Saturday, February 20, 2010

Why American foreign policy matters to us ALL

The Steyn:
It's a mistake to think the infantilization of once-free peoples represented by the micro-regulatory nanny state can be confined to pancakes and hot tubs.

And more from David Warren:

So we now have a double mystery: an extremely dangerous regime in Iran doing we know not what, and standing against it, an American president who does not know what he is doing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bandages and penicillin, not condoms

Sadly, the West just doesn't get it. Ever.

The flow of medical supplies waiting to be distributed to tens of thousands of earthquake victims in Haiti was delayed for weeks by a massive supply of condoms dominating the space of the main storage facility...
shipping containers of medical supplies were unable to be unloaded, sorted and distributed since an enormous supply of condoms clogged the facility till early February, when the condoms could be removed. The condoms were estimated to take up about 70% of the space in the 17,000 sq. ft. warehouse.

And it's not just Haiti:

When Canadian General Romeo Dallaire returned from Rwanda in the aftermath of the Rwandan Massacre he noted in a 1996 speech that military personnel referred to UN and other foreign aid as "covering the country with rubber."

Dallaire explained that tons of condoms and other contraceptives were being shipped to and distributed around the region in quantities far beyond what the population could use and in place of much more needed food, medicine and other critically needed aid. Medicine stores, he said, were filled with contraceptives and extremely short of any supplies to treat wounded Rwandans.
At least the condoms don't go to waste, however, which should make WHO, Planned Parenthood International and their ilk extremely glad:

With business-savy ingenuity some in the developing world have turned the condom dumping by the West to their advantage. The BBC reported in 2004 that in one Indian city alone 600,000 condoms a day were used in the sari-weaving industry. Sari weavers use the lubrication in the condoms to soften the loom's shuttle making weaving faster, without risking stains to the silk.
LifeSite News

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mr. Steyn on the Geert Wilders trial

"When the law stands in explicit opposition to the truth, freeborn peoples should stand in opposition to the law."

article here

"This could become a human rights issue if you're not careful...."

  The above is a telling quote from this news story about the dispute over front-of-the-city-bus territory. This issue has NOTHING to do with human rights, but it does illustrate how "human rights" commissions have become a means of  threatening or actually taking  revenge on those who have offended or merely inconvenienced you:

"I feel there's discrimination against one group of people and that this could become a human rights issue if you're not careful," said Daiva Greenridge, a local resident who often uses the transit system with her young daughter.
  Reading those words induces the same feelings of despair as the comment from the thin-skinned reader I quoted in my last post, but after this story I found at least one comment that is much more heartening. "Fencerdad" hits the nail on the head when he writes:

I'm a parent who regularly rides the bus with my son in a stroller. When I see a handicapped person get on I'll have the stroller folded before the ramp is lowered to the sidewalk. This is, from my experience, what nearly everyone would do--and if they don't, the driver will intervene and ask that parent to move.

This is common courtesy and common sense. Once in a while, you'll come across someone who doesn't have either of those things. The problem with legislating basic social behaviour is that people will do nothing _but_ follow laws, and quit actually being courteous to one another.

This sort of law won't fix anyone's bad behaviour, but it will make other people resentful and less inclined to help anyone. The few people who would be targeted by this proposed rules won't change anyways--they'll grumble, complain, refuse to move, get tossed off the bus, fined, and file a civil lawsuit that will be thrown out of court. How does that help anyone?

Basically, we need to quit dividing people with laws, and (re?)learn to get along with each other. Yes, there will always be a few bad apples. Yes, we need laws for severe crimes. We don't, however, need endless petty laws for endless petty squabbles with jerks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What took you so long?

