Thursday, October 26, 2006

Canada Post in Vancouver . . . .

Koodoos to the 60 postal workers that took a stand for us!

Another example of the religious wrong's compassion for those of us who don't subscribe to their dogma . . . .

Anti-homosexuality brochure held up at Canada Post
Last Updated: Thursday, October 26, 2006 | 4:18 PM PT CBC News

Canada Post says a controversial religious brochure that condemns homosexuality will be delivered to hundreds of homes in East Vancouver, despite the objections of letter carriers.

The 28-page pamphlet is published by a fundamentalist Baptist group based in Ontario, and condemns homosexuality as ungodly, unhealthy and unnatural.

Vancouver mail sorter Andy Henderson was the first person at his postal station to notice the pamphlet and was shocked by what he read.

"The first words I saw when I picked it up were: 'The plague of this 21st Century: the consequences of the sin of homosexuality (AIDS).' "

He and the other postal employees say they consider it hate mail and have refused to handle it.

"You wouldn't be able to find one television station that would accept this ad mail as a 30-second advertising spot," said Henderson. "And yet Canada Post will take it. And their point is, 'If it's legal, we'll deliver it.' "

The man who sent the brochures, Rev. Sterling Clark of Waterdown, Ont., told CBC News he was "disappointed" with the postal workers and asserted he hadn't broken any laws.

Clark said he had a contract with Canada Post and regularly sends brochures to several Canadian cities.

Workers stage protest

Canada Post management told the workers on Wednesday that it's not in the business of censorship, and said the letters would be delivered.

That stance prompted about 60 postal workers at the Canada Post plant in downtown Vancouver to hold a short protest Thursday morning.

"So the employees walked out of this facility because most people are deeply offended by the nature of the literature," said union local president Ken Mooney.

He told CBC News that the workers have since returned to their jobs, waiting to see what management is going to do next.

"I'm now told they're not going to force us to handle this mail. So they've backed off a little bit. So we're just waiting to see how this plays out."

Brochures 'deemed appropriate'

Canada Post spokeswoman Colleen Frick says the company has a contract to deliver the brochure and it will do just that.

She notes that it was "deemed acceptable and appropriate for mailing under the Canada postal guide.

"The criteria is very specific. And if something is not deemed obscene in nature, then the item will be acceptable for mailing. And this particular item was deemed appropriate. So it will be delivered."

The union says management has now indicated that the brochures will be put in envelopes and delivered by management personnel.

Our thanks and appreciation go out to those postal workers that took a stand for equality in our future home. One more reason to look forward to making it our permanent home . . . . Sure hope it's soon!

Live Entertainment . . . .

If you haven't tuned in to CPAC's live coverage of Parliament's Question Period when it's in session you might want to soon. It is broadcast live online normally from 2:00 - 3:00 pm, Eastern Time.

The audio and video coverage in both English and French versions is usually quite entertaining. Today there was quite a bit of back and forth regarding different member's expense reports. Another discussion centered around the Tory Health Minister having no independent verification of the health safety of silicone breast implants - only from those scientists affiliated with the implant manufacturers. (Does this sound ominously like the US pharmaceutical companies drafting the Medicare Prescription Drug Program for the bush administration??) Also, the Opposition continues to press the Tories to set a date for revisiting Same Sex Marriage - no specific date as yet - just a commitment to address the issue "this fall".

It is such a refreshing change from the US Congress' sessions in which members babble on and on to a normally empty chamber. The Canadian version has all member's seats filled and the questions and answers back and forth often times get quite heated. It was in this period last week when Belinda Stronach was allegedly called a "dog" by former boyfriend Peter MacKay.

Today a Liberal MP compared the Tory Treasury Minister to a blowfish which lives off the coast. "He puffs up, changes colour and tries to appear much larger than he really is."

Like I said, quite entertaining . . . .

The Real Republican Image of Canada . . . .

Compliments of CanWest News Service

Wonder how "shrub" harper feels about his big brother bush now??

Canada's reputation suffers collateral damage in heated U.S. mid-terms

Sheldon Alberts - CanWest News Service
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

WASHINGTON - A Republican attack ad stirring controversy in the U.S. mid-term elections does a drive-by smear on Canada, suggesting America's northern neighbour is a do-nothing country on world affairs.

The television ad has sparked denunciations from both the Democratic candidate it targets and the Republican candidate it is designed to help.

