3/31/2006

Conversation Addition

Harper: "Oh, Ms. Anderson, there is one thing you could do if you wish to see a law passed regarding the seal hunt."
Anderson looks eager. 20 cameras flash
Anderson: "Really? What's that?"
Harper: "You could ask your MP to present a private members bill, banning the hunt."
Anderson: "Excellent! So who's my MP?"
Harper: "Well, where do you live?"
Anderson: "California."
Harper: "I see. And did you vote in the Canadian election?"
Anderson. "No."
Harper: "Well then, I guess that concludes this discussion."
Anderson looks surprised
Anderson: "But who's my MP?"

The Pamela Anderson Meeting

Suppose for a moment that Prime Minister Stephen Harper did lose his mind and grant Ms. Anderson an audience. How do you think that meeting would go? I envision something similar to the following.
First of all, Anderson would have a little entourage of camera men with her. The entire meeting must be captured live, so the entire world will know how she single-handedly saved those cute little baby seals. Secondly, Ms. Anderson will dress "professionally." I envision some sort of black skirt and blazer with a white blouse. The skirt will be entirely too short and the blouse and blazer will be entirely too tight and too low. She'll also wear dark rimmed glasses and pull her hair up in a neat little bun to make herself look "smart." In the interests of modesty, she'll go with the 4inch, black pointed closed toe heel for the occasion.
Stephen Harper will wear a suit and tie. What else?
But enough with the clothes, on to the meeting.

Harper: "Good morning Ms. Anderson. I understand you wanted to see me about a pressing matter?"
Anderson: "Yes. Yes I do!"
20 camera's flash. Anderson smooths one side of her hair and adjusts her jacket. Harper waits... and waits...
Harper: "Well?"
Anderson: "Oh. Oh yes. It's about the seal hunt."
Harper: "What about it?"
Anderson: "I want you to tell them to stop."
Harper: "Oh. Well, Ms. Anderson, I can't do that."
Anderson: "What? Why?"
Harper: "Well, I'm sure you understand the way Parliament works. First I'd have to propose a bill. Then we'd have to debate it and make adjustments and then read it again. By the time we get it passed, the seal hunt would be over."
Anderson: "What? They don't just do as you say?"
Harper: "No."
Anderson: "But you're the Prime Minister."
Harper: "With a minority government. Now, if you'l excuse me, I need to meet with my Cabinet to discuss Health care reform. Parliament's first sitting is tomorrow."
Anderson: "Health care can wait! We must save the seals! Surely you can prevent next years hunt, can't you? For me?"
Anderson bats her eyelashes and lowers her voice
Anderson: "Maybe we should go into your office and discuss this in private."
emphasis on private. Anderson strokes her left breast and 20 cameras flash. At that moment, Harper catches MP's Solberg, Strahl and Flaherty standing behind all the cameras, where no one can see them. Each are grabbing invisible large breasts and giving him the thumbs up. Rona Ambrose is shaking her head in disgust, obviously telling them to stop. Harper loses his composure for a second and a giggle escapes.
Anderson: "I can see that you would like that, wouldn't you Mr Prime Minister?"
Harper: "Huh? What? No! And this meeting room is fine."
Anderson looks around.
Anderson: "But wouldn't you prefer a private meeting?"
emphasis on private.
Harper: "Actually, I would prefer to end this meeting. As I said, I need to discuss Health Care with my Cabinet."
Anderson: "But the seal hunt...?"
Harper: "Do you really think the seal hunt is a bigger problem than our countries health care crisis?"
Anderson: "But of course!"
Harper: "And wait times for things like cancer or hepatitis treatment, you don't think those are important issues?"
Anderson: "I wouldn't know. I've never had to wait."
Harper: "Apparently not."
various secretaries and security personnel usher out Anderson and her entourage of camera men as 20 cameras flash
Harper: "Enjoy your evening. Now, if someone will kindly shut the door, we can get down to business."

Pamela Anderson and
the Prime Minister

Lat night my husband told me that apparently, Ms. Pamela Anderson wants a meeting with the Prime Minister. She wishes to discuss the seal hunt.
I looked it up this morning, and sure enough Ms. Anderson is hoping for an audience with the Prime Minister on Sunday, after she has finished hosting the Juno awards.
Lucky for us, Harper is in Mexico, looking after such minor details as the softwood lumber issue. (As an aside, the article mentions they went to Chichen Itza. I've been there. It's cool.)
I really he hope he doesn't meet with Anderson. Who does she think she is? You don't just get a private audience with the Prime Minister because you are a celebrity. If he has to have an audience with her, then he has to have an audience with any other yahoo that walks in.
Tool!
And by the way, why are you stuck on the seal hunt? Is it because they are cute? Why not wail in torment of the daily "slaughter" of the helpless cockroach, termite or earthworm? Did you know earthworms are sacrificed by the millions so that red necks everywhere can go fishing? And speaking of fishing, how do you think the fish feel, with a hook barbarously driven through their lips? Indeed, every summer they are dragged from their homes in lakes and rivers by just such a hook, so mercilessly placed, and then thrown onto frying pans! Such an end! Oh the poor perch!
Whatever.

