November 29, 2004

We're having Bush for dinner!

Who's Coming to Dinner?- Toronto Star Oooohhh! We're being blessed by his holy-republicaness' presence. There seems to be a lot of expectations riding on Bush's visit. We're going to end the beef ban, softwood lumber tarrifs, etc. I actually doubt any of this is going to happen. Some of Bush's people have already said there may have been a misunderstanding about ending the beef ban on the part of the Canadian government and at the rate the US government is working on the softwood deal, the Maple Leafs are more likely to win the Stanley Cup before the tarrifs are eliminated...And trust me, I will never see a Leafs win in my lifetime (I'm a Habs fan by the way)! This 'visit' by Bush has already started off on the wrong foot since he cancelled an official visit and downgraded it to a business/policy/patronizing dinner/meet-and-greet with our powerless PM, past PMs, and opposition leaders. Oh, and there's a stop in Halifax to patronize Nova Scotians as well. In reality this stop over is nothing more than a joke after they decided not to make an official visit to Canada, something which Bush has not done since he took power after he lost his first election run. Basically, the only reason he is not doing it again is because our protestors and dissentors are allowed to do so no matter if it's our PM or some visiting dignitary such as the US Prez. In the US, well, you can protest the President in public as long as you are five blocks from where he is speaking, cannot see him and he cannot hear you. The idea of Bush truly experiencing open, public, democratically granted dissent seems to be a problem for his handlers. Even within our own house Bush could have been jeered by our MPs - just think back to Sven Robinson during Reagan's visit. So for Bush to cancel his official visit is not really a surprise. There are couple things of note about Bush's visit. The first is Jack Layton's open letter to Bush. Layton is trying to decide whether or not to even appear at the dinner to protest the missle defence pact and the fact that the only person Bush is meeting with privately aside of Martin, is Harper. Layton wants Bush to explain to Martin the real details about the Missle Pact in hopes of opening Martin's eyes to the truth. Good luck with that one! Bush wants the Pact signed. This is a guy that lies to his own citizens to go to war. Does Layton really think he's going to be open to Martin about something much less insignificant? What Layton should do is go to the dinner and open the conversation up himself? If Layton wants any real hope of representing Canadians - whereas the majority opposes the Missle Pact - then he should ask the tough questions and force Bush into a corner. It's common knowledge that Bush doesn't handle on-the-spot questioning without an advisor speaking into his ear piece! Secondly, there is a concern about Harper meeting with Bush. While this may seem like an innocent meeting since Harper is the leader of the opposition, we shouldn't be quick to forget that the Reform/Alliance/Conservative party also holds special conferences with the Republicans every so often to discuss how to go forward with hard-right-wing ideology in North America. In fact, the Alliance was conferencing with them earlier this year to discuss election strategies. Isn't that nice?! If Canadians ever wanted to really know how close we would become to the US under a Conservative government, I think the answer is right there. This is also scary because the Republican party has been known to run very questionable campaigns and are often having to defend themselves from charges of corruption during elections. There is list of criticisms about the 'conflicts of interest' surrounding them and their supporters. Some of these include interference from Republican state governors to judicial interference from Republican appointed judges to electronic voting machines being produced, monitored and installed by Republican owned companies. I'm not saying that Harper's party is likely to get involved in these things but there is a concern about the advice that is being passed and the relationship that is growing between these parties when one of them is, arguably, highly corrupt. If Bush is willing to meet with one opposition leader, he should meet with them all and should do it either publicly or meet them all together. Harper is likely to take after Stockwell Day and Ralph Klein and act like he is speaking for all Canadians while spouting opinions and views that are obviously not supported by the majority. This is also something that Layton should bring to Bush's attention, in person. Bring it up over dessert with Gilles Duceppe present and push the issue that Harper is not the only opposition leader in Canada and that each of them deserve equal helpings of Bush. Layton has made his career so far by being extremely vocal in public and within Parliament. And now when he should be vocal again, he considers sending a letter. There are too many issues at hand that need to be resolved and dealt with properly while Bush is here that are better served in person rather than some letter.

