2/28/2006

Canada's Apprentice Potential

A new season of The Apprentice started last night. There is a Canadian candidate. Sadly, he is really annoying. This leaves me in a quandary.
Do I want him to win because he's Canadian or do I want him to lose because he's annoying?
Maybe he'll get better?

2/27/2006

Chocolate and the Dutch

I just heard on the radio that the Dutch have produced research indicating that if you are an older man, chocolate may reduce blood pressure. One third of a bar a day is optimal.
Checking the web, I find the story confirmed.
What can I say? Dutch people put chocolate sprinkles on their toast, I kid you not. I am sure no one in the Netherlands needed this study to "help" them eat chocolate.

The Rothstein Review

I have been watching the committee on CPAC. So far, it's pretty interesting. Comartin is a bit of a jerk if you asked me. He just can't hide his disdain for the process.
Ablonczy just asked Rothstein about judges making the law verses applying and interpreting the law. He answered that the responsibility of a judge is to apply the law, not to make it. He is now talking about the Charter and saving particular laws and potential difficulties.
In my opinion, Rothstein seems like he will be a good, non-partisan, non-political choice for the Supreme Court. His tendency so far seems to be to err on the side of the law, not to go with his own preferences.

Tom and Jerry

I first saw this story at SDA.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: real life is stranger than the movies and you just can't make this stuff up.
Tom and Jerry are secretly a part of the vast Jewish conspiracy to over take the world, hoard money, erase memories and perhaps steal a piece of cheese or two.
According to [Bolkhari] "Tom and Jerry" was created to irradicate the association between mice and Jews created in the minds of Europeans by Hitler.
Apparently, "The Jewish Walt Disney Company" (take that Hanna Barbera) gained international fame with this cartoon because the antics of the cat and mouse (especially the mouse. Who knew Jerry was so sinister?) were so cute. The cartoon was invented to erase the association of mice and Jews created by Hitler. If this were actually true, I don't see what the problem would be anyway, but let's just examine this a little closer, shall we?
Professor Hasan Bolkhari is a member of the Film Council of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, a cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry and an "interfaith activist."
Mmm hmmm.
Translation: Bolkhari is one of those guys responsible for brainwashing the general Iranian public. He was given a fancy title and an "education" and then let loose to spread his lunacy.
Now behold his "argument." So professorial.
"Watch Schindler's List. Every Jew was forced to wear yellow star on his clothing. The Jews were degraded and termed 'dirty mice.' Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice. One of terms used was 'dirty mice.' "
Watch Schindler's List?
How about read a history book? I mean, Schindler's List is good and is based on fact, but as a professor, shouldn't you be advising people to read about the Holocaust?
Oh wait. He doesn't believe it existed and books are for burning anyway.
I love that he thinks Tom and Jerry was created by Walt Disney. Clearly he's never seen the cartoon, much less looked at the credits. It's sad that a guy like this can find an audience for his vile rhetoric.

Rothstein Before Committee Today

Supreme Court Nominee Marshall Rothstein will appear before a committee today for questioning. It will be aired on CTVNewsnet later today and presumably CPAC, so I might watch it later.
MPs will not be allowed to question Rothstein on hot-button issues... Some have criticized the idea of a nomination process. Opponents say it will only encourage bickering over nominees...The legal community and some MPs have also raised concerns that Rothstein might be asked questions about cases that could come before the court at a later date...
On the one hand, I understand why some might want to avoid controversial questions. There is a fear that the judge's impartiality might be compromised. On the other hand, I am not certain it is a good idea to avoid controversy. I don't agree that giving an honest answer to a controversial question would compromise the ability to render a sound judgment. Judges aren't supposed to interpret the law according to their whims (Beverly McLachlin's opinion notwithstanding); they are supposed to apply the law as it is. Besides, even if you don't ask a judge to discuss their opinion, they still hold it.
What's so bad about controversy anyway? Why fear conflict? It can be (though not always) healthy to bring up potentially controversial issues for discussion. If a judge has an opinion on a topic, I see no reason why he or she should not be questioned. After all, the judges apply the law. Sometimes, they interpret the law or even make new laws when they shouldn't. Because of this, I think all of their controversial opinions should be known and held up for examination. That way people know what to expect.
But that's just me.

2/23/2006

Turn the Other Cheek

Remember my discussion on self-defense and necessary violence? I said that sometimes, violence is the answer.
The current situation in Nigeria is a very clear example of where violence is not the best answer. Perhaps some form of turning the other cheek would have been more productive.
After Muslims rioted (yet again) about those really, really, dumb Danish cartoons that are now the world's biggest nuisance, Christians decided it would be a good idea to fight back. The place is now a blood bath.
Muslims burned down shops and attacked Christians after police fired tear gas at a protest over Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. Muslim riots erupted in other northern states over the following days. In the southeastern market town of Onitsha Tuesday, Christians launched deadly revenge attacks.
Sigh.
The article goes on to discuss some of Nigeria's bigger problems such as, surprise surprise, a bad and relatively useless government .
No, we can't all just get along.

Hirshman on Stay at
Home Moms

I was sent this interesting article today. Noted nutbar Linda Hirshman has announced that stay at home moms are evil. What they do (raise their kids?) is bad for them, their kids, society as a whole, and represents everything that is wrong with the world.
Or something like that.
Levity aside, I honestly think that Hirshman has it completely wrong. She makes the following comment:
"A good life for humans includes the classical standard of using one's capacities for speech and reason in a prudent way, the liberal requirement of having enough autonomy to direct one's own life, and the utilitarian test of doing more good than harm in the world. Measured against these time-tested standards, the expensively educated, upper-class moms will be leading lesser lives."
I'm curious to know what her feelings on low-class, dumb women are, aren't you? Or, maybe they just weren't worth writing about.
Her understanding of the purpose of education is, in my opinion, flawed. What makes her think that highly educated women who stay at home with their children aren't using their education in a prudent way? Educated women can use their knowledge to benefit their children. I don't see how this is an imprudent use of one's talents.
In any case, the end goal of education is not to make money. I assume this is her feeling; that education exists to assist in making a wage. While it certainly does help in that, the true pupose of education is the expansion of one's mind. It is a benefit in and of itself. As a professor, she should know this. Hirshman would do well to brush up on her Plato.
And maybe shut her trap and get back in the kitchen with the rest of us.

