Friday, December 07, 2012

There's no stopping climate studies

They just keep coming and coming and coming and coming and coming. And yet, our esteemed prime minister seems to be doing everything he can to refute all the scientific evidence, defunding climate programs, and basically giving us the reputation around the world as having the worst climate policy of all the rich nations. I won't even get into what is or is not in the omnibus bills at this time.

Anyone see this?

I came across this fascinating article about our esteemed Prime Minister, apparently, he's had an issue with Elections Canada for quite a while. While most of us think of government institutions as toothless, which they probably are, what little power they may have seems to be actively eroded by the PMO. (h/t MB)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

More predictions FWIW

By the time most of you read this, the apocalypse will have already started. Well no actually, we'll have to wait a little longer for that. Have you noticed they are saying that this is the most important election in U.S. history? Has there ever been a case that that superlative has not been used during an American election? Then again, I have not been around forever, so anyone with a background in American electoral history (or electoral history in general, you know who you are) can set me straight on that.

I really don't believe that the world is going to end as a result of this election, the course of history either changes with each election, or it doesn't. That's true for all elections, isn't it?

As for Mitt Romney, I don't think that he is as bad as they say his. What about that other guy who was almost appointed to lead the Republicans, he was terrible. What was his name again...?

The world has spoken, but is not eligible to vote. I wonder, do international vote monitors come to Canada? Because they are certainly not appreciated in Texas. What the hell do they think they are going to do down there? I notice in the peanut gallery of the linked articles a fair amount of paranoia, if not xenophobia. Why would anyone hate the good ol' USA? Are foreigners really out to invade America with yoga?

I'm inclined to think that the rest of the world is NOT out to get America, just a few governments of countries like the Islamic Republic (?) of Iran. I did, however, read some America-bashing when Sandy hit the east coast, but it seemed to be coming from Serbs mostly. All right, a few countries just don't like the USA, but anti-Americanism in general seems to have waned since the last president left office. The Cold War is over, isn't it?

If Mitt Romney wins, it won't be the end of the world, at least if it does end during his term in office, I'm sure it will be a coincidence. If Barack Obama is reelected, I believe that a Democratic prediction will come true, that the Tea Party will dissolve, but will be replaced by something else that will make us miss the former. How accurate are my predictions? I think that I had gotten the 2000 election right, that it would be closer than the 1960 election, but I don't think this one will be as close as either of them. If your candidate doesn't win, there are alternatives for you.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Such things are inevitable, really

Catching up on things, someone made a movie that's made a lot of people mad, (most of whom have little hope of seeing any more than promotional stills). It's the lousy little movie that everyone's talking about, but few have ever seen. An amateurishly made video by a less than reputable character who then changed the dialogue so that it became a smear job of the prophet Mohammed. I have not even seen the trailers, it does not come across as 'must-see' cinema. Now there are riots in Muslim countries, embassies have been attacked, and deaths are a result, most notably the American ambassador to Libya.

This seems to be what happens when Muslim sensibilities are assailed, from anywhere in the world. Just like with those Danish cartoons six years ago. They were not flattering depictions certainly, but any depiction of the prophet Mohammed infuriates them. That appears to be the problem, however, there are some dissenting voices (don't let the name Usama distract you from his message). Yes, there are some sane voices among the rage-filled calls for death to anyone responsible for this movie.

My own problem with all this (and I'm sure I'm not alone in believing this) has always been that some Muslims, unlike members of most other religions, seem to presume that their laws apply abroad to all peoples in all countries, that just because they don't allow their own people to make any images of the prophet Mohammed, that that applies to non-Muslims as well. What I would like to say to those people is simply this:  There are people who don't believe in Islam, or just won't. And some of those people just plain hate Islam and Muslims. The latter do not speak for me or any Western nation in general, just a few people out of any populace. Some people just don't like you, but so what? All groups when they get large enough are subject to hatred and derision, why should YOU be any different?

