Friday, March 31, 2006
"I'm writing you today not so much about the horrific cruelty involved in the hunt, but about the impact of the government's indifference to such violence on Canada's image around the world."
Response from Canada's Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn who said he used to watch Anderson on the television show that propelled her to stardom :
"It's been a long time since she looked good on Baywatch."
Nice to see your ability to adequately defend your ministry's policy is contingent upon your ability to keep it in your pants.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Canadian press was very quiet about the Cancun summit today.
Fortunately, the American papers are full of it...
but not as 'full of it' as usual.
From the Miami Herald : italics mine
" Bush will find soul mate in Canada's Harper
While meeting in Cancún, Mexico, President Bush should find he has a lot in common with Canada's new prime minister, Stephen Harper.
CANCUN, Mexico - President Bush arrives in Cancún today for a two-day summit with Mexican President Vicente Fox and new conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a political soul mate who is bent on improving his country's frosty relations with Washington.
While talks with Fox about immigration are expected to dominate the session at this Yucatán vacation resort, Harper will be pushing his own agenda, and when Bush sits down with him on Thursday, he'll see a mirror image of himself.
Harper, a 46-year-old economist, rose to Canada's highest office by talking about his religious faith, vowing to cut taxes and end government corruption and promising to reconsider a same-sex marriage law that Canada's Parliament approved last June -- all themes that Bush campaigned on in 2000 and 2004.
In addition, Harper said he'll consider the White House's offer for Canada to join in fielding a continental ballistic missile shield, an invitation that former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin rejected.
''If George Bush can't get along with Stephen Harper, he can't get along with any world leader,'' said David Taras, a political science professor at the University of Calgary. ``They're ideological cousins, if not twins.''
Sworn into office last month, Harper borrowed a page from Bush's playbook and secretly traveled to Afghanistan earlier this month to meet with Canadian troops, highlight his country's contribution to the war on terrorism and buck up domestic support for the mission.
The trip also sent a message to Washington, according to John Hulsman, an analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.
''That was to show the cavalry is back in town, that they're not going to be anti-American,'' he said. ``Harper, like Bush, has a black-and-white, good-and-evil view of the world -- they're cut from the same cloth."
Now why can't we get great press coverage like that in Canada?
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Yesterday White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced it this way:
"The president had a good discussion with Prime Minister Martin yesterday," McClellan said. "That was the call that Prime Minister Martin had initiated really to thank the president on behalf of the people of Canada for the efforts of our coalition forces."
"The president looks forward to visiting with Prime Minister Martin and strengthening our relations."
And from FoxNews:
"Bush plans to spend less than 48 hours in Cancun, squeezing in bilateral and group meetings and a visit to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza — a rare cultural detour for the president who normally keeps a tight diplomatic schedule on foreign visits."
Yeah, she called me ... I dunno, some name like Happy or Bambi or something ...oh fer sure I will if I'm feeling like it but it's not like I'm going to blow the whole day on her...I dunno, maybe visit some ruins or something later while I'm here...
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
From b-boy :
Beyond the Great Barbarian Canadian Club on Ice blood and guts thing lies a softer story. A uniquely Canadian children's story. We all had an Ookpik, the original cabbage patch rage. I loved mine when I was 8. It looked like an owl, only cuter. Every lucky Canadian kid had one. Bet you had one too.
They kind of disappeared when Brigitte came on the scene.
There's dozens of wacko toy sites devoted to them.
Pop culture politics.
They were made of seal fur.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
PR Web News reports the alarming possibility of a schism developing within the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as two New Intelligent Design books with slightly differing visions are published simultaneously.
Founding Pastafarian Bobby Henderson, best known for his seminal work tracking the inverse relationship between global warming and the continuing decline in the numbers of pirates, has just released "The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" through Villard Books. Expected to provide "an influential voice within the Intelligent Design debate plaguing school systems", Henderson is pledging all proceeds from the book towards the pirate ship fund, hoping to strengthen the movement that believes "the universe was created by a creature comprised largely of noodles".