2/21/2006

Supreme Court Selections

According to PoliticsWatch, there will be a change to the way Supreme Court Justices are selected. Nominees will now appear before MP's for grilling.
It's interesting that advocates for the status quo, such as Beverly McLachlin (who should be ignored anyway), and advocates for an elected Supreme Court are both against the new plan. Others are in favour.
One may wonder what the effect of the new process will be. After all, the Prime Minister still appoints all the judges himself. True, MP's will make their recommendations, but what is to stop the PM from simply ignoring everyone and barrelling ahead with his own plans?
The simple answer?
Optics.
Unless, and we know it can happen (witness Martin), the Prime Minister really does not care how his actions appear to the rest of Canadians, he will at least take the advice of the MP's under consideration. While I am in favour of something closer to an elected Supreme Court (either that or a diminishing of their power), this seems like a good compromise. It will be interesting to see how it works out.

Welcome Back

My sister has returned to the world of blogging. She has an interesting post on good and evil that is worth a read.

Jesus and Mohammed

Last night on the Michael Coren Show, David Menzies opened with a copy of Rolling Stone Magazine. The cover features Kanye West depicted as Jesus Christ and their feature article is "The Passion of Kanye West." There was a brief discussion on the hypocrisy in our media when it comes to freedom of speech and respecting religious beliefs.
That brings us to this post by Angry about the cartoon published in the Strand. The cartoon depicts Jesus and Mohammed kissing. Now I hear that the Strand receives public money.
There are two things to consider. First is the cartoon itself. The editor and cartoonist defend themselves by claiming that the cartoon is not an act of hate. After all, it's a picture of two men kissing (forget the fact that they are religious figures and one of them is God) so how could it be hateful? The idea that this picture is blasphemous to two different religious groups seems not to have occurred to anyone involved. I'd like to ask them if they even understand the concept of blasphemy and if so, do they honestly feel it stems from anything other than a black and bitter heart?
The second point is the fact that this university student paper received public money. In my opinion, it is one thing to freely express yourself in an offensive manner. It is quite another to do it on public money. My taxes are your paper's source of funding and, quite frankly if you are going to be a prick then I don't want you receiving so much as another dime of my money. I think there should be some sort of standard that these guys need to adhere to.
I am getting tired of hearing about these Mohammed cartoons in the news. The horse is dead; stop beating it. You media guys don't afford Christianity the same comforts or sheltering as you have for Muslims in the last few weeks and months. I wasn't alive the last time the world walked on eggshells for my belief and neither were any of you, your parents, your parent's parents and so on. Get over it already.
Don't be evil.

Dark Chocolate = Healthy

This is exactly the sort of news I love to wake up to!
Dark chocolate has health benefits!
Maybe.
But whatever.
Called CocoaVia, the products are made with a kind of dark chocolate high in flavanols, an antioxidant found in cocoa beans that is thought to have a blood-thinning effect similar to aspirin and may even lower blood pressure. The snacks also are enriched with vitamins and injected with cholesterol-lowering plant sterols from soy.
I heard this once before, that dark chocolate is healthier for you that milk chocolate. To be frank, I prefer it anyway. Have you ever had the 75% or 80% dark chocolate from Lindt? <fans self at thought> It is so awesome. Have you ever had it with a glass of wine? <faints>
The crux of the issue though, is this bit.
"Chocolate . . . is the number one flavour ingredient in the world," said Jimmy Cass, Mars' vice-president of marketing. "Heart health is the No. 1 concern of adults over the age of 40 in every civilized nation. Putting those two together is automatically a big idea."
Let's face it, as awesome as I think it is that they are making healthy chocolate to cater to health conscious chocolate lovers (and we do exist), really, this is all about marketing.

2/20/2006

Human Rights Tribunal Overhaul

I just heard on the radio that the provincial government is planning on overhauling the Human Rights Tribunal and Commission. Checking online, I see this is true. Part of the plan sounds like a good idea. I agree, things take to long, are inefficient and waste tax payer money.
However, I am not so certain that being able to file claims directly with the Human Rights Tribunal itself, instead of filing them with the Commission is such a good idea. The Tribunal has far too much power. We saw some examples of how bad things can be over the summer. I can't see how granting the Tribunal more power can possibly be a good thing.
This will be something to keep an eye on.

More Stay At Home Moms

Antonia has a great post on trash and stay at home moms. Everyone should read the entire thing, but I would just like to point out these two bits.
I am a staunch feminist. One of the originals. But this morning I came to the conclusion that many of our neighbourhoods have become messier and dirtier just because the Moms aren't at home to make sure the kids aren't littering (PICK THAT UP!)...
I bet you if their Moms (or Dads) were home, this wouldn't happen so much.

Just say Moms, Antonia. It's ok. It's not sexist. No offence meant guys, but we all know you leave your clothes all over the floor.

Online Petitions

A friend and former prof of mine has an entry in his blog about online petitions. His closing question is whether or not anyone knows of research into their effectiveness.
I have seen my fair share of online petitions (and polls for that matter) and I am sure all of you have as well. Does anyone have any first-hand experience with a successful online petition?

