Ink & Paper

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Oh this makes me feel great.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:47 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Updated some of the links. Peep 'em

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:34 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Book Review Edition

"Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" by Al Franken.

Most of you should remember Al Franken as the wonderfully sharp comic that brought Stuart Smalley to us via Saturday Night Live in the mid 1990s, when it was still actually funny. Well it turns out that Franken is also a well-educated raging liberal Democrat, determined to take on the right-wing Republican administration that is the Bush government.

This is not a scholarly book all the way through, although Franken (with the help of TeamFranken, 14 of Harvards best students) definately makes some interesting scholarly points, backing them up with good research.

Between laughing out loud at some of the wonderfully written passages, some of the points Franken makes are remarkably scary. He tends to focus mainly on the poor research and/or manipulated stats that come from the right wing media (Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for example), which provides for some interesting explanations as Franken confronts various hawkish Republicans, including the murky entity that is Paul Wolfowitz.

Franken carefully checks his sources and proceeds to dissect many issues, all the while doing so with a small smirk on his face. He makes the point that the left will win not by using volume, but instead by using humour and truth, which I found to be a rather interesting angle.

The one thing that does detract from this book is the fact that by using humour, the points or arguements may be taken a little less seriously. This book is an interesting mix of statistics, facts, and sharp humour, and although it is easy (and fun! I'm a nerd) to read, the fact that it is humourously written for the masses is what may cause it's facts to be dismissed by the "experts."

I enjoyed it simply for the fact that through his connections (and he does know a remarkable number of people in power, although he doesn't flaunt it) Franken takes the reader past the flag-waving, advertisement-laden front of US politics. He shows us the rather dirty and cheap-shot underbelly of the political landscape of the only empire left, and does so with a naming-names style that is remarkably candid. He also makes a point to read and analyze the rhetoric, pointing out many small, yet important, details that many would miss as they listen to one of the President's speeches.

I'd recommend it, especially with the upcoming elections in November. Inform thyself and argue smart. And that, ladies and gents, is the Book Review edition of your favorite lefty blog. Cheers.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:15 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Holy shit, this is scary. Inform yourself here, I'll comment later. Whew.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:36 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Whats significant about that date? I was walking the other day at the university, thinking about the shocking correlation between Britney and the emergence pre-teen hoochies, when I saw a couple walking, holding hands. Not an rare thing to see, save for the fact that the guy was black and the girl was white. And I thought to myself that I am rather proud that our society is comfortable with this.

I'm not going to say that I didn't notice the racial difference, because thats BS, and this blog isn't about BS. We all notice skin color, how we treat the color is where we differ. But nonetheless, I thought it spoke volumes about how far we have come. Usually I bitch and moan about how this society seems destined to join the Aztecs, but this time I'm feeling positive.

Oh yeah, the date. 1967 was the year that the US Supreme Court struck down a law that prohibited the marriage of two people from different racial backgrounds. Oddly, that doesn't seem too long ago.

New date: 2041. That may be the year that the majority of society finally becomes accustomed and comfortable with the marriage of two people of the same sex. Yes, it may be (perhaps is) more accepted in some parts of North America than in others (Vancouver vs. Calgary for example), but it will take that long for the majority of society to come around. And I suspect that we will come to view the current arguements against gay marriage as rather ignorant and backwards, much like we now view the 1960s arguements against interracial marriage.

Did interracial marriage lead to a collapse of society, to the devaluing of the institution of marriage? No. Will gay marriage cause humanity to slide into the abyss? No.

Listen, over half of the marriages that occur in the US this year will end in divorce. Thats heterosexual marriages. So it seems to me that the whole 'sanctity of marriage' arguement is rather contradictory to the actual stats. The heterosexuals have dragged marriage into the mud, so I have a hard time seeing why we shouldn't allow gay couples to give it try.

Thats my lefty thought of the day. Now c'mon, use the goddam comment option, no matter what your position is. I promise I'll only respond through the comments option, not on the main page. Sheesh, it's like pulling teeth with you people.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 12:12 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Sunday, February 15, 2004


Well I was up late last night (Saturday) and was watching Austin City Limits (on PBS no less), which for those of you who still listen to commercial music, is a program out of the musical haven of Austin, Texas that features a real wide range of musical talents, from old bluesmen to jazz, to rockers.

John Mayer was on, and altho I like John, he has been commercialized a little too much for me lately. Yes, Cadrin, that means that because many people started liking him, I started to get a little tired of him. Overexposure, I suppose.

Anyway, in between his commerical hits he leans to the mic and says "I would now like to introduce my hero, Buddy Guy." Again for those of you in commercial music wasteland, Buddy Guy is one of the greatest bluesmen to ever live. So I'm expecting Guy to smoke as always on his guitar, and for Mayer just to play along quietly.

Well, I was wrong. Yes Guy did smoke, he's sooo good, but Mayer is one hell of a blues guitar player. Seriously, most of his commercial stuff is a little slower, but wow, can he ever rip up the blues. I have way more respect for him now than I ever did. Goes to show you can't always judge a book by its cover. It'll be interesting to see where Mayer goes in the next 10 years.

On the political front, what with all this hulabaloo surrounding the Liberals lately, polls show they are dropping in popularity, which is to be expected after blowing millions of dollars on nothing. But I look at the Conservatives and the NDP and really question what the Liberals have to worry about.

I don't appreciate the Liberals and their ill-defined money lending habits, bu they are still (in my opinion) the best of a rather sorry lot of political parties. Yes, I would prefer they didn't have a new scandal ever six months, but I would be quite worried if the Conservatives (Reform) and their religiously-guided morals started to dictate where the country was going. On a social scale, the NDP are idealistic and heart-warming, but a I think they promise the moon without adequate financial planning. This leaves me with little else but to see the Liberals as the leading (note: not ideal) choice for progressive social issues like gay marriage (bring it on Cadrin). Hopefully the Liberals develop an ability to exercise some financial control over taxpayer dollars.

Lets face it, the Conservatives (Reform) talk a good game about financial accountability, but they have never been in the drivers seat. I could talk smack all day long about what a great teacher I will be, but if I've never actually taught, then I'm just blowing smoke. The election will be interesting, but at most the only change we could possibly see is a Liberal minority government. Hey, I'm not for a minute defending the loss of all those taxpayer dollars, I'm just saying that right now, the Liberals still remain the frontrunner.

Feel free to comment, this is a public forum after all.

One last thing. Check out Digitally Involved. It's my buddy Todd's company and the doo-dads they produce are pretty cool. Plus he needs some money to start his computer engineer revolution, where everyone will have Linux tattoos and read Dilbert.


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 11:01 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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