Monday, December 27, 2010
Until I saw some of the other pictures from the Ukrainian Parliament smoke bomb/egg fight. The contest suddenly became too close to call.
Note flying egg.
The moment when you realize that Canadian politics really is too tame, journalistic howling about political incivility aside.
So what are the bets on Harper v. Ignatieff scrum fight?
Friday, December 24, 2010
For most people large, tight families who do just about everything en masse is the stuff of legend, or reality TV shows. But as the oldest of ten children I live with it every day, this article for example was interrupted to rescue a precious stuffed bunny from the new puppy, and mediate who got to wear the princess dress.
So you can imagine the results when two such families, with eight and ten children respectively, are brought together by a courtship and later engagement. Actually, unless you were brought up in a similar family you probably can’t. Suffice to say that it includes insane amounts of food, folk dancing, practical jokes involving balloons, chicken slaughtering (honest!), and a home-grown film company to make a documentary of the whole relationship. But the slaughter of innocent chickens has not been the only result of this engagement.
For my brother (19) it has also meant that adolescence, and an era of low responsibility, is officially over. While a little while ago he could afford to hesitate about committing to a particular career, now getting, and keeping, a stable, good paying job as a tradesman’s apprentice has suddenly become of vital importance. After all, if he looses his job he is going to have a very hard time convincing his fiancee’s parents that a 2011 wedding is a good idea. A reliable car has become more than a luxury, and he suddenly has no interest in spending money on computers or other non essentials. Marriage has been a great motivator.
I know my brother isn’t alone among young people when it comes to falling in love, but while it has driven him to grow up, complete milestones in education and employment, and save money, for many people the pressures that created those achievements are lacking. Last week the Institute for Marriage and Family Canada released a report on the causes of delayed adulthood. One of those, they suggest, may be co-habitation.
It would be very simplistic to suggest that co-habitation is the only reason for delayed adulthood, and in fact it may be more of a symptom than a cause. But it does rate some thoughtful consideration. If few people were willing to live together before marriage, we could reasonably expect marriage rates to climb dramatically, most people aren’t willing to wait forever for intimate companionship. And with an increase in marriage rates, young adults would be highly motivated to “get going” with their lives. While Mom and Dad may be willing to subsidize your apartment while you are going to college, with or without a clear notion of who your roommate is, they are probably less likely to do so once you get married.
Without a doubt there are myriad reasons for the lengthened period between adolescence and independent adulthood that we are seeing today, but cohabitation cannot be helping. When my brother gets married next year he will have to assume all the responsibilities of an adult, and he has risen to that challenge. But what if that challenge didn’t exist? We have been asking, “Why won’t they grow up?” Maybe we should be asking, “Why should they grow up?”
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I mean, I really hate to pick on Heather Mallick (Actually, I don't. So what I lied, sue me) but sometimes (always) she deserves it.
Abortion rights across Canada are like computer-generated word clouds, or to use a more old-fashioned analogy, ordinary sky clouds. Abortion availability is good and prominent in bigger cities in bigger provinces, wispy in small towns and the more backward provinces like New Brunswick. And in P.E.I., as always, it’s a heartless and empty sky.Stop the presses. You mean that abortion is like everything else in Canada, more readily available in urban centres than in small towns? Who woulda thunk?
Heather Mallick, whatever her innumerable faults, has a gift for evocative language. Or at least would-be evocative language that comes across as rather humorously manipulative unless you happen to agree with her anyway. The kind motherly (oops) woman, bravely defying the judgementalism of her backwards and faintly sinister community, tearfully gathering money in her apron, deposited there by kind friends who look like Judy Dench in a period film. Oh, it tugs at the heart strings. And yes I can easily imagine living in a country like Ireland. Apparently I do anyway, but I will consider Ireland as a backup destination if something ever gets into the water supply and a certain person becomes Prime Minister.
You can talk Anne of Green Gables all you like but imagine this country containing a province that treats its women the way the Irelands do. You must gather cash in your apron from kind friends and leave the island for the 10-minute procedure that’s easy to get in Toronto but would send you straight to hell in Potato Island, you filthy slut. So no change there then.
New Brunswick is continuing its torment of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the bravest man in Canada, by dragging its heels on his lawsuit that would make the province actually obey health-care laws. Abortion is legal and covered under medicare, therefore free. But since timely abortions are extraordinarily difficult to get in the only two provincial hospitals that do them, women have to go to clinics where they pay upfront.Well I'll be dipped in butter and rolled in breadcrumbs, the bravest man in Canada is he? And I never even knew it. Next they'll be telling us all the marijuana protesters are the bravest men (Ed: people Marmalade, no sexist language) in Canada too, after all they risk going to jail for their deeply held beliefs, and they aren't even risking having to make an acceptance speech when they get an honorary doctorate! One swoons at such manly courage. (and maybe Captain Kirk can step aside long enough for Morgentaler to become the next GG write in)
The province is clearly waiting for the good doctor, who is 87 and not in good health, to die. In his boyhood, my dear friend Henry also distressed people by not dying. They happened to be Nazi soldiers in Auschwitz, and no, I am not making a link. I am, however, pointing out an irony.No we wouldn't be making that link now would we? We would just be making that link and then saying we didn't make that link from which people can draw their own links to match the linkage of their hearts to the gates of heaven or hell (because we all know that only pro-choice people get to choose heaven). Actually speaking of irony, the pro-lifers have a great deal to say on the irony of a holocaust survivor leading the charge to kill babies who are "unwanted", "imperfect", and "nonpersons". Did I mean to make that link? You judge for yourselves (for the more obtuse, the answer is yes).
