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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Back to school... 

And in Quebec more and more students are enrolling in private schools - again this year private school enrollment is up and public school enrollment is down. One can understand why teachers' unions might consider this a bad thing, but teachers should welcome the fact that choice for students yields employment choices for teachers, too. In fact, Quebec's current system (while short of a full voucher model) is a model others could learn from:
the study, authored by William Robson and Claudia R. Hepburn and entitled Learning from Success: What Americans Can Learn from School Choice in Canada, found that:

-- International comparisons show that Canadian provinces that provide public funding to private schools tend to have both higher average achievement scores and better scores for less advantaged students, suggesting that such funding enhances quality. Basically, test scores are higher in areas where parents enjoy a wide variety of school choices;

-- In provinces that provide public funding for private schools, children from low-income families attend private schools in greater numbers and form a higher percentage of total private school enrollment than they do in provinces that do not fund private schools. Simply put, lower-income families take advantage of school choice and send their children to private schools more often when those schools are publicly funded;

-- Publicly subsidized private schools can be accountable to government and still maintain their independence and distinctiveness;

-- The recent Rand study on school choice, which concluded that all the evidence for vouchers comes from relatively small-scale programs, woefully neglected to consider the large-scale school choice programs that exist in Canada.

Quotes

"This study goes a long way towards debunking the age-old theory that school choice does not help low-income children," said Friedman Foundation President Gordon St. Angelo. "Unfortunately, here in the U.S., we continue to allow the educational bureaucracy to deny low-income families school choice, and hence the opportunity to succeed in school and in life."

"This study shows that school choice is not some radical, new educational concept, but one that has been widely used for generations by America's closest neighbor," says Claudia R. Hepburn, co-author of the study and Director of Education Policy at the Fraser Institute. "Canadian provinces that have long provided public funding to independent schools have higher academic achievement, especially for low-income students, than those that do not."
Yes it certainly does. Yes, it's true, there is one area where Quebec is not the statist, socialist laggard and it's a model other provinces and states should consider.

Jerusalem Post gives advice to France 

Here's an interesting editorial in the Jerusalem Post:
Just as the people of France are uniting against the kidnappers, France must unite with the United States (and Israel) against the Islamist threat. France must decide what is more important, asserting its independence from the US, or jointly harnessing the West's tremendous economic and military power to drive all terror-supporting states, particularly Iran and Syria, into compliance with international law.
Nothing unexpected, really, but it dawned on me that we have Israel and the Prime Minister of Iraq essentially giving the French the same blunt advice.

Acceptable levels 

Anyone freaking out over barely detectable trace levels of pesticide residue found in food probably have no idea what's naturally found in our food:
the US Food and Drug Administration defined "levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans".

The list on its website is disarmingly explicit.

Maggots, for example, present "no health hazard" as long as they average less than one maggot in every 250ml of orange juice, two in every 100g of tomato juice or 20 in every 100g of mushrooms.

Rodent hairs are allowed at the rate of up to one in every 100g of peanut butter, one in every 450g of popcorn or 4.5 hairs in every 225g of macaroni or noodles.

Wheat can contain up to 9mg of rodent droppings in every 450g of grain.
There's simply no such thing as perfectly pure food. Get over it.

Monday, August 30, 2004

"La France ne sera pas épargnée" 

Interesting interview with the Iraqi Prime Minister in Le Monde:
Ce qui est arrivé au journaliste italien, ce qui arrive en ce moment aux Français, ainsi qu'à ceux qui, comme la France, se sont opposés à la "guerre contre le terrorisme", montre que personne ne sera épargné. Le terrorisme ne connaît aucune limite. Eviter la confrontation n'est pas une réponse.
Attempting to avoid the confrontation is not a response. After attacks on naval personel in Pakistan, an attack on their tanker the Limburg and now a hostage-taking of sympathetic French journalists in Iraq the message seems to finally being received in France. We should pay attention to this message in Canada, too.

The Iraqi Prime Minister is certainly blunt:
Un jour, les Etats-Unis ont décidé de débarquer en Normandie, pour éliminer Hitler. Ils ont essuyé de lourdes pertes pour accomplir cet objectif. Il se produit la même chose aujourd'hui. Les peuples doivent prendre leurs responsabilités. La décision d'aider l'Irak était courageuse. Laissez-moi vous dire que les Français, malgré tout le bruit qu'ils font - "Nous ne voulons pas la guerre !" -, auront bientôt à combattre les terroristes.

Bush gets one right 

Whatever the shortcomings of the Bush presidency, and I could name many myself, he does come through in little ways that remind you things could always be worse:
President Bush on Thursday ordered Cabinet agencies to pay more attention to private landowners, states and local governments on how to manage the environment. [....]
It also requires that government "takes appropriate account of and respects the interests of persons with ownership or other legally recognized interests in land and other natural resources."
The creepy growth of institutions that try to tell you what to do on your own property is one of the most insidious threats to freedom and prosperity, not to mention a threat to the environment, too. Notwithstanding the howling protests of the loony left, almost all of the worst environmental catastrophes the world over have been created by governments, not private individuals or corporations. People don't usually need to be told to not defile their own property.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Another step to green autocracy 

Unfortunately, Canada has a way of copying the worst of Europe's silliness. Let's hope this is one idea we skip:
Judges are to be given tough powers to protect Britain from pollution and over-development under propoosals for a new environmental court.

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has commissioned two reports which back the creation of a dedicated court ...
Just what we need, green supremes stuffed with enviro-wackos empowered to "interpret" laws.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Liberal debts and rewards 

Given the latest outbreak of stupidity from Carolyn Parrish one almost forgets the last outbreak of stupidity. A number of people have pointed out that the only difference between Parrish and the others in the loony left anti-American wing of the Liberal Party that make up about a third of the caucus is that she’s dense enough to keep saying what they’re all thinking out loud. So let’s recycle the previous outbreak of stupidity indiscretion from Parrish:
We owe the ethnic community some recognition for what they did to save our lives, and it's due them anyway.
This is an exact mirror image of Jacques Parizeau’s infamous blaming of the ethnic vote for a referendum defeat, except that rather than blame she’s pointing out that the Liberals are deeply in their debt and the Liberals had better deliver the booty on what’s owed. It is a little strange that this little tidbit hasn’t garnered 1% of the attention Parizeau got, given the normal hypersensitivity of the media in matters ethnic.

The Liberals are not exactly restrained in doling out what’s requested as long as it appeases a reliable voting block. So us critics can probably breath easy as there is not yet, as far as I know, a colony of Onabasulu homosexual cannibals relocated from the southern highlands of Papau New Guinea to a critical Liberal riding. I was not able to make it to Bremen to listen to his no doubt fascinating lecture on their rituals and selected aspects of the Onabasulu way of life, which the professor tells us includes institutionalized homosexuality and exo-cannibalism. But if there were such a colony we also might want to have asked our new Supremes their thoughts on how this particular segment of society would fit into the Liberal multicultural tapestry and the revealed Liberal plan to reward their loyal ethnics. As Rosalie Abella has said:
"We need to understand that "equality" does not necessarily mean treating people the same... Sometimes equality means treating people the same, despite their differences, and sometimes it means treating them as equals by accommodating their differences."
Ah yes, differences. Some cultures just wouldn’t have their same authenticity if we didn’t go out of our way to accommodate their differences. Perhaps if the Liberals finally invite conservative Christians to dinner at their next multicultural roundtable you might want to check if their strategists have uncovered an Onabasulu voting block that needs “accommodating” before accepting.

