"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
Martin Luther King Jr. //
"There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them."
George Orwell //
Want to contact the Stubble Jumping Redneck? Shoot her an email @ email@example.com
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Is There Anywhere Else...
...in the world, where politics is soooo entertaining?
And while we're on that topic, I hear tell the lead singer of the Monkees croaked today. Only 66 he was. I had a friend in high school who was all agaga about the Monkees. I was much more in to the fad four and Bob Dylan, tho. But here's to some great music from my youth:
We're all gonna die, but the world keeps turning, even with a blast from the Sun every so often.
"One person is dead, dozens are injured and some are trapped in their homes after a powerful storm system bearing a string of possible tornadoes moved across the Midwest and battered a tourist hub and mobile home park in southwest Missouri."
Oh well, they're just rednecks down there, you know. /sarc
Back in the days when there were only six teams, I remember this guy being one of my favourites. That was before the Edmonton Oilers, or the Calgary Flames or the Winnipeg Jets, or the Vancouver Canucks. There was just the Canadiens, the Leafs, the Bruins, the Red Wings, the Blackhawks and the Rangers. It was easy to keep track of them all, and they were all associated with cities in which there was a cold climate. And the Stanley Cup rolled around in March or thereabouts. None of this playing hockey in Florida in June. Harrumph!!
Oetzi is still making news. I remember there was a feud between Italy and Austria about which country could claim him as their own, since his remains were found essentially on the border between the two countries. Seems maybe France can get a piece of him, too.
"New clues have emerged in what could be described as the world's oldest murder case: that of Oetzi the "Iceman", whose 5,300-year-old body was discovered frozen in the Italian Alps in 1991.
Oetzi's full genome has now been reported in Nature Communications.
It reveals that he had brown eyes, "O" blood type, was lactose intolerant, and was predisposed to heart disease.
They also show him to be the first documented case of infection by a Lyme disease bacterium.
Analysis of series of anomalies in the Iceman's DNA also revealed him to be more closely related to modern inhabitants of Corsica and Sardinia than to populations in the Alps, where he was unearthed."
Too bad, Austria.
I must say, though, I've seen some Saskatchewan farmers that bear a striking resemblance to him.
I normally don't give a shit about the Oscars. It's normally nothing more but an opportunity for the glitterati to pat themselves on the back and prove their worth by working some left-wing slur into their speeches. But this is nice. Christopher Plummer is a fine actor.
Sorry, I haven't been inspired to post a new entry today, but I have been busy with blog "housework". I've eliminated some dead blogs from my blogroll (well, one, anyway). Jay Currie's blog went poof a long time ago. I guess he's gone for good, so I deleted the link to his blog.
I've been reading a lot of blogs today, as well as news articles. I stumbled across this one, which is veerrrry interesting.
Plus, I was outside shoveling snow. In this damn country we usually get all excited at the end of February and throughout March 'cause we're sure spring is just around the corner. And then, like clockwork, along comes a big dump of snow, just to remind us who's in charge.
Oh, Mother Gaia. We're not worthy. We're not worthy. Now, can you quit, already!! We've had enough, even if it has been a mild one. Bring on Global Warming.
"Modern mammals, including humans, could be at risk of shrinking as a result of global warming, just as teeny prehistoric horses shrank to an even smaller size when temperatures rose 56 million years ago."
"The collapse of the ancient Mayan civilization may have been linked to relatively modest dry spells, researchers now say."
"The scientists noted that the droughts they saw during the demise of the ancient Mayan civilization were similar in severity to those projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the near future in the same region."
But I think we knew that already. And it would be interesting to know how the Mayan brought this on themselves and what happened to the Mayan "deniers", if there were any.
But it could happen here. We've already had episodes of drought, still within memory of some of our most elder citizens and it could be worse. It's just that, you know, humans weren't/aren't the cause.
I'm sure most of us have heard about "invasive species" and what the consequences are. There's a whole body of publications about what Europeans brought with them to the Americas and what the consequences were, ranging from deadly communicable diseases to plants and animals, like the horse. There was an exchange flowing in the other direction, too, things like tobacco, supposedly syphilis, and all sorts of foodstuffs like corn and potatoes.
But did you know that invasions are still happening? There's the Asian carp that is overtaking our streams and lakes, for example, but did you know we are being taken over by "rock snot"? Creeeeeepy!
It will be pretty hard to take that one off their backs, even if they are barely through their first year holding the reins. Way to go, assholes! I can scarcely think of anything I value more (kids and grand kids, siblings, etc. excepted) than the traditions of Western democracies, and I strongly believe the rights and processes we have developed are as close to sacred as they come. And that means no one should be denied the franchise, nor should anyone who leans toward the opposing political ideologies be exempted from this.
I just hope the Cons put it to rest now, for the duration of their term. The last thing we need is a return of the Liberal Party, or, God forbid, a Dipper government. Well, Cons, don't con us or yourselves. We expect better of you. I hate to say it, but you've got some work to do. This stepping in a fresh, steaming pile of sh!t every two weeks or so is not healthy - for you, or for the country. Better get at it.
I've been watching and listening to the news about the former hockey players who have come out about the horrific abuse they suffered thanks to Graham James. Today, I felt a bit of relief when I was able to cast my vote at this CBC article. At the time of my writing this, the number of people who felt James should not go to prison was 37. Those who feel as I do, are 1083. Kinda makes ya wonder, doesn't it. Who are those 37 people? Are they pedophiles?
