Ahem. Sorry.

…In honor of the passing of Billy Mays, TV pitchman extraordinaire. Billy, we hardly knew ye – but we couldn’t help but hear ye…


July 20, 1958 – June 28, 2009

The world is a quieter place.

As a form of fair warning, I’d like to remind everyone else that annoys me that two of your number have kacked in the last week… Just sayin’…


So… Is This Now a Documentary?

As much as I hate to do this, the joke is probably worth it…

R.I.P. Michael Jackson.

You fucking creepy, undead-looking, child molesting, hyperbaric-chamber-sleeping, chimp fondling, fiery-scalped pedophile, you.

atheism, censorship, christians, culture, education, religion

A More Palatable Alternative?

Manhattan’s version of the Atheist bus ads:


Even the rep from the Archdiocese of New York doesn’t find this offensive. You could expect, however, that the broad and harsh thumb of political correctness would be turned down at the very idea of such a sign here.  Metro Transit has a few things to learn about being an actual, functioning, modern transit system – this is but one of them.


In this post I grade Michael Ignatieff on Monday’s essay


The problem is that young Michael strayed too far from his original thesis. If you’ll recall, Ignatieff had four points of concern he was going to raise with the Prime Minister.

Specifically, Ignatieff wants to know:

1) Details of Harper’s proposal to change the employment insurance system.
2) When the ballooning deficit will be eliminated.
3) How much money has been spent on stimulus projects.
4) How the medical isotope crisis will be addressed.

His report upon emerging from Harper’s inner sanctum included only details on point one. These details were half-hearted, at best, as we all know that a blue-ribbon panel consisting of Conservatives and Liberals can only mean bad things for UI reform. You’ll probably need to show that your ribs are protruding to get any sort of aid once that combination of ivory-tower angels and dog-eat-dog devils get through with their commission. Besides which, we all know how good parliament is at ignoring panel and commission recommedations (witness Romanow, for example). On question 1, young Michael scores 50%.

Unfortunately for young Michael, he has ignored the other three points of his very own thesis. This reviewer respectfully rejects this submission from Mr. Ignatieff and suggest that he resubmit his paper while trying to stay focused on all four points that he mentioned in his outline. This juror cannot in good conscience recommend Michael’s work for publication, nor can he score the submission above 12.5%, given the lack of detail nor forthought in Mr. Ignatieff’s conclusions.


NDP majority: what does it mean for Nova Scotia?

I have no idea! But it’s always nice to be wandering into the unknown. Let’s take a look at some things I want to see, and whether they’ll come to pass:

Proportional Representation: I’ve wanted to see our voting system changed to something progressive since I was about 10 years old and could first understand that in FPTP you don’t vote for something, you vote against something. Unfortunately, I don’t see Dexter moving towards a fair vote system in his first term. Why not? First off, it wasn’t one of the campaign promises. Second, it would be considered “risky” (even though most of the rest of the world has discarded FPTP), and the last thing the NSNDP want to be seen as is “risky”. This election wasn’t about big, sweeping change so much as it was about ending the incompetence, dishonesty, and corruption Nova Scotians have continually voted for in the other two parties.

Fiscal Responsibility: This province’s finances are in shambles. Our debt is too big for our population (and income) to handle. The Conservatives have shackled us with yet another unbalanced budget. I have no idea how Dexter can fix this legacy of mismanagement gifted to us by the other two parties, especially during a global depression. My only hope is that he uses government investment as a tool to create local infrastructure, to keep small businesses opening and growing, and to stimulate green investment in our energy sector, such as it is.

On that last point, Dexter may have to do something surprising with NS Power, perhaps allowing competition in the local energy sector and removing the corporation’s guaranteed 10% profit margin, or maybe legislating ceilings for their executive salaries and bonuses. Perhaps they’ll need to turn it into a crown corporation again. I don’t know, but I do know that NS Power represents a huge infrastructure stumbling block for this province, given their high power rates and their inconsistency with the whole power delivery thing.

Provincial-Federal relations: Oh shit. We have an NDP government provincially, and a spiteful, heartless fucker who doesn’t care if the people of this province all starve to death on his watch, just to spite our uppityness. He probably thinks we should just all move to Alberta already. These relations could sour a bit, methinks. Probably not as much as the relations between the feds and Newfoundland (we love you, Danny!), but we may be getting the pointy end of the federal stick soon enough.

That’s all I can think of this morning. Enjoy the moment, everyone! The real work of unraveling the disasters of the past 140 years begins today!

Canadian politics, censorship, christians, Consevatives, culture, education, Mormonism and other forms of child abuse, politics, religion, willful blindness to absurd extremes

Close Your Eyes, Honey. Reality Will Pass Us By Soon…

In the interests of “getting parents involved in schooling”, Alberta has passed a law requiring schools to notify parents when ‘controversial’ topics such as sex, sexual orientation or religion will be discussed.

Or, to put it another way, intolerant lobby groups have successfully enabled intolerant  parents of innocent children to discourage intelligent debate and ignore facts that can influence their socialization, their health and their well-being. The “ignore it and it will go away” philosophy of education hasn’t really been a huge success in the past, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to work to anyone’s benefit this time, either. The law places limits on free speech that would be unacceptable outside a fascist dictatorship – having studied education, the free flow of ideas and the pursuit of knowledge through unlimited questioning of assumptions seems to me to be the most effective way of creating a citizen that is informed and willing to engage in their communities and the political process, not to mention increasing the odds that they can and will learn from other cultural traditions through a fair-minded and inquisitive approach to social interaction.

What Alberta is creating, by allowing reactionary parents to deny exposure to knowledge and controversy to their children, is another generation of reactionary parents. Ignorance breeds fear, which leads to hatred. That fundamental fact of human nature seems to have escaped the legislators out there. Take away the right of children to be educated through free inquiry, and you are robbing them of experiences that, while sometimes uncomfortable, can be life-affirming and character building. The parents in question obviously lack confidence that educators can protect children from the evils of sexuality and other religious views – I lack that confidence too, but that to me is a positive, not a negative. If I were a parent who were worth anything (as I consider Kevvy to be, for example), I would be there for my children to discuss anything they were disturbed by, to help give them context and the benefit of my experiences, not take away the opportunity for them to ask the questions out of a sense of parental laziness: “I’m too busy to set them straight on these liberal ideas, so it will save time if they are not exposed to them.” If parents were doing the job they are supposed to do, socialization into the family unit with all of its benefits and flaws, the law would not be necessary, and children would be free to form their own opinions.

You have done teachers, and especially children, an injustice. For the sake of political capital among the conservative ‘grassroots’, you have created the means to perpetuate ignorance and hatred, to place children’s health at risk, and to leave the impression to other Canadians that Albertans are ignorant hicks.

Not all of them are, I understand, but certainly the politicians are looking more and more like it.