land similar to that inhabited by people like Jennifer Giroux of Women Influencing the Nation. At the time of the Southeast Asia tsunami, Ms. Giroux pronounced that the disaster occurred because America is sinful.  Obviously, she did not pay much attention in geography class. Asia is a different continent than North America and they don’t have similar cultures. More to the point, there is no cause and effect between someone enjoying Brokeback Mountain or Capote   in Vancouver or San Francisco, or TransAmerica in Seattle and an insurgent planting an IED in Baghdad. There again is a continental and cultural divide.

Furthermore, sin is in the eye of the beholder. I do not think homosexuality to be any type of sin Worrying about gays being evil is ridiculous when there are 37 million people in poverty in the United States. A starving child is a far worse crime in any decent religion.

The Phelps protests are causing much grief to the families of the slain soldiers and, more recently, to the miners who died in mining disasters. However, a group of champions has arisen to protect those in mourning. A group of bikers, the Patriot Guard, shields mourners from hate mongers like Phelps at funerals. As the descendant of the first Revolutionary War hero at the Battle of Point Pleasant in West Virginia , I bless these bikers for their honourable conduct in times of grief

---Izzy

Friday, February 17, 2006

DON'T BANG YOUR BUTT ON THE DOOR

In Washington State, Tim Eyman  is challenging the civil rights bill for gays and lesbians via the initiative process.

Mr. Eyman is known by all civil people in Washington State as a greedy opportunistic skink who at one point defrauded voters of political funds during anti-tax initiatives. Each initiative that he files is not to open discussion to the serious issues of the day but to line his own self-serving and unworthy pockets.

He poses as the champion of the taxpayers but, in fact, his shenanigans cost valuable resources for frivolous avarice. This money should be going to help the less fortunate in our communities. Instead, the initiative process pads his miserly wallet.

The voters of Washington State should disregard the latest attempt by Mr. Eyman to enrich himself at the expense of others and send him packing like any other carpetbagger.
---Izzy

Thursday, February 16, 2006

FOOTNOTE

A follow up to my blog on Vice President Dick Cheney’s shooting of his hunting partner. It seems from some reports, that the VP was a little, um,impaired.
A man with his health problems should not be out hunting, or being the second in command to the President of the United States.
---Izzy

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

STATUS QUO

According to the latest issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, same-sex marriages improve gay and lesbian well-being by reducing drug problems in homosexuals. Gay marriage also helps stem the progression of AIDS in individuals that are in committed relationships.  (Note here: this link has a cute picture of Sir Elton John and his partner, Canadian David Furnish. I’m embarrassed that Radio Free Canada forgot to congratulate the lucky couple on their wedding in December. Good luck to the two of you.)

These findings are also consistent with the American Psychological Association’s endorsement of same-sex unions last year where the organization stated that such arrangements benefit not only the couples but the community as well.

Canada should keep same-sex marriages for the health and social benefits that they bring to the community.

---Izzy

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006

Alan Rickman and Rachel Viner have won three Theatregoers’ Choice Awards for the playMy Name is Rachel Corrie.The play is about the former Olympia Washington resident Rachel Corrie and what motivated her to leave her home in Washington to take up the Palestinian cause in Israel.
Although I never knew Ms. Corrie, I lived in Olympia as a child in the seventies; I went to Evergreen State College for a stint before completing my Lit degree at another university, and resided in Oly for several years as an adult. The only memory I have associated with Rachel Corrie was after her death.

Every year in Olympia there is a celebration near Earth Day, called theProcession of the Species where the beauty of the earth is honoured and cherished. In the festival, anyone who wants to participate will dress up as one of the Elements: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. Some people costume as animals, others as geographical entities such as lakes or volcanoes, et cetera. The police block off the streets and the revellers parade around downtown for one to two hours. The celebration also acts as a food drive where the fee for the experience is donations for the local food bank. The Olympia Procession is the founding Procession of similar festivals around the world.

After Ms. Corrie’s death, many of the participants dressed as peace doves in her memory since signs are not permitted in the parade. It was a fitting nonverbal memorial to one of ours, a Pacific Northwesterner.

---Izzy

GO FIGURE


When I went to Northern Voice I got a tshatshke, another T-shirt. Almost immediately, I looked at the care label. However, instead of being made inNicaragua like the previous T-shirt, the clothing that I got in Canada was a sweatshop free item made in Los Angeles. Odd, that.
---Izzy

Sunday, February 12, 2006

HOORAY FOR HUGO

The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has kicked the New Tribes Missions out of his country. The New Tribes goal is to convert indigenous peopleto Jesus before the First People are reached by 'civilization'. The New Tribes is an evil group because they require the tribes’ conversion to Christianity or the First Peoples will not receive food and medical aid from New Tribes.