I was wondering how many seconds would pass before someone ferreted out the racist undertones in this story:

Dark-skinned immigrants urged to take vitamin D

I only had to scroll down to the fifth comment:

I'm wondering if this advice is also meant for dark-skinned people who are not immigrants, but are Canadian born? My parents immigrated to this country from South Asia more than 40 years ago, but i was born here. So, either, my vitamin D levels are not affected with the same problem because my skin is used to this climate, OR, the researchers of this study can't conceive that dark skinned people can actually be born here, and that we're called Canadians and everything!?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with being an immigrant, obviously, but it feels like the journalist or researchers are forgetting that there are a whole lot of brown people who were born here, so they might want to address that in their limitations to their study, that: a) did not study dark skinned people who were born here, therefore don't have specific results of that group; b) didn't decipher between dark skinned immigrants and dark-skinned Canadian born (who's origin is of South-Asian descent), resulting in no control group or lack of list of differences/similarities; OR c) Just didn't bother about using the right language, resulting in coming off as thoughtless and, let's be honest, a little bit racist.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Childhood obesity is caused by parental obesity and/or apathy

A short article I wrote for MercatorNet.

Here is an uncut, politically-incorrect version:

President Obama may be wishing he had never started the tortuous debate on health care reform, but his wife seems to have hit on a winning issue with her Let’s Move! program to combat childhood obesity. After all, who could oppose an initiative to address one of the most distressing health issues of the times?

Obesity is constantly in the news: you can’t watch TV or read a paper, magazine or website without seeing an obesity-related headline, human interest story, or those ubiquitous ads for diet tips. Moreover, what has long been a Western phenomenon is rapidly going global. A recent cover story for Readers’ Digest (Canadian edition) declares, on the authority of the World Health Organization, that the world has reached a disturbing “tipping point”: for the first time in history, more people on this planet are dying from overeating than of starvation.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Valentine Card Addressed to the Human Rights Commissions

      I see that the balrog which is the Canadian Human Rights Commission  is rumbling  again deep within the bowels of our government bureaucracy. What perfect timing! Valentine's Day is almost here, and as an organization that is committed to eradicating hate, the CHRC has surely planned its latest head-rearing to fall near  this day meant for lovers. Maybe they have taken to heart this nugget from Rex Murphy : "Not every article in every magazine or newspaper is meant to be a Valentine card addressed to every reader's self esteem," and they intend to do something about it.

      After thirty-odd years of HRCs toiling away to make us all be nicer to each other, I just cannot understand why everything you read, hear and see is not  like a candy heart from your sweetie. Rather than focusing solely on stamping out hatred,  I suggest the HRCs also mount a proactive campaign to foster a great, big bumper crop of Canadian love. We could all use more warm fuzzies, good vibes and happy feelings in our interactions with other human beings, don't you think? Perhaps they could create an entirely new government body and call it the "Warm Tingly Fuzzies Commission".  It would be an excellent follow up/companion bureaucracy to the HRCs. After hatred and unpopular opinions are forever rooted out of human minds and hearts, (and who better than members of a plodding bureaucracy to complete that task?) the WTFC could step up to help in those awkward moments when we can't quite express our super niceness. You'd just have to shake your head three times, say, "WTF...?" and they'd be there. Kind of like a verbal Bat Signal.  After all, who hasn't been lost for words, especially when faced with someone who might take offence at yours?

    Just imagine that you have hurt someone with something you wrote. You may not know the person or even have a clue exactly what the harmful words were, but you know that warm fuzziness levels between you and your offended one are dangerously low, because your HRC has told you so! What is your next step? You've already done everything the HRC asked. You've wiped your blog off the internet or used your final newspaper column to recant. You've ceased communicating about the banned subject in private emails and you've sent off a check wrapped in a forced apology. You may even have given up your job or small business to show how full of love you are. Yet for some reason, you still don't feel any better. You're standing there like a non-hate-struck teenager, casting shy glances at the person who has drained away the last three, five or ten years of your life and wondering how you can make it up to him. That's where the WTFC gives you the right words, and you start singing their tune. You don't have to be Judy Garland. Just sing it with feeling....

They Made Me Love You

Dear HRC Plaintiff, I am singing this to you
And I hope that to my tone you won't object;
My heart beats like a hammer
Please don't throw me in the slammer
From now on all my thoughts will be correct.
I guess I'm just another hatemonger
From now on I'll be more circumspect.

