Friday, March 31, 2006

A Possible Solution

As part 2 of this series, I would like to draw your attention to the Conservative Life post "Opening of the Baby Human Hunt". However, I must warn you, it is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). Graphic images are displayed, so proceed with caution. If you don't want to take a look though, I have to ask you why not? Those tiny babies went through a lot of trauma and pain before they died. Surely you can suffer through an uncomfortable glance for a moment.

Anyway, Ferret has made some excellent points in his comment section. You may have to wade through some rough language to get there, but it's worth the read.

Some more salient points: "If you murder a one week old baby that was born two weeks prematurely it is murder. If you murder 40 week old fetus that is technically older than the one that was born before being killed than it is acceptable. THAT IS INSANE."

Just think about that one for a while. To me it defeats that whole 'when is the fetus a person?' argument.

After I complimented Ferret for having the courage to write this he said, "It really doesn't take any courage to do this. Being critical of muslims takes courage because you might lose your head. Being hit with stupid comments from liberals who don't understand the absurdity of their stance is par for the course. I have a steady stream of idiot liberals who come here to showcase their ignorance. Good work getting your letter published in the National Post!"

The latter is a reference to my letter drawing a similar comparison to the seal hunt debate, which I included in an earlier post, (Live and Let Die). The whole thing drew some great comments.

Now, what I've been building up to here is a possible solution, as presented by a Post reader (Letters, March 30, "With a Viable Fetus, Rights Change". The writer is actually Margaret Somerville from the McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law in Montreal.

She feels that the whole issue shifts once a fetus is viable, i.e. could be kept alive as a premie if allowed to live. At this point, isn't it murder to kill the baby once he would be theoretically able to be kept alive using modern technology?

Ms. Somerville further argues:

"Abortion is based on respect for a woman's right to control her body, including to not use it to gestate a fetus against her wishes. That right can be honoured by recognizing her right to evacuate her uterus. It is a further, separate question whether a woman also has a right to have the fetus killed when that is avoidable.

Late-term abortions are usually carried out by a lethal injection of potassium chloride into the heart of the fetus, which is then delivered dead. In Canada, no law prevents doing that to any fetus. If the same fetus were born alive and killed, the crime would be murder. The Princeton philosopher Peter Singer recognizes the inconsistency in this approach and, therefore, argues for the legalization of infanticide as well as abortion. The alternative path to consistency is to ban late-term abortions, unless they are required to protect the woman's life or health. Or we could just ban killing a viable fetus, but allow its delivery."

I'm not going to copy any more of the letter here, because you should have been subscribing to the Post all along, right? (See, I'm not totally against MSM).

So, in the case of late stage unwanted pregnancies, let's rid the poor woman of her horrible burden, and still allow that human being an opportunity to live and be loved in a good home with parents who are desperate to have children.

Or else it should be legal to snuff out anyone's life when they cause us some inconvenience.

Update: Just discovered two more great links to debate on this subject:

Try Celestial Junk, "The Debate Nobody Wants", and The War Room, "Partial Birth Abortion".

Obviously, democracy still rules in the blogosphere.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Does Freedom of Speech Include the "A" Word?

There is a spirited debate going on in the National Post right now, unlike anything you'll hear in the Canadian political arena.

People are actually talking about, (quiet now, close your doors and windows...) abortion... *gasp*.

That was an absolute taboo subject in the last election, and the mere whisper of the word would bring shrill shrieks from womens' rights groups. Indeed Paul Martin used this issue to pillory Stephen Harper even though the Conservative party agreed in a policy convention that this would not be an election issue.

Actually, I'm surprised the word abortion is still in the Canadian dictionary. There have been a lot of words eradicated lately - like 'husband and wife' for example.

Back to the Post - Jonathan Kay courageously reopened the debate in Monday's column, "Canada Needs an Abortion Law". He points out that most, if not all other countries have some degree of restriction against open access to abortion.

Mr. Kay states, "Secure in the basic right to abortion, voters recognize that some restrictions are a moral necessity, and that the nature of those restrictions presents exactly the sort of issue that should be the meat of politics."

Why aren't we discussing this? How have we allowed ourselves to be so intimidated by radical special interest groups that this not even allowed to be raised in the political forum? How many people are actually in agreement that there should be no law at all regarding this issue in a supposedly civilized country?

