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March 31, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Not really a bargain, is it?

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I have to ask: How damaged is "damaged"?

Somewhere in Bogotá, El Narco is gnashing his teeth over this

Video in Spanish. Story by Aporrea:

Corporal Pablo Emilio Moncayo thanked the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa; that of Brazil, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, and of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, for securing his freedom after twelve years as a hostage of the FARC.

In his first speech as a free man, on Tuesday, in the airport of Florencia, Colombia, he also thanked the Colombians for Peace, Senator Piedad Córdoba, the Catholic Church, and the International Red Cross for their part in the liberation.

"I want to thank the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, for being the one to request this gesture of peace with the guerrillas. I also want to thank the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, and of Brazil, Lula da Silva, for their leadership," said Moncayo.

Moncayo also conveyed messages from his comrades still being held by the FARC.

"My colonel, Duarte, and my sergeant, Martínez, request that a non-governmental international aid organization help broker their freedom."

He added that in his own time he will announce his decision whether or not to remain in the Colombian army.

"I'm proud to have worn my uniform the entire time, while having seen so many things, out of love for my beautiful Colombian people," Moncayo said.

At the same time he called for the national authorities of Colombia to deepen their negotiations with the FARC, because the latter represent an important Colombian reality.

"I think the FARC guerrillas will not change the history of Colombia--they simply exist, they are a reality that can't be denied no matter how much you want to. They seem invisible, but there they are," Moncayo commented.

Corporal Moncayo is the second person unilaterally released by the FARC this year, as part of a process which is hoped to lead to humanitarian prisoner exchanges.

Translation mine.

Cpl. Moncayo is one of the more famous hostages formerly held by the FARC. His father, Gustavo, walked the length and breadth of Colombia in chains to protest the continued absence of his son, as well as the Uribe government's continued unwillingness to engage in peace talks with the guerrillas; he became known as the "Peace Walker" for this activity. Until Uribe broke off the process, Moncayo and Ingrid Betancourt were to have been freed during Chavecito's talks with the FARC commanders. Ingrid Betancourt was liberated in a covert operation that was widely trumpeted--and condemned by the International Committee of the Red Cross, who did not participate in the operation, but found their logo being used under false pretenses. When the truth about that one emerged, it was a black eye for Uribe.

He must be grinding his teeth to hear Correa, Lula and Chavecito praised here, but not himself.

PS: For more stuff to get El Narco's clashers grinding, click here and scroll to the bottom to hear Moncayo saying you can't deny the reality of the FARC.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Do you get your birth control info from FUX Snooze?

If so, they just put something out there that'll have all those pudgy caffeine freaks guzzling themselves into diabetic oblivion:

No, it's not the part about the swine flu or the vitamins. It's the sodie-pop! Guys are killing their sperm counts with it...allegedly.

Yep, this is right up there with the old urban legend about douching with Coke.

Tune in next week, when the FUX Snoozers definitively link aspartame with Gulf War Syndrome. Or maybe not.

March 30, 2010

Quotable: Philip Pullman on censorship vs. free speech

A far more articulate and interesting author, I daresay, than the Coultergeist will ever be. And with more of worth to say on the subject in a minute than she will have said in all her unnatural lifetime. Watch and learn, people.

March 29, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Craigslist sure attracts the weird ones

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I don't know about you, but a part of me just recoiled in dread. (I'll leave it to you to guess which part.)

Short 'n' Stubby: Here come da 'pocalypse!

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Yes, Ms. Manx is back...and all who have not been "saved" are going to have their souls eaten by the Cats! And by "saved", I simply mean "educated in the use of the common sense their mamas gave them". Assuming their mamas didn't, which is surprisingly common in the Babylon to the south of us. Cases in point, coming right down...

Remember those infamous "Michigan Militia" groups of the Clinton era? They're ba-ack, and one of them is now going by the inexplicable name of Hutaree.

Wikipedia says they're not officially affiliated with the original goon squads, which disbanded around the time Clinton's latter term was coming to a close, but then, who can tell? These groups are all clandestine and seemingly autonomous, so formal connections would be hard to prove. But they do talk amongst themselves; they meet at gun shows and other far-right-wing functions. And "inspiration" is easy to spot, as is influence. So I wouldn't say that they're not a metastatic form of the original Michigan mental-as-anythings.

And why does all this shit happen in Michigan? Probably for the same reason that Tim McVeigh was from Western New York, which sits just across Lake Ontario from where I am. There be rednecks in the northern states, yep. And they're just as full of self-righteous grudgifyin' as any bubba from down south. Hilariously, some of them like to think they are freedom and homeland defence. Riiiiiight. With those guts? A pregnant cow could outrun them, and a well-oiled government machine could just bulldoze them where they stand, if it ever came to an actual showdown with the "tyranny" they dread. They may as well arm themselves with water pistols. But hey, they've issued a statement claiming to be pleased with the peaceful arrests of these strange dudes, so I'll give them credit for a little common sense, anyway. (That was one second of the two a day when these stopped clocks tell correct time, folks. Enjoy it while it lasts.)

Of course the Freeper Nazis, apparently none of whom work as Michigan cops themselves, think this is all just proof of how things have gone commie all of a sudden now that some niggruh is president. And that the country's gone to hell in a handbasket now and only now. Where the fuck were they when Dubya took the country there, handbasket and all, and then left it for the next guy to clean up (which he's not doing nearly fast enough, thanks to freaks like these)? Oh yeah: They were cheerleading for Dubya. Who of course could do no wrong, even when he was wrecking fucking everything.

There sure does seem to be a wave of Teh Crazy breaking across the US as of last week, when healthcare reform--very limited, very wimpy reform--finally passed. Alan Grayson's five-year-old son picked up the phone only to hear a loony woman threaten his dad's life (be sure you read the comments on that story, they're full of loonies too. Some of whom appear to be paid operatives for the electoral campaign of Grayson's Republican opponent.) Meanwhile, another true-believing wacko has threatened Eric Cantor, a Republican. Heaven only knows why. Perhaps because he wasn't obstructionist enough?

So who are these Hutaree people, and what are they on about? Here's a short primer. The leader's ex-wife, who says he "has a temper", "can get radical" and "wants things done his way", is interviewed here. (Little Hitler and Mussolini Piccolomini leaders in "freedom-loving" toy armies--oh, the ironies of militia life!)

And when you're done with all that, go visit Ms. Pale for further entertainment by the Father, the Son and the Holy Smoke. Apparently these rapturists think His Barackness is the Antichrist, and that this is the Tribulation, or some such. Nuh-unh...no rivers, oceans and fountains of blood. And no suddenly disappeared railroad engineers, streetcar motormen, or satanic zits from the Burny Place. Sorry, this is not the End Times. This is just another Great Disappointment!

Go home NOW, people, and put your guns away. You'll shoot your eye out! And you have trouble enough seeing straight as it is, no thanks to the big insurance corporations who should be the real targets of your ire.

March 28, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: People who should NEVER write about sex

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Jeezuschrist, what is it with right-wing men? Not only are they totally repulsive to look at, they're also gross when it comes to sex. Somehow, you can just guess it from the way they write about the subject:

"Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto him and was somehow sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. 'Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things,' she hissed."

--Newt Gingrich, 1945

Cliché, cliché, vagueness, archaism, ouch factor, lame dialogue--in that order. That's a lot of crappy to pack into just 39 words!

"At age ten the madam put the child in a cage with a bear trained to couple with young girls so the girls would be frigid and not fall in love with their patrons. They fed her through the bars and aroused the bear with a stick when it seemed to lose interest."

--Irving Lewis "Scooter" Libby, The Apprentice

Kiddie porn, bestiality, unlawful confinement, major MAJOR yuck factor, vagueness (how does one arouse a bear with a stick, other than by poking the poor fella while he's hibernating?) Also stretches credibility: A bear is far more likely to devour a child than hump her. And since when do prostitutes fall in love with their clients, anyway? Talk about totally extraneous. Libby, you are one sick bastard.

"Tsa Li froze, her lips still enclosing Rand's glans."

--G. Gordon Liddy, Out of Control

Mister Penis Head, me love you long time! All of Southeast Asia is just one big bordello to you guys, isn't it. (Side note: Liddy's head looks like a...well, guess.)

"Say baby, put down that pipe and get my pipe up."

"I would like you to unhook your bra and let it slide down your arms. You can keep your shirt on."

"Cup your hands under your breasts and hold them for ten seconds."

"Off with those pants."

--Bill O'Reilly, Those Who Trespass

Why do I get the awful feeling he's said all those lame things and more in real life?

"She tried to scream. Then another hand rushed to her throat, discovered the top button of her jacket loosened as she had left it, and moved down to force the second button through the eye of her blouse. The hand forced its way under her blouse, moving down. Then the fingers were on her breast, slipping beneath her brassiere, and then pulling out, one hand hitting her throat as the other left her mouth."

--Marlin Fitzwater, Esther's Pillow

I'll bet he wrote all of that one-handed, too. Fucking pervert.

And since the right is big on token women, let's include one of theirs:

"The women who embraced in the wagon were Adam and Eve crossing a dark cathedral stage -- no, Eve and Eve, loving one another as they would not be able to once they ate of the fruit and knew themselves as they truly were."

--Lynne Cheney, Sisters

And this breathless tripe came out long before her daughter Mary did. Interesting. Makes me wonder if something doesn't run in the genes after all.

I have only one thing to say to all these people: Please don't ever write another word about sex. Nobody wants to do you anyway.

Music for a Sunday: I, Isabella...

March 27, 2010

Happy Earth Hour!

Play this before or after you spend your hour with all unnecessary power-sucking devices turned off, with candles lit, just doing your chillin' thing. Your choice. But remember...

...ENJOY!!!

Wankers of the Week: Out with a slam

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Ever have one of those days when you just wished the door would hit somebody in the ass on the way out? It's been one of those weeks for me. So, as we prepare to slam the door on this week (and the month of March, which shows no signs of becoming lamblike yet), here are the people for whom I devoutly hope it will hit 'em where their mamas done split 'em:

1. Ann Fucking Coulter. Yes, folks, the Coultergeist was in my home and native land this week, shooting off her psycho-bitch mouth over everything she knows nothing about. Heaven only knows why, since she's not popular here (even with the lunatics!), and if she had to rely on box office, like anyone else not performing on wingnut welfare, it wouldn't net her enough to buy her hourly fix of crack, much less pay her poor beleaguered shrink. Little wonder, then, that she preferred to remain a no-show at her Ottawa appearance; it's easier to booze it up at a $250/plate private fundraiser than it is to try to scare up 400 peons to hear one's irrelevant squawkings at a "bush-league" university, eh Chicken Shit Annie?

1 1/2. Ezra Fucking Levant. It's rather touching how enthusiastically he shills for a woman who hates Jews so much. Normally he's all about "free speech for me, but none for thee." But then, he and Ann both hate the Muslims (who will never be "perfected" like herself), so of course it's all water under the bridge, eh Ezra?

BTW, check out his blog's disclaimer:

"This organization is not a registered non-profit organization. Donations to this organization are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."

Translation: Don't bother donating a cent. It's all gonna be wasted on HIM.

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2. Ariel Fucking Braun. Why the no-show at a meeting specifically meant to hold him accountable? No one knows. Maybe this op-ed can offer some clues. (It misspells his name, but it's v-e-r-y interesting.)

3. John Fucking Baird. See above, and add a resounding WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU!!!

4. Michelle Fucking McGee. Her tattoos spell out LYING NAZI SLEAZE QUEEN, what else?

5. Rick Fucking Dykstra. Anti-conservative and anti-Bush equals "anti-American". Um, what? Why isn't that bad meme dead yet? Oh yeah. It's because wankers like this one keep flogging it! PS to Rick: Stop having sex. Even with your hand. Practice what you preach, dude!

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6. Randy Fucking Neugebauer. To hell with "order and decorum". Old men just plain have no business telling young women what to do with their bodies. Spare us the sanctimonious apologies and just fuck off, already.

7. and 8. Teresa Fucking McNeece and Trae Fucking Wiygul. The best way not to get "hounded" for being a bigoted homophobic hypocrite is to not BE a bigoted homophobic hypocrite, duh. So stop your fucking whining. Grow the hell up. And let Constance bring her girlfriend to the prom!

9. Wiley Fucking Drake. Yep, the Imprecator is at it again, praying for death. This time for 219 Democratic congresscritters. How pro-life is that? (PS to Jesus: Keep that cotton in yer ears, bro. You're gonna need a lot more of it before this snake hisses his last.)

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10. Bev Fucking Oda. See #5, and add that international co-operation does NOT include going along with shitty Bushite foreign policy, never has and never will. Bev is un-Canadian!

11. The Fucking Aryan Nations. Because Easter's just not the same without at least a metaphorical cross burning on some black family's lawn. Or without at least one badly traumatized child.

12. Stephen Fucking Harper. Ever wonder what I have against hockey (as is currently played in the NHL, at any rate)? Harpo pretty much names it. No, aggression is NOT inherent to our Canadian psyche. I'd enjoy the game a lot more without head-shots and body slams and sucker punches and all those other things that make it look like vale tudo on ice. And without the 19-year-old millionaires who think they're God's gift. AND without the same "ethic", if you can call it that, being injected into our body politic. The women's gold medal round at the Olympics was the more exciting of the two, because those players aren't NHLers and it shows--they actually know how to play. They know the real meaning of teamwork--it's the solidarity, stupid. And the guys were all up in the balcony, watching them and taking notes--knowing that their usual NHL strategies were offsides at the Olympics. Harpo should have taken note of THAT.

13. Fucking Iggy. Appeasing the so-called "Harper Liberals"? Not smart. The party doesn't have an anti-choice, religiously fanatical "base" to draw on. What they have are a lot of people who support women's rights, scratching their heads at how this bunch could be so fucking daft. But Iggy's true to form that way; he'd rather kiss right-wing boots than put on the centre-left ones of his party and march in them. And so would a bunch of other toadies in the same party. This, my friends, is why I am not a Liberal. There is nothing I hate worse than a bully, unless it's his little enabling friends.

14. Mike Fucking Vanderboegh. Inciting domestic terrorism and death threats--and then claiming, oh so coyly, to only be calling for vandalism? Criminal incitement is still a crime, dickweed. PS: If you're so much against the government, give up your disability pension, which is clearly only going to finance crime anyway. "Refuse to participate in the system", to use your own words. Go on now. Die a free man, already!

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15. George W. Fucking Bush. What's the W stand for? WIMP. And WIPE. And WANKER! So nice to see nothing's really changed since he left office, eh?

16. Mark Fucking Warren. Spare us the brave-thankless-ACLUer act. The Coultergeist is indefensible, and she was NOT invited by Canadians to squawk on our soil. She really should be persona non grata, and if she were a Canadian leftist trying to speak on your turf she'd be on a no-fly list, but we're bigger than your government. She "invited" herself, and her ticket was paid by a right-wing "institute" in the US. We are not obligated to provide her with a forum; she has more than enough of one as it is. And we have every right to cancel her hate-concert and kick her out of the country, which is sovereign and independent of the US. If you're gonna defend "free speech" (or whatever passes for it south of the border these days, which I understand includes calls to commit crimes), the least you could do is exercise your right responsibly, and GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT, YOU WANKER.

