Thursday, February 21, 2013

When #cdnpoli Spambots Run Rampant

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I ain't been doin' too much Blogger boogin' lately on accounta I been mostly tweetin' on Twitter (the crack cocaine of social networking). This here boog is all about how Twitter sometimes gets overrun by nefarious spambots an' how I work around that troublem.

FWIW, complaining to Twitter support has had zero effect and there are just too darn many of these automated bots to report every one as a spammer. I did try a couple days ago and reported about 100 of 'em to no avail.

Most avid tweeps use some sorta third-party client to manage their tweetin' -- like TweetDeck or Hootsuite. I typically use Hootsuite and have a column dedicated to the Canadian politics hashtag, #cdnpoli. When the spambots run rampant, my #cdnpoli column looks like this:

As you can see, the proliferation of spambots makes the feed pretty much useless.

TweetDeck ain't any better:

Now, my workaround ain't ideal but it at least makes it possible to indulge my addiction to #cdnpoli. During the bot blitz, I go back to basics and use Twitter without any third-party thing. I have a saved search for #cdnpoli and by selecting "Top" as the filter, I get a feed that looks like this:

No bots at the top of the list. As I said, it ain't perfect but it at least makes #cdnpoli somewhat usable.

The bot blitzes usually last for a couple hours. After the blitz, I revert back to Hootsuite.

If anyone has any other ways they're dealing with the onslaught, please tell about it in the comments here.

Frustratedly yours,


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Song: The Tories Are Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I figgered I'd better post up a little ditty for Christmas. Here goes:

The Tories Are Gettin' Nuttin' for Christmas

Oh, Steve's gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
Canadian voters are mad.
Steve's getting nuttin' for Christmas
'Cause Steve ain't been nuttin' but bad.

He sold the tar sands to Chinese;
Somebody snitched on Steve.
To ship our oil overseas;
Somebody snitched on Steve.
Thirty-nine percent's a majority;
In Steve's version of democracy;
There's no accountability;
Somebody snitched on Steve.

Oh, Pete's gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
Canadian voters are mad.
Pete's getting nuttin' for Christmas
'Cause Pete ain't been nuttin' but bad.

Pete lied about the price of planes
Somebody snitched on Pete.
He thinks Canadians don't have brains
Somebody snitched on Pete.
He looked right in the voters' eyes
And told a bunch of dirty lies
Never did apologize
Somebody snitched on Pete.

Jason's gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
Canadian voters are mad.
Jason's gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
'Cause Jason ain't been nuttin' but bad.

He won't be seeing Santa Claus;
Somebody snitched on him.
He made new immigration laws
Somebody snitched on him.
No healthcare for the refugees;
He'll lock up child detainees
He's got no human decency;
Somebody snitched on him.

Oh, they're gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
Canadian voters are mad.
The Tories are getting nuttin' for Christmas
'Cause they ain't been nuttin' but bad.

Monday, November 19, 2012

JimBobby Sings The Ballad of Joanie Crockatt

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, ol' Jymn over to Let Freedom Rain posted hisself a boog where he sorta challenged ol' JB to come up with a little sing-song all about Joan Crockatt. Joan's the CPC candidate in the upcoming Calgary Centre by-election. She used to be on Power & Politics with Evan Solomon. Her voice kinda makes my hair stand on end - like Sarah Palin only worse.

Here's what I come up with:

The Ballad of Joanie Crockatt

She's runnin' for parliament in Calgary
Where the men are men and the markets are free
The House of Commons is where she wants to be
Sittin' next to Harper in a tea party.

Joanie, Joanie Crockatt
Queen of the wild frontier.

Well, Joanie's got a voice like fingernails on glass
She uses it to root for the upper class
In Calgary the voters give Conservatives a pass
So Joanie's probbly gonna kick some Liberal ass.

Joanie, Joanie Crockatt
Queen of the wild frontier.

Joanie loves the tar sands and the pipelines, too.
She's workin' for the oil boys, not for me and you
She'll let the pipeline builders do whate'r they wanna do
So the Chinese get their tankers full of black and greasy goo.

Joanie, Joanie Crockatt
Queen of the wild frontier.

Joanie used to be a talking head on the TV
She made a buck or two appearing on the CBC
Spoutin' Harper's talking points as freely as could be
It's a liberal media conspiracy.

Joanie, Joanie Crockatt
Queen of the wild frontier.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

JB sings: "Where the Heck is Gerry Ritz"

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I reckon ol' Gerry Ritz might be better off if he hides out.

Where the Heck is Gerry Ritz?

If you're sick and you don't know
what to do. Ate a burger, now you've
Got a bad case of the shits
Where the heck is Gerry Ritz?

