12/22/2006

Merry Christmas

It is unlikely that I will blog over the holidays.
Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year.
May you experience the richest of God's blessings during this holiday season.

12/18/2006

War is Not the Answer: Merry Christmas and Parking

(ht: Proud To Be Canadian)
This one is for my husband.
He really loves driving.
Really.

Merry Christmas

I got this one from my sister.

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make this country great (not to imply that this country is a country you are part of, nor that it is necessarily greater than any other country, or is indeed the only "your country" worth referring to), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual reference of the wishee. By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Sex Workers to Sue

Prostitutes should not be referred to as sex workers. Prostitution should not be referred to as the "sex trade" or the "sex industry." There is nothing empowering about prostitution. Decriminalizing it will NOT make it safe. Without exception, every country in the world that has trade it has failed miserably. Prostitutes end up in worse situations than they were before.
But really, I don't expect people to listen to my common sense. I expect them to believe garbage like this.
OTTAWA -- A leading advocacy group for decriminalizing prostitution in Canada is planning to take the federal government to court over laws that it says endanger the lives of sex workers across the country.
Valerie Scott, executive director of Sex Professionals of Canada, says the legal action will go ahead in January.
"The communicating and bawdy house laws are arbitrary," Scott said in an interview from Toronto.
"They do more harm than good, and we'll be filing in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. We're hoping to get a judgement from them within two years. Then we'll go to the Supreme Court of Canada with it."
The common bawdy house laws can evict women from their homes, since landlords receive a notice of their alleged activities, said Wendy Babcock, spokeswoman for the Sex Professionals of Canada.
Scott, who expects to be one of the plaintiffs in the court case, says the group will challenge the country's solicitation laws on constitutional grounds.

Constitutional grounds?
What? You want to argue that the law should protect your "right" to be treated like an object? You want the law to abandon all pretense of protecting the weak and helpless who get dragged into this life of depravity?

The sex trade in Canada falls into a legal grey area because, while prostitution itself is not illegal, activities related to it are. Individuals who communicate for the purpose of prostitution or who sell sexual services can be charged under the Criminal Code.
"It's really unfortunate that our profession is one of the few professions that doesn't have any legal protection to it," Babcock said. "Making it illegal is just forcing women into dangerous situations."

It's not a profession!! Stop calling it that. You are there at the beck and call of men who don't give a rats ass about what happens to you. Rape and abuse are rampant. Decriminalization will only encourage this.
News of violence against sex trade workers has garnered headlines in recent weeks. The slayings of five women in Ipswitch, England, triggered warnings for prostitutes there to stay off the streets.
In Canada, a seven-months-pregnant mother of three was stabbed to death in Gatineau, Que., after an alleged "bad date." And jurors have just been selected for the trial of Robert Picton, the alleged serial killer of at least 26 sex workers from Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside.
A 2006 Statistics Canada report said women in the sex trade are extremely vulnerable to violence which "often goes unnoticed."
"According to police reports submitted to Statistics Canada, between 1991 and 2004, 171 female prostitutes were killed and 45 per cent of these homicides remain unsolved," the report said.
Statistics on the homicide rate of sex workers are "almost certainly lower than the real figures," according to a report issued this month by a Commons subcommittee. Three-quarters of the homicides reported to the panel took place in Vancouver, Montreal, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg and Ottawa-Gatineau.

But none of these things are good arguments for decriminalizing prostitution. If anything, they are arguments for stiffer penalties for pimps and johns. The men who commit these crimes need to pay. They do NOT need an environment which will encourage their bad behaviour. If you remove all penalties for their crimes, their behaviour will only get worse. They will still rape and abuse you. They will still kill you.
Only now, they will be doing it in a "safe" environment.
Safe for who?
Not you, the prostitute.
Safe for them, the deviant.

McGuinty Gets a Raise

I meant to blog on this last week. McGuinty decided that he and his fellow MPP's need a raise of over $22,000. He called it the hard way out; not giving himself a raise would have been the easy thing to do.
Yeah, right.
In this article at Canada.com, a professor from the University of Toronto tries to argue that MPP's are underpaid.
"If we use public sector standards, MPPs are dramatically underpaid," Wiseman said.
"An increase of even 50 per cent would not be outrageous when you take into account that the budget of the province is $90 billion a year. You are dealing with small change here."

This has to be the worst argument I have ever seen. Raises are often based on performance. It would be hard to argue that this government has performed well. The Caledonia situation is unresolved as yet and McGuinty introduced a tax intended to fund the health system and then cut a bunch of nursing jobs. If I sat and thought about it, I could probably come up with more examples of poor performance on the part of this government.
The worst part of the argument is the provincial budget. The budget is not $90 billion because it needs to be that high. It's $90 billion because of the colossal amount of waste. A few weeks ago we heard about how Children's Aid wasted money on fancy hotel rooms, meals and the like. They are not the only department wasting money like that.
The Opposition is supporting the wage increase. To be frank, I am not really surprised. Who is going to turn down free money? I would like to see someone really take the hard road and turn down a pay hike.

12/13/2006

Senate Reform: Update

According to Canada.com:
The proposed change will not see voters elect Senators directly, it would allow for a plebiscite to choose candidates and the government would still make appointments. A plurality voting system may be used at first, later moving to a preferential system of proportional representation, the prime minister said.

It would seem I was over-hasty in my joy. We will not be able to elect our senators directly immediately. Instead, the bill will allow Canadians to choose who would represent them, and the Prime Ministers would make appointments from that list. Although not as good as moving straight to an elected Senate, this is still an important first step.

Senate Reform

I just heard it on the news this morning. The Conservatives will be introducing a bill to reform the Senate. We will finally get to elect our senators.
It's about time!!

12/07/2006

Disturbing Trends: Don't Talk About It

Recently, the Carleton University Student's Association passed a motion banning all pro-life organizations. If you want to be a pro-life group, do not expect to receive student union money and do not meet on campus at Carleton. The incident that prompted this motion was nothing extreme. A pro-life group was not shooting campus nurses performing abortions. They were not staging sit-ins at an on-campus abortion clinic. They were not distributing fliers of any type.
All they wanted to do was have a debate on abortion.
An on-campus women's group decided that a debate constituted discrimination against women and their choice to have an abortion.
Please read that sentence again.
A debate constituted discrimination.
There was no injury inflicted, no harassment, no protests. One group on campus wanted to debate.
A debate constituted discrimination.
Today, the motion to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage was voted down. Parliament, having passed a law through the most unethical of means, in its almighty wisdom decided that Canadians want to move on to another subject. Same-sex marriage is a right. To bring such a serious subject up for debate or discussion in the House again constitutes discrimination.
Again, a debate constitutes discrimination.
It would appear that "rights" and "choice" are becoming two very dangerous words. They have more power to silence the masses than any two words should have.
If a debate within a university is considered discrimination, if a debate within the House of Commons is considered discrimination, as Canadians we should be concerned not only about the quality of education being delivered in this country but also about the future direction our country may take. If debates regarding serious issues with moral implications are no longer socially acceptable for fear of "discrimination" (and I use that word lightly), then the ability to objectively question anything will disappear. Objective facts no longer have any relevance to a discussion because there simply will be no discussion. Freedom of speech will no longer have any meaning because no one will be talking about anything of significance. Instead, the will of an elite group will be imposed on all. Superstition and misinformation will abound.
Moral issues, and especially the positions people take on moral issues, will always cause divisions of some sort. It is unrealistic to expect everyone to agree. However, to silence discussion on a moral issue because one group uses the word "discrimination" is unwise. Moral issues always have some social impact. Despite what some will claim, it is not possible to abstract a person from their moral, ethical and religious beliefs. They all affect how a person behaves as an individual and within society. As such, any issue that has a moral aspect must be properly discussed and examined. The society as a whole, not just its lawmakers, should carefully consider what future impact a moral (or, in this case immoral) behaviour will have.
The unfortunate thing about immoral behaviours is that they lend themselves to slippery slopes. Without help, people do not naturally tend to become less depraved; instead they only become more depraved. Negative behaviours are more quickly assimilated and mimicked than positive ones. This is especially true with children.
Historically, enforced silence has never been a good thing. With the recent decisions of Carleton University Student's Association and the House of Commons, it is my fear that we may be voluntarily progressing towards it. Self-censure on issues that are so important is bad enough. Neither of these cases qualify as self-censure however. The order "Don't talk about it" has been given. What is worse is that the media, whose job it is to expose such serious issues, is over-joyed to be moving on! This is especially true with the same sex marriage debate.
It is now more important than ever that we keep ourselves fully informed of social issues. We must also keep our children informed. Where debates are silenced, enforced acceptance and indoctrination quickly follow. This is not a problem only for Christians; it is a problem for anyone who may have a differing view than what is socially accepted. We must learn how to tackle tough issues without fear. We must effectively spot group think and stand up for what we believe.
Most of all, we must not back down when the words "rights," "choice," and "discrimination" are inappropriately used.

12/05/2006

W.A.A. waa waa

Real life is better than any movie. I couldn't make stuff like this up.