Produced by the Republican National Committee, the ''man on the street'' ad features a hefty man wearing suspenders and a ball cap, commenting sarcastically on his view of Democratic foreign policy.

''Let Canada take care of North Korea. They're not busy,'' the man says.

The ad has been airing since Friday in Tennessee, where Republican Senate candidate Bob Corker is challenging Democrat Harold Ford for the seat being vacated by Senator Bill Frist.

The hotly contested race has featured some of the nastiest advertising in the country, largely because it is among a handful of Senate contests likely to determine which party controls Congress after the Nov. 7 election.

Just how Canada got caught up in the mid-term mudslinging remains a mystery. The Republican National Committee did not respond to calls from CanWest News Service.

But the ad fosters stereotypes about Canada's engagement in international affairs that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tried hard to dispel.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Embassy in Washington mounted an advertising campaign highlighting Canada's role as America's ally in Afghanistan, where 43 Canadians have died since 2002.

David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, voiced outrage in the last federal election campaign when the Liberal party criticized President George W. Bush.

Although the Republican ad's reference to Canada seems almost incidental, it appears already to have backfired because of its overall tone.

Apart from the dig at Canada, it features clips from a bare-shouldered blond who says: ''I met Harold at the Playboy party,'' a reference to the Democrat's attendance at a Super Bowl party hosted by Playboy magazine. ''Harold, call me,'' she whispers into the camera.

In another clip, a man in dressed in a hunter's camouflage says: ''Harold's right. I do have too many guns.''

A spokeswoman for Corker's campaign told CanWest News Service that the Republican candidate has ''condemned the ad, and doesn't think it's an appropriate ad.''

Under U.S. election laws, Corker is not allowed to communicate directly to the Republican national campaign on advertising.

But Tom Ingram, Corker's campaign manager, on Monday sent Tennessee TV stations a direct request asking them to stop airing the ad.

''We are disappointed that the advertisement continues to run and request that station managers across the state strongly consider pulling this advertisement immediately.''

A Republican spokeswoman, Camille Anderson, told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal the party had no plan to remove the ad.

''The RNC stands by this advertisement, and I have no reason to believe that it will not continue to air on television stations across the state,'' Anderson said.

Just another example of how the repuglicans can be trusted . . . . Let's see, there's the softwood lumber deal, the "You need a passport/ You don't need a passport to cross the border" situation, the Canadian citizen sent to Syria
by US authorities for imprisonment and torture, etc., etc., etc. Surely Canadians will rethink the Prime Minister's cozying up to these jerks . . . . . Won't they??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Net Neutrality . . . . Does is affect you?

If you think the debate over Net Neutrality doesn't affect you, think again. A good review of the situation was broadcast on PBS last week moderated by Bill Moyers. Check out the program here and then contact your Congressperson and Senators to express your views.

We in the blogging community should be particularly concerned if the large telecoms and cable companies begin deciding who gets preferential treatment on the 'Net. When you see how they were promised tax breaks in order to build an infrastructure unsurpassed worldwide and did nothing, it will give you pause. Now the US ranks behind many Asian and European nations in the broadband race due to broken promises by these corporate entities. Guess who is contributing big $$$ to politicians to preserve their monopoly?? You got it: The same corporate entities.

Don't let them get another break at the expense of equal communication opportunities for all . . . . Click on the "Save the Internet" button in our "Links" section to find out how you can help. It's worth your time and effort . . . .

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Tory Pandering to the Religious Wrong . . . .

People say not to worry about mr. harper and his Conservative government appointing members of the religious "wrong" to positions in Canadian government. "Canada is not like the US" is the mantra. Well, maybe so, but stuff like this is still disturbing. We have seen the influence of this group here in the States and don't see it declining in the near future.

Beware, Canada . . . . .

From today's Vancouver Sun:

Reid appointment creates stir in Ottawa
Heated reaction to installation of former religious group president as political aide
BY MIKE SADAVA - CanWest News Service, with files from the Vancouver Sun

