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Will ‘Captain Kirk’ boldly go to a new job — in Canada?

May 5, 2010

It has been suggested that the next career move for William Shatner (aka Captain James Tiberius Kirk of Star Trek fame) should be  … drumroll please …. Governor General of Canada.

Most Americans will likely respond with a puzzled look caused by lack of understanding of the governmental structure of our northern neighbor.

The Governor General is the Head of State and representative of the Queen.  This is a mostly ceremonial position that has no policy role.

There is a Facebook  page set up to promote Shatner for Governor General which is quoted as saying:

“It’s time for Canada to boldly go where no country has gone before,” notes a nearly 10,000-strong Facebook fan page that supports the idea.

“Imagine Mr. Shatner reading the speech from the throne in that classic Captain Kirk style we have all come to know and love.” http://www.torontosun.com/entertainment/celebrities/2010/04/21/13663616.html

Speculation about who will fill the shoes of Michaelle Jean has been intensifying across Canada since it was reported Prime Minister Stephen Harper would not be extending her term as governor general.  Viewers of the Vancouver BC Olympics might recall Jean’s ceremonial role in the opening and closing events.

While some insiders believe the new appointment might not happen until the fall, others believe a new governor general could be appointed as early as July 1. This would allow the Queen herself to swear in the new governor general during her nine-day tour of Canada, slated to start June 28.

What does Shatner himself have to say about this proposed career move?  Is he interested — or too busy being the “Price Line Negotiator”?

Shatner took to social-networking site Twitter on recently to address the idea.

“I’m being drafted by various groups to run for Governor General. Would they accept me if I campaign for salmons’ rights? My best, Bill,” he wrote to nearly 250,000 followers.

But only a year ago, Shatner dismissed the idea out of hand, arguing he never liked the idea of symbolic power, opting instead for the real thing: Shatner for prime minister.

In a February 2009 post on YouTube, Shatner said that while prime minister was an attractive position, he simply didn’t have the time.

“Governor general is a ceremonial role. I didn’t want to be ceremonial, I wanted to be active.” he says in the video. “I’m part of Canada.”

“But no time to be prime minister.”

However, Canadians polled about the possibility were definitely receptive to the idea.

Canadian news site TheMarkNews.com ran an unofficial poll gauging support for 13 would-be governors general.  Shatner led the race with a commanding 43% of the vote.  Rick Hansen trailed a distant second at 11%, with Leonard Cohen in third at 10%.

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Wonderment takes flight

November 17, 2009

I’ve always been fascinated by the sight of birds moving in a flock as if they were one organic being. Recently a feathery cloud of 300,000 starlings were spotted in Denmark — a truly amazing. The commentary is in Danish but words are not needed to appreciate this awesome natural phenomenon.

Pondering the ‘Staffordshire hoard’ of golden treasure

October 13, 2009

The headlines  screamed about a new cache of ‘Anglo Saxon’ gold artifacts that had been found in Staffordshire England by an unemployed treasure-hunter using a metal detector.    Then the pictures surfaced, showing exquisite workmanship.  Truly an impressive find, estimated to be from somewhere around the 7th and 8th centuries.

Yet something niggled at me from the first moment I saw the pictures.  There was a haunting familiarity in the sinuous interlocked animals that swirled across the surfaces of the glittering objects. (more…)

It’s about caring and community

October 13, 2009

To hear  Republicans talk these days, you would think that the Brits, the Canadians and the rest of the industrialized countries that have (gasp!)  socialized medicine were all dropping like flies from all the rationing and long waits for necessary surgeries.

You’d think they were all unhappy and envious of America’s expensive health care system.

Turns out,  the exact opposite is true — the rest of the world is quite happy with their government-run health programs and not eager to trade it for the fragmented insurance-driven health care system in the U.S.  In addition they have better health outcomes while paying less money for their care. (more…)

Woody Guthrie Song at the end of ‘Capitalism: A Love Story’

October 4, 2009

As the final closing credits rolled on Michael Moore’s  latest film the nasal twang of Woody Guthrie rang out and I wanted to get the lyrics to it.  The song “Jesus Christ” is a ringing condemnation of an economic system that values money more than human beings. 

Here are the rabble-rousing lyrics,  sung to the tune “The Ballad of Jesse James” (a celebration of the bank robber who  famously “stole from the rich to give to the poor”).

Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land
Hard working man and brave
He said to the rich, ‘Give your goods to the poor.’
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
He went to the sick, he went to the poor,
And he went to the hungry and the lame;
Said that the poor would one day win this world,
And so they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
He went to the preacher, he went to the sheriff,
Told them all the same;
Sell all of your jewelry and give it to the Poor,
But they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
When Jesus came to town, the working folks around,
Believed what he did say;
The bankers and the preachers they nailed him on a cross,
And they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
Poor working people, they follered him around,
Sung and shouted gay;
Cops and the soldiers, they nailed him in the air,
And they nailed Jesus Christ in his grave.
Well the people held their breath when they heard about his death,
And everybody wondered why;
It was the landlord and the soldiers that he hired.
That nailed Jesus Christ in the sky.
When the love of the poor shall one day turn to hate.
When the patience of the workers gives away
Would be better for you rich if you never had been born
So they laid Jesus Christ in his grave.
This song was written in New York City
Of rich men, preachers and slaves
Yes, if Jesus was to preach like he preached in Galillee,
They would lay Jesus Christ in his grave.
Sung to Jesse James

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Woody Guthrie wrote this tune in 1940 — before the video age. Bob Dylan’s version captures the raw grittiness of Woody’s style.

Karmic thoughts

August 24, 2009

Several years ago I was a member of a small band of activists who came together to work on election reform.  The small core group became even smaller when it was decided to break into teams and one of the teams became their own small “in” group and declined to share information with the rest of the group. Let’s call them the “A” team.  Their task was to promote a particular piece of  election reform legislation in the state legislature.

I will not name names here to protect both the innocent and the guilty — but they know who they are.   If any of them ever happens to read this perhaps they will recognize themselves. (more…)

Just the facts, please!

July 8, 2009

Facts are pesky things.  You ignore them at your peril, especially when  they are easily, er, fact-checked.

On Friday, July 3, 2009 Sarah Palin made the surprise announcement in a hastily called news conference that she was going to resign.  Since none of the faradiddle of reasons for quitting made the slightest bit of sense, there was a rush from reality-based commentators in both the MSM and the blogosphere to try to find some kind of rationale for Palin’s abrupt mid-term departure. (more…)