Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Translating Arabic

Something that needs to be spread around, and something that needs to be seen.

Most people would not normally question whether what is said in English is the same as is said in Arabic. Here's proof that it can be a different message.

h/t Scaramouche!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maclean's accused of slandering Quebec

Maclean's accused of slandering Quebec

"Unfortunately, this attack is representative of a belief widely held in Canada that Quebec is racist, corrupt and always looking for a handout. It appears that the only group in Canada that can be singled out in this way, the only group that can be insulted, is Quebecers," Duceppe wrote

To be quite honest, Mr. Duceppe, Quebecers SHOULD be insulted, but not because the rest of Canada views your province in this way. No, Quebecers should be insulted because so many of your brethren have chosen to act this way and have brought the province into disrepute. The rest of Canada really can't help it if it has had reason after reason to think this way.

And while I'm on the subject, Mr. Duceppe, what does Quebec really care how it's viewed in the rest of Canada? After all, your party is the one that wants to take Quebec out of Canada, don't they? If that's really your goal then you should be happy that your province is viewed unfavourably in the rest of Canada... unless it's about the money. A province viewed unfavourably might be thrown off the gravy train before secessionville. Am I close to the reason for your outrage, Mr. Duceppe?

Honestly, I don't think Quebec is any more corrupt than any other province, however it sure seems like it is. Maybe, Mr. Duceppe, you show focus your outrage on fixing the problems in your province instead of complaining about it to the rest of Canada. Just a thought.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Venezuelans Vote on Sunday to Defend Their Moribund Democracy

Venezuelans Vote on Sunday to Defend Their Moribund Democracy

Some would say that all these elections prove that Venezuela is a true democracy. I would argue that democracy means more than simply voting. It involves separation of powers, constitutional checks and balances, and freedom of the press. None of these exists in Venezuela anymore.

Even the electoral process is deeply flawed. Just as in previous elections, nobody expects the vote on Sunday to be fair: Independent international observers have again been barred from entering Venezuela. Most of the media are owned by the government, and the remaining private outlets must submit to the constant cadenas (presidential addresses) that the government requires private TV and radio stations to air. From 1998 to September 19th, broadcasters aired 2,072 cadenas for a total of 1,430 hours of transmission (almost two months of 24-hour broadcast)

Not much more to say about it, is there?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Health care union approves contract

CBC News - Saskatchewan - Health care union approves contract

Members of the Service Employees International Union-West, which represents 11,000 health support workers in Saskatchewan, have given a new contract tepid approval.

According to an automatic-dial phone message that went out to members late Wednesday, members have voted 59 per cent in favour of the collective agreement with the organization representing health regions.

I stand corrected:

The SGEU, SEIU and CUPE aren't allowing a vote on the contract offer by SAHO for one important reason - they're afraid of what their members might do, and they are trying to hold out until next spring when they can do a general strike.

Actually, I really don't stand corrected because this is exactly what the union leadership were afraid would happen if the general strike narrative were to play out. Thankfully that's not looking like it's going to happen.

I do have to take issue with one thing that CBC is saying:

Bargaining took place after the government passed a law severely restricting the number of health care workers who could withdraw their services.
The government passed a law forcing the union and the employer to negotiate who is essential and who is not. Saskatchewan was the last province in the country to pass such a law. This law doesn't severely restrict an employee's right to withdraw services unless their job is considered an essential function or irreplaceable, but the fundamental ideal is still the same - the union and employer have to NEGOTIATE those essential people. A highways worker in the summertime may not be essential. A Highways worker in the winter time may be. A nurse on the ward may be essential, but 6 nurses on the ward may not be. A lab technician may not be individually essential, but the lab must still be available to perform its function.

I just wonder how the CBC would characterize a right to work law.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

FSIN holds rally for treaty right of post secondary education

FSIN holds rally for treaty right of post secondary education

The Federation of Saskatchewan Indians Nations (FSIN) organized a large rally at the First Nations University in Regina stating that post secondary education is a treaty right. Hundreds of students were on hand with some traveling hours to attend. The students could be heard cheering the speeches delivered by the chiefs.
Just two thoughts for FSIN:

1. Nobody is stopping you from getting an education, and

2. Nothing in the treaty promised you your own university outside of the existing system.

You have the right to an education as promised by the treaty - I suggest you encourage more of your people to take advantage of that right and to make use of the education provided, regardless of the delivery method. Do this, and the income and living conditions will improve within a generation. Do it not, and you sacrifice yet another generation to abject poverty, self-pity and self-loathing. The rest of the population can't make this decision for you, but we are dependent on your choice.

Good Luck.
I'm sorry pal

The mastermind of the so-called Toronto 18 no longer believes in extremist Islamic ideology so his life sentence should be reduced, an appeals court has heard.

Amara's lawyer, James Lockyer, is trying to have his client's sentence reduced from life to a range of 18 years to 20 years.
If you truly don't believe in the extremist ideology anymore, you can best prove that to your parole board through your actions over the next 25 years.