But even Abella and the Liberals would probably reluctantly conclude that a Christian’s desire to not be put in a pot and served for dinner would trump the traditional practices of the Onabasulu. Probably. Though they have to think pretty hard depending on how many hypothetical urban ridings the Onabasulu could swing for them. But setting aside such extreme cases, we really have no idea to what extent someone like Abella would be prepared to twist the law to “accommodate differences”. It sure would be nice to have a screening process that would at least give us some idea, since we’ll be stuck with her until 2021. By that time who knows what sort of interesting cultural additions the Liberals will have woven into our multicultural fabric. They may even open immigration centers in the Papau New Guinea southern highlands.

A bad day at work 

Think you had a bad day or a shitty job? Spare a thought for these three:
Three people are dead and one person is in critical condition after falling into a septic tank at a campground early Saturday morning.

Around midnight, the 56-year-old owner of the Lac du Repos campground entered a hole in the ground with his son-in-law, 27, in order to clear a blocked drain, said Quebec provincial police.

However, the owner and his son-in-law were overcome by fumes and fell 4 metres into the septic tank below.

Friday, August 27, 2004

A look into a Canadian newsroom 

Personally, I think Greg was there and is just reporting what he saw but cleverly tries to pass it off as satire:
..The programmes of the Two Minutes Hate varied from day to day, but there was none in which Bush was not the principal figure. He was the primal traitor, the earliest defiler of the Ideological purity. All subsequent crimes against the Ideology, all treacheries, acts of sabotage, heresies, deviations, sprang directly out of his teaching…
No doubt the folks from CBC headquarters in Toronto get together with their comrades at the Star to join in on the fun.

Pretty in Pink 

Shannon Davis has such a pretty pink blog layout, don't you think? And with that to demonstrate her feminine bona fides she is certainly entitled to skewer such things as flaming leftist feminists on the Supreme Court and the Liberal Women's Caucus. And so she does:
One final thought: Rosalie Abella?!?!

Help me contain my excitement, on behalf of women everywhere (because we all agree on everything, you know), over the fact that we will now have four women on the SCC.

Now, if only we could do something about the over-representation of left-wing nuts.
Well, Rosalie is the Quota Queen herself, so maybe her first act on the Supreme Court will be to decide there are far too many judges who are incapable of distinguishing between the plain language of the law and fashionable leftist causes.

But I figure anyone who advocates promoting Conservative causes with babes in bikinis belongs on the blogroll.

The Liberal Peace Brigade 

Perhaps they plan on rounding up Carolyn Parrish and 5,000 of her most annoying loudmouth fellow travellers to airdrop onto a battlefield (using American air transport, naturally). If that's what they have in mind I'm all for it.

But if you actually want a serious opinion on their hair-brained plans check out this discussion and a must-read rant by Chris Taylor on the topic:
Peacekeeping is inserting our own warfighting troops in between the warring parties, on the understanding that if those troops are intentionally harmed by either side we will retaliate with lethal force of our own. While they are there, they may medically treat civilian populations and begin reconstruction. But their job is to prevent war -- by sabre-rattling of sorts -- keeping the combatant parties apart, and implying that the peacekeeping troops have the capability and the political direction to fight back lethally if they are harmed. This is why peacekeeping is a task always delegated to soldiers, rather than neighborhood school crossing guards.
Be sure to read the whole thing.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Things that make you go Hmmm. 

So maybe we can still recruit Mark Steyn, just not as a family values candidate:
I wouldn't stand for Parliament on a family values platform because I know someone's bound to bring up the 123 gay porn movies I had a bit part in back in Amsterdam in the 1970s.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Let's hope this works out 

Can it be true that the CRTC is backing down on the closure of CHOI-FM?
CHOI-FM will stay on the air until March of next year, well after its licence expires at the end of this month.

The controversial radio station has reached an agreement with the CRTC to keep broadcasting until a final decision comes down about the fate of the station.

In a letter sent by the CRTC to the federal court of appeals, the broadcast regulator says it will not oppose CHOI-FM's request to stay on the air.
Or is this just a delaying action until the protest dies down, then they'll abruptly close it?

Our new philosopher-queens 

I was going to write up rant about how utterly hypocrital it is for the Liberals to talk about fixing the democratic deficit and then appoint the most flaming activist judges imaginable, but why bother? The whole point of this exercise and the sham hearings about the appointment is to put an exclamation point on the fact that what we think doesn't matter. You could build a case that they picked a judge that thinks the constitution and law mean whatever she bloody well considers fashionable leftist thinking among her circle of salon socialists acquaintenances, but to what point. She's the one who skipped right over any niceties about gay marriage and implemented gay divorce, as well has uncovered the secret clause specifying the right to bugger 14 year old boys. Bill Graham is no doubt happy with the choice. But it wouldn't matter a whit.

To get an appreciation for the respect Liberals have for Parliament, conservatives and those who elect them just check out Warren Kinsella's reaction to a Conservative MP being less than enthusiastic about this whole process:
It's this: is it just me, or does anybody else also think this Vic Toews guy is a goof?

I mean, does he actually think he's fooling anybody with his dime-store Clarence Darrow kvetching about process (a process his party agreed to in advance, incidentally)? Doesn't he know that Canadians will look at this, and see that his REAL objections are about putting two extraordinary women on the high court who don't correspond to his own red-necked, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, troglodyte perspective on a modern democratic society?

The coalition of the idiots 

It is nice to know we are represented by such profound thinkers as Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish:
We are not joining the coalition of the idiots. We are joining the coalition of the wise.
The "idiots" being those who wish to attempt to shoot down missiles from rogue states, the "wise" being those inclined to let them take out cities like Chicago unhindered.
They tortured people in Iraq, they (the Iraqis) have no weapons of mass destruction. Could somebody explain to me whether you think they're idiots or geniuses?