3/30/2006

On Having Children

I have a confession to make. I like to watch America's Next Top Model.
Please don't make fun of me.
I know full well that it's the world's worst show.
Anyway...
Last night the contestants and Tyra Banks were talking about their life goals. One girl admirably said that she would like to be a mother. Tyra Banks' response said everything there is to say about modeling.
"I would love to have children," she began. Then Ms. Banks went on to say that before she has children, she would like to be a little more "well-established."
What?
What do you mean by "well-established?"
I mean, you are 32, rich, famous, beautiful. What else do you need to "establish" about yourself? Never mind that the longer you wait, the harder it is going to be to have children.
Unless, of course, you are afraid that having kids will give you stretch marks and end your underwear modeling career. I mean, who wants to wear clothes?
My husband and I started talking about it. "More well-established." What does that even mean? Nothing. This is where people can be so wrong about having children. Having kids is not all about you and it's not all about making you feel good. Why couldn't she just say "I want to live it up fist?" At least that would have been honest.

3/29/2006

Rahman Flees to Italy

According to the CBC, Rahman has fled to Italy to avoid death at the hands of a country of zealots.
Our prayers go with you, Abdul Rahman. May the grace of God be with you in what is surely a difficult time.

3/27/2006

More on Abdul Rahman

I am continuing to follow the case of Rahman, the Afghan Convert. According to CNN, Rahman's case was dropped by the court. Now Islamic clerics are calling for his death. Rahman is still being held in prison, only this time it may be for his own safety. He has appealed to the UN for amnesty in another country.
Interestingly enough, CNN and Canada.com only state that he was arrested after he was discovered to own a Bible. CTV has something different to say. Apparently, Rahman was arrested last month after it was disclosed in a civil child custody case with his wife that he had converted to Christianity.

Harper and the Seal Hunt

Some time ago, and I have no idea when, Canada.com went insane. Maybe it happened when they changed their look. All I know is that they used to have fabulous articles, or at least decent. Now we have garbage like this.
Notice the title of the forum discussion.
Harper is hiding from the media on the seal hunt.
Harper IS hiding. We know it's true. We can't get a comment from him; he hasn't spoken to us on what must be the world's dumbest issue. Therefore, he must be hiding.
Hello?
People, Parliament sits next week. Has it occurred to anyone that maybe, just maybe, the imminent sitting of Parliament might be a more pressing issue than a seal hunt? I mean, it's not like we're running out of seals. It's not like they're about to become extinct. It's not like the seal hunt won't happen next year because a bunch of celebrities, with nothing better to do, keep throwing themselves onto the ice floes as some sort of bizarre act of protest.
What's more is that people are actually discussing this as though it's a problem. There must be 12 pages of discussion on the non-issue that is the seal hunt. Don't people have a life?

3/24/2006

Fantastic Article

Everyone should read this article over at Dust My Broom. It is probably the best written post I have ever seen on a blog. The subject is Indian Reserve Issues and child rearing.