"I feel that my constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religious belief is being unfairly discriminated against.
Obviously, if we have to pay taxes, we won't be able to afford as large or bad-ass of a pirate ship. I suspect they will find it harder to ignore us when we have the pirate ship, with cannons, etc"
A more spiritual approach is taken by Dr. Jonathan C. Smith in his handsomely bound volume "God Speaks! The Flying Spaghetti Monster in His Own Words". Using advanced computer techology and groundbreaking artificial intelligence software to produce a new form of anagrams called "spaghettigrams", Smith's goal is to “to inspire those of all beliefs to put aside the superficial prejudices, distorted thinking, and superstition that can cloud one’s vision and interfere with authentic spirituality.”
As PR Web News reports, "Whether or not the FSM movement, which has lobbied to be considered by school boards alongside other theories of intelligent design, will embrace Smith’s ideas remains to be seen."
Surely a movement which has so successfully straddled the scientific and religious and pirate disciplines will prevail over these minor semolina differences.
Umbrage Update : From today's USA Today article on FSM :
" "It's too bad that they'll get attention for this sort of drivel when we have a robust scientific research program that the media doesn't seem to want to write much about," Discovery Institute spokesman Robert Crowther said in an e-mail interview. The Seattle-based institute is the leading think tank for intelligent-design advocates. "
Robust scientific research program? Sadly, the Discovery Institute does not seem to offer any courses on "Petard Safety and Handling".
Thursday, March 23, 2006
(And as the last three words of that sentence are all things I rarely experience on a personal basis, this might be a bit rough.)
The top stories were the sinking of BC ferry "Queen of the North" and the rescue of the three hostages in Iraq. As none of the main players in either story were available for questioning at airtime, Global interviewers were reduced to asking their "and so how did you feel when you heard…" questions of whoever they could get.
On the hostage rescue. In what appeared to be a TV studio interview, a Christian Peacemaker Team co-worker and fellow peace activist of freed Canadian hostage James Loney used his several minutes of fame to lambaste the invasion and occupation of Iraq as criminal and illegal. Wearing a t-shirt that had something written on it in Arabic, he listened carefully to whatever question was put to him, nodded quietly to indicate his understanding of the question, and then firmly continued on with his own message. He said his buddy the freed hostage might have to be dissuaded from going right back to work.
It was fucking great.
There followed what I first took to be a short TV documentary on the fragility of life, but it turned out to be a very long commercial for a private medical insurance company instead. Good product placement though.
On the sinking of the "Queen of the North". In my scramble to locate the mute button before I heard the above-mentioned brand name for the 28th time, I missed the name of the local and possibly native guy who was interviewed near the spot where the ferry sank. And how did he feel?
Paraphrase : “These ferry captains have 15 years experience negotiating this difficult waterway on a regular basis so if anyone imagines that opening up the inland passage to heavy commercial gas or oil freighter traffic wouldn’t result in a much worse disaster, they’re fooling themselves.”
Kudos to both of them.
This is Alison reporting from Creekside - a truly crapulous comfy chair report with the most relevant information either missing or oversimplified, much like the original broadcast in question, but at least I haven’t asked you how you feel.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
From The Seattle Times:
"Around 350 contract opportunities have been posted on the 2010 Commerce Centre Web site, established by the B.C. Ministry of Economic Development to serve as a central repository for business opportunities related to the 2010 Games.
By the time the Games are complete, 10,000 public and private contracts will have been awarded, said 2010 Commerce Centre Director Brian Krieger. "That leaves us with 9,650," he said. "We've got a ways to go."
The contracts are open to all bidders, regardless of nationality.
"The process is fair, open and transparent. No advantage is given to companies in Vancouver, B.C., or Canada," Krieger said."
