Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The Sun family of newspapers have always been a joke.

60% advertisements, 15% “News”, 15% Sports, and 10% conservative apologetics (or histrionics, depending on the day).

Throw in a daily dose of pathetic semi-nudity and you’ve got a newspaper aimed firmly at the lowest common denominator.

It’s been a very long time since I willingly cracked the grimy pages of Canada’s least enjoyable/reputable publication, but today my wife felt the need to share a political cartoon she’d found on their website. She did so because she felt, as I do, that the Sun has now gone too far. They have crossed the line from terrible tabloid to propaganda dispenser for the Conservative Party of Canada.

This  is what landed in my inbox this morning; courtesy of the Edmonton Sun.

(more…)

Advertisements

Image

I’m a Canadian.

We’re a quiet bunch; prone to enjoying hockey, drinking stronger beer than our friends south of the border, and lovers of fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy.

We also, apparently, have an inferiority complex when it comes to being evil dirt bags, because we’ve decided to pass our very own version of SOPA up here.

Only better*

Meet Bill-C11. Formerly Bill C-32. (I think they thought if they made the number lower people would care less about it?)

Or as we call it up here; Her Royal Majesty V, Zzzzzzz

We like our politics dry up here.

But, as innocuous as it sounds, C-11 does a whole lot that SOPA did with a few extra twists you might not find in the Wikipedia write-up.

Like your PVR? You can’t keep it under C-11.

Like ripping CDs to your iPod? Say bye-bye.

Hey, do you want to be able to unlock your $500 smartphone and take it to a provider less dedicated to violating your wallet? That won’t be allowed either.

Did you get accused of internet piracy but no evidence has been presented and a trial date hasn’t even been set? Under C-11 your ISP will now be forced to terminate your internet access.

And people say that governments can’t be bought.

We’re not going to get Google or Wikipedia to go dark up here. We don’t have as robust a tech industry to act as a public counterbalance to entertainment industry interests. We have a Prime Minister (that’s  French for Dear Leader under the current regime) who doesn’t give a suckling goat what the people think about his policies.

But we do have a lot more recourse in our political system to make politicians pay than our Yankee brethren do. (Yes I know I just insulted everyone south of the Mason Dixon line. I’m sorry. You trying caring about foreign geographical terminology when every person you’ve ever met from a particular country still thinks it’s the height of hilarity to ask if you live in an igloo.) We have things like votes of no confidence that can really bugger up a sitting House member’s day.

So, if you’re Canadian, or you’re friends with a Canadian, or you just really like bacon, click the link at the bottom of this article and share it with as many people as you can.

We can’t afford to lose on this one, Canada.

Besides…

Winners Go Home And Fuck The Prom Queen

-Sean Connery

And he would know.

*And by better, I mean shockingly, horrifyingly worse.

http://www.ccer.ca/canadian-copyright-reform/canadian-copyright-reform-back-with-vengeance/

There’s not much time left people.  Get active.

Updated 10:10 PM Mountain Time

For those who are complaining that C-11 as written isn’t SOPA-like enough to warrant this comparison, please read http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/6257/125/ before commenting. Things have changed drastically with respect to this bill in the last week; the really ugly stuff (which has been publicly discussed by members of the C-11 committee.) is in the unpublished modifications in the wake of SOPA’s defeat stateside.

More herehere and here.

Updated January 28, 2012

A reader has submitted an excellent form letter to send to your MP concerning C-11 and asked that I post it for the use of anyone who’d like to email their MP directly. Here’s the link.

Updated January 29. 2012

Due to a complete disintegration of decorum and civility, commenting on this post will now be moderated.

Updated January 30, 2012 @ 8:25 PM

This is a terrific and easy to understand breakdown of why I and so many other people have massive issues with C-11. And kids, it cites and explains the bill sections, so if you’re going to hop up and down and talk about awesome this bill is, be prepared to present an explanation for these sections.


The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the Atmosphere.

Thomas Jefferson

Remember that glorious time back in the 90’s when every time you booted up a computer it looked like this?

That's right. You must have at least 26 senses to operate this UI.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course you don’t. Because you live in a world not run by demented people who don’t actually know what computers are.

