Friday, April 28, 2006

Bird Watching in Ottawa

It’s springtime and a sure sign of the season is the return of various migratory birds to Ottawa. Recent sightings include:

The Five-pointed Harper
A somewhat plump bird, the five-pointed harper is known for its rather bland yet odd markings. When spotted in southern climes, its breast sometimes features a down-filled covering. At home in Canada, it occasionally can be seen sporting a leather vest and a string tie but more often wears a plain blue suit. Easily identified by its rather annoying repetitive cry of "five points", "five points", "five points."

The Yellow-bellied Duceppe
Ornithologists have a difficult time classifying this exotic bird. Although often spotted at feeding stations in Ottawa, the yellow-bellied duceppe is thought to be native to Quebec. Its plaintive cry of "Quebec first", "Quebec first" belies its Canadian food source.

The Orange-throated Layton
Once listed on the endangered species list, the orange-throated layton has recently made a surprising comeback. Although its numbers in Ottawa are still somewhat sparse, its ability to sing different songs has allowed it to survive. Appears to thrive in a minority position where it can feed off other species.

The Mauvish Martin
For the first time in years, the mauvish martin has not been spotted in Ottawa. Long noted for its careful food surplus gathering, more recently this bird suffered from a fatal indecisiveness. Its protective ability to rapidly change color ultimately led to its downfall when it could no longer maintain a coherent position.

The American Ignatieff
Rarely seen in Canada for over thirty years, the American ignatieff has recently returned to its native land. Unlike most Ottawa birds, this unusual species does not sing in short repetitive bites. Rather, it warbles lengthy baroque arias with no discernible themes. When roosting, likes to position itself on the centre-left.

The Reversible Emerson
A rare bird indeed, the reversible emerson has the remarkable ability to instantly change its colorings. While wintering in its native British Columbia, it retained its gritty red markings. But on its return to Ottawa, it immediately changed to a bright tory blue. Known for its perpetual ministerial bearing.

The Snowy Manning
A longtime seasonal visitor to Ottawa, more recently the snowy manning migrated back to its native Alberta. Thought to have disappeared, its divisive call of "new party", "new party" can once again be heard throughout the western political nesting grounds. Prefers to feed on the carrion of other parties.

The Muted Cabinet
New to Ottawa, the muted cabinet travels in a flock of 27. Uniform in color and position, the muted cabinet is noted for its surprising inability to sing. Even when threatened by its natural enemies like the print and electronic media, it remains silent. Often looks to the five-pointed harper for protection.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Gospel According to Bill

"An early Christian manuscript, including the only known text of what is known as the Gospel of Judas, has surfaced after 1,700 years. The text gives new insights into the relationship of Jesus and the disciple who betrayed him, scholars reported today."

- The New York Times, April 6, 2006

Apparently, the Gospel of Judas is not the only interesting revisionist manuscript to show up as revealed by these recently discovered excerpts:

The Gospel According to Bill

And it came to pass in the City of Washington, in a house of white near an oval-shaped office that Bill did minister to the needs of the woman called Monica.

And he spoke to her saying: "Take of my body for it shall bring you love in your time of need."

Then Bill did come forth and spread love upon the land and upon the raiment of Monica. And Bill offered her a sacrament of poetry and cigars.

But Monica was jealous and desired Bill only for herself. She could not accept that Bill’s love was to be shared by the multitudes.

So, as it was written, Monica betrayed Bill. She spoke to her friend Linda who told the ones called Republicans of Bill’s love.

And the ones called Republicans condemned Bill and tried to cast him out of the house of white. They voted to impeach his word and bring him before another house.

But Bill was of the people and he spoke to them saying: "It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is." And he would not leave his house of white, at least not until the years of eight had passed.

The Gospel According to Jack

Jack was of the tribe of Israel that always wears the hat and keeps the Sabbath. He honored the word of his God and brought forth great riches to share with his fellow man.

Jack thought not of himself but only of others. He helped them to approach the good leaders to plead their case. Even the poorest of those living on reservations without fully-licensed casinos received Jack’s help.

And for his assistance, the people showered him with praise and bills of large denominations. But Jack was a man of great faith. His needs were modest and his path was true.

So Jack did not keep the gifts. He gave them to the good leaders who had truly helped the ones in need. And the good leaders were grateful.

But then it came to pass that the bad leaders who had not helped others were angry. They had not received the gifts of Jack and were jealous and sought revenge.

The good leaders returned the gifts to Jack saying they did not know him. And Jack spoke saying: "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do. Verily, I say unto you, I will accept the punishment for the sins of others."

The Gospel According to Tom

He was from the land of Texas, from the district known only as the 22nd. He came from the land of oil and cattle to rebuild his Father’s House in the city called Washington.

For many years, the House was filled with heathens called Democrats. They did not care about the House and spent money unwisely on all manner of social programs.

So Tom entered the House and he cast the Democrats out saying: "You shall not spend money on the poor and the needy. We shall give it back to those who were taxed."

And the people with money rejoiced for they now had more money. And the Democrats tried to return to the House to take back that money and spend it. But Tom redrew the lines of their districts and banished them to the political wilderness.

The Democrats were angry and sought revenge on Tom. They brought fake charges and turned the people against him. But Tom did not raise up his hammer but selflessly left his beloved House so that no Democrat could replace him.

The Gospel According to Dick

Whosoever chooseth the President shall rule and have everlasting political power. And he shall be called the Vice President.