What the New Tribes missionaries is doing is called cultural genocide. One of my ancestors went to an American tribal school to make him white, to strip him of his pride and dignity as a Chinook. This humiliation was something that the Bush administration completed when they delisted the Chinook as a band (tribe).

Hooray for President Hugo Chavez for getting rid of the spiritual vermin that would destroy untouched indigenous peoples and their cultures.


---Izzy

Thursday, February 09, 2006

LIFE IS CHEAP

The Sidney Coal Company is planning to hire non-English speaking Hispanic coal workers for their East Kentucky mines at the paltry wage of six dollars an hour. The average wage in Kentucky is $12.57 an hour and average wage for a miner is $15.89 an hour.

Now, you’ll read it here first: the Sidney Coal Company is owned by Massey Energy Corporation. That’s right; it’s the same company that was responsible for two miner deaths in West Virginia. What is the hiring of Hispanic labourers in the coal mines without the language to protest or to protect themselves against unsafe working conditions worth? Well, Massey Energy has racked up an 18 percent increase in their profits. One of their own is being tapped by the White House to head the Mining Safety and Health Administration.  Furthermore, one of theirs was also a former MSHA executive.

Something stinks. It isn’t the fumes coming from the mines but the rotting corpse of corporate nepotism that characterizes the Bush administration. In the next election, maybe it’s time to let fresh air into American government by cleaning out the (White) house.
---Izzy

Monday, February 06, 2006

SHOW ME THE MONEY

It would be fiscally irresponsible for Stephen Harper’s government to ban gay marriage in Canada. The vote to make same-sex marriage illegal again is close and only an economically insignificant religious right is lobbying for the change.

American gays and lesbians have a greater majority of passports than do other United States citizens. They also have more spending clout with $515 billion compared to the $5.6 billion  in the American Christian market. Canadian gays and lesbians have $75 billion plus.

Clearly, this kind of  gay and lesbian economic clout is not going to go away any time soon. A ban on same-sex marriage and further restrictions would make gay and lesbian tourists from America skittish. The domestic Canadian homosexual market is also not one to lightly dismiss. For the sake of financial prudence, same-sex marriage should continue in Canada.

----Izzy




It would be fiscally irresponsible for Stephen Harper’s government to ban gay marriage in Canada. The vote to make same-sex marriage illegal again is close and only an economically insignificant religious right is lobbying for the change.

American gays and lesbians have a greater majority of passports than do other United States citizens. They also have more spending clout with $515 billion compared to the $5.6 billion  in the American Christian market. Canadian gays and lesbians have $75 billion plus.

Clearly, this kind of  gay and lesbian economic clout is not going to go away any time soon. A ban on same-sex marriage and further restrictions would make gay and lesbian tourists from America skittish. The domestic Canadian homosexual market is also not one to lightly dismiss. For the sake of financial prudence, same-sex marriage should continue in Canada.
----Izzy

Saturday, February 04, 2006

OBITS

Betty Friedan

Coretta Scott King


Rest in peace and give light to new generations from your memory.

---Izzy

Thursday, February 02, 2006

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THIS.....

American soldiers fired on a Canadian diplomatic vehicle in Iraq.

FIDDLING WHILE AMERICA DIES

The death toll continues in the West Virginia mines. Wednesday, two miners died in separate incidents.
The White House response to the tragedies was to appoint Richard Stickler, a former executive at a subsidiary of Massey Energy in West Virginia, to run the Mine Safety and Health Administration.  Under Stickler’s watch as coal company manager for the Beth Energy Mines, the worker injury rates were more than the national average. In his confirmation hearings, Mr. Stickler argues that federal mining regulations are adequate and there is no need for further mining legistlation.   The Massey Energy Company, Stickler’s past employer, owns the mine where 2 miners perished on January 19th of this year .
There needs to be an accounting. The Canadians saved 72 miners from death by adequately insuring that the miners had safety rooms to go to during a disaster. These rooms are not required in the United States. It is not surprising that there is so little concern for ordinary Americans from the federal government since this is the same Bush administration that ignored the perils of Hurricane Katrina to the extent that Secretary of State Condi Rice was shopping for shoes in New York when that disaster hit. No one, according to the Government Accounting Office, was in charge at the federal level for ensuring public safety before and after the hurricane.
Furthermore, there are no plans coming from the Bush administration for the 2006 hurricane season.  

