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Friday, December 31, 2004

Criticism isn't charity 

Like many others I have been numbed by the scale of the tsunami disaster in Asia. I haven't posted on it as I can't really find words appropriate to the occasion. I also have enough respect for my readers that I'm sure they don't need me to nag them into contributing. If a disaster on this scale doesn't move you to donate I don't think words from me will prompt you.

But let's keep things in perspective. The purpose of charity is to help the needy, not to make ourselves feel better or engage in a virtuosity competition, or to nag at the shortcomings of the efforts of others.

I would also gently remind you that charity is a citizen's responsibility, not the government's. Loudly demanding that Paul Martin cut his vacation short so he can get in front of the media and make a public show of how badly he feels does not help the afflicted. If their lives get saved by Canadian aid they do not care if the PM approved its delivery by phone from Morocco, or if he held a press conference to announce it. If he has authorized the expense and directed the appropriate agencies to do all they can as quickly as they can what is gained by criticizing him further? He cannot conjure up transport planes we don't have from Ottawa any better than he can from Morocco. If there is someone in government trying to do something useful but not getting the approval to do it, by all means let's hear about it, but public posturing isn't aid.

And I think posts like this one dissing the Royal Bank particularly grate. I have no doubt the employees and shareholders of the Royal Bank are every bit as moved by the scale of the tragedy as I am. They are accepting donations from all of their branches where their customers will no doubt donate millions and they've kicked in $100,000 themselves so far. And who is to say that is all they will do or all they will give? As a bank they may reschedule or forgive loans in the affected countries, provide emergency loans and issue favourable terms for reconstruction. And who know what their thousands of employees and shareholders are doing individually? Their initial donation will save lives now and this is hardly something to criticize.

As for how we can help, I'd say the best thing we can do is send money and let the relief organizations do their jobs without unhelpful armchair quarterbacking. The media will quickly be issuing their usual criticism that aid is being misdirected, inefficient, or not getting where it is really needed. With such a massive effort and so many players involved it is simply inevitable that some places will be missed and some effort will be duplicated. So when one location finds they need generators but received water purifiers they don't need let them improvise by selling off what they don't need and buying what they do. The media will decry this as profiteering, waste, corruption or worse as they always do when donated goods find their way into local markets, but it is simply a reality that some of this has to happen to convert what has been donated into what is needed. Let them do it and don't let such stories be an excuse to not donate yourself.

As for who to donate to, I'd say donate as close as possible to where the need is. If you have personal or family connections to a relief agency in Indonesia or Sri Lanka donate there directly. They will have a better feel for what's needed and what's possible on the ground. Second best would be an organization like the Red Cross, which is where I made my donation, or to a relief fund for a country directly such as Indonesia. My last choice would be a UN organization, as they are more bureacracy than aid, but they, too, perform a necessary, if bureaucratic, coordination role. But in any case, contribute in your own way without denigrating the contributions of others. It's not about you or them.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Merry Christmas 

For those who are still followers of the Jesus cult, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

And for the rest of you, may your inclusive, multicultural, spiritually empty, crass and commercial time of gluttony and exchange of loot around the giving tree pass in agreeable peace without sparking too many family quarrels or drunken accidents. Happy December 25th, which is being held on 24th this year due to the 25th being a Saturday.

I'll be taking break for a while. Blogging will be light or nonexistent until the New Year.

Quote of the day 

by Newt Gingrich via Japnaam Singh:
In government, you either have a system where you say 'Would you like to learn how to be rich, would you like to learn how to be successful?' Or you have a system where you say, 'Well, you really ought to feel envy and resentment, so let's see if we can mug them.
Nicely put.

Also, Japnaam comments on turbaned Sikhs in the military:
I've known for a long time now that the US army does not allow turbaned Sikhs to join. The Canadian "army" does, the British do, the Australians do, but the Americans do not.

I've actually known and heard of at least half a dozen people who were turned down when they volunteered to join... because they violated the beard and headwar policy.
I admit this is a tricky question. It is necessary to enforce a certain dress code in the military as part of overall discipline. How do you discipline a guy who hasn't shaved in three days, has unkempt hair and wears a baseball cap backwards while the guy next to him is is wearing a turban and has a long beard? In the British Commonwealth armies we just make an exception and do it, but I hardly think it's racist to insist on a common uniform and headwear for everyone, especially on ceremonial occasions where the headware is part of the uniform.