B.C. I Few government appointments have created as much of a stir in Ottawa as the naming of B.C.’s Darrel Reid as chief of staff to Environment Minister Rona Ambrose.
Acting Liberal Leader Bill Graham called it an “affront to democracy,” editorialists both attacked and defended Reid and even comedian Rick Mercer has ranted about the appointment.
Reid served five years as president of the Canadian arm of Focus on the Family, an American-based evangelical group influential with United States President George W. Bush.
Until 2004, Reid was the point man for the Langley-based Focus in attacking the federal government and the courts on issues such as abortion, samesex marriage and divorce. He lobbied for more Christian involvement in Canadian politics.
There are indications the decision to hire him as Ambrose’s top political aide came more from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper than from Ambrose, who is not known as religious.
“I heard there was not a whole lot of negotiating on this,” said a well-connected party member from Ambrose’s Spruce Grove riding in Edmonton.
Shannon Haggerty, spokeswoman for Ambrose, would not say who made the decision. “The Prime Minister’s Office and the minister have discussed this. These are details I don’t think are necessary to get into.”
Elan MacDonald, who ran Ambrose’s election campaign, said Ambrose is a fiscal conservative but not a social conservative.
Reid, 48, who is a native of Grande Prairie, Alta., has a PhD in history from Queen’s University and has published academically on Canadian federalism. In the 1990s, he served as then-Reform leader Preston Manning’s head researcher and chief of staff.
He failed at two election bids — for Reform in Ontario in 1997, and last winter for the Tories in Richmond, when he lost to Liberal Raymond Chan.
Just weeks before Reid won the Conservative nomination in Richmond, a group called DefendMarriage (B.C.) held a rally at Richmond city hall against gay marriage.
An e-mail — which began with the salutation “Praise the Lord” — went out to many of those who attended the rally, urging them to become Conservative party members and vote for Reid at the nomination meeting.
After Reid won the nomination, the president of the Conservative Party association in the riding, Charlie Horton, quit in protest, charging that the party was “getting dangerously close” to being overtaken by the religious right.
Ambrose’s office would not make Reid available for an interview, but he made his views public while with Focus.
During a conversation with Focus’s American founder, James Dobson, on a CD that was sold by the organization, Reid said he could run the risk of being incarcerated for opposing same-sex marriage because homosexuals are protected, under the Criminal Code, from hatred as an identifiable group.
“Sometimes I have to shake my head that what my parents understood, what the Bible teaches me, has become so obnoxious to some elites and to unelected judges in our country — I just can’t believe where we’re headed, unless God intervenes.”

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Jon Stewart Rules . . . .

With the mid-term elections in the US over the horizon and rumblings of a possible spring federal election in our future home, a review of this video is in order. It is vitally important for all voters in any democracy to educate themselves about the issues and candidates. Preferably, they should accomplish this through news sources not influenced by corporate media "spin". (Good luck with that here in the US!!)

Jon Stewart's appearance on CNN's "Crossfire" in October of 2004 was a classic display of his intelligence and his disgust with today's media giants version of "news". Jon does an incredible job of putting the two hosts - Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala - in their place. He describes them and the majority of the US media political "talking heads" as pompous, partisan hacks - which, when you get right down to it, is a very accurate description. We have viewed some evidence of this in viewing Canadian political programs, but not nearly to the extent as in the US. Let's hope this unappealing US trait doesn't follow us north of the 49th Parallel.

Presidential Quotes Compliments of Jeff Black . . .

Once again, Jeff Black of Blog chimes in with a great comparison of presidential quotes over the years . . . . The boy is a witty lad - if you'll read just a few posts it will become quite clear that "he attends the same church" we do . . . . Check it out, and make sure you click on the "waiters" link for an excellent show by the Asylum Street Spankers. This is the first time I have been exposed to them, but will definitely check them out further. Very creative and entertaining political satire.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Michaelle Jean's Other Story . . . .

A touching story of an admirable Canadian . . . .

