Shooting Dion

Just out of curiosity, what do you think the reaction from “Conservative” bloggers would be if the Liberal Party had a picture on its website of Stephen Harper surrounded by bullet holes? I’m thinking there would be more than a few of them shrieking hysterically about what an “outrage” it was, with some even veering into the fringes of lunacy with accusations of it being an implicit death threat or some such thing.

This strikes me as being in rather deplorable taste, even for the folks who brought us “Oily” the “spokesblob” and the puerile “Kyoto’s Dog blog.” As Ti-Guy said: “That image of Dion…is it supposed to suggest that the Green Shift policy is full of holes, or is it supposed to suggest that shooting at Dion and missing him is funny?”

Update: What the Conservatives are really thinking…

Bullying Bullshit

Another day, another ridiculous Twatrick smear…

Accusing me of “cyberbullying” Patrick “Doughy Pantload” Ross writes:

Never one to not follow Cynic’s lead, Martin Rayner — aka the misnomered Red Tory — also took to bullying Erl, often for little more than being a “high school student” (apparently Rayner would have preferred that Erl simply drop out of high school).

Yes, I was such an awful “bully” that I designed the header for Mr. Erl’s old blog, a copy of which of course I still have on my computer.

We also exchanged a few pleasant e-mails. And no, I didn’t want him to drop out of high school. Patrick Ross — The Dumbest Blogger on the Planet®.

A Tale of Two Afghanistans

One the one hand, there’s a rather bleak assessment of a country “slipping back into chaos” via ABC News:

Things have deteriorated so badly that some Afghans say they preferred the rule of the Taliban, which imposed strict Shariah religious law in the country from 1996 to 2001, according to Afghanistan experts.

“I just got a letter from someone in Kandahar,” says Barnett Rubin of the Council on Foreign Relations. “He says the situation is worse than it was under the Taliban. There is no clean water and no security.”

And on the other, there’s the rosy analysis of Canada’s Gen. Walter Natynczyk:

On Saturday, Canada’s top soldier said Afghans “feel more secure” and the residents of Kandahar City “have returned to the normal pattern of life” after a spectacular prison break that freed 400 Taliban sympathizers last month.

Also last week, Natynczyk (pronounced id-ee-uh t) called a 77% increase in insurgent attacks from the previous year “insignificant” and claimed that Canada’s control of the Afghan countryside has expanded, even though Canadian forces have actually abandoned outlying bases in favour of concentrating troops in the core districts under its command.

Tory Election Returns “False & Misleading”

So the Conservatives might be on the hook for $1.3 million in regional campaign advertising expenses from the last election. Too bad, so sad. I wonder how their lawsuit against Elections Canada is coming along?

Oh, and as for their allegations that other parties were engaged in the same practices, Conservative appointee Marc Mayrand, Canada’s chief electoral officer, said the independent agency had “not identified any other transaction or group of transactions in which all of the other factors were in play,”

More shifty business by The Stephen Harper Party, more denials, another bogus legal action going down in flames…

Stuck In The Partisan Divide

Writing in the Huffington Post this morning, Lincoln Mitchell ponders the inexplicably close presidential race and wonders why, despite the weak economy, frustration with the war in Iraq, dissatisfaction with President Bush, and so on — “big picture signals” that should reasonably be expected to favour the Democrats over the incumbent administration by a landslide — almost all the major polls have shown Obama stuck with a lead of between 2-6 points.

Why on earth can’t Obama seem to open up a broader lead over a rival candidate that most would agree has to date been pretty hapless on the campaign trail?

So far, the national numbers indicate that even with all the big picture signs favoring the Democrats, the country remains reasonably divided on partisan lines. Obama’s efforts to transcend partisanship and introduce a new kind of politics notwithstanding, this election has relatively quickly become, in many respects, one between a conservative Republican and a liberal Democrat. McCain’s numbers in most polls are between 43-46% while Obama is usually between 45-48%. This suggests that the stories about the trouble McCain has with the Republican base belie the data which seems to indicate that both parties have consolidated their base already, leaving very few undecided voters and that anger and frustration with Bush has not yet translated into support for Obama.

Maybe it’s possible the “polarization” that we hear being more pronounced than ever before in the political discourse is now so deeply entrenched that almost nothing can break through the partisan divide?

Here in Canada, we too see something of the same dynamic in the way the polls have been more or less stuck in the same position as they were at the time of the last election. While there have been slight fluctuations from time to time, almost nothing seems to significantly influence the situation to the point where it actually moves the numbers to any meaningful extent.

Mitchell employs a lot of baseball metaphors in his piece, but perhaps a better analogy would be the WWI French and Germans locked seemingly forever in the absolute futility of trench warfare.

ShowBiz Minute

It’s been suggested that I should focus on more “important” issues of the day, so herewith is your “ShowBiz Minute” courtesy of the AP.

The ‘Dark Knight’ premieres in NYC; Small, local French paper scoops entertainment world on Brangelina. Batman takes over Gotham City. The ‘Dark Knight’ premieres – appropriately – in Manhattan. Stars – including Christian Bale and Maggie Gyllenhaal – walked the black carpet. ‘the Dark Knight’ opens in theaters July 18th.The world’s entertainment press tripped over themselves to be the first to report the biggest celebrity story of the year – the birth of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s twins.But in the end they were scooped by a provincial French newspaper: Nice Matin. The paper says Pitt decided to give the story to the paper – that Pitt told the doctor the local media should be informed first.The twins: Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline were delivered by Caesarean section in a Nice hospital Saturday evening.And it’s back to Broadway for Whoopi Goldberg. The co–host of ABC’s ‘the View’ announced on the show Monday that she’ll appear in the Tony–nominated roller–skating musical ‘Xanadu.’ Goldberg will play one of the show’s evil sisters – Caliope. Her six–week run begins July 29th.

Absolutely fascinating, isn’t it?