There are now three women in the Conservative New Brunswick cabinet. One would hope they’d extend a generous hand to their youthful rural sisters and push for abortion care in the province. Thinking of you, Attorney General and Minister of Justice Marie-Claude Blais!The SisterhoodTM! (Mutually exclusive with the deviant category defined as pro-life individuals of the gender "female")
Calgary has seen more anti-choice clamour this year, although the protesters at the University of Calgary appear to be the same as those who protest at other universities too, reports the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. This rather dilutes the local effect. Calgary is a sophisticated city. I won’t compare its new mayor to ours, as it hurts too much.Oh shoot. I had an open mind on the subject of Naheed Nenshi (alright I know nothing about him whatsoever, but I was prepared to approve if the evidence supported such an endorsement) but now I am afraid I must irrevocably turn my back on any thoughts of considering the man anything but a Calgary tragedy. Unless of course Mallick really only supports him because she thinks a Muslim mayor in Calgary just sticks it in the eye of Alberta (Disregarding the fact that they voted for him) and thus her support is purely racially and religiously based and has nothing to do with policy. Hm, could be. Maybe I better continue to keep an open mind on the subject of Mayor Nenshi.
And wonder of wonders, pro-life students manage to simultaneously enroll in U of O, U of C, and several dozen other campuses across Canada. Where are they getting that money? Where is the CRA? Why aren't they auditing these miraculous students?
Another issue is Bill C-510 on “coerced abortion.” Priests for Life loves it, and is passionate in its desire for women to bear more children, even unwanted ones.One assumes that, by definition, coerced abortions were not unwanted by the women. Who then? The men in their lives? Mallick thinks that if a man doesn't want a child he should be able to force a woman to abort it, and kill her if she refuses? Before she sues me I know she doesn't, but that interpretation aside I am at some loss to understand what exactly the above sentence meant, if anything.
As always, I see political debates in graphic terms, mainly because I translate debates on principle into the suffering they cause to actual humans. And I remain disgusted by the continuing efforts of anti-choicers to figuratively stick their fingers into the uteri of women, as though they have a right to set up shop there.In which case I am sure she absolutely loves the fact that public displays containing images of aborted fetuses allow us to move the debate into the realm of graphic human suffering. After all, that is her chosen battle ground right? Right?
They do not. A person’s body is their own fenced-off area and it is their choice what they do inside it.Except put it in front of an abortion clinic.
And yet we have hard-right Canadian newspapers and magazines debating whether women should be allowed even to have caesarean births or to cut back on the number of embryos that survive implantation during IVF procedures. No, a woman shouldn’t have twins if she doesn’t wish to. No, she shouldn’t have to be an octomom if her IVF has been badly handled.And, incidentally my dear Mallick, we have every single letter to the editor on the subject professing horror and disgust that anyone would murder a child's twin as a measure of convenience. Do you really enjoy living in that kind of Canada Mallick? Knowing that the person you say "hi" to every day shudders at the thought of killing a twin so that the remaining child can have more new clothes? Actually, I take that all back. As you have yourself admitted to not knowing anyone who is a serious Christian I assume you live in a fairly sheltered Canada and don't have to deal with that. My mistake.
Women will find it almost impossible to be self-supporting or have satisfying careers until they can direct their own reproduction. So childbirth must often be delayed till their 30s. As usual, Quebec is at the forefront, paying for IVF procedures but with the goal of a woman ending up with one healthy infant as opposed to six damaged ones (which is what happens in private clinics that charge enormous fees and roll the dice on infant health).Because most women love to live through the pain of infertility and IVF because no one told them that glib statements about delaying childbirth have less than glib realities. I'm not forcing anyone not to use birth control. I just prefer that we don't kill children already in existence. I also, for the record, oppose mothers being able to kill their dependent children when they realize a year after cute Suzy was born that being a single Mom really puts a damper on education and career.
It will never end, this need for troubled obsessive people — the Harperites of Canada — to take ownership of others, to prod inside the female body — and into the stuff of our souls — for control. Should Stephen Harper win a majority in a possible spring election, every right women have won over the decades will drift into the ether, like clouds.And here we are again, back at Harper and the conservatives. It's always the Harper, isn't it. I sure hope for Mallick's sake that liberals, or worse yet NDP, don't take over Canada. She'd be out of business overnight. Unless you count several years of victory cheers business.
But just savor this passage for a moment, to prod into the "stuff of our souls - for control" because we just know that under a Harper majority women would lose the right to vote (honest, that is what that says. Read it), and before you knew it every woman in Canada would have invested in a Julia Child pearl necklace and be scrubbing floors all day long for 50 cents an hour, if they were allowed to work at all.