Devastating 

This interview with John O'Neill paints a devastating portrait of Kerry's Vietnam record. If you're not inclined to read their book read that indepth interview for all the lowlights of the Kerry "heroics" in Vietnam. After all the fuss about Bush possibly not showing up for National Guard duty in Alabama it truly is astounding the lengths to which the media are going to ignore these guys with their eyewitness testimony.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

How shallow 

I'm shocked that Margaret Wente could be so shallow:
The real reason we watch the Olympics is to ogle the superbly formed young men and women as they slap their perfectly muscled young thighs and flex their rippling young biceps. Who cares who wins the medals? Not us. The whole point of the Olympics is to celebrate youth and beauty, eroticism and sex. The Greeks knew this. That's why they performed nude.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Tough draw for Martin & Dumont 

It was a bit of bad luck for Martin and Dumont to come up against the American duo of Misty May and Kerri Walsh in the quarter-finals. They might have had a shot at a bronze or silver had they been able to put off this matchup until a later round, but such is life. No sore losers here after a good effort by the Québécois pair, and now best of luck to the American team.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Welcome home, returning soldiers 

I usually skip the weekly Mallice because Bob Tarantino usually can be depended upon to serve up a satisfyingly fisked version. But lately he's been intermittently AWOL, like Bush (or perhaps he's ferrying CIA agents into Cambodia). More likely, he's just busy humping his clients. But enough about lawyers in heat, what kind of Mallice is the Globe spewing today?
I wonder about all these soldiers/reservists who are "coming home." From what? It is now being hinted (oh, the naiveté) that atrocities were more common in Vietnam than anyone has ever acknowledged. I think of the U.S. soldier who quietly admitted dumping his leftover Agent Orange into a Cambodian reservoir on his way home one night but who won't grace his confession with his name. Who was that masked man? How many eyeless, limbless children is he still spawning?

Soldiers now return under a variety of circumstances, of uncertainty, shame, horror and, indeed, conditions that make me ask what we are willing to tolerate before we say, "No, you are not human and we don't want you home."
Well, I certainly can think of some socialist columnists whom I consider not fully human and rather than being home in Canada I wish they'd slink away to the uncertainty, shame and horror of North Korea or other socialist state of their choice.

Certainly, some vets return from intense combat with problems, and we owe them dignity and any support they require to readjust. But it is a myth that vets have more problems than the regular population, assuming they return without any grievous wounds. No one ever considered the idea that WW2 vets were deranged criminals roaming the streets. Indeed, how could they be, given the golden years of development and prosperity that followed WW2. And, contrary to myth, Vietnam vets are doing fine, mostly. One study found that:
70 percent were currently married and over 80 percent had children. More than 80 percent had high school degrees or the equivalent, and over a fifth had completed four years of college. Another fifth had gotten an advanced degree. The vets earned from as little as nothing to as much as $900,000, with a median family income of $42,000. That's a hair higher than the then-national median family income of $41,000.
Got that? Even the much maligned Vietnam vets who interrupted their careers for service returned and are actually earning higher than the national average. That is, are more prosperous, on average, than those who stayed home during those years.

Perhaps there's a pattern here. Could it be that widespread military service during WW2 was actually one contributing factor to the postwar boom? I dunno, but the soldiers I know certainly have little patience for pathetic layabouts who have no desire to help themselves. Perhaps we'd have fewer trailer trash tent cities and the parasitic handout hangers-on that accompany them if they instead went through the character-toughening experience of military training. No, don't worry about returning soldiers, who normally take care of themselves just fine, thanks. We should instead be worrying about the various groups who enable so many people to settle into a pointless existence of dependence of various kinds, be it financial or substance-related. And really worry about socialist columnists spewing utterly unfounded nonsense and Mallice about those who serve.

On to the quarter-finals 

Mercilessly mowing down the godless commies of Cuba, Martin and Dumont move on to the quarter-finals. Stay tuned to follow their advance to gold! I know I'll be keeping a close eye on their progress.

McGuinty loves coal 

Dalton McGuinty, who is a liar, promised to shut the coal-fired generating plants in Ontario and switch to cleaner albeit more expensive options, all while keeping the retail price frozen. So now that the little twerp is grand poohbah-in-chief of Ontario electricity, what does he do?
Ontario's polluting, coal-fired power plants are running flat out even on smog days this summer while privately owned, cleaner natural gas plants are sitting idle or generating only small amounts of electricity.
Any private investor nuts enough to invest in Ontario electricity should immediately be arrested for violation of his fiduciary responsibility.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Still in the battle 

As you can see Canadian Olympians are executing Liberal foreign policy perfectly, trying very hard not to antagonize any nations with potentially aggressive intentions by perpetrating such indignities as defeating them at sport. But have no fear, we won't be dwelling in the standings with Mongolia and Trinida for long (creeping up on Azerbaijan, though!). Happily we haven't yet seen all Martin and Dumont have to show us. We'll just allow a sense of complacency set in with the competition and slyly add in a couple of medals at the end. Go Martin & Dumont!

Quick, switch doomsaying propaganda to iceage 

I'm pretty sure David Suzuki and the other global warming doomsayers won't let a little global cooling interupt their crusade, though they may have to modify their propaganda a little:
For Canadians who have spent the summer asking where summer has gone, new satellite observations show we're not alone.

According to an analysis by scientists at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, July was the coldest worldwide since 1992. That year's cool spell was precipitated by the eruption of the Philippine volcano Pinatubo, which spewed 20 to 30 million tonnes of sunlight-deflecting dust into the atmosphere.

But scientists don't know why the Earth's thermostat has dropped this year.
It's because people aren't revving up their SUVs enough. C'mon folks, you can avert this pending ice age and get our summer back with sufficient wanton consumption of fossil fuels. Get to it.

Update: Kate gives us another reason to fire up the muscle cars. Rev an engine and save a Saskatchewan farmer's crop!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Bienvenue aux auditeurs de CHOI-FM 

If you followed the link from the CHOI-FM forum to get here, you many be also interested in the earlier posts on the closure of your station here, here, here, here and here. Sorry, I'm too lazy to translate them all, mais je vous souhaite la bienvenue et bonne chance avec la cause.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Don't try this in Texas 

If the French weren't so snobbish they might take a moment to ponder why disruptions like this happen in England and France but not in Texas:
Several hundred protesters trashed a field of genetically engineered corn, despite the presence of about 100 pro-biotech militants and almost as many police.

After a long face-off in which the two sides traded insults and occasional blows, and gendarmes attempted to keep them apart, the protests pushed down a fence and trampled a 1.5-hectare (3.7-acre) area where the genetically modified corn was growing, yelling, "no, no no to GMO."
The solution to a nuissance like this is pretty straightforward and doesn't really require the police to get involved, other than to notify next of kin.


All downhill from here 

Even if the referendum in Venezuela to recall Hugo Chavez had passed things may very well have turned out ugly. But now it appears Venezuelans have democratically confirmed their desire to descend into a totalitarian state. Strange, but these things happen occasionally. See Caracas Chronicles to follow the sordid tale.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bonne Chance Martin & Dumont 

Isn't it great to see these two off to a great start at the Olympics? Let's hope we see more of them, right to the finals.

Canadian Forces fighting spirit 

It's good to know that in spite of the indignities heaped upon the Canadian Forces, the aging equipment, the equivocating leadership of the Liberals and all the rest the soldiers themselves retain their fighting spirit through it all. This picture was taken on a Canadian Forces base and sent to me by a soldier in the reserves.
bumpersticker_s
Just give 'em the equipment and public support. They're ready, willing and able to do the rest.

Remember the Munich Massacre 

Whether or not the IOC will allow a memorial or ceremony to remember the massacred Israeli athletes, I will certainly remember the event. Arab terrorists have broadened their threat far beyond the Olympics and far beyond just Israelis, but it started with events like the 1972 massacre. Read the Last Amazon for more.