But Sikhs have demonstrated a long history of accomplishment in western armies and it is definitely a loss to the American forces by excluding them. On balance I prefer our approach, but I object to accusations of racism for those countries insisting on a common uniform. They are entitled to value their national symbols, too.

And Japnaam is the latest addition to the blogroll. I invite you to check out the rest of his blog.

Idiot du jour 

The ever-reliable Naomi Klein. Here we see her exposing her true brilliance in this interview:
The anti-war movement has been extremely remiss in not supporting and defending democratic resistance in Iraq. We’ve not been there supporting their demands and expressing outrage. We could have made a difference if we’d echoed calls for direct elections in January. Now it’s a total obscenity to support elections that are being bombed into being. But in January there were 100,000 people on the streets of Baghdad calling for elections, and where were we?
Support the beheaders of infidels in the name of democracy! Yeah, that's a slogan that should gain support. Demand elections, until they're being held in which case they are an obscenity. Or as John Kerry would say, she supported the elections before opposing them.

The majority of the country is trying to hold elections, build a respectable national government, army and security service. But she supports the head-choppers, car bombers and very, very clearly is hoping for their victory. What an evil woman.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A socialist Christmas 

Normally those working in the socialist health care system have the necessary connections so that they are affected far less by its dysfunctional nature than the rest of us. But read this story about a poor nurse's discovery that she has cancer and her experience with our caring, compassionate health care system:
I was to follow up on the biopsy findings within two weeks through my family doctor's office. The next day I called my family doctor. To my horror I was informed he had transferred to another province. He had finished up the day before my call. A notice had been posted in the local newspaper; I guess I missed that issue. [...]

A wonderful physician came out of retirement to assist the doctors in my clinic struggling with my doctor's departure. My new doctor apologized for having to "intervene" in my treatment.

She told me that I had a malignancy (cancer) in my breast and a surgical consult was needed as soon as possible. In the next breath she also informed me that it was her last day at work. [...]

In an effort to be proactive and because I have no family doctor at this moment to advocate for me, I contacted the surgeon's office myself.

To my dismay I discover ... there is no operating room available at my local hospital.

I had the misfortune of having had my cancer diagnosed over the Christmas holiday season.

During the holiday period, hospitals shut down many services because of staff cuts and bed closures. If a surgeon does agree to do surgery, there will be no staff to clean operating rooms, or nurses to monitor patient care post-surgery. [...]

I feel violated by the same system I have worked hard in for 16 years.
Say a prayer for her and the many others like her trying to get treatment from a dysfunctional socialist system.

But I hope she also remembers that she has been part of a union for 16 years that has hysterically opposed any reform of the rigid system that is now failing her. When nurses can't pull the appropriate strings to bypass the list you know the system is in a fairly advanced state of collapse.

A casualty of gay marriage 

Jonah Goldberg enlightens us on a wholly unexpected casualty of gay marriage - Mother's Day:
I attended a Reform Jewish day school, and almost everyone I knew had a Christmas tree at home. I don’t remember anyone calling them “Holiday Trees,” but quite a few called them “Hanukkah bushes,” which always struck me as lameness on stilts — like calling a menorah a “Christmas candelabra.”

And keep in mind, this school, Rodeph Sholem, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, was virtually a madrassa of knee-jerk Jewish liberalism. Why, a couple years ago they — I kid you not — cancelled Mother’s Day because it was mean to kids with, uh, two daddies. Note, they never canceled Mother’s Day out of consideration for kids whose mothers were, you know, dead.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Being Christian ... 

Should lead one to be a Liberal. And being Liberal should lead one to like Christ, but not necessarily those icky Christians. Or so says this site, which may or not be a parody, it being so hard to tell these days.