Reading the article, you'll see the Crown is seeking a six year sentence, and of course, the prosecution, much less than that. I can tell you with absolute certainty, though, that if any of my grandchildren ever suffer at the hands of a pedophile, I would gladly put a bullet in the perv's brain. After sticking a broom handle up his ass and leaving a few splinters behind, of course.
You have to hand it to those hockey players for coming clean about what was done to them as children. Hockey players are pretty macho guys. Going public must have taken a lot of courage. And this has been very, very public. Hopefully more good will come out of it than just the cleansing of their own souls. Here's to you, guys. You've done good and you've blazed a trail.
Anyway, go cast your vote at the CBC poll. As it stands now, 96.7% of us don't want no namby-pamby sentence handed out. Send him to jail where the inmates will give him some of his own medicine - good and hard.
There have been far too many of these kind of incidents to be anything other than deliberately contrived propaganda tools designed to provide fodder for Western journalists and audiences who are too stupid to figure it out. The Iraq war was filled with this kind of incident.
"A joint study of the feasibility of a Canada-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in the past year has reportedly gone well and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Harper agreed in a telephone call in December to decide quickly whether to launch free-trade talks. As a result, sources say Harper could kick off negotiations with Japan next month. He is scheduled to attend a summit on nuclear security in South Korea in late March and there is speculation he will add on a visit to Tokyo for that purpose."
Sounds like a good idea to me. You'll note South Korea is in evil Stephen's sites, too.
A little piece of family lore is what you're going to get now.
Apparently several generations back (on my mother's side of the family) I had an ancestor who was murdered on the way home from the pub late at night. As the story goes, while he was in the pub imbibing liquids, he got to bragging about his wealth and how he could lick anybody that came along. Either his braggadocio ticked someone off or gave them the idea that he might be carrying a lot of quid in his pocket. In any case, that was his last night on this earth.
There's a lesson here, I think: Don't drink and brag. Or, if you must drink, make it tea and have your cuppa at 4:00 PM, not 4:00 AM.
PS: Apparently a Canuck just narrowly missed the opportunity to participate in the brawl.
"Here, 200 years later, is what Canadians know about the War of 1812:
A) We won.
B) We burned down the White House.
C) Sir John A. Macdonald played a pivotal role (no small feat for someone who wasn't born yet).
D) There was something about Laura Secord chocolates.
E) It was in 1812. We think.
Here is what Americans know about the War of 1812:
A) They won."
This is so true. I once worked with a woman who had been born and raised in the USA, and she swore by the belief that the Americans had won the war. All along, Canadians, if they knew anything about it at all, claim "we" burned down the White House, which, of course, isn't really true. It was the Brits that were responsible for that deed. But then again, maybe in 1812 Canadian settlers/colonials still considered themselves to be Brits, at least those who lived along the north shore of the Great Lakes.
"The poll showed Canadians think staving off American conquest saved us from sharing U.S. politics and government, their gun laws and, to a lesser extent, citizenship with the cast of Jersey Shore (I'm not making that up; turns out the funsters at the Historica Dominion Institute have a quirky sense of humour).
One-third of Americans, meanwhile, named the composition of the Star Spangled Banner as the most significant outcome of the war..."
"All of which misses the real point, which is how differently the story is told in Canada and the U.S., says University of Victoria historian Rachel Hope Cleves. Having taught the war in universities on both sides of the border, she has heard both versions.
"Canadians remember the War of 1812 as a war between Canada and the U.S.," she says. Americans, on the other hand, think of it as Round 2 of the War of Independence, with the U.S. fighting off a bullying Great Britain and Canada not really playing a role at all. The result is each country thinks of the conflict as a David and Goliath story, with itself cast as David."
"It's true that the war ended the question of whether Canada (or at least the colonies that would later become Canada) would be swallowed up by the newish U.S. republic. Many on the American side thought of themselves not as conquerors but liberators who would free their northern neighbours from a tyrannical monarchy. When Canadian militiamen lined up alongside the British soldiers and Tecumseh's coalition of native forces, it pretty much popped that balloon.
But the real winners and losers were not the nations, Cleves argues. Rather, the war was a victory for "settler culture" and a blow to indigenous groups on both sides of the border. In the U.S., the Creek people lost huge swaths of territory on the Gulf coast, while the end of Tecumseh's confederacy - he was killed at Moraviantown near present-day Chatham, Ont. - allowed the western expansion he had hoped to prevent. In Canada, the 1814 treaty that resolved the border issues, ending the American threat, made aboriginals less valuable as allies, and they lost political power."
Of course, I doubt those who advocate legalization are capable of thinking about the fuller ramifications. Their brains are probably addled by drugs already.
Just as alcohol and tobacco are "controlled" substances, all control does is open up opportunities for bootleggers and smugglers to prey upon, oh, say, more and more of our young people, ruining their lives before they are even out of their teens. No, "legalizing" this stuff doesn't make crime go away.
...A genetic disorder traced to an long-ago Frenchman who came to New France
"Ouellette's family roots trace back to Quebec where, in some areas, the rate of FH is more than six times higher than the worldwide average, says Quebec City physician Patrick Couture."
"Researchers like Couture believe FH, which is caused by a genetic mutation, was introduced to Quebec hundreds of years ago by an early settler from France.
Couture believes the disorder was common in isolated corners of the province because, historically, people had big families and travelled infrequently.
"You didn't find the girl that you married on the other side of the world, often you married the girl from the place next door," he said, adding the chances the gene was passed down were relatively high.
He noted that high rates of the disease are found in other pockets of the world, including northern Finland and parts of Tunisia and Lebanon, particularly among the Christian population."