Sadly, the massive security at the Games and the ever-present threat of terror that haunts every international gathering these days, in a way, are the memorials.

Sudan - it's the CIA's fault 

Or so says our esteemed correspondent Eric Margolis:
In recent times, two anti-Khartoum insurgencies simmered in Darfur, backed by neighbouring Chad and Eritrea, both of whom are U.S. clients. CIA has reportedly supplied arms and money to Darfur's rebels. Washington recently developed interest in Chad, which has oil and gas deposits.

Washington is using Darfur's rebels, as it did southern Sudan's 30-year-old insurgency, to destabilize the Khartoum regime, whose policies have been deemed insufficiently pro-American and too Islamic. More important to the increasingly energy-hungry U.S., Sudan has oil, as well as that other precious commodity, water.
Ho-hum, just another CIA conspiracy to grab the oil. No doubt peace and harmony would reign if only the CIA hadn't started all the trouble.

If one can set aside the conspiracy theories the rest of the column makes some good points. I don't believe Sudan has much ability to control what goes on in the region at all. And just what sparked the initial rebellion in Darfur is still a mystery to me, as is what it would take to get them to stop.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Our friends the Saudis 

Good advice for the Palestinians can always be found on the Kingdom's official website:
If I were Arafat, I would give up on both Israel and the United States of Israel, and listen to the Hamas and Hezbollah contention that there is only one way to deal with state terror: Terror. After all, Arafat is judged a terrorist either way.

I would tell the Palestinian leaders that this so-called peace deal is now too broken to be fixed, too weak to work and too rotten to be digested. The only way out is out — out of the deal, out of the offices and back to the street fight. Give Israel back the territory and let it, as occupier, be responsible for what goes wrong and pay for it.
Nope, no support for terrorists to be found there, move along.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Lookin' bad for poor Sheila 

Personally, I get a certain satisfaction when I open my Friday National Post and see Sheila's column. Every time I see it I'm reminded that she's no longer in Cabinet, which is a good thing as Martha Stewart would say (and Sheila would use to fill up her required space with recycled clichés). I figure the Post is taking one for the team by keeping her there, safely away from a government expense account.

But the review are coming in and they ain't pretty, folks. Jerry Aldini demolishes her "amateurish" column defending the CRTC and her Orwellian Censorship is Freedom argument offered up today.

Kathy's not very kind:
Without a hint of irony, they've stuck her "column" next to Colby Cosh's. As you may know, Cosh has been cut back to one column per week to make room for Sheila. [...]
Presuming Copps actually writes her own stuff, her work is a round up of cliches and Received Liberal Wisdom(tm).
Yep, it's definitely a shame the estimable Colby Cosh is being pushed aside for this drivel. I doubt he volunteered to take one for the team.

Meanwhile, Heart of Canada dissects Sheila's first attempt at a National Post column and the results aren't kind to Sheila either.

Bruce pleads for someone to shut that woman up after she defends André Ouellet, now departed in a cloud of scandal. But he notes her column is "a good look into how the top tier of the elite political class justify to themselves the extravagant lifestyle they enjoy." Indeed, if it can be said to have any value, it is that.

Indeed she just might have to go back to that earlier fallback option. At the time she was deposed for some reason I hadn't considered the idea she might take up writing for the Post. I figured at the time:
If it turns out she's deposed etiquette requires that those she helped while in power return the favour later.

So perhaps we'll see her in a starring role soon in an all new sequel to Bubbles Galore.
Considering her circle of left-Lib friends, I wonder which they'd consider a greater indignity, the Post or Bubbles Galore II?

Update: Piling on, Sheila is the target with Brock on the attack.

Women's rights in Saudi Arabia 

Another in the series on social progress in our favourite Kingdom:
In one of the Arabic daily papers, there was an article about a disturbing incident. A woman had been “physically assaulted” in public by her husband. Apparently her husband gave her instructions about when to meet him at the car and he went off with the woman who was to become his second wife in order to buy some gold. The first wife who had the children with her was late in meeting him at the car; she had been busy buying needed items for the children. In anger, the man slapped her in public “to teach her a lesson.”
A disturbing incident indeed, I hope the man was properly punished.
Many groups in the community accept this kind of injustice — which amounts to tyranny. They consider it to be part of the husband’s rights over his wife. It is something that is wrong and it has been common for so long that it has become the norm. When we demand that a woman’s rights be maintained and preserved, we do not mean giving her what is not rightfully hers. We are not talking about allowing a woman to have four husbands.
Well, let's start with frowning on public beatings, before we get to the women's movement clamouring for four husbands, shall we?
Perhaps in this case, the husband was nudged into action by his bride-to-be and he obliged her as if his wife and the mother of his children was no more than a creature without feelings, rights or dignity. He supposedly wanted to exhibit and exercise his manhood by such behavior.
Solidarity, sisters. You won't get anywhere when the bride-to-be is nudging the husband into delivering public beatings of his wife.
In such a community, how are we to demand that women be educated and appointed to leading professional positions in government and the private sector? We live in the absence of a system that fails to protect women from these animals that humiliate, torture, insult and embezzle from her.
Priorities, priorities. I'm certainly with you on eliminating the humiliation, torture and embezzlement.
I will admit, however, that my heart was glad and my temper cooled when I reached the end of the article. The wife informed her brothers who came and asked the husband to step outside. Then they beat him into unconsciousness. At the police station, they denied beating him as revenge for what had been done to their sister. They said the beating was due to a financial problem. Good for them and good for her.
So the incident had a happy ending after all. Though I'm a little concerned about that lying to the authorities business. Martha Stewart was put in jail for such things.

Socialism reaches its logical conclusion 

Lachine hospital to close its intensive care unit due to lack of doctors:
The fate of the Centre hospitalier de Lachine is more tenuous than ever after the administration announced yesterday that the hospital's intensive-care unit will close on Monday - with no assurance that it will reopen.
Just wheel the patients out onto the sidewalk on a gurney and leave a message with the next of kin to come pick 'em up. But whatever you do don't let anyone stand in the way of destroying medicare as we know it. It turns out Paul Martin is indeed doing a good job of saving our system.

"Psychiatrists fear hero copycats" 

I was going to comment on this piece of idiocy, but The Last Amazon said it for me. Just what kind of society produces a person who is supposedly able to sit and take nourishment but then utters something like this:
It's not a very good idea for civilians to intervene when dealing with criminals.
No, no, we really must let criminals go on about their work without interference.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Saudi news roundup 

Marital troubles, Saudi style:
A Saudi man decided to deny water to one of his wives. He said she did not use water carefully and wasted too much. The man went to the government office, which issues water bills, and asked which of his two wives was wasting water. The employee told the man that he could not answer the question. As a result, the man ordered that the water in both wives’ houses be cut off. He claimed that the guilty wife would surely be the first to complain.
Hard to say there fella, but I am hardly qualified to comment on polygamous marital disputes.

If it’s not one thing it’s another. Moving on from water wastage in the harem we find troublesome technology:
The Head of the Committee for Psychological Welfare, a branch of the charity for social services, has warned of mobile phone cameras being used for black magic and sorcery. He said that mobile cameras were powerful devices which could be used by sorcerers and magicians. He stated that on the Internet and on satellite TV channels, he had seen that wrongdoers are using modern technology for sorcery.
You really gotta keep an eye on your tech toys, you never know when they might turn on you.

