Monthly Archives: September 2011

Pigs & Sheep

To mark today’s re-issue of Pink Floyd’s catalog (apparently following a complex legal argument over distribution rights), EMI Music reconstructed the iconic cover of the band’s 1977 “Animals”album with an inflatable pig floating over Battersea Power Station…

Personally, I think it would have been far more germane to have it floating over the City of London, perhaps counterpoised against the “Gherkin”… No time for that Photoshopping unfortunately; but more fun nonetheless… here’s “Sheep” wickedly set to a montage of clips from various dystopian sci-fi movies…

The transcript starting at 6:30 in is most notably excellent.

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Filed under Musical Interludes

Ontario Election: Economic Realities

Another fascinating TVO discussion about the Ontario election, this time pivoting off some disparaging comments made several weeks ago by former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge in regards to political leadership with respect to prospects for the province’s economy…

Dodge slammed all three Ontario political leaders. Each, he warned, is promoting “impossible” economic plans that unrealistically promise lower taxes and improved services for a province that he believes is facing a shrinking tax revenue base.

“Whoever wins will be seen to have lied to the public,” he told the Globe.

As a former Ontarian occasionally tuning in to the election from another province, it’s interesting to contrast thoughtful discussions such as this at the “macro” level of things with the barking mad rhetoric and petty sniping of bloggers more closely invested with the political contest.

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Filed under Canadian Politics, Economy

Adopt a “Job Creator”

America’s bonus dependent job creators are currently suffering marginal percentage losses against staggering aggregate wealth.

Won’t you please help the affluently burdened?

For the struggling over-endowed, your donation can make the difference between commercial first-class and G550 Gulfstream.

H/T: Saskboy.

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Filed under Economy, Humour

From Puppy Dogs to Perry

Rachel Maddow pokes fun at claims made by insane religious kook Cindy Jacobs that, as a direct result of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s repeated calls for mass prayer, “the land is starting to rejoice.”

Never mind the unremitting persistence of a record-breaking drought in Texas or the recent spread of wildfires across parts of the state shortly following Perry’s stadium prayer event… Nope, for Jacobs, “proof” of its efficacy can be determined from the supposed lifting of the cannibal curses of indigenous peoples that had apparently long been troubling the churches of south Texas.

Meanwhile, over at the Sun “News” network, host Michael Coren is currently taking righteous umbrage at those who mock Christianity…

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Filed under 2012 U.S. Election, Religion, Wingnuts

GOP Google/Fox Debate

For those who didn’t watch the “debate” last night on TV or participate online, TPM provides a one minute highlight reel of instantly forgettable soundbites:

Aside from the unremitting craziness of the GOP hopefuls on stage, Google and Fox set a new standard in terms of the interactive online format that could well become the model for future events. Online viewers were not only provided with a live stream of the debate, but several interactive features allowing them to post comments reacting to the discussion in real time, link out to social media sites, and vote on instant polls corresponding to the issues being debated.

All good and quite fun… when it was working. Unfortunately, that wasn’t often. Most of the time the rolling comment feature was disabled from server overload and the instant polls jammed out, failing to register votes or provide feedback but repeatedly dishing up annoying CAPTCHAs. Pity, as I really wanted to see how many people thought that “cutting jobs” was the “strategy most effective for creating jobs”…

As for the questions for the candidates derived through Google’s “crowd sourcing” technology, they were predictably mundane and obtuse as one would expect from the worldwide rabble, with a couple of notable exceptions such as this one…

Too bad it got served up to homophobic no-hoper Rick Santorum rather than getting a full airing amongst all of the candidates.

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Filed under 2012 U.S. Election, Republican Party

Big Red Machine Beatdown!

Come to PEI, and travel back to a simpler time…

Here’s a fun fact about PEI. If Ontario had the same ratio of MLAs to population, its provincial legislature would consist of 2,492 representatives!

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Filed under Canadian Politics, Humour, Liberals

Rebranding the Tar Sands

Reluctant as I normally am to say kind words about Ezra Levant, I have to admit that his campaign to re-brand the Alberta oil sands from what environmental activists in the United States had lately taken to calling “dirty oil” into “ethical oil” is nothing short of an absolutely brilliant marketing idea.