I can't pronounce it, but here's how you spell it: "familial hypercholesterolemia"
F#@*ked up adults who are more immature than their two-year-olds are so depressing. This little boy was more mature than his father. I'm no shrink, so I sure don't understand this. All I can do is cry for that little tyke.
"Whitney Houston's troubled daughter is now under the watchful eye of her grandmother Cissy, who is determined not to lose the 18-year-old the way she lost the drug-addled diva."
Cissy Houston “couldn’t do nothing with Whitney and the hangers-on, moochers and enablers that sucked the life out of her,” the second source continued. But “she has the reins of this now.”
"Bobbi Kristina was found doing drugs after her mom’s glorious sendoff Saturday, The Daily Beast reported — an account Whitney Houston’s camp denied.
An aspiring singer like her mom, Bobbi Kristina is the daughter Whitney Houston had with R&B has-been Bobby Brown. She has been tied to drug use before.
With both parents battling their own demons, she never got the tough love a child needs sometimes, the second source added.”
"There were new reports that family members, including Brown, want Bobbi Kristina in rehab. Fritzo said she had not entered a treatment program.
One thing is certain: Bobbi Kristina will likely never hurt for money. Whitney Houston reportedly made $1 million from the upcoming movie “Sparkle,” and her albums have done big business on iTunes and Amazon since her death.
"The family is also now licensing footage from Houston’s funeral to various media outlets. Bobbi Kristina is believed to be her mom’s primary heir. Meanwhile, in Beverly Hills, some of Whitney Houston’s dazzling jewels and beautiful gowns will be up for auction next month.
A trove of mementos, including one of Houston’s black velvet dresses and the earrings she wore in “The Bodyguard,” will form part of the long-planned celebrity sale at Julien’s auctionhouse.
“Her items can increase 10, 20 even 30 times compared to their previous value prior to her death. These items become part of history really,” said auctionhouse owner Darren Julien."
The vultures are circling. Or, to put it another way, "the hangers-on, moochers and enablers that sucked the life out of her" are circling.
"The former chief of staff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities is “imminent.”
Naftali Bennett appeared on Fox News’ “Huckabee” and painted a dire picture of a world with a nuclear Iran, saying Israel will not hesitate to take action if necessary — and that time is of the essence.
“We’re at the very last moment. This is going to be the first time in history that a maniacal, radical Islamic regime will acquire a nuclear weapon,” he said. “The day after they have a bomb will be a different day for the entire world.”"
"Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.
That is the assessment of American defense officials and military analysts close to the Pentagon, who say that an Israeli attack meant to set back Iran’s nuclear program would be a huge and highly complex operation. They describe it as far different from Israel’s “surgical” strikes on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007 and Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981."
"Given that Israel would want to strike Iran’s four major nuclear sites — the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordo, the heavy-water reactor at Arak and the yellowcake-conversion plant at Isfahan — military analysts say the first problem is how to get there. There are three potential routes: to the north over Turkey, to the south over Saudi Arabia or taking a central route across Jordan and Iraq.
The route over Iraq would be the most direct and likely, defense analysts say, because Iraq effectively has no air defenses and the United States, after its December withdrawal, no longer has the obligation to defend Iraqi skies. “That was a concern of the Israelis a year ago, that we would come up and intercept their aircraft if the Israelis chose to take a path across Iraq,” said a former defense official who asked for anonymity to discuss secret intelligence.
Assuming that Jordan tolerates the Israeli overflight, the next problem is distance. Israel has American-built F-15I and F-16I fighter jets that can carry bombs to the targets, but their range — depending on altitude, speed and payload — falls far short of the minimum 2,000-mile round trip. That does not include an aircraft’s “loiter time” over a target plus the potential of having to fight off attacks from Iranian missiles and planes."
"Another major hurdle is Israel’s inventory of bombs capable of penetrating the Natanz facility, believed to be buried under 30 feet of reinforced concrete, and the Fordo site, which is built into a mountain.
Assuming it does not use a nuclear device, Israel has American-made GBU-28 5,000-pound “bunker buster” bombs that could damage such hardened targets, although it is unclear how far down they can go."
"Canada has quietly fired a diplomatic shot across the bow of the European Union, warning that any move to single out oilsands crude as environmentally unfriendly will be met with retaliation.
Canada's ambassador to the EU, David Plunkett, sent a letter to Connie Hedegaard, the EU commissioner for climate change in December.
That letter was recently obtained through a freedom of information request and cited by Britain's the Guardian newspaper, which has been reporting on the EU plan to change the classification of oilsands crude.
Ottawa opposes any move that would hurt its ability to export oilsands products or market it around the world as a viable fuel option.
"If the final measures single out oilsands crude in a discriminatory, arbitrary or unscientific way, or are otherwise inconsistent with the EU's international trade obligations, I want to state that Canada will explore every avenue at its disposal to defend its interests, including at the World Trade Organization," stated the letter."
Well done Harper! But why "quitely"? And what sort of retaliation?
""(Lees') kindness to students, his gentlemanly approach and enthusiasm for teaching were acknowledged by students, parents and staff alike," Hensman told the Courier-Mail".
Why? Oh why? Oh why? First of all, why are some people so inclined to presenting a totally false front? Secondly, if you were depressed and ready to commit suicide, why take your little boy with you?
The world just sucks. I'm not usually all negative and forlorn about the world, but this one, or, for that matter, any story that involves the senseless killing or abuse of little children is one that makes me very, very depressed. There has to have been help out there for this man. Sir, you could have sought help for your child's sake, at the very least.
I've been thinking about the whole privacy thing. There was a time, and it's not that long ago, that everybody knew everybody else's business. The idea of privacy in the small rural community that I knew growing up, for example, was unheard of. And I think that goes way back in time throughout all cultures. It used to be that fear of gossip and shame about unacceptable behavior was a strong incentive to behave and was universally used as a mechanism of social control. And it worked.