Liberal Largesse in action 

It really pays to be among the chosen Liberal clientage:
The federal government spent close to $300,000 to send a group of Atlantic Canadian aerospace industry executives to a major European trade show last month while Western Canadian businesspeople had to pay their own way.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency covered $281,325 of the total $400,000 cost to send its own staff and representatives of just under 20 aerospace firms from the East Coast to a major aerospace trade show in London , England , July 17-25.

Huige, who attended the same show with a handful of B.C. executives who paid their own way, said they were the only Western Canadians at the event, called the Farnborough International 2004 Air Show.

He said it was obvious the people in the ACOA-industry delegation had considerable money to spend.
Da Canadian values in action, tax the productive and dole it out to those who will reliably vote Liberal in return.

Quote of the day 

As usual, Thomas Sowell serves up another beauty:
People used to say, "Ignorance is no excuse." Today, ignorance is no problem. Our schools promote so much self-esteem that people confidently spout off about all sorts of things that they know nothing about.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Fine coverage at the Star 

Here's Mirno Cernitig's coverage of the CHOI-FM protest in The Star:
Pressure is mounting. In Quebec, Premier Jean Charest and ADQ leader Mario Dumont took issue with the decision to close the station. And the New Democratic Party is demanding CHOI-FM be kept on the air.
Was this guy there? Did he listen to the on-air interview with Stephen Harper or just consider that not worth mentioning?

Other coverage of the protest can be found in La Presse, The Ottawa Sun, and at Canoe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Liberté, avec CHOI-FM 

From a sign seen at the CHOI-FM protest today:

Clowns
Rule
This
Country
If you wanted to reduce the country’s problems to a four words and an acronym, it would be hard to beat that.

My work happened to take me to the heart of the Nation’s Capital today, and I managed to get free for a couple of hours in the afternoon to attend the protest. I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I make for you guys, getting out of a stuffy office filled with the Ottawa bureaucrats that are the typical native species in this habitat and spending a couple of hours on a warm afternoon surrounded by hot, young francophone women showing enough cleavage to show the tattoos on their breasts and occasionally getting worked up into a quite an energetic passion. For those of you who were there and wondering who I was, I was the guy who didn’t have a tattoo, body piercing or one of those black CHOI-FM T-shirts.

Okay, I exaggerate, but not as much as you might think; this was a very young crowd that was pretty far from the middle class stuffed shirt bureaucrats working in the towers surrounding them. Which, of course, is the point. They don’t listen to the anal-retentive politically correct CanCon claptrap like Radio-Canada and the CRTC try to feed them; they’ve chosen their own station according to their own tastes. Obviously this cannot be tolerated.

The first thought that struck me: I really must vacation in Québec City more often. Before the summer’s out, if at all possible.

Sorry, I digress. The next thought was that I really ought to get one of those digital cameras to capture the full, uh, ambience of the event. (Fortunately, Bruce had his. Great pics, Bruce.)

Another sign:

C’est ma
Radio
Touchez pas à
Ca
I hope I haven’t given a disrespectful impression of this crowd. Québec has its share of unsavory characters that frequent protests, it’s true. Blue-collar unionists have been know to be quite destructive and intimidating, as have rock-throwing nationalists at St. Jean Baptiste events. This crowd was about as intimidating as a beach volleyball tournament. If the heavy police presence was some indication that they expected trouble rather than just the usual security, they seriously misread this group. This was definitely not the angry rock-throwing bunch at anti-globo events, either.

But on to the radio. When I first listened to CHOI-FM on the internet I mentioned it wasn’t really my taste, it being a little loud and abrasive. But after another couple of hours of listening today I think I appreciate what would motivate thousands of people to sit on busses for ten hours to protest its closure. And it isn’t tasteless profane toilet-humour, that’s for sure. This station really is striking a cultural chord that is entirely different from stale, formulaic offerings elsewhere on the dial. It’s difficult to describe it, as English Canada has no real counterpart that I can think of. It’s a mix with a little of Don Cherry’s political incorrectness, lad mag humour, local Quebec rock, offbeat sports coverage and a young, libertarian Rush Limbaugh talk show covering current events. Yes, there’s profanity, and if you can imagine the degree of respect a political caricaturist in your daily paper shows the establishment you have a pretty good flavour of how Jeff Fillion takes on the political and entertainment establishment. The talent he has for this craft can be determined by who was and who wasn’t there at the Hill today. No one who is anyone in Québec stood with them today. No well known entertainers, no celebrities, no prominent businesspeople, and not a single one of the 75 elected members of parliament in Québec from either the Bloc or the Liberals. This station speaks to the hundreds of thousands in the region who are not part of the establishment, and they are obviously very attached to it.

To his immense credit Mr. Angus, NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay drove down to offer his support in spite of an inability to address the crowd in French. The crowd listened respectfully and sincerely applauded while heartily booing as the absence of the Bloc Québécois and PQ was pointed out. Definitely not a gathering of your typical nationalists. Don Cherry was mentioned in passing and got some healthy applause, too, by the way. Lest anyone think either the station or the crowd was a bunch of rabid separatists, they most emphatically were not.

But that is not to say they are exactly defenders of the federal government as currently constituted, either. Effecting a remarkably mocking, ridiculing tone of voice the announcer did a fine smackdown of the pathetic obfuscations and rationalizations they’ve been given by the members of the Liberal Cabinet and CRTC. If they’re going down, they’re going down cheeky right to the end rather than begging for forgiveness and undergoing a deathbed conversion to embrace the political correctness.

Another fine tossed off comment, quoted from memory: "The CRTC received a few complaints about us, it's true. But they've received thousands of complaints about their decision to close CHOI-FM and deny a license to RAI. By their own logic it's time to close the CRTC!" As I said, these guys really start to grow on you, I might become a fan after all.

With the Radio-Canada cameras rolling covering the event he worked up a high-pitched mocking tone and asked the crowd:
Vous Voulez écouter Radio-Canada?
Which got hearty laughter from the crowd, though perhaps not favourable coverage on the news tonight. I’ll have to watch RDI to see if they choose to cover that particular soundbite. I’m betting against it.

At that point I was on my way back to work and was just leaving the main body of the protest when I noticed an attractive young lady who definitely stood out from the crowd and I decided to stop and chat, thinking I might encounter something blogworthy. I know, sacrificing myself again. Anyway, she stood out not just because she didn’t have any visible tattoos or the ubiquitious CHOI-FM T-shirt, she was also wearing some official-looking ID around her neck hung with a strap bearing the Conservative Party logo. It turns out the Conservatives decided to attend this event after all, and Stephen Harper was going to call in for an interview. Bravo Monsieur Harper!

Another sign, in the form of a ballot:
Harper X
Dumont X
Definitely some potential here, at least some in the crowd have noticed that Harper and Mario Dumont of the provincial ADQ are the only ones not treating them like some anti-social threat to the fabric of the nation. And the announcement that Stephen Harper is about to join them by telephone is met with appreciative, if not exactly passionate cheers.