Lefty Paranoia and
The Annexation Manifesto

So, I was googling for stories on the upcoming sitting of Parliament, the Liberal bluster and apparent threat to vote against the throne speech and other news of the day. In my cyber travels, I happen to come across this glorious bit of utter insanity. I haven't had something to make fun of in a long time.
<insert evil laughter here>
First, notice the title. Harper's U.S. Annexation Manifesto?
Mmhmm.
Well, despite the fact that there is a question mark at the end, rest assured that whoever wrote this article is certain that Harper must have such a manifesto somewhere. I looked at the "About Us." Ahh. Lefties run this "newspaper." Big surprise.
But on to the article. Behold the opening sentence.
It is apparent that the primary purpose of the new Conservative Party of Canada creation, is to orchestrate the take-over of Canada by the United States, and its Big Business interests.
Please. Your paranoia is showing and it's only 9am-ish.
If your party stands for integrity, as you allege, why don't you free your Members of Parliament and other Conservative Party of Canada leaders, so that they can openly present their U.S. Annexation agenda?
Because we know you simply must have one. If anyone denies the truth of what we have just said, clearly it must be because you are forcing them to be quiet about their hidden plot. Perhaps you are threatening to throw them out of Cabinet. We know you prefer the States. Why don't you just come out and say it?
The following Open Letter will hopefully help inspire "Conservatives" to feel free to echo an apparent "Annexation Manifesto". Such an apparent "Manifesto" is being championed by the former right-wing Reform Party leader Preston Manning and former Ontario Premier Mike Harris. This published "Manifesto" has ironically been called "True North Strong and Free".
Since you aren't willing to come right out and say it, we'll write your manifesto for you. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line and it's yours for the taking.
I love the use of the word "inspire," as though anyone with a secret desire to make Canada the 51st state would need help to express themselves. Also, please note that neither Mike Harris nor Preston Manning had anything to do with the open letter presented. Still, if you are not careful when you read the article, you might think they did.
The dubious "True North Strong and Free" political economic policy document basically proclaims that 'Canada is for Sale'. In essence, Manning and Harris present a stated interest to seek a stronger Canada, by essentially wiping out vital Canadian national boundaries, along with any control by Canadians of their own destiny, as a participatory democratic society. In so doing, Harris and Manning seek to further expedite the U.S. take-over of Canada, that has already been occurring under the nation and quality-of-living destroying "Free Trade" with the United States.
Canada is for sale?
Really?
I just have to ask what makes these guys think the US would want to buy us. Also, I find it curious that they feel the US would be interested in taking away our democratic rights or wiping out control over our own lives. After all, it is the left that is sold on nanny-state living. They want national daycare; they want to brainwash our kids.
And the US had what to do with that?
Uh huh.
But on to the letter. (This is good.)
It is your representation that you and your party stands for integrity in politics, as an alternative to the 'corrupt' Liberals. Right? Well, it is about time that you and your members of Parliament came right out about the apparent desires of your 'Conservative' Party. That is the U.S. absorption of Canada. Isn't that why your confederates support adopting the U.S. dollar; a so-called "common border" with the United States; and saying "yes" to ever dysfunctional policy advanced by U.S. neo-conservatives, irrespective of Canadian national interests?

Support adopting the US dollar?
That's almost laughable.
I love the way this letter starts, by the way. Essentially, they say "We know what you really think, so you may as well say it." Ah. Paranoia.
Is it clear that you and your 'Conservative' Party does not support an independent Canada that defends in North America, the national public interests of Canadians from being subject to foreign Big Business coercion. Your stance on the Kyoto Accords, that was devised to protect the planet Earth's vital environment, that Canadians, and humanity in general, depend upon for their quality-of-survival, further illuminates the apparent regressive nature of your "branch plant" of the U.S. Republicans.

No. It's not clear at all. As far as the environment goes, like it or not the US is doing a better job than we are, and have been for quite some time. Kyoto is not the be all and end all, and it never was.

Why not truly provide Canadians with the clear choice that you have said that you seek, in an unambiguous nature? Let the next Canadian federal election be a choice between the social, cultural, political and economic take-over of Canada by the United States, (that appears to be supported by your political party), against political advocates for an independent and social progressive Canada. The United States is a remarkable society. Why not let those Canadians who want to dismantle Canada, be able to support your political agenda freed of continued political disguise?

Uh. We just had an election.
If the Conservatives really do support the annexation of Canada, as you claim, then why was it not an election issue? Because the Conservatives are hiding their true plan? Please.
Let the next Canadian federal election be between you and your advocates for the annexation of Canada under an American manifest destiny agenda, against those Canadians who support the realization of Canada's national destiny as a socially progressive model society that is a constructive leader in the world... a nation which affirms the quality-of-living of all Canadians, without prejudice.... where poverty including homelessness is eradicated... where our environment that Canadian dependent upon their personal and public health is protected from pollution including worsening urban smog to global warming in general... where our public healthcare is rejuvenated not via a privatization scheme that unethically exploits 'the sick' as a "profit centre" like the United States... but which instead affirms the promises of our the socially justice-oriented nature of our vital public healthcare system... where Canada helps leads the world on our values of compassion, peace, cross-cultural community, and constructive internationalism, rather than on capitalistocratic exploitation, oppression and war, and the colonial politics of "divide and rule", including institutionalized racism.

Institutionalized racism.
That is going a bit far.
Capitalistocratic. What a great word.
I need to point out that the healthcare system worsened under the Liberals. Also, if our quality of living is supposed to go up under lefty rule, maybe you can explain to me why I am paying more taxes but keep getting less in return on my social investment.
Indeed, there may be many Canadians who would like our cities to more resemble the Bronx, Brooklyn, south Central Los Angeles, and other such areas of profound poverty, social malaise and despair, alienation, marginalization, and ensuing crime that have grown and persistent under American economic policies.