I guess 'equal rights' don't apply equally.

Truth or Dare

Over the past few days, I have received some glowing accolades for my investigative efforts involved in disclosing some of the junk science and shoddy MSM reporting behind the misleading claims of the YWCA study. I have also received a lot of flack from outraged bloggers who think I'm letting reporters like Alicia Kay Markson off the hook too easily.

What concerns me the most however are the comments from various sources that seem to be looking for someone to interpret the truth for them.

Just like the Garth Turner episode, I am merely trying to give you another side of the story to consider. If you want to do something with your anger, look for constructive outlets that might actually help improve things.

For example, you could:

The idea here is to assimilate information from all different sources, and then make your own decision. We have been so brainwashed by the Liberals into assuming we need to rely on Government for assistance from cradle to grave, that we have even relinquished our responsibility to objectively evaluate what is going on around us. We have turned into a nation of lemmings!

Well I, for one, am not going to do your thinking for you.

UPDATE: Please check out Strong World for more Daycare Wars!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

A few days ago I was invited by Stephen Taylor to join Blogging Tories. This was no slouch offer. I knew that it was a huge opportunity to get my message out there, but due to technical problems at the time, I reluctantly said I'd have get back to him.

Well, my IHTG ("In-House Tech Guy" who inhales the groceries before they even reach the fridge) spent a lot of time helping me out, and the issues were somewhat resolved. I contacted Stephen to reveal the good news, and my IHTG did the rest.

This all coincided with my breaking story about the YWCA propaganda report (see previous post), so it's all somewhat of a blur. That was a busy day - phone calls to media, attempting to resolve annoying technical issues and then finally trying to get out a coherent story.

But it was all worth the effort. I would like to express my gratitude to Stephen Taylor for his marvellous invitation and helpful advice; to Joan Tintor and other fellow bloggers for their glowing references to my piece; to my patient husband who tolerates stacks of newspapers and notes all over the place, and to countless others who have left so many encouraging comments on my blog.

Ms. Markson, I appreciate that you took the time to tell me your side of things. In a sense, you too are a victim in the relentless pressure to get one story out and then rush to the next. Maybe we're all to blame with our insatiable appetite for news.

And a special note to my IHTG - I couldn't do this without you. Thanks.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Innocence Lost

I thought that once I got to the bottom of this YWCA Daycare Report fiasco, I would either feel angry or triumphant.

Instead, I just feel sad.

We all grew up placing our trust in authority figures, and that included our parents, teachers, police, religious officials and even the media (but never politicians). When there is a breach of trust though, it is something that can shake you to your very core.

So let me give you a brief recap. I voluntarily undertook the assignment on behalf of some of my fellow bloggers, such as Sara and Prairie Voice, to try and track down the data that led to CTV's statement that "most Canadians would prefer a national day-care program over a federal cash payout", as it related to the YWCA's recent media circus over their report, "Building a Community Architecture" in support of universal daycare.

I simply wanted to know what facts supported the data; a simple question, I thought. After all, this Parliament could fall on the daycare issue, and the politicians' beliefs about Canadians' opinions in this regard could be the tipping point. I never realized how persistent I would have to be to ferret out the truth.

You can read some of my previous posts to discover how much digging I had to do to climb up the chain of command at the YWCA National office. Nobody seemed to know much about this report. Even the co-author, Fahreen Beg had to direct my enquiry to Jenny Robinson, Director of National Initiatives, who apparently coordinated the project and report.

At this point I was getting a little suspicious. The co-author didn't know anything about it?

Several more emails were sent out to Jenny asking how CTV came to the conclusion from the report that 'most Canadians would prefer a National Day Care Program...'

In reply, I simply received form letters referring to the study.

At this point, saner people would have given up, but I tried a new approach: Go back to the source. So I looked up that original CTV report again, and noticed it was written by an Alicia Kay Markson, with files from the Canadian Press. I tried all kinds of ways to get her email address - google; CTV website; I even tried contacting their "Whistleblower" site to suggest lack of credibility in the media as a topic! Needless to say, they didn't bite.