Alas, his interview was not really in touch with the tone of the event. This is a young, energetic, rocking crowd that really wasn’t there to hear a policy wonk elaborate on the minutae of the refinements of the bureaucratic regulatory process that would ultimately constrain the CRTC from such draconian actions in the future. Next time save that for a meeting of a high school debating club or the Young Conservatives policy conference. This was a time to take a stand either with bureaucrats or with the station and the crowd. Nevertheless, he made the appropriate points, albeit in a bit of a droning monotone and received a hearty cheer at the end.

Harper may not have exactly been in tune with the crowd, but the station certainly knows its audience and seemed to anticipate they might need to re-energize the crowd after the interview. Soon the crowd was swinging to the music of a rousing, rocking live rendition of a song with crowd joining in and belting out LIBERTÉ at the top of their lungs at the appropriate spots. I don’t really expect Harper to be an entertainer, and he obviously would just look ridiculous if he ventured too far from his normal reserved personality. But this was a time for brevity and clarity, and he will have to do better to speak the language of young francophones if he wants to build support in Québec. There’s a demographic of young Québécois sick to death of the sacred cows of Québec Inc. and Trudeaupian shibboleths. They are open to Harper’s libertarian message, it just needs to be delivered in the right language.

Another sign:

Censeur
Répressif
Totalitaire
Corrumpu
A little over the top, true. The police weren’t exactly going to crack any skulls just for being there, so any analogy to Tiannemen Square is overreaching. But at the end of the rockin’ song he had the crowd turn around and face the Peace Tower chanting Liberté. I left at that point generally feeling something is quite amiss. The crowd was great and I got into the spirit of the humour and the music, but came away from the event feeling a little down.

That is our Parliament, the very centre of our Westminster democracy and the site of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s speeches expounding on liberty. In a healthy country it should be the central defender of liberty, not the site of a crowd outside reduced to begging for the privilege of being able to listen to the station of their choice. Participating in such a spectacle was frankly a little degrading. I never imagined that in Canada I would be reduced to participating in a demonstration to allow a politically incorrect radio station to continue broadcasting. On top of the gag law shutting up groups like the National Citizens’ Coalition during election campaigns and judges issuing diktats it certainly feels like certain core aspects of our democracy itself are slowly slipping from our grasp. Yeah, we can go the booth and vote but more and more it feels like there’s nothing actually attached to those democratic levers.

I’m not sure which bothers me more. That certain key aspects of the apparatus of state are slipping beyond democratic control, or the general indifference of the public to this as it happens. The Liberals had the gall to campaign as defenders of the Charter while enacting gag laws, shutting down a radio station, and keeping out Italian television station RAI to name just a handful of the outrages they have perpetrated. Yet the public is yet to be outraged, and will almost certainly turn to them again as defenders of da Canadian values. If this crowd and the radio station CHOI-FM are threats to the fabric of the nation I’m Pierre Trudeau. The unrepresentative, unaccountable, bureaucratic Trudeaupian montrosity they are creating are the real threat, not this station.

Good news for Canadian biotech 

With Canada's farmers suffering under the problems of BSE, trade barriers and massive European and American subsidies it's good to see innovation is paying off:
A Canadian biotechnology company has a deal to supply more than 1.3 million pounds of genetically-modified seed potatoes to China next year. [...]

The GE potatoes grow to maturity in about 24 months, compared to 32 months for most potatoes. The company says Chinese consumers did not eat potatoes until Western fast food chains appeared. Now they can't get enough of them.
Good news for Vancouver-based Penn Biotech, Chinese farmers and consumers, who certainly need high yield farming techniques to feed their population. Let's hope the Chinese don't pay any attention to these fruitcakes:
When a group of political activists gather to disseminate information about the alleged dangers of genetically modified organisms, recruit new members to their cause and share a meal of organic foods they--quite naturally--get naked. And they play Twister.

It's Friday night at Buddy, an alternative art gallery in Wicker Park, and THONG (Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics) is celebrating their community while spreading their message and shedding their clothes. [...]

Tall, topless and thonged, Karen Bouwman is a new member of THONG. "It's cool to find a group that educates about what's really going on with the stuff we are consuming," says the 30-year-old Chicagoan, a vegetarian for 15 years. "There aren't any other groups like this."
She's right, groups like this are fairly rare.

Good news in Europe 

Fond memories of the Nazi era are declining in Austria:
More than a third of Austrians believe that the Nazi era was in some ways positive, although pro-Nazi sentiment in Austria has dropped over the past two decades, according to a poll published Thursday.

But Peter Uhlram of the Fessel-GfK Institute, which conducted the survey, cautioned against inferring from the poll results that anti-Semitism is widespread in Austria.

Most who believed life was in some ways good under Hitler likely looked back at developments other than the Holocaust as the positive sides of Nazi rule, such as construction of the first Autobahn and sharply lowered unemployment, he said.

Uhlram said 31 percent of 4,000 respondents over 15 agreed with the statement that the Nazi era had "good and bad" elements, compared to 47% in 1987.
Twenty-seven percent of Austrian respondents questioned in the survey said the period had been "exclusively bad," 40% said it was "mostly bad," and 1% said it had been "mostly good or almost exclusively good," said Uhlram.
Ok, so we'll take the good news where we find it, limited though it is. I've always enjoyed my trips to Austria, a country I've visited a number of times, but I must admit there's something about the place that creeped me out. Something about holding lavish, enthusiastic parades to welcome the Nazi soldiers in 1938 and then pretending to be victims for decades later.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Remember the fallen 

Thirty years ago Syria shot down Flight 51, a UN plane with Canadian peacekeepers in it. Kate at Small Dead Animals and Kate The Last Amazon have more.

Everything's a market 

Via Christopher, we find you can now clone your cat:
Genetic Savings and Clone (GSC), which is based in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco, is the world's first firm to go commercial and offer the public the chance to clone their cats and dogs.

Five cat owners have already signed up at a cost of $50,000 to have their pets copied.
Unlike Christopher, I'm not really inclined to tell people how to spend their money, though I'd be more inclined to drown a cat than to clone it. I kinda wonder what this technology will do to dog shows, though.

Quick - someone give this guy a Canadian Passport 

Or perhaps once he's done his work in Ex-communist Georgia he'll be willing to come here. Here's a story about Kakha Bendukidze, Georgia's new economy minister, from The Economist:
Next year—if not sooner—he will cut the rate of income tax from 20% to 12%, payroll taxes from 33% to 20%, value-added tax from 20% to 18%, and abolish 12 kinds of tax altogether.

He wants to abolish laws on legal tender, so that investors can use whatever currency they want. He hates foreign aid—it “destroys your ability to do things for yourself,” he says—though he concedes that political realities will oblige him to accept it for at least the next three years or so.