2/17/2006

Red Green for PM

I have no opinion on the Order of Canada. Just thought you'd all like to know: Red Green is receiving the honour.

Sued For What You Blog

I have been catching up on the Kinsella vs. Bourrie debacle. For those who didn't know, Warren Kinsella is trying to sue Mark Bourrie for something he wrote in his blog. Kinsella claims it was "libel." There's quite a lot to read, and if you have an interest in politics, blogging and freedom of speech, then I would encourage you to take a look.
Kinsella is out to lunch, in my opinion. I hope this lawsuit is thrown out. I can't for the life of me figure out what he considers to be libelous in the post about his tie to Guite. He wasn't accused of anything. There were (maybe) a few insults, but that is it. The guy really needs to grow up! This is not worth a lawsuit, not by a longshot.
On a more serious note, I have to say that should Kinsella win his suit, it would bode ill for bloggers everywhere. In fact, the suit would open up Pandora's box when it comes to insults online. If you can't insult someone on a blog, can you insult them on a website? What about on an email list, newsgroup or forum?

Sexist Beer Ad Pulled

Beer Ads?
Sexist?
Say it ain't so!
Some idiot thought an ad suggesting women shouldn't talk would be a good idea. (I can hear my husband laughing his head off now. Oh the smart ass comments that will fly tonight! If you are reading this: Silence!)
Get a load of Levesque's lame attempt at covering his rear.
"I have been told that the creative team in question now fully understands what they did and that their lame attempt at humour was not amusing... It's not something we're particularly proud of...The bottom line is we don't condone sexism - intended or not."
Earth to Levesque. Have you ever seen ANY beer ad? Ironically, the only non-sexist beer commercials I have ever seen are the Keith's ads.
Real life is weirder than the movies. You can't make this stuff up.

Edit at 10:57am: Anyone have any idea what the 50 words would be? I am putting my bets on a lot of "Okay!" (said in a high-pitched squeaky voice, accompanied by a head bobble, "Yes dear!" and lots of giggling (which don't really count as words, but whatever).

Breast Implants

I didn't know until this morning that silicon breast implants are banned in Canada. I am not surprised, given that there is a high risk of health problems associated with silicon implants. Quite frankly, unless a woman has had surgery due to cancer or some other major issue, I see no reason to get implants.
Plastic surgeons and insecure women disagree with me.
Canadian cosmetic surgeons have been stretching the conditions outlined by Health Canada's Special Access Programme to help patients obtain the banned device. According to Health Canada's website: The Special Access Programme (SAP) provides access to non-marketed drugs for practitioners treating patients with serious or life-threatening conditions when conventional therapies have failed, are unsuitable, or unavailable.
And what do you suppose the "serious" and "life-threatening" reasons given for obtaining breast implants are?
..."small breasts" and "slight rippling of the skin through saline implants...
It's not like these women are even getting implants because they lost their breasts altogether due to cancer. I mean, I could respect that.
But small breasts?
And listen to this guy!
What is a legitimate reason to override a Health Canada safety ban? "A thin lady with very thin skin and not a lot of fat or breast tissue," said Dr. Dupre.
Health Canada isn't much better though.
"...We're not approving them. We're actually authorizing their release..." So, just one question. If authorizing their release isn't an approval, just what is it?

2/15/2006

Google and China

Everyone should read this official post on Google's recent decision to launch Google.cn. Their new search engine will conform to China's censorship laws. Not surprisingly, this has caused some controversy.
I think Google's explanation for their decision is reasonable. I am happy that I do not have to make these sorts of decisions. My gut reaction would probably be "screw you, Chinese government" and that's probably not helpful.
To the Google head honchos: your motto "don't be evil" is definitely NOT arrogant.

Harper, Levant and
the Mohammed Cartoons

Yesterday, Harper in effect apologized for the Western Standard.
"Free speech is a right that all Canadians enjoy; Canadians also have the right to voice their opinion on the free speech of others...I regret the publication of this material in several media outlets. While we understand this issue is divisive, our government wishes that people be respectful of the beliefs of others." To the best of my knowledge, "several media outlets" means the Western Standard. If the cartoons were republished anywhere else, I must have missed it.
CTV and PoliticsWatch have the story.
What can I say? Harper is the Prime Minister; he has to act Prime Ministerial. A statement like this is probably the statesmanlike thing to do.
If it were me, however, I don't think I would have been inclined to say anything. Better to let it blow over. The more things said on the matter, the longer it is going to take. Ezra Levant was within his rights to republish those cartoons, and people were within their rights to complain about it. The Prime Minister really should not be getting involved. Quite frankly, he's not going to make anyone happy by saying anything, no matter what he says. In fact I'd be willing to bet that, were you to dig around for opinions, you'll find people saying he should have supported the Standard and other people saying he should have been harsher in what he said.
This is a no-win situation.
And, sorry to bring this up, but when was the last time a Prime Minister apologized for someone making fun of Jesus? Is Mohammed somehow special?
Or is it because Muslims are a louder group? You know what they say about the squeaky wheel.

2/14/2006

Iranian Cartoon Contest

h/t: Damian

Consider the following:
Denmark is a Christian-turned-secular humanist country.
Cartoonists in Denmark draw unholy pictures of Mohammed.
Portions of the Muslim world riot.
Iran decides to hold a Holocaust cartoon contest in response.
Their first entry is from Brazil, a Catholic-turned-secular humanist country.
Another entry, now proven fraudulent, was submitted from Australia, which in the words of Vizzini "is entirely peopled with criminals."

A few questions for all of you astute minds out there. What does the Holocaust have to do with the Muslim cartoons? Why is Iran blaming the Jews? More to the point, why weren't the first submissions from any of the supposedly offended countries?