<cough> <Toronto> <cough> <cough> <Vancouver> <cough>
I love how out of all the cities in the US, they only pick three known to have some crime issues. What about Kalamazoo, MI or Colville, WA?
But no. Those aren't well-known or exciting cities.
Why not give the Canadians seeking to further destroy our social fabric, and our natural landscape, under absorption into the United States, and the corresponding destruction of the 'Canadian Dream'... that is the unambiguous choice of supporting your political party, if it were ever elected?

Uh.
They were elected.
Question for you all. Do you think the "Canadian dream" mentioned at the end involves more taxes and less services for those taxes?

If I Were a Rich Man...

Er, woman.
But whatever.
I'd buy shares in Tim Horton's. I just don't see how this could ever be a bad investment.

3/22/2006

The Afghan Convert

... Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.
36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.
37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated -
38 the world was not worthy of them.
Hebrews 11:35-38

This morning, my husband sent me an article from Canada.com. Abdul Rahman is an Afghan, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity some 16 years ago. He is now imprisoned for his faith and could be executed. It has been suggested that he may be insane and therefore unfit to stand trial.
I am curious to know what qualifies this man as being insane? Is it the fact the he converted? Apparently he "doesn't talk like a normal person." What can I say to this but
18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1: 18-20

It is my hope that this man will not be executed. If he is, may he be a shining example to all Christians, especially those of us here in the West who have never been tested. We have it too easy.

3/21/2006

Alternative Medicines

Canada.com has an article on the regulation of herbal remedies. Before I begin I simply must say that if you are going to publish an article on such a subject, find someone knowledgeable on the issue to write about it. The author is clearly not familiar with the long history of herbal remedies, and his article is written from a point of ignorance.
I grew up with alternative medicines. As a child, I only ever required antibiotics two, maybe three times. I still had all of my vaccinations and flu shots, but I was not to the doctor at the drop of a hat.
My mother knows a lot about herbal remedies. All of her knowledge came from necessity. She had to learn because my father had throat cancer when I was about 12. He had more than one tumor and due to the type and amount of radiation therapy he had, he was only able to eat organic foods. He had to be in the best possible health, and his depressed immune system needed as much help as it could get. One of my younger sister's has had asthma since she was about 2 or 3 years old. She took different types of herbal teas to complement the different puffers she had to take as a child. As for myself, I have suffered from migraines for a long time, since before I started university. Once, I had a prescription for them. Occasionally I have tried different herbs, but more often than not I simply wait them off and sleep.
There are certain things that everyone should know about herbs, alternative medicines and conventional medications. The first is that chemicals for everything is not good for you. Most people use too many antibiotics and too many chemicals. They also use them incorrectly or incompletely. Advil or Tylenol for every ache or pain only builds up your resistance to the drug. It does not correct the problem. Too many people ask for a prescription without being aware of what that medication does to their body over the long haul. The human body is incredibly resilient. Often, it can simply overcome an illness without extra intervention. This makes it hardier and more able to deal with the next illness. This is particularly true of younger and more fit individuals.
Most herbs serve to boost the body's immune system. They amplify its natural defences. Most herbs do not work immediately, but improve the body's condition over time. If anyone takes echinacea expecting it to immediately cure a cold, they will be disappointed. A herb like echinacea is supposed to be taken long term and in cycles. Most herbs also serve to balance out the body. That is why they can act as either a stimulant or a sedative, depending on what the body needs. The article points out this supposed irony in the case of black horehound. Again, I must say that this is where they should have had a more knowledgeable individual writing the article.
With regards to herbs, it is a myth that just because something is natural it is safe. Most people forget that some medications are made from plant extracts. For thousands of years before synthetic drugs were invented, herbal remedies were prescribed to cure an ailment. There are certain herbs that must be taken with extreme care. For example, no pregnant woman should ever use saffron or wormwood. That is because if taken in large quantities, these plants can cause spontaneous abortions. Saffron is particularly dangerous because the difference between amount that is safe to eat, the amount that causes an upset stomach, the amount that causes an abortion and the amount that can kill you differs only by a few grams. Feverfew, a herb intended for migraines, is also not recommended during pregnancy. As with all migraine medication, it helps to shrink the dilated blood vessels that occur during a migraine. Unfortuantely, no migraine medication shrinks only the blood vessels in the head. Shrinkage usually occurs all over the body, and could therefore impact your child. Another herb, coltsfoot, is intended for topical remedies only, such as burns and skin ulcers. It should not be ingested at all, due to the fact it contains some cancer causing agents.
There are certain things that I would always recommend to anyone who prefers natural remedies. The first is garlic. Garlic has natural antibacterial agents in it. Always take it when you have a bacterial infection. It is an excellent boost to your immune system and there are no side effects, except for breath. For relief of constipation, senna is your best friend. You can buy it in pill or tea formats. It always works better than chemical laxatives, but you may have to wait until the next day for relief. Never take more than the recommended dosage. It won't harm you, per se, but you could end up with severe cramps.
Some people are more extreme in their use of alternative remedies than others. Some go as far as to shun vaccinations, all antibiotics, flu shots and the like. I am not in favour of such an approach. Balance is better. Herbal remedies complement conventional medicine; they cannot always replace it altogether. Simlarly, conventional medecine is not always the most appropriate answer.

