Void Where Prohibited

On January 1, 2009 this page will be prohibiting the use of a number of words, phrases, and expressions which I find either to be inappropriate, annoying, or banal in their overuse during 2008. As a public service, the list appears below.

Maverick - Unless you're referring to the old TV Western starring James Garner, please refrain from using this term, as John McCain's subservience to the Rethuglican Party has drained it from any real meaning.

Crackberry - Living next to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, this page has never felt it was that appropriate to liken RIM's signature personal communications device with a destructive cocaine derivative, often laced with heroin, and has destroyed the lives of many of my neighbours.

Undemocratic - The House of Commons is composed of 308 Members of Parliament, each of whom were elected by their respective constituents. Each of them swears an oath to act in the best interests of the country as they see fit. Sometimes that means forming a coalition to remove an obtuse bully from 24 Sussex. It also means no one has the right to claim 'this isn't what we voted for.'

Reality TV - If you squint through the credits of Survivor, The Bachelor or Big Brother, you'll notice that these shows have more writers than any sitcom or television drama. Who's being manipulated more, the participants on these shows or the viewers accepting them as legitimate entertainment?

Support our Troops - This page regards the men and women of our Armed Forces in high esteem and wishes that they will be safe in the performance of their duties and swiftly returned home. 'Support our Troops' is code for 'My country right or wrong' and its time to come up with another catchphrase to express my aforementioned sentiment.

The Best Place on Earth - The Province of British Columbia has the highest rate of Child Poverty in Canada, and Gordon Campbell has the gall to have ICBC to print that on our license plates. One would think the Best Place on Earth would have no Child Poverty, a livable minimum wage, and Social Housing so people have a base from which to lift themselves out of poverty.

Nation - As a sports fan, this page is tired of bandwagoning fans who root for whatever team generates the most national media attention. Root for the home team or shut up. This also goes for supporters of any national soccer team who have never set foot in (or have no family members from) that particular country.

Under the Bus - This page has nothing but sympathy for what the good people at Greyhound, Trailways, and local transit authorities have gone though over the past year, as it appeared that no politician or celebrity was spared the cruel and inhuman practice of having his or her carcass metaphorically tossed below a very large motorcoach. Enough is enough.

OMG - Anyone else tired of text messaging jargon working its way into the pop lexicon? FFS, get an actual keyboard.


Didn't get any of these either.

The Best of 604 Online Awards were handed out last week to local bloggers. This page gets mentioned peripherally around these kind of events, probably due to the fact that I'm on The Tyee's blogroll and I've made a habit of getting in the face of editorial boards. As far as I know, I didn't win anything, I wasn't nominated for anything, and that's fine.

The term 'nominated' is analogous to the term 'named', meaning that if I was ever considered for an award, I'd have to give my other name (the one I write cheques with) to the organizers, show up at the awards show, etc. Won't happen - I'm not a Miss604 or Vancouver Manifesto who wants to be a celebrity or the hub of a social network. Why do some bloggers think there's a 'community' of bloggers? There are some bloggers who I met personally I would probably punch in the face, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind taking a shot at this page either if we we were in the same room. I don't care how many hits I get as long as readers get some kind of reaction. I post because I'm reacting to something, and it's better than kicking over newspaper boxes or getting pizzas delivered to the offices of MPs, MLAs, or City Councillors who just pissed me off.

Congratulations to the winners, and excuse this page if I keep doing what I've been doing, because that's what I feel like doing. At this point I will be signing off for a seasonal hiatus and will return December 31 for some kind of year in review thing. Happy Holidays.


The Five Ring Circus Goes On Without Me

This page, despite having put in an order for 2010 Olympic tickets in early October, and is an actual, real live resident of the Olympic Host City, was denied tickets for the Games in yesterday's Priority Ticket Allocation. On a few occasions this page has asserted that VANOC is nothing more than a criminal cabal bent on soaking local taxpayers, criminalizing homelessness, trespassing on traditional aboriginal territory and serving as a propaganda vehicle for Gordon Campbell's Public Private Partnershit-addicted B.C. Lieberal administration. It appears that we now have some insult to go with our injury.

Many of you are asking 'WTF would he order tickets for the Olympics?' Short answer: I like sports, I don't blame the athletes for the strum und drang surrounding these Games, and anything I spend now means other people won't be spending it on their tax bills later.

For those of you scoring at home, I used my other name (the one Charlie Smith at the Georgia Straight is still waiting on) to order tickets, so VANOC would have no idea what I really think of them. VANOC thinks that residents of the City of Vancouver, the ones who saw their property taxes creep up and have had to endure a multitude of disruptions as the city has become a perpetual construction site thanks to deluded condomaniacal speculation, didn't deserve any priority for getting tickets, so, I guess to entrench their sucking position on the federal teat, they just opened up ticket sales to "all Canadians".