As to where investors should put their money, “I don't know and I don't care,” he says, and continues: “I have shut down the department of industrial policy. I am shutting down the national investment agency. I don't want the national innovation agency.” Oh yes, and he plans to shut down the country's anti-monopoly agency too. “If somebody thinks his rights are being infringed he can go to the courts, not to the ministry.” He plans, as his crowning achievement, to abolish his own ministry in 2007. “In a normal country, you don't need a ministry of the economy,” he says.
Or a Ministry of Industry, or bribery regional development agencies, or Technology Partnerships, or, Bombardier Export Development, or, or, or.

Maybe someday Canada will grow up and be an ex-communist country, too. We can hope.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Quote of the day 

This from Iraq now:
Major media journalism is an exercise in cynicism, cynically applied, by professional cynics.

What's more, they often do not remotely understand, nor truly respect, those who hold valor in higher regard than cynicism.
That's certainly true of any coverage of military affairs.

So what is a typical sentence 

Sadly, I am not surprised Svend got off with no criminal record, I was pretty much expecting it. But what is a typical sentence for someone like that? We're not talking about a teenager lifting a CD here, we're talking an adult shoplifting a piece of jewelry worth tens of thousands of dollars. For those cops and lawyers out there what would a normal person get in that type of case?

Send in your application 

The Star is looking for diversity:
Four years ago, the Toronto Star launched a unique experiment in trying to reach out to residents of the Greater Toronto Area who feel their opinions are rarely reflected on our pages or in other media outlets.

To address this concern, the Star created the all-volunteer Community Editorial Board. It became an immediate success.
So, if you're liberal lesbian, or a liberal gay, a liberal aboriginal, a francophone, a liberal feminist, a liberal Italian, a liberal Indo-Canadian, a liberal Muslim or a liberal Jew they want you to increase their diversity of opinions. Somehow I don't think they're interested in diversity of thought, though. So, any Evangelical Christian pro-American conservatives in the GTA willing to give it a try?

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Conservative habit of mind 

Jay Currie has a long post up on developing conservative thought in Canada. Have a read and by all means give him a hand through the crunch. He makes too many excellent points to summarize so go read it all, but I wanted to comment on this:
Today’s Conservatives, a generation removed from Grant – (who has found his natural home as a favorite philosopher of the anti-globalism brigade) – and are bereft of a similarily Canadian political philospher to draw on. While the libertarian wing can cite Hayak and von Mises and the socons everything from the Bible to the tabletalk of Ronald Reagan, none of these offer a particularily Canadian understanding of conservatism.
I would suggest the Canadian political philosopher to use as a model would be Sir Wilfrid Laurier. While it's a little awkward that he was a Liberal, it is obvious the Liberal party of today has utterly rejected pretty much everything Laurier advocated, other than his record of winning elections. I sometimes wonder if young Liberals of today ever read any of his speeches. If they do it must generate a fair bit of cognitive dissonance as the central tenets of his philosophy were to put the liberty in liberal. All his talk of low taxes, commercial freedom and personal reliance must make a young Liberal's head spin these days.

Update: Greg Staples adds his comments.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Babbling Brooks 

Damian - no, not that Damian hopes "Alberta will invade and occupy Ontario sometime in the next week or so" and that believes that "most problems can be solved with weaponry of a high enough calibre." Well, how do you argue with that? You don't, you go check out his new blog called Babbling Brooks, where you'll find excellent thoughts on why fighting terror requires citizen involvement and can't be left to Big Brother to deal with:
No, it wouldn't make more sense to keep the general population in the dark on this one. You know why? Because the terrorists are most likely already in the country. They are somebody's neigbour or motel guest. They eat at someone's restaurant and shop at someone's corner convenience store. They are vulnerable to discovery by everyone around them. They aren't like Soviet bombers coming from over the polar ice cap to test our defences. We could leave that defence to the military, because the military knew where to look to find the enemy. To fight terror, we need to actively engage the population in the hunt for the terrorists. And the best way to do that is to give them as much information as possible, without compromising intelligence-gathering techniques.
Back to your usual vigilance, citizen.

Ralph Peters on Canada abandoning her allies 

ViaThought Crimes I found this article by Ralph Peters, who takes on Canada's soft power approach to foreign policy:
Despite the apocalyptic rhetoric of our election year, it’s Canada that has a crisis of the soul.

It’s all too easy for us to write off Canada as a parka-enshrouded land of strategic freeloaders, economic parasites who complain as they profit, kept safe by their proximity to the superpower they love to criticize.

But the truth is that we only hear the noisy, down-with-America Canadians who represent but a fraction of their country’s population [....]

Will Ms. Kazemi’s murder awaken Canada’s chattering classes to reality? After all, she was one of their own, a card-carrying member of the vaunted multi-ethnic intelligentsia. Her self-righteous peers need to cork the Chablis, crack open a Labatt’s Blue and take the lesson of her murder to heart: Appeasement of tyrants always has a price.
Indeed it does. Read the whole thing.

A Socialist and a Liar clash over health care 

Finally, we have a health care debate. Now Roy Romanow has a lot of firsthand experience in healthcare, being a former socialist premier in Saskatchewan when he speaks we should listen, partly to see if he’s learned anything from his experience.

Just to recap, here is the history of Saskatchewan healthcare in a nutshell:
The prairies are settled primarily by poor but hardworking immigrants on farms and in rural communities with most of the population growth from 1900 –1960.

During this time churches, charitable organizations, nonprofits and other community-based organizations built clinics and hospitals and hired doctors and nurses all over the province.

Tommy Douglas brought socialism to health care in the province in the 1960s.

Roy Romanow followed a couple of decades later and closed the rural hospitals built by hardworking immigrants of an earlier generation, and now you can’t get a family doctor in Saskatchewan if your life depended on it, and they have waiting lists for cancer treatment that rival North Korean queues for food or Cuban lineups for boats to Florida.
So naturally Douglas and Romanow are revered as fathers and saviours of health care in Canada and we shouldn’t consider any changes without listening to what they have to say.

So now that we’ve seen the shortages, waiting lists and rationing that inevitably accompanies socialism in anything, what does Mr. Romanow think of the idea of government supplying care for free?
At the end of the day, this amounted to highballing the request with a zero obligation of responsibility. And it's predicated on a whole number of concepts which I think need to be re-examined. They haven't thought this through.
Okay, I confess he’s talking about socialism in drugs that the premiers have recently proposed, not hospital and doctor visits. But what, exactly, is the difference? I go to the doctor and get a prescription. How can it be sacrilegious to even consider the idea of paying for the visit, but utterly unworkable to totally cover the cost of the prescription?

And in any case many types of ailments can be dealt with either in a clinic or by drugs. How can it be that Romanow has seen the light that one shouldn’t extend our current system to pharmaceuticals but he still clings fanatically to socialism in its purest form for doctor and hospital visits? It is logically incoherent.