They made me love you!
I didn't want to do it; HRC forced me to it,
They made me love you,
And all the time you knew it, you complained so that they'd do it.

My opinions, dear, made you feel quite pained,
The HRC refuted them: "Shut up," they have explained.
They made me sigh 'cause
I didn't want to tell you,
(Turns out they can compel you)
I think four grand, from me to you, ought to do, free speech eschew, 'deed I do!
I must tell you what I'm thinking
The very mention of your name sends me o'er eggshells slinking!
You know they made me love you!

I don't care what happens,
Let the whole world end, 
I'll never write or say or think something that might offend
'Cause you know they made me love you!

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Good heavens, who wrote this, Monty Python?

Yahoo news article about Michelle Obama trying to stamp out childhood obesity.

The swelling obesity rate in the United States has also seen medical costs associated with excessive weight balloon from around 78 billion dollars a year in 1998 to around 147 billion dollars annually in 2006, a study released last year showed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I am blown away by the idiocy of the president of NOW

Pro-abort feminists: not desperate --or ridiculous-- enough.

LifeSite News dishes on the aftermath of the Tim Tebow ad, in which the football player playfully tackles his mom.

The president of NOW, one of the leading forces urging CBS to remove the ad, responded by condemning the ad's “celebration” of violence against women, in a reference to Tim’s tackling of his mom.

"I am blown away at the celebration of the violence against women in it," said NOW's Terry O'Neill...
Pro-life blogger Dr. Gerard Nadal says:
[...]  the ad's great success lay in focusing attention on the pro-abortion lobby's reaction to a simple celebration of life.

"Focus on the Family are expert fisherman, and you Big Mouth Bass took the bait," said Nadal in an open letter to Planned Parenthood and NOW.

"You allowed yourselves to be exposed for just who and what you are: Haters of motherhood, fatherhood, family and babies."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Global Warming...

BRING IT ON!!! It's a balmy - 30 degrees C in my neck of the woods this morning.

Thanks, Fr. Andrew, for letting me borrow this picture! You can see the rest of his frosty shots here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The wise Mr. Warren on climate change

Like communist apparatchiks in the good old days, a global warm-alarmist may "honestly" think he is serving a higher purpose, that he is on "the right side of history," that he must cut a few corners for the greater good, that the end will eventually justify the means. Read Dostoevsky on this. The book is Crime and Punishment, and the character is Raskolnikov. By subtle increments a failure of candour degenerates into major-league crime.

Not only all the numbers, but all the assumptions behind "AGW" -- not "most," but all -- have depended on the manipulation of facts by persons who had an interest in manipulating them. Often the specific incident is small, but the falsehood is cumulative. Investment in the illusion grows, the stakes become too large to forfeit. Yet the reality remains: that we still don't know any more about long-term human influence on climate than Punxsutawney Phil can know by observing his own shadow.

This should have been obvious to climatologists from the beginning. At the simplest level, they could observe that global temperature estimates depended on a slur of constantly changing thermometer locations and time sequences. NASA's recent admissions are the more pathetic for that reason: from the top down, these were men who should have known better than to think they could fly beyond the end of such a limb.

I have argued previously for chastity: not limited to the sexual sense, of keeping one's pants on. The virtue of chastity requires us to look at the world without immediately engaging our desires. Those desires are often not sexual at all; some of the most powerful involve justifying one's livelihood. A scientist with an interest in getting a result is under huge temptation, compounded by the huge public funding on which his research depends.

Our mysterious capacity for chastity can put us above the animal level: for if we try, we can actually remove the blinkers of, "What's in it for me?" -- and discover truths larger than ourselves. The highest arts and sciences require alike the highest conditions of chastity. It is what lifts us above the groundhogs.
No, I have not cut and pasted the whole thing. Do read it all.

From our Beyond Satire files...