After a quick glance of a number of American-based discussion boards related to the Olympics, and the bare-faced gloating about obtaining tickets this page can update VANOC's definition of 'Canadian' to anyone who has access to a Canadian credit card number, be it an aunt, uncle, second cousin, or Facebook frenemy. Did VANOC even think of blocking IP addresses from outside Canada so that foreigners couldn't get ticket information? How about insisting on Driver's License or ID card numbers for each person that would be using tickets to guarantee citizenship, a move which could have also served the purpose of shaving a little off security costs? On top of that, how can VANOC riff about reducing their 'carbon footprint' when no real effort was made to get tickets into the hands of people with the shortest distance to travel to the Games?

VANOC pissed off the people at the margins regarding these Olympics a long time ago. Now they've pissed off the people in the middle, something which organizers of the Olympics in Calgary in 1988 were careful not to do, if only because the Internet as we know it didn't exist yet (they went to the Calgary Stampede for volunteers, not workopolis.com, and locals had first priority for tickets). These are turning out to be a soulless, globalized games in which accommodating the needs and aspirations of those who actually live in the Host City simply doesn't matter. If anyone reading this post is visiting for the 2010 Olympics, you now understand why the welcome you receive 14 months from now won't be so warm.


Holiday Bargains

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been charged with, among other things, trying to sell off the United States Senate seat formerly held by President-Elect Barack Obama. For those of you scoring at home, Senate positions which are vacated in cases like Obama's or Joe Biden's seat in Delaware are filled through appointment by the Governor of the State in which that Senate seat resides. No word has been given yet as to Blagojevich's asking price to represent Illinois in the Senate.

On another note, one Michael Ignatieff of Toronto has eschewed his Tsarist pedigree and Ivory Tower to settle for something cheaper.


The Choice of a Light Bridgade

As a result of Stephane Dion's sudden resignation and the impending non-confidence vote on the January 26 budget, the next Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will be chosen by about 800 of its members. On the one hand, this page wishes that Grits could get their act together so that their Coalition with New Democrat MPs would actually work, on the other, the confusion and blowback is pretty much what they deserve for clinging to the archaic process of using a delegated convention to choose their leaders. Why is anybody alarmed about Dion's second-class performance as Leader of the Opposition when he was far from the Liberals' first choice in 2006? Mr. Green Shift only ended up on top thanks to the backing of Gerard Kennedy, which allowed him to split through the Rae - Ignatieff animus which still fractures the Natural Governing Party (tm).

Choosing a Leader from among the Liberals' Parliamentary Caucus would not make for the best optics. The problem for the Liberals, is that none of the other processes under consideration pass the smell test either. A riding-by-riding fistfight between Rae and Ignatieff supporters at nomination meetings while busloads of Instant Liberals are dropped off isn't going to impress the voting public. A caucus decision is also more democratic than the hybrid 'consultation' process being driven by the Party Executive to pick their interim leader. The Liberal Members of Parliament have a mandate that extends outside of the Party and into the voting public, i.e. the people you're trying to sell a Coalition government to.

The smart thing to do would be to have the Caucus pick the Leader, and drop the Convention in favour of the One Member One Vote process that the Conservatives and New Democrats use. The Liberals need a Leader now and transparency soon. Having the Executive straw poll a handful of members then designate Rae or Ignatieff as their heir apparent gives them neither.


Dog bites Man. Calgary hates Liberals.

On Saturday afternoon, approximately 2,000 people who didn't pay attention during their Grade 9 Social Studies class to understand how Parliamentary Democracy actually works rallied at Calgary's Olympic Plaza to denounce the proposed Liberal-New Democrat Coalition. Judging from the photos of the event, it appears that there were almost as many Alberta flags as there were Canadian flags. If there's one thing this page gets tired of pretty quickly, it's Calgarians who scream about the country heading for disaster whenever they're confronted with the reality that a disproportionate sentiment of petrocarbons does not, in fact, give them the right to rule the country. At least Quebec Sovereigntists want a positive relationship with the rest of Canada, Stephen Harper is on record that he thinks this country is "a Northern European welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it. "

This page is underwhelmed - in the spiritual home of reactionary capitalism, contempt for human rights and outright ignorance of the environmental damage inflicted by Alberta's Neofascist Petrocapitalism, the biggest show of support that the Tory puppet regime could attract, on a Saturday, is 2,000 people. Hmph. What's the matter, Brownshirt Cowtown Hotheads, are your friends and neighbours not so into Right Wing Mob Rule as you thought they were?

Unfortunately, as Harper and the Tories continue to polarize the electorate rather than actually work with the Opposition Parties on finding our way out of the current economic crisis, this page is certain we'll be hearing more from these reactionary bellicose idiots, and there is nothing more dangerous than a reactionary bellicose idiot with time on his hands. And here I thought Calgarians worked all the time whenever they weren't demonizing people in other parts of Canada who don't embrace their troglodyte Toby Keith mentality. Maybe the Prime Minister's idea of putting a Firewall around Alberta isn't such a bad one after all, if it means that Canadians will be protected from the toxic Palinesque vitriol radiating from just east of the Rockies.


