Sunday, September 28, 2008

Storm Watch

Thanks to everyone who sent best wishes in the comments thread for the post below... It looks now like Kyle will break up into a tropical storm but but yes, pass right over us. (Late tonight to tomorrow morning should be the worst of it.)

Nova Scotia and the southern shore of New Brunswick (Saint John etc.) will take the brunt because of wind and storm surge.

Everybody's going to get a damned good soaking, though, including Mike, as you can see from the current satellite image, taken about ten minutes ago, above.

The worst we're expecting here is a power outage, so we're well prepared for that (cats have been briefed and are wearing little tiny miners' helmets), and possibly some localized flooding because of the rains. (Autumn leaves are blocking some of the storm drains; yesterday a street perpendicular to ours was flooded until a city crew came by and cleared them.) So we're pulling for NS and southern NB and crossing our fingers.



Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oh, laws... comes Kyle.

Current local weather map:



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"...and maybe some shuffleboard later."

Actual lede in a Wall Street Journal article today about the candidates’ preparations for the debates:

“To get in the debating mood, Republican John McCain will host a town-hall event and take a short nap. His rival, Democrat Barack Obama, will work out or shoot hoops.”



Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Good morning, Mr. Prime Minister. Here is your coffee, and here are the American neoconservative talking points for today..."

"...the fundamentals of our economy are strong..."
John McCain, September 15, 2008.

"The Canadian economy's fundamentals are solid."
Stephen Harper, September 16, 2008.

Does he watch television and take notes on what the Republicans say, do you suppose? Or does he have talking points faxed to him each morning, like so many of the neocon web commenters seem to?



Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ninja Cat comes closer while not moving...

Slays me. Just slays me.



It's Silver!

It's unfortunate that the press coverage of the Canadian Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team's silver Paralympic medal all seems to focus on the disappointment of not winning a third straight gold medal... I'm as proud as hell of them...



Thursday, September 11, 2008

How you can help (Updated)

In Canada, the Dubois Foundation, which regularly sends aid to Cuba, is preparing a special shipment:

The Dubois Charitable Foundation
686681 Hwy #2
Ontario N0J 1V0

We will be loading a 40 ft container of Hurricaine relief supplies for Isla de la Juventud on Saturday Sept 13. We have already secured substantial quantities of clothing and footwear,some matresses and other items. we will be looking to round up, kitchen wares,and utensils, household items, as well as linens, pillows, towels and personal care products ( ie: soap, shampoo, toothpaste and brushes); tools for cleaning up (rakes shovels etc) as well as hammers, crow bars, saws, trowels, nails , drills and various supplies. We are awaiting direction on the kinds of construction materials that are required, and will assist there to a limited extent.The tools, linens and construction materials that we do not receive, we will purchase. Any and all monetary donations received will go to purchase needed materials, and the foundation will pay the ground transportation and shipping costs.

We have already rerouted a quantity of clothing and footwear from our last container which is in transit to Havana, to the victims on the island. The assistance is needed now, and any donations need to be made immediately if we are to assist these unfortunate people when they need it most.

(This courtesy a forum post on, one of the internet's single best websites, whether you're looking for a hotel one town over or heading to Hong Kong.)

Also, the International Red Cross is active in both Cuba and Haiti and has put out an appeal for funds. At this page, you can donate online and direct your donation to "Cuba Hurricane Season" or "Haiti Hurricane Season" among many other causes.

(Update: Thanks to Mary Ellen, who noticed the link to the International Red Cross donation page wasn't working. I've been having trouble all week with posting links in blogger - not sure why but thanks to those who have caught the problem links and pointed them out. The Red Cross link is now fixed; scroll down a screen to the donation form where you can choose the disaster to send your donation to. [Isn't that something? "Choose your disaster"? O, lord, what a world.])



Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cuba's hurricane evacuation program

I was trying to find an article I read last week about Cuba's hurricane evacuation system, but this one is better and more comprehensive.

Of course, as I mentioned in my last post, and in comments to Dann, in a dictatorship, mandatory evacuations are mandatory.

But surely, there are lessons that can be learned?



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

After Gustav, Ike. (UPDATED)

We're worried sick and watching closely as Hurricane Ike pounds hell out of Cuba for the second time, having already ravaged Holguin province and the southeast end of the island.

This, on the heels of Gustav, which the country managed to weather with significant damage but no deaths. Ike has already claimed 4 lives, in spite of the country's outstanding evacuation strategy and record of protecting people and property in storms. (You can do stuff like that good when you're a socialistic dictatorship.)

We've visited both areas of the country hardest-hit by this hurricane. We know people who live there - although it's impossible to get any information, everything is down or out (not unlike Cuba's communications in normal circumstances, just more uniform). It's hard to imagine the people there losing the very little that they have. They work so hard to maintain their tidy little homes and apartments in the face of the embargo and the poverty. They take such pride in their homes and tend their gardens and care for their cars so carefully. It just breaks my heart to think of those things being ripped to pieces.