In the beginning, Nixon begat Reagan. And Reagan begat Bush. But then the land was ruled by the evil one called Clinton.

So the Republicans asked Dick to save them. And Dick looked far and wide for a new savior. But he could not find one. So instead he chose the son of Bush and made himself Vice President. And the Republicans were happy.

And so it came to pass that Dick ruled the land through the son of Bush. The son of Bush spoke but the words were the words of Dick.

So when the son of Bush appeared to lose the first election, he turned to Dick and cried: "What shall I do?"

And Dick replied: "Act first and ask questions later." And the Supreme Court gave the son of Bush his victory.

And when the son of Bush did not know what to do with the surplus, he asked Dick and Dick said: "Cut first and ask questions later." And indeed the taxes of the wealthy were cut.

And when the son of Bush defeated the terrorists in Afghanistan, he said: "What next?" and Dick replied: "Invade first and ask questions later." And Iraq was invaded.

And when Dick hunted quail with his friends, he said: "Shoot first and ask questions later." And the birds did come home to roost.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bird Watching in Washington

It’s springtime and a sure sign of the season is the return of various migratory birds to Washington. Recent sightings include:

The Loose-lipped Libby
One of several eastern songbirds, the loose-lipped libby is musically prolific. Prefers a natural setting and will sing repeatedly to avoid being caged. Not to be confused with the rat-eating jailbird known as the gee gordon liddy.

The Hooded Cheney
Even veteran bird watchers have a difficult time spotting this species. The hooded cheney is a nocturnal bird that only appears during the day when threatened. Dangerous when provoked, it has even been known to attack its own hunting companions.

The Woodcutting Bush
Migrating back and forth between Washington and Texas, this bird is noted for its single-minded devotion to cutting. Whether it’s brush, taxes or troop strength, the woodcutting bush likes to chop. Native to Connecticut, it masks its true origins with western coloring and a faux Texan warble.

The Muted DeLay
Once the most dominant bird in the region, this Washington-based bird has returned to its native Texas. Previously spotted by its frequent cry of "not guilty", "not guilty", the muted delay now seldom sings at all. Likes to feed on democrats and gerrymanders.

The Hat-crowned Abramoff
This orthodox bird once lived in a symbiotic relationship with two other species. The hat-crowned abramoff would take food from native birds and give it to domestic political fowl, all the while feathering its own nest. No longer sighted in the D. C. area, the hat-crowned abramoff has reportedly been institutionalized.

The Snowy Clinton
Noted for its snowy plumage and plump girth, the snowy clinton no longer summers in the D. C. area. Leaving its mate to forage in Washington, the snowy clinton migrates throughout the country looking for admiring crowds. Previously known for its forceful cry of "is is", "is is."

The Grousing Gore
Ornithologists have a difficult time classifying this bird. Once second only to the snowy clinton, the grousing gore has fallen on hard times. Although no longer resident in Washington, its plaintive cry of "florida", "florida", "florida" can still be heard throughout eastern Tennessee state.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The GWB Record Club

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* Invading Iraq based on faulty intelligence
* Wiretapping without court orders
* Holding prisoners indefinitely without charges
* Torturing prisoners around the world
* Spending a $500 billion surplus
* Creating a $1 trillion debt
* Repeatedly cutting taxes for the wealthy
* Trying to torpedo Social Security
* Complicating a seniors’ drug plan
* Giving billions to the drug companies
* No-bid contracts for Halliburton and Bechtel
* Delaying Katrina hurricane relief

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Stephen Harper's Report Card

Some political observers have been perplexed by Stephen Harper’s approach to governance. However, to anyone who has seen his grade three report card, the Prime Minister’s style is no big surprise:

Student’s Name: Stephen Harper
Grade: 3
Teacher: Miss Bessborough

Arithmetic: B-
Stephen has shown some progress this term with addition and subtraction. He is able to compare different sized groupings and usually picks the biggest one. Unfortunately Stephen has recently developed an obsession with single digit numbers, particularly the number five.

Reading: A-
Stephen is a voracious reader. He reads everything he can get his hands on including the work of the other students. Even insists on writing their book reports for them.

Language Arts: B
Stephen has been able to construct and deliver speeches all on his own. Has a tendency to always use five themes. Needs to practise his delivery to overcome the tendency to speak in a monotone.

Writing: C+
This term, we have been concentrating on writing personal essays centered on the students’ personal experiences. Stephen has trouble expressing himself in this manner. Instead, he prefers writing detailed position papers on everything from class finances to milk money reductions.

Music: B+
Last term, Stephen was successful in getting his music group to sing in unison. This term, he is continuing to achieve that same success even when his group sings in a minor key. Needs to work more on harmonizing his group with the other groups.

Phys. Ed.: B
Stephen is not particularly athletic. However, when he runs, he does surprisingly well. And when he wins a race, Stephen is very generous and often asks classmates who weren’t chosen or didn’t win to join his team.

Stephen is having some problems with group play. So long as he is the leader and gets his own way, there is no problem. But when the other children want to speak, he insists on interrupting and speaking for them. Even when some of his classmates form their own playgroups, they must first get Stephen’s approval before choosing a group leader. Often holds meetings in secret with his friends and refuses to answer questions afterwards. Is developing an aversion to television and expresses an intense dislike for newspapers.

Too early to tell how Stephen will do in the higher grades. If encouraged to be more physically active and to continue running, it is likely that he will stop obsessing about the number five, adopt a whole new agenda and thrive in a majority situation.