Until then buddy, you're right where you should be.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Saskatoon NW Byelection called

NDP candidate chosen for Saskatoon Northwest | News Talk 650 CKOM

They're batting a thousand when it comes to recent by-elections. And the Province's NDP Leader hopes to keep that streak alive.

"I'd always rather win then lose, there's no doubt about that," said Lingenfelter.

Lingenfelter, and the NDP are counting on Jan Dyky to give them another seat in the Legislature.

This is the fourth by-election since the last general election in 2007.

"We've won three out of three so far. I'd like to have the record at four for four," said Lingenfelter.

Okay, so let's be honest Mr. Lingenfelter - all three byelections that the NDP have won were in ridings that might be considered strongholds for your party. Cumberland has always gone CCF/NDP. Douglas Park is in an NDP stronghold (and honestly, if you can't get elected as party leader, then what CAN you do for your party). Saskatoon Riversdale, with the exception of 1 election in the 80s, has been solidly NDP as well. These byelections SHOULD have gone to the NDP, and realistically, if all you have to go on is that you're batting 1000 for the 3 byelections since the last general election, then you're going to be sadly disappointed come October 18th.

I wish the NDP good luck on this one, but I would agree with the Premier that this is a referendum on the Sask Party's leadership - if the NDP wins the riding, then it could be said that the government is losing ground with the electorate. If the Sask Party wins, then the question will be whether it was decisive enough. Either way, it will be an interesting race.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tommy Douglas statue artist Lea Vivot ignored during unveiling | News Talk 650 CKOM

Tommy Douglas statue artist Lea Vivot ignored during unveiling | News Talk 650 CKOM

Just a thought to Ms. Vivot...

Don't be mad at the media, be mad at the Hollywood star that showed up to the unveiling.

I have no doubt that the vast majority of the crowd would have been there only to get to see Mr. Sutherland, and not to see the unveiling of a statue. On that point alone the media got the coverage correctly - that the presence of a star made the event extraordinary.

The sculptor was absolutely right that she should have garnered more recognition, but that's hardly the fault of the media.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A candid discussion

A candid discussion that more city councils should have.

The long and the short of it is that Drew Carey and Reason TV are telling Cleveland what needs to be done to help the city recover from a decades long decline. You can tell that the councillors genuinely want to help, but they also don't want to give up what power and position they hold.

Here's a money exchange though:

Reed: I’ll give you a great example. It leads right into what you’re saying. There’s a gentleman in the city of Cleveland who is a very successful businessperson who now works for one of the nonprofits. He owns a business in the city, and he wants to put in a $20,000 sign, because he’s trying to bring up his business. He applied for a variance to do it. This is what he says—I’m just going to read it because it’s pretty short: “If we have to go to the zoning review board, I understand that it may take 60 days for approval. That is simply too long. I applied for a variance on 4/21. Based on the progress to the day, I will have my sign installed by 9/1.…The summer will be over. The car wash will have lost more money. This is the kind of stuff that hurts Cleveland and puts people out of business. It’s just ridiculous. I need the variance to be approved ASAP so that the sign can be manufactured and I can have some hope of getting the sign installed before the summer’s over.”

Carey: That’s a lot of money for a car wash owner in Cleveland who can only be open in the summer.

Sweeney: Let me give some context to this. If you apply for a sign that’s within our regulation, it would take somewhere between three and five days. If it’s outside the regulations, it needs to be [no bigger than] four foot by eight foot, no more than two or three colors. If you want to go 10 by 10, and put it up a little bit higher, and have 10 colors on it, you have to get approval to go outside the variance.

Carey: Why does it matter how many colors are on it?

Sweeney: It’s one of the regulations we have.

Carey: Get rid of it.

Sweeney: Got it. But what I was trying to get at, the three to five days is if you stay within the regulations, if you agree with them. If you want to go outside, it’s six weeks to put it on the calendar and have it heard. And then all the other steps.

Carey: You should be able to put up whatever sign you want, man. If it’s your business.

Reed: But understand, you can say that simplistically. We can’t say that because there has to be some type of structure.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don't Use Taxpayer's Money to Clean Up After Vandals

Don't Use Taxpayer's Money to Clean Up After Vandals

These kids’ parents are 100% financially and physically responsible for cleaning up what their kids have done. In more ways than one they have failed – clearly – and it is totally up to them to cover the costs and provide the labor to fix what their children have destroyed.

Apologies and healing circles – both of which have been promised – are important for the kids, but not enough for Myron Middleton and Camp Tamarack, in my opinion. But pumping my tax dollars into the cleanup is not an option. Get the parents in there and hold them accountable, until not a hint of their childrens’ handiwork remains. In this case, it’s that simple.

The only thing done right in this case was that the kids were made to apologize and help with the clean up efforts, although hopefully it was impressed on the little darlings that this was the effect of their vandalistic cause. It is well documented that punishment doesn't work if the sentence is separated from the crime by months. If the person can't connect the punishment to the crime, then it just hardens them to future punishment. As for the rest - I agree wholeheartedly with Tammy - it wasn't the government's responsibility to make the camp whole again. It isn't the government's responsibility to provide funding. It isn't the government's responsibility to put manpower into the clean up. It is the government's responsibility to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

I will give kudos to one thing though - this incident will do more for the camp's fund raising efforts than any event could have done.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Is this the energy wave of the future?