The Liberal Environment "Plan"

There is an interesting article in the National Post today about Dion's plan for the environment.
Now I know the Liberal's can't possibly win the next election.
I sat around the Cabinet table from [Stephane Dion] and I can tell you, he couldn't balance a cheque book." That was the view of one former Liberal minister who is now professing undying devotion to his party's new leader.
Dion's victory is inevitably going to mean much greater scrutiny of the man and his abilities by a media and Conservative party playing catch-up. Michael Fortier, the Public Works Minister, said on Saturday it means his party will have to explain more clearly Dion's record as environment minister.
Already we have seen the Tories wheel out the recent Environment Commissioner's report, which suggests Canada will be 35% over its Kyoto target by 2012.

So, the Conservatives who are apparently so anti-environment, will actually be 35% OVER their target in less than a mere 6 years. Interesting. I wonder what the Liberal plan could be, since it must be so much better.
"On the whole, the [Liberal] government's response to climate change is not a good story," said Johanne Gelinas, Commissioner of the Environment, pointing out that Liberals allocated more than $6-billion in funding for initiatives without any method of accounting for performance or results.
It's only a matter of time -- say, right now -- before someone asks why Dion is so keen to bring back comedian Rick Mercer's One Tonne Challenge but has taken a pass on the only measure that has proven effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- investment in more nuclear energy. Emissions from Ontario's coal plants dropped 12 million tonnes between 2000 and 2004, entirely because four laid-up nuclear reactors were returned to service, by far the biggest reduction since Canada signed on to Kyoto. Dion's position is to instead invest in alternative and renewable energy sources.

Bring back Rick Mercer? That's their big plan? Hmmm. There must be more.
But perhaps the biggest worry should Dion ever become prime minister is an apparent blind spot for the workings of the market. The new Liberal leader holds a doctorate in sociology but has never held an economic portfolio. Judging by the sections of his environmental plan that touch on the economy, it's just as well for Canada.
Dion's plan -- a recycled and updated version of the Liberals' Project Green -- envisages an emissions trading market, where companies are allocated a cap on their emission levels by the government. If they exceed their limit, they can offset those emissions by buying credits from the government for $15 a tonne. This market would be in place until 2012, when the price would float.

Maybe I am missing something here.
Comapanies will be given an emissions cap. They may not exceed this cap. If they do, instead of being fined or forced to close, they may simply buy credits to increase this cap. The credits will cost $15 per tonne. I am curious to know how much power and emissions that actually is in practice. Still, I don't see how allowing companies to buy credits is going to solve an emissions problem. Wouldn't larger, and likely more polluting, companies simply be able to buy as much as they want and make no change at all in their behaviour... which I thought was supposed to be the point of an environment plan?
Dion has stuck with this plan, even though the Liberal government's own consultants warned that major emitters would hoard the credits

Yes. That is what I thought.
and wait until the price rose, at which point they'd make a killing at the expense of the taxpayer.

And this is precisely the problem with most Liberal plans. Instead of fixing anything, the Liberals simply dump the problem onto the lap of the taxpayer. This means I'd have to shell out yet more money to pay for a problem that I didn't create and have nothing to do with. The rich wankers who own these big, polluting companies are entirely unaffected. This is yet more proof that the Liberal Party is the party of the rich. They have no care or concern for the common citizen.
But Dion's tin ear for market realities goes further. Under his plan, not only does the government play a role allocating the quota of emissions credits and act as the seller of those credits, it is also the biggest buyer in the market, through the establishment of the Climate Fund. Dion billed this $6-billion pool of taxpayer cash as "the cornerstone" of his carbon market, buying "carbon equity" in emerging green technologies proposed by companies. "In effect, the Climate Fund will become Canada's carbon bank," says Dion's leadership campaign platform.
The new Liberal leader's office maintains that the government's role as the setter of price, supply and demand was only meant to help launch a carbon market and provide liquidity in its early years.

Hmm. This doesn't sound totally legal to me. In any case, it certainly isn't completley kosher. What would be in place to prevent the Liberals from benefiting their rich, polluting-business owning friends?
But critics contend that this level of intrusion would distort a carbon emissions market beyond feasibility. "It's a completely unmanageable conflict of interest," said Aldyen Donnelly, a consultant who advises companies on how to respond to government regulation.
"The government would be the Bank of Canada, the Royal Bank, and the Royal Bank's biggest customer all at once."

So, the answer to my question would appear to be "Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, that is exactly what is likely to happen under the proposed plan."
The only saving grace with this arrangement is that the Competition Bureau would probably have intervened and jailed all involved for indulging in anti-competitive behaviour.

I thought it sounded illegal.
That is being facetious -- just. But it does not bode well for what Dion would do to the rest of the economy were he ever to become prime minister.

No kidding.
Like I said already, Dion is indicative of everything that is wrong with the Liberal Party.

Thoughts on Stephane Dion

Not surprisingly, the media has been abuzz with news of the recent election of Stephane Dion as head of the Liberal Party. To be honest, I didn't really know too much about him as a candidate, so I needed to mull things over before posting my thoughts.
A few things have struck me. First of all, I did not hear much about Dion during the leadership campaign. Much of the media attention was focused on Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff. Despite the fact that many Conservatives feared the election of Bob Rae, not only did I expect Ignatieff to win, I think he would have been a much tougher opponent. While it is true he did make several political gaffes during the course of the campaign, most of his mistakes were focused on by the media and not the general public. Ignatieff sat slightly to the right on many issues, despite being a lefty and this would make him palatable to those who are more centrist and not definitively left or right. His election would also signified a new direction within the Liberal Party; he was definitely not a member of either the Chretien or Martin camps. Ignatieff would have had the ability to rebuild the Liberal Party much in the same way the Conservatives were rebuilt.
Instead, Dion was elected.
Dion, in my opinion, represents everything that is wrong with the Liberal Party. He is the "old way." He was solidly backed by Chretien and was Chretien's chief man in Quebec. Despite what Carolyn Parrish had to say last night on the Michael Coren Show, I do not for a minute believe that a man who had such a heavy hand in the Clarity Act could possibly have been kept uninformed about what was going on with regards to the Sponsorship Programme. The only options in his case are that he either knew or is an incredibly naive individual and therefore incapable of leading the country. There is no middle ground. It will be interesting to see what turns up when more eager minds than mine start digging around.
Dion is not well liked in his home province of Quebec. This is definitely a problem for the Liberal Party. They lost seats in the last election. By choosing Dion, the Liberals will most likely lose more seats the next time around. They may find that there are no seats in Quebec left to them at all. The Bloc and the Conservatives could very well clean house. He will have to work hard to "win friends and influence people."
Dion's platform was primarily the environment and Kyoto. However, Dion was formerly the Environment minister. The Liberals have a dismal record in this regard. While some have complained that the Conservatives haven't done enough, they are at least doing something. The Liberals did nothing at all. If it comes to an election and the Liberals try to run with the environment as their main platform, they will lose.
It has been mentioned by some that despite being an intellectual, Dion lacks charisma. He also has no patience for the media. As far as I am concerned, the media has been pampered. I don't consider it a bad thing that Dion doesn't like them. It will be interesting to watch the media grovel to him for attention though. Instead of bemoaning his disdain (as they do when shunned by Harper) I fully expect the media to bend over backwards for the new Liberal leader.
The biggest problem with Dion is arguably his dual citizenship. As most are aware by now, as well as being a Canadian Dion holds citizenship in France. He should be forced to give it up if he wants to be Prime Minister. How can he expect the Canadian public to believe that he wouldn't be unduly influenced by his loyalties overseas? Worse, what would happen if we had to go to war but were on the opposite side of France? It would be nothing short of disaster!
It has been commented here that the race was fixed back in October. While I am still looking for solid proof of this, there does seem to some evidence to support the notion that the race was at least a little bit fixed. Martha Hall-Findley received mostly sympathy votes so that it wouldn't "look bad," so that it wouldn't look like an old boys club where women were unable to compete. I find this interesting, since the Liberals claim to be the great advocates of women's rights. Also, there does seem to have been at least some backroom deal going on with regards to people moving into Dion's camp as they dropped off the ballot and not Ignatieff's. I also wonder about the fact that the Liberal Party voted down the motion to convert their voting system to one member-one vote; instead they stuck with their delegate system. The delegate system favours those who are already a part of the current power structure, which Dion definitely was and Ignatieff definitely was not. (As an aside, it was truly laughable to hear the CTV news staff refer to the election as "democracy in action.")
Despite media "warnings" that the Conservatives should not underestimate Dion and the Liberals, I wonder if the Liberals haven't underestimated not only the Conservatives but the Canadian public. It would not surprise me. By choosing a member of the old guard, the Liberals have sent a very clear signal that their party is not about to change. This is arrogant, and the implications are clear enough. I expect the Liberals to be in Opposition for a while. It may be the best thing for them. If they were to lose the next two elections, especially if at least one of those resulted in a majority for the Conservatives, the Liberals would have their desperately needed opportunity to reshape themselves into something more like a governing body and less like the mafia.