17. And that goes double for YOU, Fucking Freetards. You are free only in one sense--you are FACT-free. Guess you haven't heard that the Coultergeist did all this for publicity, pretending to be oppressed when in fact she faced nothing more than other people's free speech--you know, the thing you and she want to suppress. Let's face it: Her fortunes are on the wane. She's getting old. She's getting hideous (well, she always was, particularly from within, only now it's really starting to stink). And her books, which used to be saved from total obscurity only by wingnut-welfare bulk buying, are now tanking big-time. Too much competition from Caribou Barbie for those limited white-trash bucks, I guess! So she needs all the kamikaze publicity she can wangle. Hence her half-hearted presence, and then pre-arranged absence, at a "bush-league" university. But thanks so much for the laughs at your own expense, folks, they're much appreciated! Theatre of the Absurd might just make a comeback under you people. Your conspiracy theories are truly hilarious.

18. Brent Fucking Rathgeber. There's nothing to "ponder" here. We DO have freedom of speech, and we enjoy it just fine...on our own terms. It's not our fault if you don't like the way real Canadians use it--against a trucked-in Yankee shill with a tiny audience, hand-picked by her handlers so she won't be challenged in any real way (poor baby!) She had her opportunity to speak, she blew it off, she got rightly criticized for the meddling cowardly idiot that she is. The university was within its rights to tell her to behave--it's not a free-for-all arena, after all. And you have a problem with that? If you don't like this country, leave it. See how you make out in that paradise to the south of us. Go on. And be sure to report back.

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19. Dean Fucking Del Mastro. Another "pro-American" anti-choicer to slam the door on at the next election. Go to it, Peterborough.

20. Hans Fucking van Baalen. "Latin American dictators", it seems, are any elected leaders south of the Rio Grande who don't do what Europe and the US tell them to. Who is this pipsqueak, anyway, and why should he get to say anything about who Latin Americans elect to office? (PS: The Honduran "elections" were a sham, marked by abstention. Hardly "democratic", Hänschen Klein.)

21. Mykola Fucking Azarov. Everything he says about women, should be repeated...with regard to HIM. "16 hours a day with no breaks and weekends" is nothing compared to the demands of motherhood, you old fart.

22. Sarah Fucking Palin. Her 15 minutes are long over, but she refuses to go away. She's out there right now, dressed as a ditzy dominatrix, whoring her little ass off for the teabags. Worse, she is now complicit in teabagger crimes and terrorism. She, like the Coultergeist, should be on no-fly lists everywhere, but of course she won't ever come up for consideration as a mad mullah of the Amurrican Taliban. Why? IOKIYAR--why else?

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23. Yitzhak Fucking Shapira. Yes, believe it or not, there's a school of scriptural parsing on when it is appropriate to kill non-Jews. And this asshat wrote the book on it. A very repulsive, squirmy little book, which seeks to make kosher what is obviously anything but. Needless to say, the crazy Kahanist types love it. It totally justifies their displacement and murder of Palestinians in the occupied territories, don'tcha know?

24. David Fucking Ito. Literally a wanker, he repeatedly tried to surf porn at work while the financial system was melting down all around him. Oh yeah, and he's since been promoted to a higher pay grade within the SEC. Crapitalism: You can only fall up. (PS: Don't skip the comments, they're a scream!)

25. Clark Fucking Hogan. Because badvertising and worn-out frat-boy humor totally belong above a urinal, eh? Actually, they belong in the shitter. And they deserve a royal flush.

26. Harry Fucking Weisiger. If you need any further proof that the teabags are d-bags, here he is. Even a kid in the car with the Obama/Biden bumper sticker was not enough to dissuade this right-wing wackaloon from repeatedly ramming it with his big, ugly SUV. The only thing that would put him lower on the human scale is a gun...and the lethal use of it. As one commenter at the site notes, "For eight miserable years of the Bush administration I was angry. But I didn't try to run anyone down." That speaks volumes as to who's got the class and who's just an ass, does it not?

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27. Eric Fucking Cantor. It was only a stray bullet, but oh the humanity!--what a lovely victim card it made and still makes. And it lends so much credence to all those false equivalences the rightards so love to draw, too!

28. Dick Fucking Armey. He calls Barack Obama a Marxist Muslim (he is neither), but as recently as last year, right before he began pouring toxic tea at those "FreedomWorks" astroturf parties, he was lobbying for the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq--a group of Marxist Muslims. WTF??? Oh yeah, IOKIYAR--again.

29. Scott Fucking Brison. BAD move, Scott. Your Tory roots are showing! Have you not learned yet that "free" trade only deepens poverty--and increases the violence you think it's going to stop? It only brings prosperity to those who already have more than enough--and they're the ones who are hiring all those paramilitaries to kill the "uppity" peasants. The average Colombian will not see a peso of it. They will, however, see a hail of bullets heading their way in "defence" of "freedom" and "prosperity".

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And no, it's not passé, no matter what your rich right-wing friends down there may be telling you. It is getting worse! And if you push for an FTA with Colombia, it will be on your head and that of every so-called Liberal who supports it. Tories Lite...NOT the Party of Pierre Trudeau and Lester B. Pearson, eh?

And finally, the commenter here, from Wien (yes, he's a Wiener, and in more ways than one!) who thinks Che's last name was really Guevarawitz. Everything's a Jewish conspiracy. Including the fact that Che's family were all Catholics...

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Good night, and get fucked!

Stupid Sex Tricks: REALLY stupid sex tips...from Cosmo

I knew there was a reason I quit buying Cosmopolitan after Helen Gurley Brown left town. It lost its fucking mind! Helen was its mind, a smart, feminist, women-deserve-more-and-better mind...and thanks to her, they also had GOOD sex tips in there, once upon a time. They don't anymore, though, as Marty Beckerman found out to his chagrin...

Also, I think I won't be eating any more mangos until I figure out how to erase that from my mind.

Stupid Sex Tricks: "Sensual", you say?

Not once, but twice in one ad?

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That's doubly self-defeating, just like wearing a specially rigged bra to make it look like you're not wearing a bra. If you want the braless look, you go braless, and don't waste money on a bra with spike-nips built in.

Besides, as any woman who's ever donned a padded one to keep from nipping out can tell you (guilty since puberty here!), there are definite advantages to NOT looking like you're not wearing a bra. This sign spells it out...

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...in a highly specific way.

March 26, 2010

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Norman Bethune, socialized medical pioneer

"Dr. Norman Bethune: Surgeon and Innovator".

When you hear the teabaggers screeching about public healthcare being "socialism" and "communism", stop and think--maybe they're not so far off the mark after all. But they're wrong about it being a BAD thing. It is a lifesaver, and was conceived as such from its very beginning, on grounds both socialist and humanitarian. Norman Bethune, the great Canadian physician who served in the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion in the Spanish Civil War, and later with Mao's troops in China, was a communist. As a curator points out in the video above, it was considered a deep dark secret in Canada at the time, although those who had regular contact with him through his letters were well aware of it, since they were typically leftists themselves. Certainly he himself was not ashamed of it; in fact, he was (rightfully) contemptuous of those who dismissed him and his work on account of it.

To this day, there are heroic statues to Norman Bethune in China. Even more important than his weighty historic role, though, is Bethune's contribution to medicine. He is considered an innovator in blood-transfusion services and thoracic surgery both. He invented a pair of bone shears still used in thoracic surgery at present. And if you're a fan of M*A*S*H, you may be interested to know that Bethune's work was later copied by mobile army surgical units from the capitalist US, as well. He perfected his mobile emergency transfusion techniques during his Spanish Republican days. Here's a snippet from one of his letters to the Canadian leftist magazine, New Frontier, in 1936, describing how the service operated:

Our night work is very eerie! We get a phone call for blood. Snatch up our packed bag, take two bottles (each 500 c.c.)--one of group IV and one of group II--out of the refrigerator and with our armed guard off we go through the absolutely pitch dark streets and the guns and machine guns and rifle shots sound as if they were in the next block, although they are really a half mile away. Without lights we drive. Stop at the hospital and with a searchlight in our hands find our way into the cellar principally. All the operating rooms in the hospitals have been moved into the basement to avoid falling shrapnel, bricks and stones coming through the operating room ceiling.

Our bag contains a completely sterilized box of instruments, towels, etc., so we can start work at once. The man is lying most frequently on a stretcher so we kneel down beside him, prick the finger and on a slide put one drop each of Serum type II and type III. If his red blood cells are agglutenated by II and not by III--he is type III. If agglutenated by III he is a II, if by both he is a type I, if neither, he is group IV. So now we know what blood he can take safely. If I, II or IV he gets our bottle of blood group IV (the universal blood). If he is a II, he gets blood group II. He could also take IV but as these "universal donors" are only 45% of the people, we must use II's when we can.

Then the proper blood is warmed in a pan of water and we are ready to start. The man is usually as white as paper, mostly shocked, with an imperceptible pulse. He may be exsanguinated also and not so much shocked, but usually is both shocked and exsanguinated. We now inject novo-caine over the vein in the bend of the elbow, cut down and find the vein and insert a small glass Cannula then run the blood in. The change in most cases is spectacular. We give him always 500 c.c. of preserved blood and sometimes more and follow it up with Saline or 5% Glucose solution. The pulse can now be felt and his pale lips have some colour.

Yesterday, we did three transfusions--this is about the average daily, besides the blood we leave at hospitals for them to use themselves. We collect 1/2 to 3/4 gallon daily, mix it with Sodium Citrate (3.8%) and keep it just above freezing in the refrigerator in sterile milk and wine bottles. This blood will keep for about a week. We are working on the use of LOCKES' SOLUTION to preserve the red blood cells longer and are making up Bayliss Gum Solution. (Gum Arabic in Saline.) Bayliss was (or is!) an English Physiologist who brought out this gum solution for shock during the war of 1914-18.

There is a Barcelona Unit who are putting up blood in sterile ampules. I will go there and see the method. It looks O.K.

The International Brigade Hospital needs male and female French and German speaking nurses--not English speaking at present although these may be needed later. Brain surgeons also.

Well, this is a grand country, and great people. The wounded are wonderful.

After I had given a transfusion to a French soldier who had lost his arm, he raised the other to me as I left the room in the Casualty Clearing Station, and with his raised clenched fist exclaimed "Viva la Revolution." The next boy to him was a Spaniard--a medical student shot through the liver and stomach. When I had given him a transfusion and asked him how he felt, he said "It is nothing--Nada." He recovered--so did the Frenchman....

(From Right Hand Left Hand, by Dorothy Livesay. All spelling, typography, etc. as in Bethune's original letter. Linkage added. The blood types which were then called I, II, III and IV are now known as O, A, B and AB, respectively.)

Bethune's letter gives some indication of the difficult circumstances he operated in, as well as the spirit of those he operated on. It's not hard to see where his humanitarian dedication came from, I trust!

So when you hear a teabagger yattering on about the "evils" of socialized medicine, you might want to think upon the life and times of one of its greatest proponents, and point out to the 'bagger that every military in the world, including that of the US, owes a debt of gratitude to a Canadian communist who invented the art of mobile blood banking on the battlefields of Republican Spain.

And then, you may feel free to tell that ignorant 'bagger to shut the fuck up.

March 25, 2010

Venezuelan "freepers" operate out of Colombia, US

...but not Venezuela. Funny dat:

Video in Spanish.

I don't know about you, but I'm starting to get mighty skeptical of any "grassroots" organization whose name starts with "free"--as in, here, "FreeVenezuela". Fascists are learning not only how to wrap themselves tighter in the flag, but also how to flap the word "free" around until it becomes ultimately meaningless. Venezuelan "freepers" are few, but they have powerful string-pullers in Washington and Bogotá.

Quotable: Henry Rollins on Ann Coulter

An oldie, but a goodie. Still as fresh and relevant as it was the first time.

(Gawd, I love Henry.)

Quotable: Özlem Sensoy on the Coultergeist/freedom-of-speech canards

"When the 'free speech' card is played (by those whose speech aligns with power structures, like Coulter), it is a defensive response to their perspectives and power being challenged. The 'free speech' discourse protects power and privilege by acting as a shield against such challenges. If you dare challenge free speech as a normal social value, you dare challenge the founding ideals of Western-style democracy."

--Özlem Sensoy, in the Vancouver Sun

March 24, 2010

Photo du soir

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Ezra Levant, trying to strike a suitably grim pose and succeeding only in looking like a sanctimonious little putz covered in flop sweat, announces the Coultergeist's no-show...which was planned ahead of time. For what reason, one wonders, as if we couldn't guess?

Captions welcome, BTW. Let's have some fun with the putz. His 15 minutes are now officially up, except for the punchlines.

This just in...Coultergeist and Levant caught in major LIE!

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Film at 11! God bless you, Kady O'Malley...

Finally, an observation from a CBC reporter who was in the Foyer while Coulter was being interviewed by CTV's Power Play: At approximately 5:15pm, he overheard a member of her security team tell a Conservative MP that her event "may be cancelled," which would suggest that the decision to do so was already being considered before more than half the crowd had assembled outside the venue -- hopeful speech-goers and protesters alike. Coulter herself, meanwhile, told Cosh that she never actually left the Rideau Club -- where she was the guest of honour at a $250 per head private reception -- for the university. Given the travel times involved, and the 7:30 pm start time, she would likely have had to do so by 7pm at the latest in order to make it in time.

Oh Ann? I believe you and Ezra Irel Levant now have a golden opportunity to exercise some REAL freedom of speech. Get creative and make it a pretty apology!

ADDENDUM: The U of O weighs in.

Last night, the organizers themselves decided at 7:50 p.m. to cancel the event and so informed the University's Protection Services staff on site. At that time, a crowd of about one thousand people had peacefully gathered at Marion Hall.

"Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted," said Allan Rock, President of the University. "We have a long history of hosting contentious and controversial speakers on our campus. Last night was no exception, as people gathered here to listen to and debate Ann Coulter's opinions.

I encourage our students, faculty and other members of our community to maintain our University as an open forum for diverse opinions. Ours is a safe and democratic environment for the expression of views, and we will keep it that way."

Please note that this is the University of Ottawa's official statement and no further comments will be issued.

I'm sure the decision was actually made much sooner, but only announced at 7:50 to the university authorities. Charming how these free-screechers always keep their word, no?

Ann Coulter really hates freedom of speech. Here's why...

Reason #1: It's very easy to own her bony ass with the facts.

All you have to do is get a word in edgewise, which of course is something this fast-talking nag doesn't want to allow. Fortunately, this CBC reporter didn't have to go all Bill O'Reilly on her and cut her mike. He just had to keep talking. Watch how her confidence turns to deer-in-the-headlights on a dime!

Reason #2: She's afraid of any serious challenge. Especially if it comes in boisterous crowds.

About two thousand noisy protesters is what it takes to get an Ann Coulter speech canceled, apparently.

That's the scene which transpired on Tuesday night at the University of Ottawa, where the right-wing author had planned a talk. Canadian media described the crowd as "boisterous."

"A spokesman for the group that organized the event said there were fears for Coulter's well-being after about two thousand people gathered outside the venue to protest her presence there," The Toronto Star reported.

Two thousand "boisterous" people, merely protesting? Not one weapon, not one death threat in all that crowd? Just people shouting and waving placards denouncing a foreign terrorist invader on our soil? Wow. Some threat to her "well-being". I guess for Ann, well-being is directly tied to her own monstrous ego and her ability to overtalk. You can do that one-on-one, or even one-on-two or -three. But one-on-two-thousand? Yeah, no wonder she felt threatened. One CBC reporter clobbering her with facts; two thousand students clobbering her with free speech. Kind of hard going, that!