And for those images and works that make light of Islam without so much malicious intent, such as the novel "The Satanic Verses" or any cartoon image of the prophet Mohammed, they do not fall under the category of hate speech and thus, are not subject to any legal sanction in countries that profess to be free. You can feel insulted all you want, but blasphemy is not now, and hopefully will never be, illegal here.

So what should we do?

I have written on the subject on censorship in the past, and I like to think that I made my views clear on freedom of thought, but I should summarize that we should 'dig in our heels' and make it clear that there are no laws against blasphemy of any religion, and we will not entertain any discussion of it. Whoever doesn't like it should be free to go to wherever their religion IS protected from insults. And the United States for its part seems to be playing the adult when insults are thrust against it. What we should not be doing what the United Nations is doing, giving time to people who want to impose anti-blasphemy laws internationally.

To Muslims living here and abroad...

"Muslim Rage" being the title of this week's Newsweek magazine, the cover story is from a prominent ex-Muslim talks about her own opressive past, but according to the Christian Science Monitor, it isn't nearly as bad as it seems, and contradicts some of the things she said. I reiterate, get over it. It's just a stupid video that will not make anyone any money or gain any kind of popularity here in the West. Some of you already have the right idea, if you have a twitter account, use the muslimrage hashtag meme. Take heed of Reza Aslan's quote.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

If you know someone who emigrated to Canada before 1972...

you should let them know about this bit of sad news. Ruth Goldbloom passed away yesterday at the age of 88. She had contributed so much in her life, but she will be best remembered for getting Halifax's Pier 21 opened as Canada’s National Immigration Museum in 1999 (here she is in an interview from 2010 on CBC TV). From 1928 to 1971, Pier 21 was the 'point of entry' for 1.5 million immigrants and refugees to Canada  as well as the point of departure for nearly half a million soldiers in World War II, and after it closed, it became a seldom-used warehouse until a group co-founded by Mrs. Goldbloom raised money and advocated for the old immigration shed to be named a national historic site and renovated as a museum.

Many people go there now to get information on relatives who arrived in Canada through that facility, and for some people who visit that large brick building, it is a bit more personal. They get to relive the moment where they saw and entered Canada for the very first time in the exact same place, and many are overcome by emotion.

I have a close personal friend who has volunteered at Pier 21 for years and I myself volunteered there one summer. I worked with some fantastic people and had the honour of meeting the lady herself on several occasions. Fascinating woman, fascinating life, Rest in Peace Mrs. Goldbloom.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Arm the world???

Regarding the recent events in Aurora, Colorado, I have to weigh in on the debate, while there still is a debate, even though I'm hearing from some on the pro-gun right that there is no debate anymore.

My opinion, for what it's worth, has evolved over time. I have become sympathetic to the idea that gun ownership for citizens is a good idea just in case government on any level goes bad (although I have never been clear on the meaning of 'well-regulated militia', who is supposed to be doing the regulating anyway, the militia themselves?).

However, there seems to be some kind of resignation on pro-gun activists that criminals and mentally ill people will always be able to get guns, no matter how many laws we put in place. That is a fair point. But I have always questioned how available should they be. Should they be sold in, say, convenience stores? Do they really want the kind of world where every man, or woman in particular, can never leave their home unarmed without putting their life on the line? So that a percentage of people are 'packing heat' in any and every crowd so that the death toll of atrocities like the massacre in Aurora would be minimized?

And of course the ongoing atrocities by drug gangs in Mexico, which may or may not largely involve high-powered firearms either bought (or smuggled in) through the United States. The point of all this is, I personally don't feel comfortable living in a world where a significant percentage of the population is going outside carrying guns all the time in every public place, which seems to be the ultimate goal of groups like the NRA. I like going out to public events and meeting people, and I do not think of myself as an "anti-gun" person per se. There may be times in my life I might need a gun under the right circumstances, because I think that it should be ultimately available to all law-abiding citizens such as myself. But what I'm also wondering is, how many guns DOES the world need anyway? Or any individual? How many guns are enough for everyone? We only have two hands, right? Has it gotten to such a point that we are all living in some kind of Hobbesian dystopia, where it's no longer considered safe anywhere unless you're 'packin'?