UPDATE: Oh, gosh. It's as bad as we feared. We saw the crumbling architecture of Havana when we were there in March. We worried to each other that many of those buildings wouldn't stand a hurricane. And they haven't.


Labels: , , ,

Monday, September 08, 2008

Don't be shy, Heather...

...tell us what you really think.

Heather Mallick, the Canadian writer who almost caused Bill O'Reilly to have an on-air coronary when she responded to his shouted, "ARE YOU A SOCIALIST?" with a pleasant smile and the word "Certainly", turns her withering prose on Sarah Palin in particular and the GOP in general. Some excerpts:

I assume John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his vice-presidential partner in a fit of pique because the Republican money men refused to let him have the stuffed male shirt he really wanted. She added nothing to the ticket that the Republicans didn't already have sewn up, the white trash vote, the demographic that sullies America's name inside and outside its borders yet has such a curious appeal for the right.

So why do it?

It's possible that Republican men, sexual inadequates that they are, really believe that women will vote for a woman just because she's a woman. They're unfamiliar with our true natures. Do they think vaginas call out to each other in the jungle night?
Palin has a toned-down version of the porn actress look favoured by this decade's woman, the overtreated hair, puffy lips and permanently alarmed expression. Bristol has what is known in Britain as the look of the teen mum, the "pramface." Husband Todd looks like a roughneck; Track, heading off to Iraq, appears terrified. They claim to be family obsessed while being studiously terrible at parenting.

before addressing what's really bothering her:

The conventioneers are nothing like the rich men who run the party, and that's the mystery of the hick vote. They'd be much better served by the Democrats. I know Thomas Frank answered this in What's the Matter with Kansas?; I know that red states vote Republican on social issues to give themselves the
only self-esteem available to their broken, economically abused existence.

So why will so many economically disadvantaged Americans loyally vote for the GOP this year?

Is it racism? I'm told that it is, although I find racism so appalling that I have difficulty identifying it. It is more likely the dearly held Republican notion that any American can become violently rich, as rich as those hedge funders in Greenwich, Conn., who buy $40-million mansions unseen and have their topiary shaped in the form of musical notes.

When Palin and Rudy Giuliani sneered at Obama's years of "community organizing" — they said it like "rectal fissure" — the audience ewww-ed with them. Republicans dream of a personal future that involves only household staff, not equals who need to be persuaded to vote.

So I'm trying to imagine the pain of realizing, as they all must at some point, that it is not going to happen for them. It's the green light at the end of the dock. It's the ship that never comes in, gals, as Palin would put it. But she won't because the lie works for her. It helps her scramble, without compassion, above all those other tense no-hoper ladies in the audience.
The entire incredible diatribe.



Saturday, September 06, 2008

My games begin

We watched some Olympics, you bet - who could resist the compelling story and amiable showmanship of Usain Bolt, a fast guy making a little Caribbean country bust-its-buttons-proud?

But my games - the Paralympics - started yesterday. This is Dave Durepos, and I walk past his big old poster about once a day at the Aliant (telephone & internet services) booth in the mall near my office. (Dave is one of the Atlantic Canadian Paralympians sponsored by Aliant.) Before Dave Durepos went to Beijing to compete on Canada's Men's Wheelchair Basketball team, I probably walked past Dave Durepos onced a week or so in the same neighbourhood. He lives with his wife, Sabrina Pettinicchi, who just happens to be on Canada's Women's Wheelchair Basketball team, in nearby Charters Settlement. I've never actually met or spoken to Dave Durepos, but Husband knows him slightly.

This Olympic year, Dave and Sabrina are my guys, and the Paralympics are my games. And of course, the absolute gutting shame of it all is that as far as I can determine, except for whatever scant media is given the opening ceremonies in news broadcasts, not a second of Paralympic sport will be broadcast on any US or Canadian broadcast network this year. (There are apparently some deals for cable specialty sports channels.) A Google search turns up a cached CBC schedule of Paralympic broadcasts - opening ceremonies and such - but the page now seems to have vanished. Paralympians are all well and good to insert into your inspiring advertising montages of athletes training - but nobody actually wants to watch them compete. There's no cash in it, as both US and Canadian networks discovered a few years ago when they covered some Paralympic events in prime time.

Happily, I discovered by accident that the Official International Paralympic Committee Website includes a link to streaming web video of Paralympic athletes and events. Right now it's rough, and it's spotty, but between this and the web I'm hoping to follow Dave and Sabrina's teams as they take the hopes of all of us from little old Fredericton who belong to the fraternity and sorority of disability, all the way to Beijing.