Victorian (as in the Australian state) Premier creates new government post:

It is something straight out of a George Orwell novel: the Victorian government has appointed a member of parliament to become “Minister for Respect”.

Why didn't the Canadian Human Rights Commission think of that?

I would like to suggest a new title for the Victorian premier: The Wizard of Oz. It will certainly require magical powers to achieve universal, mutual respect.

How does that tune go again?

Something or other.
...if I only had a brain...

Full article here by  Bill Muehlenberg (MercatorNet)

Cowardly pro-abort feminists need men to speak for them

This ad features two MEN speaking on behalf of Planned Parenthood. It's in response to the much-hyped Tim Tebow ad (which will air during the Super Bowl).

Especially rich is this quotation:
"I want my daughters to live in a world where everyone's decisions are respected," adds Joyner.


EVERYONE'S decisions?

Even the "decisions" of moms (and dads) who endorse/practice things like female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour killing, suicide bombing?

When is pro-choice, feminist America going to address that particular elephant in the room? Nah, it's much easier to pick on Tim Tebow, his mom, and those nameless, faceless, defenseless products of conception.

 Some decisions are great, some are good, some are bad, some are stupid, and some are evil.

 It's not about honouring people's decisions; it's about honouring human life and the dignity of the person.

Abortion kills.

Sheila Liaugminas at MercatorNet neatly sums up what pro-aborts are all about:

the "choice" movement is not truly about giving women one

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bold move by Canadian bishops

They recently (January 26, 2010) issued a Pastoral Letter on Human Trafficking. Why, you may ask? To coincide with that great threat to human life and dignity... the Winter Olympics.

The tie-in is just a little implausible. Sure, the CCCB is gravely concerned (who isn't?) about the whole increased prostitution thing--it's evil and horrid. But then so is EVERY OTHER DAY in this post-mod country/continent, with its rampant violence, domestic abuse, child abuse and molestation, prostitution, human trafficking, pornography, strip clubs, lap dancing, abortion, exploitation of immigrants and of vulnerable women and children. These evils have existed in Canada forever. Why the statement now?

My bad.

I have always maintained that the Climate Change Church of Settled Science is a religion. But actually, it's a cult.

A lot of environmentalists think they need to convince people that the way they live their lives is wrong," she adds. "They want us to stop sinning so they try to scare us into conversion with predictions of high-carbon hell. But it's not an effective message.
"We need to start selling people a vision of low-carbon heaven," Ms Townsend argues.
For Palmer, who is a United Nations adviser on climate change and religion, the green movement's appropriation of religious language and imagery has backfired.

"Environmentalists have stolen fear, guilt and sin from religion, but they have left behind celebration, hope and redemption," he says.

That's because there IS no redemption, Mr. Palmer, much less celebration and hope. What's to celebrate about the notion of a bunch of enviro-nazis (or commies) micro-managing every moment of your indoor-plumbing-is-evil, electricity-free, vegetarian existence?

And am I the only one freaked out that the UN has an "adviser on climate change and religion"? That is just weird. I also think it very odd that they chose to use a picture of a crucifix (Christ) to illustrate this article. Shouldn't they have had some more appropriate symbol, like Mother Nature spiked to an oil well?

Hell's Bells!

Who'd have thought that AC/DC would be closer to Christian teaching on true charity than the goody-blue-shades Bono?

Johnson, the gravel-voiced British singer of Australia’s biggest rock band, has joined a growing group of critics of Geldof and the U2 singer over their very public charity work, saying they should stop lecturing audiences about charity work and instead do their good deeds in private. [...]

He then offered some words of advice to his fellow rockers: “I’m sorry mate, do it yourself, spend some of your own money and get it done.

Story link from Steynonline.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From the "Mouths of Babes" file...

My ten-year-old was working on a Language Arts writing assignment today. She was supposed to take two shorter sentences and, using a conjunction or omitting words, edit them down to one, more succinct sentence. Here are the two sentences:

Many men have learned to cope with handicaps. Many women have learned to cope with handicaps.