Fred on the media 

Another interesting and deliciously politically incorrect column by Fred on the media:
But the greatest weakness of the American press is moral. Our media are relentlessly, grindingly, hermetically controlled or, as we say, politically correct. Everyone with the brains of an aspirin tablet is aware of it. Newspaper do not so much report the news as avoid it. The taboos are endless and rigid. What reporters know, they do not write; what they write, they do not believe. We all understand exactly what the media can say, can’t say, and will say. Sheer dishonesty rubs shoulders with poor content. For example, the coverage of the war in Iraq amounts to crafted acquiescence in lying. Why bother?

The media can’t change. They are too close to being part of the government they purport to cover, too steeped in the artificial egalitarianism of the newsroom, too afraid of each other, of advertisers, of being racist or sexist, too big and smug and ossified. They cannot report anything that might disturb blacks, women, homosexuals, Jews, Latinos, or mental defectives. Although the rosy-fingered dawn may now be penetrating the hitherto intractable darkness, too many journalists live in the past. Like IBM when it thought that the personal computer was a funny little typewriter, they stare into the tiger’s maw and think that it’s a closet. They would probably invest in slide rules.

How are these hobbled organs going to compete with the wild west of the web, with its limitless well-argued sites espousing or denouncing every imaginable point of view? Compete with people who document things that the majors can’t even talk about?
Very interesting and provocative, as usual. Read the whole thing.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Red Ensign Roundup 

Damian Brooks rounds up the Red Ensign bloggers brigade.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Crimson Tide 

If you recall the movie set in an American nuclear missile sub you'll find this real-life land-based story rather unnerving:
Petrov was in charge of the secret bunker where a team of 120 technicians and military officers monitored the Soviet Union's early-warning system. It was just after midnight when a new satellite array known as Oko, or The Eye, spotted five U.S. missiles heading toward Moscow. The Eye discerned that they were Minuteman II nuclear missiles.

Petrov's computer was demanding that he follow the prescribed protocol and confirm an incoming attack to his superiors. A red light on the computer that read START! kept flashing at him. And there was this baleful message: MISSILE ATTACK!

Petrov had written the emergency protocol himself, and he knew he should immediately pick up the hot line at his desk to tell his superiors that the Motherland was under attack.

He also knew that time was short. The senior political and military chiefs in the Kremlin would have only about 12 minutes to wake up, get to their phones, digest Petrov's information and decide on a counterattack.
Yikes. Turned out to be a false alarm, but he wasn't sure of that at the time.

Of course this is yet another reason to have a missile defence system, even if it is imperfect. Even the possibility that a rogue missile could be intercepted would alter ever-so-slightly the hair-trigger decision to launch a counterstrike.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Police raid a lesbian bawdy house 

And get sentenced to gay and lesbian sensitivity sessions:
There are 7,260 members of the Toronto force and all members, including the chief of police, will have to take the training to appease the complainants who launched a human rights complaint.

On Sept. 14, 2000, police raided a bathhouse where several hundred members of the lesbian community had gathered. Police entered some rooms where women were found to be in various stages of undress. Liquor charges and disorderly conduct charges were laid.

Complainants began a $1.5 million class action lawsuit. In 2002, a judge ruled that the defendants’ right to privacy had been violated.
Personally, I don't care what people do in these bathhouses, but police raid places where liquor violations and disorderly conduct is happening all the time. Evidently liquor laws only apply to straights these days.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Keeping costs down for you 

This Saudi Arabian bank is working on your behalf to keep costs down, but you know that's tough in these market conditions:
The sacrificial sheep coupon, which is part of the Project for the Utilization of Sacrificial Animals During Haj managed by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), will cost SR75 more this year than last. This year’s coupon, available at Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp., will cost SR450 compared to SR375 last year.

Dr. Ahmad Ali, president of the IDB, emphasized that the bank made every effort to keep the price down but that the increase reflected market conditions. As for camels, the market is open and pilgrims can negotiate a price including all services from slaughter to transport.
Not to worry, all these sacrificial parts will be put to good use:
The IDB aims at maximum utilization of sacrificial animals, their skins and offal. For example, a contract has been signed with a Chinese company to produce gelatin. The gelatin plant will also address another important issue for Muslims: At present, most of the gelatin available in world markets is of porcine origin.
I had no idea that was a problem. But now it's being addressed, thanks to the efforts of your Islamic Development Bank. I wonder where Jews get their gelatin.