O.K. Then I faced my least favourite alternative as an unpaid investigative journalist - long distance. I called the head office and asked if I could be put through to Ms. Markson's voice mail.

A man actually answered the phone. Yikes! I wasn't prepared for that! What do I say?

I gathered my wits and asked for Alicia, but I was told she wasn't around at the moment.

"Oh, could I please leave a message?"

-Well, you could, but she likely wouldn't call back, because she is VERY BUSY.

"Right. Well, could I leave it anyway please?"

-What's this about?

So I launched into my little diatribe without sounding too threatening; like just saying that I'm interested in a story she did about the YWCA report. Then I asked if perhaps he could help me?

-Sorry, I don't think so.

"Um, do you think I shouldn't be asking about all this?"

That threw him off! He mumbled something I couldn't quite make out.

Finally, I was able to at least get him to take my name, phone number and email address.

File 13. End of story.

But wait! About a half hour later the phone rang. Blocked call. The hair on the back of my neck stood up.

"This is Alicia Kay Markson calling. May I please speak to Joanne?"

Yes, you sure may, Ms. Markson!

I told her I was trying to understand where that statement in her story came from; that I had searched the whole study and still didn't see any evidence to support it.

She assured me that it was in the report. I replied that I had poured over every word, and the closest I could find was "Canadians agree that universal child care is a necessity", (which was suspect in itself), but I didn't find the word 'most'.

Well, I could tell she was getting a bit impatient with me now, and asked me what my 'interest' was in all this?

"Well, I'm a blogger, and I'm doing a little investigative journalism".

I could hear the amused tone in her voice - 'Really?'

"I'm a Conservative blogger, and there are a lot of us out there trying to get at the truth in main stream media. I want to give you the opportunity to tell your side of the story".


Well, to her credit, the conversation didn't end there.

She candidly explained that she didn't really read the whole report.

What? Pardon me?

I took the opportunity to give her a brief summary; explaining that the participants from the four cross-Canada focus groups were hand-picked and therefore could hardly be considered unbiased.

She replied that she got the statement from the National Coordinator.

Ah, well that explains it! Good ol' Jenny Robinson.

I thanked her kindly for her time and assured her that I was very grateful.

Well, as I sit and digest all this, I'm thinking that reporters probably are rushed off their feet, and likely don't have a lot of time to dig into facts before they stand in front of a camera. So, I'm willing to give Ms. Markson and the Canadian Press the benefit of the doubt.

But if this is representative of how MSM reporting works, then it really is 'Buyer Beware" when it comes to being a media consumer. I give Ms. Markson full credit for her honesty and candor.

But my rose-coloured glasses are now in the trash.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Please Do Not Adjust Your Set!

Playing around with the template, etc. Please be patient. My tech guy is trying some stuff.

UPDATE: Does anyone have any idea why some templates work in both Explorer and Mozilla, but others don't? My in-house tech guy is stumped, and this doesn't happen very often. Specifically, he can't figure out why the links appear in Mozilla but not Explorer when using the blue or pink templates. Grey seems o.k., but that's not me. Thanks!

Meet Ya Outside at High Noon, Garth!

Halton M.P. Garth Turner and I have been having a little feud over on his blog, the Turner Report. Things were getting heated - I called him 'disloyal' and he threw a few words like 'absurd' and 'dysfunctional' in my direction. Well, the fur was flying, and then he finally asked me to take it outside (the blog, that is). He goaded me with his phone number and even suggested I call collect.

It's easy to hide behind a computer and criticize, but to actually make a phone call and talk to the real person requires a bit more courage. I thought about it for a while, and then decided to take him up on the offer. After all, how often does an M.P. beg me to call? (Usually, I'm the one chasing them, and in the case of my own M.P., I've pretty much given up because she either ignores me or sends form letters. Thanks, Karen. I've got them all memorized. No need to bother anymore.)

Now, back to Garth. He's been characterized by the 'radical right' as we've been called, as everything from a maverick to Harper's worst nightmare. I remember Garth back when he wrote terrific financial columns for the Sun I believe, so I knew that he couldn't be a total write-off.

He answered the phone very politely and thanked me for calling. Then he proceeded to give me his perspective on life as an M.P., and his frustrations trying to deliver his constituents' ideas to the higher-ups. He explained that a public forum seemed like a reasonable alternative.