Drug Use and Body Image

Canada.com has an article on the rising use of meth among teenage girls. Apparently, young girls are using it to help them lose weight. I have two points I want to make on this topic.
My first point is that our society needs to change its focus from outward appearance to inner beauty. This will probably never happen; external focus has been a problem in the world since the dawn of time. Anorexia, bulemia and now drug use are only the most recent problems. There used to be fat farms (yes, fat was in once) and corsets into which you could squish your guts and cause permanent damage to your body. It is my belief that every parent has the responsibility to teach their daughters (and sons too, but let's face it: this is predominantly a girl's issue) that their beauty should not be skin deep. Strength of character, integrity, wit and intelligence are far more valuable and will take you farther in the long run than a pretty face will.
My second point is on drug use. This is an issue that hits close to home for me, so I will not be writing very much about it. I just want to say that until you have seen someone under the effects of meth, you can't possibly understand just how bad it really is. Don't let the article fool you; although it may be cheaper per hit than cocaine or heroine, it is equally as devastating (if not more) and in the long run will consume just as much of an addicts monetary resources. The effects on the brain take time to repair, if they can be repaired at all. Given the drug's growing popularity however, it would be naive for a parent to assume that they can protect their child forever. All you can do is arm them with knowledge and pray.
Give your children backbone. Teach them to resist peer-pressure, to avoid group-think. These, and prayer, are your only weapons.

Happy Valentine's Day

mush!

2/13/2006

Crossing the Floor: Is it Ever Right?

The NDP are planning to introduce legislation that would prohibit MP's from crossing the floor.
On the surface, the plan sounds like it might be a good idea. Problems like the ones created when Stronach crossed the floor, or more recently the Emerson debacle, would be avoided. The democratic process would be preserved because, as we all know, people vote for the party.
Or do they?
Is there ever a case where crossing the floor might be a good thing? Historically we know there have been cases. Winston Churchill crossed the floor at least twice. It can certainly happen that an MP might feel that a party's policy has so diverged from what it was that he or she can no longer be a party of the group. They may choose to join another party, or they may choose to sit as an independent. It may even happen that an MP's constituents may feel that a party's policy has so diverged from what it was that they no longer wish their MP to remain a member of that party. The MP may then change parties in order to better reflect the desires of their constituents.
Lately, however, changing parties has not happened for these reasons. It has happened so that particular MP's may further their career. Power and prestige have been placed ahead of the common good. This is no doubt why the NDP are proposing a ban on floor crossing. Please note however that sitting as an Independent could have the same effect. As an Independent, what is to prevent an MP from voting according to the party they would have switched to? What is to prevent other parties from trying to influence the vote of an Independent?
I would want to see the proposed NDP legislation before I render judgment. It is my opinion though that even if it were a good idea (and I'm not saying it isn't), it is unlikely to have the desired effect.

Garth Turner: His True Opinion

Luke 6:45 says ...out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Every so often, someone will open their mouth and say something sending the truth of this verse home.
February 12 was such a day for Garth Turner. He posts the following comment on his blog:
...how could I do otherwise? I was the prime minister in microcosm, and they were acting as one group to assist me.
The sheer vanity of this statement greatly surprised me. That he sees himself as anything close to a Prime Ministerial Figure should concern all of his constituents. This is not a man who has their best interests at heart. This is a man who, above all, desires power. If he did not, he would not have referred to himself in this way. It is troubling that he sees himself as the focal point of this group. He is not there to serve his constituents; he is there to be served. Those who surround hims are there to help him on to greatness.
What makes his statement even worse is his comment mere paragraphs ago:
It's not about the member. It's about the team.
It is hypocritical on two counts. The first is that by his words he shows that his team is all about him. He is not there for the team; they are there for him. Secondly, Turner's entire reaction thusfar has shown that he is not there for the Conservative team. He is there for himself and the furtherance of his political career.
I have to say, I am grateful Turner is not the representative for my riding. I would have to vote CHP in the next election.

2/10/2006

My Political Leanings

h/t: Les

You are a

Social Conservative
(35% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(36% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Totalitarian




Link: The Politics Test


Totalitarian!! Hah hah hah!
By the way, my one law was "I would dictate that all b-95er's would have their licenses revoked. This way, they won't clog the highways when I'm trying to drive." The best question was definitely "Most people are too stupid to know what's best for them."

My Opinion on Garth's Opinion

Today I happened to read Garth Turner's blog. In particular, I read his opinion on Harper's choice of Emerson and the subsequent fallout from what he said on his blog.
To be frank, I was surprised at what I read. While I certainly understand and appreciate Mr. Turner's frustrations surrounding the Emerson debacle, I am not so certain I agree with his venting on his blog. It struck me as behaviour unbecoming to a politician. Eventhough he was right, what he had to say lacked wisdom, tact and maturity.
Now, I vent all the time. I whine about whatever issue strikes my fancy and occasionally something good makes its way into my posts. However, I am no one. I don't work for the government. I don't represent a group of people in government. I don't have to care about what people think about my views and I don't have to be tactful or worry about offending people (eventhough I probably should).
Mr. Turner does not have this luxury.
He is now in the public eye all the time.
Allow me to provide you with an illustration. Roughly around the time I got married, I was having some significant problems where I worked. I won't go into all the gory details, but eventually things degenerated to the point where I had to quit. One day, to vent my frustrations, I decided to blog about the issues I was having. I covered up my hurt with humor and just went to town on some of the people I didn't like.
Then my husband happened to read it. He made the rather wise observation that eventhough I had used no names, if someone that I worked with were to read it, it could make my problems at work even worse. Better to come home and vent to him in private.
What Mr. Turner has done on his blog is similar. He vented, forgetting that the people that he works with can easily read his blog any time they like. This can make (and I would daresay has already made) for unnecessarily awkward situations in the workplace. To make matters worse, Mr. Turner works for the government. As I said, he is in the public eye. He is supposed to be able to bring the concerns of his constituents to the table. By making a bad situation worse, he may have shut out not only himself but all of his constituents from the political process. It's not right, it's not best, but it may happen.
Sometimes, no matter how bad a situation may be, no matter how strong your opinions are on a subject, it is wiser to say nothing outloud. It is better to go home and vent in private to your spouse. If you cannot do that, at least go to an anonymous place like iworkwithfools.com and vent undercover where no one knows who you are.
There is a certain wisdom to keeping your mouth shut in the face of a difficult situation. Being right is not always best. Sometimes it is better to take the hurt and simply move on. When you are an opinionated like me, it can be hard to keep your mouth closed. However, it is a skill that I think everyone should have and one that I am trying to develop. Maybe I'll have it down to a fine art by the time I hit 70.

