The NDP Bike

Lethbridge artist and activist Andy Davies shows his support of local MP candidate Mark Sandilands with his modified bike.

Vote For Mark

Andy is a friend of mine and asked me to shoot a few photos for him.

family Politics

Barack—Up Close

My cousin Amie and her husband Matt got up early this morning to attend one of Barack Obama’s rallies, this one just a few miles from their house. They got some great photos of the future president!

Barack Obama


Sarah Palin 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant

I came across a youtube video this morning that shows Sarah Palin (Sarah Heath) sporting a swimsuit in the 1984 Miss Alaska Pageant. The video was pulled shortly later, but in the meantime I contacted’s Andy Baio and he, having more foresight than me, made a copy and is now hosting it himself.

Art Politics

Obama / McCain Wordle

I downloaded the transcripts of all of Obama and McCain’s speeches from their respective official websites from March 25th, 2008 to the present and then put them each into Wordle.

Obama / McCain Wordle

Wordle gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

I used 51 speeches by McCain and 61 by Obama.

McCain’s site only had transcripts from March 25th to the present and I figured that was plenty of data for my purposes.

humor Politics

Sarah Palin Hockey Mom

Matt Damon condemns John McCain’s choice of hockey-mom Sarah Palin for Vice President. He compares the situation to a “really bad Disney movie” and says it’s crazy that this woman could become President.

Hit play or watch Damon Condemns Palin at YouTube.

It’s one of those situations that is funny because it’s true (albeit also frightening). The geniuses at CollegeHumor have taken the idea and run with it. Here is the fictional trailer to her, unbelievable, real life story:

[Sarah Palin Disney Trailer on YouTube]


Naomi Klien on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher

I went to the Naomi Klien speech at the U of L last Monday and was entertained and enraged (both at the same time) as she talked about the situations and events unfolding in the world right now and the influence that free market ideology has on the world at large. She also emphasized that new policy applied after a crisis has often been waiting for the opportunity, for people too shocked by the event to stand up against bad laws.

Here she is on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher (September 19):

[Naomi Klien on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher – YouTube]

She wrote an article for the Guardian last week which contained many of the points she made in her speech.

economics Politics

The Dilbert Economy

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, wondered why someone wasn’t doing something that would give American voters useful and unbiased information about which candidate has the best plans for the economy.

Then he realized that he was someone.

He commissioned a survey of over 500 economists, drawn from members of the American Economic Association, a nonpolitical group, that had previously agreed to be surveyed on economic questions.

The economists were asked to rank the most important economic issues and pick which candidate they thought would do the best job on those issues.

Here are the results:

Rank Issues Obama McCain No Diff.
1 Education 59% 14% 27%
2 Health care 65% 20% 15%
3 International trade 26% 51% 23%
4 Energy 61% 22% 17%
5 Encouraging Technology/innovation 43% 23% 34%
6 Wars and homeland security 58% 30% 11%
7 Mortgage/housing crisis 41% 18% 41%
8 Social Security 40% 24% 35%
9 Environmental policy 72%  9% 19%
10 Reducing the deficit 37% 29% 33%
11 Immigration 33% 29% 38%
12 Increasing taxes on wealthy 79% 14%  7%
13 Reducing waste in government 16% 38% 46%

Adams is quick to point out that even though economists favour Obama in 11 of 13 of the most important issues (as decided by the survey) 48% of economists are Democrats and only 17% are Republicans.
It makes you wonder, are liberals more likely to go into economics, or are economists more likely to become liberals? Or is it just the simple fact that educated folks tend to be more progressive?

You can check out the full report (in Power Point format).

humor Politics

SNL: Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton

When John McCain met Sarah Palin for the first time, you have to wonder, did he think Hey, you remind me of someone.

Here’s a little SNL clip from the weekend of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler doing Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.

(Sorry Canadian and other international viewers, looks like this clip is for USA eyes only.)


The Shock Doctrine

In a couple of weeks Naomi Klein (author of The Shock Doctrine, and No Logo) is coming to the University of Lethbridge to discuss themes from The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The book is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world—through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

Around the world in Britain, the United States, Asia and the Middle East, there are people with power who are cashing in on chaos; exploiting bloodshed and catastrophe to brutally remake our world in their image. They are the shock doctors. Thrilling and revelatory, The Shock Doctrine cracks open the secret history of our era. Exposing these global profiteers, Naomi Klein discovered information and connections that shocked even her about how comprehensively the shock doctors’ beliefs now dominate our world—and how this domination has been achieved. Raking in billions out of the tsunami, plundering Russia, exploiting Iraq—this is the chilling tale of how a few are making a killing while more are getting killed.

The following is the Shock Doctrine short film, it neatly summarizes how the Shock Doctrine works.

copyright Politics

Letter to My MP

June 13th, 2008
To: Mr. Rick Casson
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

CC: The Honourable Jim Prentice P.C, M.P.
5th floor, West Tower
C.D. Howe Building
235 Queen St.
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

CC: The Honourable Josée Verner, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage
25 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M5

Subject: Please Stand Against the New Copyright Bill

Dear Sir,

I am a constituent who has been following recent developments in Canadian copyright law. I’m concerned that the Copyright bill presented by the government on June 12th goes too far in outlawing the lawful use of copyrighted material, and does not take into account the needs of consumers and Canada’s creative community who are exploiting the potential of digital technology. I’m disappointed that this bill adopts an American approach to digital copyright laws, instead of crafting a Canadian approach.

Canada’s copyright laws need to advance Canada’s interests. This means copyright laws that respect ordinary consumer practises, such as unlocking cell phones and copying the contents of purchased CDs and DVDs for use in iPods (or other digital music players). The current bill outlaws these practises. This means copyright that facilitates the work of Canadian creators, such as documentary filmmakers, who instead find that this bill outlaws the use DVDs as source materials for their films. This means we find made-in-Canada solutions to the challenges of file-sharing, such as consideration of the Peer-to-Peer proposal of the Songwriters Association of Canada. Instead, this bill paves the road to importing the consumer file-sharing lawsuit strategy that has failed so spectacularly in the United States. Canada deserves better. WE DESERVE BETTER, and you can make a difference.

Please ensure that this bill really is made for Canadians by allowing all Canadian stakeholders a say in its final contents. That means meaningful consultation in the coming months, and opening up Canada’s copyright policy to more than just the special interests that lobbied behind the scenes for this law. As my MP, I urge you to represent my interests in the copyright debate.


Jeff Milner

Check out Online Rights Canada’s new action alert, “Tell MPs What’s Wrong with the Prentice Bill” and use the site to send a message to your own Member of Parliament.

Here’s what their website says about it:

“After months of hesitation, Industry Minister Jim Prentice has finally revealed his re-write of Canada’s rules of copyright. Tell your MP just what you think of it.”

10113 people have used the website to take action. Add your voice today!