The sad, strange tale of Peggy Draper…

…continues to unspool before us. All has been quiet on the Halifax Regional School Board scene for the past few weeks, so you knew something had to turn up soon.

Today it appears that one-time Bedford-Fall River Board representative Peggy Draper has been arrested on “multiple charges of theft and fraud over $5,000”, possibly related to complaints made against her by Joan Robillard, a former colleague, who, surprisingly has never served on the school board.

In case you haven’t been keeping your score card up to date, Ms. Draper was punted from the board in February for missing too many meetings. Not only that, in an incident that appears endemic to this board, she also declared bankruptcy in 2002 and, against the rules, did not declare it to the Board. This resulted in a group of fellow board members, and apparently supporters, leaving the meeting, causing the second monthly meeting in a row to be cancelled for lack of quorum. The previous meeting adjourned when member Doug Sparks refused to take his seat in the new seating arrangement.

As of now, there has been no announcement from the HRM police regarding the case.


More idiocy from the craven Right

As Catnip highlighted yesterday, the Right in the US did not jump for joy this week as Jill Carrol was released from months of imprisonment in Bagdhad. I guess the fact that she didn’t come out with stories of the horror of her treatment meant that she was actually in on it in their peevish little minds. Well, on Imus in the Morning yesterday they were even more craven – joking about her having sex with her captors and making racist comments like “carrying Habib’s baby”.

And what would be a summary of Right-wing idiocy without a mention of Adam Daifallah. (Hi Adam, I know you’re googling your name right now!) This week he took a dig at a CBC op/ed piece on the sometimes hostile coverage of the rescue of the Christian Peacemakers in the Canadian media. He singles out this as a target for his petulance:

“Thank you, Mr. Loney,” I would have said. “Thank you for being part of the Canadian idea that this world will become a better place only if each of us does our bit in the best way we can. And you certainly did that. Welcome home.”

What his problem with this attitude is, I’m not sure because he doesn’t say. There must be some sort of righty code here that I’m not picking up on. The quote is a bit fluffy and beauty-pageantish, but what is inherently wrong with doing our bit? The nearest I can tell is that his problem is that the CPT guys weren’t part of an army and they didn’t believe that the West has the right to impose its version of order on the rest of the world. Ah, problematic, yes.

He explains that this quote identifies the CBC bias, which I would agree that it probably does, but then goes on to say it shows “why the CBC will never admit that it has one”. How he gleans this, I’m not sure, it must be in the righty code again, but I ask this question in response: what news agency actually admits to its own bias? I mean, seriously, even Fox News claims to be “Fair and Balanced”! So what if the CBC doesn’t admit to its bias? If it leans to the left, it just balances CTV and Global, which lean a bit to the right – no big deal; it’s not like the world of the media is one organization.

Adam also wants to tell us what he thinks about the CPT issues, but he doesn’t want to write anything that will come back to haunt him in his future political career, so instead of calling the CPT weak cowards and fools himself, he points with approval to a nasty piece of work by Peter Worthington, who “said it all perfectly” in a piece called “Peacemakers are misguided ingrates”.

The bias in that piece goes without comment in the Daifallah post.

Here is my suggestion for the right-wing loudmouths who have been running off the rails the past two weeks about first the CPT and now Jill Carrol. Most of you seem to claim to be Christian, so at least you have a passing knowledge of the same book that the CPT, and I presume Jill Carrol (of the Christian Science Monitor) reads. If you look inside that book, you’ll probably be able to figure out why they went over there and have a better understanding of what they were doing. And then, maybe, just maybe, you’ll be quiet for a little while.

If, after doing that little bit of research you find that you still disagree with them, fine. You can then step up and join the military and offer up your solution to the problem with maybe the same amount of courage that they showed. Until then, you have no right to comment negatively on their actions.

As for you, Adam, you don’t even have the little bit of courage to call them “misguided, arrogant and foolish” yourself – you have to do it second-hand through a link. You are indeed the most craven of all.


Catholic bishop displays uncanny grasp of reality…

I think that I will never understand the hangup that my former church has about sex, but the Catholic stance on condoms is tantamount to a crime against humanity in the age of AIDS.

Giles Cote, a Canadian bishop working with AIDS victims in Papua New Guinea has called for the government to distribute condoms to the populace. He says he is not “in conflict with the church as papal teaching also includes the law: ‘You should not kill.‘”

Thank you thank you thank you thank you.