Women in Politics

I have a rant. Read the following in as feisty tone as possible.

I am getting sick of women complaining about there not being enough women in "Career X." Lately, the career X of choice is politics. Take for example the all-women panel on the Michael Coren show the other day. The Liberal representative, Carolyn Bennett, went off on a tangent about how there needs to be 30-35% women in any given industry in order to make an impact on the culture, in order to change it from a competitive culture to a collaborative one... as though women are less competitive and more collaborative than men.
Before I say anything about that little bit of stupidity, let me tell you a bit about me. I'm an under-30 stay-at-home mom with a MSc in Computer Science. Computers, for those of you who live with their heads in the sand, is an overwhelmingly male dominated field. Do you know how many Canadian born white girls (or even just Canadian born girls) there were doing their Masters in Computer Science at the University I attended?
I'll give you a hint: there was me.
The remaining handful were Chinese. The rest were men of varying backgrounds.
I also have the distinction of enduring the longest defense on record. But that's really another story. Had I not got married when I did, I probably would have gone on to do a PhD. (There was just something about calling myself Dr. Ruth...) and you can bet I would have been only one of an even smaller number of women.
So, with that said, let me say something else.
I pretty much CATEGORICALLY DENY the so-called existence of a man's world. You wanna make it with the men? Then do your work and smile as often as possible. Batting your eyelashes works too. Stop waiting for a hand out or for someone to come to you and invite you to join their career path. It's not going to happen. Ever.
As for women being "less competitive" and "more collaborative," what can I say? I've only ever had one decent female boss. The other one sucked. She lied and backstabbed like there was no tomorrow. In general, I have found women holding "superior" positions to be obnoxious, rude and trying too hard to show they're "tough." Women are definitely not more collaborative, and if they are, I have yet to meet one. Also note that I grew up in a family of six kids and there was only one boy.
That's right. Five girls in one house.
And let me tell you, there were plenty of fist fights, arguments and competitions to go around.
As far as this idea of there being a lack of women in politics goes, it's irrelevant. I'd rather have a competent man represent me than an idiot woman any day. If my representative happens to be a competent woman, great. But really, what if they were all like Belinda Stronach?
There are so many things that make an individual suited to a particular field. Gender may or may not be one of them, depending on your point of view. To make gender your only focus shows that you are more than a little myopic in your outlook on life. You should get out more.
And maybe drop that out-moded way of thinking and enter the 21st century.
There is no patriarchy gals.
Stop whining.

2/09/2006

The World Has Ended

What???
Monte Solberg is closing his blog??
I am so disappointed. I read it almost (not quite) every day. It's bad enough Chuck Strahl's blog is also dead. How will I find out about what's really going on in Parliament? The news?
C'mon.
This is a truly sad day.

On With Business Then...

Enough farting around then. I haven't written anything in a few days and am now way behind on the news. Screw the lot of you that don't like orange ;-) (Although, I will admit there was rather a lot of it at first). For now it stays.
Where were we?
Oh yes! To my eternal shock, Michael Coren would appear to be technologically illiterate. I definitely did not see that coming. On yesterday's show he denied the effect blogs have had on the media, didn't really seem to know what a blog was in the first place and definitely didn't know what podcasting was. And all this time I've been thinking of sending an email to say he should keep a blog.
Still not sure what to think of Emerson's defection. To be honest, I am having trouble seeing the bright side. I suppose the justification is that the government now has a voice from an urban centre. Really though, the Conservative candidate in Emerson's riding was in a distant third. If he wasn't going to stay with the Liberals, maybe the seat should have gone to the NDP. If our system was different, I don't think I'd have much of a problem with people crossing the floor. The issue is though, that people vote for the party. They may say they're voting for the person, but the reality is the party is what counts.
And the Conservatives weren't really wanted in Emerson's riding.
I don't have much of an issue with Fortier and the Senate. This is probably because I really don't have much of an issue with the Senate. Like it or not, it was intended to be appointed. Harper played by the rules on this one, so I really don't fault him.
CTV has a fluffy bit on Harper, the new PM. It reminds me a lot of the garbage we heard over the summer about Harper needing to remake his image. The comment that says gone is the helmet hair-do kills me.
What Harper are they looking at?
That's still helmet hair guys.
And it has nothing to do with his ability to govern.

2/07/2006

On-Going Changes

I will be playing with the look of my blog for the next little while. I am searching for something a little less boxy and a little more me.

20,000

Visitor #20,000 came to my site some time this morning. Welcome!
Incidentally, given than I managed to double my traffic in just under two months, I would have to say things are looking up. Mind you, the campaign is probably what did it.

Childcare Cheques

We can expect them in July. I will be diligently watching my mail box.