The minister is on a hide away
Dreaming up talking points to say
To dodge the hits
Where the heck is Gerry Ritz?

Doesn't want to make a public blooper
Maybe E.coli has got him on the pooper (super duper)

Now, the opposition's serious
Jumping up in Question Period
The food system is on the fritz
Where the heck is Gerry Ritz?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Not an economist in 2008. Not an economist in 2012.

Harper unfazed by market crisis

The American financial crisis has quickly reverberated on the campaign trail, with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper saying that the Canadian economy is surviving the turmoil and that fears of a recession are in the past.
"I don't think the atmosphere should turn to one of complete doom and gloom," Mr. Harper told reporters this morning as he kicked off the second week of the Conservative Party's re-election campaign.
"My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now."
Later today, Mr. Harper took his fight for re-election to economically banged-up southern Ontario, aiming to wrest away seats he needs for his majority from local Liberals.
Mr. Harper warned a crowd of about 600 party faithful in London that Ontario would be particularly hard-hit by St├ęphane Dion's Green Shift, saying the carbon tax portion of the policy would hurt Ontario's manufacturing sector.
"The carbon tax will badly hurt the economy of Southwestern Ontario," Mr. Harper said.
But Mr. Harper may find himself with a challenge on that front, given the battering Ontario's manufacturing industry has taken over the past few years. He was also reminded in a Liberal advertisement released to the media yesterday of remarks uttered by his finance minister, Jim Flaherty, who said earlier this year that, if he was advising international investors on where to put their money, Ontario would be the last place.
The speech took place in the riding of London North Centre, currently held by Liberal Glen Pearson. Southwestern Ontario is seen as ripe territory for potential growth, often voting Progressive Conservative before that party merged with the Canadian Alliance. There are currently two Liberals, one Tory and one NDP representing London.
Mr. Harper's response to the collapse of a second large U.S. investment house Monday, and the opportunistic takeover of a third, comes as the Toronto stock market tumbled, the Canadian dollar continued to lose value and the price of oil closed below $100 U.S. a barrel for the first time in six months.
The TSX pared 515.55 points, as the demise of the Lehman Brothers brokerage and the sale of Merrill Lynch deepened worries about the U.S. economy and its impact around the world.
The Canadian market fell more than four per cent and is down 18.7 per cent from its most recent high June 18.
Mr. Harper said that, although there are significant problems in the United States, its economy is still resilient and not in recession.
"I wouldn't throw in the towel on any of this quite yet," he said.
Mr. Harper has pitched his party as the best-placed to handle turbulent economic waters, particularly in opposition to Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion's Green Shift, which includes a tax on carbon. However, his declaration that the fears of a recession are behind the country may somewhat undercut that argument.
Speaking in Ottawa, Mr. Harper used the U.S. financial crisis to argue that the ideas of his opponents are unworkable in the current climate.
"This is not a time for wild experiments and new taxes or grand new spending schemes," he said. "Governments must be able to act with prudence during a difficult economic time."
Mr. Dion shot back by suggesting Mr. Harper has been a rudderless economic manager who spent on election-minded gimmicks but led Canada's economy to a performance that lags even the troubled U.S.
Mr. Dion said the Liberal Green Shift would cut taxes on areas that would stimulate the economy - incomes, savings, and business profits.
"The difficulties in the United States are something that we worry about. But still, they are outperforming the economy of Canada today. Their first six months [of 2008]have been better than ours in terms of economic growth."
"Mr. Harper did nothing to prepare Canada [for]that. Nothing to invest in the productivity of our economy. Made bad choices regarding the way he spent - he spent more than any other government before him, but he built nothing," Mr. Dion said.
He said Canadian economic growth was slower than that in the U.S., and other G8 countries, in the first six months of 2008, and that Canada lost more jobs in July than in any month since 1991, when Brian Mulroney was prime minister.
He added later: "And what is the plan of Stephen Harper, anyway? It's the same mistakes that have been done under Mulroney. He spent a lot, he has no direction, and we are close to deficit and close to a recession."
NDP Leader Jack Layton pointed to the financial crisis as proof that Canada cannot follow in the footsteps of the United States, and cannot afford to elect a right-wing government.
"Events in the United States' financial markets are a clear warning about what happens when government doesn't do its job and deregulation goes too far. This is another example of why conservative governments are bad for the economy," Mr. Layton said.
William Robson, president of the C.D. Howe Institute, agreed with Mr. Harper that the Canadian economy remains relatively strong despite the economic turmoil south of the border. Still, Mr. Robson said the American financial crisis will certainly have an impact on Canada.
"They're raining on our party," he said.
Mr. Robson said he is encouraged that on the election trail, none of the major party leaders is promoting a return to deficits or opposing the Bank of Canada's low inflation targets. He said it is a sign of a growing maturity on the Canadian political stage, pointing out that the situation will not have an immediate effect on people's every day lives.
"When things get rough, it's the time to remember our long-term objectives," Mr. Robson said.
Before making his remarks, Mr. Harper announced a spending promise worth $147-million that would allow self-employed Canadians the opportunity to access maternity and parental benefits enjoyed by other wage earners who pay into the EI system.
"Ironically, self-employed Canadians who are successful and who create jobs must pay into the EI system on behalf on their employees, but cannot access those benefits themselves," Mr. Harper said. "This is not right."
Currently, self-employed Canadians cannot contribute to the Employment Insurance scheme and, thus, are not eligible to receive maternity benefits that other employees who do pay into the fund enjoy. Those Canadians eligible for maternity benefits and want to remove themselves from the work force to stay home with their newborns can receive a year's worth of benefits at around 60 per cent of their salary.
There are currently 2.6-million Canadians who work for themselves in the country.
The program would be funded by premium payments. It is another in a series of tangible announcements that the Conservative began making during the last election. They include notions like help for apprentices, GST cuts and other pledges.
Asked if announcement was an effort to attract female voters, Mr. Harper said it was a policy to respond to a real need.
In St. John's, Newfoundland, Mr. Dion unveiled a $250-million proposal for funding refits of fishing boats to make them more energy efficient, and argued that using less fuel will save them more as diesel-fuel costs rise than Mr. Harper's proposal to cut diesel taxes by two cents a litre in four years.
The same approach will make Canadian businesses more competitive, especially if corporate and personal taxes are cut, fuelling savings and investment, he argued.
"We need to cut taxes on the productive activities - on our income, savings, investments. On the investments the fishermen need to do to have good vessels - we need to cut taxes on that. And we need to shift it to pollution. And then it will be good for the economy because you will cut taxes on productive activities. It will be good for the environment because you out a price on pollution. As long as it is free, it will be difficult to reduce it," he said.
"And it will be good for the people, because we Liberals will cut taxes especially for middle and low-income Canadians. A family that is living with $20,000, they will receive $2400 of tax credits from the government."
Mr. Dion continues to be dogged by criticisms, even from within his own party, that his plan is not getting through to voters, who don't understand it and fear it's just another tax.
Monday, as he campaigned in St. John's, John Efford, the federal natural resources minister in Paul Martin's Liberal government, said most Newfoundlanders don't get it, and are wary about being taxed more.
"I can tell you the average person on the street doesn't understand the carbon tax," he told reporters.
Mr. Dion, however, insisted that it is good economics - and that Mr. Harper has focused on election-minded tidbits to attract voters. He didn't specify what he was referring to, although Mr. Harper has brought in a series of narrowly-targeted tax credits he promised in the 2005-06 campaign, for tradespeople's tools, kids sports programs, and bus passes.
"Stephen Harper is only concerned about the next day, the next poll, to show gimmicks to buy your vote for the next election. Never he's concerned about the next generation," Mr. Dion said.
With a report from The Canadian Press