Then along came the Internet.
Having worked in libraries for years and years, privacy concerning peoples' reading habits and what books they borrowed was a well established principle that librarians and library associations had stood by for years. It was standard practice for libraries to refuse police requests for information about what books someone had borrowed, unless they presented a warrant. It was a principle even extended to parents inquiring about what books their teenagers had "out". The first one I had no problem with. The second, I had some qualms about. But that's not the point of this blog entry.
Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s public libraries become places where the public could go to access the internet and there was a big concern by many people about pornography on the internet. In one library I worked in, in the first few months after we got our first "Public Internet Access Computer", we had sleazy men, who otherwise would never have set foot in a library, coming to use the computer, and of course, accessing porn sites was exactly what they wanted to do.
Sooo, out come the policy wonks and by the time the decade was out, most public libraries had policies governing public access to the internet. Many a heated argument was heard at library board meetings and many a librarian was torn by the issue.
But the Internet is NOT the same thing as a carefully crafted library collection. There are layers and layers of "filtering" that goes on before a book lands on a library shelf, beginning with the writers of manuscripts.
Filter #1, someone who puts together a booklet of kiddy porn is not going to submit his work to a reputable publisher. To do so would call attention to his criminal behavior. Filter #2, no reputable publisher is going to publish it, for the same reason. Filter #3, no one is going to write a review about the book extolling the virtues of a work of kiddy porn.
Reviewing journals (magazines filled with book reviews) are a librarian's most indispensable tool for selecting material for a library collection. The Internet, on the other hand, was a wild frontier where anybody and his dog could put up a website on anything they wanted. There was no filtering and endless hours were spent debating the merits of blocking websites that certain keywords might lead to.
In most cases, public library policy statements included, in one way or another, a prohibition regarding the viewing of porn on the libraries' computers. It worked to clean up a public space that had for a long time been a hub of the community, and long-time library patrons, who, for a short time had become reluctant to come into the library for fear of what they or their children might see on the public computers, were once again happy to spend time at their library. All was well.
Now, that's certainly not the same thing as giving police access to the logs of computers in private homes used by people on their own time away from public view. That's a whole different animal, and where children are being exploited in a most grotesque manner, it is a problem from hell. I think there has been a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to this scandal de jour. I think we need to have a discussion about it. Maybe it's time to resurrect the old ways, and question whether or not all this privacy business is really necessary - and perhaps, whether elevating privacy to such a pillar, is conducive to criminal, socially harmful consequences.
And I hate it that the Cons have shot themselves in the foot.
He makes some really good points between 3:00 and 3:41, and again, in response to the host's question, at 3:52 to 4:25.
And then there's the vacuous hypocrisy of the self-appointed policing agency, Anonymous:
And they don't know how to pronouce his name, either:
And as Ezra Levant points out, there's enough hypocrisy to go around.
...it was two fourteen year old kids that did this, doesn't mean squat. (Yeah, sure. Seriously, I am enthralled.) Click on "Scale of the Universe 2" link (in the second paragraph of the article) for an awe inspiring, trippy experience.
Oh, and I hope I'm not being raaaaaaacist here, but you'll notice the kid who figures prominently appears to be of Chinese ancestry (his name is Huang). And remember the Lego Man's space trip, put together by a couple of Toronto kids? The main spokesperson of those two also has a Chinese name (Ho). There's something to be said about the Chinese and their philosophy and outlook (especially as it pertains to getting their kids through school and encouraging excellence, and high achievement). More power to them. I hope we learn something from them.
"A Moroccan man who allegedly believed he was working with al-Qaida has been charged with an attempted suicide bombing of the US Congress.
FBI agents arrested Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, Virginia, near Capitol Hill on Friday. He was wearing what agents had told him was an explosive vest.
He was charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction against US property, intending to detonate a bomb and to shoot people, according to the US justice department. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A judge set a bail hearing for Wednesday."
"He was wearing the vest and carrying a gun that did not work when he was taken into custody."
"Khalifi, an illegal immigrant who is not believed to be linked to al-Qaida, had been under investigation for about a year."
Seems Western countries are getting good at catching these demented fools before they can carry out their nefarious deeds. But not so with Pakistan, where Muslims continue to blow up fellow Muslims.
Are you a depressive sort of person? Do you enjoy being depressed? Wanna spend three hours being really depressed. Just watch this three part TVO series (perhaps originally British) about a serial killer murdering young drug addicted prostitutes in Ipswich, England. If your not sniffing and wiping your eyes while you're watching this, there's something wrong with your heart.
They turn ugly, just like the rest of us. Although, I must admit, some of them look a little better after having grown up.
PS: Which reminds me of the words engraved on my millionaire, miser, eccentric great uncle's tombstone:
"Stranger, pause as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, soon you will be,
Prepare in life to follow me."
He was quite the character. As a child I remember him driving by our house with his old car just a-ripping along in second gear. Didn't believe in full-throttle driving, I suppose. There was also a story about him sitting on the steps to a hotel in Seattle, looking shabby and for all the world like some good-for-nothing bum, when a hotel employee tried to hurry him along. Much to the employee's surprise, he was told that the shabby gentleman owned the hotel, so PFO! My mother used to tell the story of his curt remark on the news that my brother had been born. Being the sole male with two older sisters, Uncle Ernie was said to have declared to my mother: "I hear you had a stroke of luck this time." Oh, those were the days.