While listening to Garth explain his side of the story, I went from wanting to lynch the guy to wishing that I lived in his riding so I could vote for him! This is an M.P. who does actually care, and believe me, he wants the best for the party too. Winning the Toronto area vote is key and voters there will need to feel that they are being heard.

So if anyone out there is still upset with Garth, I suggest you give him a call. There are always two sides to every story and Garth will give you his with a candor you won't likely hear from many politicians.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Time for a Change!!!

In case you were worried by the title, no I'm not wanting to bring down the current government. Au contraire. I want to make it perfectly clear that I am not the Liberal Joanne that has been commenting on fellow Conservatives' blogs.

Apparently, this is causing some problems. Both Molarmauler and ChuckerCanuck have noted the confusion.

So in the interest of a move toward more transparent blogging, I have officially changed my display name to "Joanne (True Blue)". I think the reasons are obvious.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Now I'm Mad!

(Sorry about the lack of formatting in this one, folks. Having some technical problems. -Jo)

O.K. That does it. Now I am fuming!!!

I had been patiently following up with the YWCA National Office regarding their self-indulgent report, "Building a community Architecture..." As I stated in an earlier post, I was somewhat skeptical of the claim that "Most Canadians would prefer a national day-care program over a federal cash payout", as reported on CTV so I sent numerous emails to various levels of the organization to attempt to ferret out the truth.

Originally I sent an email to the National Office, asking for some details regarding the report, and was referred to the press release on their website.

I then asked, "Am I correct that you extrapolated the finding that 'Most Canadians would prefer a national day-care program over a federal cash payout' from the comments of your task force representatives? If that is the case, I am having trouble finding how many there were in your survey, and how they were selected."

The prompt response was, "I'm not into the project so I forwarded your message to Farheen Beg who's the project assistant and one of the writers of the report. I'm copying her here. Please contact her directly with all your questions. Thanks."

(Did you catch that? "I'm not into the project". No, I bet a lot of people aren't.)

So, I dutifully shot out an email to Ms. Beg, "...Is this information from the comments of the four community task forces? If so, how was that sample derived? Random selection? How was the question phrased? How would that be representative of most Canadians?"


"Thank you for your email. I have forwarded your question to Jenny Robinson, Director of National Initiatives. She coordinated the project and report and can answer any questions you have. I have asked her to get back to you. She will do so at her earliest convenience."

Sent several follow-ups, and finally received this:


Sorry for the delay. We have been inundated with over a hundred media calls as well as information requests from numerous supporters. Below are the answers to your questions.

(- Really? Please tell me if YOU can see the answers to my questions?)

FYI - You can find the full report and background information on our website at

First you have to understand that it was not a poll, it was a participation action research study that involved four representative communities across Canada. The study was funded by Social Development Canada. The purpose of Building a Community Architecture for Early Childhood Learning and Care was to develop effective models for the care and education of young children. This work took place in - Halifax, Nova Scotia; Cambridge, Ontario; Martensville, Saskatchewan; Vancouver, British Columbia. Task forces of key stakeholders (parents, child care providers, and representatives from education, health, special needs, aboriginal organizations, labour and business) were established to build community models of integrated early childhood learning and care (ECLC).

These task forces were asked to:

a) Consider how existing community resources can be organized to serve as a strong foundation for new Early Childhood Learning and Care (ECLC) investments;

b) Develop a community consensus on early childhood service delivery models that would:

• Provide children with early learning opportunities at the same time parents are supported to work/study and parent effectively

• Be accountable to governments and communities

• Make efficient use of limited public resources

• Better respond to the needs of children, families and communities

• Improve outcomes for children and families

The groups met five times over the course of 8 to 12 months. These day long meetings were well documented and facilitated by a community coordinator who also provided support to the groups and consolidated the findings. At the end of there work together the communities each created a ‘blue print’ of their plans. The four case studies were then used to produce the final report. We have also produced a guide that other communities can use if they want to undertake a similar planning process.

Thanks for your interest in our work.

Jenny Robinson
Director of Advocacy and National Initiatives
YWCA Canada

Mmmmm...... Looks like a form letter; smells like a form letter. Could it be? Actually it is worded very much like the responses I used to get from my M.P. way back when she bothered to reply to me, and I wasn't black-listed. They must have the same assistant.