Red Ensign spotted 

Interesting that the Red Ensign would get a mention at the Diplomad:
It seems that if you don't like how Canada, once one of the world's great countries, has been systematically run into the ground and emasculated over the past 40 years, well, you are a hater of Canada and "Brain-dead ignorant."

The true "Brain-dead ignorant" haters of Canada are the cry-baby lunatics who now control the place and want to ignore the great role that Canada has played historically in the defense of the West. We wonder what the Canadian kids who stormed ashore and died at Dieppe or on the beaches of D-Day under their famous Red Ensign (not that weird washed out Maple Leaf) would think of what has happened to their country in the past four decades; a country now content to disarm itself -- except for a few rusty smoky second-hand subs -- and to destroy its traditions and culture in the name of diversity.
It is kind of sad to find a robust defence of Canada's traditions coming from foreign diplomats rather than our own. But I'm glad someone remembers.

Today in history 

Forty years ago today the Liberals took a major step in rebranding the country into an extension of their party. That's right, forty years ago today they voted in Parliament to lower the Red Ensign and adopt the red Maple Leaf as a national flag.
Red Ensign Blogger

Symbols matter. In a move more reminiscent of a banana republic than a respectable democracy, they used their parliamentary majority to impose partisan colours and logos onto a national flag. Having done so, it is not surprising that ever since they've essentially seen no difference between the country and the Party. They use the RCMP to carry out vendettas against disloyal party members (see François Beaudoin), they use the public treasury liberally for Party needs and are now suppressing reports that no doubt expose government incompetence under the excuse of national security, and have people waiting for immigration permits working on the campaign team of the Minister for Immigration.

Most astounding of all is the little story of what happened to the first Maple Leaf flag to fly over the Peace Tower. It was not stored for historical purposes in any national museum or displayed prominently anywhere in Parliament. Liberal Party leader Lester Pearson kept it for himself and the Liberal Party carried on a tradition of passing the flag from one Party leader to the next, even when they were not the party of government. Yes indeed, symbols matter.
This sordid partisan history is one reason my blog proudly flies the Red Ensign. They can attempt to rewrite Canada's heritage into a multicult postmodern fiction that they wished happened instead, but there's no reason the rest of us have to go along with it.

The Red Ensign in various versions has been flown in Canada since 1707. This version incorporates the fleur-de-lis on the coat of arms, a symbol that has recognized the French heritage of Canada since it was carried ashore by Jacques Cartier in 1534. For more on the history of Canadian flags see here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Forget Dr. Phil 

Get your relationship advice from Hog on Ice:
I grew up in the era of Norman Lear, which means I learned everything I know about men and women from watching preachy sitcoms written by liberals. I learned that women want to be our equals. I learned that women want to be independent. I learned that sensitivity turns women on. I learned a lot of crap that isn't even a little bit true. Here are the facts.

1. Women like being told what to do, and they actually resent it when you treat them like equals. They love it when we make decisions for them. Treat a woman like an equal, and the first thing you know, she's going to wind up in a Motel 6 under a guy who gives her a written dress code and makes her wear a GPS.

2. Women get really mad when you say, "Women like being told what to do, and they actually resent it when you treat them like equals." It's still true. Many times, women have gotten mad at me for asking their opinions instead of taking charge and giving orders. And I would sit there with a stupid look on my face, saying something like, "But Maude hates it when Walter treats her like that." Of course, Maude was a lesbian, but let's not go there.
It gets better after that. And don't let anyone try to tell you that there isn't a kernel of truth in it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Have I said how much I like flying these days? 

No? Perhaps I've forgotten to mention it.

Personally, I'm prepared to take my chances with a few terrorists mano-a-mano if it means we can abolish the bureaucratic monstrosity that the TSA has become. We voluntarily take genuine risks when travelling by car just to enjoy the freedom to go where we want when we want. I think it's time to take back our airports. Once an organization becomes more interested in feeling up women than getting travellers to their destination it's time to abolish it and start again from first principles.