You almost have to feel sorry for someone who's entire security and assurance of freedom is nothing more than clouds, to be whisked away by malevolent men at the drop of a hat if a few seats tip the wrong way. Actually one really does feel sorry for her, it must be hard to live in such an angst ridden "reality".
But I'm still going to laugh at her if she insists on parading her paranoia to the world of Star readers.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
|So the new (or new to me) email feature of blogger works! Cool. Anyway, my latest article on MercatorNet.|
| Heroine of human dignity: Mildred Fay Jefferson |
The first black woman to graduate from Harvard medical school used her position to defend the humanity of the unborn.
|firstname.lastname@example.org sent this using ShareThis.|
Saturday, December 11, 2010
However one sane judge still seems to know what the phrases "religious freedom" and "freedom of speech" mean. And that they actually apply to Christians too.
Talk about judicial thoughtcrime.
Maybe they should put up posters about that.
I just refuse to look.
Now, in the States not only will you be forced to endure perky advertisements featuring smiling families selling you trashy clothing or electronics, you will also be forced to watch ads (either perky or ominous, no news on that yet) encouraging you to report "suspicious behaviour" to the authorities in order to fight terrorism and crime. While the CNN story doesn't elaborate on what constitutes "suspicious behaviour", we may be able to gain some insight from British anti-terrorism campaigns.
British radio-ad transcript:
Female Voice over:
How d’you tell the difference between someone just video-ing a crowded place and someone who’s checking it out for a terrorist attack?
How can you tell if someone’s buying unusual quantities of stuff for a good reason or if they’re planning to make a bomb?
What’s the difference between someone just hanging around and someone behaving suspiciously?
How can you tell if they’re a normal everyday person, or a terrorist?
Male voice over:
The answer is, you don’t have to.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
"It is quintessential that Canada have a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. According to the US Department of State’s 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report, Canada is a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking.
The RCMP estimates that 600-800 persons are trafficked into Canada annually, predominantly for sexual purposes, and that an additional 1,500-2,200 persons are trafficked through Canada into the United States. "
Thursday, December 2, 2010
As far as I can see the reason for freedom of speech is that there is always a tension, or the possibility of tension, between the rulers and subjects. Even in generally contented and peaceful nations, in which category I would put Canada, has issues in that regard. Sometimes as a result of the government trying to encourage too much contentment and peace, hate speech legislation springs to mind.
So to my mind there is a continual war, a great game, a gentleman's duel between the government and the people. They try to keep us in the dark about things, we try to find out about things. They try to play their games, we try to make a decent life for ourselves and ignore them as far as possible. They try to leak us the info they want leaked, we try to get more. Sometimes we cooperate with the government, we help them suppress information, we follow the laws, usually when we believe it is our best interest to do so or we can't be bothered resisting.
So I don't really see the point of getting too upset about the wikileaks affair. Maybe we scored a point, maybe the ship of state leaked again (unlikely I suppose but...), maybe no one scored a point and it was all just meaningless. (We learned that Canadians have an inferiority complex re the States, a pond is also wet and the Sahara is also dry.)
But I don't get the free speechers saying this shouldn't have happened. Why not? The claim about costing lives is very sketchy at this point, and the same could be said, is said, with potentially more credibility about "hate speech".
It embarrassed a lot of people. That's called life. I don't like having my country embarrassed more than the next person, probably less than the next lefty. But, if the truth will set you free, then what are we afraid of?
And if the truth is too much for us to take, do we deserve to continue?
And if it is all lies, well the great refrain of free speech is combat bad speech with good speech.
Do we believe that when it really matters?
"Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security" Ben Franklin
Go for it Mr. Franklin.
And don't kill Julian Assange.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Spain, once heralded as the model for the future of green economies has proposed slashing subsidies to solar and wind power by 30%, and is expected to withdraw financial backing for renewable power plants after economists discovered, too late, that every megawatt of renewable power generated cost five Spanish jobs (Ontario, having cribbed Spain's model, is just now confronting its own electrical cost reckoning).
As some of you may know I have a thing about hats. I like hats. I love hats. So you can imagine that even if I wasn't a monarchist already, the news that the royal engagement is likely to cause an upsurge in hat popularity would have filled me with the warm and fuzzies. And yet, on the other hand, what do you do when you find your personal fashion statement becoming a popular fad? Drop it in the interests of staying unique? Follow along and let everyone think you are a mindless trend follower? The questions that women have to grapple with.
Hat picture from my favorite hat shop, Beau Chapeau in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
Monday, November 22, 2010
But we will refrain from imposing crop seizure on any peasants who may be reading my blog. We will just turn the thumb screws on your conscience and point out that if you really believed in freedom of speech you would support those on the front line...
"Fee Speech" Fundraiser for arrested Carleton Students.
JDL Chanukah Party to support Blazing Cat Fur on December. Honestly I'd like to go, but only if they have the purple kitty menorah.
And any spare cash you have lying around could go to support the great and wonderful Binks. Either that or some strategic purchases on his Amazon account.