But hey, Ann, you shouldn't have any problem standing up to them, I should think. Not if you really believed in free speech (for those other than your scrawny old self, of course). Not after what you said just a few short years ago:

"They better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them," she said on Hannity & Colmes in 2004. "They're lucky they're allowed to be on the same continent as the United States."

Yeah, big brave words. And just like everything else she blats to the four winds, utterly empty of meaning and devoid of fact.

Canadians won the War of 1812; it's the Yanks' best-kept secret and the reason for our so-called "luck". We taught them to show some respect, and we taught it to 'em the hard way. We torched the White House, Ann...and we are the only country ever, in all the world, to have done so.

Maybe that's why we're so "lucky", eh Ann?

Maybe you should count yourselves lucky that the Canucks didn't get greedy 200-odd years ago. We were quite content to merely keep you off our turf; we had no interest in stealing yours. If we were, you might be having to learn French in school today, Ann. And knowing you, with your massive ignorance and incuriosity about anything not immediately under your nose, you'd probably flunk it. Which would put your paltry notion of free speech at a double disadvantage.

As it is, you're an epic fail, and true free speech--which we do have, and exercise up here, as you've no doubt found out to your chagrin (that's French, Ann, look it up!)--has won the day.

C'est la merde.

Cops Behaving Badly: A clear-cut case of police brutality

From what I can gather, these cops were there to break up a brawl in Victoria, BC, a few days ago. But as you can see from what's happening here, even after the fighting was over, they still felt the apparent need to kick a guy who was already on the ground, NOT resisting arrest. They also kneed him in the kidney, which hurts like hell if you've ever been hit there or had a stone or an infection. There is NO justification for this. The prisoner was already subdued.

The incident is now under investigation. Let's see if they find THIS "justified". I think they're gonna find it awfully hard, but I fully expect to hear all kinds of lame excuses.

March 23, 2010

Chile: Robbing Peter to pay for reconstruction?

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A parody of one of Sebastián Piñera's campaign posters. The caption reads: "Reducing everyone's salaries. This is not how we want Chile!"

I said this man would try to run Chile like a business, and sure enough, he's gonna do just that. The question is, what kind of business will it be? Read this, and see if you can tell me...

The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, said on Monday that eventually, some state companies could be privatized in order to finance the process of reconstruction after February's earthquake.

According to a Chilean television interview, printed today in the daily La Nación, the president admitted that the early days of his government have been "difficult and hard."

He remarked that the catastrophe will cost Chile some $30 billion, a sum equivalent to 17% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Piñera announced that the financing of the plan to recuperate the country will consider, among other things, fiscal austerity, reassignment of resources from programs which are not priorities, the use of Chilean savings in foreign banks, and even "adjustments in tax matters".

Translation mine.

And now, I think I know why he doesn't regret having boogied with Dictator Pinochet, and why he's all testy and defensive whenever anyone challenges him on it. It's because he thinks the economic catastrophe that the latter unleashed, back in his day--more than the equivalent of this earthquake in wreckage, both materially and morally--was not only acceptable, but the right thing to do.

This man appears to be hellbent on destroying the country in order to "save" it. A veritable economic My Lai in the making.

Oy vey.

Quotable: Marge Piercy on the "right to life"

"Every baby born
unloved, unwanted, is a bill that will come
due in twenty years with interest, an anger
that must find a target, a pain that will
beget pain. A decade downstream a child
screams, a woman falls, a synagogue is torched,
a firing squad is summoned, a button
is pushed and the world burns."

--Marge Piercy, "Right to Life"

Stupid Sex Tricks: Living up to his name, and how...

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Could have been worse...his name could have been Wanker.

March 22, 2010

Venezuelan dictator to shut down Internet!

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Um. Actually, that should read: Venezuelan DEMOCRAT to make good use of Internet!

President Hugo Chávez announced during his Sunday program that he would "open a trench on the Internet", referring to a blog, and that he would write it from Miraflores and use it to inform "millions" in Venezuela and throughout the world about his government.

"Over there in Miraflores Palace, I can get a computer, a web page, and communicate with millions, not only in Venezuela but all over the world," said Chávez.

"I'll have my own trench on the internet, my battle-trench on the web," he added, amid applause. "I assure you I'll send out lots of information--I signed this, I'm signing that, I'm discussing, I spoke to this person, I spoke to another," he said.

"This will be a bombardment of things. We're already organizing for a bombardment of responses, even from the enemy. Let them take their best shot at me, I'll fire back at them, battle is battle, assault is assault," he added, promising that his blog would be "a monster".

Translation mine.

Memo to all the flea-screech concern trolls out there: You can stop your fucking screaming already. And don't get cutesy about it either--that's even more pathetic. Go challenge the man directly, if you think your sorry fool ass can stand the walloping.

Quotable: Judith Butler on feminism and war

"I think that we have seen quite cynical uses of feminism for the waging of war. The vast majority of feminists oppose these contemporary wars, and object to the false construction of Muslim women "in need of being saved" as a cynical use of feminist concerns with equality. There are some very strong and interesting Muslim feminist movements, and casting Islam as anti-feminist not only disregards those movements, but displaces many of the persisting inequalities in the first world onto an imaginary elsewhere."

--Judith Butler, at Guernica

March 21, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: How NOT to use a toilet

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Ladies know how to remain seated during the entire performance. The gents? Still getting the hang of this sitting-down-to-pee thingie.

Music for a Sunday: All I want is the real thing, nothing but the real thing

Let's just close our eyes...

March 20, 2010

Wankers of the Week: March Hare edition

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What mad tea party is this? Oh, just the sort of thing one finds if one is in the habit of falling down rabbit holes once a week, looking for wankers. In which case, you've come to the right place. Here's whose heads your Queen takes off this week...

1. Nicole Fucking Jalbert. Is there any sound reason why the access-to-information director of our national spy agency is denying access to information about people long since dead and gone? No. But that doesn't stop her from doing it. How long ago are we talking about? Google the terms "Louis Riel" sometime and tell me. Hundred-year secrecy is as nutty as hundred-year wars, don't you think?

2. Peter Fucking Worthington. If you criticize what the Canadian Armed Forces are doing in Afghanistan--not only torturing prisoners themselves, on behalf of CSIS (whose presence in Afghanistan is confirmed, by the way) but also handing them over to the slimy Afghan "authorities" to be tortured--then, according to Mr. UnWorthy, you're a Taliban sympathizer, if not Taliban yourself. Talk about a broad brush...

But hey: Peter's fair game for a few broad brushstrokes himself. Since he came out in favor of apartheid back in the day, we can safely and rightly tar him with the brush of white-supremacist fascism, can we not? Especially since there is so much other evidence to support the charge. Just look at all the august company he keeps...

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3. and 4. Rielle Fucking Hunter and John Fucking Edwards. Two complete wankers who completely deserve one another. Everyone else around them, however, does not deserve the embarrassment these two cheating liars have wrought. (And speaking of embarrassing, check this out. Be sure to keep a barf bag handy.)

5. Helena Fucking Guergis. Sheer comedy gold: "working hard" to wangle yourself a perma-post on this wank-list. Throw me in a big fake cheque with a big blue C on it, and you got yourself a deal, Helena Handbasket, baby! (PS: Oh, sweet Jesus.)

6. And speaking of hard-working SupposiTories, how about that Vic Fucking Toews? No, seriously. Stop laughing. How about him? When he's not busy slamming the "Liberal ideologues" of the media for daring to question Rahim Fucking Jaffer's slap-on-the wrist, or for their total compliance in not making an issue of his "traditional family values" mistress (whom he has since made "honest", in true prairie shotgun style), he's crazy busy throwing photo-ops for "plans" neither he, nor anyone else in the SupposiTory cabinet, actually set in motion. Phew. Give that man a ShamWow for his brow! And don't miss his latest hilarious photo-op!

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(No, I did not draw this. Slap Upside the Head did.)

7. J.D. Fucking Hayworth. Gay rights lead to man-on-horse marriage? I bet Neal Mule-Fucking Horsley would be very interested in that!

8. Sarah Fucking Palin, yet again. Any other Canadians out there find themselves half wishing that when her parents "hustled us across the border" for free, socialized healthcare, they had faced a REAL death panel...and lost?

9. Virginia Fucking Thomas. Yes, Virginia, Clarence "Uncle" Thomas has a beard wife. And she's a teabagger. How she squares that overtly racist association with her husband's complexion, I do not know. My humble guess is she "enjoys motor homing" so she doesn't have to interact with him too much.

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Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

10. Fucking TMZ. Yes, NAAFA is a real group. It's also been around a damn sight longer than this snotty, patronizing gossip site. Oh, and when a commercial weight-loss SCAM company tries to target someone for their marketing strategy, that is not "reaching out", it's ANNOYING. Just because someone is fat doesn't mean she's fair game for any asshole out there trying to make a buck. And it certainly doesn't mean the asshole is an altruist!

11. And speaking of big fat assholes, we also have Howard Fucking Stern. Officially wrong, officially irrelevant, officially jumped the shark. He may work again, but for how long? Oh, let's have a little fun speculating at HIS expense, for a change!

12. Lindsey Fucking Graham. Been hitting the saké a little hard, Senator? Because I see a suicide pilot hitting a wall here, and he's neither Democratic nor Japanese!

13. Erick Fucking Erickson. Right-wing male chauvinist wankers: one more reason to avoid the Chicken Noodle Network, the second-least trusted name in news (as if you needed one.) And a face for radio, too--not that anyone would want HIM on their dial. Way to lose more than half your viewership, Chicken Noodles. How far down in the ratings did you say you were, again?

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14. Karl Fucking Rove. "Proud of waterboarding"? Somehow I'm not surprised. Maybe he, like #13, is compensating for something.

15. Mike Fucking Duffy. Yeah, I learned critical thinking at journalism school too, and an important part of my learning came from Noam Chomsky. Not because my j-school profs were particularly liberal or leftist (I couldn't tell who was what, and didn't care in any case); it was because Noam Chomsky wrote the book and made the film on how the news media generate insidious propaganda on behalf of ruling parties, be they government, business or some monstrous hybrid of both. And because Chomsky--a linguist, not a journalist--showed clearly how the language of propaganda works. If critical thinking + Chomsky = disdain for capitalism, too fucking bad; anyone who can think critically would develop a healthy skepticism for capitalism even without Chomsky's help in decoding the crapaganda. It's critical thinking, not Chomsky, that's the real problem for Puffy because, as a blatantly biased conservative "journalist", he's not interested in accurate and honest reporting, but in the usual "fair and balanced" FUX Snooze shit. That's the easy, lazy way to do it, the way Puffy's done all his career: no critical thinking, just spout whatever the press release says, do a little he-says-she-says, and lean hard to the right. Anything that leads to criticism and debunking of that is a direct threat to Puffy himself, and to his (considerable) bread and butter. And judging by his padding, he hasn't received many dents at all from the "school of hard knocks" of which he so patronizingly speaks. The funniest part, though, comes when an instructor from the very college Puffy criticizes...debunks him on every count.

16. David Fucking Bradley. Another "fair and balanced" bullshitter, this time regarding education. Autopwnage with a vengeance: The Texas educational system is now officially the laughingstock of the western world.

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17. Jim Fucking Bunning. The filibuster must die, and senile brain-rot won't claim that antidemocratic excrescence's worst abuser soon enough, either. Canada doesn't give a shit if he "agrees" with our anti-tobacco laws or not; he can't change them from where he sits, and if he tries, he's fucking insane. (Well, he is anyway. Which ought to be grounds for his removal from the US senate. Last time I looked, a mental breakdown was grounds for removal from a public office.)

18. Josef Fucking Ratzinger. Now we know why Cardinal Hitlerjugend got himself pope-ified: so he could have permanent "diplomatic" immunity from prosecution for his role in the cover-up of clergy sex abuse scandals spanning the entire freaking globe, dating back to his time as chief inquisitor and earlier. (PS: What Sinéad said!)

19. All these teabagging motherfuckers right here. I hope they're proud of their "anticommunism" today. If they had any real morals or values, they would be ashamed of what they did to this man, who used to be a nuclear engineer and a professor (and probably way more productive, when healthy, than all of them put together). But they're proud of their stinking, flyblown vileness. Hence, their slot on this list.

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20. Jim Fucking Abbott. Filibustering, basically, against a grieving widow for whose widowhood his government is indirectly responsible--in Parliament? How fucking low can you go?

21. Luís Fucking García Fucking Mesa. Why the double Fucking? Because that's what he's done to Bolivia. He's in the jailhouse now, but has been slow to get the message that prison for crimes against humanity is supposed to be hard time. Fortunately, the authorities investigated Chonchocoro Prison, which is where the ex-dictator now resides, and learned that his conditions were a veritable Club Fed. His accommodations have now been changed to suit his stature...that of a maggot, of course.

22. Branko Fucking Marinkovic. How's that name pronounced? BAWWWWK-buk-buk-bk-bk-bk-b'GAWWWWK!, approximately. Still taking bets as to where this wad of terrorist scum will wash up when he finally resurfaces. Miami? Lima? Washington, DC? Place your bets, ladies 'n' gents, 'round 'n' 'round he goes, where he stops nobody knows...

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23. Rush Fucking Limbaugh. Widows and orphans? The Pigman doesn't give a shit for them. Stands to reason: He just can't seem to stay married, and despite all his sermons on Family Values, he has never managed to produce a child. So of course, he has no empathy for the spouses and children others leave behind when they have no insurance to cover their medical treatments.

24. John Fucking Sheehan. Yeah, I bet the Dutch military is really impressed with your homophobic "explanation" for their failures in Bosnia. Fucking wanker!

25. Jean-Pierre Fucking Blackburn. Forgetting an airline-safety reg, however stupid, which you yourself announced when it became law? Dumb. Losing your shit when you had to give up the bottle of tequila, worm and all? Schadenfreude-worthy. Now you know how the rest of us feel about these idiotic rules--only we don't get to lose our shit because we're not prominent Tories. We have to suck it up. Time you Tories did the same!

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And finally, to the antidemocratic bureaucrats of our lovely Local Health Integration Network: How much did you get in exchange for cutting outpatient rehab, diabetes education, and 26 hospital beds in a growing community with a substantial tax base, anyway? Whatever it is, it's too much. All those services are still necessary, but you are not. Too bad we, the citizens, didn't get to vote on the issue ourselves; we'd have made a better decision than you did, and we'd have done it for free. One retired healthcare worker summed it up nicely when she said, "They feel our concern but they don't give a shit." That's because you don't have to; you're not being paid to care, you're being paid to cut. That way, presumably, expensive private healthcare would look more attractive to an already overstretched public, the majority of whom can't afford to be that kind of consumers. You forget who really pays your salaries. If we got to vote on whether you stay or go, it would be unanimous--and it wouldn't be in favor of the former!

Good night, and get fucked.

Chavecito: The usual suspect

Regular readers may know of my little contretemps in the last couple of weeks with a particularly dense troll who tried to blame the Venezuelan electrical "crisis" (tempest in a teapot, more like) on a certain big fella in a red shirt, instead of the crapitalists who preceded him, and who lacked the vision to foresee higher demand for electrical power (and a need for better maintenance of the existing infrastructure), what with a growing population and all. For those who wonder who this twit took his cues from, here's a hint:

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"No, honey, what a waste of nothing. This electricity thing is all Chávez's fault, he gave away the rains to Cuba!"