12/02/2006

Liberal Leader: Stephane Dion

So, Stephane Dion is the new leader of the Liberal Party. To be honest, I was not expecting that. I was expecting it to come down to Rae vs. Ignatieff. It will be interesting to see what happens. For now, I don't have too many thoughts on the matter.

11/29/2006

Raw Milk

I saw a brief news clip on this story last night.
A hunger-striking Ontario farmer came to Toronto Wednesday to further his protest against rules that prohibit the sale of unpasteurized milk.
Michael Schmidt was expected to hold a news conference at a Toronto restaurant owned by celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy. American raw milk advocate Sally Fallon and Ontario Landowners Association President Randy Hillier were also slated to attend.
The conference comes a day after Schmidt was confronted by police and public heath authorities north of Toronto on a bus where he sells raw milk -- a practice banned in Ontario since the 1930s.
Authorities surrounded the bus but Schmidt refused to let them in.
"They kind of stood around the whole bus for probably over an hour," Schmidt told The Canadian Press. "Finally, they left."
The incident came one week after Schmidt's farm near Durham, Ont., about 45 kilometres south of Owen Sound, was raided by Ministry of Natural Resources inspectors.
Since the raid, Schmidt, 52, has not eaten any food, surviving only on water and raw milk.
He said he will continue the strike until his equipment, confiscated in the raid, is returned along with a promise that he'll be left alone.
"This is a battle out of principle," said Schmidt. "This is a battle that people gain respect again for the farmer."
"When there is a law which is unjust and which claims that the milk is OK as long as the farmer drinks it, but the milk is dangerous as soon as it crosses the road, that law doesn't make sense."
Schmidt blamed "ego-tripping bureaucrats" for the raid last week that he considers an excessive show of force.
Canadian health authorities say unpasteurized milk can contain potentially lethal E. coli, salmonella and other dangerous organisms. Federal law restricts the sale or free distribution of such milk in Canada and Ontario's Milk Act also has a similar clause.
Raw milk advocates say the milk offers health benefits and is safe as long as it is carefully handled by farmers.
Following a conviction in 1994, Schmidt used a loophole in the Milk Act that allows farmers to drink raw milk from their own cows.
He signed up 150 cow-shareholders with each buying a share of a cow for $300. Participants then pay $2 a litre for the milk that their animal produces.
Members include Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara's wife, reported CP.
On Wednesday, Sorbara said the province should look at legalizing the sale of raw milk -- a practice safely done in parts of the U.S. and Europe.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said he won't do it, calling the matter an issue of public health.
Schmidt supplies weekly produce, meat, bread and raw milk to families in the Walkerton region and in Toronto via the joint-ownership program.

Where do I even begin with this story?
Raw milk is far superior to the crap you buy in the store. There is no comparison between the taste and nutrient content. The more milk is processed, the less nutrients it has in it. That the farmer and his family can safely consume raw milk under the law ought to give everyone pause: if they can drink it, why can't it be supplied to the public? If there is genuine concern about problems as e. coli, in the event of an outbreak the best solution would be to fine or jail the offending farmer.
The heart of the debate is not about the safety of milk, however. It is about market control. The Milk Board is currently so heavily regulated that, were I rich and wanting to open my own dairy farm, there is no conceivable way I could make a profit. I would have to buy one of the already existing big dairy farms, like Beatrice or Neilson.
If an individual farmer were allowed to sell his milk without the excessive regulation and control of the Milk Board, the industry would be turned on its head. Big companies would now have to worry about competition and loss of revenue... and we can't have that, can we?

Income Splitting

Sara has a reprint of an excellent article on income splitting.

11/28/2006

Can Men be Trusted?

(ht: Jarrett Plonka)

CTV has the most outrageous poll. They ask "Can men be trusted to take a contraceptive pill?" So far, 68% of respondents say no and only 32% say yes.
What can I say, except that I am shocked? Imagine if CTV had a poll that said "Can women be trusted to perform act X?" what wailings of torment would follow then! It would not be tolerated. And yet, somehow, to ask a question like this of male behaviour is ok.
Go figure!

More Thoughts on the "Pink" Book

One thing struck me last night as I was pondering the Pink Book, and that is the fact that it is pink. The opening page is pink and flowery. Policies, statistics and other important points are made in hot pink. Roses litter the pages and the accent colour is a pale pink.
Why pink?
Why was pink chosen instead of some other colour?
Why not white?
Better yet, why not blue?
Instinctively, the answer is that "pink is for girls, blue is for boys." In order to distinguish themselves as a women's group fighting for women's issues, the colour chosen for the Liberal Women's Caucus policy book was a stereotyped colour: pink. If you are trying to break down stereotypes, to advance the cause of a particular group, why would you then work within the stereotype for that group? If a similar group existed for men's causes, is it likely that they would decorate their policy book with hunting gear, cigars and sports symbols?
I am sure that, were you to put the question "Why Pink?" to the Liberal Women's caucus, their answer would be that they wanted to add a woman's touch to the project, that they wanted to distinguish themselves as women, to show that in a man's world you can still keep a feminine side. In reality, that doesn't answer the question. It does not address the fact that pink is not the way to do this. In fact, their excessive use of pink only goes to show that despite a vain attempt to be "empowered" women, the Liberal Women's Caucus cannot move beyond the stereotypes. This is yet another reason to file their Pink Book under the desk.

11/27/2006

An Analysis of the "Pink" Book

My first reaction is that this "Pink" book is a lot of fluff without much substance. As already mentioned, that the likes of Judy Sgro and Belinda Stronach sign their names to this project is reason enough to file it under the desk. However, since the book will no doubt garner heaps of support from those who love Liberal lies that don't require them to think, I will pick it apart. In any case, I'd like to know what the fuss is all about. Let's face it; the Canadian Press article was woefully inadequate.
The first six pages are letters from various female MP's. The letters are endorsements of the Pink book, and they come from Belinda Stronach, Judy Sgro, Mariam Minna, Anita Neville, Nancy Karetak-Lindell, Tina Keeper, Ruby Dhalla, Marlene Jennings, and Yasmin Ratansi. These women have not been in the position of the average Canadian for a very long time. Some have never been in that position. They are unable to empathize with the common woman, and their opinion should be taken with a very large grain of salt.
Before looking at the policy recommendations themselves, it is important to note that the Status of Women in Canada is given a great deal of support. Indeed, the recent cuts to the Status of Women would appear to be the motivating factor for the creation of the Pink book. Please be aware that despite Opposition reaction to the cuts, this group does NOT look out for the women who need most help. The group has been hijacked be extremists who do not identify with the average Canadian woman. In the past they have been ardent supporters of decriminalized prostitution and the legalization of polygamy and it is my hope that under the Conservative government the Status of Women in Canada will once again be useful.
I also want to point out that the book makes mention of the fact that the Conservative plan seeks to favour single income families and discriminates against modest income families. This is simply false. As I fall under both categories, I can tell you that the new plan doesn't even begin to level the playing field between single and dual income families. Dual income families by far have the economic advantage. This will continue to be so until income splitting is legislated. Also, despite the fact that the "average" Canadian family has less than two children, there are some out there who have many more. These families are frequently single income families. For a single income family an additional $300 to $400 a month, plus the Child Tax Credit, is very useful.
Throughout the work, the policy recommendations are in hot pink. They are as follows:

