Friday, February 23, 2007

Showpiece for how Conservatives are just plain dumb

I'm sure you've heard of the new Conservapedia, the "unbiased" alternative to Wikipedia.

Many reams of virtual paper have been spent on just how silly it is, for example here, here, and here (the first link is awesome. Did you know that Kangaroos made it to Australia from the Middle East after the Great Flood, but it's unclear whether they got there while Australia was still joined to the Eurasian landmass (which sort of disproves the whole 6000 year old earth thing), or drifted there on the receeding floodwaters?)

And for our Canadian readers, here's their entry on Canada:

Canada is the second largest country in the world for it's considerable amount of land. It was named Canada because when an explorer came to a Canadian Indian
village he asked what this place was called, and they told him "Kanada", which means village in their Indian language. It borders the United States, and most of it's population is in The more southern provinces of Canada.

The person writing has the writing skills of perhaps a 4 year old, and has some serious problems with possessives and contractions . . .

Happily, though, there was nothing about Canadians being godless pot-smoking homo-loving liberals. On the other hand, the entry about Democrats is a little silly.

According to leading conservative thinkers, no good Christian would ever be a Democrat. Catholics identify as Democrats more than Republican, but the opposite
is true for Evangelicas. The major tenets of the modern Democrat platform include cowering to terrorism, cocaine presidents, corporate profits, and establishment of an aristocratic, faux-religious state. However, contempt for all the founding principles of America is not yet an official prerequisite for entry into the Democrat party.

Though last I checked, Bush was the smack addict. The spelling on all these entries is original.

And clearly Vandals are at work. The apparently conservative entry on Bill Clinton reads as follows:

Bill Clinton managed to serve two terms without botching the prosecution of two wars, manipulating intelligence, engaging in a systematic program of torture, or mishandling the federal response to flooding of a major American city. Obviously, he is the devil incarnate. Clinton also attempted to use the American military to kill Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, an action which was properly seen as a mere attempt to distract the nation from the Monica Lewisnky scandal.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Good heavens

Is the Flag on Government buildings ever not at half mast?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stupid People

Okay. First off, I'm very pro-choice. i won't even get into that.

But some woman suing because the doctor didn't tell her that the 5-week old fetus in her was a human being, and that this caused her great distress, is complete nonsense.

In 2004, the plaintiff sued her doctor for medical malpractice, arguing that abortion providers have a duty to tell their patients that the fetus or embryo they are carrying is "a complete, separate, unique and irreplaceable human being" and that the "abortion did not prevent a human being from coming into existence but actually killed an existing human being."

I'm sorry, but people should have no right to profit out of their own stupidity. As one of the NJ Supreme's Justices pointed out, didn't she know that if she did nothing, in 8 months there would be a baby? Apparently, her lawyer responded, "she didn't know biology."

I can't decide what to say. Part of me thinks that if you don't have the intelligence to realize that yes, if you don't get an abortion, eventually a baby will happen, then you damn well shouldn't be allowed to get an abortion. But you shouldn't be allowed to be out in public or drive a car or anything either, unless we force you out into public and hope that Darwin takes care of you.

And the other part of me thinks that this constant shielding of people from their own stupidity has to stop. We do everything for the lowest common denominator. All signs and instructions in public places cater to idiots. How many warning labels do you see these days that say things like "do not iron clothing while wearing it" or something equally silly? We coddle people and allow them to not think by providing instructions and warnings for everything, paying ridiculous attention to safety (see Andrew Coyne's recent rants about those concerned with the dangers of tobogganning and playing hockey).

Really, we could solve so many of our overcrowding issus if we would just let people act on their own stupidity.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Flag Day

Happy Flag Day, everyone! (For our American visitors, we didn't really have a flag until 1965. Read the story here.)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Before you vote for the escalation, Senators

You should look at these pictures. And these ones here. Not for the faint hearted.

My entire master's thesis was devoted to the idea that politicians have no concept of what they order soldiers to do, and that they make decisions to escalate or to attack or to invade with no real sense of what the human consequences are.