That's right...he took his cues from Globovisión, the biggest waste of electricity in all Venezuela!

Meanwhile, for those who want to know what's really up in the electricity thing, here you go. Someone is doing something. And that someone isn't a privatizer. Which should have Globovisión's rabid demagogues even more up in arms than usual about the lack of "freedom" for millionaires and billionaires to own the country...

Bolivian terror cell update: The "Che" connection

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If this man's face gives you an ugly feeling (as it does me), it's well warranted. This is one key member of the death squad responsible for the cowardly, secretive assassination of Latin America's most famous guerrilla hero. And that's apparently not the only death squad he ran with. It appears that his penchant for right-wing terror against leftist leaders continues to this day, and that he has branched out to democratically elected leaders, since there are no more guerrillas to go after. And his most recent associations are damning...

Gary Prado, the ex-general who captured the legendary guerrilla, Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the Bolivian jungle in 1967, faces the accusation of suspected links with a terrorist network in Bolivia.

Prado was summoned to make a statement on Friday before prosecutor Marcelo Soza, who accused him of exchanging "ultra-secret" e-mails with Eduardo Rózsa Flores, head of the terror cell, killed last April during a firefight with federal police in a hotel in Santa Cruz.

"Mr. Prado needs to explain why he exchanged encrypted electronic messages with Rózsa," said the prosecutor.

Seven persons are currently jailed in connection with the case, one of whom is the son of a former governor of Santa Cruz.

According to Soza, Prado used the pseudonym "Sucupira", and Rózsa was "Camba 3" when they exchanged secret e-mails with military codes. The content of the messages has not been divulged.

Prado formerly denied links to Rózsa, saying he sought him out as a journalist. He said he will not appear to testify in La Paz, where the investigation is based, but in Santa Cruz where the events took place.

Prado's son, who bears the same name and is a candidate for mayor of Santa Cruz under the banner of an opposition party, has also been summoned to testify on Friday over suspected ties to Rózsa's group.

"This is worse than a badly-written Venezuelan soap opera," said Prado Jr., announcing that he also would not show up in La Paz but is prepared to speak his piece in Santa Cruz.

Gary Prado Sr. was an army captain when his patrol captured Che in the southeastern jungles of Bolivia. The guerrilla leader was executed on October 9, 1967.

Mexican writer and movie critic Alberto Hijar once dashed a glass of wine in Prado's face while shouting a toast "to Che's health".

In 1981, while still in active service, Prado Sr. was hit by a bullet in the spine and remains disabled.

Eduardo Rózsa Flores was a Bolivian-Hungarian veteran of the Croatian war, who had been contracted by radical opposition separatists to organize a militia against Evo Morales, president of Bolivia. He died in April of last year, along with Magyarosi Arpád (Hungarian-Croatian) and Michael Martin Dwyer (Irish), in a hotel where they were staying. Detained in the same raid were Mario Tadic (Bolivian-Croat) and Elöd Tóásó (Hungarian).

Translation mine.

Considering how many of the thugs responsible for Che's death seem to have been hit with a curse immediately following the dirty deed, Gary Prado, Che's chief captor, has gotten off rather lightly. He's still alive, for one thing. Eduardo Galeano lists a litany of karmic curse-bearers in his excellent Days and Nights of Love and War.

Jon Lee Anderson's less poetic, but more factually detailed bio of Che also notes a chilling pattern:

Many of the men who were associated with Che's death in Bolivia went on to die violently, leading some to believe in a so-called "curse of Che." The first to die was Bolivia's military president, General René Barrientos, whose helicopter fell out of the sky in unexplained circumstances in April 1969. Honorato Rojas, the peasant collaborator who had betrayed Joaquín's column, was executed by the "second" ELN in late 1969. In 1971, Colonel Roberto Quintanilla, Arguedas's intelligence chief at the Ministry of the Interior, the man who made Che's fingerprints, was murdered in Germany.

The populist president General Juan José Torres--who as a member of Barrientos's joint chiefs of staff had cast his vote in favor of Che's execution in 1967--was murdered by the Argentine death squads in 1976, after his overthrow and flight into exile. Only two weeks earlier, General Joaquín Zenteno Anaya had been gunned down in Paris in an action claimed by the obscure "Che Guevara International Brigade."

After his acclaimed role in the "defeat of Che", however, Captain Gary Prado rose rapidly within the armed forces, eventually becoming a colonel. But, during an operation to suppress an armed revolt in Santa Cruz in 1981, he was shot and left paralyzed from the waist down. [...]

Lieutenant Colonel Andrés Selich fared the least well of those who were directly involved in the capture and execution of Che Guevara. In 1971, Selich led a military revolt that ousted President Juan José Torres and brought the right-wing General Hugo Banzer Suárez to power. After serving as Banzer's interior minister for only six months, however, Selich was sidelined and sent into diplomatic exile as ambassador to Paraguay. He soon began conspiring against the dictator, and after secretly re-entering Bolivia in 1973, preparing to launch a new revolt, he was caught and beaten to death by army thugs on Banzer's orders. [...]

The executioner, Mario Terán, is a pathetic figure, a man who continues to live in hiding--at times wearing wigs and other disguises--out of fear for his life, convinced he has long been targeted for assassination by Cuba or its allies. Given a series of menial jobs by the army to keep him going, including that of bartender in the officers' club of Santa Cruz Eighth Army Division headquarters, Terán is a deeply bitter man, seeing himself as a scapegoat for his superior officers [...]

Emphasis added.

Anderson also notes that the infamous Félix Rodríguez, the ex-Cuban CIA man who had relentlessly pursued Che, and who had a morbid trophy picture taken of himself with Che shortly before the latter's execution, and who was later to get his disgraceful come-uppance during the Iran-Contra affair, came down with an illness whose nature can only be described as karmically fitting:

Within a few days, Rodríguez was back in the United States for debriefings with his CIA bosses. He had brought back some personal relics from his trip, among them several Rolex watches found in Che's possession, and Che's last pouch of pipe tobacco, half-smoked, which he had wrapped in paper; later, he would put the tobacco inside a glass bubble set into the butt of his favorite revolver. The strangest legacy of all, though, was the shortness of breath he developed soon after arriving in Vallegrande [with Che's body, which was secretly buried there near a military airstrip]. "As I walked in the cool mountain air I realized that I was wheezing, and that it was becoming hard to breathe," Rodríguez wrote twenty-five years later. "Che may have been dead, but somehow his asthma--a condition I had never had in my life--had attached itself to me. To this day, my chronic shortness of breath is a constant reminder of Che and his last hours alive in the tiny town of La Higuera."

Touched by a ghost, perhaps?

Anderson downplays the curse angle, but the conclusion is inescapable. Che had a lot of mojo...and that spirit continued to make its presence felt long after his body lay moldering in its secret grave in Vallegrande, planted there by cowards who could not bear to bury him like a man.

And Evo is no slouch in that department, either. The opposition to him is crumbling; he has the support of two-thirds of Bolivia's population, and it cuts across class and color lines. Even in Santa Cruz, supposedly an oppo stronghold, Evo's popularity is growing. "A bad Venezuelan soap opera" it certainly is...and the right-wingers are the authors of their own damn farce in both countries. None of them can do politics without recourse to racism, sabotage, and murder, it seems. And the harder they try to topple him, the more Evo rises, and the more they sink. That, too, is karmically fitting.

I have a hunch that Prado's curse has not played out to its end, though. And since he seems to have taken part in a plot to kill Evo as well as Che, he's in for a heavy karmic whammy.

Sucks to be you, Gary Prado.

March 19, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: How NOT to resist arrest

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I don't care how drunk you are or how many Viagra you've eaten, guys...this is why you NEVER mistake your cock for a club.

(And remember: Women have teeth for a reason.)

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Chavecito Mercalito!

The municipality of San Francisco, in the state of Zulia, Venezuela, got a brand-new grocery store, with good foods at very good prices. It also got a distinguished visitor to help them open it:

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Yep, Chavecito was in town. And he didn't come alone; ministers Félix Osorio (food production and distribution) and Blanca Eekhout (communications) were also there for the occasion.

Mercal markets are nothing new; dire poverty and malnutrition have made them necessary. In Venezuela, at least 14 million people benefit from these markets, making them the go-to place for roughly half the population. Organization is key to helping reverse the mass misery that prevailed under the old capitalist system, and that's where Mercal and PDVAL markets come in. Wherever possible, they sell locally grown food (produced by co-ops, another growing industry in Venezuela) at prices the average person can readily afford.

Naturally those who expect to grow rich and fat on supermarkets aren't happy about that! But that's Venezuela; tycoons are just gonna have to get used to ceding power to the people...

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...because these people aren't about to give one crumb of it back.

March 18, 2010

Spain schools Cuba in Democracy

Lesson 1: Democratic Policing.

Escorting "dissidents" onto buses without incident and driving them safely home is for pussies! Better to use armored riot cops and bash some heads in. That's what they do in free, democratic Spain.

PS: More enlightening videos (in Spanish) here.

How do these "diplomats" manage to keep their jobs?

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Diplomats from the European Union in Cuba: Volker Pellet, of the German embassy, and Frantisek Fleisman, of the Czech embassy. Odd that they would fraternize with one another on the streets of Havana like that; one expects rather more discretion from people of their profession. What are they doing together? Just enjoying a casual smoke break? Funny, I don't see any cigars.

Perhaps this might shed some light:

Lowell Dale Lawton, undersecretary for the Section of US Interests in Cuba, attended a church mass in the Párraga district of Havana, alongside members of the self-styled Ladies in White. When the liturgy was over, they all took to the streets together to protest against supposed human-rights violations in Cuba.

A televised report, broadcast on the "Round Table" program, showed the diplomat accompanying the so-called "dissidents" right down the main street of the Cuban capital.

The US diplomat blended in with the demonstrators and with them, walked the full length of Calle 23, to La Rampa. The provocation was spontaneously rejected by ordinary bystanders.

That evening, two European diplomats--Volker Pellet, from the German embassy, and Frantisek Fleisman, Third Secretary of the Czech embassy--participated in a similar demonstration, in open collaboration with little counterrevolutionary groups organized and financed by the United States and some European countries.

[...]

These provocative actions featuring US and Western European diplomats in Cuba took place in the midst of a corporate media campaign against the island. The campaign intensified after March 10, when the Europarliament adopted a resolution condemning Cuba for presumed human-rights violations.

The Cuban "Ladies in White" have acquired a certain fame in the Western press, which has elevated them to a symbol of the struggle for freedom. The women enjoy a degree of publicity that makes other opposition groups around the world green with envy, while in Cuba, they suffer the indifference or open rejection of the general population.

British diplomat Chris Stimpson assured that he was there only as an "observer to monitor human rights and freedom of expression". However, he did not say whether this "observation" is an habitual British practice in other countries as well.

Last December 11, Cubadebate published a report taken from the television news, which showed another provocative demonstration in Havana, in which Lowell Dale Lawton appeared, accompanied by members of the so-called Cuban "dissidents". Alongside Lawton was another functionary of the US Interests Section, Kathleen Duffy, a politico-economic assistant from the same office.

Also present were Volker Pellet of the German embassy, and Chris Stimpson, British diplomat, who made declarations to the international press against the government of Cuba until he was upbraided by counterdemonstrators, and had to be protected by Cuban security guards.

Translation mine.

The article suggests that the "Ladies in White" are paid employees of the US Interest Section. I don't know if that's true, but the very fact that this US diplomat...

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...was seen with them in public, not merely shaking their hands or talking to them briefly on the street, but engaging in a political march down the length of Havana's main street, well...doesn't that strike you as just a wee bit hinky? It does me...

And another thing: If there's no freedom of speech in Cuba, as the detractors all insist, and the human-rights situation is really so terrible and the island is just one big political prison, why aren't the "Ladies in White" all locked up? Their presence is criticized and scrutinized, as are all public demonstrations (here the same as there!), but they haven't been beaten, haven't been tear-gassed, haven't had armed police with dogs rounding them up and taking them to jail. In that sense, they enjoy a lot more freedom than I did as a journalism student, when I narrowly missed getting beaten up and arrested at Queen's Park by goon squads in the employ of a "freedom-loving" right-wing premier. (I was lucky enough to have left a demo before the riot cops showed up. Sometimes it's good to be cold, hungry, and in need of a toilet.)

No, these "Ladies" are very lucky indeed...they face less repression than leftist opponents of the prevailing order in Canada, the US and Europe. Maybe they really do have special immunity thanks to their intimate association with the US embassy!

And if none of these "diplomats" are called home (for "consultations"!) by their respective governments, I think we can only take it as a sign that they were not doing anything they weren't expressly sent to do.

Let's keep watching them, shall we, and see if they keep their jobs.

EDIT: Here's the "Round Table" video, in Spanish:

The Cuban report wasn't lying when it said that these women were widely rejected by ordinary citizens of Havana; they were clearly outnumbered by counterdemonstrators. And yes, the presence of both the German and the Czech diplomats is confirmed here, as is the strong likelihood that the "Ladies" are paid for their "dissident" activities by the US. One man on the street repeatedly asks: "How do they eat?" He then answers his own question: "Imperialism."

March 17, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid: Even without same-sex marriage rights...

...it is still apparently possible to marry an inanimate object:

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Story here.

Korea does not have same-sex marriage...but apparently, as long as the inanimate object you marry is made to look like it's of the OTHER sex, it's still okay to marry a "person" who cannot say "I do."

Jack Skellington discovers green beer

And it seems to have strange hallucinogenic properties...

"Oh hello, officer!"

And a top of the mornin' to you, too, you drunken spook!

March 15, 2010

Everything you ever wanted to know about Venezuela (but couldn't make it to Toronto to learn)

Awhile back, I posted an invite to a Bolivarian demo and teach-in in Toronto. Well, the video from that event is now out...

Glad I didn't have to miss the event after all; I just got there a little late, thanks to the miracle of the Internets.

Kudos to Socialist Project for the video.

March 14, 2010

Spot what is wrong with this picture...

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One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong.
Can you tell me which one is not like the others
By the time I finish this song?

Co-workers say the alleged gunman in a fatal shooting at an Edmonton car dealership on Friday was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Police say a man with a gun walked into Great West Chrysler near Stony Plain Road and 178th Street at about 7:50 a.m. MT and started shooting.

It's believed he shot and killed one man, shot and wounded another and then turned the gun on himself.

Sources have identified the shooter as Dave Burns, 55, an employee who was recently suspended for making racial comments.

Co-workers say he didn't get along well with visible minorities, and some went as far as to describe him as a white supremacist.

They also tell CBC News that Burns had a swastika tattooed on his body and had a very hot temper.

[...]

"I had known the man for a long time. I just can't figure out what happened. He just snapped. Something went awry somehow. I know he was very attached to this dealership," he said.

"We have talked to a lot of people about it and that is what they are all saying. Not when they worked together for years."

One person who knew Burns from Alberta's four-by-four vehicle community said that when he heard about the shooting he just couldn't believe it.

"This was a guy who snapped for no apparent reason. It was not like he was a monster," said Corey Kruchkowski.

He said Burns helped organize the growing movement in the province to drive off-road vehicles in an environmentally responsible way.

"This guy obviously was an altruistic person in some parts of his personality. If you met him in the years before this happened you would never think that this was someone who could hurt people."

No, of course you wouldn't.