Stronach on Harper, Emerson

From Canada.com:
Ontario Liberal Belinda Stronach, who defected from the Conservatives to the Liberal Cabinet last spring, said the Emerson appointment undermines the ethics agenda Mr. Harper set out in the election campaign. "I think the Canadian public will look at this and have the right to ask questions," she said. "They're going to be left scratching their heads."
She's kidding, right?
I mean, of all people, how can she feel that she has the right to open her mouth about this? This is yet more proof that she is completely unfit for government.

2/06/2006

Train Up A Child

Ahh!
The Imperial March, from Star Wars.
The one piece of music that draws all of my kids attention.
I kid you not. She fixates in whatever direction it comes from.
She will be five months next week. Start 'em young, that's our motto. Her brain will be finely tuned to all things geeky, spacey and fantasy before she's three.
But really, with both parents being programmers one has to ask: did Eden ever really have a chance at not being a nerd?

A Question

What book is everyone being given?
From here, it looks like a Bible.

Update at 11:50am:
Yeah, it must be a Bible.
From The Star: Harper, who will bring his personal copy of the Bible to the swearing-in...
Interesting. I take it the Liberals were similarly given a Bible at their swearing in ceremonies. It begs the question whether or not anyone ever read it.
It says a lot to me though that Harper chose to take his own.

Harper's Kids

Watching the swearing in of the new government, I can't help but wonder what Harper's kids are thinking. Oh to be a fly on the wall of their minds. His children look about 8 and 10 or so, and kids that age are just old enough to understand the abstract concept of Prime Ministerial responsibility, but not so old that they understand it in specific terms. They will feel the pressure of the media in a different way than an adult would.

Emerson Defects

David Emerson, former Liberal, has defected to the Conservative Party. He will be receiving a position in Cabinet. Not surprisingly, someone brought up Belinda Stronach. There is a difference between the two, however. Emerson is not doing this the night before a vote that could topple the government. He is making his intentions known at the creation of the government.
Having said that, I still think that, if a MP wishes to cross the floor there should be a by-election. Most people vote for the party, not the individual.

Harper's Cabinet

I am watching CPAC right now. Diane Ablonczy will not be receiving a Cabinet position. The media has been given a list of who will be making Cabinet, but the list will not be released for another 15-20 minutes.

More to come...

Dingwall's Severance II: Who Fires
the Head that Wears the Crown?

It is certainly clear that someone is lying. Mere days before the election an independent arbitrator, George Adams, a retired Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that Dingwall had been "effectively fired." He did not voluntarily resign, as he had initially claimed. Conservatives now wonder if this coverup cost them a majority in the House.
I don't know if, had it been released at the proper time, the news of Dingwall's severance would have given the Conservatives a majority. It might have given them a few more seats. It probably would also have lent the NDP a few more seats. In my opinion, people had enough information already to do more damage to the Liberals on voting day, and they chose not too. It's hard to say what affect one more piece of information would have had.
Having said that, I think what the Liberals did was very wrong. I also have my suspicions about the independence of this arbitrator. How is it possible for him to find that Dingwall had been "effectively" fired, when everyone said he had resigned? And what does "effectively" mean? Also, when am I, Jane-Average-Canadian going to get a look at that report?
There's one other thing I'd like to point out. Only the Prime Minister can hire and fire the heads of Crown Corporations. No one in the news seems to be pointing this fact out. Would someone please interview the former Prime Minister? I'd like to hear what he has to say on the subject.

Dingwall's Severance

Yesterday on Question Period I heard that Dingwall received more that $417k in severance pay. Apparantly, an independant arbitrator found that he was fired. How that could be, no one seems to know, since both parties swore up and down to the public that he quit.

More to come...

Red Ensign Standard

Vic, at The Phanton Observer is hosting Red Ensign Standard #36.

2/04/2006

The Infamous Mohammed Cartoons

There has been a lot written about the Danish cartoons and the resulting response of the Muslim world. I am not going to post a link to any articles, you all know what they say. Instead, I would like to offer my opinion on the Muslim response and on the West's response to the Muslim outrage. To add to my own opinion, I will use excerpts from the book "The Middle East: 2000 years of History from the Rise of Christianity to the Present Day" by Bernard Shaw, copyright 2003 Phoenix Press.

Muslims have no notion of the separation of Church and State. It is not a part of their culture or history. Indeed, in the eighteenth century when Mirza Abu Talib visited England, he noted with astonishment their means of law. He was astonished that the purpose of the House Commons "included the promulgation of laws and fixing of penalties for wrongdoers." In his writings regarding his trip, he notes that "the English have not accepted a divine law revealed from heaven and therefore are reduced to the expedient of making their own laws in acordance with the necessecities of time and circumstances, the state of affairs and the experience of judges."
This key difference can again be seen in the relationship of France and the Ottoman Empire during the very late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The Age of Enlightenment was well underway and the French were embracing the notion of liberty and fraternity under a new Republic. When Napoleon conquered Egypt, these ideas spread into the Muslim world and were greeted with displeasure on the part of religious officials. Rhetoric of the time centred on the idea of France as the "Great Satan," a corrupting influence among otherwise purehearted Muslims. France was a nation of infidels who had separated the "Lord of Heaven" from their laws. Much of this same rhetoric is still in use today, the object being the US (and recently, Denmark) and not France.
It may be surprising to some that Muslims would be angry at non-Muslims for drawing pictures of Mohammed. One has to keep in mind the fact that for Muslims, the ideal world is a world in which everyone is a Muslim. In a certain sense, it is not unlike the Christian notion of salvation for the entire world. The purpose of the Great Commission is to evangelize to the entire world, to spread the message of God's grace in order that they may convert to Christianity and be saved. Christian's recognize that not everyone will accept the Gospel and not everyone will be saved. They are still called to love those individuals and to extend grace to them. The Muslim notion does not consist of evangelism in the same sense. Islam is the best state for the world, the final revelation of God. Those who do not accept it may be warred against as infidels. Muslims are not required to extend either love or grace to non-Muslims. The extension of love and grace is a key difference between the two beliefs.