I reply:

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your extensive reply. I appreciate that a lot of time and effort went into your study.

I am simply trying to find out how CTV came to the conclusion from your report that most Canadians would prefer a National Day Care Program over a federal cash payment, as detailed below.

There must have been some kind of statistics that were used to support this statement.

Thanks very much,

Well, I never received a response to that one for a few days, so after several more letters, Jenny finally sent me this beauty:

I have already responded to the best of my ability. JR

Oh, man!!! I can feel the venom from here! This lady is not a happy camper. I questioned her precious report and she can't defend those statements! When people are caught in a situation like this, (as I noted in an earlier post), they either fight or run. I'm guessing she has decided to retreat into the protective custody of outraged indignation.

My question is, could somebody please tell me who these "Most Canadians" are???

If I hear one more unsubstantiated report about "Most Canadians" or "Studies show", I am going to explode!!! And studies show that most Canadians would agree, it would not be a pretty sight.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bloggers Rights?

Wow! Published writer, Adam Daifallah who shared the limelight with me in yesterday's Sun "Best of the Blogs", is somewhat upset that he was not consulted for permission to quote some material, even though due credit was given.

We are now debating the whole situation on his excellent blog.

Personally, I think it's like the Wild West out here in cyberspace, but perhaps there should be some standards of courtesy and law regarding copyright issues, if there aren't already. If MSM wants to quote something from a blog, it would be difficult to get the author's permission if an email address is not provided on the site (of course in this case, Adam's is available on his website).

My favourite radio talkshow host often reads "Letters to the Editor" from the local paper. Should he be making an effort to (a) get the newspaper's permission first and (b) checking with the letter writer as well?

I think if you put stuff out there, be prepared to have it quoted. Copying material and using it as your own is a whole different thing.

Ironically, today's blog spot in the Sun is quoting Norman Spector referring to European media reports about a story on Brigette Bardot. So we have a MSM quoting a blogger quoting MSM, and here I am referring to all of it. I'm getting a headache!

Last December, my letter that the National Post had published about Belinda Stronach, ended up on Norman's blog as his pick for 'Letter of the Day' ("The Politics of Shoes"). I was quite flattered, but only happened across it by accident when I was googling my name (yes, I do that too...) Nobody asked my permission, and that letter was reproduced in its entirety.

What should we do? Form a union and go on strike? Lobby the government for better pay and working conditions?

The first thing I'd better do is contact Adam about referring to his blog!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sun's "Best of the Blogs"!

Wow, I feel like I just won the Stanley Cup or the World Series of the Blogosphere!

The Toronto Sun mentioned my blog today in their Best of the Blogs series (What's Hot and on the Web)!! To be recognized by MSM is amazing. As much as we bloggers criticize television and the press, it's awesome to have this kind of publicity. The Sun is one of my favourite papers, because their sardonic editorial perspective doesn't pull any punches.

The National Post is another must-read, because of solid news coverage and a balance of opinion. They also tend to publish my 'Letters to the Editor' more than any other paper. (One friend remarked that I seem to have a regular column in the Post.)

The Sun, however, is certainly ahead of the pack with their regular blog-recognition site available under Comment. Newspapers that ignore the wealth of opinion in cyberspace will be left in the dust.

Oh, and a little note to G.G. Michaelle Jean: Now you're not the only one who's "Hot".

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Take a Flying Leap, Dalton!

Excuse me while I digress to provincial politics for a moment.

Ontario Premier Dalton McWimpy, oops, sorry, McGuinty is defending his Liberal government's $150,000 grant to study the 'sex lives of flying squirrels'. Apparently this is a global warming issue. Well, yeah, I guess if there are lots of squirrels having sex in a dense area, things could warm up a bit...

Anyway, another study has apparently been funded to investigate why people pay attention to emotionally expressive faces and how negative faces hold attention more than positive ones. That one will cost us $100,000. Seems like a bargain.

Let me tell you something, Dalton. I can save you a lot of money and give you the answer to that last one right now. Negative faces hold attention more than positive ones because when people see an angry face, for example, they have to decide whether to run or fight. Just have a look at the taxpayers in Ontario, Dalton, and you will have an excellent case study to draw from. I would suggest you run far away.