And the white supremacist rhetoric, gun nuttery, discomfort around visible minorities, and swastika tattoo were not "apparent reasons", either.

Music for a Sunday: The Ballad of Hugo Chávez

A little birdie told me this song won some kind of award. No kidding! What a rum old world.

March 13, 2010

Wankers of the Week: Crappy St. Patrick's Day!

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"They're after me Lucky Charms!"

Faith and begorra, what a bog-load of crap we have to wade through this week. I was going to write limericks for the occasion, but then I realized I needed a bigger and blunter shillelagh, so I went for prose. No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for these wankers:

1. Walt Fucking Baker. Oh, come on, admit it--you're NOT sorry you spammed a "joke" (unfunny, of course) comparing Michelle Obama to a chimp. You're just sorry your racist stupidity got thrust out into the light of day, where everyone else can see it for what it is.

2. Rahim Fucking Jaffer. It's not that he wasn't out on the road, full of booze and blow. It's not that he didn't test over the legal blood-alcohol limit. It's not that the law isn't strict about those things for the rest of us. But somehow, that's all okay if you're a prominent Tory with pots of money and a documented knack for bilocation! (Edit: Heh--thought so. Looks like we have a Wanker #2 1/2 in there, wearing judicial robes.)

Meanwhile, I bet we can find a million Canadians who reject this plea bargain. What say, Canada?

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3. Roy Fucking Ashburn, AGAIN. He was determined not to let being gay interfere with his doing his job in the California legislature? How bleeding noble that sounds...until one remembers that his job was that of a professional homophobe and gay-nay-sayer. Anyone who can't see a conflict of interest there must need new glasses. And of course, he only saw fit to come out of the closet AFTER the door had been wrenched off its hinges. If that's not a wank, I don't know what it is.

4. Sarah Fucking Palin, yet again. Would she please point to the biblical passage where it says that God wrote on his hand? Because I'm having trouble finding it. And how Christian of her and her family to have come sponging off our public healthcare system, only to turn around and tell us to privatize it years later. Either she has no moral compass at all, as my best friend says, or else she does, but it's gone haywire, because it's spinning like a fracking propeller.

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(PS: Oh Sawah, maybe you'd like to tell your First Dude to stop taking socialized oil money from Chavecito to finance his pricey hobbies? Just a thought.)

5. Tiger Fucking Woods. Yeah, hiring Ari Fucking Fleischer to be your PR man is brilliant. Worked great for Dubya, too. Remember The Revolution Will Not Be Televised? Remember how Ari lied about the US's role, which was actually in support of the Venezuelan coup? You'd think that someone as rich and supposedly brilliant in his field as Tiger Woods would know better than to hire the US's own Baghdad Bob. Guess we all know now just how bright this dude really is.

6. Dick Fucking Cheney. Should be given "a dunk in water" CIA-style to see if he doesn't find it torture, too.

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7. Chris Fucking Rock. A two-handed butt-grope? That's just doublepluswankery.

8. Charles Fucking Johnson. Remember Aesop's fable, "The Bat, the Birds and the Beasts"? Chuck is the Bat. As one pro-war nutter (also a Bat, as you can't seriously claim to be both liberal AND on the right) who used to read him points out, he changed course right after Obama won. Perhaps a strategic move to shore up his waning popularity and inject (however belatedly) some relevance? I don't know if he really is as relevant as he'd like to be, large readership notwithstanding. He claims to have quit the Right on the grounds that creationists are crazy, but then he still thinks that the sane, sober, liberal John Kerry would have made a WORSE president than Dubya--who is the creationists', rapturists' and teabaggers' boy? And he still thinks he "exposed" something "false" about Dan Rather's report on Dubya's AWOL times (which was, in fact, all true)? Dude, you may not like the radical rightard label, but you still deserve to wear it as long as you defend Dubya on ANY grounds. Your "nuanced" distancing efforts are disingenuous at best. And you are STILL going over the cliff with all the worst of them, like it or not.

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9. Rush Fucking Limbaugh, yet again. Funny how he, like Sarah Fucking Palin, is happy to make use of "socialized" medicine (in Hawaii AND Costa Rica, apparently), while making all his boodle SLAMMING it. I would ask where his sense of shame is at, but I suspect it's in Costa Rica already, spending all that not-so-hard-earned cash on child prostitutes, Viagra, OxyContin, Vicodin, Lorcet and whatever else takes the Pigman's self-awareness to oblivion.

(And speaking of which: Heh.)

10. Vic Fucking Toews. This was his "leave Britney alone!" moment, only "Britney" was Rahim Jaffer, and nobody's gonna leave him, OR the Tory judge who let him off lightly, alone, because it's a matter of fairness, impartiality of the law, and all that other modern ethical twaddle we're supposed to suddenly disregard in the name of "good taste" whenever a right-wing politician gets caught. Love how he blames Jaffer's gaffe (and the Tory judge) on Ontario's nominally Liberal government. Also love how he slams the media. BTW, Vic, how're the former mistress and kid?

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11. Adam Fucking Radwanski. Leave Britney alone! Crikey, what a poor choice of unlikely people to find oneself defending there, dude. Next time, pick one who's actually defensible.

12. Charles Fucking McVety. Newsflash: Democracy means having to live with, and accept the equal rights of, persons unlike yourself. It does not mean that a fundamentalist religious cult gets to make the laws, or that its votes override those of the rest. If that's a problem for you, Chuck, you're free to leave Canada anytime, and don't feel you need to come back. In fact, just go now--we don't WANT you taking over the PMO with your bullshit.

13. Jim Fucking Flaherty. I hate him even more now than I did last week, if that's possible.

14. Fucking Harpo ditto. And ditto. And ditto. And (Heil Harper!) ditto.

15. Whoever the fuck is responsible for this incredibly racist ad. Do I have to dig out what gets done on the Prairies almost as a matter of grim routine in the wintertime?

16. Helena Fucking Guergis. Even her party co-religionists don't all think she's entitled to act all, well, entitled. Figures that she's married to Wanker #2, who is also an entitled little shit. And what the fuck is THIS?

And people wonder what I have against beauty pageants, and why I don't trust women who get ahead on the basis of that. Yeah, I wonder too. I also wonder what happened to the rest of this clip. It sounds absolutely fascinating!

17. Liz Fucking Cheney. A chip off the old block, you say? Yeah, and the old block's pure merde. So nice to see they're keeping the US "safe" by invoking fascism for realz.

18. Gabriele Fucking Amorth. Why does the Devil keep making all these holy churchmen at the Vatican suck homosexuals' cocks, and vice versa? I dunno, but let's keep up that vow of celibacy. It sure seems to be working great.

19. Kevin Fucking Garn. One public humiliation (richly deserved!) coming right down.

20. Eric Fucking Massa. Or should I say "fracking"? Whatever. It's hard to hear just what he's saying with all those dicks in his mouth.

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And finally, to Mike Fucking Hanson, yet again. Dude, when I said "make yourself scarce around here", I did not mean "lie low for a couple of days, and then come back and bullshit me some more". I meant begone, before someone drops a house on you.

Good night, and get fucked!

Ozzie Guillén moons the homefolks on the tweeter

And oh, what a lovely ass that man has:

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Did someone forget where he came from? Aporrea thinks so:

That Oswaldo Guillén doesn't agree with the government of President Chávez is understandable. You can see that since he acquired US citizenship 4 years ago, something that neither Roberto Clemente (who wouldn't let the gringos change his name) nor David Concepción ever did, because they knew very well that those who forget their roots bear no fruit, or those fruits won't last.

It seems a long time since 2005, when, flushed with victory in the World Series (North American, please note), Guillén defended President Chávez without a thought for anything but the reality before his eyes, in his native land.

Today, we wake to the news that on his Twitter page (@ozzieguillen), he has launched an attack against Sean Penn, much more bravely than he would if he had to defend the reign of the president of a country not his own.

Guillén wrote such statements as "What a clown this little gringo is who lives such a cool life in the United States", or "Sean Penn should go live in Venezuela so he'll stop talking so much shit stupid leftist go to Guarenas and see".

Guillén, with notable orthographic errors, assailed Penn, but at the same time he also attacked Guarenas, a town that gave him all he had: love, warmth, freedom, solidarity and the many baseball fields where Guillén, born in Ocumare del Tuy in 1964, went through his baptism of fire, practiced and prepared to arrive at where he is today.

Long lost (if they still remain) in Guillén's memory are those blocks of Oropeza Castillo, the bus stop where he waited for Guarenas-born Ibys, his wife, the meetings with other local baseball players, the joy of the children, and the courage of a town that rose up in the Caracazo against inequality. That same inequality which Guillén sensed in his childhood and teen years, the same in Ocumare as in Guarenas.

We don't know if Guillén's Orishas agree with his written declarations, and we don't know if he remembers the origins of the rhythms he loves so much.

What we do know is that today, the people of Guarenas will be indignant at the declarations of Guillén, who painted their town as insecure, without a future--as shit, basically, and all to offend Sean Penn and President Chávez.

We hope you're happy, Ozzie, now that we know you don't care about your homeland, and that you have no gratitude for those who gave you so much love.

But don't worry. Venezuela will keep moving forward without you, because we have the zest and the convictions that you don't. And clearly we will overcome, something we don't know if you will do.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

So. Now we see how someone who has risen to the top of his world has nowhere to go but down. And this is the beginning of Ozzie's long slide, folks. Make a note of it, so you'll be able to trace his ignominy to its roots, because Ozzie himself certainly won't.

Funny, isn't it, that he should pick on Guarenas, the town where his wife was born? And the town where he began his baseball career? If he's like so many other baseball-mad Venezuelans, including Chavecito himself, chances are that he played his first games on an improvised pitch, with a ball made of rags, and a piece of scrap wood for a bat. Chavecito certainly did.

But here's the rub: Chavecito joined the army so he could get to Caracas and eventually make his way into big-league baseball (he's a pitcher, a southpaw), and he wound up an officer, a failed rebel against a reviled turncoat, a jailbird, and then, as a civilian, an elected president. Ozzie achieved his original big-league dream, but he had to leave his country to do it. And worse, he let his adopted country rub out his roots.

Now, I know a thing about Gringolandia, and that is that it has a habit of stripping things off you, the better to make you fit its anglo "melting pot". Or Procrustean bed, more like it. One of the first thing it strips from new arrivals at Ellis Island, as my own mother found out in the mid-1960s, when she first came to work as a nanny in New York for the local Daimler-Benz importer, is their names. My mother says the immigration man tried to persuade her to change her name from Maria Welker to Mary Walker.

Now, this is just a laugh. My mom, who spoke almost no English when she first arrived in New York, is fluent today, but she still has a heavy German accent. And she wasn't even coming to immigrate; she was only there on a temporary work visa! That crazy place couldn't even wait for her to put down roots there before it insisted on lopping her German-ness off at the name. Good thing she wound up vacationing at a cousin's place in northern Ontario, where she met my dad and married him three months later, or heaven knows if I'd be speaking a word of German today.

As it is, I am fluently and perfectly bilingual. And as you can see, my dual-language skills have other payoffs, as well; I pick up other languages easily, and my mental horizons are broad enough that I could never become a chauvinist; I can appreciate other countries on the basis of their merits, and don't feel a pathological need to snub my nose at Germany just because I live in Canada. There are some things where Germans beat the world (beer, engineering); there are others where Canadians are superior (music, comedy, multiculturalism). It's all good to me!

That's why I don't understand how someone like Ozzie Guillén can forget where he comes from. I've been to the States, too. I loved the Minnesota prairie, the Atlantic coastline of Florida, the Arizona desert. (Disneyworld, however, underwhelmed me.) I've liked the people fine, for the most part. Can't recall meeting any truly disagreeable ones face to face there.

But I wouldn't call it a cool place to live, all the same; the political climate there was scary the last time I went (not long after Ozzie's "Viva Chávez" moment), and it's getting scarier by the minute now. There were no teabaggers when I was there last. Now they've popped up and metastasized. This is just one small part of the insanity that Sean Penn was trying to strike a blow against, when he whipped it out and urinated all over Rupee Murdoch's toy "news" channel. He was right to do so, even if a bit harsh in the way he put it. There is a substantial minority of the population which is completely divorced from sanity and reality, thanks to that camera-equipped nuthouse known as FOX News. And those people need a corrective in the worst way. (Maybe jail time for the crapagandists who brainwashed them isn't so out of line after all.)

Incidentally, Ozzie fucked up on another point, too: Sean Penn HAS been to Venezuela, more than once, and he liked what he saw, which was a process of change for the better. That's why he defends Chavecito.

If Ozzie Guillén said those things while still living and struggling in Venezuela, people there would laugh at him, call him a pitiyanki, maybe even beat the crap out of him for it. Of course he doesn't have the balls to do it, since he no longer lives there. Ozzie's not a mere pitiyanki anymore, he's an apátrido, a person without a homeland because he left it in the lurch. In this dubious club, he joins a number of other gutterbound ex-Venezuelans, most notably the talentless Maria Conchita Alonso, whose brother consorts with right-wing paramilitaries, and whose most notable (not-so-)recent achievement was to show off her nude nether regions to the world.

Now, it looks like Ozzie has metaphorically done the same. And he's about to find himself just as well respected at home for it...that is, if he still has a home.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Whatever happened to soap and water?

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Going au naturel: a do. Special products for the purpose: a do-you-really-have-to-ask?

(And check out the price tag on that stuff, too. Eek!)

Stupid Sex Tricks: I think I can read HER mind...

Not that it's terribly difficult...

March 12, 2010

Quotable: Paul Rogat Loeb on Rosa Parks and the value of persistence

"Our culture's misreading of the Rosa Parks story speaks to a more general collective amnesia, where we forget the examples that might most inspire our courage, hope, and conscience. Of the abolitionist and civil rights movements, we at best recall a few key leaders -- and often misread their actual stories. We know even less about the turn-of-the-century populists who challenged entrenched economic interests and fought for a 'cooperative commonwealth.' How many of us recall how the union movements ended 80-hour work weeks at near-starvation wages, or helped pass pivotal legislation like Social Security? How did the women's suffrage movement spread to hundreds of communities, and gather enough strength to prevail?

"As memories of these events disappear, we lose the knowledge of mechanisms that grassroots social movements have used successfully in the past to shift public sentiment and challenge entrenched institutional power. Equally lost are the means by which their participants managed to keep on and eventually prevail in circumstances at least as harsh as those we face today.

"In the prevailing myth, Parks decides to act almost on a whim, in isolation. She's a virgin to politics, a holy innocent. The lesson seems to be that if any of us suddenly got the urge to do something equally heroic, that would be great. Of course most of us don't, so we wait our entire lives to find the ideal moment."

--Paul Rogat Loeb, at Truthout

Festive Left Friday Blogging: Who's afraid of a little shake?

Not Evo...his dimpled smile stayed firmly affixed as the earth was rocking in Chile yesterday:

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He's with Lugo (middle) and El Ecuadorable (right) during Sebastián Piñera's inauguration ceremony. A magnitude 6.9 quake--believed to be an aftershock of the big one from two weeks ago, and a mighty quake in its own right--shook the presidential palace. When the hanging lamps on the ceiling started swinging like pendulums, the three of them looked up. Lugo, a priest at heart still, prayed that it wouldn't fall on them. But they didn't flee. According to YVKE Mundial, though, Alvaro Uribe did...running right, predictably. Aporrea joked that Alan "El Gordo" García, of Peru, had a shit-eating grin on his face, probably because he didn't know how else to respond to the "honor" of being caught in a major quake. (The man is well known for the fact that he will say anything, however meaningless, as long as it sounds properly statesmanlike.)