1. We believe a new Liberal government needs to reverse this Conservative government’s decisions, particularly in relation to the recent budget cuts and new policy directives for Status of Women Canada.
2.The Liberal Women’s Caucus recommends that a new Liberal government honour the previous bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories for $1 billion a year over five years in early learning and child care.
3. To fully meet the needs of working women and young families, a new Liberal government needs, as a long term goal, to devote federal financial support equivalent to one per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to early learning and child care. This is the target established by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) in its report entitled Starting Strong II.
4. To further help working women and families, a new Liberal government should use the $100 a month under the Conservative government to boost the Canadian Child Tax Benefit. It would mean an additional $1,200 each year for the majority of Canadian families.
5. A new Liberal government should use the value of the Spousal Credit, a tax deduction for a spouse at home, to be paid directly to the spouse who, in the majority of instances, would be a woman.
6. The Liberal Women’s Caucus believes a new Liberal government should implement new proactive pay equity legislation as recommended in a 2004 federal Pay Equity Task Force report.
7. Allow seniors to earn income, including RRSP withdrawals, of up to 10 per cent of the benefits received under Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This would mean approximately $1,400 in benefit to all seniors.
8. A range of other benefits provided by the federal government could be moderated to improve the economic position of seniors.
9. To ease the burden on women and other caregivers, a new Liberal government should invest $1 billion over five years to develop a national caregiver agenda. The provinces and territories need to be partners with the national government to move forward in this area.
10. As a further help to caregivers, a new Liberal government should extend the Canada Pension Plan drop-out provision to unpaid caregivers. This measure will improve the economic security for those who leave the workplace to provide care for their family members.
11. The Liberal Women’s Caucus believes a new Liberal government should open these discussions as soon as possible to build an improved income replacement plan for parents, including self-employed individuals.
12. Liberal Women’s Caucus supports the policy recommendation of the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of Canada (NOIVMWC) that government policies must look at: "providing sufficient access to profession specific language training, skills upgrading and back to work mentoring and bridging programs" for these groups.
13. As a first step, the Liberal Women’s Caucus endorses providing "financial resources to Aboriginal women’s organizations at the same level as their male-led counterparts." Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) recommends this measure.
14. The Liberal Women’s Caucus strongly recommends to a new Liberal government that action must be taken to repair the damage done by this Conservative government’s policies to Status of Women Canada. In particular, the Liberal Women’s Caucus is calling for:
- Designating "equality" as the main goal of the Women’s Program.
- Reinstating the Terms and Conditions of the Women’s Program as they were before the Conservative changes.
- Ensuring that the funding under the Women’s Program is only available to not-for profit groups.
- Reversing the 43% cut to the operating budget of Status of Women Canada.
- Increasing funding to the Women’s Program at Status of Women by a minimum of 25%.
- Revising the funding to organizations by introducing a mix of core funding to allow for long-term planning and project funding.
15. The Liberal Women’s Caucus is committed to the reinstatement of the Court Challenges Program.
16. The Liberal Women’s Caucus has been and continues to be a strong supporter of the national gun registry.
17. As one of its first priorities, the Liberal Women’s Caucus encourages a new Liberal government to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories to establish a federal poverty-reduction strategy.
18.The Liberal Women’s Caucus proposes that a new Liberal government should:
- Honour the bilateral agreements signed with provinces and territories to provide a system of early learning and child care across the country. These agreements should be protected by legislation. The original Liberal commitment was for $1 billion a year for five years – this level of support must be reinstated as a minimum starting point.
- As a longer-term goal, establish a schedule for federal funding of child care so it reaches one per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as recommended by the OECD report, Starting Strong II.
- Re-invest the $1,200 per year, per family, provided under the Conservative government’s policy in the Canadian Child Tax Benefit (CCTB). The Canadian Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is already in place and works efficiently and effectively. By increasing the base benefit by $1,200, the overwhelming majority of Canadian families would receive – and keep – a $1,200 increase in their Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB).
- Direct the value of the Spousal Credit – the tax deduction for a spouse at home – to be paid directly to the spouse, who, in most instances, will be a woman.
19. The struggle for pay equity goes back to a recommendation by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women in 1970 for legislative change to address the issue of equal pay for work of equal value.
20. The Liberal Women’s Caucus proposes that a new Liberal government should implement pro-active pay equity legislation as recommended by the 2004 federal Pay Equity Task Force.
21. The Liberal Women’s Caucus proposes that a new Liberal government should:
- Allow seniors to earn income, including RRSP withdrawals, equal to as much as 10% of the benefits they receive under Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) before they see their GIS reduced. Ten per cent of these two benefits would be approximately $1,400.
- Eliminate the application form for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). All this information is on income-tax returns.
- Divide the GIS cheque in proportion to a couple’s income. For example, if a man earns 80 per cent of the income he would get 20 per cent of the GIS and the woman would get 80 per cent.
- Work with provinces to remove the 11-month retroactivity restriction that currently applies to CPP benefits. This change would mean that an individual applying late for CPP benefits would not be penalized.
22. The Liberal Women’s Caucus proposes that a new Liberal government should:
- As a short-term measure, invest $1 billion over five years towards the development of a national caregiving agenda. This would be done working co-operatively with the provinces and territories, especially Québec. A national conference in the fall of 2004 provided substantial information on how to develop caregiver policy.
- As a longer-term measure, extend the Canada Pension Plan drop-out provision to unpaid caregivers. This measure will address the future economic security of those who drop out of the labour force to provide care. The Liberal Women’s Caucus recognizes that this strategy would require negotiation with provincial and territorial governments as part of a review of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
23. The Liberal Women’s Caucus proposes that a new Liberal government should:
Using the Québec model, open discussions with all provinces and territories to discuss ways to construct an improved income replacement program for parents, including self-employed individuals.

A few notes:
The Court Challenges Program and the Gun Registry are utterly irrelevant to the other material covered in the Pink Book. These two policies do not belong here and should be removed.
Policies 5, 8, 11, 17, 19, 20, 22 and 23 are either not policies, too vague, or have no practical effect or application. In other words, even should these policies be adopted and acted upon, there would be no discernible change in the status quo. Policy 11 could have had value, but it doesn't go beyond "discussion."
Policies 2, 3, 9 and 18 are all variations on the same theme. Policies 1 and 14 are the same. Policy 18.3 would reduce the amount of money my family would receive from the government, as would Policy 4. Policies 18.1 and 18.2 are anti-family. It is not the responsibility of the state to raise children. It is the responsibility of the state to enable the family to raise their own children. Policy 5 and 18.4 are the same. Also, I am uncertain as to how redirecting the credit to the dependent spouse would be a benefit to the family as a whole.
Policies 7 and 21 are variations on the same idea. I am not familiar enough with OAS to know what drawbacks there would be, if any.
There are a fair number of ad hominem attacks and unsubstantiated accusations interspersed throughout the document. Beginning at page 8:

The policies of the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper are detrimental and damaging to women and threaten the hard-won gains made in past decades...
Prime Minister Harper, once said "pay equity" is "a rip-off," and clearly, the Conservative government is not providing leadership to help women improve their economic status...
The Conservative government has begun a systematic, ideologically-driven campaign to dismantle programs that help give voice to women’s issues...
This ideologically-based action [cancellation of the Court Challenges Program] by the Conservative government will make it more difficult for thousands of Canadians to exercise their constitutional rights. Through this action, access to justice for all Canadians will be severely eroded and especially so for women and Francophone minorities...
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cuts to Status of Women Canada and the Women’s Program are a direct and deliberate reversal of his January, 2006, pledge to "support women’s human rights" and to "take concrete and immediate measures, as recommended by the United Nations, to ensure that Canada fully upholds its commitments to women in Canada..."
The enormous progress toward equality achieved by women over the past thirty years has stalled under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative agenda, and will be reversed unless the needs of women are moved to the forefront of the public agenda...
The Conservative government’s current approach [to child care] will not build an affordable, accessible and high quality system of early learning and child care...
The Conservative government’s plan discriminates against low-income families. According to the Caledon Institute, the plan will "help modest-income families least and favour one-earner couples over single parents and two-earner couple" and does not help create an environment for early learning. A Liberal approach is to help all families...
The Conservative minority government refuses to provide leadership on this issue [pay equity], ignoring both the report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women and the recommendation of the 2004 federal Task Force Report on Pay Equity that calls for replacing the current complaint-based model of pay equity with new stand-alone, pro-active legislation. This should not be a surprise. In 1998, the current Prime Minister made it clear that he thought pay equity was "a rip-off" for the taxpayers and that the federal government should "scrap its ridiculous pay equity law..."

Random statistics pepper the margins of the Pink Book. Of note is the fact that "36 years after Royal Commission recommendations for legislative change for equal pay for work of equal value, women still earn approximately 71 per cent of what men earn for full-year, full-time work." In fact, this statistic has no meaning, since women are more likely than men to take time off work in order to raise their children. When they return to work, they do not start at the same salary as a man with equal work experience who did not take time off, nor should they. In this case, the woman has a learning curve; she has to get back into the groove of "how things are done." Not reflected in this study is that, regardless of her education level, this woman has less skill than her male counterpart. Because of this, in order to surpass a man, women who take time off to have families will have to work harder in the corporate world... and there is nothing wrong with that.
Another irrelevant statistic is this: "65 per cent of all women with children under age 3 in 2004 were employed, more than double the figure in 1976 when just 28 per cent were employed." How many women work is the wrong question. How many women want to have a career versus how many women want to raise a family would have been the relevant statistic in this case. I have discussed the financial burden the comes with foregoing a career before. Some families are simply not able or not willing to make this difficult choice. If the Liberal Women's caucus truly wanted to be proactive and offer all women choice, then they would work to their utmost to enable every woman who wished to remain at home to do so. Such is not the case.
It is my hope that people will see the Pink Book for what it is: a last ditch effort to paint the Conservatives as a bunch of male-chauvnist women haters, a sorry attempt to enforce a rigid, anti-family agenda on the average Canadian. It is an insult to the intelligent, thinking woman. It is especially an insult to stay at home mothers, those of us who are "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen." As already mentioned, that such a piece of work should be delivered by the likes of Judy Sgro is salt on the wound.
Time to file it under the desk.

The "Pink" Book

Wow!
They weren't kidding.
Here it is. I plan to go through it and post my thoughts.
Meanwhile, what can I say?
It's very pink.