3/20/2006

Harper and the Media

PoliticsWatch has an article on Harper's supposed new code of silence. I never thought I'd say this about an article at PoliticsWatch, but some of the author's underlying assumptions seem to be naive. The original article came from the Globe & Mail, and was parrotted at CTV.
"...the PMO will have final approval for all communications products -- even Notes to Editors or Letters to the Editor," the e-mail obtained by the Globe stated. According to the e-mail, bureaucrats were told to reduce the amount of ministerial and public events that take away from the government's five priorities outlined during the election campaign. The PMO must approve all ministerial events also, the email said.
The only reason something as mundane as this is a story is because someone assumed (without thinking it through) that it was a bad idea. Consider carefully that the Conservatives have only a slim minority government. If they wish to be re-elected with a majority, then they have to do a good job this term. One of the best ways to do this is to present a united front and get whatever job done as quickly, quietly and efficiently as possible. In politics, as in life, the power of a united front can be formidable.
Currently, the Conservative government is in a minority situation and only nine of the 25 cabinet ministers have prior cabinet experience.
This is a key point. Inexperienced ministers need more guidance on how to behave, how to achieve a united front, than more seasoned individuals do. If you want to be successful in politics, you can't just spout whatever pops into your head at any given moment. If the government has specific issues that it wants to target this sitting, then all ministers need to be focused on that goal. The media is easily distracted. They will only be able to focus on your issue if all of your ministers are.
But the Liberals are criticizing the approach and are questioning whether such a strategy will be sustainable once the new Parliament opens on April 3. Liberal Senator Jim Munson, a former journalist who later served as director of communications for former prime minister Jean Chretien, said the way Harper appears to be operating his government is not standard procedure. "Monsieur Chretien allowed his ministers to speak their minds," Munson said. "He believed in and trusted his ministers because he believed in the concept of team. At the end of the day he was the ultimate voice of the government but just as important was the message."
MmHmmm.
Which is why we had the Martin camp and the Chretien camp, right? Also, I'd love to know why he doesn't use Martin as his example. Could it be because he was obsessive over having the Liberal Party on side with him over whatever issue? And if you say "Oh no, that couldn't possibly be," then I'll just have to remind you of the gay marriage bill and Martin's behaviour over that.
Any criticism that the Liberals could possibly have of Harper's communication strategy is, at best, total hypocrisy. Liberals tow the party line like there is no tomorrow. If Chretien allowed his ministers to speak their minds, and if I recall this happened rarely because Liberals like to parrot, it was because he was secure in a majority. What was anyone going to do?
Let's not forget that while the Conservatives may be limiting what is presented to the media, the Liberals made no end of presenting utter fabrications. I for one would rather the message be limited but truthful, but it would appear that this is not what the MSM wants. Standing before the press, lying through your teeth, stroking egos just for a photo op is pitiful behaviour for a government leader and Martin did this all the time. The Prime Minister should not be a media whore.