Apparently he used to bring a bagged lunch with him when he went to town on business. He even requested that his burial and funeral arrangements be as "simple and inexpensive" as possible. He died in 1960, the year I turned 11. His estate was worth $1,388,310.89. All of that from frugal living and wise investments. His will was dated April 1st. April Fools Day.
"Clement says bureaucrats told departments not to include details in annual reports ahead of budget"
""It's crazy and unacceptable, especially for a government that rode to power on accountability. It is entirely unaccountable to keep information secret from Canadians about what they're doing," said Liberal MP John McCallum."
Um. No. The timing of the release of that information is well within established practice. This strikes me as just another incidence of a journalist (and a Liberal MP) crying in his beer because he can't squeeze a scandal out of a situation where their isn't one. After all. We really need to deflect attention away from Trudeau the Younger and his drama classes.
I've lived on this planet long enough to have gone on the trip around the sun very nearly 62 1/2 times (just a couple of weeks shy). I remember the days when Indian groups were decrying the seizure of Indian children from homes where they were being neglected and abused and placing them in foster homes. White foster homes, that is. The hew and cry was that Indians could do a better job of protecting their own children than any do-gooder Whiteman agency ... so ... over a very short space of time, the care of abused and neglected children was transferred to First Nations themselves.
Since then we have been hearing stories like this one:
"The young girl was in and out of foster care before dying in 2005 from prolonged abuse at the hands of her mother and stepfather. Her death went unnoticed for nine months and her mother continued to collect child benefit cheques."
"Phoenix was five when she was killed by her mother, Samantha Kematch, and stepfather, Karl McKay, after years of abuse. Both were convicted of first-degree murder in 2008 and have exhausted their appeals.
The pair neglected, confined and repeatedly beat the little girl. Court was told she was shot with a BB gun and forced to eat her own vomit. She died from her extensive injuries on a cold basement floor on the Fisher River reserve in 2005. Her body was concealed in a shallow grave near the community dump.
The girl was taken by Child and Family Services at least twice during her short life -- once at birth and again three years later -- but she was returned to her mother each time."
"The Balanced Refugee Reform Act set to take effect in June doesn't go far enough, according to the Conservatives, who introduced previously rejected legislation Thursday, aimed at cracking down even further on bogus asylum claims.
The controversial measures were in large part severed from the earlier bill so that it would pass, given the Conservative government's minority status in the last Parliament, and the move to reintroduce them now that they have their coveted majority, has the Opposition fuming."
It's always a good day when the Tories have the opposition fuming. But what does the Bill do?
"Bill C-31 aims to process claims from countries deemed ``safe'' more quickly so that illegitimate refugees are removed within a shorter period of time.
On average, Kenney said it takes four-and-a-half years from the initial claim to remove a failed refugee claimant from the country.
It's expected the move will assist in dealing with a huge spike in claims by Hungary's predominantly Roma population. Last year, the number of claims from Hungary nearly doubled to 4,409. Most applicants, however, withdraw or abandoned their claims within 11 months.
The legislation also would block claimants from so called ``safe'' countries from appealing a negative decision and it would eliminate a committee of experts which was to advise the government on which countries to place on that list.
``Canada's asylum system is broken,'' Kenney said, after introducing Bill C-31 in the House of Commons on Thursday. ``Requirements are needed to ensure the quicker removal of bogus claimants.''
The omnibus bill also lumps in legislation that would grant legal authority to collect biometric data from people entering Canada on a visitor visa, work permit or study visa starting next year.
According to the legislation, law enforcement would be able to use the data in criminal investigations.
``We have seen many cases of people, criminals - foreign criminals - arrested, convicted, and deported who came back to Canada using fake papers,'' Kenney said, adding the use of biometrics would prevent failed refugee claimants from trying to return to the country.
The bill also rolls in measures contained in Bill C-4, the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada's Immigration System Act, introduced in June."
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what the opposition is fuming about.
"There are good reasons to oppose Stephen Harper’s proposed Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act — which is about a lot more than pursuing just child pornographers.
But before we consider them — and why so-called “liberals” and “progressives” are the least credible critics on this issue — let’s be clear on what the act will and won’t do..."
"It won’t allow police to monitor personal Internet, e-mail and cellphone communications.
That, as it always has, will require a warrant issued by a judge, except for rare circumstances involving things like kidnapping and bomb threats, the authority for which already exists in law.
It will compel Internet service providers to give to police information they now voluntarily provide 95% of the time — albeit more slowly than police like — making it easier for police to obtain search warrants.
That information is the individual’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, Internet Protocol (IP) address and the local service provider identifier — hardly state secrets for anyone who uses the Internet, or a phone book."
"But the utter hysteria over this bill coming from “liberals,” “progressives” (including “Progressive Conservatives”), and others on the left, who have always supported increasing the power of the state, is the height of hypocrisy.
These are the people who cheered for decades while human rights commissions were allowed to run amok.
They applauded as these bodies went far beyond their original, legitimate mandate of fighting discrimination in employment and housing, to become kangaroo courts, unfairly prosecuting people for hate speech based on the hurt feelings of others."...
And by the way, I think the leftie media misinterprets both George Bush and Vic Toews. In both cases, their words were not meant to imply that people who oppose the governments actions support terrorists or child pornographers. What I believe is meant by those statements is that those who do not stand against terror or child pornography and with those who fight both embolden the terrorist/pornographer. It's sorta like the battered wife, who always submits. If you are not willing to stand and be counted, you provide space for the terrorist/pornographer/batterer to continue and perhaps proliferate/grow.
"If you are not with us, you are with the terrorists" moment, except theirs is: "If you are not with the government, you are with the child pornographers."