That's exactly what's going on here. First, unlike during the First and Second Wars, there are no consequences at home for declaring war or for expanding war: no rationing, no cut backs, no tax increases. And only a tiny, tiny fraction of the population is impacted: there is no draft, few politicians (or those beating the drums of war) have children in the military or have served (ahem, Dubya). It is not like the Second World War, where, for example, the Soviet Union suffered the equivalent of 9/11 ever 6 hours for 5 years. Most people simply don't know anyone who's died or even served.

And so they think of the war as yet another policy choice. It's a computer game. It's just a day to day decision, like shall we regulate the price of flax or what will we do about this particular regulation: the personal consequences are exactly the same. Zero.

Until you see these pictures. And then you realize that there is a titanic human component to the war (well, some of us see it in the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties. But I suspect most politicians, and indeed most americans who support the war, think that the wholesale slaughter of Iraqis is either a necessary cost of the goal of the war, or not a real problem, since people who don't speak english who live on the other side of the world that you only see through a TV Screen aren't really people.)

I'm all for a constitutional amendment requiring a personal stake before any politician can vote for war.

Religion v Faith

One of our readers makes the following point:

I think it is important to differentiate between religions (the organizations) and faith (the personal beliefs). Faith is not wrong, nor do I believe that the Christian faith is dangerous. . . . So, while organizations/religion may be bad, the beliefs are not necessarily.

Nonsense. This is love the sinner/hate the sin, hate homosexual acts/love homosexuals. Religion is fundamentally irrational. Faith is wrong, because it puts you in the position of believing something as absolutely true (based on no evidence) and that those who don't believe it are wrong.

Likewise, the claim of speaking for god being bad but personal faith is good is also a false distinction. Many of the people who profess faith as the basis for their politics or social belief don't claim to be speaking on God's behalf. They simply believe that gays shouldn't marry, or there should be no adoption, or that Shias/Jews/Atheists are bad. The organized religion v. personal faith line is blurry. When Shia muslims hit their heads with daggers, is that not an expression of personal faith? When women "choose" to not go to school and wear burkhas, is that really personal faith? And even if deciding Jesus hates your homosexuality and thus you need to repress it is a purely personal choice (though, of course, the "fact" of Jesus hating fags comes from the organizers of religion; doctrine requires organization), is that not incredibly damaging?

I'm sure I'll get some harrangue about religion providing spiritual comfort. Big deal. I get "spiritual" comfort from music. From my friends. From reading. From the majesty of the law (when I can see it past all the annoyance of working). The fact that you believe in some man sitting on a cloud caring for you doesn't make faith inherently good, else I could claim the fact that the Great Potato in The Sky comforts me, and you would have to nod and agree with me.

And finally, there are those who say good works are done because of faith. Yes. Many good works are done without faith. And really, what's better: I help people because I believe I'll be rewarded in the hereafter and it makes God happy, or I help people because I inherently believe it is a good thing to do in the present? And for every good deed done for faith, I will point you to fifty bad things.

Further to the islamic world needing a reality check

I really had no idea so many people died because of The Satanic Verses. It's a freaking book, people.

Here's the reverse logic: Any time any muslim does anything islamic that offends the West, we get to do whatever we want to anyone who's a muslim. Next time some idiot blows himself up in Jerusalem, we get to burn kebab stores in Calgary. We get to riot and burn down embassies. We get to call for the execution of everyone in that person's family.

Really, Sam Harris is right: All religions are bad. Islam is worse.

I'm sure we'll get some PC person saying how no, Islam is a religion of peace. Right. Just like during the Crusades, and during the Inquisition, and the Marian Terror, it was tenable to say that Christianity was a religion of peace.

Hurry up please and have a Reformation and an Enlightenment. And lose the chip on your shoulder. Big boys can handle an insult. Children throw tantrums.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

David Attenborough

Is really an amazing man. Blue Planet, Life in the Undergrowth, The Life of Mammals--they all give me such pleasure to watch. He's so thoughtful, nonsensationalist while not pulling punches. And not a creationist. Here's what he says when people talk to him about Creation:

My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind. And [I ask them], 'Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child's eyeball? Because that doesn't seem to me to coincide with a God who's full of mercy.'

No kidding.

Musical Thoughts

My parents turned me on to this duo this weekend. Rodrigo y Gabriela--they're a guitar duo, and the music is very cool. Apparently they lived in Spain and Ireland, and the music shows a bit of a cross between the two. The first track on the album is fantastic--cool melodies, harmonies, rhythms. Worth the $0.99 to try it.