Barefoot, Pregnant and in the Kitchen

(I write this with a touch of irony, as I am currently barefoot, 5months pregnant and ten minutes ago was cleaning my kitchen. ht/ Sara)

The Globe & Mail has this article for your viewing displeasure:
The federal Liberal women's caucus is accusing the Conservative government of trying to keep females "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen."
They say the government is pursuing an ideological agenda that ignores women's needs and cuts funding to those who need help the most.
The Liberal women have released a set of party policies aimed at what they say are the most pressing social and economic issues facing Canadian women, particularly working women and their families, caregivers and seniors.
They say that improving the social and economic equality of women is the driving force behind the first volume of what they're calling their "Pink Book."
The document is the product of cross-country working sessions with women and women's groups held last July, and is slated to be in the party's election platform.
Belinda Stronach, chair of the Liberal women's caucus, says the recommendations are also aimed at countering what she describes as the Conservative government's "attack" on women's progress.
The recommendations include commitments to reinstate the Liberal child-care and early-learning plan the Tories scrapped after the last election; reverse budget cuts to social programs and Status of Women; develop a national caregiver agenda; provide more benefits to the self-employed; and legislate equal pay for work of equal value.
Judy Sgro says it's not so much the dollars as the message the cuts send.
"I think Harper and his Conservative government, based on their policies, would clearly prefer women would stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and move us backwards 40 years," she said."

Where do I even start?
Behold the champions of women's right: Belinda Stronach, who can't keep her legs crossed to save her life, and Judy Sgro, known for her protection of the stripper industry... which is widely regarded as a most feminine friendly industy, right Judy?
Get a load of their plan:
1. Reinstate Liberal child-care: The Liberal plan was nothing short of a disaster. It arrogantly presumes that the state is more capable than the parent with regards to raising a child. Also note that if the Liberal plan would be resurrected, that would put a quick end to the $100/month/per child under six plan that the Tories brought in. The Tory plan ALSO included extra daycare spaces, and so looked after BOTH groups. The Liberal plan excludes the family where one parent chooses to stay at home.
2. Reverse budget cuts: Pump more money back into feminazi groups that support decriminalized prostituion and legalized polygamy. Yes, that really sounds like concern for the well-being of women.
3. Develop a national caregiver agenda: Again, arrogantly presume that the state is better equipped to raise a child than its own parent. Will this "care giver agenda" include me, a stay at home mom? So far, the answer to that one is a big, fat no.
4. Provide more benefits to the self-employed: Tories are already on this one.
5. Legislate equal pay for work of equal value: This is already law, so what's your point ladies?
Best of all is the emphatic statement that Tories would "clearly" prefer women to be subjugated... or better yet, that the choice to stay at home and have children is even indicative of subjugation. I have no time at all for this anti-choice feminazi crap. Just because you don't value your children doesn't mean I am going to follow your "plan." I happen to think that right now, the best use of my education is to invest it in my children.

The "Pyjamas" Media

The latest issue of the Christian Renewal has an article about bloggers. I am pleased to say that Blogging Tories is mentioned.
Anyone remember Christina Lawand?
Well, it sounds like she has been fired.

Things I Do and Don't Like
About the New Blogger

If you know nothing at all about coding and designing a website, you will probably love the new Blogger template system. You don't have to look at Blogger tags, you can pick a number of nice templates and you can simply click and add in whatever new element you like.
Depending on your level of experience with HTML and CSS, while you may like the new Blogger template format, there are some new features that may be quite frustrating for you. On the one hand, separation of form and content has been done beautifully with widgets. The widgets are defined as divs. All widgets have an id and an assortment of other properties and all widgets must be contained in a section tag. (For more on the specifics of the new Blogger tag names, see their help.) On the other hand, widgets that are of the same type must all look the same. So, take my sidebar for example. Suppose I wanted to change the look of my profile and Technorati boxes, but not my label or blogroll boxes. Too bad! So sad! They are all sidebar widgets. I cannot surround each sidebar widget in a div and restyle that div, because all widgets must be in a section. What I have not figured out yet is if I am limited to the number of sections I can have or not. A possible fix would be to put each and every widget in its own section, give each section a different id and then refer to it as section_id.widget in my CSS. I cannot change the widget type however, and I cannot rename the widget to be widget1 as Blogger uses that for their internal workings.
Also, I cannot do little things like change the look of my arrows in my archive list. The arrow look is not kept in the stylesheet (unless I am blind; I have looked all morning.) That sort of fiddly inconsistency is annoying. (I also need to figure out how to keep my line on the right connected to the bottom part of the page, but that is a problem with my stylesheet and not Blogger's fault.)
The worst and most annoying new feature is that you MUST have a header title. While this may sound like a dumb complaint, imagine you are me with a graphic header that has the name of your blog already in it. Now imagine that no matter what you do, when you put up your new graphic header, Blogger willfully inserts the name of your blog in text over top of your graphic. Please note, you may not leave the header field blank and you may not delete the header. So, as you can see, I ended up taking the name of my blog off my graphic header and worked with Blogger's enforced text instead. Allow me to assure you that the entire ordeal caused me much frustration.
On the upside, Blogger has finally incorporated tags. This is a very useful sorting feature. Despite some of the frustrations caused by the new format, which I am sure I will deal with as I learn how to more effectively use it, I do prefer the new Blogger template style to the old one. I also prefer Blogger's new spell checker.

11/22/2006

So Far So Good...

In the new Blogger templates, everything is a widget. You do not see the blogger tags at all, you simply add page elements. The HTML is more like a skin for all the div tags. Whether or not you like this new format will depend on your personal tastes. So far I have not found any limitations to it. I'll let you know if I do.

And here we go....

I will be upgrading to one of the new Blogger templates today. It says there are new features, so hopefully "features" are good things and not bad. Some of my current blog items (such as archives, blog lists and such) may disappear for a bit. Have no fear, I have saved my old template and should be able to add them in later.
For those of you who are considering making the switch to Bloggers beta version, I will post as much as can of my experience. So far, I have had no serious issues. The only thing I have found is that you cannot use a Blogger account that has been converted to the beta version to sign posts on non-beta blogs. This means that if a blog absolutely requires blogger accounts for comment posting, you are out of luck. Fortunately for me, most of the blogs I read do not have such a requirement. If you wish to comment on a non-beta blog, you can simply use the "other account" type of comment login.

11/21/2006

Income Splitting

Sara brings us some good news:
LES WHITTINGTON, OTTAWA BUREAU

OTTAWA—The Conservative government is looking at a radical restructuring of the tax system that would allow couples to reduce what they pay by averaging out their income, says a government source.
But introducing income splitting — something Finance Minister Jim Flaherty could touch on as early as Thursday when he delivers his annual economic update — is likely to set off sharp criticism from groups that consider it unfair to single Canadians and a disincentive to women working outside the home.
Critics say income splitting — transferring income to the lower-earning partner for tax purposes — would alter the fundamental nature of the tax system, making the family a basic unit and the system less progressive...

Woohoo!!I'd like to draw your attentions to Mr. Whittington's bias against tax splitting. Clearly, this is a man that does not view the family as the basic unit of society. Anything which gives the family an advantage, or even a level playing field is not "progressive."
Mr. Whittington, do you have a family?
Anyway, I will be keeping my eyes and ears open. I will be thrilled if the government really does introduce income splitting. That will help so much.

Liberal Leadership Convention

Two bits of news on the upcoming Liberal leadership convention caught my eye recently. One is on their policies and the other is on the cost and other problems of the convention itself.
A resolution recognizing Quebec as a nation isn't the only controversy likely to erupt at the Liberals' leadership convention next week.
The various commissions and provincial wings of the party have proposed 135 policy resolutions that will be up for debate.
They range from motherhood proposals to resurrect the previous Liberal government's child care, aboriginal and climate change agendas to more controversial proposals to legalize marijuana and lower the age of consent for consensual anal sex...
Creation of a new federal ministry to formulate national standards for post-secondary education, even though education is a jealously guarded, strictly provincial jurisdiction.
-A party plan to guarantee gender parity in Parliament within three elections.
-Creation of an all-party task force to study alternatives to Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system, including proportional representation.
-Tax incentives to encourage the purchase of low-emission vehicles and tax penalties for purchases of gas-guzzling SUVs and pick-up trucks for personal use in urban settings.

While the average Canadian is struggling with an unfair tax burden and making ends meet, our Liberal pals are thinking about anal sex. This is a real eye opener into their priorities... or lack thereof. Not mentioned in the article is decriminalizing and regulating prostitution, but I am certain it is still Liberal Party policy.
Meanwhile,
A fundraiser to subsidize female delegates to the Liberal leadership convention was held up Monday as proof that the party needs to adopt a more economical process of one person-one vote for selecting its leaders.
The Liberals are the last federal party to cling to the old system of sending delegates to choose their leaders. The fee at attend next week's leadership convention in Montreal is $995 but with travel, hotels and meals, the tab for many delegates will easily be closer to $3,000.

First of all, I would like to point out their strategy to attract women delegates: ladies get in free. Very club-like, no?
But, more disturbing to me is this:
Stronach, who briefly toyed with running for the leadership herself, has been championing the move to a one member-one vote process.
"One member-one vote, with the support of technology, would be a much more democratic process, would be much more accessible to people," she said.
Among other things at the convention, delegates will be asked to vote on a proposal to adopt a one member-one vote selection process for future leadership contests.