Oh yes, and if you like Miss Marprelate and know of any spare jobs lying around, you could chuck them this way. There, that is my shameless pitch for the month. Got it over with, back to politics.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
And it also doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that evacuating Pearson terminal as a first response to a suspicious bag is not really a great idea. Actually let me amend that, it doesn't even come up to the level of an idea.
It also shouldn't come as a particular surprise to anyone that some people aren't crazy about getting sexually molested in order to fly on an airplane. Think I'm exaggerating? How would you describe this? “I was wearing shorts at the time – between the underwear, right on the skin, all the way around the back, all the way around my front, 360 degrees, touched inappropriately,”
And no it doesn't make me feel much better that it is same-sex pat-downs. After all, I have this sneaking suspicion that they aren't allowed to discriminate against gay and lesbian TSA officers. And frankly I don't want anyone touching me there regardless of orientation.
But it is wonderful to know that apparently Muslim women who wear hijabs don't, or shouldn't, have to go through a pat down. According to CAIR anyway.
That would be after you demanded to know why you were selected for screening, if it had anything to do with your wearing a hijab, and probably threatening to sue for discrimination.
Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down. Instead of the pat-down, you can always request to pat down your own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officers perform a chemical swipe of your hands
Web page complete with contact info for CAIR, apparently in case these guidelines aren't followed by the TSA.
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, or 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ACLU, in one of it's rare fits of usefulness, supplies a handy form for you to file a complaint.
In related news a woman is suing because she was publicly exposed during a search, and experienced crude jokes from airport staff.
And to make it all better, you have as much chance of getting cancer from the naked scanners as being a victim of a terrorist bombing.
But you can sue and send the TSA people to jail for up to three years if you can prove they acted inappropriately.
But I'll bet nearly impossible.
So how far is too far in the name of security?
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Christie Blatchford, a Governor-General award winner, wrote a book on Caledonia and got shut down by students at the University of Waterloo in an Ann Coulter reprise, presumably without the "Go back to America" slogans.
Remind me again why ANYONE thinks that universities are bastions of free speech, diversity, or intelligence?
Interestingly, no one shut down George Galloway, the students just protested in the designated areas, even though many strongly disagreed with him.
Buy Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us
Monday, November 15, 2010
So here you go ladies and gentlemen, how would you fix the budget? Do tell in the comment section. I am almost scared to put my results up, because I didn't take a great deal of time doing this and I am sure everyone will disagree with my answers, if for completely different reasons. However I did manage to eliminate both the short and long term deficit while ringing up a surplus.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Or rather, that is, as they are reflected in Sharia law.
A recent Oklahoma constitutional amendment that prohibits judges from taking international law or sharia law into consideration has been put on hold as it may violate the US Constitution. It has been denounced as Islamaphobic, and discriminatory because it will prevent Muslims from participating in things like getting married, writing wills, forming contracts, etc if they want to incorporate Sharia elements into those things (Personally I strongly doubt that, actually I am sure it won't.) Alternately they also denounce it as unnecessary because no Oklahoma Muslim has ever dreamed of wanting Sharia taken into consideration by courts. Not sure which story they will eventually stick with.
A lawsuit against the amendment is being brought by CAIR.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Link if the crazy thing doesn't want to show up properly. Don't ask me why it won't. Things I am not good at. Anything computer related. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y54FRMedT_s
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Question: After Monday's elections, are you more optimistic about your city, or less optimistic?
If even the Star cannot get more than 50-51% of their readers to be less optimistic, in a poll featured on a Heather Mallick column no less that starts with the profound point "Mayor Rob Ford, Oh dear" and draws to a close with the stellar observation that "Within the next four years, our rage will be scented by rotting garbage and we’ll be riding burros to work.", no wonder Rob Ford won the election.
Then again, maybe the only people who read Heather Mallick aren't left-wing, maybe they are all right-wingers who find her funny. Always a possibility.
Or maybe even some liberals hate government corruption and waste enough to vote for Rob Ford.
On second thought, I think I'll go with hypothesis one. I don't think Heather Mallick knows anyone who voted for Rob Ford, except maybe her manicurist.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Over 10,000 people make more than $100,000 a year, including CEO of Ontario Power Generation who made $2.15 million and his successor who made $1 million, as well as $975,000 for the CEO of Hydro One. Meanwhile Hydro has doubled since 2003. And thanks to renewables and George Smitherman, not likely to go down. Margaret Wente suggests that anger over this could bring down the Ontario Liberals. Why not? Do you know anyone who doesn't hate Ontario Hydro? Anyone? Anyone? (Hydro employees are NOT invited to stuff the vote on this one)
And my economics textbook tried to tell me that electrical companies are examples of monopolies that don't exploit people.
While the Canadian Charger, as usual being more Marxist than Muslim, endorsed Smitherman. Why do I have this funny feeling that a large number of Muslims actually voted for, wait for it, Ford. The non-gay guy. And the one who doesn't believe in wasting immigrant's hard-earned tax dollars on wasteful and extravagant programs that cater to the already rich.