California Republic

I really don't know why all you people suffer on the East Coast. I mean, it's warm and sunny, the sky is clear, and everyone on the East is digging out from how many feet of snow? And those muggy summers? And all those Southerners so close by? I just don't get it.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A mari usque ad mare

Something about Parliament Hill at night is moving.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Celebrating Discrimination.

This clip from Boston Legal on gayness is awesome. Hits so many points perfectly.

"Only in America, only in a country that overtly and notoriously celebrates its prejudice against a class of people by proposing constitutional amendments."

Well. No kidding. For how long did Americans brag to the world about slavery, and embrace it, even long after it was abolished throughout the Empire? For how long did Americans embrace segregation, long after the rest of the world ditched it (or never had it in the first place)? Let's not talk about torture.

And for how much longer with Americans proudly debate banning gays from marriage, while the rest of the world moves on?

Land of the free, my fucking ass. Americans brag about how they're the freest country on earth. Get real. The US never has been, except for rich, straight, white men. They've had it good. Watch the clip.

Why do we care about Anna Nicole Smith

Honestly. Are people so absolutely pathetic that the goings on of a barely literate ex stripper matter?

I love, from the California Federal Court opinion, this about her:

Vickie dreamed of becoming the personification of her idol, Marilyn Monroe. Both became international superstars, traveling far from home under assumed names. Norma Jean's fame thrust her into the arms of an American baseball icon and a dashing young politician, while Vickie Lynn found herself in the company of a Texas oil baron. But her notoriety never reached the same heights or longevity. Her life is best described as that of a person who was rescued by her wealthy pursuer and taught to spend money at a breathtaking pace that most Americans cannot fathom. While she detested being thought of as a gold-digger, her actions leave little doubt that money was the central facet of her relationship with J. Howard. Her appetite for money, once developed, was incessant and outlandish by everyday standards.

Vickie appeared before the Court to testify for three days. Her communication skills were poor as she frequently had trouble engaging counsel. Her illiteracy is striking. Examples are too numerous to chronicle but include writing " 25.00" meaning 2,500 and "4500,00" meaning $4,500--she testified that she has trouble with zeros. In fact, she has only recently started learning to pay her own bills after years of managers and relatives managing her money. Vickie also finds herself in difficult times and is being treated for depression.

In re Marshall, 275 B.R. 5, 19 (C.D. Cal. 2002).

And my favourite was from CNN saying it was an "unexpected and tragic development" for her. Well, no shit.

Would the muslim world please grow up?

I'm sorry. What the hell is it about the islamic world that thinks it's a-okay to blow up in anger and in violence at the slightest provocation?

First, we had the whole tortured story about those cartoons.

I won't even get into the fact that Shias and Sunnis are busy torturing each other to death.

There are those stories about thinking that jews caused 9-11 and believing the protocols of the elders of zion.

But this sort of takes the cake. Israel is repairing the bridge that leads to the Dome of the Rock. And they're rioting! I don't get it. If Israel left the damn bridge or ramp in disrepair, I'm sure there would be riots about how they were doing bad things to stop muslims from praying. Someone would get into a fervour and fall and die and then we'd have riots.

But what's is up with the conspiracy!? They think Israel's going to damage the mosque? Do they think Israel is fucking STUPID? Yes, in plain daylight, they're going to bulldoze the damn thing down. Israel can't even sneeze without muslims rioting and Tehran threatening to blow it up; you think they'd even chip the paint on a tile of the damn Dome of the Rock?

Honestly, though I think the tar sands are really a bad idea, it would be great to be independent of oil from the middle east. That way, we can build a nice big wall around it (leaving out Israel), and say, look, when you fucking grow up and start behaving like adults and not fly off the handle and blow each other and other people up whenever someone "insults" you, you can come out. Until then, keep on chanting that God is Great or Moktada! Moktada! Moktada! while you slit each other's throats and riot and torture each other to death, all while saying Islam is a religion of peace.

"Intelligence Failures"?

NPR was reporting that there is new information on the "intelligence failures" that led to the war in Iraq.

I'm sorry. There was no bloody intelligence "failure." A thousand bishops could have sworn on stacks of Bibles to Dubya that Iraq had no WMD, and it wouldn't have made a difference.