Everything I Need to Know About the Parliamentry Crisis I Learned from George Lucas

This week my TV has been tuned to the 'crisis' in Parliament: the building of a coalition to defeat Stephen Harper, the Weapons of Mass Distraction unleashed by the Conservatives to discredit the Liberal/New Democrat alliance, and the subsequent prorogation so that the battle carries on in a new episode next year.

Last week, this page treated himself to the Thanksgiving Star Wars movie marathon on Spike TV, and to be honest, I don't see that big of a difference....

'Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering.'
-Jedi Master Yoda

'Remember back to your early teachings. All who gain power are afraid to lose it.'
'There is no interest in the common good. There is no civility, only politics.'
'Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.'
- Chancellor/Galactic Emporer Palpatine

'You can't stop the change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.'
-Shmi Skywalker (mother of Anakin Skywalker)

'The ability to speak doesn't make you intelligent, now get out of here.'
-Jedi Master Qui-Gon Gin

'What's all this noise? A-a battle! Oh no, there's been some terrible mistake; i'm programmed for ettique, not destruction! '
-Protocol Droid C-3PO

'So this is how Liberty dies. With Thunderous applause'
- Senator Padme Amidala

'Crush them! Make them suffer'
- General Grievous

'He has control of the senate and the courts! He's too dangerous to be left alive! '
- Jedi Master Mace Windu

'I do not fear the dark side as you do! I have brought peace, freedom, security , freedom to my new Empire! '
-Sith Lord Darth Vader (formerly Anakin Skywalker)

'Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him? '
-Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi

'Your friend is quite a mercenary. I wonder if he really cares about anything…or anybody. '
-Princess Leia Organa

'You slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler. You've got a lot of guts coming here, after what you pulled. '
-Former Cloud City Administrator Lando Calrissian

'I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further. '
-Sith Lord Darth Vader

'I'm out of it for a little while, and everybody gets delusions of grandeur. '
-Millenium Falcon Captain Han Solo

'Your overconfidence is your weakness.'
-Jedi and former Moisture Farmer Luke Skywalker

Whatever happens on January 26, you know it will be so much better with the John Williams Orchestra in the background....


What Not To Wear

Stephen Harper will meet Governor General Michaelle Jean in less than half an hour. Jean represents what's good about Canada, a woman who overcame the turmoil of growing up in Haiti and became a Vice-Regent of great intelligence and impeccable taste. Harper represents anything but.

Hopefully, the Governor General, who is always impeccably dressed for every occasion, could give a little fashion advice to the Prime Minister. What happened to the sweater vest? The bully posturing and hyper-polarization Harper currently clings to is soooo Bush Administration. Screaming about 'backroom deals with separatists' is just a little too Reform Party if someone is trying to make a positive impression with voters in Quebec.

Now Harper wants to give Prorogation a try, thinking he'll look good in a deferred Parliament. Jean should nix that idea because all it does is make the Prime Minister look desparate.


It's the most...WTF...time...of the year...

Even though America is looking forward to the all-new, all-different, all-inclusive Obama administration, the culture wars continue to drag on, particularly around the rhetorical minefield that is the Holiday Season. And for those of you scoring at home, I didn't say 'Holiday Season' when I meant 'Xmas' in some attempt to be politically correct. For this page, the season starts at Thanksgiving (the original one still practised in the U.S., not the one the Canadian government moved to October in the 50's) and ends at New Year's Day. Everything in between: Hanukkah, Xmas, Kwanzaa, Ramadan (in years when it's December), is part of that season. This page welcomes all faiths and traditions.

Including the growing tradition of faithlessness. The Freedom from Religion Foundation erected a billboard near Washington's state capitol in Olympia yesterday as a response to seasonal decorations on the legislature grounds, and to remind people that "Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."

"Reason's Greetings," indeed.


Not in Our House

Today this page conducts a Social Studies class for all the Conservative sock puppets screaming bloody murder about the prospect of a Liberal - New Democrat coalition government. The topic is Representative Democracy and the Parliamentary System.

Many of you are claiming that the Dion Septuplets (x 10) have no right to strike a deal with the Jack Pack because they're not the government Canadians elected for six weeks ago. Your claim is wrong: at no time do Canadians ever elect a government, we elect a Parliament, and in a minority situation, whatever working majority can be patched together from the rival parties will rule the day. The Canwest papers can claim, as they did in front page editorials last weekend, that voters rejected Stephane Dion, but the reality is that those voters went to the polls to elect a single MP. Canwest and other media outlets can blame themselves for their political coverage which focuses almost exclusively on the Party Leaders, which gives the public the false impression of direct election for Canada's Head of Government.

Members of Parliament are bound by the Constitution to act in the best interests of their constituents. It is in the best interests of constituents that MPs stand up to a government that since obtaining its fractional October mandate, has shown nothing but contempt for electoral reform, collective bargaining, and the needs of working Canadians who have been sideswiped by the seismic global economic shift. If that means sitting side by side with the Liberals for a couple of years, so be it. If that means taking a softer line with Quebec Sovereigntists for a while, so be it. A Party whose supporters who fundamentally hate Government should not be running our government, and it's time that this band of thugs be given a time out.