Aw, you're all nuts anyway.

Monday, March 20, 2006

It's Fun to Go to the YWCA

I'm having a little trouble swallowing CTV's report about the YWCA study saying that "Most Canadians would prefer a national day-care program over a federal cash payout". I had so much difficulty that I emailed the Y to get the stats on this 'Study'. To their credit, they sent back a link to an extensive document, Building a Community Architecture. The Y's own press release says: "The results give evidence that Canadian communities want a national child care program. They are willing to invest resources and are committed to its full development." I don't remember anyone asking me about this. I emailed them back to find out how they selected their sample and how many people participated. The study talks about four 'representative' community task forces across Canada. Still waiting for a response to my query. Colour me skeptic, but why do I think that sample was largely comprised of union members?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Tic Tag Toe

Yikes! I guess I've finally made it to the blogger big time, since I've been tagged in a Conservative blog on-line anagram game! Thanks Platty. As I said, way to wreck a great Sunday. I usually catch a few zzzz's around now, but how can I sleep with this on my mind?

Well, if you play around with "Joanne's Journey", you get some interesting combinations, like:

- Jay Joe's Neon Urn: A great way to store your ashes; especially if you're a Toronto ball player.

- An Enjoy Joe's Urn: O.K. Anne, get out of there! That's just sick!

- Jay Joe's Reno Nun: Mexican convent/diner.

- Jay Joe's Nero Nun: Same idea as above, but situated in Rome.

Oh, man this is WAY too fun!! O.K. If I have to pick one, I like "Joanne Jure Nosy", since I tend to get involved where I shouldn't. "Joanne June Rosy" is also cool, since it is an anniversary month here.

Now, how am I supposed to sleep??

So thanks, YakPlattt. And Molarmauler. And ChuckerCanuk. And countless unspecting others yet to be tagged!

Like, how about Prairie Voice for Childcare Choice! And maybe Riley's Political Rant? Lots to work with there.

O.K. Guys, you're IT!

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Parent's Right to Choose

Today I sat down at the computer, and checked out my usual fav sites to get plugged into the world via MSM and the blogosphere. Dave's Plattytalk alerted me to a special day of blog focus on Child Care at Sara's Choice for Childcare. BTW, Sara, I love the blog format you chose. ;)

This issue is near to my heart as well, because my husband and I had once made that difficult decision to only have one of us in the work force while the other stayed home. Together we raised two terrific children who grew up to be productive members of society and who now give generously of themselves. We made a lot of sacrifices to do this, but the rewards were awesome!

However, we could have used a little financial assistance and emotional support along the way. Sara is quite right that society tends to look down on women who make this choice to stay home. It is indeed discriminatory to be only helping certain types of mothers. Equal access means equality for all parents; whether out in the work force or at home.

We are all molding the next generation, and that is a daunting task. The aging Boomer generation is going to be relying on youth to bolster our country's economy with solid fiscal and social contributions. We also need to give those kids good values so they won't become trapped in lives of addiction to drugs, pornography or other forms of crime and self-gratification.

Nurturing good future citizens involves more than just parking them at a state-run propaganda-spewing institution. It's in all our best interests to support Stephen Harper in his $1200 a year Child Care strategy.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Commercials You Love to Hate

In honour of the recent termination of the Canadian Tire Couple, I would like to ask what are everyone's most hated commercials?

Certainly that bearded guy was a bit much to take, but his know-it-all wife was way worse. Well, no more having to listen to those two tell us what to buy the whole year long.

Radio commercials seem to be particularly annoying. I guess it's because they have to rely on the audio factor alone, but will someone please explain to me how loud, screaming unintelligible noises are supposed to lure me into buying something when in actual fact, I race to the radio to turn the darn thing off? Somehow that seems counter-productive to what I assume they are trying to achieve.

My most hated T.V. commercial is the "Hands in your pocket" one. This thing is loathsome beyond belief. First of all, how can this guy keep up with all those people he's running after, and still keep his hand in their pockets? Secondly, why is he always putting his hand in guys' pockets only; never a woman's?