Crank up the Machine that goes ‘Ping!’

Yet another tall tale from the land of health care. Seriously, there are more than a few logical flaws with this plan.

First of all, it is nearly impossible to settle on any coherent set of ‘clinically acceptable waiting times’ that can operate universally across the country. It’s hard to get a buch of doctors to agree on what to have for lunch, let alone what is the appropriate waiting time for hip or knee surgery, plus, the systems across the country are different. Some are more efficient, some less. Some have more money, others less. The structural aspects of the system are nearly as important as the functional ones. Until we all have identical systems, it’s not going to work too well.

Closer to the ‘clinical’ part of the acceptable waiting times, a diagnosis that determines that, for example, a hip replacement is necessary can have varying levels of severity. You may need it immediately, you may be able to wait a few months while the people worse off than you go first, which is appropriate.

(People who get on the news because they have been waiting for an operation without telling us, contextually, what their situation is relative to the person ahead of them in the queue should be tossed down to the bottom of the list: “Evening News my ass!, Backa the line, Gramma!” Punt!)
(Once again, I digress…)

This is where the decision-making process of arriving at standardized wait times gets complicated: some physicians advocate a purely medical approach, pain/less pain/little pain. You are able to walk, or you are not.
But, some forward-looking and humanistic physicians advocate taking the person’s social situation into account. Ok, your hip needs replacing, but your level of deterioration indicates you can wait…except that you are the sole breadwinner in your household, which would make your case more urgent.
See what I mean? Not straightforward by a long shot. Who’s right? I’m not knowledgeable enough to say, but I have to say any health system that is able to look after the social and emotional needs of its users is ok by me.

Another thing: Clement insists that the provinces support the idea? Utter, utter crap. When I was in that neck of the woods, ANY kind of care guarantee was anathema, for exactly the reason mentioned: Sweden tried it, and failed. Any social program attempted by Scandinavians that fails should automatically be discarded, stricken from the record, banished, burned and peed on. They are, as many of you will know, the world leaders when it comes to social welfare programs of any kind. If they couldn’t do it, nobody can.
The provinces are NOT on board with this, and I’m not just talking about the usual dissenters. Mark my words, it will be New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. or Newfoundland & Labrador that call a halt to this whole idea.
Or, just to fuck with everyone, Saskatchewan. Imagine my surprise to find out they actually have a government, since they haven’t made a measurable contribution in years (except for ‘Corner Gas’).

It is unrealistic, and they know it – they expect not to have to fulfil this promise, since they expect the election to happen before anyone calls them on it. They can paint as rosy a picture with as uncertain a timeline as they like, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen.

I think Mr. C. may be testing the medical marajuana.


We get our information from responsible places – like the 700 Club!

Dan has in the past posted the odd, truly numbing post from the ultra-right for a laugh. Now it’s my turn (thanks to the fine people at Smirking Chimp).

Liberal media Bush haters
Somehow, the general media (liberal) hasn’t figured out yet that when we voted President George Bush in for a second term, we voted out the general media. We get our information from Christian talk shows or “The 700 Club,” who are ultimately responsible to God.

Recently, Georges Sada, Saddam’s top military advisor, was on “The 700 Club” and stated that Saddam did have WMDs and they were all moved to Damascus, Syria, in 2002, including the labs to set them up. I have found none of the liberal media picking this up because they basically are Bush haters.

Therefore, the reading of the liberal media has fallen to probably the lowest percentage ever.

I’m at a loss as to where to begin – there’s a little bit of everything here. There is the requisite attack on the “liberal media”, but this time with a twist – it got “voted out” when they elected Bush. Because, well, he doesn’t read the papers, right? Stephen Harper has been taking notes, I think – he seems to believe that the media got voted out when a minority of Canadians voted for him, too.

And there’s even some moral fulmination about the mythical WMD’s to help the Christian Right feel justified in their hankering for Arab blood. So long as there is a haystack left to look under they can still play the potential victim card.

And that last statement, well I say that it’s pretty safe to say that we can generalize it a little bit further and say that reading has gone by the wayside almost altogether.


Seals decapitated by moving ice

Decapitated seal carcasses that washed up on the shore of eastern Cape Breton were likely killed by moving pans of ice, according to local DFO officials.

No word yet if Bridgitte Bardot or Paul McCartney and wife have begun simply boycotting ice or if their boycot will extend to all water as well.