First, like any general fighting the last war, they're wasting all of our time confiscating little old ladies' pen knives. It's time to tell them that the cockpit doors are locked now and the passengers aren't going to passively succumb to a hijack armed with a dangerous-looking pencil sharpener. Anyone tries it and we've got the pilots' backs, OKAY?????

So focus on detecting BOMBS, not penning up helpless travellers like cattle.

Everyone has their own horror story. Want to hear mine? No? Well you're going to hear it anyway. I go to the airport at DFW for my flight to Ottawa via Philadelphia. Checking in two hours before my flight to allow time for the retards at security to grope whatever it is they're interested in groping these days already I'm informed that my Ottawa is late. That's a thousand miles away and seven hours from the time it's supposed back off from the gate I know it's subject to a delay. Bad weather. Okay, it happens.

So, the bad weather delays my DFW-Philadelphia flight and I don't land 'till 11:00 PM at terminal B. Connecting flight now scheduled to leave at 11:20 from terminal F. It's a rush but I travel light and I can make it.

I run to catch the shuttle that goes from gate C16 to terminal F. Flights may be delayed but quitting time for the shuttle is 11:00 PM sharp. No shuttle. Okay, I'll run. I have a bad feeling as I realize leaving terminal C requires exiting the secure area and getting screened again at terminal F. But I run and I'm standing at the metal detector with just two people ahead of me by 11:08. Closed.

Not completely closed, though. There's two people there. One qualified to scan bags and one to watch the metal detector. Can't let anyone through without the person approved to check boarding cards. Crew can pass through without boarding cards, so three or four cabin crew pass through without incident. The line grows to more than fifty people, all dutifully stripped down, laptops out, boarding and ID passes out. There are at least half a dozen planes still at the gates and passengers trying to get to them, all listening not so patiently as the security guards inform us how thankful we should be that they're doing this for us.

Eventually the lady qualified to check boarding passes saunters over. She doesn't check boarding passes, but asks us which flight we're trying to get to. We yell out the half dozen flights still at the gate and she writes down the numbers and slowly wanders away, doing what I know not. She eventually comes back and lets a couple going to Harrisburg through. Leaves again. More crew go through. If the planes still at the gate, irate passengers, and flights still being indicated on the monitors were not enough of a clue, you'd think the crew still passing through would give someone the idea that maybe security shouldn't shut down for the night quite yet. Evidently not. I may have known eight hours ago and a thousand miles away that that my flight was going to be delayed but the extremely competent authorities running the airport appear oblivious or indifferent to that fact.

The lady qualified to check boarding passes eventually shows up again and tells us that the flights have gone now. So I'm posting this from my hotel in Philadelphia, thanks to the coordinated efforts of U.S Air, the TSA and the Philadelphia airport to make sure that if anyone should ever get to their destination it will be with the maximum possible delays, inconvenience, and personal degradation that they can possibly inflict on us. I hope they all lose their jobs.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Candid discussion of immigration 

One of the annoying things about this country is that if you question any aspect of how immigration is dealt with you immediately get denounced as racist. A couple of times I have pointed out that when the Toronto police can't find anyone willing to talk to them after a shooting even if it's an 11 year old girl getting shot in a crowded bus this is a cultural import. Twenty years ago it would have been inconceivable that a crowd could witness a shooting but refuse to cooperate with the police. But this is an unfortunate reality that Jamaican police have to deal with.

Out of curiosity I read some Jamaican papers to see what they had to say about their crime problem. It seems they know exactly who to blame - immigrants. Well, not exactly immigrants, but those who have Jamaican citizenship but who have spent enough time in Toronto and elsewhere in North America that they are culturally no longer part of the Jamaican norm. Evidently there are substantial numbers who spend significant time in North America and eventually get sent back due to legal trouble or their non-legal immigrant status eventually catching up with them. The Jamaica Gleaner describes those returning after having spent time in the North American cultural environs like this:
They are an army of social misfits ­ drug addicts and drunken drivers, robbers and shoplifters, rapists and wife-beaters, drug traffickers and gang members
Yes, well, spending a little time in places like Toronto has that effect on people, I guess.