After 40 days...

I am making my 'comeback'. After not posting during my in-school practicum and then subjecting my housemates (AKA parents and girlfriend) to my brand of politics and inadvertently driving them nuts, I have decided to return to my blog. So with that, let's open the floodgate to my cynicism!

October 19, 2004

Visionless Leaders of Canada

Straight and to the point, Canada is experiencing a deficit when it comes to Prime Ministers and political leaders with a real vision of where to take our country. Paul Martin seemed headed in the right direction at one time with his talk of recognizing municipalities more, with his proposed expansion of health-care and his constant talk of rejuvenation. Yet, he has seemingly lost his focus. Arguably he spent too much time trying to wrestle power from Chretien. Now that he's got that power he doesn't seem to know much else.

When you've spent so much time only trying to get power, it becomes all you know how to fight for. That is much like anything and anyone. Harper has no real vision except his right-wing agenda (not conspiracy), which aren’t so much a vision but a marginalized and regionalized outlook. Jean Chretien began to show glimpses of something like a vision in his end of days as prime minister, but it was a little too late. Gilles Duceppe is probably the closest thing Canada has to a man of vision. Unfortunately his vision doesn't do much for Canadians outside of Quebec. Actually, there are probably many leaders that have regionalized visions that if given the power to make change would have progressive outcomes. Howard Hampton has a great Ontario-based vision; Quebec has had several aside of Duceppe including Rene Levesque and Lucien Bouchard. Yet, as far as leaders with a vision for all of Canada, it is safe to say we are sorely lacking.

It is a sad state of affairs really. Especially since there have been many leaders in our past with grand visions for our nation. Sir John A. MacDonald, the first Prime Minister of Canada and a founder of Canada, united the English and French colonies and envisioned a unified nation under a railway that would connect the coasts. He believed in the vision of our country and worked to the best of his ability to see this vision become real.

Other great leaders with Canadian visions include men such as Lester Pearson who introduced a national labour code, national health care and our current flag. And these are only some of his accomplishments. There is also Tommy Douglas, a man who never held the Prime Minister post but didn't ever believe he needed to, to affect change. He is the man who introduced the idea of national health care to Canada and pushed for social welfare and Canadian pension programs all because he believed Canadians deserved better. Then there is Pierre Trudeau, Canada's own 'philosopher king'. He envisioned a unified Canada under the Official Languages Act and then finally under Canada's own constitution. Others that can also be included are: John Diefenbaker, introducer of the Canadian Bill of Rights; J.S. Woodsworth, fought for social reform and class equality; and Nellie McClung, led the fight to achieve women’s' right to vote and was outspoken on social change.

There are others in our history that could also be included, and there must be some that are present today. But as far as our prominent leaders go, there is surely a deficit. Too many of our leaders are tied into specific agendas and only possess marginalized ideas, far from what could be considered a Canadian vision. There needs to be a return to the open, optimistic way of thought. This is where true visions and real progress lie for Canada. Our history has shown that Canada was built on a foundation of progressive ideas that were done for the benefit of all Canadians and not just the few. This then is where our future also lies and Canadians need to begin looking for a leader of vision.