As presented, the argument is a powerful one… After all, who could dispute that Saudi Arabia is a thoroughly nasty, intolerant, repressive, autocratic regime? By polar contrast, Canada is, as Levant likes to say, “the boy scout of the world” – a veritable exemplar of modern, secular, pluralistic, liberal values, and so on.

I realize that it’s a simplistic formulation (compromised to a degree by the fact that Canada presently imports about half of oil for its own domestic consumption from offshore – the bulk of which comes from dictatorial OPEC nations whose “ethical” nature is dubious), but unless one is adamantly opposed to oil as an energy source regardless of origin, then branding our frozen bitumen sludge as the preferred “fair trade” choice of consumers is… genius!

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Filed under Energy

Criminal Injustice

Conrad Black speaking earlier this month to Allan Gregg, just days before the putative Lord of Crossharbour headed back to a Florida prison to serve the remainder of his sentence for mail fraud and obstruction of justice.

In the interview, Black shares what his daily life in prison was like, what he’ll do and where he’ll live when he gets out, and shares his opinions on what he sees as a profoundly corrupt U.S. justice system.

Of his remaining sentence, Black says he is unenthused, but unintimidated: “It’s an outrage, but in one sense… the greater the palpable and demonstrable injustice with which I am treated, the easier it is to make my case and possibly be of some use in alleviating the problems of others who otherwise would be as vulnerable to this or more than I have been.”

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Filed under Legal Issues

Going Rogue?

Matt Taibbi talks to David Shushter about the latest banking scandal.

Swiss financial services company UBS has admitted that a “rogue” trader has run up a loss of $2 billion dollars in unauthorized risky trades. The 31 year old trader Kweku Adoboli who worked in the bank’s London exchange as director of the now ironically named Global Synthetic Equities Trading team, was arrested yesterday morning at his apartment.

It seems Adoboli has since retained the law firm of Kingsley Napley, which previously advised Nick Leeson, the hot shot derivatives broker whose fraudulent, unauthorized speculative trading caused the collapse of Barings Bank in the 90’s.

Taibbi takes issue with the characterization of a “rogue trader” as a reason for this latest crisis, arguing that it’s indicative of a systemic problem. According to Taibbi, “`rogue traders’ are treated like bad accidents… But rogue companies are protected at every level of the regulatory structure and continually empowered by deregulatory legislation giving them access to our bank accounts.”

The root of the problem, he explains in Rolling Stone, is that investment banker’s brains are not wired for dull commercial bank business of taking consumer deposits and making conservative investments.

In fact, investment bankers by nature have huge appetites for risk, and most of them take pride in being able to sleep at night even when their bets are going the wrong way. If you’re not a person who can doze through a two-hour foot massage while your client (which might be your own bank) is losing ten thousand dollars a minute on some exotic trade you’ve cooked up, then you won’t make it on today’s Wall Street.

At one time commercial banks and investment banks had to remain separate entities as mandated by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Today, however, because of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1998 they can be combined. In Taibbi’s view, this marriage of investment banks and commercial banks has proven to be nothing short of disastrous.

“The influx of i-banking types into the once-boring worlds of commercial bank accounts, home mortgages, and consumer credit has helped turn every part of the financial universe into a casino,” he writes.

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Filed under Global Economy, U.S. Economy

Calling Out Libertarians (Part II)

Sam Seder rebuts various comments from libertarians on his Majority Report YouTube channel concerning alleged hypocrisy vis-à-vis libertarian principles in connection with the death of Ron Paul’s former campaign manager.

Regular commentators (you know who you are!) have probably exhausted the subject already in a previous post the other day, so here is the most highly rated comment on this particular video:

Libertarians are pretentious “social liberals,” that is conservatives without a conventional moral compass, and most Ron Paul nuts, particularly the online ones, are angry, young conspiracy theorists (9/11 “truth’ers) who think the “Illuminati” (Jews) is secretly tugging the strings of a “puppet govt.” to achieve “global enslavement” or “martial law” or some weird crap. Go to Alex Jones’ websites and notice the “Ron Paul 2012” endorsements. They’re worse than conservatives, honestly.

Quite aside from the fundamental objections to the libertarian philosophy that I have, the foregoing neatly expresses my increasingly exasperated frustration with Ron Paul supporters that I encounter all over the web, a good many of whom appear to be certifiably nuts.

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Filed under 2012 U.S. Election, US Politics, Wingnuts