Back in 19995 some very bad men took advantage of your naivete and (because you couldn’t download movies yet because the internet didn’t work that fast and your hard drive was smaller than the storage on your camera) forced you to shell out good money for this:

We've Never Met A Geek, But We're Pretty Sure Angelina Jolie Would Be Open To Sleeping With One

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To call Hackers science-fiction is to do a disservice to movies even as terribly unrealistic as Critters, Star Trek The Motion Picture and The Undefeated. Don’t believe me? The main plot involved a terrorist conspiracy to capsize boats, which are out at sea, with computers that are connected to, what we’ll laughingly refer to as, the Internet by way of dial-up modems.

Boats.

At sea.

Before wi-fi or satellite internet connections.

But, despite its intensely stupid premise, it was actually correct about two futurist assumptions:

1. Angelina Jolie, no matter how bad the movie is, will always survive to make another one. If Hackers was like nuclear fallout to the rest of the cast, then Jolie was its cockroach.

2. One day, there would come whiny teenagers who’d bend nations and corporations to their will with the click of a few buttons and from the comfort of their couches.

Or their parent’s couches, as the case may be. (more…)

First, read this.

Then, if you have time, read the very long: http://dearthey.com/2010/07/29/government-assasinates-ninjas-to-catch-pirates-its-not-stealing-if-it-isnt-real/ which was my eulogy of sorts for Ninjavideo last year.

I’ve been meaning to come back to this for a while. The very real consequence of internet piracy, as we’ve  learned from Ninjavideo, and now Mega Upload,  is that they’re not just going to shut your website down. You’re going to go to jail.

This, much like the reality of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug convictions, is both a laughable twisting of the concept of justice, as well as cold glass of water thrown in the face of anyone who still believes that the US government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

I’m not American so, in theory, I shouldn’t care. But I do because, even though file sharing is still legal in my country, the RCMP (our horse riding, hat loving equivalent to the FBI) were complicit and instrumental in the arrest and shutdown of Mega Upload; at least so far as their presence extended into our borders.

This, to me, is unacceptable.  For a number of reasons. (more…)

We don’t live in Camelot; that is abundantly clear.

The sky is falling upon us as the fruits of forty years of financial idiocy ripen and an entire generation of would be oligarchs and imperialists burn the evidence of their culpability. People have begun to riot (as they tend to do right before starving) and governments have reacted by suspending civil liberties.

And the people…

The people have polarized so completely that we may as well be living in a world of Eloi and Morlocks; neither side recognizing the humanity or worth of the other. And how could they? Each philosophy is anathema to the other. Freedom through anarchy (which is really what a world without taxes would become; without revenue there cannot be government or rule of law) or freedom through destruction of the elite. (a proposition that can only be made possible by placing power back in the hands of the people and solidifying that power by crushing the rich under equalization taxes)

The question that I, and  many of those of us caught in the middle and dwarfed by the designation ” the 99%”, have is, “Freedom to do what?” (more…)

I haven’t been here for a while.

I mean, I’ve been here, sitting in front of my computer, doing…stuff (yes, fine, there’s been some porn involved) but I haven’t been blogging.

And it’s not because I haven’t had anything to say; I’ve drowned Twitter with my inanity and the things I’ve learned just at my job the last eight months or so would fill about twenty posts worth of material; I’ve just had a hard time sorting through all the noise to find something I wanted to write about.

That noise…

The world is vastly different now than it was even a couple of years ago.  Whole lives are lived digitally; the online world allows bravery and cowardice in equal measure and the Internet as a whole has gone a long way to reversing the popular wisdom that led to, “Video Killed the Radio Star.” It no longer matters entirely what you look like, first impressions are now based on what you say about things people care about.  Let’s not kid ourselves; it’s not as though we’re living a brave new world wherein you don’t still have to go to the gym in order to get your chat room sweetheart to blow you, but we’ve certainly come to a place where thought is currency.

That led me to think about the 14-year-old Walrus and what he would think about the world as it is now.  Would he stand in awe at the technological marvels we’ve wrought? Or would he cringe at the fact that the future of Western civilization is so very bleak?

The world as we know it is ending. (more…)

Unless you live in a bubble, you can’t help but be aware of what happened this week.

That’s right, for the first time ever and in defiance of all the odds, an article written by me had over four hundred hits and

Oh, right.

Deep breath. (Not everything’s about me. Not everything’s about me. Not everything’s about me.)

So. The other thing that happened.