UPDATE: I've now gone through the list of who voted for free speech. Here's what I found: With two exceptions, virtually every single one who voted for free speech was a member of the Conservative Party, but not every Conservative voted (their names do not appear on either the Yeas or Nays lists)
These are the Conservative MPs who did not vote:
Peter Kent (surprise!), but he is a high profile cabinet minister (Environment portfolio) who caused the opposition and CBC/Globe and Mail/Toronto Star supporters to go apoplectic when he announced Canada will be pulling out of the Koyoto Protocol, so I won't hold this against him, and besides, maybe he was busy working on environment issues, of which there are plenty, these days.
Cheryl Gallant; who is also a Conservative, but her name does not appear on the list. Maybe she has a good excuse, but I don't know much about her, although she has been in the news from time to time.
Ted Opitz; same as Gallant, he's a Conservative but I've never heard of him before. He may be a rookie, or at the least, a dull backbencher.
Joe Oliver; he's a Conservative Cabinet Minister whose name has been in the news quite a bit lately, usually in connection with the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline.
Tilly O'Neil Gordon, another Conservative who has been in the House for a few years, but, again, I know nothing about her, other than that she is from the Maritimes.
The two MPs who are not members of the conservative Party but who also voted for free speech are Peter Goldring, who used to be a Conservative but now sits as an Independent and (drumroll please) A MEMBER OF THE LIBERAL PARTY!!!! Scott Simms. Congratulations to Mr. Simms for voting his conscience.
Yesterday, the Act to Amend the Human Rights Act (ie) to rid us of the pernicious jackboot on our free speech rights, passed second reading, 158 for to 131 against, (background information here, here, here, and here.)
I was interested to see who was against free speech and found this list of who voted for and against (scroll down near the bottom for tally of votes and voters on Bill C - 304 or Standing Order 93(1)).
As I expected, all members who voted against free speech were Dippers (94 nays), Liberals (32 nays), Bloc (4 nays) and the lone member for the Green Party, Elizabeth May (1 nay).
Interestingly, some members of those parties did not vote against the bill (perhaps they stayed home that day - old trick used by politicians who don't want to be accountable. Regrettably, the same can be said of the Conservatives. They have 165 members, but the total number voting for free speech was 158.)
The current standing of each of the political parties is shown here.
Note, the NDP hold 101 seats, meaning seven Dippers did not vote against free speech (and perhaps conveniently forgot to show up), Liberals hold 35 seats, which means 3 did not vote against free speech.
"If someone you care about can’t read your emotions from the look on your face, their prefrontal cortex might be the reason."
"Neuropsychology researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and McGill University have found that certain parts of the brain are critical for either detecting or distinguishing emotions from facial expressions.
What does that mean? It means that if your sweetie forgot to bring you flowers on Valentine’s Day, and the sad look on your face simply didn’t register in his mind, there’s a chance he can’t help it. The problem might be in his prefrontal cortex."
Just tell her it's your prefrontal cortex and don't blame me if she clobbers you. I'm just the messenger.
"Miniature tracking devices have revealed the epic 30,000km (18,640 miles) migration of the diminutive northern wheatear.
The birds, which weigh just 25g (0.8oz), travel from sub-Saharan Africa to their Arctic breeding grounds.
"Scaled for body size," the scientists report, "this is the one of the longest round-trip migratory journeys of any bird in the world.""
"The species is of particular interest to scientists, because it has one of the largest ranges of any songbird in the world; with breeding grounds in the eastern Canadian Arctic, across Greenland, Eurasia and into Alaska."
""When we see them, they're in the middle of a journey they do twice every year. When you think of the challenges they must face, you wonder how on earth they do it.""
""It seems that bird migration is limited by the size of the Earth. If the planet was larger, they would probably migrate even further.""
"Generations of students who had to memorize tedious lists of Great Things that Sir Isaac Newton did can take note: He also punched his sister; stole plums; and stuck a pin in someone's hat on Sunday.
The great mathematician did other bad things at age 19: Threatened to burn down his parents' house with them inside; beat up a young man named Arthur Storer; and tried to use counterfeit money.
And he had little respect for sedate Sunday behaviour. He baked pies, squirted water at friends and made a mousetrap on the Lord's Day.
He didn't pay attention to sermons."
My younger sister once threw an orange at me --- through a window, a closed window, that is. And my older sister and I were once wrestling on a bed that was close to a window, and I put my foot through the window.
I could go on. Lot's of fun, pranks, misdeeds and so on.
What strikes me, in the opening scene, is the forest of satellite dishes on the rooftops of Cairo. It is technological revolution that, more often than not, creates the conditions that bring about political revolutions. It's not over yet.
(Oh yeah, and in the film, there are many scenes from Cairo that I remember from the time I was there doing the touristy thing.)
"Chinese electric cars have a disastrous impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles, a new study has found.
The University of Tennessee study found that electric cars cause more particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars.
"An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles. Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to."
"The Canadian Forces are setting up a new operational support hub in Germany in anticipation of future missions abroad, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced Tuesday."
"MacKay said the recent experience of using a small logistical hub at an American airbase in Spangdahlem, Germany, to support Canada's mission in Afghanistan has "driven home the value of maintaining operational support hubs abroad in anticipation of future mission requirements."
The defence minister said the Canadian Forces must be "flexible, able to respond at a moment's notice and get halfway around the world sometimes at very short notice.""
CBC's usual cadre of commentators must be stunned. So far, there are no comments.
"Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah named a new cabinet on Tuesday with 10 new faces, including the oil and defence ministers, and no women, despite objections from the opposition.