A long journey into night

Alzheimer’s condemns a once-vibrant woman to a twilight existence


OTTAWA — It begins as little more than a whisper, a feeling that something isn’t quite right. That “something” may take the shape of an odd behaviour, disturbing and shocking. I watched as my mother moved slowly into the silence of a long tunnel. I watched as she became lost in confusion and stubbornness.
This once-cheerful woman, quick-witted, alert, active, always on the go, became increasingly distracted, losing her train of thought, fixating on the most absurd details. My mother, my bright and vibrant mother, rarely left the house any more, preferring instead to sit alone in the dark, the curtains drawn against the sunlight, caught in a kind of melancholy and weariness.
The cause was unclear. There were family issues and other circumstances, including the end of her job resulting from an accident at work, that might have explained her depression.
Certainly, there were signs that she was in distress: Seeing one doctor after another, and sometimes several at once.
She complained of insomnia, digestive problems, anxiety. She received prescriptions for sleeping pills, anti-depressants and other medications. To that dangerous cocktail she added a mishmash of vitamins and socalled natural products.
She lived on the ground floor of a duplex we shared, and I felt completely and utterly helpless as I watched her become mired in a thickening fog, increasingly absent-minded, forgetful, almost obsessively asking me the same question over and over.
The light f inally went on when I was interviewing a leading researcher of Alzheimer’s disease for a television program. As he described a typical patient, I saw unfold before me a portrait of my mother. Inside, I was reeling, my mind spinning, which I confided to him once the cameras were shut off. Two weeks later, my mother did a series of tests at the McGill University Centre for Studies in Aging.
The diagnosis cut me like a knife.
My mother read, her voice choked with emotion, her heart heavy, the label on the bottle of Aricept: “For the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Even today, my anguish remains lodged there, in my throat, behind stifled cries and powerless sobs.
My mother, a retired psychiatric and geriatric nurse, knew exactly what awaited her.
When she stood before a notary to sign her certificate of incapacity, her world, as she knew it, was shattered.
From that point on, things progressed relentlessly. From one stage to the next. From denial to aggression, as though it were one last fight, one last attempt to resist — as her very existence, her body, her history and her memory slipped away for good.
No more independence, no more privacy, no more choice, not even the freedom to get lost in her pyjamas and slippers on the sidewalk in 25-below weather.
She had to suffer the stress and intrusions of her daughter. Me.
My mother became my sick child, my dependent child facing an irreversible countdown. She would never stop suffering until reason abandoned her completely.
I had to reinvent our relationship over and over. Reconnect through touch, recognize that her body responded to music like a wave on the open sea coming to wash upon the shore. Stay calmly by her side, rock her, lay my body next to hers in her hospital bed, cry on her shoulder and allow her to comfort me with the simple beating of her heart and occasional murmur.
My story is but one among thousands shared by adult children who care for a parent living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
It carries a heavy weight of emotion and sadness, but also hope that each of us will continue to love our parent in our own special way.
It is something that I wish with all my heart for my daughter to remember of her grandmother: That love, even transformed by this terrible illness, never wanes and, in many ways, makes us stronger.
Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean is honorary patron of the Alzheimer Society of Canada. Her 76-yearold mother, Luce Depestre, is a former psychiatric and geriatric nurse who once cared for patients with Alzheimer’s disease; she received her diagnosis 11 years ago. Jean visits her mother regularly at an Ottawa-area nursing home, often with her daughter, Marie-Eden.

For CanWest News Service


Gov.-Gen. Michaelle Jean cradles her mother and hums along with her favourite music, Puccini, playing on a small CD player in her mother’s nursing home room. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 11 years ago, Jean’s mother is in the latter stages of the disease.

Canada's Governor General has impressed us in the past - even more so now with this heartfelt story about her mother.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Lost Year in Iraq . . . .

Last evening I finally got around to watching the Frontline program "The Lost Year in Iraq" recorded earlier on PBS. It is an EXCELLENT chronology of how the Bush Administration botched the year following the US invasion of Iraq. You can watch it online in segments here. Very well done, as their reports typically are.

While watching the program, remember that L. (Jerry) Paul Bremer is one of the people - along with George Tenet and Gen. Tommy Franks - that our "esteemed" president gave the Presidential Medal of Freedom award to in 2004, and Paul Wolfowitz is now President of the World Bank.

You can't make this stuff up . . .

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Worrisome Information . . . .

This story keeps turning up around the 'Net enough that it now has me worried.

One of the main reasons we are working to move to Canada is the distinct culture, economics and social views that distinguish the two countries.

Just the thought of "Deep Integration" is not a comforting one and we are definitely not in favour of it . . . .

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Brownie's Ex-Boss Doin' a "Heckuva Job" . . . .

Maybe this is news to you, but somehow it's not unexpected.

Barbara and George, Sr. certainly didn't raise their son very well . . . . He can't seem to learn from past mistakes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Not Surprising . . . .

Somehow the fact the US FBI is crossing the Canadian border to perform unannounced and unauthorized investigations is not surprising.

What is rather surprising, though, is that Canadians are not expressing a sense of outrage that their government is apparently turning a blind eye to the practice. Another example of the "bully" of the schoolyard intimidating the rest of the "kids"?

Ah, for the days when cross-border "cooperation" is not so one-sided . . . . . .