3/17/2006

The Choice To Stay At Home:
The Budget

I would certainly not presume to tell someone how to organize their family's finances. However, if you want to make it on a single income, let's face it: you have to economize! There are lots of ways to do this, and everyone has their own preferences. Here are a few tips.
The first and most important thing is to learn to do without. This takes practice. Keep in mind that as you, the parent, learn to do without, your child learns from you. You don't need every article of clothing in the store or every new gadget and they don't need every toy. This can be difficult if you have a weakness for certain items (like shoes...). However, if you don't learn to do without, you will not make it on a single income.
Period.
If you have to have everything, then you have to pay for everything too. Ask yourself what is more important: stuff or the well-being of your kids?
It's amazing how far the concept of doing without can go. Examine every spending decision. Do you need that new car, or can you squeeze a few more miles out of your current one? Do you need that house with that size mortgage payment, or are you managing in what you have? Do you need that big TV, or will a smaller one suffice? How was your grocery order this week? Did you buy a lot of extras that you don't need? Believe me, as someone who does it, I know this is hard. We live in a society that has come to view "moving up" into something "bigger" or "better" is the way to go. Consider that most of the world makes do with far, far less than what we have.
Minimalist living.
It's tough, but it can be done.
And all I can say is that growing up, I wore a lot of second hand clothes.
This is another reason why I am in favour of the $100 per month per child option. I can stretch a buck a whole lot farther than the government can.

The Choice To Stay At Home:
Society and the Mom

Last week after a doctor's appointment, I had to stop by the pharmacy to fill out a prescription for my daughter. (She's better now, just so you know.) I had Eden with me, and an old lady in line behind me commented on how cute she was, as old ladies are wont to do. The woman must have been about 70. She then went on about how she had a number of children, and about how she raised hers at home. It was better for them.
For whatever reason, the woman serving us at the till decided to insert herself in our conversation. Her addition to our discussion was that women are much better educated these days and have more opportunities. Therefore they go out to work, as they should.
Since this women had effectively just painted all stay at home mothers as uneducated, and since that is certainly not the case for myself, and since there was nothing I could possibly say without be rude or snide, I simply kept my mouth shut and left. I'd been served and there was really no reason to stick around.
The belief that stay at home mothers are less educated, less intelligent, less fulfilled women leading less important lives is fairly common. If you talk to a well to do woman who has chosen a career path, it is likely that she will question your choice to remain at home with your children. Often, the question "do you work?" is asked, as though children are not work. No one respects the fact that it was their mothers who stayed at home and made them what they are.
Mothers are the shapers of society.
And perhaps that's the problem with this generation.
Their parents, and especially their mothers who chose to stay at home and care for them, gave so much. Now, their ungrateful children take it all for granted and do not do the same for their own children.
Now, I recognize that there will always be exceptions. Sometimes, it is necessary to work outside the home. Single parents are a prime example. As far as two parent families go, when is it necessary to work and when can you get by on one income?

Choice For Childcare Day

Today I will be blogging about the stay at home mom. What are the issues she faces? How can a family get by on a single income?
I chose to blog on this issue because I have strong feelings on it. Partially, this is because I am a stay at home mother. However, even growing up I had strong feelings regarding a woman's right to raise her children and the way society chooses to belittle that choice.
Harper's child care allowance offers the most choice for the stay at home mother. True, it would be better if it were a little bit more, but at least it's a start.
At least it's a choice.

Happy St. Pat's Day

I've never really celebrated St. Patrick's Day, to be honest.
But, if you do, Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

3/15/2006

Friday is Choice For Childcare Day

As a stay at home mom, as a general rule I am not in favour of daycare. I am even less in favour of any kind of national or state-run daycare program. The government can't run itself, much less my kid. The misinformation that is being spread by the Liberals and NDP is concerning, at best. I am in favour of the Conservative tax-credit plan, although it would be nice if they were returning just a little bit more money.
Sara at Choice For Childcare is organizing a new blogger initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness about the true need for choice in childcare, and the problems with the so-called national daycare plan that was proposed by the Liberals (but never implemented). The plan is to combat misinformation; to post your thoughts on why you support choice in child care and why you support the Conservative tax credit. Spend your Friday blogging this important issue.
If you wish to be involved, visit Choice For Childcare or drop me a note here.

3/14/2006

Bernard Shapiro:
Tough Guy or Puppet?

(Before I begin, I'd just like to post a link to this bit at a liberal blog. I don't really agree with every said, but there are a few good points. My intention had been to dissect it bit by bit, but I really don't feel like doing that now. Read it anyway.)

But on to my feelings about Shapiro.
The short version: Shapiro is a tool.
There is more to it than that, of course. He refused to investigate Belinda Stronach when she crossed the floor. His investigation of the Grewal tapes left much to be desired. He refused to investigate Valeri, using the fact that Parliament was not sitting as an excuse. Now he wishes to investigate Emerson for crossing the floor, eventhough Parliament is not sitting.
In my opinion, it would have been much better if Shapiro could simply have been replaced the moment Harper stepped into office. It's a shame Ed Broadbent turned down the position, but I can understand his reasons. Family is definitely more important than some job. Unfortunately though, the Prime Minister can't fire the Ethics Commissioner... which is a good thing, Shapiro's asinine behaviour notwithstanding.
From what I heard on Question Period on Sunday, there was once a time when Shapiro was a well-respected individual. Now he looks like a fool and the Liberal Party lackey. Fair and unbiased are definitely not words I would use to describe him at all. He needs to be replaced as soon as possible.