Hani Hussein, a former chief executive officer of the national oil conglomerate Kuwait Petroleum Corp, was appointed oil minister, replacing Mohammad al-Baseeri."
"The new cabinet does not include a single Islamist, the largest opposition bloc that scored an impressive victory in the February 2 general elections when they won 23 seats in the 50-member parliament."
"The snap elections were held after youth-led street protests forced former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to step down in late November"
. Interesting about the youth rebellion getting results, too, but there's a downside. For the first time since 2006 there are no women in the cabinet.
I remember during the Iraq war, Kuwait made several reforms amounting to greater democratization of their political system. Seems they are in full retreat from that. I miss Dubya.
...Manji and the legions of young Muslims that think like her, here is a very interesting dialog between her and John McWhorter. Manji talks about the young Muslims who seek her counsel. The conversation is very interesting and certainly worth listening to. (It's almost an hour long, so make sure you have the time.) It's amazing how much Irshad and I agree. Maybe that's because she taught me a lot.
"The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, told the UN General Assembly that Syria was launching indiscriminate attacks against civilians and accused the Syrian army of implementing a “shoot-to-kill” policy.
“The nature and scale of abuses committed by Syrian forces indicate that crimes against humanity are likely to have been committed since March 2011,” she said.
“I am particularly appalled by the ongoing onslaught on Homs,” Ms. Pillay said, noting that government forces have been using tanks, mortars and artillery in the assault on the city.
Her comments came as European powers welcomed an Arab League decision to ask the United Nations to send a joint peacekeeping force to Syria, although Moscow cautioned a ceasefire is needed before peacekeepers can be deployed."
Of course, I would have to ask, what's the point of sending "peacekeepers" in where there is no peace to keep. If anything, what's needed is a full-scale force of fully equipped warriors. But does the West have the stomach for it?
The Chief thug in Syria certainly knows how to oppresshis people. But that's what they want, right? And the UN is as useless bedraggled alley cat.
"Hamza Kashgari, the young Saudi blogger whose foolhardy tweets about Prophet Muhammad left conservative clerics baying for his blood, is a poet and a dreamer, says a former colleague."
"“Hamza always liked being alone, he wasn’t a social person,” said a senior editor at Al Bilad, the newspaper Mr. Kashgari used to work for.
“He had a broken look in his eyes and I think that was a sign of sadness or depression. He’s a poet and had a lot of philosophical ideas.”"
"“The only choice is for Kashgari to be killed and crucified in order to be a lesson to other secularists,” commented Abu Abdulrahman, an online reader of al-Madina newspaper."
"Some observers suggest the country’s conservative clerics seized on Mr. Kashgari’s tweets as a way of pushing back against the modest reforms enacted by King Abdullah. These include allowing women to vote in local elections and to work in lingerie stores.
They also point out Saudi clerics have been quick to realize the potential of the Internet as a tool for proselytizing. They are now among some of the country’s most active tweeters."
"Before his arrest, Mr. Kashgari said in an interview with the U.S. news website the Daily Beast he did not think he could ever go home because of the death threats, but was also defiant.
“I view my actions as part of a process toward freedom. I was demanding my right to practise the most basic human rights — freedom of expression and thought – so nothing was done in vain,” he said.
“I believe I’m just a scapegoat for a larger conflict. There are a lot of people like me in Saudi Arabia who are fighting for their rights.”"
Which is why I have hope for the Muslim world. There is a generational conflict going on. The old, gray-haired men in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, as well as the clerics, who are themselves old and gray-haired, will soon enough pass away and young people like Hamza Kashgari will take their place.
I've been a reader of Irshad Manji's blog for a long time. She is another young Muslim who acts as a bellwether for the future. According to Manji, she gets many, many, many emails and comments from young Muslims expressing more or less the same ideas as Hamza Kashgari. The hardliners are creating martyrs of a different kind than what they would like.
And once again, it's the damned Charter that the judge cites.
"The Conservative government’s tough-on-crime rewriting of the Criminal Code took a potentially fatal blow when an Ontario judge struck down mandatory minimum prison sentences for gun crimes, declaring them “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Ontario Superior Court Judge Anne Molloy concluded that sending a man to prison for three years in the case before her, even though he was found holding a loaded handgun, was unconstitutional."
"“A reasonable person knowing the circumstances of this case, and the principles underlying both the Charter and the general sentencing provisions of the Criminal Code, would consider a three year sentence to be fundamentally unfair, outrageous, abhorrent and intolerable,” she wrote in her judgment released Monday.
The Criminal Code’s mandatory minimum provision violates Smickle’s Charter rights she ruled and, as such, she struck it down.
“Section 12 of the Charter provides that, ‘Everyone has the right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.’ That right is enshrined in our Constitution, which is declared to be the ‘supreme law of Canada’ such that any law inconsistent with the Charter is ‘to the extent of the inconsistency, of no force and effect,’” she wrote."
It is time, folks. It is time to open up that charter and rewrite it.
I wonder who appointed the judge? A Liberal government, I'll bet. Hope the Feds appeal.
According to Sitemeter, someone from CBC, in Toronto, visited my blog again, this time landing on this entry. I wonder if they have some software that alerts them whenever some blogger is writing about them. Oh, how I wish we could know what goes on in the organization that we fund.
From an Exchange at Free Republic regarding comments by Newt Gingrich about Canadian oil and the Keystone pipeline.
Me: Regarding China, one thing that no one yet has speculated about (that I know of, in any case) is whether or not Harper is trying to ween the Chinese off of Middle Eastern oil (Iran’s especially).
fanfan: Good point. It would make economic sense.