BTW, one suspects it was a really great day for crisis psychiatrists in Toronto Monday night. Just the Star office alone would have provided employment for about ten.
Almost as important as institutional autonomy.
Or private property.
An Alberta judge has ruled that universities, in their dealings with students, are government agencies, and thus are subject to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Thus, the U of C was out of line when it put two students on probation for starting a Facebook group criticizing one of their professors. Some people are seeing this as a victory for freedom of speech, and an especial boon for pro-life students who frequently face opposition, discipline, and arrest for putting forward their view on campus.
But this is not necessarily a victory for freedom. Universities enjoy autonomy for a reason, several actually. And even though this autonomy can and is abused, very often at the expense of right-wing and/or pro-life people, that is not necessarily a good reason to flush it down the tube. Do we really want universities to be government institutions, subject to all government rules and regulations? Really? As George Jonas says:
At least it is easier to switch universities than nationalities. (And at this point, I'm not sure what other country to run to)
Thursday, October 21, 2010
P.S. Just in case you were still in some doubt as the level of mind-numbing incompetence down there in Toronto, they had months to get this case to trial but somehow or other couldn't get a Mandarin interpreter. In Toronto? That's got to be like saying you can't find a French interpreter in Montreal.
Speaking of Toronto, and incompetence, and Toronto incompetence, etc. Miss Marprelate hereby endorses Rob Ford. Yes, she is a little sketchy on some of his exact policies except for the cut spending bits, Toronto municipal elections do not come very high up on her list of "issues and events I need to follow", but has several sound reasons for coming to this conclusion.
- Heather Mallick really hates him. This alone was enough to secure my endorsement. If any of my readers have not read her piece on the gun registry, DO SO NOW. You will not regret it. Personally, I believe I shall remember the phrase "rare orchid of exquisite life-saving beauty" until the day I die. It's not that I object to flowery prose, but, honestly? And then this on the subject of how Toronto could consider Ford (And America Bush). Cue eye rolling smilie:
Voters, they’re like babies. They don’t change, can’t change. They repeatedly swallow buttons and emit eternal rivers of drool.
Actually that analogy is wrong. Babies are canny. They have a deep drive toward self-preservation (this explains smiling and gurgling) and they know where their interests lie. If they could choose parental units, they’d choose wise, patient ones with an understanding of the GTA’s transit needs, the importance of libraries, trees and good architecture, what keeps a city functioning and just how far you can push unions.
- His sense of style.
- He wasn't endorsed by Justin Trudeau. Also enough to secure the endorsement of MM on its own.
- There is no love lost between Ford and Unions. Even the construction worker's union is switching its vote to Smitherman from Pantalone to get in on the "Anyone but Rob Ford" bandwagon. A particularly interesting choice since I would be willing to bet very large amounts of money on the fact that the majority of construction workers are probably going to vote for Rob Ford.
- He's actually a conservative, in Toronto. Its like seeing Northern Lights in Florida. You just have to like it. (Unless you are an environmentalist who would see this as absolute proof of global warming and die of heart failure.
Those who wish to get in a sighting of teh Marprelate and or teh Marprelate's Hat will have the opportunity to do so at the First Annual Free Thinking Film Festival. (And no I haven't gone atheist, someone should tell them that isn't really the world's best name considering possible audience. But it will probably be an interesting event.) Tickets on sale here.
Mark Steyn has been banned from speaking at a government owned conference centre in London ON, after the facility received pressure from local Islamic groups. Incidentally and seemingly unrelated, a public announcement from Faisal Joseph that the Islamic response to Steyn will be to drown his speech in the compassion and charitable good works of Islam.
P.S. And for the record, I don't believe that freedom of speech means freedom of venue or medium, when the venue and medium belong to someone else who doesn't want you. Albeit things get sticky when you have a government owned facility.
P.P.S. Also for the record, everyone has the right to protest just about anything, and that includes Muslims.
P.P.P.S. I'm not sure if Faisal Joseph realizes this yet, but you can either be one of two things. You can have your name linked with the CIC, or you can have people listen to you and give you their respectful attention. Not both. Just ask Delic.
P.P.P.P.S. That last postscript obviously does not include United Church pastors and Star opinion columnists. But then when one person in the asylum tells another that they are made of glass, "Napoleon" is very likely to believe him.
Government fat police, Japan style, B.C. style. Which do you prefer?
Monday, October 18, 2010
Oil sands: satanic horror, or priceless jewel? To describe the extremes of the debate over Canada’s large bitumen deposits thus is barely to exaggerate the positions taken up by opponents and supporters of exploitation of this rising source of crude oil.
For environmentalists, oil sands, or as they are technically known, bituminous sands, are the epitome of everything they hate: big business, oil, greenhouse gas emissions, oil, water wasted and polluted, oil, governmental indifference or collusion, oil, threatened animals and trees -- oh yes, and oil as well. A boycott of fuel sourced from Canadian fields is under way and gathering traction.