So far, one Washington state company has won a $70,000 contract from the city of Richmond to develop the public-art plan for the $155 million 2010 speed-skating oval. Another won a contract to help the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) select financial-planning software to run the business side of the 2010 Games.
Other "opportunities" advertised in the article include a call for construction of 7 buildings in Whistler, an AV consultant, and Team BC ceremonial uniforms.
I'm still getting over spokespeople for the non-union sector of the construction industry, like 'Independent Contractors and Businesses Association' Philip Hochstein, calling for 20,000 additional construction workers admitted on work permits between now and 2010. And Curtis Panke of World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services, a Toronto-based company, who told the Times of India in February 2005 that "British Columbia is on the lookout for 30,000 skilled tradesmen from India to build necessary infrastructure for the 2010 Winter Olympics." (Source : The Tyee)
Back to The Seattle Times article:
"John Furlong, chief executive of VANOC, earlier this month blamed the overheated condition of B.C.'s construction sector when he announced a 23 percent jump in VANOC's capital budget, to just over $500 million. VANOC's budget is financed by B.C.'s provincial government and the federal government of Canada.
Labor shortages could force B.C. builders to look beyond their own borders for assistance to keep projects on schedule. Likewise, higher prices for materials and manufactured goods in B.C. could make U.S. goods more attractive — especially since the value of the dollar has fallen nearly 20 percent since Vancouver won the Games and 40 percent in the past five years, making U.S. goods less expensive in Canada.
"All of this activity, along with the spending needed to supply and support it, will cause the B.C. economy to grow 0.9 percent to 1.2 percent per year more than it would have in the absence of the Olympics, according to Derek Holt, an economist with RBC Financial Group.
"Adding the Games may heat up the economy to the point where it runs up against shortages in materials or labor," Holt wrote in a recent research report. "The effect may be a higher cost of living across the province, cost over-runs on Games projects and intensifying price and wage pressures in coming years." "
Wait. You're telling me Canadian taxpayers are paying to outsource jobs now, so that we can pay for a higher cost of living and labour disputes later? What kind of Five Ring Circus is this?
Source: Vancouver Organizing Committee, Seattle Times reporting
Update : The right hand doesn't know what the other right hand is doing.
As Phyl points out in the comments, while the BC Ministry of Economic Development is advertising outside the country for construction jobs, Immigration Canada is deporting 45,000 illegal immigrants a year, many of whom are construction workers who have been living and paying taxes in Canada for a decade.
The Toronto Star
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Sunday - the day we set aside to deal with religion ... and tabloids!
Tom Cruise! Southpark! Thetans!
Thetans? Yes, Thetans were in the news again this week after a Southpark episode mocking Tom Cruise and Scientology failed to air as scheduled due to interference from those pesky Thetans. Or Enthetons. Or Viacom.
You know I really tried to research this fairly but my engrams were blocking again so I'll just crib from Wikipedia and this Rolling Stone article on Advanced Level OTIII Scientology :
"75 million years ago, an evil galactic warlord named Xenu controlled seventy-six planets in this corner of the galaxy, each of which was severely overpopulated. To solve this problem, Xenu had psychiatrists round up 13.5 trillion beings by telling them they were being inspected for income tax and then froze them and flew them to Earth, where they were then dumped into volcanoes around the globe and vaporized with hydrogen bombs. This scattered their radioactive souls, or thetans, until they were caught in electronic traps set up by Xeno around the atmosphere and "implanted" by 3D movies with a number of false ideas -- including the concepts of God, Christ and organized religion. Scientologists later learn that many of these entities attached themselves to human beings, where they remain to this day, creating not just the root of all of our emotional and physical problems but the root of all problems of the modern world."
L Ron Hubbard also tells us the 13.5 trillion beings dumped here dressed very much like people from the 1950's and were transported to Earth in planes that looked exactly like the Douglas DC-8s from the 50's. Thetans are evidently very big on the 50's.