The Venezuelan media have taken to calling this photo "The Latin American leftists look up"--I'm guessing it's a reference to their courage and optimism, which seem to be basic character traits common to all three.

Meanwhile, here's why Evo was smiling, courtesy of ABI (sorry, their site's new format means no links to individual stories anymore):

Santiago, CHILE, 11 mar (ABI).- El presidente boliviano Evo Morales dijo haber satisfecho el jueves una curiosidad luego de vivir, en carne propia, un seísmo de 6,9 grados en la escala abierta de Ritcher, que incluso encendió alarma de tsunami y que volvió a sacudir el centro y sur de Chile en momentos en que el flamante presidente Sebastián Piñera era investido.

"Quería conocer los sismos", regodeó el mandatario boliviano a quien las lentes de agencias extrajeras captaron en el momento en que desenfadado miraba el cielo del salón principal del Congreso de Chile, en Valparaíso, justo en el momento en que el movimiento telúrico, que desató pánico generalizado, se encontraba en su apogeo.

"Muy sorprendido, no me asusta", agregó luego de elogiar la "seriedad del pueblo" en los momentos difíciles en que el piso de movió en todas las direciones.

El mandatario boliviano dijo haber sentido el sacudón cuando cruzaba el umbral de la puerta del Congreso y también "otro adentro cuando estábamos sentados".

My translation:

Bolivian president Evo Morales said on Thursday that he had satisfied a curiosity after experiencing, in the flesh, an earthquake of 6.9 on the Richter scale, which also set off a tsunami alarm and shook Chile again at the time the new president, Sebastián Piñera, was being sworn in.

"I've always wanted to know what earthquakes were like," said the president, who was captured by press photographers at the moment when he stared calmly up at the ceiling of the main salon of the Chilean congress, in Valparaíso, just as the earthquake hit its peak, sowing general panic.

"Surprisingly, I wasn't afraid," added Evo, after praising the "seriousness of the people" of Chile during those difficult moments when the ground was moving in all directions.

The Bolivian leader said he felt the shaking when he crossed the threshold of the congress building, and also "another when we were sitting down inside."

And yet he never lost his cool, or his smile. That's what class and cojones can do for you, kids.

March 11, 2010

Sean Penn sets Bill Maher straight on Venezuela

The actor/director/activist/journalist talks about Haiti, human rights...and about midway through, Douchebag Bill brings up a "dictator" named "Hewgo Shavezz". Sean's answer may surprise many who've bought into the same media campaigns as the Douchebag obviously has. For one thing, he can pronounce Chávez.

March 10, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid: Parents to be glad you don't have

One learns so much about other people's traumatic upbringings when looking through the ol' (okay, NEWish) Failbook, does one not?

Here, for example, is someone who's gonna wonder why her sweet little son suddenly hates her when he hits his teens:

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And here is someone else whose misconduct with the neighbor shocked her young daughter so much, the poor dear forgot how to spell, capitalize and punctuate:

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And lest you think dads are any better, here's one whose offspring has probably had to apologize to a lot of random ladies the old man offended at barbecue parties over the years:

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And as a special bonus for people you should be glad you're not related to, here's Uncle Creepy, who simply must be seen to be believed. But for that, you might want to wait till you're at home, and have a handy receptacle to throw up in.

PS: And don't forget good ol' Grandpa.

Short 'n' Stubby: Democracy 1, Crapitalism 0

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Ms. Manx is back...with some links from a place you probably never think of unless there's a Björk song playing on the radio:

An unprecedented referendum was recently held in Iceland, and confirmed that 93% of Icelanders are not stupid when it comes to money. That's the number that voted against sending any more of their hard-earned kronor out of country to pay for someone else's market gaming. Can you blame them, when the "repayment" scheme amounts to all Icelanders paying a quarter of their family income for the next eight years to foreigners (British and Dutch bankers) who've already robbed them?

The Dutch finance minister, on the other hand, hasn't heard yet that you can't get blood out of turnips. Any Dutch-speaking Icelanders out there wanna go explain it to him, especially the part about democracy?

A Briton writing for the Christian Science Monitor is more realistic, saying his country bears responsibility for its role in the crisis. "Interest well above the market rate" is always a flashing warning sign of a Ponzi scheme, but greedy imbeciles think it's a beacon for their business. They never learn!

Meanwhile, an Icelander writing for the UK Guardian (no doubt trying to reassure Brits that they'll get their mad money back) calls the vote "theatre of the absurd". Someone tell her she's in an extreme minority there. Icelanders, 93% of whom are not stupid, object to their money, their savings, being siphoned off by foreign bankers, who of course are not hurting. (When were they ever? When will they ever be?)

Want to get really, really sick? Read this, and read between the lines. Foreign aid on hold until Iceland cries "Uncle". Blood, stone, lather, rinse, repeat.

And if you want to know what's behind it all, read this Alternet piece. If you smell Uncle Miltie's rotting ideological corpse, pat yourself on the back for having such a good nose.

Stupid Sex Tricks: Fisherwoman's Friend?

Things that make me glad I'm not married:

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These cock lozenges are supposedly favors for bachelorette parties. I wonder if sucking on one relieves a sore throat, or just aggravates it.

March 9, 2010

Teh Heterostoopid: Would you let this man near your boobs?

For that matter, would YOU do pot-legalization activism with him?

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Meet Rob Kampia--tacky dresser, wannabe player, and all-around ball of sleaze. Also someone who gives drug-policy activism an extremely bad name, and will probably set the project back decades on the grounds of just a few of his egregious behaviors:

For 15 years, Rob Kampia has served as executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a nonprofit group dedicated to the reform of marijuana laws. In that capacity, Kampia, 41, has pursued two goals. One is the steady advancement of the organization, which he founded out of his Adams Morgan home in 1995. And the other is cultivating an office environment suited to his sexual appetite. A brief inventory of Kampia's knack for mixing business with pleasure:

* In 2008, Kampia dated a 19-year-old MPP intern.

* "How was the NORML Conference?" a staffer asked Kampia one year. Kampia replied, "I got laid."

* At a staff happy hour, Kampia guessed a female employee's breast size and told her that she would be "hotter with a boob job." (Kampia denies the conversation occurred).

* Kampia made it known that a female employee's dress had "made an impression on him." Later, he directed her to leave some room in his schedule for "bone-girl," a woman he was "trying to bone." He also repeatedly informed her of his intentions to perform a "breast massage" on another woman.

* At the conclusion of a staff happy hour last August, Kampia escorted a subordinate back to his home. The woman was so upset by what happened next that she refused to return to work at MPP ever again.

He's just that good, huh?

As for Rob, he explains his behavior thusly: "I just think I'm hypersexualized." Yeah, so much so that he structured the entire office and its (toxic) corporate culture around his schlong, which seems to get wayyyyy more blood than his brain. Srsly, you have to read the whole thing.

And if you meet him at a pot party, girls, cross your arms tightly over your chest and run.

March 8, 2010

Have you heard? Feminism is CRAP!

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It's totally true, ladies and gentlewomen, because some opinionated little snot on Facebook said so just yesterday.

Yep, right in time for International Women's Day. Lovely!

Wasted a lot of good time and electricity saying so, too. But damn, she sure told us, didn't she?

Yes, dear, I totally agree with you; feminism is crap. After all, what do you need the vote for? The Conservatives don't respect it. You probably don't use it. Or you use it against your own best interests and don't even realize it.

You have the ability to read and write, and you waste it scolding people you don't want to expend the least effort to understand, on the Internets. You have the right, as well, to wear pants, to drive a car, ride a bike, use birth control, have a career, etc.--and you take it all for granted.

If those things were taken away from you tomorrow, you'd probably miss them. Maybe you'd even protest.

And yet, you think that the social force that gave you all these things you take for granted is CRAP.

Maybe you don't want those things so much, little sister? There are plenty of people who'd be more than happy to take them away from you if you allowed it. In fact, they are busy and working hard to do just that, even as I sit here wasting good electrons calling you out on your shit, girlfriend. They are counting on your smugness, your complacency and your stupidity to help them do exactly that. Whenever you or any other girl calls feminism crap, a devil rubs its hands and sets to work, chipping quietly away at your rights. It starts by driving a wedge between you and your feminist sisters. From there, it proceeds to rolling back hard-won gains; in the end, you will find yourself back in the kitchen and wondering how the hell you landed up there. Maybe it's because you thought fighting for your rights was crap?

But then, I'm into crap. I like the things that crap gave me. I think we could get a lot more, too, if we were willing to fight for them. I don't take them for granted, and I don't think others should, either. If that makes me full of crap in your eyes, fine. You haven't grown up and seen the real world yet. Don't worry; you will. And you're not gonna like it. And if you find misogyny punching you in the face, with lower wages and fewer rights than your brothers after all, and you get the urge to complain, just remember what you said: Feminism is CRAP! You opted out, and you can thank feminism for giving you that option, because life itself certainly hasn't and won't. So suck it up, cupcake; you're on your own.

Unless, of course, you swallow hard and learn how to fight like a woman. That's "crap", sweetie? Tell it to a woman, to her face, no hiding behind the Internets. You'll get set straight so fast you won't know what hit you. Life itself will set you straight in due course.

This is a lot bigger than just a word or a phrase in the national anthem. We are not equal, even if you think you are. When half the population is excluded, even symbolically, it sets up a mindset: Half of us don't really matter. Their rights don't matter, because those rights were won by crap.

And the saddest thing is, some members of the half who don't count vociferously defend the status quo, thinking they have everything they need already, including equality. To be told differently threatens their smug, complacent, "everything is already perfect" worldview; no wonder they jumped all over a modest, but sure-to-catch-on initiative for change. They don't like being told the truth; they'd rather sing "la la la la la" with fingers in ears.

They want to believe we already have equality, but we don't. The fact that we don't is as obvious as our national anthem, and some people just don't see it.

THAT is what's really crap here, people.

Happy Women's Day, fellas...

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I don't know whether to laugh or cry over this...

Male cosmetics sales in Britain are growing at twice the rate of the female market, according to a survey, with the need to look good for job interviews and the fear of looking old playing key roles.

One in five men use hair dye to cover up signs of grey, the survey of 1,013 males for L'Oreal UK found.

Taking care of their appearance is now a status of manhood, the poll concluded, with almost two thirds of men (56 percent) using cosmetic products daily and 82 percent saying there are no cosmetics products that they would be embarrassed to buy.

A quarter of men regularly use face moisturiser and two in every five (39 percent) use facial cleansers every day to take care of their skin and combat the effect of work stress and ageing.

"We know from the report's findings that ageing is not just a female concern and that a growing number of men are looking to cosmetics to help present a more professional image in times of economic uncertainty," said Pierre-Yves Arzel, Managing Director for L'Oréal UK & Ireland.

"Men's anti-ageing products are therefore the major driver of the overall men's grooming market," he added.

Well, in a way I guess it's comforting to know that we women are no longer alone in our marketing-induced paranoia about the ravages of time. And it's gratifying to know that guys are no longer such complete slobs about their exteriors. But somehow, I don't feel that guyliner is quite what our feminist foremothers had in mind when they petitioned for equality of the sexes.

Happy Women's Day, O my brothers...and now you have a little taste of the hell your sisters are living in every day. Think about that the next time you're pricing the Grecian Formula, 'kay?

PS to the younger sisters: Don't feel so smug if you're not dipping into the "anti-aging" crap yet, girls, you're not off the sexist hook either.

What's wrong with the CBC of late?

Let Humberto da Silva explain it to you, he knows:

Some time ago, I was dismayed by a lousy piece of CBC reporting on the situation in Venezuela, and now I know it's not my imagination, nor is it a coincidence, that CBC sounded virtually indistinguishable from any right-wing channel you could name when it came to Latin America. There really HAS been a shift to the right, and even my favorite (and formerly fair and honest) broadcaster has fallen victim to it, largely because right-wing hands now hold the budgetary choke chain on the nation's watchdog, and they are pulling it tight.

(Muchas gracias, Emily Dee)

March 7, 2010

More Music for a Sunday: Anti-war electronica at its finest

I was just going on 18 myself when this came out, so this song hit home hard for me. I'm guessing that the average age of US combat soldiers in Iraq is about the same as it was in Vietnam.

Closer to the present, a clear indictment of the MIC and disaster capitalism.

Colombia: Electrical capitalist paradise? NOT.

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Remember Enron? Ah, capitalist electricity...

According to my three-day headache from last week, Colombia is a better place to live than Venezuela because (a) it's capitalist, and (b) it has no electrical shortages. Well, one of these statements is true (although whether it makes Colombia better is debatable at best); the other is a bald-faced lie. And thanks to a respected Venezuelan journalist, we now know which is which...

"It is surprising--and surprising also to Colombians--that the Colombian government would offer to sell Venezuela electricity, when more than half the national territory of Colombia is practically without the service," said Venezuelan journalist José Vicente Rangel on Sunday.

During the broadcast of his show, "The Confidences", part of his program "José Vicente Today", on Televen, the journalist said that the situation is also dramatic in built-up departments and major cities, where the greater part of the population is and where there are large areas of misery and exclusion, with precarious electrical service.

Rangel added that, based on official data from the Colombian National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), more than 14 million Colombians are unable to pay the higher cost of electricity, suffer constant power cuts, and have extreme difficulty in obtaining electrical service.

"In accordance with this reality, the Colombian oligarchy offers to sell to Venezuela what it denies to its own people," said Rangel at the conclusion of the "Confidences" segment.

Translation mine.

Lest anyone get the idea that since this came from a Venezuelan government news agency's site, it is nothing but propaganda--be it known that José Vicente Rangel works for Televen, not ABN. Televen is a private station in opposition hands, albeit less rabid; its tone is more balanced and responsible and its coverage far more factual than, say, RCTV or Globovisión. In fact, of the four major oppo channels, Televen is the one that's done the best job of cleaning up its act since the coup of '02. Rangel, who for a time was in Chavecito's government as vice president, has since gone back to his original day job, and a very decent reporter he is. So you know you can take this one to the bank.

Yeah, I'm feeling kind of triumphalistic right now. Bear with me, folks, three days is a long time for your humble and obedient queen to put up with nonsense from anyone here.

(Thanks to Utpal for digging up the ABN piece. Oh, and Mikey? My offer to contact your boss still stands. Take your bullshit elsewhere. I'm not playing with you anymore.)

Music for a Sunday: Holy guacamole with awesome sauce

See if you can detect a common element in these two very different tunes. First, the country:

I have a confession to make: This song is one of my earliest childhood faves. Even when I was barely talking (at less than a year old!), I already knew this man's voice. Whenever he came on the radio, it didn't matter what the song was--someone always asked, "Hey, Bina, who's that singing?" And I was bound to reply, lisping: "Dzonny Cass!" Yup...even as a baby, I knew badass when I heard it. And I still love this song.

Now, the Brit-pop. Sorry, I couldn't embed this. (Damn you, EMI, learn how the Internets work!) But listen muy, muy closely and you'll hear one of the few instances ever of a jackhammer being deployed to musical effect. If you're not laughing your ass off at that juncture, you're not human.

And no, the jackhammer is NOT the common element. (Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the girl yells in the #2 song.)