I beg your pardon?
When selecting a Liberal Party leader, they don't have a one member, one vote process? Then what do they have? I would honestly like to know, so if anyone has that information, please tell me. Who gets more votes and who gets less? It is unthinkable that any party would have anything other than a one member one vote method of selecting their leader. To the best of my knowledge, this is what the Conservatives have. In fact, I thought all parties had this. Clearly, I was wrong.

George Galloway Weighs In...
Like We Care

According to Canada.com:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's foreign policy strategy is a joke and is causing Canada to be hated around the world, British politician George Galloway said Monday.
The notorious member of parliament, known for his outspoken views against the Iraq war, said Harper's actions at the APEC summit in Hanoi show he lacks diplomacy skills and doesn't understand Canada's place in the world.
Harper had a difficult time arranging a meeting with the Chinese president, which many experts said was a snub for the government's continued criticism of China's foreign policy.
"The idea of Canada threatening China is absurd," Galloway said at an event sponsored by the Syrian Canadian Club. "The whole point of politics is to talk to each other, even if you hate each other."
Galloway, who used to be a Labour MP, is now a member of the left-wing RESPECT, the Unity Coalition. He is wrapping up a four-day tour of Canada, which included stops in Toronto and Montreal, where he is spreading the message about his opposition to Canada's role in Afghanistan and its relationship with Israel.
Galloway also weighed in on Canada's Liberal leadership contest, saying that "Anyone but Ignatieff" is a common slogan in British politics.

Where do I even begin with this ridiculous piece of "news?"
Galloway is completely out of touch with the common Brit. He is also staunchly anti-Bush, anti-Iraq, anti-Blair, anti-common sense and a self-promoter. That he thinks Harper's ideas are bad can only be a good thing. While he may think that "Canada threatening China is absurd," I simply must point out that Galloway criticizing Harper is even more absurd.

11/20/2006

Moved to the New Blogger

I have moved to the new version of blogger. Over the next few days I hope to update my blog to reflect some of the new features. Hopefully, I'll even get my look updated.
In other news, sorry my blogging has been light of late. Having a 14 month old and being five months pregnant will do that to you.

A Great Article

(ht: Shane)

This article is so good that I have reprinted the entire thing below. My husband says it all the time: liberals like to accuse conservatives of the negative things that they are guilty of themselves


Eva's got it wrong
David Frum, National Post

You'll never know who will turn up in Washington to talk politics. On Wednesday, the city was graced by actress Eva Longoria, the sultry star of ABC's Desperate Housewives. Addressing an audience of Latino business leaders, she explained the wide appeal of her show: "Everyone on Wisteria Lane has the money of a Republican, but the sex life of a Democrat."
It's a pretty good joke -- but very poor sociology.
Over the past 15 years, it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who have emerged as the party of upper-income America. In 2000, Al Gore beat George Bush among the 4% of voters who described themselves to exit pollsters as "upper class." In 2004, John Kerry won nine of the 10 richest zip codes in the United States.
As for sex -- well, it turns out that it's Republican (and especially Republican women) who have it more often and better. The two strongest predictors of Republican affiliation in America are (1) marriage and (2) church attendance. These are also the strongest predictors of female sexual satisfaction. The authoritative 1995 University of Chicago survey Sex in America found that conservative Protestant married women were the group most likely to report that they "nearly always" orgasmed during sex. Married women of all religions were almost twice as likely as unmarried women to describe their sex lives as "extremely satisfying."
So if offered the choice, reader, you'd be wiser to choose Democratic money and Republican sex.
And yet, somehow the joke would not be very funny that way would it? Stereotypes overwhelm even the strongest facts.
Here's another stereotype, even deeper and more enduring than Longoria's: Liberals are more compassionate than conservatives. Certainly, this is a view deeply held by liberals themselves. Yet the truth is exactly the opposite.
Next week, Basic Books will publish an astonishing new volume by Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks: Who Really Cares. Prof. Brooks reviews the vast academic literature on charitable giving and arrives at a startling conclusion: By virtually every measure, political conservatives are demonstrably more generous, more honest and more public-spirited than political liberals.
Consider for example this one fundamental liberal/conservative dividing line, the question "Do you believe the government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality?" In a major 1996 survey, 33% of Americans gave the liberal answer, "yes"; 43% gave the conservative answer, "no."
Those who gave the conservative answer were more likely to give to charity than those who gave the liberal answer. And when they gave, they gave much more: an average of four times as much as liberal givers.
Correct for income, age and other variables, and you find that people who want government to fight inequality are 10 points less likely to give anything at all -- and when they did give, they gave US$263 per year less than a right-winger of exactly the same age earning exactly the same money.
A second survey, this one conducted in 2002, found that people who believe that "people should take care of themselves" accounted for 25% of the population -- but gave 31% of America's blood.
"To put this in perspective," Brooks says, "if the whole population gave blood like opponents of social spending do, the blood supply would increase by more than a quarter. But if everyone in the population gave like government-aid advocates, the supply would drop by about 30%."
A third survey found that people who believe that the government "spends too much on welfare" were more likely to give directions to someone on the street, return extra change to a cashier, or to give food or money to a homeless person.
A fourth found that a poor family that worked for its income donated three times as much money as a family that received an exactly equal income from welfare.
It's almost a psychological rule: The more you espouse "compassion" in your politics, the more likely you are to be selfish in your personal behaviour.
How often do we hear the generosity of Europe contrasted to the "savage individualism" of the United States? Yet Americans give vastly more to charity: per person, more than twice as much as the Spanish, more than three times as much as the French, seven times as much as the Germans and 14 times as much as the Italians.
Despite working an average of 400 hours more per year than their European counterparts, Americans are 15 percentage points more likely to volunteer their time than the Dutch, 21 points more likely to volunteer than the Swiss and 32 points more likely to volunteer than Germans. (Indeed, 80% of Germans never volunteer their time for any cause at all.)
If we must have stereotypes, let's at least have accurate ones. Not only are conservatives sexier than liberals -- they are kinder too.

11/07/2006

Regarding Euthanasia and Infants

Yesterday I made a post regarding the active euthanasia of disabled infants. Looking around the web, I came across a fair amount of misinformation on the subject. In one blog in particular a poster articulated the sentiment that doctors must know best and anyone who opposed the proposal was a hypocrite if they agreed with the use of ventilators and feeding tubes.
Before I begin, a few definitions take from here.
"Passive euthanasia" is usually defined as withdrawing medical treatment with the deliberate intention of causing the patient's death.

"Active euthanasia" is taking specific steps to cause the patient's death, such as injecting the patient with poison. In practice, this is usually an overdose of pain-killers or sleeping pills.

"Voluntary euthanasia" is when the patient requests that action be taken to end his life, or that life-saving treatment be stopped, with full knowledge that this will lead to his death.

"Involuntary euthanasia" is when a patient's life is ended without the patient's knowledge and consent.

The wikipedia entry includes nonvoluntary euthanasia and defines involuntary euthanasia differently.
Nonvoluntary euthanasia occurs without the fully informed consent and fully informed request of a decisionally-competent adult patient or that of their surrogate (proxy). An example of this might be if a "patient" has decisional capacity but is not told they will be euthanized; or, if a patient is not conscious or lacks decisional-capacity and their surrogate is not told the patient will be euthanized.

Involuntary euthanasia occurs over the objection of a patient or their surrogate (proxy). An example of this might be if a patient with decisional capacity (or their surrogate) is told what will happen. The patient (or surrogate) refuses yet the patient is euthanized anyway.