News Round-Up

I thought of instead having one large, single-item focussed entry today, I would have some quick reviews on various interesting news items. Ontario Liberals vs. Hospitals Smitherman, our health minister, has been accused of 'bullying' hospital administrations into being quiet about forced cutbacks. Much of the controversy so far has come from one administrator, Cyndy De Giusti, formerly of the Hospital for Sick Children, who has made such claims. She is formerly from the hospital because shortly after making the comments she was forced to give her resignation. While there is no direct evidence linking her forced resignation to Smitherman's so-called bullying, the opposition parties do have a point. It is quite suspicious that this apparently prominent administrator has been forced from her job only days after publically blasting the government. I'm in no position to say that the government itself forced her resignation but someone in the hospital board, probably closely tied to the government, probably did at the very least. That's if there are no other reasons for her departure. U.S. Seeking Canadian Flu Vaccine I'm not the first to point I won't be the last to point out the irony of G.W.Bush asking Canada to fill part of the demend gap for the flu shot to Americans. It has been only weeks since the last time Bush backed the claims of drug companies that their own drugs coming from Canada may not be as safe as their drugs available in America. Yet when there's a vaccine shortage who is the first country the American government turns to to help out? Canada. I guess our drugs are safe after all! Fascinating to say the least. Martin Allows Vote on Missle Defence Plan Is this a suprise? No. Why not? It has longed been believed that Martin supported it anyway so why not have a vote in the House of Commons. While this may seem like the democratic thing to do, the reality is a majority of MPs, which can be made up by the number of Conservative MPs and Liberal MPs, support this signing. By having the vote Martin can see the signing take place, which is probably what he wants, but then can blame it on his minority government status and having to give into the opposition's, aka Harper's, demands to have it as a vote. The problem with this is that it has been consistantly shown that the majority of Canadians do not want the missle defence plan signed, hence the reason why Martin will be looking for someone to blame when it happens. This raises the question about the interests of politicians versus the representation of their constituence. Toronto Looking to get Green(er) Finally I have found something to be excited about when it comes to being in Toronto. Toronto has decided to invest in a composting plan and has even bought 'green' boxes to push forward their new plan. Looking to cut back on disposable waste Toronto will be giving out these green boxes to households and will be cutting their regular garbage service from weekly pick-ups to bi-weekly pick-ups with the green boxes being collected in the alternating weeks. This is a big step for the large city that has continued to struggle with the amount of waste they have produced and dump. While it may not seem like much due to compostable waste often only regarded as food scraps, the program will actually take in more items than one may think. Items such as soiled diapers and used coffee filters can also be composted along with regular stuff such as chicken bones and apple cores. There is also a financial benefit; there will be less garbage required to go to the Michigan landfills, which means less trucks to fuel, repair, etc. These savings will at least in part offset the costs of buying also the green boxes. Now only if Mississauga, the city I live in and one of Canada's fastest growing cities, would adopt this program!!

October 15, 2004

Smoking for the children

Smoking ban urged in cars This is similar, but in a lesser capacity, to the recomendation to ban smoking in homes when children were present. That came out several years ago and had my support. This new recomendation also has my full support. From my perspective, parents and smokers do not even have a case here to make against this idea. Despite all the claims from smokers and liberty groups that banning smoking is against personal freedoms, it actually isn't. The fundamental basis of rights is that you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn't harm another person. That's it. Plain and Simple. That is why the courts are able to override our freedom of speech when it comes to hate/racist expressions. Second-hand smoke harms people therefore if you're in a non-ventilated area you shouldn't be able to smoke because you may be harming those do want to inhale your biproducts. You can harm yourself all you want but in no way are you allowed to harm another person in the process. But if this isn't enough to convince people that smoking in cars (or even houses) when children are present should be banned what about our duty of care to children. Every parent and every custodial adult is charged with the duty to care for the youth that cannot care for themselves. We must keep children from harm to the best of our abilities. How can someone say they are doing the best they can when they willing subject children to second-hand smoke? They can't. This alone is enough reason to ban smoking in close and closed quarters with children present. We should be worrying more about their health than our fix. This cannot be overlooked or even talked around. Any person that tries should either recognize they have a problem or they don't care enough about the kids they are charged with caring for.