Ronald Gajraj, Guyana's Home Affairs Minister has this to say about the cultural benefits of Guyanans returning after time spent in America:
Before their arrival, drive-by shootings, car hijackings, kidnappings and bank robberies were relatively uncommon, [...] Now such crimes are a constant part of Guyanese life.
And is it possible that migrants could be a source of organized crime?
The study seemed less than confident about the reliability of data from the Jamaican authorities, but it said an analysis by the Jamaican police concluded that deportees, many of them gang members from the northeastern United States, were involved in 600 murders in a 20-month period ending in January 1999.
Personally, I am delighted to see that they can discuss their criminal problems so candidly. I remain a little skeptical that Jamaican citizens raised in Toronto (murder rate 1.8 per 100,000) are more violent than those who stayed home where the murder rate is twenty times higher (36 per 100,000). But I find it excellent that they have not been so stifled by political correctness that they can blame our peacable kingdom for this cultural influence on their population. They, at least, acknowledge that a foreign cultural influence has the possibility of introducing both positive and negative aspects. By all means we should welcome the positive, while keeping our eyes open and dealing decisively with the negative, as should they.

Strong and Free 

Those were words that were could once be used to describe our Dominion without irony, but these days they have to settle for being the title of Laurie Hawn's blog. Former CF-18 pilot and candidate in the last federal election, Laurie is now blogging from Edmonton after voters in his riding inexplicably chose to have a Liberal represent them.

He may not have a voice in Parliament, but he has a voice here in the blogosphere:
The Senate Committee on National Defence and Security was apparently shocked to learn, from Vice Admiral Ron Buck, that a Liberal election promise to increase the Regular Force by 5,000 and the Reserves by 3,000 will take at least five years. And then, only if there is a significant increase in defence spending.

With the greatest of respect to the House of Sober Second Thought, which planet have they been on for the past forty years? You cannot cut the heart out of the defence budget and increase tasking, and not pay the price.
Indeed you can't. This is the country that turned out 130,000 trained personnel for the Air Force alone in the last three years of WWII, and now we'll take five years to add 8,000 soldiers, 3,000 of them in the Reserves. What a sad state of affairs.

(Thanks to Vitor Marciano for bringing it to my attention.)

Putting things in perspective 

Another terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, but the Arab news is quick to keep things in perspective:
Yesterday was a black day with an attack on the US Consulate in Jeddah, exacting a terrible toll in human lives and suffering. Yet, as dreadful as these kinds of occurrences are — and nobody can deny that terrorists are, indeed, a global and worsening plague — one wonders whether the Bush administration should concentrate on this to the exclusion of all others, in particular the urgent need to curtail global warming.
I guess baking in the Saudi heat has that effect on editors.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Satirize This! 

Just in case anyone didn't pick up on it, the post below was a lame attempt at satirizing the paranoid fantasies I hear from my leftist friends. But satire and parody are hard these days, and I wasn't in the slightest surprised to find at least one commenter taking it seriously.

I hereby issue a challenge to anyone who can satirize this, an analysis published in the Toronto Star by a professor of American history at the University of Western Ontario and who is currently serving as co-director of Western's Centre for American Studies:
The other intellectual wellspring for the neo-conservatives is widely believed to be political philosopher Leo Strauss.

The Bush administration is awash in Straussians (Leon Kass, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Kristol, and Robert Kagan, to name a few) who, among other things, believe that true statesmanship entails overriding constitutional democracy and using Machiavellian instruments of deceit and autocracy to maintain all measure of social inequities.

There's no question most Canadians want a less fractious relationship with the United States and maybe even a more robust Pearsonian internationalism. But we might be wary of what we're signing onto in the name of economic prosperity and good feelings.
Anyone care to write a parody of an ivory tower idiot? Satirizing this is certainly beyond my abilities.

At the Jesusland Border 

This being my first trip to America since the consolidation of theocratic rule I made sure I was prepared for the interview with the Homeland Security guy. I made sure I packed my Bible and Rosary to display with my passport and customs form. It’s an important trip for me and I wouldn’t want to get turned back at the border due to forgetting such essentials as the New Testament.