In my post on Hamas I make a point that I would like to reiterate. Only a handful of people recognized the fact that someone who does not share your societal values, someone who does not want peace, someone who hates and resents your very existence, cannot be trusted. To date, it is my opinion that the Western relations with Muslim nations have been very naive. We are approaching people as though they want peace with us, as though they desire to be our friend. They do not. Friendly nations don't burn the flags of other nations. They don't spout angry rhetoric, or demand the destruction of a group of people. The leaders of our nations need to change their approach; they need wisdom, maturity and what I can only describe as street smarts. This is not the time for political correctness or walking on eggshells.

Iran Wants the Bomb

This morning's news is that the UN nuclear watchdog reported Iran to the UN Security Council. They are concerned that Tehran's nuclear program may not be "exclusively for peaceful purposes."
Well, duh.
And, sorry to be cynical, but if Iran does get the bomb, they will not be interested in any Cold War either. They will be interested in obliterating all infidels offthe face of the earth...
... starting with Israel.

2/03/2006

Criminal Code of Canada:
Offences Tending to Corrupt Morals and
Our Prostitution Laws

It's amazing what should actually be illegal in Canada.
I decided to look up Canada's Prostitution Laws today, and came across a section of the Criminal Code entitled "Offences Tending to Corrupt Morals." I thought to myself "Wow! We have such laws?"
Then I read them. My eyes popped out of my head! Surely these laws have not been followed, dare I say heard of, in a very long time. In fact, I would be willing to bet that the average citizen does not know of their existence. Technically, all manner of porn should be illegal in Canada. So should all Viagra commercials. I kid you not. Read Section 163-172 for yourself.
After a brief discussion with my husband on just how far Canada has fallen, I moved on to our prostitution laws. The relevant pieces of law can be found in Section 210-213 of the Criminal Code.
I couldn't help but notice that we are missing some sort of meaningful law against pimping and trafficking. Part h of Section 212 is the closest thing. It reads:
for the purposes of gain, exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in such manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting or compelling that person to engage in or carry on prostitution with any person or generally.
The maximum sentence for violation of section 212 is not to exceed ten years, but we have no minimum sentence. Section 213 relates only to street prostitutes and stopping traffic, but there are no sentences provided at all.
What also concerns me is that the act of prostitution, procuring a prostitute, trafficking, pimping and those who use rape drugs on an individual are all lumped into the same thing. If it is true that some women are forced into prostitution (and we know it does happen) then should there not be stricter sentences for those who pimp, traffick and intoxicate such individuals?
What is even more disturbing is that someone who procures a prostitute who is under 18 years of age must serve at least six months for their crime, but may serve no more than 5 years. This is unacceptable.
I am going to spend some time thinking about what would be a suitable change to these laws. I'll be posting my ideas later on.

The Truth About Decriminalized Prostitution

I have talked about prostitution and similar issues before. Today I read this article on forced prostitution in Holland.

...another image of prostitution is starting to emerge -- that of unwilling women trafficked by criminal gangs... once she arrived in the Netherlands the man she had thought of as a boyfriend sold her to criminals... "When you force a woman into prostitution you steal a life, you steal her future. She loses everything and later she is too ashamed even to have contact with her family..." Distrust of the police and stories of light sentences for pimps frequently make such victims too scared to seek help.

What a sad statement that is. Unfortunately, it does not surprise me at all. Prostitution is an extremely lucrative business, and not one that draws people of upstanding moral character, especially when it comes to traffickers, pimps and brothel owners. Recall the points made in the article from the Tyee that I talked about back in December. Decriminalizing prostitution does not reduce violence committed against women; in fact, it often increases.
The saddest fact of all is that women in Holland feel they cannot go to the authorities for help. This is incredibly unfortunate. The law is supposed to protect and help the innocent, those who otherwise cannot help themselves. Instead, the guilty go free and the innocent remain in bondage.

2/02/2006

The Greatest Liberal Joke

The Liberal government has changed its official symbol to the condom. It allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, and protects a bunch of pricks. Most of all it provides a sense of security when you're actually getting screwed.

Leader of the Liberal Party:
The Position No One Wants

I read this article at CTV and couldn't help but feel a sense of irony. Below is a partial reprint of the article, including a lot of things they could have said, but didn't.