October 13, 2004

McGuinty' new healthcare deal

McGuinty refuses to say how much MDs deal to cost It doesn't take a genius to realize that after you've already sprung a surprise on people and screwed most of them that maybe you shouldn't get involved with something similar - especially when it's your political career on line. Then again there are not many Ontarians that believe McGuinty's a genius since he hit Ontarians with a health-care tax and service cut earlier this year. With this new issue only time will tell if he's just making more mistakes and the final judgment will come in. However, there do seem to be some merits to the details that have thus far been released. One of the major pieces is the cutting back of drug prescriptions. All I can say to this is 'it's about time!' Too long have pharmaceutical companies been dictating how people are to get healthy. It seems as though almost every other week another drug has major warnings being released about it because of nasty side effects. One only has to see a drug ad to hear what medications can do to you while it may or may not actually deal with the problem you're taking it for (Vioxx is the most recent example). Furthermore, we are constantly being warned about the over prescription of many drugs and as a result they are becoming ineffective or being used as short-cuts. Three examples of this problem can be seen with antibiotics, anti-depressants, and Ritalin. By asking doctors to prescribe less and only to the absolute necessary we can begin to cut back on the false sense of security that prescription drugs has given us, the problems of side-effects, and the cost to our health-care system to cover the amount of medications that are out there. Another benefit of the new deal is not only for doctors but all of Ontario and that is the supposed promise to give doctors pay increases by cutting back on prescriptions. It is completely apparent as to why this is beneficial to doctors. They'll get more money! Who wouldn't want to get a pay increase for doing the right thing, such as not over-prescribing drugs? So how does this benefit all of Ontario? By paying our doctors more we are likely to at least partially deal with the so-called 'brain drain' of our MDs to the US. Since it has always been argued that part of the reason we have this drain is because of lower wages, we are essentially dealing with this. I am not saying that we aren't going to continue to lose some MDs, but with higher wages we are likely to lose less and that is a benefit because we are already facing problems of people not being able to find family doctors and having massive wait times for medical procedures. Lastly - and this is where my leftist views really emerge - the third benefit is a kick-in-the-nuts to drug companies. For far too long have they been brain washing us that we need there drugs and have done so while charging outrageous prices for them. There are two things that I very disturbing about the large drug companies. 1) they have become so influential that their arrogance has begun to show. Next time you watch a drug ad, listen carefully and you'll realize that they are essentially telling us that we should be telling our doctors what drugs we need. To loosely quote Bill Maher, 'when we begin telling doctors what drugs we need, they are then just our dealers'. 2) the power of the drug companies has also become too vast. For one thing they are somehow able to have drugs approved for public consumption despite them being worse for you then many illegal narcotics. For another, it's amazing that they can criticize their own drugs' safety and effectiveness when they are from Canada and government agencies do not even so much as blink. By having prescriptions curbed, the power and influence of drug companies will slightly decrease. Though this may not be a major crush to these companies, it is a start to taking control back and having positive influences and proper treatments become the norm once again. Don't get me wrong however, I don't think that all prescriptions are bad and that includes drugs such Ritalin or some anti-depressants. I've seen first hand the benefits that these drugs can hold for those that truly need it. Yet, I've also seen those that probably didn't need them and still took them and used them as short-cuts to a short-term gain. And this latter point is hopefully what will be partially taken care of to the very least. Yet while I see these benefits emerging from the deal's so-far released details, I do worry about what has not been released. The opposition parties have done well to pressure McGuinty's government to release everything that was agreed to. If we can only go on past experience, then what the Ontario Liberals aren't talking is probably the worst part of all. Much like the budget they released earlier this year, they talked about many things leading up to its release. It was generally those things that didn't appear in the budget, but we were hit with some nasty surprises and as a consequence they lost the trust of the people. Let's hope they have learned their lesson and have decided to only save the best for last instead of leaving us with more distrust for this government.