For many Canadians, however, and indeed for investors worldwide, oil sands represent an entirely different set of circumstances. For young men in depressed rural Ontario, poverty-stricken communities in Atlantic Canada, and job-scarce northern reserves, this resource represents hope of a future, a down payment on a house, and career training they might never otherwise get.
Alberta's riches, at least partly due to this unconventional oil, funds equalization payments and helps to build schools and hospitals in have-not provinces. Ontario alone stands to gain about 55 billion dollars in oil sands related manufacturing and other economic activity over the next 25 years. Even local communities, whom environmentalists like to put forward as victims of commercial poisoning and exploitation, cannot but benefit economically from a massive employment centre in an area which might otherwise be mostly barren.
These considerations aside, there is no question that the optics are not pretty. Strip mining, massive equipment, oil slicks, flaring smoke stacks and dead birds are not warm and cozy images. Questions being raised about environmental impacts, pollution, water contamination, and so forth are legitimate. Extracting crude bitumen produces more greenhouse gases than conventional production, and a recent study alleges that the oil sands are unacceptably polluting Alberta’s Athabasca River.
As a result, there has been a strong push by environmentalist groups to encourage boycotts of oil extracted from bitumen, the people involved with or investing in oil sands, and the entire province of Alberta, greenies and all. One corporation that has taken up the challenge to shun this demonic fuel is Walgreens, a major U.S. drug store chain of 7,500 stores. Levi Strauss, Gap, and Timberland were also reported to have boycotted the oil sands, but have since clarified their stances to avoid the word boycott, possibly in response to calls for a counter-boycott by Canadians. Walgreens, with no Canadian business to lose, has proven more staunch in its commitment to environmentally-conscious corporate ethics.Corporate ethics is a rather popular buzz word, and not just with humourists at dinner parties. Bending to public pressure, aka the squeakiest wheel, corporations have been inspired to boost their image by reforming overseas labour practices, promoting equal opportunity hiring, aspiring to places on lists of top ethical companies, and funding/donating everything from children’s playgrounds to condoms. Looking after the environment, however, seems to be a popular ethical issue among companies whose brands have become household names through large retail chains.
Especially if it is not likely to cost them anything. Walgreens admits that the oil sands boycott as it currently stands is likely to have little economic effect on the company since they do not use much fuel from that source to start with. The main point of such gestures might seem to be the opportunity to get an image -- and hopefully sales -- upgrade as a result of their “enlightened ethics” rather than out of a disinterested commitment to environmental issues. In an ironic note, critics have also suggested that those who are involved should first take a look at their own morals: Gap has been caught using child labour in Delhi and Walgreens have come under fire for fraud involving Medicare.But even if we are to take them at their word, that the boycott is a result of an honest commitment to sustainable and ethical business, is boycotting the oil sand industry really ethical? Assuming Walgreens isn't going to switch their trucks to solar or wind power, how ethical are the alternatives? While it may be more carbon intensive (with about 5-15% more emissions based on “well to wheels” analysis than the American average), the oil sands have advantages in other ways.
For one thing, the industry supports a progressive democracy that cares about things like environmental standards and human rights. In contrast, Saudi Arabia's “cleaner” oil, it can be argued, supports tyranny and terrorism. And, while Canada requires ever tighter environmental regulations, other countries ignore such issues; Nigeria, America's fourth largest supplier, has even hanged environmentalists for speaking out against oil interests.
Ezra Levant, author of Ethical Oil, also points out that, metaphorically speaking, every barrel of oil from Sudan contains a teaspoon of human blood, based on the UN death count of 300,000 for the Darfur genocide. He continues to argue that the oil sands are the ethical choice on the liberal grounds of economic justice, minority rights, freedom and, believe it or not, environmentalism.
No one doubts that environmental issues can be very serious, and deserve thoughtful consideration. A convincing argument could also be made that oil sands extraction is not as clean as it could be, and that efforts should be made to remedy the problem. But if, in our assessment of ethics we desire to put the needs of people first, and I would argue that we should, perhaps dragging crude oil out of sand is not the biggest villain in the story.
The industry will ultimately be none the worse for the spotlight on its activities; few honest things are the worse for sunlight as long as a sense of proportion is kept and facts aren't twisted or falsified on either side. But that sense of proportion and honesty has been too often lost in the debate. Even James Cameron, director of the movie Avatar said, "[The oil sands] will be a curse if it's not managed properly, (but) it can also be a great gift to Canada and to Alberta if it is managed properly."
If corporate ethics means anything, it means the application of moral principles to business. If corporations can maintain a culture of honesty, transparency, justice, respect for human dignity, and accepting responsibility for harm they cause, then their actions will indeed deserve to be called ethical. Otherwise, piecemeal efforts to satisfy the most powerful advocacy groups of the moment, with no foundation in a truly ethical worldview, will be in continual danger of achieving little real good, or at worst, of backfiring badly.
What should we say to Walgreens and the other boycotters? Criticize the oil sands if you please, but remember what the alternatives are. The law of unintended consequences is one of the most unforgiving and dangerous we know, and you may be in danger of falling prey to it.
Friday, October 15, 2010
I am back from Sabbatical. I know, it was wrong of me to go away without giving notice. But I am here now. Aren't you all thrilled? Don't answer that question.