Bill Graham says he won't be spending a long time in his new role as interim leader of the Liberal party.
In fact, he told us he can't ditch this job fast enough. He confessed to being saddled with the role because he wasn't on the ball due to an ill-times hangover. At a meeting that did not include Ms. Stronach, Mr. Martin had asked for volunteers to step forward and everyone but him took a step back.
Speaking this morning on CTV's Canada AM, Graham shrugged off suggestions that he might be keeping the position warm, in case Paul Martin decides to return amid a possible snap election.
A snap election that no one but the Conservatives can afford and the Liberals are sure to lose. No, there really is no chance at all for a snap election, but does it look good to admit it? "We're still holding on," said Graham. "We can still come back. After all, look at the Conservatives after Mulroney." His rant was drowned out by the sound of Jane Tabor flushing the toilet, and so no one actually caught the rest of what he said. It sounded a lot like "Blah blah blah."
"I just don't think that's a very likely thing to happen. I'm not there for two years," said Graham, outgoing defence minister. "This is a short period of time to enable the party to prepare for its new leader." Pierre Trudeau came back from the political dead after the defeat of Joe Clark's seven-month-old Progressive Conservative government in December 1979. The Liberals went on to win a majority. "I don't think anybody's thinking that history will repeat itself that way this time," Graham said.
Except for Paul Martin, that is. Word is, he's been practicing his Trudeau impressions in front of the mirror every night.
Martin announced Graham's appointment Wednesday, saying he will remain the formal head of the Liberals until his replacement is chosen at a party convention... Martin's decision to stay on as leader for the time being saves the Liberal party from having to scramble to find a suitable successor. The party likely needs more time after several key Liberals who were considered frontrunners for the job -- Brian Tobin, Frank McKenna and John Manley -- recently announced that they don't want it.
Indeed, no one seems to want the job just lately. One can't help but wonder why anyone ever wanted it before. Supposedly, there used to be a day when the leader of the Liberal Party was actually a respected member of society who looked out for the people of Canada, not just their friends. No one remembers when that was, we just know it used to be true.
Asked why so many promising candidates were so quick to pass on the race, Graham said it may have a lot to do with timing, and other priorities. "I think everybody has to seek the right balance in their personal, professional lives," Graham said.
Off camera, Graham admitted that no one who might actually be qualified for the position was suicidal enough to take it.
Graham said many people also asked him if he would consider running. "And I thought about it, and I thought, look if I were 10 years younger, I may have a look at it.
Graham also reminded us that he is not suicidal, nor does he have any great desire to die of any stress related illnesses. No one does. Well, except for
Belinda Stronach, outgoing human resources minister, told reporters she's still considering whether to make a bid for the leadership.
But, who really cares?

Gomery Report II:
The Public Service and Transparency

Volume 2 of Gomery's Report, The Public Service and Transparency, has an interesting section. It is entitled Encouraging "Rightdoing" and Discouraging Wrongdoing: A Public Service Charter and Disclosure Legislation. I was intrigued by the title, and so of course I gave it a read. This particular chapter is by Kenneth Kernaghan. You can find it here.
Skip the introduction (I'll come back to that), and move to section 1, Values and Ethics. There you will read the following paragraph.
Values are enduring beliefs that influence our attitudes and actions. Values
influence the choices we make from among available means and ends.

I have what may seem like an obvious question. Why do values need to be defined for the government? What is wrong with us? Do we not even know what values are?
But back to the introduction.
The major argument in this paper is that the Government of Canada should adopt both a Charter of Public Service Values and a statute on disclosure protection—and that these two actions should be closely linked. A Charter of Public Service Values is a formal written statement outlining the constitutional position of the public service, including its relationship with the political sphere of government. A Charter would provide a foundation and a framework for good governance by setting the core values of public service within the broader context of the principles of Canada’s parliamentary democracy. A disclosure of wrongdoing statute (often described as a whistleblower statute) would provide protection for public servants who reveal information about such forms of misconduct in government as illegal activity and gross mismanagement.
So, how do we propose to fix the problem?
By making a law.
Now, please note all, that the problem in the first place was government officials and public servants were not following the law already. Maybe I am ignorant, but I fail to see how adding another layer of law is going to correct this. Don't get me wrong, I think that whislteblower legislation is important. I think government officials and public servants need to be made to follow the law just like everyone else. People who draw attention to illegal doings should not fear reprisals.
But, and I am sorry to say it, this is what you get for pushing God out of the political sphere for so many years. What did you think would happen? For years our government has had absolutely no moral compass whatsoever. Although it saddens me that people now need to have the idea of values and ethics defined for them, it does not surprise me at all.
There is a lot more in this report that is worth reading of course. What it doesn't say, and never can, is that what government needs most is a change of heart.

Gomery Report: Phase 2

Yesterday, Judge Gomery released the second half of his report. In this report he detailed a number of recommendations (18, to be exact) which he feels will restore accountability to Ottawa. CTV has their report here. They mention that Harper's Accountability Act and Gomery's Recommendations are similar in many respects, but also have their differences. As an aside, I think it would be interesting to compare Gomery's Report and Harper's Accountability Act. PoliticsWatch has a little to add, and also reminds us that "though the scandal has been the subject of news stories for almost six years now... there has only been one guilty plea so far from an ad man who received sponsorship funds."

There is an interesting comment in the opening statement of the report.
In recent years, academics and political observers have recognized the growing power of the executive arm of government, both in the Prime Minister's Office and the bureaucracy. At the same time, they have observed that Parliament, its members, and its committees have been gradually becoming less relevant, and weaker, with the effect that Parliament as an institution no longer fulfils its traditional role as a check on the exercise of the power of the executive, represented by the office of the Prime Minister, his advisors, his appointees, and the most senior bureaucrats.
It is from this persepective that Gomery writes his recommendations. There must be a way to keep the elected representatives relevant. There must be a check on the power of the Prime Minister. Without it, democracy begins to break down and we have what is in effect an elected dictatorship.
The second interesting comment in the opening statement is this:
For anyone looking in my reports for specific sanctions against individuals who may have acted improperly, you will be disappointed. The terms of reference which gave me the mandate to conduct this inquiry specifically prohibit me from "expressing any conclusion or recommendation regarding the civil or criminal liability of any person or organization", and I am instructed" to ensure that the conduct of the inquiry does not jeopardize any ongoing criminal investigation or criminal proceedings". Investigations and criminal proceedings are still ongoing and I am unable to comment on them, or to answer questions on specific individuals or their actions.
I am happy to see this statement. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Martin, made far too much of the "fact" that Gomery would be telling us who was responsible for the Sponsorship Sacndal. Sadly, much of the public bought this lie, and never read the terms of the Commission. Had he been able to assign criminal culpability however, Martin still would have gotten off I think.
I think I'll flip through some of this report this afternoon. I doubt I'll read it all though. If I do, I may post some more thoughts.

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