Meanwhile, Xenu is reputedly still locked up in that fiery volcano in Hawaii, or possibly the Pyrenees, while the rest of us try to free ourselves from enthetans (bad thetans) and regain our natural place in the universe as clear immortal beings.
Are you still there? Your head didn't fall off? Good for you. Obviously you're very highly evolved. Novice scientologists are warned that they risk death by reading that passage before they are ready to receive it. Or before their bank accounts are overdrawn, whichever happens first.
So - an ancient intergalactic battle between good and evil skygods in which the bad skygod is banished to the fiery bowels of the earth while disembodied souls attempt to cleanse themselves of earthly dross in order to be reunited in everlasting bliss with the good skygods.
And you call this a religion? Feh. A ridiculous story like that could never catch on as a religion.
In closing, I leave you with the immortal words of L Ron Hubbard, the man who will lead the world to the Way of Truth : "If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion."
And if you want to catch that Southpark episode with its handy Scientology primer, go here.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
When Harper campaigned on 'transparency and accountability' in government, he actually meant 'invisibility'.
Having more or less successfully camouflaged the Conservative Party's nutbar candidates throughout the election, Harper has now issued a memo muzzling government officials and cabinet ministers from having any truck with the press that is not first cleared through his office. Interviews, letters, everything. They are to stick to the Five Noble Truths from the Conservative campaign and then shut up.
Two comments :
1) A gag order that is immediately leaked to the press gives us a pretty good idea of how well the gag order is going to be upheld.
2) By insisting on this level of control, Harper becomes accountable for any and all nutbar pronouncements from any of his nutbar candidates when they do go off-message. And you know they will.
So the question is : will the press allow themselves to be gagged?
Southpark Harper created at the quite wonderful Planearium, where you can assemble your own character from kooky preformed bits and pieces - more or less in the same fashion that the Conservative party was assembled.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Thursday, March 16, 2006
He was one of a dozen Canadians who brokered The Task Force on the Future of North America into the more watered down Waco Pact signed by Paul Martin, Vicente Fox, and George Bush in March 2005.
The original Task Force of which Michael Wilson was a member made the following recommendations:
- a North American resource pact allowing greater trade and investment in non-renewable resources, such as oil, gas, and water
- an integrated N.A. electrical grid
- a common N.A. currency
- a N.A. passport
- a N.A. security perimeter
- an educational project to teach the idea of a "shared N.A. identity" in schools
- a harmonization of immigration and refugee policies with the US
- a trilateral threat intelligence center with the US and Mexico
And this is the guy who is going to "Stand Up For Canada" ?
And Canada and the US voted against it.
"Welcoming the report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that addresses the issue of Palestinian pregnant women giving birth at Israeli checkpoints owing to denial of access by Israel to hospitals, with a view to ending this Israeli practice".
"Israel's representative said she recognized the difficult situation faced by Palestinian women, but the text failed to assess the multiple causes of those difficulties : If terrorism did not exist, Palestinian women would live without the detriment of security checkpoints and the security fence. She called on the Commission to vote against the text."
In favour: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania.
Against: Canada, United States
This valiant siding with the US in refusing to allow Palestinian women to go home represents Canada's first UN vote since the Cons took office.
Link at UN, but I first read about it at the Gazetteer
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
"I assure you this government of yours will not blink, we will not yield. . . . The United States doesn't cut and run,' Bush said to enthusiastic cheers and applause [in Afghanistan]."
Stephen Harper - March 8, 2006 in The Calgary Herald :
"Canadians don't cut and run at the first sign of trouble. That's the nature of this country. And when we send troops into the field, I expect Canadians to support those troops," said Harper."
Fucked that one up, eh Harper?
Are there good reasons to deploy Canadian troops in Afghanistan? Because you're going to need something more substantial than merely your ability to perfectly parrot whatever Bush says.
Bush has made extensive use of the "if you don't support my wars then you don't support the troops" rhetoric.