It does seem a bit late to attempt any kind of gun control legislation anyway, at least in the U.S. In another article, under my Yahoo! handle, I made a comment on the recent failure of an international arms treaty and got into it with a couple of pro-gun people. I like to think that I kept the tone reasonably calm, and no one called me a deluded-commie-pinko-liberal-faggot (that word again) or any other colourful epitaphs as I expected. I tried to make the point that any such arms treaty would not in any way interfere with their all-important 2nd amendment. No one responded to that in any coherent way. It was just that $%#^& United Nations trying to take away all of our money and freedom again. (Not a direct quote, just the overall tone of all the comments)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You would think that they of all people would be understanding

but this is Autism Speaks we are talking about. That link comes from the 'Age of Autism', a blog that I have been following for years but seldom agree with anything they stand for. However, this is a case that should be worth following. It may show what AS is really all about.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I can't say that I'm big on the 'Occupy...' movement, but

they do have a point. Or perhaps several. I still fail to see what these movements hope to accomplish, but they do seem to expose some of the sneering contempt of people who run our financial institutions. Ten more reasons to despair. More soon.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Coffee lovers beware!

I received a Bosch Tassimo coffeemaker a couple years ago for Christmas, but I didn't open it until I moved to Halifax in August. I had some reservations about using it since it produces so many plastic cups, and it is made by the Kraft corporation (not a good corporate citizen IMHO), but I was able to get some free packages of coffee from them, and people close to me were giving me some extra packages they had, so I compromised my 'green' principles for about a year and a half.

Well, I have an excuse to stop using it, or to finish off what I have and stop buying more packages (unless I should find them in the bargain bin at pennies to the dollar). Perhaps it's too easy to blame a huge corporation like Kraft, maybe bigger businesses have a harder time with quality control, particularly when their intended market is just about everyone. But then again, I believe that Kraft is one of those businesses that was founded on, and I believe still does, the manufacture of tobacco products. I guess that shows how they think of people.

On DSM 5

I have weighed different opinions about the planned changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the upcoming fifth edition, I've read things and listened to people, and have come to the conclusion that its release needs to be stopped. It takes away diagnoses from people, particularly Asperger's Syndrome, and adds some things which are, at best, questionable as mental disorders and at worst, pathologize (is that actually a word) slightly different behaviours or normalize deviant behaviours. Is this a case of too many chefs spoiling the broth? Or do we have chefs who have lost touch with people?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I wasn't going to say anything, but...

We keep hearing about SOPA and PIPA, and I keep wondering if those bills are as bad as they say they are. I haven't looked into it very deeply as yet, but it sounds like those bills are being drafted by the media corporations themselves. That may be an exaggeration, I have some understanding that they want to protect their intellectual property, but would shake my head when they sue little kids and poor people.

I believe that artists and promoters, like everyone else, should get whatever is due to them for all the effort they put into their art and business, but this seems to be carrying matters way too far, giving corporations the big stick of government and the courts, not only within the United States, but EVERYWHERE where there is an Internet connection. Should those bills become law, I will happily join the legions of people who will do everything in their power to sabotage these laws, and for my part have even less to do with Hollywood and pop culture in general than I do now, FWIW.

I'm still waiting to hear what is good about these laws, if anything.

And on a similar subject, how can any free society tolerate this??? I have to ask, just who IS this Mohammed person? And what makes him so special? And why isn't this being reported more WIDELY??

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Just so many coincidences

I may be a bit late on linking this, but do you notice how warm this January is, compared to other years? Not just here in this locality, but in places all over the United States where records are being broken. On the other hand, carbon may not be the chief culprit.

Friday, January 13, 2012

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