October 02, 2004

Blair, Powell Apologetic; Bush Still in Denial

Powell regrets saying Iraq had weapons stockpiles Blair splits with Bush on Hussein arms cache Presidential Debate Transcripts (refer to pages 2 and 3) Early in the Iraq invasion when the main reason to enter was to remove the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) there were many media centres and columnists that often were quoted as calling them Weapons of Mass Distraction. Several years later the general public now realizes all too well that this latter term is more accurate. Even more recently it seems that both Powell and Blair have also conceded this to be the case. Two men that were instrumental in trying to convince the world of these WMD's have both claimed to regret using the non-existent WMD's as justification for attacking Iraq. Powell, being the Bush's voice in the UN and Blair, Bush's biggest international ally have both turned their backs on Bush in regards to these 'weapons'. This is not what I found to be of most interest though. Both statements were made prior to the US Presidential Debate, a debate that focused mainly on Iraq and terrorism. In spite of these statements Bush, during the campaign, still held up the claim that there were and, but to a lesser extent, there still is WMD's present in Iraq. This is clearly a man in denial. UN inspectors, Powell, Blair and an Iraq inquiry have all said that the weapons are simply not there yet Bush carries on completing ignoring everyone. The question that comes to mind is, "what does it take to have Bush himself apologize?". Don't consider this entry as a rant. It isn't. It is an entry about examining the motivations of a man. What is the motivation behind pushing misleading/ falsified information? Is it not more likely that holding onto such false claims could get you sacked because you will constantly be called on it? This is what I find most interesting about all of this. I can only imagine keeps Bush clinging to these claims. Is it because the people that are likely to vote for him reject the claims of Powell et al? Are the American public highly misinformed about the apologies? This would all make for a fascinating enquiry. On a lesser note it is also interesting that Kerry, during the debate, did not point out the prior apologies of Powell and Blair. If I were him I would have been all over them, especially at the times when Bush still pushed the WMD claims. It may have been helpful in passing such information to the public since the numbers of people watching were massive.

September 22, 2004

Additional contributors/ syndication

If anyone actually reads my blog and finds it in the very least compelling, I want to invite you also become a member and contribute to it. I don't care if you want to talk about politics, your day, your dog, books you've read, etc. In the same vein, if you already have a blog, then I wish to invite you to have it syndicated through my blog as well. in the comments area, leave your email address and what you want to contribute and I will respond to you with an invite if you're new. If you want to syndicate, leave me your blog address. Kyle "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Masculinity

I am currently attending the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). And while I am here I get the pleasure of taking a course known as "Games Boys Play: Masculinities in Multicultural Classrooms". The title says it all. I can't complain however - at least not too much - because I chose this course as my only given elective. Our discussion today focused around trying to define what masculinity is and, to a lesser extent, why it still prevails despite changes in social constructions. The latter is what I found more fascinating. Through our discussions it was derived that the hegemony of masculinity probably still prevails because of either; 1) Women have been able to broaden their own roles and the definition of what it means to be feminine to the point of 'encroaching' on the realm of masculinity. In response men have moved into a realm of 'hyper-masculinity' to further stake their claim as masculine men; they have entrenched themselves further into their roles as a method of defence; OR 2) Some contemporary males have become more sensitive - have allowed their emotions to be exposed, willingly - and/or taken on roles or positions that were once were seen as predominantly female. Therefore these men have become more effeminate. In response, as to preserve the concept of masculinity, 'manly men' have defended there ways by trying to subordinate the other in an effort of defence. Essentially, both scenarios have the same result. The difference is found in the 'why'; why the defence and entrenchment of classic masculinity - the power, the brawn, etc. - still prevails despite all the societal efforts and progression to open it up. It occurred to me though that it may actually be a combination of the two. Not a combination in the sense that both scenarios are why's. My thought is that the first scenario occurred - with the growth and acceptance of women's liberation - and that the second scenario is actually a response from men to the first scenario. That because the definition of masculinity has seen a shift in its dimensions in the past- which can be seen as it went from physical power to social power and between cultures, etc - that the second scenario is also another shift. While some men constantly struggle with their own identity within masculinity and try to further entrench themselves in the concept while holding onto what's left of their power. Other men have shifted the definition to adapt to the first scenario. Contemporary masculinity evolved rather than marginalize themselves any farther. The shift is meant to enter the realm of the new feminine, re-establish itself and eventually assert its power within this. It is still essentially a mechanism of defence and a grapple for power, by men, but it has adapted rather than cling to the dying breed. Since gender identity is, as it always has been in contemporary history, a struggle between the masculine and feminine with the masculine clinging to control, I believe I can rationally assume that this struggle will continue to exist in the near future. Therefore I can make the assumption that any change in the concept of masculinity is not actually a breakdown of its identity but rather a shift in its assertion.