What a fucking crock. Don't you even try that bullshit up here.
All Canadians support the troops. Got that, Harper? All Canadians.
Disagreeing with your or Bush's use of them does not mean we don't support the troops.
Ok, you can wipe Bush's bullshit off your chin now.
And in other news in Afghanistan, I see opium rations are up again...
Lockheed Martin, the largest war profiteer in the world with 80% of its business contracted to the US Department of Defense, is providing the software for the next Canada Census.
Their company motto is "We never forget who we're working for".
Countmeout has some helpful suggestions as to how to protest both deep integration and NAFTA while still legally counting yourself in. Before the volume goes up way past Chapter 11.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Saturday, March 11, 2006
The poll proposes changing "from sea to sea" to "from sea to sea to sea".
Despite the intention to more accurately reflect our true geographic boundaries, no mention is made of the longest terrifyingly undefended border in the world.
How about "From C to C to C to Incomplete?"
In the Ipsos Reid poll of 1002 Canadians, 44 % of respondents agreed with the proposed change, compared with 17 % opposed.
The remaining 37 % said, "Are you freakin kidding me? We've got a PM who appoints an unelected campaign manager to cabinet minister and lures an elected candidate to cross the floor for a cabinet post but blows off the resulting ethics inquiry, health care is under attack from its own insurer the Canadian government, the daycare plan is going down, and we're about to get under the leaking US ballistic missile umbrella. Why don't you put that on the goddamn ribbon?"
More than half of the francophone respondents surveyed about changing the motto from "D'un ocean a l'autre" to "D'un ocean aux autres" suggested just shortening the whole thing to "D'uh" and hung up.
Emerson only seems to show up when it's by invitation only.
After being invited by John Reynolds to cross the floor and join the Cons as Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the 2010 Five Ring Circus, Emerson briefly emerged from hiding to officiate at the By Invitation Only sod-turning Olympic ceremony at the future site of the athletes' village in False Creek.
Where he was heckled by protesters
They were members of his riding who couldn't get in because they hadn't been invited.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
"There's a new claimant in the fierce battle over a discarded Tim Hortons coffee cup that is now considered precious property.
Two Quebec families have been battling over which of their daughters is the rightful owner of the coffee cup, which entitles the holder to a $28,700 SUV through the company's "Rrroll up the rim to win" contest.
But now a staff member from the girls' school has waded into the dispute, claiming the coffee cup belonged to him."
And now he's getting legal advice too.
A 10 year old girl found the cup in the trash and got her 12 year old classmate to help her roll up the rim of the cup to reveal the prize. They planned to have their families share the SUV and go to "Walt Disney".
"A person's a person no matter how small," said the Dr Seuss character, Horton.
But some adults are really really really small.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
According to CBC and Canadian Cynic: "A steady stream of the faithful has been visiting a church in a tiny Prince Edward Island community to see what many are calling the face of Jesus on a cloth hanging behind the altar."
Of course it also looks a bit like Paul McCartney, recent visitor to PEI.
Or Anne of Green Gables. Or a potato.
Update : Mad Dog has just added this one to his excellent collection of pictures of other Jesus sightings on nacho bins, truck tailgates, perogies and basketball backboards.
My favourite is the one where ants chew an image of the Virgin Mary on a leaf, along with the word "pas" which is evidently a misspelling of the word for "peace" in Portuguese.
You know, I think if I was a friggin deity and I really needed to get a message out to my base, I wouldn't put that message on the underside of a leaf and I certainly wouldn't employ ants that can't spell.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
I took this picture of a stained glass window from inside a lovely old cathedral in Portland, Oregon. It's beautiful, isn't it? Warm and evocative, the faces are delicately painted on and the message is quite clear.
Here's a picture of another stained glass window, this time taken from outside the cathedral.
Still lovely in an abstract sort of way but what are these bobbleheads up to? Obviously a scene like this could have any number of plausible interpretations.
