News, politics, progressive culture, music, acoustic music

Archive for May, 2009

Dr. Tiller Assassinated

with 23 comments

Crazy right wingers have succeeded in killing Dr. George Tiller of Kansas because he performed abortions.

Here is a brief portrait of Dr. Tiller by one who knew him.

There is a suspect in custody as of this moment, though charges will not be laid until tomorrow.

See the classy comment at the top of the home page of the website of the forced birth group Army of God. The rest of the page is decorated with photos of aborted fetuses so as to shock and titillate their readers.

Violence like this fills me with rage. The rhetoric and tactics of the forced birth movement fills me with rage as does their enablers and cheerleaders in the corporate media. I might not be in the mood to speak politely to a “pro-life” advocate for awhile.

Give credit where it’s due; at least Operation Rescue and their allies don’t pretend to be rational citizens.

Written by slothropia

May 31st, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria is an Idiot

with 2 comments

Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria wants a conceal and carry law for that city.

Actually, “Ardis wants to see legislation passed in Springfield allowing Peoria to enact an ordinance permitting citizens the right to carry a concealed weapon.”

I think this idea is stupid, crazy and maybe racist. You see, Peoria, like a smaller version of Chicago, has a lot of shootings. Gunfire has taken the lives of a lot of young Peorians in recent years. So Mayor Jim Ardis thinks that the solution to that problem is to flood the streets of Peoria with more firearms.

Now I don’t live in Peoria, but I know somebody who does, and that is the person(s) who run(s) the blog Emerge Peoria They said, “I don’t dislike Mayor Ardis, but on a smaller scale, he kind of does for me, what Ken Hinton does for a lot of you. 🙂 I often find myself asking “wth”? To raise the highly excitable issue of concealed carry at a time when the City of Peoria is in the midst of a rash of shootings – once again I am left asking “wth”.

Maybe Mayor Jim Ardis is trying to impress Rush Limbaugh and the ditto heads who run the GOP. Maybe Mayor Jim Ardis doesn’t care about all those dead Peoria kids because the shootings don’t happen in his neighborhood.

What this episode reveals is that Peoria is not one city, but two. Mayor Jim Ardis only lives iin the nice one.

Maybe this also helps explain why District 150 is dysfunctional.

Written by slothropia

May 30th, 2009 at 8:58 pm

B.C. Election Live Blog 2 and Last

without comments

CTV has called it for the Liberals and CBC has them leading or elected in 50 seats. My first prediction was clearly the better one (5 to 10 seat Liberal majority).

Surely the autopsy will begin immediately. Was it the carbon tax? Was it ever there for the NDP? Should James step down and if so who’s next?

Signing off from Central Illinois (still wish I was on the rain coast).

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

B.C. Election Live Blog 1

without comments

Right now the Liberals are leading the NDP with 50 leading or elected to 35. Popular vote Lead for the Liberals at about 5%. NDP victory still possible but odds still long.

It is early in some ridings though. Lots of votes to be counted. First glance seems to show more than a few close races.

James is safe, Campbell with a healthy lead.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

B.C. Election Shocker: Gordon Campbell in Trouble in His Own Riding????!!!

without comments

A poster on Babble linked to this Harvey Overfed’s Oberfeld’s blog. Harvey says Campbell May lose his own seat.

Even more interesting is the comment Harvey presents from Rafe Mair, who says he is voting for Carole James and the NDP. Read the whole thing.

I am now willing to change my prediction from a narrow Socred/Liberal win to an NDP victory. Maybe even a big one.

I will live blog the results tonight after the polls close. Keep the Brut on ice, lefties, it’s gonna be a long night.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

British Columbia Election May 12: Analysis and Prediction

with 2 comments

Cross posted at Daily Kos.

British Columbia is the Canadian province just north of Washington State and Idaho. It is perhaps the most pleasant part of North America, if climate, geography and social stresses are taken into account. Culturally it is part of the ecotopia that is the Pacific Northwest. It is the place where a lot of Americans go to camp, hike and ski and from which they get their herring roe, raw lumber and pot.

British Columbians go to the polls on Tuesday, May 12 in what has become an unexpectedly close election.

Canadian political junkies love B.C. elections because they always have about them a whiff of apocalypse. The left is certain that if the right wins, all that is good about the province goes the way of the dodo. Schools and hospitals will close, old people made homeless, unions crushed, the environment raped AND strangled, cronies rewarded.