---Izzy

Monday, January 30, 2006

NO MIRACLE OCCURED HERE

The Canadians got it right. The 72 mine workers who survived uninjured   in Saskatchewan had the correct training and equipment. Without the emergency rooms in the mines that were sealed off with food, water, and oxygen; the miners who knew safety procedures, and the fire fighters prepared for mine fires, this would have been a devastating tragedy.  
This “miracle” is one that occurred because there was money well spent to safe- keep the lives of workers.  
A PRAYER

Here is to the speedy recovery of
Bob Woodruff and Canadian Doug Vogt after they survived an IED attack in Iraq.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

MURDER MOST FOUL

So more miners have died.  Their deaths were entirely preventable but the Bush administration did nothing to ensure that miners could safely exit dangerous situations, and gutted funding for governmental oversight of mines.
I ask where is the sanctity of life when miners or other workers are labouring for their families’ future are denied a safe workplace? It is imperative that labourers who work in dangerous conditions, for their families and for the country’s economic prosperity, not be excluded from lifesaving equipment and work practices because of niggling corporate accounting concerns. A government or a company that cuts development of safety equipment and practices comes close to being guilty of bureaucratic homicide. Mining and other labour concerns should be a priority in America’s and any country’s economic plan. The deaths of the miners make the lives of their children more precarious and the deliberate ending of worker safety through budget cuts exposes the hypocrisy of the “pro-life” Bush government.

GRATITUDE

Thank you, Ed Murray for stewarding the legislation in Washington State that banned discrimination against gays and lesbians in housing, insurance, and employment. As a native to Washington through my First People ancestors and my Oregon Trail pioneer forebears, to me you are a true example of Pacific Northwest tolerance and moral progress.  
Thank you also to Governor Christine Gregoire  for signing the law.
But most of all, thank you to the late Cal Anderson. His vision and inspiration remains a guiding light against the forces of homophobic bigotry and prejudice.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

BUTT OUT, EH?


Hurrah for PM elect Stephen Harper for standing up to the United States about Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic waters.
It is impertinent for David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada to oppose another country's military and economic plans, especially since the area in question has the potential for wealth in gas resources, fishing, and shipping. There are also security risks such as narco trafficking and diamond smuggling. These are proper international concerns, not how Canada conducts its military and financial agenda.

---Izzy

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NOT A CAKE WALK

Stephen Harper, although elected as PM, does not have a mandate.  He did poorly in urban areas such as Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. He faces a hostile Senate and has an agenda to cosy up to America that will be disastrous.

America is a country that is facing an emerging economic crisis. There are rising bankruptcy filings in the U.S., a huge national debt, and a large trade deficit.
In the country of my birth, the infrastructure is decaying because of a war that has cost billions in dollars and thousands of lives . The American health care system is privatised and leaves millions without health care. The country suffers from a tech deficit. The United States has been ranked twenty-eighth by the World Economic Forum in terms of its ability to tackle domestic and global environmental problems.

Following an American form of government would be disastrous for Canada. The peril for Stephan Harper, if he were to have close ties with the United States, would be to emulate President George Bush's sagging ratings, and have a short term as Prime Minister.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A SAD ANNIVERSARY

The common claim of pro-life advocates is that child abuse rates go up when abortion is freely available. However, that is not statistically true. Abortion rates are going down but child fatalities due to abuse are going up. More sadly, abortion rates are going up among poor women because of increasing child and general poverty rates.

These are not the soundbites you hear on the daily news about Roe vs. Wade but what needs to be noted.  Abortion shouldn’t be the issue but the increasing hopelessness of the American economy should be apparent to anyone who sees these tragic statistics of people without health care, without jobs, and without hope.

The focus should not be on whether or not abortion is legal but how the United States will respond to an economy that is becoming quicksand for so many women, children, and men. The problem of unplanned pregnancies won’t be solved by limiting abortion rights but by creating a country with a more equitable standard of living for each and every citizen at every stage of life.














Wednesday, January 18, 2006

HAPPY DANCE

I’m joyful today because yesterday I was hunting around the Internet and figured out; with the help of some genealogy resources I had in hard copy, that some of my ancestors were Canadian First People. Specifically, my ancestors were M├ętis or “half-blood” of mixed French-Canadian and Chippewa (Ojibwa) ancestry in addition to my Native American Chinook, Yakama, and Iroquois forebears. I’m proud to return to Canada, the land of my origins.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

TWO LITTLE WORDS

Paul Martin is a weasel. The fiasco over the Chinese head tax should show that he is unfit to be PM. The Canadian government created the $500 head tax in 1885 to discourage Chinese immigration. Further legislation in 1923 banned Chinese people from this country and the hateful law was only repealed in 1947. Certainly, redress is in order.

However, Paul Martin did not apologize in good faith. He sought the advice of lawyers so that his government could duck legal and financial responsibility to those descendants of the head tax payers. Only when the lawyers assured him that his administration would bear no burden, did he offer a too late apology.

I know about historical wrongdoing and am not afraid of the responsibility that goes along with that knowledge. My paternal ancestors had slaves and made manacles for slave ships. I'm sorry for all the horror and grief that my ancestors caused.