Me: I was thinking more like political sense. The smaller share of the global oil market OPEC has, the better. Asian markets for Canadian oil are, as of yet, completely untapped, so I can only presume most of their oil imports come from the Middle East and serve to prop up the over abundance of tyrannical regimes in that part of the world.
I, for one, am waaay more scared of Middle Eastern tyrants than I am of China. And it's more than just oil that's in play here. If China and other Asian countries become more reliant on Canadian oil, the democratic world becomes more influencial in that region at the expense of the tyrants. Harper may have been paving the way for neutralizing East Asian nations should we (Western nations) find ourselves at war with Iran.
This one is well over a month old. I found it on the Manning Centre's website. It shows a brief glimpse of former British PM, Gordon Brown, who Hannan is upbraiding, so it's actually much older than that, but it's a good one.
"The latest census results show that for the first time, more Canadians now live west of Ontario than east of the province — 30.7 per cent compared to 30.6 per cent. Yukon had the biggest growth spurt at 11.6 per cent between 2006 and 2011, followed by Alberta at 10.8 per cent, nearly double the national average.
Slowly but surely, the country's political attention has turned in the same direction. Debates over national unity, official bilingualism and the troubled Atlantic fisheries continue to recede into the background."
"On his way to China, Mr. Harper flew over his own political heartland, the region that makes trade with Asia his government’s new imperative. The oil sands, potash, the diamond mines and the demands of the western premiers now occupy the national media’s attention more than ever before.
The latest census results show that for the first time, more Canadians now live west of Ontario than east of the province – 30.7 per cent compared to 30.6 per cent. Yukon had the biggest growth spurt at 11.6 per cent between 2001 and 2011, followed by Alberta at 10.8 per cent, nearly double the national average."
"Preston Manning is worried about eastern alienation. This, from the Alberta politician who created an entire political movement around the mantra, “the West wants in.”
“This will sound funny coming from me. I worry about eastern alienation,” Mr. Manning told The Globe.
It does sound odd – especially given his more than 20 year fight to have the West recognized as a political force in the country.
Mr. Manning, however, has come full circle with the West finally in after last May’s election that saw the Harper Conservatives win a big majority government. His success has now created this new concern.
“The different thing after this election is this shift in the political centre of gravity of the country,” observes Mr. Manning. “It’s now an alignment between Ontario and the West, not an alignment between Ontario and Quebec. And that’s got positive implications. It’s got things to worry about, too.”"
Be sure to read the whole thing. Manning is worried about Eastern alienation. That'll be a switch, but I'm afraid whatever alienation may arise will be from leftards. People in the east who are of the conservative mind-set are more mature than that, otherwise they would be liberals or dippers.
And while on the topic of Preston Manning, the last article delves into an upcoming conference in Ottawa sponsored by the Manning Centre for Building Democracy. I got an email about this early this morning from the National Citizens Coalition. I won't be going, but it sounds like it could be as interesting as the recent CPAC gathering in Washington and you can be sure Sun TV will cover it extensively, while CBC and CTV and others will either ignore it or put as much negative spin on it as possible.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it sounds like the old Ontario and Quebec against the rest of us era is on its way out. What - a - relief!
But one more thing, as much as I admire Preston Manning, I think we put way too much money and time into trying to keep this country's great divide together. I wish them the best, but I really don't care if central and eastern Canada are in or out. Western Canada has waited for very nearly 150 years to be in, and as it turns out we don't need to be let in. We're not even grabbing power for ourselves. Power is shifting naturally and the rest of ya are just gonna have to deal with it. Quebec, at least the old sovereigntist one, Atlantic Canada and maybe Ontario can kiss our asses for a 150 years, if they choose to pretend this isn't happening. I, for one, am very weary of politicians wasting their time and our tax dollars trying to keep this country together. If you want in, then put down your snobbish liberal/leftist pretensions and recognize that conservatism is the future and Alberta is the new Centre of the Universe. /rant
"Simply put, the Prime Minister, who has never had the luxury of a majority government before, has a year and a half left to be bold before the ticking of the election clock drowns out everything else.
Here is what we are going to see in the coming weeks, after Parliament resumes Monday.
a budget that balances the books in two or three years;
departmental spending slashed by upward of 10 per cent in order to achieve that target;
major reforms to the immigration system, with a big push to bring in skilled workers who speak English or French, at the expense of reuniting families;
passage of the bill to create pooled retirement plans for workers who currently don’t have pensions.
"Most contentious of all, the government plans to raise the age for receiving the Old Age Security pension supplement, probably from 65 to 67.
“The need for it is quite clear,” Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said in an interview. The cost of the plan will triple over the next two decades if nothing is done.
“It’s a question of having it sustainable over the medium and long term,” Mr. Van Loan maintained.
Both Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien vetoed their finance ministers’ proposals to reform the OAS, fearing the political cost of meddling with pensions. Susan Eng of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons is already at battle stations."
I don't think the old establish liberal media in Toronto understands what is happening in Canada. Mulroney and Chretien are beasts from a bygone era. The populous hasn't just moved west, it has moved on. They, and the Ontario elites are dinosaurs. So, welcome aboard, Ontario, but leave your liberal and socialist elites behind, in the grave they themselves have dug.
A stubble jumper is a prairie farmer. I'm from Saskatchewan and my dad was a farmer, so the name is apt. "Redneck" needs no explanation. It's anyone who disagrees with a lunatic leftie. My blog is mostly about the Middle East but other issues also catch my eye and get me going. I monitor comments to keep out trolls and lunatic lefties. Anyone who is zealously anti-American and anti-democracy in the Middle East is NOT welcome.