I don't promise posting will be very often. I am now studying for my economics bachelor degree through accelerated distance learning (Hope to be halfway through my sophomore year in November, started studying in August) and hopefully I will at some point or other have a job to help pay for this college thing now that my summer job is over (Anyone know of any nice conservative organizations with tons of money just dying for a student employee who lives in the middle of nowhere? Alternately, anyone know of any good local jobs at Walmart?)
But you didn't want to know about my life. What you really wanted to brighten your day was this quote out of the material I am studying for my sociology exam,
Economic inequality inevitably exists in capitalism as represented by large wealthy and poor classes and a shrinking in the percentage of individuals in the middle class.
Followed by this one:
The economic system known as communism is actually an evolution of socialism into a society of political, social, and economic equality.And then they expect me to ace history?
Friday, June 18, 2010
And that includes Churchill's cigars.
As long as we have the airbrush.
Annoying as it must be to such cigaraphobes, in Canada things like being a tobacco addict is a prohibited ground of discrimination and, were the HRC consistent which helpfully it never is, anti-tobacco rhetoric (and air-brushing) would be in trouble for marginalizing disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals. I mean really, if someone had in a fit of anti-disability fervor airbrushed out FDR's wheelchair on a schoolbook in order to make the case that disabled people can't do anything worth while, would that be acceptable? So why can we air-brush tobacco products out of famous pictures in schoolbooks (another case not Churchill)? You are discriminating against a disability in each case!
Why I object to rights inflation.
And this assumes that cigaraphobia is not also a protected disability.
Speaking of silly and assumptions and silly assumptions and assumptions that aren't silly but are nonetheless rather hysterical...
"Fox News North" has generated its fair share of all of the above. Don Newman who some time ago "impolitely told him (Teneycke) what he could do with the idea" is of the opinion that Sun News is a very, very bad idea. In an article that rather ADDishly is about the NDP/Lib merger rumours and Sun News, and tries to bring it together by talking about how much Teneycke must love the merger talk, he asserts, more or less, that Fox News (US) is :
- Drive-by attacker
- And "The parts that aren't wrong are, in some ways, just as dangerous, since they tend to make people comfortable in their prejudices."
Ezra Levant has a round up of reactions. From those worried about competition to those who find it frightening to those who welcome the new voice to those who think it should be illegal. P.S. to my Winnipeg readers, Pat Martin probably finds you frightening and creepy, maybe you should return the favour.
As for me, I am updating my resume today on the one in ten million chance that they want someone with no experience. I know, but delusions are fun. Anyway, everyone needs an intern, right? Right?
In other news, or actually not "news" per say but a rather clever piece of satire masquerading as news, Paul McCartney apologizes for the "pro-American lyrics and compulsive right-wing behavior" demonstrated by his song "Freedom" written after the 9/11 attacks in which he says "I/We will fight, For the right, To live in freedom" The People's Cube "story" also "reported" his to have said that
"I have disgraced myself with that song and have taken necessary steps to ensure my return to conformity," McCartney said, announcing that he is embarking on an "ongoing self-criticism program" to battle his relapsed jingoism and wants to meet with community leaders to help him "discern the appropriate path for healing."Also from the People's Cube:
"I am in the process of understanding where those freedom-loving words came from, and I am asking the progressive community, whom I have personally offended with my pro-Americanism, to help me on my journey through recovery,"
Albert Mohler discusses Steve Jobs sensationally (for the computer/internet industry) stance on porn which may be summed up in one word, no. No porn apps on iPhones and Pads. This stance may have something to do with parenthood, Steve Jobs' in particular and parents in general who will feel safer letting their kids use the app store if it doesn't allow pornography. Although for the record, judging from what I see flipping through the app store titles, there is some pretty racy stuff up as of now. I don't know if it will be coming down or if the stuff they are banning is so much worse (hair-raising idea).
David Warren, who I am sure would celebrate Jobs' decision, does advocate letting kids do dangerous things, have adventures, and act like Abigail Sunderland.
Your book recommendation for the week is "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough". While on the face of it the book is something of a female self-help dating book, it is in many ways a cultural critique and deals with some difficult issues. Lori Gottlieb the author became a single mother through a donor because she didn't want to settle for "Mr. Good Enough" as a husband. She wrote a positive article called "The XY Files" in The Atlantic about that experience, but now feels that the joke is on her. "Marry Him" is a call to women to become less picky and more realistic when it comes to picking men because the alternative, living as a lonely single, is no fun. Neither is trying to survive daily life and find a date as a 41 year old single mom. The XY Files (caution slightly graphic at parts)
Related a new study has come out suggesting that children of sperm donors are more likely to have issues and are quite likely to have concerns related to their conception.
Nearly half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception. More than half say that when they see someone who resembles them, they wonder if they are related. About two-thirds affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins....As a group, the donor offspring in our study are suffering more than those who were adopted: hurting more, feeling more confused, and feeling more isolated from their families. (And our study found that the adoptees on average are struggling more than those raised by their biological parents.) Slate
Donor offspring with single mothers also are much less likely to report that they can rely on their family. Fifty-six percent of these offspring said they depend more on friends than on family, compared to just 29% of young adults born to two biological parents.