Terminal sedation is not euthanasia. The patient is medically put to sleep, possibly taken off a breathing tube and receives no further treatment. Usually, this does not include removal of a feeding tube that could result in starvation. Allowing a patient to starve to death would qualify as passive euthanasia.
A correct understanding of the definitions makes all the difference in the world to this particular argument. The Royal College of Obstetricians presented an argument which consisted of the following:
1. Actively euthanising a patient.
2. The patient is a disabled infant. Since minors are not legally allowed to decide whether they may be euthanised and babies are incapable of making such a decision, a surrogate or proxy must be selected.
3. In this case, the surrogate or proxy is the parent. The parent has already decided that they do not wish their child to live. This presents a conflict of interest. The proxy has their own interest at heart and not that of the patient. In a typical case, were the patient an adult, such an individual would not be allowed to make the decision to euthanise a patient or not. Someone without said conflict of interest would have to be selected. However, no other proxy is selected.
Not presented in their case is that, in most cases, a doctor may not legally decide to euthanise a patient of their own accord. In fact, the point that parents had to fight against the doctors in order to keep their child alive is only picked up by the article. The Royal College makes no admission of their own conflict of interest whatsoever.
Damian felt guilty about invoking Godwin's law. I'd like to point out that Godwin's law does not apply in cases where the guilty party (in this case, the Royal College) is in fact adopting some portion of the principles of the Nazi Party. The Nazi's wanted to preserve the quality of their race. Their argument hinged on the fact that disabled children diminish racial purity.
As recorded in Plutarch's Lives, the Spartan's had a similar belief. Children were bred for the benefit of their society. Infants who were deformed or even too small were thrown into a ravine. They were not even accorded a burial. The belief was Nazi-like in principle. The small and the weak would be less able to benefit their society, which centered around the accomplishments of the strong warrior. The belief was so extreme that should a woman give birth to twins, the smallest twin would be discarded. Superstition held that the smaller twin would leech of the metaphysical superiority of the stronger twin, result in two weaklings. This belief was held well until the Dark Ages.
The Royal College wishes to euthanise disabled babies that will not have a "normal" life or are not wanted by their parents. The notion of normal is quite vague and the inclusion of "not wanted" ought to be disturbing to everyone.
Like it or not, these are arguments of worth. The underlying principle is that disabled people are less able to contribute to the well-being of a society. Parents need not be "burdened" with the care of a disabled child. What makes arguments such as the one presented by the Royal College most disturbing is not only their ultimate goal, murder of the imperfect, but their vagueness. Normality is not properly defined and neither is a worthwhile life. Questions to consider in light of this:
Will a Down's baby have a worthwhile life?
Is a blind baby going to have a worthwhile life?
Will a deaf baby have a worthwhile life?
Will a mute baby have a worthwhile life?
What about Helen Keller?
What about Anne Sullivan?
What about dwarfs?
What about the family on "Little People, Big World?" Their life looks pretty good to me.
How is potential being measured by the people who support infanticide? Consider carefully that people like Hitler, Stalin, Saddam and Charles Manson would probably have "passed" their measure of normality. Is the measurement of worth accurate in their cases?
God decides the worth of a human being, not man. He doesn't place worth on the externals of a person, but on their internal, spiritual state. Our worth is not determined by how we look or our physical prowess, but on our humility before God and our obedience to Him. As I commented yesterday in response to a poster, there is nothing of value to consider in an argument in favour of euthanising disabled infants. There is no convceivable argument that any doctor could possible offer that would justify the decision to murder a baby, especially in the case where their parent simply does not want them anymore. That the Royal College ever presented their case at all offers a glimpse into the morally depraved nature of our world.
People learned nothing from the second World War.

A "Tribute" to Saddam

(ht: Damian)

The title of the article says it all. Saddam: A Tribute.
Before I begin, I'd like to point out to the author of the article that tributes are usually paid to heroes, not dictators. If you are paying a tribute to a dictator, then he is forcing it from you... and it's usually financial in nature.
This article is so ridiculous that I have no choice but to rip it to shreds.

Three months ago, Tony Blair warned the world that an "arc of extremism" now stretches across the Middle East from Iran to Lebanon. This phenomenon, he suggested, threatens the survival of the very values on which western society is based. Yet, when Blair came to power, no such claim could have been made. Slap-bang in the middle of his currently awesome arc, lay a fortress of stability in the shape of Saddam's Iraq.

Fortress of stability?
Uh. Where were you during Desert Storm?
Saddam had tied down revolutionary Iran, the most potentially destructive force in the region, in an eight-year war, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties. Any Islamic terrorists found on Iraqi territory were summarily executed. The Middle Eastern oil that underpins our society, and therefore the values that our Prime Minister holds so dear, flowed freely into our refineries. Within Iraq itself, a secular state offered women opportunities unimaginable in nearby countries, and provided a standard of living far from unreasonable by the standards of the developing world.

At the time of Saddam's reign, Iran was not the most potentially destructive force in the region. This is rewriting history. Iran has only now become a potentially destructive force. At the time of Saddam's reign, Iraq was the most potentially destructive force in the region.
It is also not true that any Iraqi terrorists were summarily executed. It is only true that Iraqi terrorists who were not somehow affiliated with the Baathist PArty were executed.
Three objections were made to this state of affairs.

Only three. C'mon guys. Saddam really wasn't so bad. I could only find three things wrong with him and I can even show they weren't really his fault.
The first was that Saddam had expansionist ambitions. His annexation of Kuwait in 1990 was, however, rooted in a long-standing territorial claim based on the fact that Kuwait had been part of Basra province under the Ottomans and was only hived off under British colonial rule. Somewhat disconcertingly for Iraq's current liberators, this claim was revived in 2004 by none other than the US-appointed President of Iraq's Interim Governing Council.

Expansionist ambitions are a problem for everyone, especially those living in the region which might be expanded upon. They are even more a problem when they held by a dictator. Such ambitions are nearly always rooted in long-standing territorial claims. The author also neglects to point out that no part of the current Middle East geographically appears as it did under the rule of the Ottomans. That Britain "hived off" Kuwait and made it a province is utterly irrelevant.
The second objection was that Saddam was developing weapons of mass destruction. Why he stopped doing so, we shall perhaps never know, but when he had such weapons, he chose to use them against Iranian armed forces and Iraq's own dissident Kurds, rather than for any purpose that threatened the wider world. Had he acquired nuclear weapons, this might have proved a useful check on Iran's regional ambitions. Today, Iran appears to pose far more danger to the outside world than Saddam ever did, yet we seem to have no plans to deal with this country as we did with Iraq.

Essentially the argument here is this: "Since Saddam wasn't bothering us with his weapons, he never intended to do so. We should have kept him in power in order to prevent Iran from developing nukes." This is not an argument. This is unsubstantiated speculation. I could just as easily claim that Iran would have developed nukes faster in order to combat Saddam. We would then have to interfere in a war between a nuclear power and an insane man with chemical weapons. And yes, we (or at least the US) would have to interfere in such a case. Nuclear war affects us all.
His third point is my favorite.
The final objection to Saddam's rule, on which more and more weight has necessarily had to be placed by those responsible for his downfall, is that he abused the human rights of Iraqi citizens. Quite clearly he did. Yet, why should it be assumed that this consideration trumps all others?

Why should human rights abuses trump all others? Is this a serious question? The answer is very simple: because they are people. Maybe the author would like to live under a regime that tramples his human rights in order to gain a little experience on the subject.
Iraq was created by the victors of World War I. Its Shia, Sunni and Kurdish peoples did not choose to be flung together, and their antagonisms made the country a powder-keg. Saddam believed that such a nation could be held together only by brutally effective repression. Current events suggest that he may have had a point.

Current events suggest nothing of the kind. The regions has had problems since Roman times. Do a little reading. In any case, the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds were already "flung together" even before the rule of the Ottomans.
Doubtless, Saddam's security services killed many Iraqis. However, the 2003 invasion appears to have resulted in at least 45,000 violent civilian deaths. Back in 2004, before things had reached their present parlous state, a study published by The Lancet suggested that the risk of death for a civilian in Iraq had already become 58 times higher than it was under Saddam. Taking into account invasion-caused mortality from accidents, heart attacks, disease and so on, it was estimated that Iraq had already experienced at least 100,000 additional deaths as early as September 2004.

That people die during war is not a reason to avoid war. Including heart-attacks and disease artificially inflates the numbers of this "study." Nothing is being proven here, and this is a meaningless statistic.
Saddam would have had his work cut out to match these figures. So, why are the Iraqis better off without him? The only answer available is that now they are "free". Well, we all value freedom. Some value it more than life, and those who do certainly go on about it. Nonetheless, they are probably a minority.

Better to be alive than free, in other words. Essentially, this boils down to arguing that freedom is not a worthy goal. Again, this is not an argument relevant to the discussion.
Living under tyranny may not be ideal, but it is not impossible. In the Soviet Union, life took on a character of its own, in which the human spirit managed to flourish in spite of the political constraints. The literature generated in those conditions can still inspire us. Today, many former Soviet citizens feel no more free under the yoke of global capitalism than they did before, and some would like to see the return of Stalinism. The people of China seem in no rush to jettison a regime that holds out the prospect of prosperity at the expense only of liberty.

Wow! First we have an excuse for Soviet tyranny. Then we have an utterly unsubstantiated claim that the Chinese do not mind their tyrannical government. I take it the author feels Tiananmen Square was not a big deal?
Even in Britain, our supposed attachment to our supposed freedom turns out to be tenuous. We seem content to toss aside ancient liberties in the face of a dubious war on terror, and we live, cheerily enough, under a regime of surveillance that the KGB might have envied.

One thing I am noticing is the authors repeated use of the word "might." It's amazing the sort of outrageous claims one can make simply by inserting the word "might." If anyone were to point out the insane intention of the comparison of the current British government with the KGB, all the author would have to say is "I didn't say they would have envied. I said they might have envied." His point is clear, however. He intends to compare his government with the KGB. This is a ridiculous ad hominem comparison.
Saddam offered his people a harsh deal. Yet, their lives were at risk only if they chose to challenge his authority. Now, they die because of the sect to which they happen to belong.