September 20, 2004

Banning Assault Weapons a Slippery Slope

On my daily commute to Union station I was reading about this American hunter who thinks America should allow the private ownership on assault weapons and will not vote for Kerry because Kerry supports the ban. This man argued that banning assault weapons, under Kerry, will lead to the banning if handguns and rifles and then probably anything that can be used to hunt or defend yourself. Essentially this man believes Kerry will enter the U.S. into a slippery-slope. He even said that if that is allowed to happen, the U.S. will be more like CANADA. I must have missed the memo that said Canadians couldn't own any guns and I guess that means my father owns contraband! Actually, it is more likely that this hunter missed the statistic reports that there are actuslly more guns per capita in Canada then there are in the U.S. (despite us not being able to own assault weapons).

Dick Cheney - Fear Mongerer

Dick was on the attack again. According to Dick, America will face another terrorist attack on American soil if Kerry is elected President. I assume this is because he'll break down the military, make America passive, ban public ownership of assault weapons, etc., etc. Somehow I doubt that terrorists will attack just because Kerry is president. They are just as likely to attack if Bush is president. They actually might be more likely if Bush wins the election because he is the one that has initiated the attacks in Iraq. But to claim Kerry is more likely to allow an attack is just as bad as a prediction that Gore would have cowered under a table and did nothing in response if he were president during the 9/11 attacks. The truth is that attacks are likely to continue under any president as long as American Foreign Policy is prejudice, destructive and gives no concern to those outside of the U.S. Only when the U.S. stops only going after its own interests at the expense of foreign nations will the threat to America cease.

September 17, 2004

Ernst Zundel - White Supremacist

CSIS intercepted Zundel's mail, ex-agent says "Extremism" - from Warren Kinsella's blog I thought this whole case was over. So much for that belief. At this point in time, Zundel's lawyers are trying to show that CSIS' evidence against Zundel was collected illegally and that his status as a 'threat to national security' is a forgery by the intelligence agency. However, I think it to be quite obvious that he is a threat. He produces hate publications and networks white supremacist groups. He is a threat. If not to national security, then to minority safety. And that is just as important, especially in a country that is largely made up of minority groups. My opinion is that Zundel has no right being a citizen of Canada. If he cannot respect the make-up and the laws of Canada then why bother wanting to live here? Well, because he is not allowed in the U.S. (he was deported recently) or Germany (his native country). Zundel is a known threat and whether or not CSIS illegally monitored his mail or not is the least of our concerns. Zundel's being a proponent of hate and being connected to neo-Nazi groups is documented all too well to be ignored and that should be the only concern.

September 16, 2004

Powell and Russia

Powell: Russia Pulling Back on Democratic Reform Just a quick thought. I found this position interesting coming from the U.S. They claim that in light of the terrorist attacks taking place in Russia, that the Russian government has begun to take steps to make "sweeping political changes to fight terrorism". The U.S., after September 11th, passed a bill called the Patriot Act. This act essentially allowed the government and law enforcement agencies to override constitutional liberties of the public. The rationale is that it is necessary to be over look some rights of the people in order to better fight terrorism. This Act has been followed by the proposal of the Patriot Act II that essentially builds upon the first Act but extends the allowance of the government's and law agencies' ability to ignore essential rights of the public. This is why it is fascinating to me that the American government would be concerned about the rights of Russians when they are not overly concerned with the rights of their own people.