 I debated writing a piece actually on the vengeful destruction of Prop 8 at the hands of the forces of truth and light but, for a number of reasons[i], I decided not to. After all, the Walrus is about setting trends, not following them. I couldn’t just let the issue pass though; it’s kind of one of those big deal historical moments that you get laughed at a decade later for being asleep during. You know, like when we did this very same thing as a whole nation up here in the North[ii], where we care less about who’s nailing who as long as they’re staying warm.  

Anyway.

The point is, I had to say something. So I said to myself, “Self, what’s the angle here? What can we possibly say that will use this news to shed light on some crucial but oft neglected facet of humanity’s humanity? What nugget of sheer and insane genius can we ejaculate vigorously on the chin of the zeitgeist?” (more…)

I’ve written before about my concerns for the next generation; how we’re failing them, and how we’re giving them excuses to fail us. This, however, has come to a head recently with my discovery of two pieces of information:

1) I live in a province that…

Wait, let me back up a minute and explain how I got here.

A couple of days ago my fiancée found out that, due to her age, our daughter will be held back next year in her dance class. The point she made, quite rightly (they call me Mellow Yellow), was that if the dance school had known she was too young to be in that class this year, why did they allow us to essentially waste a year’s worth of tuition just so they could charge us again?

Silly Rabbit.

After hours of weathering the rage and threats of recrimination of a dance mom scorned, I finally got a word in.

“What if,” I asked, oh so foolishly, “this is a good thing?”

“What do you mean?” Dangerous casualness masked a veiled death threat.

“Well,” I continued, unaware of the peril I was in, “I said last year that I thought she was too young to start dance. Maybe it’s a good thing she’s being held back; she might retain more of the basics this way and be a rockstar next year.”

Circumstances required that I immediately duck to avoid being impaled by the Nuclear Javelin of Maternal Pride, which tore a gaping wound in the wall behind me. (more…)

1843.

We’ve had access to this book for 166 years. And not just the book. Since 1901 there have been 23 adaptations of the book for film, 21 for the stage, and countless retellings, reimaginings and revisits to the source material in print, on radio and on television.

166 years, we’ve all seen it or read it or heard it. University English and Theology courses are taught on it. We know its characters and their famous lines. We think we know what it’s about, and we let our kids draw the same inferences we do.

But we really, really, obviously have no clue.

In 1843, Charles Dickens published a book called, “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.”

Do you feel silly yet; do you know where I’m going with this one?

You probably think. “A Christmas Carol,” is a story of redemption. Of a man’s ability, even in his twilight years, to recognize his faults and correct them. Or maybe you think it’s a cautionary tale; a story about your bad deeds coming back to literally haunt you. Maybe the hero for you is Bob Cratchit, ever suffering, ever kind and unwilling to say bad words even about monsters, even at Christmas.

If you were nodding along to any of those, or maybe coming up with a few more nuggets about charity and kindness and reaping what you sow, I’m sorry. I’d like to call you an idiot and dismiss you forever from the rolls of people that count. But I can’t. I can’t, because I was once like you. The real message was obscured from me by the same fear of certain dirty words that now blinds you.

The true message of this wonderfully simplistic book is incredibly, blindingly glaring.

It’s the economy, stupid. (more…)

I came face to face with the horrendous truth of our existence today. And it was communicated to me in a single phrase that captured everything that is wrong with our society in just four words. (No, it wasn’t, “In God we Trust,” though that’s a close second.)

“Advances in mattress technology.”

Over the course of 8 hours I heard this phrase no less than twenty times. Gentle readers, today I was subjected to that most undignified of job related tortures, the vendor training session. And this one was training on how to sell mattresses.

Imagine, if you can, the mind numbing boredom of sitting in a room while six different mattress companies try to convince you that theirs is the only bed worth sleeping on; and then try to feel the frustration I felt, sitting in that room, brain cells being eradicated by the cacophony of inanity I was drowning in, all the while being surrounded by 50 beds that, were my boss not present, I could have curled up on in the fetal position to shelter my fragile mind.

I was inundated with phrases like;

“Coil count.”

“Integrated coils.”

“Pocket Coils.”

“Pillow Top, Tight Top and Euro Top.”

But worst of all of these, was, “advances in mattress technology.”

Roll that around in your mouth for a few seconds. See if it starts to taste moldy.

As far as I’m concerned there has been only one major advance in mattress technology; it was around the same time that people started thinking it was a great idea to let one person be in charge of the rest of them. Can you guess what it was? It was the invention of the fucking mattress! (more…)