So I was feeling pretty confident parking the car at the airport in Ottawa and walking up to security. I paused a little while filling out the Customs and Immigration form; under Purpose of Trip they only had two boxes – Personal or Business. I scratched them out and wrote in – Pilgrimmage. I guess they haven’t had a chance to issue new forms yet.

After passing through the metal detectors I walked up to the counter and handed in my form, put my Bible on the counter and prayed quietly, counting off the beads of the Rosary, while he looked at the form, furrowing his brow pensively.

“Whaddaya mean, Pilgrimmage? What will you be doing in Dallas?”

“Uhhh, praying, Sir. Praising the Lord our Saviour with my brothers and sisters as we pursue our life with Jesus.”

“Business or personal?”

“Spiritual, Sir. You can’t separate faith from work, now can you, sir? Through our deeds, we demonstrate our faith.”

He sent me off to the room for an in-depth interview. Must have been a Kerry supporter from Vermont. I thought they’d all be in Gitmo by now, but I guess they’re not.

The new guy didn’t look too friendly, either. I thought I’d break the ice and win him over by whispering discreetly to him that I thought the guy at the counter was a Kerry supporter. He acted like he wasn’t really interested in this tip, he just wanted to know the purpose of my trip.

“Spiritual, Sir. Lord helps those who help themselves, and with this trip I’m building my ability to do the Lord’s work.”

“You mean business, then?”

“Uhhh, yes Sir.”

“What kind of business?”

“Well, the Lord speaks to us using wireless methods” I said, tapping my Bible and fumbling a few beads on the Rosary, “but we need to develop wireless technology if we want to speak to one another that way. I’m doing my small bit to enable that.”

“You work in telecom, you mean?”

“Yes Sir, in addition to praising and serving our Lord, I do a little work in the telecom biz.”

“Get outta here, go ahead. Why didn’t you just say so?”

Another Kerry supporter, I guess. This sure will be easier once they’re all in Gitmo. I’m looking forward to landing in Texas, where I can count on dealing with authentic Jesuslanders, not like these weird northerners.

Later: Landed in Texas, picked up my car and assault rifle, so I’m ready. Shooting liberals is encouraged here, if not exactly legal, right?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

On assignment 

I'm be in Dallas for the next week, blogging may be light.

On the other hand, given that the regular Canadian media appears more familiar with Kalahari Bushmen than those strange inhabitants of Jesusland in Red America I may be able to post interesting travelogues.

First risky experiment: I'll see what happens if you cut into a steak at the Texas Land and Cattle Company without saying grace first. I'll let you know (if I survive the lynching).

Saturday, December 04, 2004

How can anyone take these people seriously 

Kerry supporters meet for group therapy:
Twenty John Kerry supporters met for their first group therapy session in
South Florida Thursday, screaming epithets at President Bush as they shared
their emotions with licensed mental health counselors.
The first of several free noontime therapy sessions at the American Health
Association in Boca Raton was designed to treat what mental health
counselors have dubbed Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST).
Grow a pair and deal with it, will you?

Or are you going to spend the next four years in a Cuddle Party?

The Bigotry of low expectations 

Kate tackles the leftist bigotry of low expectations in our politically correct social approach to Indians. I have nothing to add to her fine rant on the topic.

Finally, a glimmer of honesty on Kyoto 

There is nothing more frustrating than to sit around at a dinner party listening to the self-righteous damning George Bush and America for not adhering to the Kyoto Protocol. Ah, yes, Canada is just so morally superior for signing that piece of paper while the U.S. decided the commitments were not achievable in any case and economically disadvantageous.

For the record, Canada's commitments were to reduce emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, while Al Gore signed up to a 5% reduction. Since then both countries have experience population growth due to immigration and robust economic growth leading to emission increases of about 20%. Meeting the commitment would require both countries to shut down about 25% to 30% of the economy during the next four to eight years.

That means having fewer and smaller houses with 30% lower heating and air conditioning requirements. Fewer and smaller cars making fewer trips. Less industry, especially heavy energy users like mining, smelting, steel, aluminum and heavy manufacturing. And achieve all this by 2008-2012.