Back In Action

Real life.
You know how it is.
Something are more important than blogging.
Like good health, for example.

Anyways, I'm back now. Carry on.

3/04/2006

My Thoughts on Other Religions

At first I was going to write about Islam in particular and my feelings on it. After giving it some thought, it seems to me that it will be more helpful if I explain how I view other religions. Otherwise, anything I write will probably only serve to muddy the waters further. I am sure that at least some readers may feel insulted by what I have to say but please note that is not my intention. I am not being arrogant, only honest.
As a Christian, I believe that there is only one path to God: Jesus Christ. You must believe that He is the Son of God, God in human form. He loved you enough to die for your sins. You must accept His gift of salvation and walk in humility and repentance before Him.
I also believe that all other religions are false.
All of them.
Not one will lead you to God.
Not one.
They may make you a better behaved person, but that is it.
I believe that heaven and hell exist. Some people are going to heaven and others are going to hell. Who is going where is not up to me, but up to God. Since I also believe that the only way to escape hell is through Jesus Christ, it behooves me to tell anyone who doesn't know or doesn't believe that they must change. I am not doing this out of some twisted sense of judgment, arrogance, or dislike for people. I do it out of love for others and out of a sense of obedience to God and gratitude for what He has done for me.
When I write about other religions I do it from a sort of academic view point. I look at all other religions through the lens of my own and consider what is good or useful about the religion, if anything, and what is bad. If I don't understand why a particular religion has a particular belief (as with my questions on the kirpan), then you can expect me to ask about it. If I feel a belief is wrong or harmful, then I will say so. I am not good at being tactful, so usually if I say "Belief X has the following problem" it comes out sounding rude.
I cannot separate my Christian beliefs from myself when I consider other religions. I cannot change my world view, and this extends beyond how I look at religious beliefs. It also includes lifestyles. I do not believe that what's good for me is good for me and what's good for you is good for you. I do believe that what some people think is good for them, is in fact very bad for them. I will always look at other practices through the lens of what I believe and any judgments I come to will be based on that lens.
Considering all that I have just said, it should not surprise anyone that I will occasionally say "Belief X is bad." Any adherents to "Belief X" will naturally feel insulted whenever they read this. Please keep in mind that although I may think your beliefs are wrong, it is more than likely that in person we would get along just fine. Wgile I may take issue with certain beliefs, individuals themselves are usually just fine. Moreover, you will never catch me saying "You are stupid for believing in X." That really would be insulting. There is a big difference between saying someone is wrong and insulting or belittling them for being wrong. The same beliefs that tell me you are wrong also tell me to extend grace.
I hope this has helped to clarify where I am coming from in any religious posts I make.

3/03/2006

Poor Baby

My daughter is sick.
She's only 5 1/2 months and it's the first real cold she's had, not counting the rattle in her lung that she had the first two weeks of her life. Poor little thing! Nothing is sadder that a sick baby, especially when it's only a cold and you can't do anything but wait it out.

More Thoughts on Kirpans

In much the same way as I believe that guns don't kill people, people kill people, I believe that daggers don't kill people. People kill people.
I have been doing some more thinking about kirpans and baptised Sikh children carrying them to school. While I still think it is a bad idea, part of the reason why I think this is that there is such a lot of violence in our schools. Because of the type of violence (not necessarily violence itself, since that has always existed) our attitude towards weapons is immature.
In certain civilizations long gone, war, honour and the correct use of weapons were tied together. If you know anything about the Spartans or the Samurai, then you will know what I mean. For a soldier to drop his sword or shield (depending on the culture) in battle, or to flee, or to act in any way that was deemed to be dishonourable, was a big deal.
What if violence in our schools was not an issue? What if everyone viewed any type of weapon as an instrument to be used honorably? I suspect that kirpans in the classroom would be less of a problem. In fact, I doubt anyone would even think twice about it. No one would even consider the possibility of a Sikh student attacking another student with their kirpan because that is not its purpose.
This is not the case, however. The reactions towards kirpans, the fact that it was ever an issue at all is, in my opinion, a symptom of a much larger problem in our society.