September 13, 2004

Exporting Toronto's Trash

Kerry would ban Canadian garbage shipments There are two very good examples of alternatives to garbage dumping that should be considered by not only Toronto but also all of Ontario if Kerry wins and goes ahead with plans. One is in Alberta; the other is in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has a very extensive recycling and composting program. They recycle almost all of their trash with the exception of materials that are essentially un-recyclable and compost everything from fruits and vegetables to coffee grinds and toilet paper. They even have a list of items that are banned from being in the landfill that essentially includes the majority of items that can be recycled or composted. Though the system is not perfect, it has allowed Nova Scotia to cut back on their landfill waste by over 50%. The program in Alberta, though not used provincially, used a co-composter plant based in Edmonton. The idea behind the plant is to mix sewage, trash, river sludge, etc. and in the end come out with useable compost. The goal of the plant is to separate and breakdown as much garbage as possible. Anything that cannot be broken is removed and that which can be recycled is. The rest is essentially 'cured' and the compost is sold-off. The plant is co- owned by the City of Edmonton and a company called TransAlta Utilities. Much like Nova Scotia, the result has been a 50%-plus reduction in landfill for the City of Edmonton and surrounding area. Basically, Edmonton's venture is a mechanical version of Nova Scotia's. If Kerry is to win the election and go ahead with banning Toronto's garbage export I believe that these are two ideas that not only Toronto should use but all of Ontario. First, Ontario should implement the same level of restrictions and regulations as Nova Scotia has concerning garbage coming out of all areas of Ontario. Second, a plant, such as that found in Edmonton, should be built to directly deal with the trash coming out Toronto and the GTA. Why the two-part implementation? Even with strict recycling and composting regulations there is still a great amount of trash that would come out of the GTA, just due to the amount of people in this area. To speed up the process of composting and recycling, a plant would help deal with the excess flow of trash coming out of the GTA. The rest of Ontario, which is not as populated or even densely populated as the GTA, could be managed well enough by the tighter garbage regulations.

September 09, 2004

Powering Ontario

Province hungry for power from Bruce - Toronto Star It appears the Ontario Liberal Government is putting their faith and our money back into private hands and nuclear energy. Despite all the problems that are well documented, globally, with private energy and nuclear reactors our government thinks this to be a smart move. The cost is $2 billion-plus. What does it take to prove to our government that this money could be better off being spent on something productive and beneficial for Ontarians? Another black-out? Or maybe more price-gouging on the part of private energy? Or the constant flow of bills after the generators are up and running again? Who knows? If the Ontario government is determined to spend a boat-load of cash on power than do it rebuilding a public power utility company which has shown to be, when managed properly, always more reliable than private. Possibly build a nice, big wind-generator farm that is more reliable than nuclear power plants which are just money holes and what got Ontario Hydro into trouble in the first place. This money could be better spent on starting a retro-fit fund as well. Strategically retro-fitting large buildings, homes, etc. can save on energy and reduce the concern about running out of power or having to buy it 2nd hand at very expensive rates. There are so many better alternatives to private power and nuclear generators. Our government, if it has found $2-billion to spend on energy, has to be smart. It needs to do its homework and not look for the easy way out. The easy way is what got Ontario into trouble in the first place, mainly under the previous Liberal government, and what set-up the easy sell-off under our previous Conservative government. This is a time to look to viable and clean alternatives other than nuclear and look to take power away from the private sector whose main concern is revenue and not the citizens of Ontario.

September 06, 2004

Hurricanes

As Hurricane Frances is being downgraded to a tropical storm after smacking Florida around, the Caribbean is getting ready to face their next assailant, Ivan. Ivan will be the 9th tropical cyclone in the Atlantic this year. I was surprised at the persistence of Frances. I had been in the early part of a trip to the Dominican Republic when it began and at that time it was predicted that Frances would head north towards the Carolinas and pitter out due to its slow speed. Instead it grew to be over 200 km's wide, it hit Florida and it did all of this over a week after I looked at the hurricane reports on the net while in the D.R. The constant stream of tropical depressions is unnerving. Somehow my friends and I got lucky and were able to hit the Caribbean in between storms. I couldn't imagine going through the hell that Floridians and the residents of the Caribbean have of late. So far they have been hit by several minor storms and 2 class-4 hurricanes, with another on the way. The reports about the storms and satellite feeds can be viewed at the National Hurricane Center website. The discussions about the storms, with the exception of early Frances reports, are quite accurate and the satellite feeds give you a good idea of how big these storms can get.