Such a sense of loss may help explain why the study found that adult offspring of single-mothers-by-choice were 177% more likely to report having had trouble with drugs and alcohol than children born to two biological parents. Perhaps in part because they did not enjoy the love, discipline and example of a flesh-and-blood father, young adults conceived through donor insemination to a single mother were also 146% more likely to report having been "in trouble with the law" before age 25. WSJ
44 percent agree, “It is wrong to deliberately conceive a fatherless child;” and 48 percent agree, “When I see friends with their biological fathers and mothers, it makes me feel sad.” AJCIt seems that Canadians are potentially supportive of the G8/G20 summits despite the cost.
Three-quarters of respondents to The Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll said this week's G8 and G20 summits in Ontario are important and worth the expense of their country hosting.Although it is worth noting that:
Of those polled who expressed awareness of the summits, 61 per cent said they were "too expensive to be worth it," while 32 per cent said the summits' costs were justified. TELUSI predict that once they start Canadians will forget the cost and will focus on the prestige and fun of having all those world leaders in our country. It will probably be a lot like the Olympics, dogged with controversy and unpopularity before, then turning into an incredible moment of Canucki pride and national bonding. Well, alright, the summits aren't likely to be as popular as the Olympics (unless they start handing out best ballroom dancer, biggest eater, most annoying self-righteous hypocrite awards to all the world leaders) but I'm willing to bet the same principle will apply. H/T Tory Dr. Roy
Speaking of Olympics, thankfully we didn't realize that cheering for Canada was racist unlike... Three guesses first two don't count. Oh yeah, England. Who'd a thought.
In better new from England, a church vicar revived an old law that allowed the vicar to call all the men in the village for archery practice. Now that sounds like my kind of law.
If some people have their way there will be no people to call for archery practice soon enough. Peter Singer (who else) has an article where he talks about the possibility that there is nothing as cruel as having children and that the ideology of mass sterilization so that we can all party ourselves into oblivion in one generation without having to worry about the environment is an idea to be thoughtfully discussed. Thankfully he comes down, at last, on the side of having a next generation. Whew, close call there.
Turns out, the means to the end of not having babies might be running into some trouble. Women are suing a birth control pill manufacturer for downplaying the risks and side effects. This is probably only the tip of the iceberg. H/T Socon or Bust
Blazing CatFur and Mark Steyn report on the troubles and travails of Jennifer Lynch head of the the CHRC who is not appreciating the misinformation being spread around by bloggers. According to BCF she is very sad about all of this
Jennifer Lynch is very sad that virtually every media outlet in the country has spoken against this evil law and the Kangaroo Kourt she ran to administer it. She's sad that a parliamentary enquiry, a senate enquiry, and a private members bill were launched to either investigate or repeal section 13 (1). She's sad that civil liberties associations have spoken against her vile playtoy. She's sad that NGO's as diverse as Gay's and Catholics have spoken against this anti-democratic monstrosity.I want it down for the record that I am not completely ignorant when it comes to human rights cases. To say that I have read dozens of tribunal cases on everything from physical and mental disability to race, pregnancy, and hate speech would be an understatement. It will probably top hundreds in the not too distant future if it hasn't already. The vast majority are some variation of angry employees who are upset because they got fired and want a little extra money or good old fashioned revenge. It would surprise me if one case in a hundred awards over a few thousand in damages and an enormous majority award nothing and find in favour of the defendants. So their social good may be somewhat questionable. Especially since nearly the entire job could be done by Labour Relations or Landlord and Tenant Boards since the latest Supreme Court decision that such boards can rule on human rights issues.
You know what really annoys me more than anything? When people sue charities and non-profits for discrimination that turns out to be bogus. That is really irritating because you are taking money out of the pockets of those who are providing for vulnerable or needy people. In many cases the alleged discrimination (eg. mental health) is charged against an organization that specializes in helping people with that condition.
Why do you need a government grant of $10,000 to fly paper airplanes in a library where for the time cost of setting up a facebook event you could get a flash mob to do it for free. Oh, let me guess, flash mobs aren't art.
In sober news, most Christians don't have a clue why Christianity is like, you know, true. Josh McDowell, a well known apologist, says that he asked over 4,000 parents, pastors, and leaders why they believed the Bible. "A mere six “came close to giving an intelligent answer,”". Not encouraging. No wonder Christianity is having problems.
Now, as SDA would say, is the time when we juxtapose.
"Is journalism 100 unpaid bloggers all talking and yattering at once, or a city filled with amateur citizen journalists uncoordinated in all their efforts? Those bloggers and citizen reporters are as close to real reporters as karaoke is to Frank Sinatra live and in person." Michael Cooke, editor of the Toronto Star------------------Prior to Britain's Got Talent, her (Susan Boyle's) main experience had come from singing in her local Catholic church, Our Lady of Lourdes, in local choirs, and in karaoke performances at pubs in and around her village. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Boyle