PS: I've now heard from two people that they couldn't get to the #2 song. It's Thomas Dolby's "Hot Sauce", the "saucy version", digitally remastered just last year. Gotta love EMI for really not knowing how to make the Internets work for them.

March 6, 2010

Wankers of the Week: In like a lion...

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Yes, this is a real tattoo. And the dude who owns it weighed in here to brag about his blunder. Someone please inform him that the name "de León" doesn't mean "dude who bones like a lion", it just means your ancestors came from León.

It's March, and no, Old Man Winter hasn't croaked yet. Spring ain't sprung, the grass ain't riz, etc. That's what we love to hate about March. It's in like a lion, a mean old motherfucking lion, one with a thorn in its paw. Could that thorn be any of the following wankers?

1. Whoever the fuck is handing out these anonymous pamphlets, blaming women and their clothes for tempting men to "sin". As my best friend pointed out when he sent me the link, "I think that if men can't control themselves when they see women, perhaps they should have their eyes plucked out. Why aren't these religious nutcases suggesting that instead? (Because it's all about controlling women, not men.)" Bingo--it's all about controlling women. Just as is rape. Coincidence? PS: I vote for castration and bi-manual amputation. Blind men can still grope.

2. Gerard Fucking Latulippe. He made his incriminating remarks as long ago as 2007, but just try substituting "Jews" for "Muslims" and see how that immigration policy flies. Oh wait, didn't Jewish immigrants get turned away here in World War II? Why yes, they did!

3. Roy Fucking Ashburn. Most gay men come out to their nearest and dearest after some agonizing soul-searching and deliberation. This one (who is a professional homophobe in his day job) came out by accident. Specifically, a drunk-driving accident involving a male pal whom he met at a gay nightclub where they both had a few too many. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

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4. Alykhan Fucking Velshi. Who is he to talk about Liberals "politicizing" the guide for new Canadians when it was his own damn party--yep, the Conservatives--who deliberately went out of their way to exclude our exemplary gay-rights legislation from all mention in said guide? What really gets me is that Velshi then goes on to politicize the issue by dredging up World War II and what the Liberals did (or failed to do) during that infamous period of racist internment camps and turning-away of Jewish refugees. As though the Conservatives wouldn't have done all the same ugly things and then some!

5. Which leads us rather nicely to Jason Fucking Kenney. About whom I think I've said enough for one week. Maybe I'll write him a nice limerick for St. Patti's Day by way of making it up, faith and begorra.

Oh what the hell. Montreal Simon says it so much better than I could, anyway!

(PS: And don't forget to join up.)

6. Sarah Fucking Palin. Oh gawd, here comes another fucking book that she didn't really write, about a subject she really knows nothing about, filled to the gills with the usual insincerity and bullshit, for the purpose of ginning up some easy money and political fervor among the wingnut sheeple who can always be counted on to vote against their own interests. Profiles in Courage it will not be, because she is no Jack Kennedy...but hey, that won't stop HER! Yippee-ti-yi-yo-cowpatties.

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PS: Stay the fuck out of my country, you mad cow!

7. Trent Fucking Franks. "Half of all black children are aborted." O RLY? And what orifice did you pull that statistic from, pray tell us, sir? Newsflash: A fetus is not a child until it's born. PS: Way to justify slavery, dickweed.

8. Michael Fucking Cannon. At least, given the obscenity, that's what I think the middle initial stands for.

9. Stephen Fucking Harper. "Thou dost in us command", dost thou? No, thou dost NOT. The existing line may be sexist, but at least it leaves us some semblance of individual choice ("in all thy sons' command"). Worse, the so-called revision is actually a reversion to something even more archaic! If you're gonna rewrite "O Canada", how about getting rid of clichés ("from far and wide") and theocracy ("God keep our land") first? Better still, how about not pissing all over the women of Canada, so you won't have to rejigger the anthem to pretend-appease the full half of the population you've offended with your shitty policies?

10. Jim Fucking Bunning. Must be seen to be believed, and fortunately, I've got just the visual aid for YOU, kiddies:

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But of course, there are no unemployed people in Kentucky. Jobs grow on trees there, don't they, Jim? And recessionary times are all the fertilizer they need. Yeah.

11. Andrew Fucking Breitbart. Such a wanktard, he deserves to have a neologism or two coined on his name. So, spread this meme, kiddies: A breitbart is any wingnut so blinded by his own ideological rabies that he'll fall for any other blind, ideologically-rabid wingnut's shit and endorse it wholeheartedly, sight unseen, no questions asked, as long as that shit flies and sticks to something, yippee! And to breitbart is to spread blind, ideologically-rabid wingnuttery without questioning for a nanosecond whether, in fact, it is true.

Examples:

Jesus, my roommate is such a breitbart. He thinks God sent the earthquake to punish Chile for having a leftist president.

So, what's Rush Fucking Limbaugh breitbarting on about today?

See how easy and fun that is? A noun, a verb. Now run with 'em.

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12. David Fucking Grisham. Now, I'm not into swinging; I'm more into just living and letting live. Unless, of course, we're talking about nosy-parking preacher-men who make life hell on Earth for anyone of whom they disapprove. In that case, I say it's a lewd and disgusting lifestyle, and the preacher's not bound for hell, he's there already and actively working for Satan, trying to drag in every soul he can. Including a bunch of harmless people whose only offence is to engage in polyamorous behavior behind closed doors with other consenting adults. When the preacher's own son is so perverted by his dad's wickedness that he hacks computers and steals other people's private information to defame them, you just know you're dealing with the rankest kind of immorality right there.

13. Howard Fucking Schultz. Yes, please do explain to us what entitles you to such a massive pay hike at a time when Starbucks is closing hundreds of locations all over the map and throwing people out of work at the worst possible time. Oh wait, let me guess...it's all the money you saved on keeping those places running and those people in work. You bumped up the profits and the share price artificially. THAT's what entitles you...to a spot on this week's wank list.

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14. Bart Fucking Stupak. Healthcare reform saves lives. So does the right to a safe, legal abortion as early as possible, or as late as necessary. Public funding would make it a lifesaver for women who can't afford to travel or pay exorbitant rates out of pocket. But Bart is determined that it will never happen as long as he has "principles" to hold his breath and turn blue in the face for. Because he's just that "pro-life", don'cha know?

15. Orly Fucking Taitz. Running for office? Surely you jest. But the makeover's not a bad idea. If only they could do something with her head from the inside...

16. Jim Fucking Flaherty. When Bay Street approves your budget, you just fucking know it's bad. I hated him when he was finance minister of Ontario, and I hate him even more now. Because like all the bad pennies of fiscal-conservative Wingnuttia, this one has an uncanny ability to fall up.

And finally, to the two personal wankers I got this week. First, a song dedicated to them...take it away, Ms. Kelis:

Y'know, fellas, just because I pretended last week to bemoan the lack of trolls, doesn't mean you're actually invited to pile on. Yes, that means you...

...Jim Fucking Burke. When you've done some studying and gleaned some nuanced insights into what sort of person Che Guevara really was, dude, you're welcome to come on back here and engage in an actual, honest discussion. But glib little one-line crapaganda drops will earn you an insta-ban and a deliberately mispronounced adiós.

...and Mike Fucking Hanson (yes, this one was dumb enough to use his real surname on his Hotmail addy, and his real first name on his post). Dude, you are so full of fail that you make it wayyyyy too easy for me to pwn you. Coming on here from your work computer at a fertilizer company and then lying to me that you work for ExxtortionMobil? You must have even less knowledge of how the Internets work than you have of what's really going on in Venezuela. If someone like me, with no hacking skills to speak of, can trace you to your office with a simple IP locator found on the Google, that's a sure sign that you're not destined for a great career in disinfo-trolling.

Goodnight, and get fucked!

Dear Dan Savage...

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Dear Dan:

Have I told you lately how much I love and adore you?

In your latest Savage Love column, you wrote in response to a Torontonian reader:

WHEREAS you're writing from Canada, and WHEREAS my Canadian readers patiently endure my rants about conservative American politicians (like last week's rant about New Hampshire state representative Nancy "Wiggle in Excrement" Elliott), and WHEREAS my American readers might assume that Canada -- where gay marriage is legal, everyone has health care, the boys are hot, and the girls are hotter -- doesn't have any batshit-conservative politicians of its own, BE IT RESOLVED that I will make an effort to write about Canada's batshit-conservative politicians every once in a while.

No time like the present: I could write about your batshit-conservative prime minister, Stephen Harper, who's always proroguing the shit out of your parliament. (I don't know what proroguing is exactly, but like the shit in French on breakfast-cereal boxes, it sounds pretty fucking filthy.) But a better example of conservative batshittery would be Vic Toews. Canada's unofficial "Minister of Family Values," member of parliament Toews -- surprise! -- doesn't like the gays because we're a threat to the family and the institution of marriage. Toews has described gay marriage ceremonies as satanic "Black Masses" and insisted that adding gays and lesbians to existing Canadian civil rights statutes would bring the "jackboot of fascism [down] on the necks of our people."

You know where this is going, right?

It turned out that Toews -- who once warned that gay marriage could lead to polygamy -- was cheating on his wife of twenty-five years. After getting a much younger woman pregnant, Toews wound up getting divorced. Another marriage destroyed not by gays stomping around in fabulous jackboots, but by another straight "Christian" shitfuck politician slamming his dick into someone who isn't his wife.

Toews's affair became public two years ago, but the scandal didn't destroy him -- he became minister of public safety this January -- because the Canadian press sniffed that Toews's affair and divorce were private. Excuse me, Canadian-press pansies, but a politician who scares up votes attacking the private lives of others, a politician who insists that other people are out to destroy his marriage, can't be allowed to hide behind "my private business!" when it turns out that the only threat to the politician's marriage was the politician's own greasy cock.

Here's hoping that all straight folks everywhere one day realize that anti-gay ravers come in just two flavors: assholes who are externalizing their own internal struggles against homosexual desires (Ted Haggard, Larry Craig, Charlie Crist, Joseph Ratzinger, et al.) and assholes who are attempting to compensate for and/or draw attention away from their own moral shortcomings (David Vitter, Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Vic Toews, et al.).

Toews is pronounced "taves," and it seems to me that it should be a word for something nasty. Get on it, Canada.

Dan, consider it gotten-onto. I'm gonna do my damnedest to think up something nasty yet relevant, perhaps along the lines of Santorum.

And in the meantime, I just wanna say that I don't care if you ARE gay-gay-gaiety-gay-gay, and I'm a hot Canadian chick; I'd totally jump your bones anytime you ask.

Or, failing that, I'll just find something nasty to make stick to Vic. I suspect it would make you just as happy, if not more so.

Love 'n' mush from another of your Canadian fans,

'Bina.

PS: Gentle readers, the floor's open. What horrible, cross-your-legs-and-cringe repugnant peccado do you think a "Toews" should be? Suggestions welcome in the comment slot below...

March 5, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Can't either of you boys work a tapemeasure?

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Or are they expecting the girl to "measure" them by way of some other instrument?

Festive Left Friday Blogging: A certain famous photo turns 50

Alberto Korda's iconic portrait of Che, mourning the loss of his compañeros, is 50 years old today. Here's the story behind it:

Three in the afternoon. March 4, 1960. The steamer La Coubre was anchored in the bay of Havana. In its hold were 44 tons of grenades and 31 of munitions. Romualdo Díaz, in the first compartment, was unloading boxes. José Antonio Díaz was commenting on what a lovely day it was. It was rather cool out, agreeable. The bell rang for the changing of the watch, and Manuel La O headed for the ship to take his post on guard. José Antonio went to the pier for an afternoon snack. Romualdo stayed a few minutes, conversing with the stevedores who had come to relieve him. Around 3:10 pm he disembarked, and walked a few steps toward the pier...

Suddenly, an explosion shook the earth. The electrical posts trembled and a black-edged mushroom cloud rose over the harbor. Romualdo was thrown through the air. When he came to again, he saw that the landscape had changed: the warehouses had no roofs, and La Coubre, its prow blown open, had been tossed to one side. José Antonio woke up up on the ground, bleeding from his head and leg. Manuel had fallen unconscious, and on recovering consciousness, he had a coughing fit because of the dense black smoke.

Rebel soldiers, police, firemen, people in general, arrived to provide first aid. They began to rescue the injured and recover the dismembered bodies of the dead. A second explosion swept away those who, defying danger, had made this gesture of human solidarity. The total number of dead would never be known. The remains of 101 persons were found, but only 95 were identified. The number of injured surpassed 200.

Weeks before, the Yankee consul in Brussels and a military attaché from the embassy had pressured the manufacturers and the Belgian foreign ministry not to sell those arms to Cuba. Western European experts who investigated the sinister event affirmed that there had been no negligence in the discharge. The Cuban people never had any doubt that the ship had been sabotaged. To this day, there is the full conviction that it was all the doing of the CIA.

[...]

That March 5, Fidel gave a speech and alongside him were the commanders of the revolution, among them Che Guevara. Che was accompanied by Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.

The photographer of the daily paper, Revolución, Alberto Korda, covered the event. Che was not in his line of sight. He later related:

"I was some 8 to 10 metres from the dais where Fidel was speaking, and had a camera with a semi-telephoto lens when I noticed that Che was approaching the rail, where Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were. Che had been on a second level. He drew nearer to look out at the sea of people. I got him in my viewfinder, took one and then another frame, and then Che drew back. It all took place in half a minute." Later he heard Fidel say "Patria o Muerte" (Homeland or Death.)

"After I had developed the film and made the contact sheets, I told myself 'Damn, what an expression this man here has!' I made a blow-up and hung it in my studio. I had to spend the evening at the burial of the victims of La Coubre, for Revolución. My photo of Fidel talking on the stage with the hand-grenades that remained after the explosion was published the next day in the paper, but the photo of Che was not published. It would not be published until April 15, 1961, in a press release announcing Che as Minister of Industry...this was confirmed later. Many times people have asked me if Che knew of my photo; I replied no. I imagined that since he read the paper closely he must have seen the photo, but we never spoke of it.

"In Cuba the photo was used for the first time as part of the funeral ceremony for Che in 1967. It was made into a large line drawing which was attached to the side of the building housing the Ministry of the Interior. They raised a platform there, and the next day all the daily papers published pictures of Fidel on their front pages, with the flag at half-mast and below it, my photo of Che. I never knew who rescued that photo nor how they did it. Maybe it was Celia or Haydée. That day I had a leg in a cast, and it took me a lot of effort to reach the National Library and the platform to take pictures. It was one of the largest crowds I've ever seen, and there was an impressive silence in the square. Getting to the stage with my gimpy leg was so hard that I really don't recall if I felt anything special when I saw that practically-forgotten photo.

"Four or five months before October 1967, when Che was killed, there came a man, unknown to me, looking for a photo of Che and with the recommendation of Haydée Santamaría. I showed him the photo in my studio. He said to me, 'Could you make me two copies?' The next day he came to collect the 11 x 14 enlargements. 'How much do I owe you?' It's a gift, I told him, since you were sent by a person I admire greatly. And the man left. He was Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, who had come from Bolivia, trying to intervene with the government of that country for the freedom of Régis Debray. I imagine that somehow, Feltrinelli had information that Che was in Bolivia, which few people in the world would know. This image became famous thanks to Feltrinelli's poster, which I did not suspect he would reproduce.