September 05, 2004

Books/ Reading

I just wanted to share some of my favourite books or those that I have recently read and would recommend to everyone. If you want post some books you would recommend in the comments section feel free. I would really like to know what everyone else is reading or likes to read. On Equlilibrium by John Ralston Saul (philosophy) The Rights Revolution by Michael Ignatieff (politics) Public Power by Howard Hampton (politics) No Logo & Fences and Windows by Naomi Klein (politics) Of Mice and Men & The Pearl by John Steinbeck (general interest/ social commentary) Republic by Plato (philosophy) Utopia by Sir Thomas More (philosophy) Age of Extremes by Eric Hobsbawm (history) 1984 & Animal Farm by George Orwell (general interest/ politics) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (general interest/ politics) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (general interest/ politics) On Liberty by John Stuart Mill (philosophy) A Theory of Justice by John Rawls (philosophy) Various books by Terry Brooks (general interest/ fantasy) King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild (history)

September 02, 2004

question about blog template

Since I gave up on learning HTML and other programming stuff years ago, I was wondering if anyone could help me. I was wondering how I can add a sidebar for links? Any help would be appreciated. Also, if anyone has a suggestion for a better title, that would be of great help as well.

Comments on Republicans

I figure since I am a political science graduate (though doesn't mean much) that I should begin with a political post. And since the RNC is going on right now, and that I flip-flop between contemporary liberal and social thought, I thought the Republicans would be a good place to start. Let the whining begin! What I don't understand about the RNC is the collection of 'moderates' they have speaking at the forum. Noteables such as McCain and Schwarzenegger have spoken out in favour of Bush. The former has been critical of Bush in the past and the former doesn't support the far right agenda of the Republican party. I realize that after four years of extreme conservatism that the party needs to come across more like the democrats and actually seem like they care about the American public but does this not mean they are "calling the kettle black". They criticize Kerry for 'flip-flopping' but isn't this essentially that the Republicans are doing themselves? On one hand they talk and present a moderate conservative game but support hard-line conservative policies. Maybe this isn't them flip-flopping, maybe it's just them blatantly lying to the public. Let's be honest here, how much does the Republican party really care about the American public? Their environmental policy is 'let's not have one', they have no real health-care or pharma-care programs - unless you count bending over for insurance and drug companies as a policy - and no matter how much they say they support their troops and are not occupiers in Iraq, they are wrong on both accounts. When you extend soldiers tours on a regular basis and rip apart their health and pension plans, I don't think you're truly supporting your troops. And despite Cheney arguing that they are liberators and not occupiers, the truth is that you cannot call yourself a liberator when the people you are supposedly liberating consider you an occupier. I beleive they are in a better position to decide what you are to them then you are. If we could make such alls about ourselves then the majority of conflicts around the world would have the same type of justifications. I don't understand why anyone would want to support a party that has made its connections to big corporate money and its self-interests so apparent, and its lying so blatant. They lied to the public about WMD and Iraq's ties to Al-Quaeda, they pillaged the public coffers for corporate friends, they cut off the foundation of support for the needy - which has grown considerably since the Republicans have taken power due to lack of jobs and social programs - and they have allowed right-wing religious fundamentalists to tell people how to live their lives. But hey, if that's your thing and your ideal government/society than I say all the power to you. However I have a lot of trouble understanding how anyone would want to support a government that is anything but for the people that 'elected' it, especially when it had to follow up an act (Clinton) that proved it could work for the people and not just its corporate backers and itself.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)

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