"Yet their lives were at risk only if they chose to oppose his authority." So, if they had all just kept their heads down and done as they were told, everything would have been fine. I take it those innocent Kurds he gassed were just an exception? This is just such a bad argument. The problem with dictators is that they quickly become unstable. How would the Iraqi people know what would be interpreted as a challenge to Saddam's authority? What if they had a friend who thought Saddam was a bad guy? Could they be arrested just for being a friend? Could they be arrested because Saddam thought they may not like him?
Now, before anyone tries to argue "hey, that's a slippery slope," let me just say this: Yes, it is. Dictatorial regimes are extremely prone to slippery slopes. The absolute power that dictators demand feeds a psychopathic desire that can never truly be sated. They always crave more power and control. As their need for control deepens, the means they use to obtain control degenerate into utter depravity. Human life loses all value to the tyrant; only his cravings remain.
Soon, their country may fall prey to a savage civil war. If that happens, the Iranians will doubtless intervene, along, perhaps, with Turkey and Israel. No one can predict where that might lead, but the outcome is unlikely to be positive for peace, prosperity, justice or, indeed, human rights.

No one can predict where it might lead, but the author seems willing to try. I love how the prediction is one of doom and gloom.
If Saddam were still in power, he would have stopped this happening. Iraq's dissidents would have paid a price, but the rest of us would be a lot better off. As he goes to meet the hangman, the world has cause to rue his demise.

Those struggling for freedom would have died. The rest of us would have lived your lives as normal. What a noble sentiment this man closes with. Basically he sums up with "Screw you guys. I'd rather keep myself safe."

This article epitomizes the meaning of cowardice. There is no moral center, no backbone, no bravery, no honour, no intestinal fortitude. There is only groveling to a tyrant in a pathetic attempt to save oneself from death... the supposed worst thing that can come.
If this is the new western mindset, if this is enlightenment, I want no part of it.

Regarding Saddam

I was not surprised to hear that Saddam was pronounced guilty. I was also not surprised to hear that he was sentenced to death by hanging and that he and his lawyers will be appealing the sentence. Media reports on Saddam's sentence show a fairly strong anti-US bias, a belief that the death penalty is wrong and that the sentencing is all a part of a great political plot.
Discussions surrounding the former foreign policies of the US which may or may not have kept Saddam in power are not relevant. The current US government or any previous governments are not on trial. Furthermore, any complicity on the part of the US in no way absolves Saddam of any wrongdoing. No one forced Saddam to murder the people he did. While some might try to argue that the US should have removed him sooner, I would like to point out that there was considerable resistance among the liberal elites (and media in particular) to the idea of removing him when they did. There is no evidence to support the idea that had the US tried sooner, they would not have met with the same resistance.
In any case, the debate is not relevant to the discussion. Only Saddam was on trial for his actions. When a murderer goes to trial, say for the death of his wife, whether someone paid him to kill her, thereby "making him do it" is not cosidered a mitigating circumstance. The murdere is still tried and sentenced.
Arguments for or against the death penalty are also not relevant to the discussion. Although I do believe in the death penalty for certain cases, whether I believe it and someone else does not has no impact on Iraqi law. What matters is whether or not Iraqi's hold to the death penalty.
They do.
If the West is trying to build a democracy in Iraq, then they must start by respecting their laws. In cases where a law may interfere with the democratic process, they might then interfere and assist in the creation of a new law (for example, having successful elections may require the changing of old laws). However, the death penalty is not such a law. While some may try to argue that it is outmoded, indicative of an archaic way of thinking, the death penalty itself is not inherently undemocratic. In fact, if the majority of Iraqi's support the death penalty (they do) simply ignore their beliefs and insist that it be removed from their laws would be very undemocratic.
Is Saddam guilty?
The Iraqi court has tried him and found him to be so.
Should he hang?
His sentence, which is based on Iraqi laws indicates that he must be hanged for his crime.
It would be hypocritical at best to assume that somehow we know better, that we can interfere, in an affair that is clearly the business of Iraqis. If they wish to hang their former dictator, I do not think that outsiders have the right to step in.

11/06/2006

"Mercy" Killing Babies

Did no one learn anything from World War II?
A doctors' group today called for a debate on the mercy killing of disabled babies.
The medical profession should examine the "active euthanasia" of desperately ill newborns, said the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.
It wants an inquiry into whether the "deliberate intervention to cause the death of an infant" should be legalised.

This is an outrage!
As a mother of two (That's right! I said two! My second is due in March. A fetus *IS* a person!) I am shocked and appalled that not only are doctors considering this, but people are actually willing to debate it as a worthy issue. The argument is cloaked in pseudo-morality, artificial ethics and the belief that a disabled person is not "worth" as much. For example:
Some doctors consider, however, that a baby born so prematurely and who survives thanks to modern medical treatment is likely to be so badly disabled that worthwhile life is impossible.

So, instead of finding ways to improve the quality of life for the disabled, these doctors would rather eradicate the problem. Murder is more acceptable than medical innovation.
The problem lies not only with doctors. The problem is also with some parents.
The college suggested that decisions on when young babies should be killed or allowed to die should depend not only on the gravity of their condition.
Its submission to an inquiry on the ethics of treatment for severely ill and disabled newborns raises the question of whether such children should be killed if they are not wanted by their parents.

I would have no problem if they introduced a law castrating such "parents." A child is not a decoration for your stroller. It's not there to be cute and make you look good. A child is a human being, a life, someone for you to love, cherish, care and provide for. If a disability is going to interfere with that, if you are too callous to care for the blessing God has given you just because it doesn't line up with your warped definition of "perfect," then you should not be having children.

10/27/2006

Reasons to Hate Feminism

(ht: Shane at The High Places)

This is what power feminism gets you. I quote:
"Unleash the sex kitten inside... simply extend the Peekaboo pole inside the tube, slip on the sexy tunes and away you go! Soon you'll be flaunting it to the world and earning a fortune in Peekaboo Dance Dollars."
Great.
And here I thought Bratz and My Scene Barbie were bad. Now we get to listen to our daughter's tell their classmates "When I grow up, I wanna be a pole dancer." Can we offer the next generation nothing better or more appealing than whoredom?

10/24/2006

The Great White (Feminist) Hope

(ht: Small Dead Animals)

D. Coulter writes to YorkRegion.com:
Newmarket-Aurora MP Belinda Stronach has been trying to win quick political points recently by criticizing the Conservatives for not having enough women in the cabinet. Its cabinet is about 25 per cent female.
To see if Ms Stronach puts her money where her mouth is, I reviewed the family company, Magna, of which she is a former CEO. I checked its annual report to see how many women are on the board of directors and how many women occupy senior executive positions.
As of the most recent Magna annual report, of 12 board members, there are no women. And of 25 senior executives, there zero women.
Once again, the hypocrisy of Ms Stronach is laughable.


I really have nothing to add to this fine piece of workmanship. Every MP sitting in the House, every Liberal, every Stronach supporter, every Canadian woman, should be given a copy of this letter.
So much for the champion of women's rights.

Removal of Clause from Anti-Terror Law:
A Fatal Mistake

This just in:
A key section of Canada's anti-terrorism legislation defining terrorism as an act committed for a political, ideological or religious purpose have been struck down as unconstitutional, but the prosecution against Mohammed Momin Khawaja, the man who challenged the law, can proceed...
"The matter will proceed to trial in January," said Federal Crown prosecutor David McKercher this morning following the ruling by Justice Douglas Rutherford that the offending portion of the law should simply be "severed" from the rest of the legislation. "It simply removes one element the Crown would otherwise have had to prove."
Khawaja's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, was far less optimistic about the matter proceeding to trial by January, saying the ruling strikes to the core of the anti-terror law.
"I don't see how it could," he said. "Certainly it is our intention to challenge the remedy. Severence is not sufficient. These charges should be quashed. I anticipate the Crown will want to appeal."
However McKercher said for the Crown's part that an interlocutory appeal would be unusual and he said the appropriate time to file an appeal of the decision would normally be after Khawaja's trial...

The fact that the court decided to remove the clause regarding political, religious or ideological motivation shows an enormous degree of naivete. There is clearly no understanding of the nature of extremist behaviour or terrorism within the judicial community if this is what is allowed to happen. My fear is that we will all pay for this grave mistake.

10/20/2006

Arf! Arf!!

So, MacKay apparently called Stronach a dog.
The barely-audible exchange was caught on audio tape, with one MP asking "what about your dog?" and someone responding: "You have her."
Interesting that no one has pointed out MacKay only said "her" and not "Belinda." What makes everyone so certain he was referring to Stronach?
Unless you all really do think she is a dog.
Not that I would presume to debate the issue.

In all seriousness though, I can't say as I feel sorry for Stronach. Should MacKay have said it? Probably not. Should he be punished? No, I don't think so. Was it a sexist comment? No, not really. It was just an observation on her conduct. If she wants to be revered as a so-called empowered woman, the last great hope for feminism in politics, then she should act with a little more dignity. Call a spade a spade, and if you're going to act like a ho, then you deserve what you get... canine comments included.
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