Now, that doesn't hurt me to apologize. Why can't Paul Martin do the same?

Friday, January 13, 2006

LOCK OUT

So school girl killer Karla Homolka is applying for a Canadian passport? Holmolka Applies for Canadian Passport

I think it is a pity that a judge has lifted the restrictions on her.  An inhumane and unrepentant monster of her ilk should not be free to move about as she pleases.  Homolka’s crimes were sufficient to forever bar her from the human species. The murders that she assisted in went far beyond the pale of rational society in any culture. If Homolka is able, and if she does travel, she will always be marked with the blood of her innocent victims. No civilized nation will gladly have such an obscenity cross their borders. Wherever Homolka may flee, there is no escaping the guilt indelibly marked on her history. There is no redemption, or future for Karla except as a hated and shunned fugitive. Radio Free certainly hopes that Homolka, in her quest for safe passage to other countries, will find only spat upon rejection and a lonely, friendless end.


----Izzy

Thursday, January 05, 2006

IN MEMORIAM

I have thought of some time about what I would write to memorialize the miners who died in the Sago Mine tragedy. The only word that can summarize all the grief is a simple but deadly one to many labourers.

DEREGULATION.

The Sago Mine had numerous safety violations through the years. It was a failing business bought by vulture capitalist Wilber L. Ross through his International Coal Group. Many of the fines the company received were for as little as $60.
Palm Beach Post

The Bush administration would like to have America’s citizens believe that business can regulate itself for prosperous owners and workers. In reality, this administration’s whoredom to big business will take us back to the days of Victorian England where people had miserable short lives and painful deaths because of squalid working and living conditions. The Sago Mine could easily be Life in the Iron Mills; or the Korl Woman by Rebecca Harding Davis.

2006 is an election year. Please remember the workers of the Sago Mine when you cast your ballot and vote for legislators who believe in worker rights and worker safety. It will be a fitting memorial to those lost in the mine.
---Izzy


IT ONLY GETS WORSE

Poor Barbie, things keep getting rougher for her: The Sun Times
Not only does she have Muslim competition in the (well-covered) shape of the Fulla doll, but it’s okay and even healthy to trash Barbie if you’re an 11-year-old girl. This according to a University of Bath professor.
I despise the Plastically Endowed One as much as any normal woman but I also have the suspicion that the preteens are gay-bashing CWAers in training and that fear requires me to call for an immediate end to Barbie immolation.

---Izzy

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

STATE OF CONFUSION

The Religious Right is at it again. The brave souls over at Concerned Women of America are defending the innocent children of the United States from evil villains.

Are these intrepid heroines fighting the rising child homicide rate in Michigan?

Muskegon Chronicle
  

No.


Or tackling the lack of health care in the United States

MonstersandCritics.com

No.


Or doing something about the climbing poverty rate and stagnating wages?

Thinkprogress.org


No, our saviours over at the CWA are worried about----DRUM ROLL---Barbie.

CWFA

It seems the little minx has a drop box on her site that asks 4-year-olds whether they are male, female, or “I don’t know.”  


I have worked in the early childhood field and it is normal for tots to have some gender confusion. A five-year-old, a very bright five, asked me how you can tell boys from girls. When I told her the anatomical difference, she was embarrassed and replied, “No, boys have short hair.” When she was younger, she went around calling herself a boy until she realized that boys misbehave and girls are good. It was a nice sentiment but I know plenty of girls (myself included) who like to, um, misbehave, once in a while. Gender is a gradual process because person is not born with the intellectual distinction between male and female. Genital orientation is just that, only plumbing.  Everything else is culture. There is not a God-given mandate as to how one will express one’s unique and individual personality simply because there’s something swinging between the legs or not.  

To illustrate the absolute nonsense of the Religious Right’s take on gender, I think about my interests. I like going into hardware shops and doing repairs around the house.  The music that I listen to is dark Goth and melancholia. I abhor pinks and pastels in all their manifestations.  I’ve known men who would rather not bother with such pedantic household tasks and who listen to classical or new age while they cook.  Oh, and by the way, I’m hetero. So there aren’t any hard and fast delineations about gender save for the biological ones. There are more important issues to concern Americans.

The economy with a growing trade deficit.
International Herald Tribune

A continued weak dollar.
Austrailian Financial Review
Investors.com

Outsourcing:
Canada.com

You get my drift.
The machinations over at the CWA against Barbie, Tinky Winky, and Sponge Bob Square Pants show that the organization’s members are not concerned America citizens who are working toward thoughtful and productive solutions that will genuinely aid children. Instead, the CWAers are floozies looking for cheap tricks to turn for their own financial and political benefit.
----Izzy