BC Going to Pot . . . .

From today's Vancouver Sun:

B.C. residents smoke most pot in Canada, report says

Daily marijuana use outstripping tobacco, UVic research indicates

BY RICHARD WATTS CanWest News Service

VICTORIA — People in B.C. smoke more marijuana than people in any other province in Canada, according to a study released Wednesday.

“There is more occasional and low-risk cannabis use, more tolerant attitudes, and greater availability in B.C. than in the rest of Canada,” says the study for Addictions Research of B.C. based at the University of Victoria.

“In B.C., cannabis, like alcohol, is now regarded as a ‘normal’ recreational drug.” In fact, daily use among young people in B.C. is outstripping tobacco.

And a majority in B.C. want cannabis decriminalized, says the study.

The study cites estimates that put the value of the cannabis industry in B.C. at as much as $3.64 billion a year.

The study, based on a 2004 Canadian Addiction Survey, said more British Columbians report having used cannabis (53 per cent), than other Canadians (44).

British Columbians also report it is easy to find — 65 per cent, versus only 44 in Canada.

Just one of the many "high" lights of our future home!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Time to Rein Steve and Co. In . . . .

The Tories are planning more mischief on the Same Sex Marriage battle. From today's Globe and Mail we have the following excerpt:

Tories split over gay-marriage plan


Globe and Mail Update with Canadian Press

OTTAWA - A storm of debate has erupted in Ottawa over the Conservative government's plan to allow public officials to refuse to perform same-sex marriages, with Harper government members lending their voices to the howl of protest.

Politicians on both sides of the floor have spoken out against the planned Defence of Religions Act, which is also designed to protect the free-speech rights of religious leaders and others who criticize homosexual behaviour or refuse to do business with gay-rights organizations.

The legislation would be brought forward if the government loses the motion this fall to reopen the debate on same-sex marriage, which is likely to be defeated by a combination of Opposition and Conservative MPs.

"Isn't this just an attempt to remove sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in our country. (The bill is) totally against what was already adopted by this Parliament,"” Liberal interim leader Bill Graham asked during Wednesday's Question Period.

While Mr. Harper reiterated his government's promise to bring a same-sex marriage motion before an open debate in the House, he would not speculate on the nature of the proposed bill.

According to a report in The Globe and Mail on Wednesday, the federal government is floating the idea of a Defence of Religions Act that would protect public officials who refuse to perform same-sex marriages, and church groups that refuse to rent halls to gay couples.

You can see the whole story here. Sure would be nice if this crowd's poll numbers started to parallel mr. bush's - Straight down, that is!!

No More "Never on Sunday!!"

For all of you current and future Nova Scotia residents - Big News announced by the provincial government due to a Supreme Court decision today.

Now after praising the lord on Sundays you can rush out and buy necessities like food, clothes, automobiles, kayaks, moose traps, etc.

Yes, the province has joined the majority of Canadian provinces in allowing seven day a week shopping - Now get out there and stimulate the economy!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More Pressing Matters . . . .

Yes, it is alarming a US Congressperson was apparently having inappropriate communication with 16 year old pages, but I think there are far more important issues confronting the nation prior to the election on November 7th . . . .

The revelations about what then National Seurity Advisor and now Secretary of State "Condescending" Rice knew about potential attacks on the US are far more alarming and warrant investigation. Her convenient memory lapses are chronicled here and are symptomatic of a pattern of deceit to uphold her image. Very similar to her shopping for new Ferragamo and Manolo shoes while folks in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were stranded on rooftops . . . .

"PageGate" doesn't warrant the attention it is getting from the media that the advance notice this woman had which could have protected American lives does. The page scandal affects relatively few people - The Bush Administration's debacles are even today killing US military personnel and innocent civilians. Let's get our priorities in order . . . . .

Tories Reschedule Same Sex Marriage Vote?

Jo of The Canadian Way and I have been having an email discussion regarding the Conservative's plan to reschedule the same sex marriage vote promised by Mr. Harper for later in the parliamentary calendar. The story is discussed in this article in the Globe and Mail.

My feeling is that it may be Harper's way of taking on the "new kid on the block" by scheduling the debate just after the Liberal Party selects their new leader. Sounds like a move directly from the Karl Rove playbook of political dirty tricks.

Of course,by delaying it will also give the radical religious right the opportunity for a few more Sunday preachings against the homos . . .

Any thoughts?