All one has to do is take a quick look at the types of vehicles rolling off the car lots these days and the types of houses being built to know that Canada has made absolutely zero significant move to meet these targets. Even (especially) the most strident self-righteous Bush-bashers arrive at the dinner party in their mini-vans or SUVs, and talk about their trips to their (heated) chalets at Tremblant during the brief intermissions from Bush-bashing. They have not the slightest embarrassment over the profligate energy use involved in maintaining their lifestyle while condemning Bush as an eco-terrorist.

So it is actually refreshing to see an article like this:
The Natural Resources Department has acknowledged for the first time that Canada is likely to come up badly short of its targets under the Kyoto climate treaty.

The department, lead agency on the Kyoto file, today confirmed remarks by its deputy minister George Anderson that it would be "a stretch" for Canada to get even two-thirds of the way to its target.

The admission represents the first time the government has conceded it will fail to meet its Kyoto commitments.
So we are finally starting to see the real difference between the U.S. and Canadian positions. The American one is honest and candid while the Canadian government has been lying.

If all you were going to do is sign a piece of paper and ignore it the rest of us could have saved our breath. While it would be too much to ever expect these people to say Alberta and the Americans were right all along we really should point out that they are adopting the American (and Australian) position in substance.

The show of ratification and hectoring is just posturing to make themselves feel superior. Living a lie is certainly a strange way to make oneself morally superior. But that's the Euro-Canadian modern left in a nutshell. All self-indulgent empty symbolism wrapped up in moral superiority, signifying nothing.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Flying the American Flag 

Given that the Flea's Male Objectification Week may not be to everyone's taste, I offer this visual diversion. I just wanted to fly the American flag in a gesture of friendship in honour of the President's visit.

Nice Speech 

I always wonder what it is about Bush that drives so many people to the edge of insanity and frequently beyond. He delivers a warm, frequently funny speech to a crowd together with the themes of spreading democracy and freedom and at key points gets a stony silence:
With Paul Martin sharing the podium at Halifax’s Pier 21, the president couched his demand in the wartime rhetoric of former prime minister Mackenzie King, who said Canadians must confront their enemies before they reach our shores.

“`We cannot defend our country and save our homes and families by waiting for the enemy to attack us,”’ Bush said, quoting comments King made early in the Second World War.

“`To remain on the defensive is the surest way to bring the war to Canada.’

“Mackenzie King was correct then and we should always remember the wisdom of his words today,” added Bush, who seemed to pause for applause that didn’t come from the 350 assembled guests and dignitaries.
It is a sad state of affairs when out of 350 dignitaries none of them can jump in after an applause line like that.

Or this:
“If 20 years from now, the Middle East is dominated by dictators and mullahs who build weapons of mass destruction and harbour terrorists, our children and our grandchildren will live in a nightmare world of danger,” the president said to stony silence.
What it is with these people? One can perhaps differ on the ways and means of achieving these goals, but surely even Liberals would like to see the Middle East freed from the despotism of the current collection of dictators and mullahs. Partners and allies can disagree on methods, but if you don't support the same goals you aren't an ally. Perhaps they're uncomfortable because they really think they ought to support these things but can't be bothered to do anything about them.

But overall it was a nice speech, containing equal parts humour, warmth, candour and actual substance.

Unlike Paul Martin's speech, which was largely a collection of platitudes and bromides. Nothing offensive about it, but utterly devoid of any real meaning:
We believe that nations must accept the responsibility to protect their own citizens from ethnic violence and humanitarian catastrophe. If they fail or choose not to do so, the international community has a responsibility to find new and relevant ways to together act decisively and swiftly in times of crisis. For this reason, Canada is pushing for a New Multilateralism, an initiative that will ultimately enable all nations to enjoy greater security in a more peaceful world.
Gee, a New Multilaterlism for greater security and peace. Will the dictators and mullahs of the Middle East be put in charge as they are in every other UN institution, or will they just be appeased as equal partners?

In any case, with a nonexistent military it's all very well that you think some transnational body or other ought to issue a Commandment that Someone Should Do Something About This. Just being in favour of Good Things and being against Bad Things is utterly meaningless if you can't articulate what you're prepared to do or how you propose to do it.

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