Meanwhile the right just knows that the left will screw up the provincial economy – FOREVER!!! Mines will be closed, taxes raised to the stratosphere, loggers thrown in jail, poor little corporations punished for making a profit, mom and pop stores forced to give massages to union bosses.

OK, so these two paragraphs are a parody, but they closely resemble the political conversation that goes on in B.C. at varying levels of intensity at different times, the demons being most active during election campaigns. These attitudes have much to do with B.C.’s social history and the importation of British class hostilities. Throw in humanity’s tendency to behave badly in paradise and the picture is almost complete.

There are two major parties, the ever so slightly left wing New Democratic Party (NDP) and Somebody else. In the early 50’s (when it was known as the CCF – Commonwealth Cooperative Federation) the NDP was about to win power in B.C. for the first time. Supporters of the provincial Liberals and Conservatives were determined not to let that happened so they joined forces under the banner of Social Credit, a party that had gained power in Alberta but which was elsewhere outside the mainstream. But it was a place where unsocialists could unite and keep the left from ruining the province.

Social Credit stayed in power until 1972, when the NDP led by Dave Barrett formed their first government – which lasted for just over three years and was replaced by Social Credit. After the NDP regained power in 1991, Social Credit fractured and was eventually replaced by the B.C. Liberals. The B.C. Libs took power in 2001 led by the current Premier, Gordon Campbell.

Only guess what. There is very little about the B.C. Liberals that is liberal. It is a coalition of right wing federal Liberals and Conservatives whose prime directive is to, you guessed it, keep the socialists from ruining the province – again.

OTOH, this year’s NDP is not your father’s or mother’s socialist horde. the NDP under current leader Carole James is following the Democratic Party’s (and Barack Obama’s) tactic of trying hard not to scare middle class voters. For one thing, the NDP is against a carbon tax imposed last year by the B.C. Liberal government. The NDP instead favors a cap and trade system. This has upset some NDP supporters and environmentalists who want more immediate carbon reducing action. James and the NDP have also gone after Campbell and the B.C. Libs on crime!!! Yes, the left attacking the right on law and order. Only in Canada.

There are a number of smaller parties presenting candidates, but only two have any significant support: the Greens and the Conservatives. Polls have given these two parties around 15 to 20 per cent support, but neither is likely to win a seat. When the votes are counted it is likely that Green support will bleed to the NDP and Conservative votes to the B.C. Liberals. It is interesting to note that in B.C. even the minor or protest parties reflect the radical right/left divide int he province.

There is apparently one independent candidate with a realistic shot at winning her riding.

An experienced and accomplished NDP campaign manager once explained to me the dynamic of B.C. elections. When canvassers go out for a first survey of a poll (precinct) they come back with lots and lots of positive and negative responses, leaving only a few undecided and soft voters to target and try to persuade. It is in this very narrow middle that B.C. elections are fought and won.

This dynamic is reflected in the macro view of the election. Both the Liberals and the NDP have a number of seats they know they will win, so they can focus on the swing ridings. It appears that the election will be decided in the Lower Mainland, essentially the suburbs of Vancouver. Specifically, the municipalities of Surrey and Burnaby have a number of races too close to call.

In the rest of the province a few seats will change hands, which will also be significant if the election is close. How close it will be is the bazillion dollar question. The polls have consistently shown the Liberals to be hold a lead of anywhere from two to ten or so percentage points. The usual questions of methodology and bias apply. But most observers are agreed that James and the NDP got a significant boost from the Leaders’ Debate a couple of weeks ago.

Which brings us to the prediction portion of the program. I am in no position to do a seat by seat count, but it looks to me that the most probable outcome is a narrow Liberal victory, somewhere between five and ten seats. Now, here’s the fun part; Social Credit/Liberals win some of their ridings with gigantic majorities, while the NDP uses their ground game to great advantage, often winning close elections with a superior GOTV effort.

So if vote is tight, the Liberals could win the popular vote and lose the seat count. Don’t laugh, it has happened before.

Oh, by the way, also on the ballot is a referendum asking whether B.C. should move from a first past the post (fptp)election system to a Single Transferable Vote or STV. STV is designed to ensure that the seat count more closely reflects the popular vote. It will probably be defeated. Small c conservatives generally favor fptp but it will be interesting to see if they change their tune should the Liberal lose while winning.

Written by slothropia

May 11th, 2009 at 10:43 am