So let's see... we have a substance which is considered waste in certain mining processes. It produces more energy per ton than uranium, coal and oil. So what's wrong with it?

Well, first off, it requires the use of lead in large quantities to produce a safe reaction. Oops - very toxic. Second people forget or don't know that Uranium can be recycled.

And oh yes - nobody's talking about thorium because Greenpeace won't let you:

But Greenpeace thinks this is a bad idea. The organisation's senior adviser on nuclear energy, Jean McSorley, says: "Operating thorium reactors would mean taking an enormous risk with untried and untested reactors. We shouldn't forget that we need to reduce energy demand, and fully embrace clean, safe and secure alternatives such as renewable energy systems."
Too many people in the world believe that use of energy is bad. Too many people believe that the world's energy resources are scarce (they aren't - oil is current at hundreds of years of supply, coal is at thousands, as is natural gas, and we haven't started talking about all the other fuels out there).

To make a long story short, thorium may be the eventual answer to the world's energy stresses, but people have to come to a new realization before that happens - if you switch to a new energy source, you must also redesign all related appliances - cars, ships, planes, etc, and THAT is the real reason why governments and people are hesitant to convert to a new technology.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Black Man Goes To Glenn Beck's Rally - HUMAN EVENTS

A Black Man Goes To Glenn Beck's Rally - HUMAN EVENTS

The message I took away is that we cannot continue to pick at the scab of America's past but must become the balm that heals it. That's the way forward—arm in arm, moving together, toward a better future.

Standing in a crowd that stretched from the Washington Monument to Lincoln Memorial what happened on 8/28 was the most inspirational thing I had ever experienced.

Standing there, unhyphenated and united, this black man has never felt more free in his life.

Gaza Humanitarian Crisis Revisited

Gaza Humanitarian Crisis Revisited

According to Egyptian journalist Ashraf Abu Al-Houl writing in Al-Ahram, "A sense of absolute prosperity prevails, as manifested by the grand resorts along and near Gaza's coast. Further, the sight of the merchandise and luxuries filling the Gaza shops amazed me. Merchandise is sold more cheaply than in Egypt, although most of it is from the Egyptian market.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Property rights to reserves

I'll do him one better:

Some native chiefs are worried that the government’s goal is to bring property rights to the native reserves. So far the limited amount of property rights that has been introduced to some reserves has led to marked improvements in the reserve’s economy and standard of living. So why on Earth would the native leadership oppose something that is improving the lives of their people?

Their publicized reasoning is that property rights would ultimately lead to assimilation. They are keen to protect their ‘traditional way of life,’ but a tradition is only as good as it is beneficial to the people. A tradition that impoverishes is a tradition that is better off being gotten rid of.

To be quite frank, it's not that their "traditional way of life" impoverishes, although that is a point in favour of abolishing it. No, the traditional way of life that they are expounding doesn't exist in the current world.

Don't get me wrong, hunting and fishing for meat is very much a way of life on reserve, and something that helps alleviate the poverty found there. Pow-wows and other cultural activities are also alive and well on reserve.

What isn't alive and well is the concept of communal ownership. The reason for this is simple - that may have been the way of life when the various bands were nomadic, moving their villages on a regular basis and believing that no one person can own the land, however that way of life was abandoned when the reserves were set up and the various bands laid claim (and ultimately, ownership) to the land on which they occupied.

In short, the day the chiefs signed their respective treaties with The Grandmother, meanwhile smirking at the white man for giving up something of value for something that the bands did not feel they owned, that was the day that their "communal" way of life began dying a slow death. May the current government put it out of it's misery.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Canadian experts reject MS trials

Canadian experts reject MS trials

"Given the lack of scientific basis, it is not scientifically advisable or ethically acceptable to conduct clinical trials at this time," Beaudet said. He added the decision to hold off on trials until more evidence was found was unanimous among everyone who took part in the meeting, including internationally recognized researchers and scientists of MS.

I may not be a genius, but I DO know one thing - the only way that there will be "more evidence" that the so-called "liberation treatment" for MS works is if clinical trials are actually performed.

Now, I'm sure that it makes all of these "researchers and scientists of MS" good to know that they are trying to protect those people from harm by their doctors, but what it comes down to is one thing:


Given this, doesn't it behoove these scientists to actually study the treatment being performed to great success and give all those ailing patients a really good reason why the treatment is universally harmful to them, not just dismiss it out of hand for fear that their research grants may dry up and they may have to admit a failure to recognize that MS isn't a disease, it's a condition.

Of course, I could be wrong here, but how do we find out until someone actually proves it? We give money for a treatment clinic where people actively do something that harms them... the least we could do is help people who did nothing to deserve their condition and want to try everything they can to be freed of it.