I think in the interest of equal rights we should have a woman running after other women putting her hand in their purses or whatever she can grab onto.

Let's throw a few transgendered and transsexuals in there too! We're a diverse community! Equality for all!

Excuse me while I change the channel.

Bloggers Anonymous

Blogging is a curious addiction. You write because it's as much a part of your life as eating and sleeping. Blogging however, allows you to write and perhaps even have someone read your thoughts. If you're very lucky, they may even post a comment, and usually it is complimentary.

Once you start blogging, you begin to look at others' creations. It's kinda like an artist going to another painter's exhibition. But there are a lot of blogs out there! Almost too many.

However, I have stumbled across a few favourites, and here they are. I'm sure I'll be adding to this list over the next little while:

Riley's Political Rant is an excellent political site by Riley Hennessey, a Dalhousie Masters student. His thoughts are well-expressed and from a very objective and philosophical perspective. I look forward to reading more.

At Home In Hespeler is a cute site by a Dad who seems perplexed by his family's antics. Brian hails not far from my home town in Southern Ontario. He also waxed poetic on the art of blogging, and how gratifying it is to have an audience.

I love Plattytalk, although some of Dave's visitors are a bit, shall I say, animated? He should be posting a warning. PG13 at least. But I guess out there in Alberta, it's probably a bit more rough and tumble than here. I hear they have cowboys out there. Then again, that doesn't mean anything these days, does it? Dave's comments are great though. The thing I like the most is that if he gets angry, he does something about it! He writes letters to M.P.'s!! (I used to do that, but I think my M.P. has a filter to block out my name from incoming email.) Dave also did a great post called, "I Blog therefore.." He has come up with a mission statement that I think could be used by bloggers everywhere.

Well, those are three good ones. I need to find one in B.C., and one up in the Arctic somewhere. Then I'll have representation from sea to sea to melting glacier field.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Misinformation Knows No Border

Wonderful letter in today's National Post regarding the Afghanistan debate. A cool counter to the leftist head-in-the-sand approach:

National Post

Friday, March 10, 2006

Re: Readers Debate Afghanistan Role, letters to the editor, March 8.

How fascinating. When it comes to the war on terror, Canadians aren't as different from Americans as they think. Reading these letters, I was struck by how similar -- and misguided -- many of the arguments are.

I am a United States Marine and I've heard the same arguments down here: "Support our troops, bring them home now, keep them out of harm's way," etc. Such logic is absurd. The men and women of Canada's Armed Forces are all adults and volunteers. And guess what: They know that serving in the military is inherently dangerous. They choose to do it anyway. Claiming that they're too valuable to send into a combat zone diminishes the choice they themselves made.

Those serving in Afghanistan believe that bringing hope to such countries is worth the sacrifice of their own well-being. Don't act as if they were somehow duped into joining a dangerous organization and require protection from the leaders that duped them. Be proud that your country still has citizens who understand that military service entails risk, hardship, violence and death, and think it a small price to pay for making this world a better place.

1st Lieutenant Ian Brown, United States Marine Corps, Jacksonville, N.C.
© National Post 2006

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Liberal Ethics 101

Liberals have a very curious way of viewing the world - If it's good for the party, then it's good for Canada.

Ethics Commissioner Bernard Shapiro is launching an investigation into the floor crossing of David Emerson. He never worried that Belinda Stronach did the same thing. But of course, Belinda is Liberal. Oh yeah, and Liberal Tony Valeri had some kind of questionable land-deal thing going on, but Mr. Shapiro said he couldn't touch that because it was between house sessions (never mind that the house isn't sitting right now either.)

Then there's Liberal M.P. Scott Brison, who not only is a floor-crosser, but also apparently sent a rather suspicious email to a friend at the C.I.B.C. just before the Goodale announcement on Income Trust.

According to the CBC, Mr. Brison said he wrote, "I think you will be happier very soon ... this week probably," after the bank employee complained to him about the state of the stock market. (Sounds like a fortune cookie, doesn't it?)

But Scott maintains he didn't actually know anything; it was just speculation. Of course, this is one of many such little incidents where Liberal insiders voiced 'pure conjecture' in a vocal manner to selected friends and colleagues, who coincidentally managed to reap huge profits when the Income Trust announcements were officially made public.