So it seems as if the whole experience depends on whether you see it from the inside or the outside.
I sense some kind of metaphor in here somewhere...
Saturday, March 04, 2006
You can leverage a lot of information about someone with just their birthday and SIN and these hi-def tapes opened on Microsoft Office.
Mary Carlson, director of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C., says this is the second time this mistake has occurred.
And the only reason we know about it is because the guy who bought the tapes at auction for $300 not knowing what was on them took them to the Vancouver Sun.
Right off the top Williams brings up 9/11, and how 13,000 stranded Americans found homes for a week in Newfoundland and Labrador, homes with sealers and their families.
And how he and his daughters are animal lovers.
So, a little defensive then.
And he was more than a little creepy later in his response to Heather McCartney's complaint that the seals are killed just for fashion while their meat is left on the ice to rot and King's question as to why Canada doesn't forgo this 'harvest' in favour of eco-tourism.
"These organizations, the IFAW, Green Peace, PETA raise significant amounts of money. There are hundreds of millions of dollars that are being raised by these organizations.And let me tell you the FBI right now have a file opened in their terrorism division investigating organizations like this, including the PETA organization, from a terrorism perspective."
Obviously Williams was confusing eco-tourism with eco-terrorism here.
So there's a universal moratorium on even mentioning opposition to the seal hunt if you've ever so much as eaten a boiled egg in your life. And it was a lot of work twenty years ago to get the minimum age at which baby seals can be killed up to 12 days, where it stands now.
Plus who wants to be labelled a weepy bleeding heart who is swayed by celebrities and cares more about cuteness than income for out-of-work fishermen?
I'll take that label.
Cuteness - If we can't respond to the needless slaughter of baby animals that appeal to us, how well are we going to do when confronted with the slaughter of frogs or spiders? Not too well so far. Let's start with the seals and work out from there.
Income - Fishermen have certainly been royally fucked around by the Canadian government and Premier Danny Williams is right to defend them as best he can. So why not eco-tourism? Why not take the Canadian taxpayers' money that Fisheries and Oceans Canada now spends on "aerial patrols, surface (vessel) patrols, dockside inspections of vessels at landing sites and inspections at buying and processing facilities. In 2004, Fishery Officers spent approximately 8600 hours monitoring and enforcing the hunt. In the last five years, 94 charges were laid and convictions were upheld in 57 of those cases" and invest it in jobs in eco-tourism for fishermen instead?
Celebrities - Robert Thurman, the early Buddhist campaigner for public awareness on the plight of Tibet, was once asked how he could countenance support from frivolous celebrities like Richard Gere. I have to paraphrase Thurman's answer because I can't find the quote, but it was something along the lines of - 'Celebrities already have everything they could ask for - money, fame, security, recognition in their field and all their needs taken care of. They are therefore perfectly situated to think about what's really important in the world.'
Thanks for listening.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
"Health Canada is looking at the idea of conducting joint reviews of new drugs with the American government, an idea long promoted by the pharmaceutical industry as a way to get their products on the market more quickly.
"Four heads are better than two ... You're exploring the possibility of real-time dialogue with the FDA," said Jirina Vlk, a Health Canada spokeswoman."
Canadians who generally like to see only one head per body will remember that after FDA scientists in the US approved an over-the-counter morning-after pill, the Bush administration over-ruled them and required women to get a doctor's prescription first.
"Unless Health Canada can show that an independent review process is essential to the health and safety of Canadians ... why not piggyback?" asked Jonathan Goodman, a spokesman for Canada's Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), the brand-name-drug makers' association."
Because, Mr Goodman, Canada hasn't yet developed a morning-after pill for deep integration with the US. And even if we did, we're pretty sure you and Bush would try to prevent us from getting access to it.
Note to BigPharma lobbyists and their friends in gov't : The references to mutants in the same breath as new drugs? Not a mistake this guy would have made :
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