"I was not known in the world even after Feltrinelli's poster came out. The copyright did not include my name. I lent the negative to an Italian journalist in Mexico, Giuliana Scimè, for her photography workshop, which published an article in the Italian magazine, Progresso Fotografico (June 1983), in which she told how her students, upon seeing the negative, were crying from sheer emotion. The photo was famous and no one cared who had taken it."

[...]

The famous photograph of the Heroic Guerrilla, taken by Alberto Korda, is, in the opinion of the great critics, one of the ten finest photographic portraits of all time and is the most-reproduced in the history of photography in all the world.

Translation mine. Linkage added.

In the uncropped original, you can see that Che, while clearly the centre of focus, is not in the foreground:

che-original.jpg

...indicating that it really was just a chance occurrence that Korda happened to catch him in that pose, and wearing that rather characteristic intense expression--which you can see in various forms in several shots, most notably those in Jon Lee Anderson's excellent bio of Che. One striking example is a Mexican police mugshot of a much younger Che, sans beard and with shorter hair, apparently in the grips of an asthma attack, which contorted those handsome features quite a bit. This pic actually looks relaxed compared to that one.

Alberto Korda's attitude toward his iconic portrait is interesting; he did not object to it being widely copied and distributed without permission, so long as it was done in sincere tribute to Che and what he stood for, and not for crass profit. A dedicated revolutionary himself to the very end, Korda did, however, take a vodka company to court for using Che's picture to sell their booze, asserting (with some reason) that Che himself would strenuously object to such a commercial use of his face. Che, while not teetotal, was notably contemptuous of anyone who drank too much, feeling it reeked of undiscipline. Since he was a morale-conscious guerrilla leader during the Cuban revolution, and many of his bitterest enemies were casino-owning mafiosi, it's not hard to see why he felt that way.

Lest anyone get the idea that Che was dead serious all the time, though, here's my personal favorite pic of him. I don't know who took it (probably not Korda), but I love it because it shows his other side, which had a wonderfully wicked sense of humor:

che-grinning.jpg

Viva el Che, carajo.

March 4, 2010

Cindy Sheehan on Contragolpe

Watch live streaming video from aporrea at livestream.com

VTV's Vanessa Davies hosts Cindy Sheehan and Eva Golinger, author of several books on US interference in Venezuela (translating). Topics range from Cindy's peace protests at Camp Casey to imperialism and the mess that is the US political system. Not to be missed!

There once was this dude, Jason Kenney...

jason-kenney-keeps-out.jpg

Sorry, I'm not up for a limerick tonight. I just thought I'd share what happened to Jason Kenney's Wikipedia page before someone changes it back:

Kenney was born in Oakville, Ontario and raised in Saskatchewan. He graduated from the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame, a Catholic, co-educational, boarding high school located in Wilcox, Saskatchewan. He studied philosophy at the St. Ignatius Institute of the University of San Francisco, a Jesuit university in San Francisco, California. However he dropped out before completing his undergraduate degree to begin work in Saskatchewan provincial politics. He did not always want to be a politician. He wanted to be a lumberjack. Leaping from tree to tree, as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia. The Giant Redwood. The Larch. The Fir! The mighty Scots Pine! The lofty flowering Cherry! The plucky little Apsen! The limping Roo tree of Nigeria. The towering Wattle of Aldershot! The Maidenhead Weeping Water Plant! The naughty Leicestershire Flashing Oak! The flatulent Elm of West Ruislip! The Quercus Maximus Bamber Gascoigni! The Epigillus! The Barter Hughius Greenus!

With my best buddy by my side, we'd sing! Sing! Sing!

[singing] I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay. I sleep all night and I work all day.

MOUNTIES: He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day.

BARBER: I cut down trees. I eat my lunch. I go to the lavatory. On Wednesdays I go shoppin' And have buttered scones for tea.

MOUNTIES: He cuts down trees. He eats his lunch. He goes to the lavatory. On Wednesdays he goes shopping And has buttered scones for tea.

He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day.

BARBER: I cut down trees. I skip and jump. I like to press wild flowers. I put on women's clothing And hang around in bars.

MOUNTIES: He cuts down trees. He skips and jumps. He likes to press wild flowers. He puts on women's clothing And hangs around in bars?!

He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day.

BARBER: I cut down trees. I wear high heels, Suspendies, and a bra. I wish I'd been a girlie, Just like my dear Papa.

MOUNTIES: He cuts down trees. He wears high heels, Suspendies, and a bra?!

[talking] What's this? Wants to be a girlie?! Oh, My! And I thought you were so rugged! Poofter!...

[singing] He's a lumberjack, and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day.

He's a lumberjack, and he's okaaaaay. He sleeps all night and he works all day.

If you're wondering what brought this on, rumor has it that Jason is a screaming closet case. And certainly his removal of gay rights from all mention in the latest edition of the citizenship guide for would-be new Canadians would indicate the clanking presence of something skeletal and pink-tutu-clad doing the Watusi in five-inch heels behind his closet door...as would his priors.

(Heh: The little wanker is on the defensive already. This should be gooooood.)

March 3, 2010

Energy wasters: Venezuela has them.

Chavecito has something very important to say, so listen up, kiddies. For those who can't understand Spanish, here's a partial translation (by me):

President Hugo Chávez, in a nationwide broadcast, discussed the first week of the electrical rationing plan for high-level residential, industrial and official consumers.

He announced that 63% of the highest consumers did not comply with the measure, which was established in a decree for the highest consumers. Chávez added that there would need to be a follow-up to determine that this group was in compliance.

He also emphasized that 37% of the highest industrial energy consumers lowered their consumption and saved 30.5%.

[...]

Among the most non-compliant users was CCCT, who increased their consumption nearly 28%. Other non-compliants were Industrias BioPapel, Terminal La Bandera, Plásticos Hércules, CC Galerías Prado del Este, Restaurant Hereford, Molinos Hidalgo, and Centro Plaza.

"We need to investigate those companies who increased their consumption nearly 100%. That's a grave matter, and could be related to sabotage."

Chávez also pointed out those official organisms who were not complying, among them the mayoralties of Sucre, Bandes, the municipal council of Baruta, the mayoralties of Zamora and Hatillo, and the Ministry of Basic Industries.

President Chávez also referred to the water levels at the Guri Dam, and emphasized that they are still dropping at the rate of 14 cm a day, and that there is only enough water in the reservoir to last another 3 to 4 months.

The national electrical system could suffer a collapse if the level of the Guri drops to 240 metres. As of today, it is at 14.45 metres above that level, according to the data presented by the president.

"You have to realize that the water levels at the Guri are still dropping. They dropped 14 cm yesterday, but we still have enough water for three or four months before a collapse, as long as the levels keep falling at the current rate, we have enough water for all of March, April, May, and the middle of June," said Chávez.

So. Now we can see a bit about what the real sources of Venezuela's electrical shortages are.

One, El Niño and low rainfall, 60% less than normal this year, means that the Guri Dam reservoir is very low. But since there's still enough for three months at this rate, and the summer rains are due to start in May, that problem could sort itself out in a matter of weeks. Only a climatologist could say for certain when the Southern Oscillation will normalize and normal rainfall levels will return. So that much is not in Chávez's hands or anyone else's, unless we all pitch in to stop global warming, and do it in a major way, yesterday. Global warming means more frequent and violent Niño phenomena, which wreak havoc on rain levels, among other things. But this is not Chávez's problem to solve. It is for all of us, collectively, as a planet, to deal with and stop denying that there is such a thing as man-made global warming.

What IS in human hands and readily controllable is reason number two. Energy consumption UP in a time of shortages? By certain private industries and opposition mayoral offices, no less? That reeks of sabotage, as the 'Cito says. They couldn't possibly NEED to use that much extra energy, and to do so at this time, when saving and conserving is of the essence, is unconscionable.

And indeed, there IS sabotage going on. Noticiero Digital, the infamous opposition web forum, is actively encouraging its denizens to "traffic" their electrical and water meters. Meaning, waste water and energy, and then turn the meters back to an artificially low level, so that they don't have to pay for the wastage.

One wonders why they're doing this, no doubt. One can only conclude that they are doing it to sabotage the government, since there are parliamentary elections scheduled for September. The opposition is hoping to make inroads in the congress (currently they are shut out), and this is their main strategy: Discrediting the PSUV, the overwhelming majority winner, by any means possible. Since electricity is short due to El Niño, no doubt they figure that way is the best. It speaks to their lack of real solutions, however, that they are reduced to sabotage--destructive measures, in other words--because they have nothing constructive to offer.

But then, what did we expect? These are the old Adecos and Copeyanos we're talking about. The Puntofijistas, fragmented and repackaged under "new" names, are in fact the same old incompetents that ran the country into the ground from 1958 to 1998. They mismanaged the electrical grid in the 1990s, when there were also shortages, but fewer consumers owing to the fact that the poorer neighborhoods were not on line. Chávez has changed all that, but he's had to do it with the same old crappy system, and the same old crappy bureaucrats, which he inherited from the ancien régime.

Building new infrastructure takes time, and happily, he's doing it. He's well aware of what the problems are, and addressing them as best he can, although no doubt a certain troll here who's been criticizing and blaming him for those problems doesn't want to believe it. (Tough shit, Mikey.)

Another innovative solution is to get rid of the bureaucrats (who are often old Adecos and Copeyanos themselves, accustomed to an easy, lazy lifestyle as a result of decades of patronage) and let the workers run the show. This "autogestion" was proposed by the members of the Venezuelan electrical workers' union, FETRAELEC, and is well in line with the socialist principles of co-operative industry espoused by Chávez and the PSUV. Who knows better how to run a utility than its own workers? Certainly not a bunch of paper-pushers who know that their days in the sinecure are numbered, thanks to a socialist leader who has them on the radar. And indeed, there is evidence to indicate that this electrical bureaucracy was also involved in the sabotage of the grid in recent times...as well as incompetence, another reason to get rid of bad managers. (But not the president, who is actually taking measures to address that problem, as the video should make abundantly clear.)

Meanwhile, the electrical workers of FETRAELEC also endorse the president's electricity conservation plan, understanding the need to save in times of shortage. Like I said: Who knows better than the workers? They have seen from up close what the levels at the Guri Dam look like.

My little troll, however, has not.

March 2, 2010

Bad news all around for El NarcoPresidente

In Mexico City, family and friends of the Mexican students killed in Colombia's illegal bombing of a FARC camp in the Sucumbíos border region of Ecuador two years ago held a protest, calling for Alvaro Uribe to stand trial as a war criminal.

And that's not all that's dogging El Narco. He lost his bid to get re-elected, he disgraced himself in Cancún, and now, his popularity at home is dropping:

The popularity of Alvaro Uribe has fallen five points, according to the latest bi-monthly Gallup poll. His personal approval rating is at 63%, down from last December's rating of 68%.

According to the poll, his disapproval rating rose 4 points and now stands at 29%.

Approval of his performance as president has dropped 5 points, and now stands at 68%.

Another important fact revealed by the poll is the negative perception of Colombians over their healthcare services.

In December, 39% of those polled believed that the quality of healthcare in Colombia was worsening. Today, following the declaration of a social emergency on the part of the government, 59% felt that way.

It can only go downhill from there. Crappy healthcare tends to be something that people remember, and a quick PR campaign can't make any positive impact there. Mainly because it's a problem that tends to stick around...unlike reports of mass graves, say. Or seven army bases full of meddling gringos. Think about it--people keep getting sick, getting injured, getting shot (especially that last, in Colombia). If the health system stinks, they find out about it firsthand, and fast.

Chile: Time to step up to the plate, folks...

alvaro-evo-solidarity-chile.jpg

This is what solidarity looks like. Alvaro and Evo have an announcement to make:

The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, announced on Tuesday that he would donate half his salary to help the displaced victims of the earthquakes that rocked Chile and Haiti this year, as part of the launch of a program of national solidarity to gather funds to help the two nations.

Morales explained that the program "Chile and Haiti Need You" will begin with the support of public functionaries, with the objective of motivating the solidarity of all Bolivians, businesses and social sectors.

The ministers and vice-ministers will donate 30 percent of their salaries, said the president, adding that the campaign will begin on Tuesday at 8:30 local time (12:30 GMT) and will run until next Saturday.

The campaign also seeks to get Bolivians contributing voluntary donations in a local bank account called "Solidarity With Chile and Haiti".

"If each of us contributes one boliviano, we will have ten million bolivianos," said the president.

The campaign will end with a rally in the Julio Borelli Coliseum in La Paz, with entry fees also going to aid the quake victims.

Official sources also say that the campaign could include a text-messaging campaign, in which the telecommunication firm Entel would provide two dedicated lines. To encourage participation in this campaign, the firm announced it would also be raffling off a car and airline tickets.

Exterior relations minister David Choquehuanca flew out on Tuesday morning with the first aid flight from Bolivia to Chile, containing 50 tonnes of water.

For his part, vice-president Alvaro García Linera, announced a series of humanitarian aid flights "for our brothers and sisters in Chile, who are living through a terrible catastrophe in these days", after consulting with authorities in Santiago as to what type of aid they need most.

The aid efforts will be co-ordinated by the new Bolivian consul in Santiago, former defence minister Walker San Miguel, who was named to the post on Monday by President Morales.

Translation mine.

And on a more personal note, my friend Corey sent me this via Facebook today, concerning a Chilean friend of hers:

Subject: Madalena Lobao-Tello

I have called Madalena Lobao-Tello, artist and member of Facebook and http://www.facebook.com/l/1f752;care2.com in Region Metropolitana, Chile.

[Redacted: a chunk of personal information which I have decided to keep confidential, for now--if Corey okays it, I will publish this later--'Bina.]

I live in San Francisco, I suspect one day I might be in an earthquake and I'd appreciate help from my friends.
She is ALIVE!!!!
Her voice was scared, very afraid, but she said she is ok.
The outside walls to the street have broken down. Eight days after the 8.8 earthquake she has electricity, the telephone and occasionally water.

The inside wall also fell breaking her computer and some of her paintings.
We are collecting money for her, putting it in my http://www.facebook.com/l/1f752;paypal.com account where $5.00 is the minimum transaction amount
[donate to ccgandrt@comcast.net, Corinne de Ciofalo Guell] and then I will send it Western Union. I will pay the $22 they will charge to send the money collected.

Thank You so much.
Madalena needs our help.
Corinne and Verocska

Corey, consider it done. I'm gonna do my modest little bit to help Madalena get back to normal life.

Your turn now, folks.

Quotable: Susan J. Douglas on "enlightened sexism"

"Enlightened sexism is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. It insists that women have made plenty of progress because of feminism--indeed, full equality, has allegedly been achieved. So now it's okay, even amusing, to resurrect sexist stereotypes of girls and women. Enlightened sexism sells the line that it is precisely through women's calculated deployment of their faces, bodies, attire, and sexuality that they gain and enjoy true power--power that is fun, that men will not resent, and indeed will embrace. True power here has nothing to do with economic independence or professional achievement: it has to do with getting men to lust after you and other women to envy you. Enlightened sexism is especially targeted to girls and young women and emphasizes that now that they 'have it all,' they should focus the bulk of their time and energy on being hot, pleasing men, competing with other women, and shopping."

--Susan J. Douglas, on AlterNet

March 1, 2010

Stupid Sex Tricks: Forget the thong

Girls, when you wanna look REALLY sleazy, there's just one thing to wear under those low-riding jeans...

buttocks-bra.jpg

Yes, that's right...a Wonderbra for your booty. Because nothing says Teh Sexay like butt cleavage!