The correct answer is: Many men and women have learned to cope with handicaps.

My daughter (who evidently knows her parents all too well) wrote:

"Many men have learned to cope with handicaps, and women."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Heh heh. "Feminist logic" is an oxymoron

Who'd have thought?!

It's a case study in the conundrum of liberal ideology: radical feminist groups declaring that a woman's choice to not have an abortion is, somehow, anti-choice.
David N. Bass at The American Spectator discusses the mental gymnastics required by pro-choicers who are anti-choice when it comes to Tim Tebow's mom's choice.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, makes the valid point that feminists' worst-case scenario for the ad is that women "are exposed to an example of sacrifice for the sake of an unborn child."

Shocking, I know, especially when viewers could be watching naked women in the shower or a woman exposing her endowments during a congressional hearing.

It's a wonder anyone takes feminists seriously when their hypocrisy is so manifold.

J.D. Salinger is dead

I guess I missed the memo. David Warren discusses Salinger's seminal work Catcher in the Rye.  (I'm pretty sure I had to read it in high school too, but I don't remember a thing about it. That's how memorable it was.)
...a novel which exalts the worst kind of self-pitying adolescent narcissism, and holds it up as an ideal, through adulthood to a senile old age.
When I read those lines, I thought, 'Surely Mr. Warren will, at some point in this essay, mention the very person whom this description calls to mind.' I was not disappointed.
Indeed, one cannot look through the list of President Obama's strange and demented policy czars without spotting so many Holden Caulfields, nor escape their ever-presence among the talking heads of MSNBC. And in watching the president's State of the Union address this week, I had the distinct impression of a man whose big-government vision rests less in Marxism than in the faux-naïf of "a catcher in the rye."
for any who would like to brush up on Catcher, here is Larry Thornberry's take on the novel. (American Spectator)
While it's easy to see why adolescents, particularly of the indulged sort, would find this kind of thing attractive. It's more of a mystery why grownups, some disguised as teachers and lit professors, praise this nonsense and oblige high school and college students to read it. This is almost child abuse. [...]
No one over the weekend would come out and say it, so allow me to. This literary emperor is wearing no clothes. His only novel and its chief character are contemptible.

Pray blow that wind north.

Amen, brother.

David Warren discusses the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding election spending:

There are many and huge ramifications, but the chief one is that the decision attacks the contemporary lobbying system. In effect, those advancing special interests are condemned to lobbying the entire electorate, instead of just lobbying the politicians behind closed doors. This directly undermines the political class. It goes to the heart of their ability to broker deals not in the public interest, and pass them into law without public debate.

And that in turn is why the response to the decision from the political class has been unfriendly to the edge of berserk. They correctly understand that "politics as usual" is now under review, actually and not rhetorically.

Monday, February 1, 2010

And speaking of brilliant

Here is Mark Steyn telling us why Obama in particular (and bureacracy in general) rots:

 Simply as a matter of internal logic, this is somewhat perplexing. After all, when he isn't blaming George W. Bush, Obama blames "Washington" – a Washington mired in "partisanship" and "pettiness" and "the same tired battles" and "Washington gimmicks" that do nothing but ensure that our "problems have grown worse." Washington, Obama tells us, is "unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems."
So let's have more Washington! In our schools, in our hospitals, in our cars, in everything!
Which raises the question: Does even Obama listen to Obama's speeches?
Like most lifelong politicians, Barack Obama has never created, manufactured or marketed any product other than himself. So, quite reasonably, he sees government dependency as the natural order of things.
And in his college-loan plan he's explicitly telling you: If you start a business, invent something, provide a service, you're a schmuck and a loser. In the America he's building, you'll be working 24/7 till you drop dead to fund an ever-swollen bureaucracy that takes six weeks off a year and retires at 53 on a pension you could never dream of. Obama's proposals are bold only insofar as few men would offer such a transparent guarantee of disaster: It's the audacity of hopelessness.