And speaking of incoherent, here comes Dalton McGuinty now. McGuinty, who is a liar, had this to say about socialist pharmacare:
anything worth doing is difficult and complicated. I can certainly say that implementing this proposal would not be nearly as complicated as it was to put medicare in place. […]

officials now have "a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a better national health-care system. I would think he [Mr. Romanow] would be supportive."
Mr. McGuinty noted that last week the premiers unanimously agreed to let the federal government move into their jurisdiction over health care by establishing a national plan to cover the cost of prescription drugs, the fastest-rising area of health-care costs.
Well, let’s give this much credit to McGuinty, who normally lies about pretty much everything he’d like to do. He knows perfectly well this is a provincial jurisdiction and is astute enough to know that this is one albatross he wants to hang around the Fed’s necks rather than have hanging on his own. After all, when a dyed-in-the-wool socialist is cautioning against rushing into this particular piece of socialism a premier would do well to punt it to a different level of government. This is why Ralph Klein considers the move such a “stroke of brilliance”.

Mcguinty challenges us to imagine if Tommy Douglas had been as cautious as Romanow is now. Okay, let’s imagine he left the delivery of health care alone and limited himself to public catastrophic insurance. I imagine he wouldn’t have led the government to such a financial crisis that Romanow was obliged to close all those hospitals. So we wouldn’t have the situation today where no one can get a doctor due to his beloved socialism and the poor can’t afford the drugs he prescribes anyway because those costs aren’t covered.
But if we actually want to be able to both see a doctor and afford the drugs he prescribes how about a consistent approach to both? Have a public insurance system that backstops any catastrophic health care costs, be they incurred in a hospital, clinic or through expensive prescription drugs. But have individuals (or their private insurance plans) pick up the incidental costs for the routine things. There’s a reason no one waits 22 months to get an appointment at a vet, optometrist, dentist or even a quack pushing snake oil naturopath with the latest in trendy, all-natural healing- they haven’t been socialized. So I suggest limiting the government to catastrophic insurance, not delivery, and have it cover both drugs and hospital care. Those rural communities in Saskatchewan actually had hospitals, clinics, doctors and nurses before the likes of Douglas and Romanow decided they needed government help, in spite of being much poorer than the people are today. So when Romanow says this proposed federal pharmacare is a bad idea that hasn’t been thought through, I’m inclined to listen to his words of caution. It’s just to bad he doesn’t apply the same logic to the current medicare system, or seem to have learned anything at all from personally closing all those rural facilities.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Liberté - Je crie ton nom partout 

And on Tuesday August 10th the demonstration to support CHOI-FM is coming to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where they will be performing a live broadcast from 1400 to 1700 on Tuesday afternoon. (Merci à lecteur François Lapierre pour le lien).

Whether you actually like this station or not, if you don't like the idea of the government shutting down a radio station for politically incorrect content it is important to support them now. If you don't support their rights now don't expect anyone to support yours when the government decides it's your turn to be trampled.

And remember this isn't just one radio host who is being sanctioned, the way communist China censored radio host Albert Cheng, the most popular talk show host in Hong Kong. Canada is being nowhere near as civilized as Communist China in this case, the entire station is being shut down with all the economic consequences involved in that, including its employees being thrown out of work and the owner of the business will suffer a total loss.

You can sign their petition to reverse the CRTC here, and if you're in Ottawa Tuesday afternoon why not show your support on the Hill.

Update: For those who have trouble navigating their site in French the link for the petition in English is here.

Will blog for food 

It appears Jay Currie hasn't found his way through the Grants Canada process to live comfortably on the government dole like any self-respecting Liberal would do.

TANSTAAFL, I say, If you're a blog reader (and it's too late to deny it now, isn't it?) drop in and give him a hand to get through the crunch time.

Kipling's timeless wisdom 

Rudyard Kipling truly had a way of putting timeless wisdom into beautiful prose. For example, remember the wonderful Tommy:
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
Of course even Kipling might be surprised at the degree of stupidity to which the public of today has descended:
RCMP shot the bear three times Saturday while Canadian Juno award-winner Jeff Healey pumped out tunes at a jazz music festival from a floating stage on Kootenay Lake.

The RCMP defended their decision in a release yesterday, saying people ignored warnings from festival security and crowded to within eight metres of the bear, which meant the animal was a threat to public safety. [...]

After the bear was destroyed, many people in the crowd screamed profanities and "murderers" or "killers" at police as they tended to the scene.

Festival volunteers had difficulty controlling several irate people in the crowd.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Those mad mullahs 

Those mad mullahs in Iran are at it again still:
Investigations in France, Italy, Spain and other countries since the Sept. 11 attacks point to an increasing presence in Iran of Al Qaeda figures, including suspected masterminds of this year's train bombings in Madrid and last year's car bombings of expatriate compounds in Saudi Arabia.
Iran playing footsie with terrorists? Who knew? I guess the Euros and especially the French are particularly annoyed that they aren't limiting themselves to blowing up Israelis and Americans like they're supposed to. The Islamofascist terrorists are displaying a disturbing lack of appreciation for Euro-nuance, and it's even getting the French concerned:
The Iranians play a double game," said a top French law enforcement official who, like others interviewed, asked to remain anonymous. "Everything they can do to trouble the Americans, without going too far, they do it. They have arrested important Al Qaeda people, but they have permitted other important Al Qaeda people to operate. It is a classic Iranian style of ambiguity, deception, manipulation."
From reading that it's hard to tell if the sophisticated Frenchman is expressing disapproval or admiration that the Iranians would be mimicking the trademarked French style of ambiguity, deception, manipulation and doing everything possible to bait the Americans. But, speaking of double games, let's watch not what the French have to say, impenetrably nuanced as that is, watch instead what they do:
The Secretary of State for Transport and Marine Affairs, François Goulard, will leave for Teheran on Sunday for an official visit marking the resumption of Air France flights to Iran. He will be accompanied by a delegation of businessmen and will be received by Iranian Transport Minister Ahmed Khorram.
The resumption of Air France flights to Iran underscores France's commitment to the development of our relations with this country. Iran is an important economic partner of France with which bilateral trade has grown rapidly over the past few years: in 2003 exports climbed a third, exceeding two billion euros, and that resulted in our 11th trade surplus with Iran.

The reciprocal agreement to encourage and protect investments, signed in May 2003 and now approved in both countries, will establish a more favorable legal framework for our companies' activities in Iran once it goes into force in July.
The increase in trade attests to the dynamism of the Iranian economy. The visit by the secretary of state comes in this context; it will enable us in particular to deepen our existing cooperation in the air transport, rail and maritime sectors.
We, the delegation from France respectfully request that when you are engaging in your explosive endeavours carefully consider the merits of targets in other nations before those found in France. We fear you have not really appreciated the lengths we are prepared to go to appease terrorists, and so are redoubling our efforts in that regard.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

A return to sanity 

This decision in Michigan is a welcome return to sanity:
Reversing more than two decades of land-use law, the Michigan Supreme Court late Friday overturned its own landmark 1981 Poletown decision and sharply restricted governments such as Detroit and Wayne County from seizing private land to give to other private users.
It's one thing to expropriate private property for public use, such as airports or new roads. But expropriating one private owner for the benefit of another with better connections at City Hall is just using the power of the state to commit theft.

This is a widespread problem in many states and it's great to see one state return to performing one of it's primary functions - protecting the rights of property owners - not being complicit in their abuse.

For some horror stories of this abuse, check out the Castle Coalition or read a sampling from Mugged by the State.

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