So Mr. Brison just felt that he should now do the honourable and transparent thing by publicly airing this tidbit. Never mind that he originally made various denials.

Yes, Mr. Brison says he wants all this out in the open because of course he is considering running for the Liberal leadership, and obviously integrity and honesty is paramount in a leader who could one day become Prime Minister.

Why isn't Mr. Shapiro investigating Scott Brison? Oh, yeah, because Scott is a Liberal. Another reason may be that Bernard Shapiro is simply incompetent.

And just like David Dingwall, if we want to get rid of Shapiro we have to fire him and pay a huge severance penalty. And so even with a new government, the old trappings still hang on.

Update: According to CTV, Bernard Shapiro is hanging on for all he's worth (which could be a lot by the time he's done this stint).

You know, come to think of it, maybe we should give Bernie some credit. After all, if he gets fired, he gets a huge severance, and the government looks bad for trying to pre-empt an investigation. He's got nothing to lose by being as obnoxious and annoying as possible. Gotta give the guy credit. He's no dummy after all. Not very ethical, but smart.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Live and Let Die?

I used to be a Beatles fan. I have even spent copious amounts of money on Paul McCartney CD's, DVD's and two concerts. No more.

While watching Larry King last night where Sir Paul and his Lady bashed Canada's seal hunt with misinformation and archaic footage of clubbing methods from decades ago, I became enraged with their sanctimonious pontificating and how they constantly interrupted Newfoundland Premier Danny Williams. And by the way, folks, eye-rolling is very pre-teen. Danny Williams, by contrast, was extremely articulate and dignified while he patiently explained how the McCartneys were being used by various animal rights organizations, and how they were basically uninformed about Canada's side of the story.

And Larry, it is pronounced NEW-fund-land; not New-FIN-Land!!!! Get it right.

And Sir Paul, you were in a studio in PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND; not Newfoundland, as Premier Williams pointed out. Learn your geography people, before you stick your noses in Canada's business!!

I think those baby seals are cute too, but so are baby humans and we have an open season on them in Canada right up until the moment of birth.

As I said in Friday's National Post, Sir Paul and his wife should be paying attention to that slaughter:

Ignoring abortion

National Post

Re: The Issue Harper Can't Ignore, Father Raymond de Souza, March 2.

Father de Souza's critique of Canada's "no restriction on taxpayer-funded abortion at any time during gestation" policy rightly points out that it is probably the most lenient in the world.

Placing some restrictions on access to abortion, or public funding of it, or both, would help stem our declining population in this country and shore up health care in other areas. But quite aside from that, the fact remains that many people see abortion as an unconscionable attack on human life. People like Sir Paul McCartney should at least be paying as much attention to this slaughter as he does to that of baby seals.

So, Sir Paul, unless you're prepared to take up a real cause, "Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged"!!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Is Mexico Still in Your Travel Plans?

The controversy surrounding the recent murders of the Canadian couple in Mexico how seems to be centering on Quintana Roo Attorney General Rodriguez Carrillo, who has not exactly had a pristine background. Today's Toronto Star outlines a sordid past of questionable and 'improper' actions, including the hoarding of recovered looted items from Hurricane Wilma. Rodriguez had also headed up the murder investigation of the Spanish/Italian couple near the Mayan ruins at Tulum at the southern tip of the Yucatan. According to reports, that case too had strange anomalies. (Whew! I always have trouble saying that word. Typing is much easier).

Anyway, a Kitchener family was staying at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort during the time when the Woodridge couple was murdered there. Michael Milloy said they only found out about the murder by reading Canadian news reports on the Internet, according to this morning's Record. Contrary to the official line by Mexican authorities that everyone had been questioned and the resort sealed off, Milloy said nobody mentioned the horrible event to them. In fact, life went on as if nothing had happened. This observation has been confirmed by other tourists there at the time.

The Star website features an interesting link to comments by various Canadians regarding outrageous affair. Some people are adverse to ever travelling there again and others don't see it as a problem. One thing for sure - the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort will no doubt be offering bargain rates for months to come.

The question is, what is the 'tipping point' where the lure of a great vacation bargain can overcome your concern for personal safety? Comments are welcome.