Sunday, April 29, 2012

New Song: "The Ballad of Steve Harper"

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I done it again. Here's a new song all about Steve Harper set to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.

The Ballad of Steve Harper

Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Steve
Sneaky politician, dirty tricks up his sleeve
The oil companies needed a man on the inside,
So they bought a buncha votes and gave Ol' Steve a ride
(To Ottawa, that is. Parliament Hill.)

Well the first thing you know old Steve's the PM
The oil boys are happy 'cause he's workin' just for them
Environmental rules was holdin' oil back
So Harper killed the rules an' put the pipelines on the track
(Fast track that is, supertankers, Chinese money)

Well now it's time to say goodbye to Steve and all his crew
You've shown Canadians the kind of damage you can do
You're not invited back again to this locality
Since you took advantage of our hospitality
(Big Oil's bitches, that's what they call 'em,
Not nice folks. Get the hell out now, ya hear?)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Song & Video: "Bev's Crystal Chandelier"

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, I reckon the latest Bev Oda schmozzle ain't anywhere near as important as the robocalls election fraud thing or the F35 deal but I had a couplafew requests to do a song about Bev an' I aim to please my thousands an' thousands of adulating fans.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New song & video: "You Cheatin' Cons"

Whooee! Well, friends an' foes, the whole robocalls election fraud scandal's been getting pushed to the back burner. The F-35 fiasco and Lifestyles of the Rich and  Bev Oda are taking priority. Thing is... the election fraud issue is probably our most troubling problem. It goes straight to the heart of our democracy -- or lack thereof.

I'm doin' my bit to keep the voter suppression scandal in focus. Here's a song I made over the weekend:

Thursday, April 19, 2012