The only "intelligence" failure wasn't "intelligence" in the classic sense: it was a failure of Dubya's intelligence, for being brain dead and wanting to fight the war; and a failure of the intelligence of the American people and a compliant press who allowed themselves to be hoodwinked into a war and who bought Cheney's connection between Iraq and Al Qaida.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

You scratch my back...

So, Charest has cancelled his party's convention for late March. With Andre "Snowflake" Boisclair floundering, it is expected that Charest will announce an election for March 26th.

Finance Minister Flaherty is expected to table a budget on March 20th, widely expected to deliver the 'fiscal imbalance correction' that Quebec seeks, thus setting up Charest for a nice little boost in the final week of the campaign.

This presumes that the timing of these events is not a coincidence. I think that's a safe bet.

So if Harper and Charest are co-ordinating their schedules so nicely to ensure a federalist victory in Quebec, what is Harper getting out of the deal, other than the gratitude of Quebec federalists? Is Charest (informally) giving him his campaign machine for a federal election? Does Harper already have access to this?

Idle speculation. What, you expect facts from a blog?

You scratch my back...

So, Charest has cancelled his party's convention for late March. With Andre "Snowflake" Boisclair floundering, it is expected that Charest will announce an election for March 26th.

Finance Minister Flaherty is expected to table a budget on March 20th, widely expected to deliver the 'fiscal imbalance correction' that Quebec seeks, thus setting up Charest for a nice little boost in the final week of the campaign.

This presumes that the timing of these events is not a coincidence. I think that's a safe bet.

So if Harper and Charest are co-ordinating their schedules so nicely to ensure a federalist victory in Quebec, what is Harper getting out of the deal, other than the gratitude of Quebec federalists? Will this translate into more Conservative votes in the next federal election? Is Charest (informally) giving him his campaign machine for a federal election? Does Harper already have access to this?

Idle speculation. What, you expect facts from a blog?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ut incipit sic fidelis permanet

According to Ian Urquhart, "For whatever reason, MPs from this province [Ontario] adopt a pan-Canadian view once they arrive in Ottawa and seem vaguely embarrassed by parochial issues."

Well, thank god. That's what the Federal Parliament is for. It's the National Parliament, not the Council of the Federation. Not some regional assembly where the vultures from the provinces come to pick over the carcass of the Federation. Let the Premiers speak for the provinces.

But every man and woman that comes to Ottawa should always put Canada over their province. The governance of Canada isn't achieved by individuals coming to fight only for their province. It's achieved by people putting aside the need for better treatment for minions in Medicine Hat and thinking about what makes the country better.

Ontario has always been that way, and she should always remain that way. Loyal, always, to Canada.

Of course, the fact that Ontario considers Canada merely an extension of Ontario is probably the reason for that.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

4th Circuit brouhaha

I love Daliah Lithwick.

Religion is not a reason to kill your child

I have absolutely no problem with BC seizing three of those sextuplets and requiring transfusions, over the objections of their parents.

Now, don't get me wrong. Once you're 18, or even, say, 16, and you want to refuse medical treatment in the name of your religion, or you want to do strange things to yourself, no problem. If you're stupid enough to let yourself die because you believe that some dude sitting up on a cloud actually gives a shit whether you have a transfusion or not, or whether you ate the cracker that--poof!--became the body of Christ while you chewed on it, fine. No problem. We don't need stupid people like you cluttering up the gene pool anyway.

But you have absolutely no right to make that decision for anyone. Anyone. Especially not month-old babies who haven't had the chance to decide whether or not their parents' religion is crap. You may think your daughter is being "violated" (as the father said), but that doesn't give you the right to decide whether she would think that. And anyway--if God's gonna send you to hell because you were a month old and had a transfusion to save your life, well, what a fucking nasty god.

So much shit gets done to kids in the name of religion: genital mutilation comes to mind, honour killings, refusing treatments. Kids can't consent. Adults can. Adults can decide whatever shit they want, but imposing it on their kids is criminal.

These idiot parents should be locked up for trying to refuse treatment for their kids, and anyone who goes on about freedom of religion should see how much they like it if someone else were to decide that god wants them to die rather than have a fucking asprin.