3/02/2006

Kirpans

The ban on kirpans in schools in Quebec is apparently, not justified says the Supreme Court of Canada. The ruling was unanimous. Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all Canadians are guaranteed freedom of religion (unless you are up against a gay). Since the kirpan is an integral part of the Sikh religion, Sikh students should be allowed to carry them around.
Or so the court says.
Now, a kirpan is apparently a knife. I have to be frank; beyond that, I don't really know much about a kirpan. I don't really know much about Sikhism. So I looked it up.
The kirpan... is certain the most visible symbol of Sikh masculinity, and the very potency of the kirpan appears to signify to an outsider the martial qualities of the Sikh...the kirpan is "a sword ritually constrained and thus made into the mark of every citizen's honour, not only of the soldier's vocation." A sword that is "ritually constrained" is a sword that is bound to do only the work of justice, to be drawn on behalf of the oppressed and the weak, to be offered only in defense. The sword can be employed only when all other avenues have been explored and exhausted, and indeed failure to do so at that time would be tantamount to complicity in acts of evil and oppression...the sword, becoming a characteristic mark of the Sikhs, was to render them intrepid. The Khalsa Sikh male was to become the exemplar of a believer who would no longer lead a life of anonymity, fearful of persecution, and so he would be on the path of self-recognition and self-reliance... The attachment to the sword, or the kirpan, must be perceived as an attachment to an 'object' that becomes an inalienable part of oneself, constitutive of a life of affirmation, honor, and self-respect; and to forgo the kirpan, at least on the orthodox view, is to relinquish one's identity as a Sikh observant of the faith...
Hmm.
How to respond.
It is unfortunate that the Sikh religion has tied honour, self-respect, affirmation and othodoxy to an item such as a dagger. Why not integrate it with the individual and leave the object behind? What is it about carrying a kirpan that makes a Sikh male more honourable and why don't women carry them? Are they less deserving or less capable of honour?
These questions are obviously asked by someone who doesn't know anything about Sikhism. I don't think my inexperience takes away from the questions though. Why do the leaders of your religion not find a way to handle the issue through some means other than saying "We must be allowed to carry our daggers?"

Edit 03/03/06 10:26am : It would appear that Sikh women are in every way equal to men. My comment on women not carrying kirpan's is erroneous.

3/01/2006

Dispensationalism Gone Haywire

Groups like Jews for Jesus have got to find stuff like this incredibly frustrating.
An evangelical pastor and an Orthodox rabbi... have apparently persuaded leading Baptist preacher Jerry Falwell that Jews can get to heaven without being converted to Christianity... Falwell had adopted Hagee's innovative belief in what Christians refer to as "dual covenant" theology.
Basically, the idea of "dual covenant theology" is that there is one salvation for Jews and another for Christians. Though not Dispensationalism (which is a sort of opposite to Covenant Theology) itself, the idea is often contained within the Dispensationalist view. Rather than viewing the Bible as a continual thought, as Covenant Theology does, Dispensationalism divides the Bible (and all of time) into chunks called dispensations. The Law and Grace are mutually exclusive ideas, not two sides of the same coin. Israel and the Christian Church are not a part of the same family, but two different families. One group is saved through the Law, the other by Grace.
The belief that Jews can be saved though the Law and not through Grace should be problematic for most Christians. If the Law was ever capable of truly effecting salvation, what was the point of Christ's death and resurrection? Was not the old system good enough? As I said at the beginning, groups like Jews for Jesus must find themselves thoroughly frustrated by statements like the above coming from Christians. Their entire reason for being is obliterated by errant doctrines like dual covenant theology.
I am not a huge Hagee or Falwell fan anyway. Still, it frustrates me that they invent their own doctrines instead of sticking to what is actually in the Bible. I would love to ask them how they deal with the book of Hebrews, in light of their new belief.

Canada: Terrorist Heaven

To some extent, this isn't really news. It has been known for some time that Canada is a haven for terrorists and criminals. The original report from the Fraser Institute is here and the accompanying news release is here.
The report was written by Martin Collacott and, although long, is interesting and makes some good points. It examines shortcomings of current immigration policies, reasons why problems may not have been fixed, the impact on trade with the U.S. and it provides recommendations on how to improve our system.
Recommendations for improvement include increased resources, reduction in access to the system of people who should not be entitled to make claims because they arrived through safe third countries, or originated from safe countries, faster case settlement and greater use of detention for risky, failed claimants. The entry and departure of visitors should also be properly recorded. There is also the recommendation that some common immigration policies between ourselves and the U.S. might be a good idea. A common database that provides information on who is moving in and out of the country is suggested. I have to say, I am not convinced that this is a good idea. While the author does make mention of the fact that we need to agree on who should be watched and who shouldn't be, he forgets that we also have different privacy laws. I also think this idea would be a tough sell to the general Canadian public.
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