Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Welcome to the Occupation

It might seem like a relief for Canada's soldiers in Afghanistan that the US Marines are sending a contingent to southern Afghanistan. Except that the Marines have an agenda of their own there:
"General Dan McNeill, the U.S. Army officer who currently commands the 40-nation NATO coalition fighting in Afghanistan, said in an interview that he hopes Canada and other nations will adopt U.S.-style tactics and doctrines, including lengthier deployments for soldiers, harder-line opium-poppy-eradication strategies and the use of military forces in reconstruction and humanitarian work."
Lengthier deployments? I don't imagine a lot of our soldiers are clamouring for that. And poppy eradication? When are those drug war ideologues in the US military and government going to realize that nothing makes a farmer hate them more than the destruction of his livelihood? If you want to fight the Taliban, try to keep the main thing the main thing.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

What happened in Toronto this weekend

A nice summation (HT):

Bob Kinnear, the union boss, has achieved the unique feat of being hated by his members, the city at large, and every major political party in the province. Way to go, Bob.

Friday, April 25, 2008


It turns out that the TTC unions have turned down their deal and will strike as of midnight. Says the Star:
"Unionized transit workers were notified by electronic voice mail late Friday evening that they were not to report for their shifts effective at midnight."
That should make Monday morning interesting for me if something isn't done.

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Robots vs. The Homeless

Some frustrated bar owner in Atlanta has built a remote-controlled robot to chase away homeless people and others he deems troublemakers. If you read the article it turns out he did this after the police told him he couldn't walk around with an assault rifle to protect the dive bar he bought a number of years ago.

Question: what did he expect when he bought a dive bar?

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

How to kill any recruiting drive

Some on the right in the US, in the midst of saying they want to support the troops, are also trying to restrict their access to, ahem, adult magazines. Give me a break.


The Rational Perfection of the Free Market

Nah, it's all testosterone. At least in securities trading they say. So does this mean we have to start testing traders for steroids? I can just imagine all these guys on Bay St. getting needles in their backsides so they can make some hot deals.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bernier the Bumbling Imperialist

According to an article in The Toronto Star, the Afghans were going to can the governor of Kandahar until Maxime Bernier opened his big mouth. Aside from our general maltreatment of First Nations, Canada has never really chosen to act as an imperial power. If we can't handle this sort of delicate manipulation of the local scene, that's one more reason we shouldn't be wasting blood and treasure in Afghanistan.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Dodging (Transit) Bullets

No TTC strike this morning. Lucky. Yesterday I put slick tires on my old mountain bike to make it a bit more ridable should I need it as a commuter. (An aside: Actually I should have done this some time ago as I just don't do a lot of trail riding. There's really no good reason not to use this bike around town.)

Should we make the TTC an essential service? On the plus side for commuters, it would mean no more strikes. That said, binding arbitration is usually more expensive. Yes this could be a good deal for the TTC's workers, but it may mean that we have less money to expand service et cetera. Moreover, I do not know that the TTC is an essential service per se. It's massively inconvenient not to have it, but teacher strikes, garbage worker strikes, and others are also massively inconvenient.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Useless Idiot

This is too funny! I really cannot get over quite how stupid Charles McVety really is. I mean there are activists who are grandstanding, brash, in-your-face, what have you - and yes they come off as idiots, but they make their point. Every time I've seen McVety try to make a point, he usually actually undermines it. His attempt to engage Richard Dawkins is more embarrassing, but this was still pretty bad.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Attacks up in Afghanistan

Can we set aside the nostrum that this means that the insurgency is in its "last throes" and accept that it's a bad thing for Afghanistan and for our troops there.

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Beijing's Downward Spiral

British PM Gordon Brown is now saying that he will stay away from the opening ceremonies. The reality is that it appears that this event will be a public-relations fiasco for the Chinese government.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Alternatives to an Olympic Boycott

I have no idea if this would work, but it would absolutely send a message if it did. What if, for the duration of the Olympics, Canada legally changed its flag to incorporate the flag of Tibet (maybe put it in a corner). All our athletes would wear this, every time we won a medal everyone would see it. We could even get other countries in on this. It doesn't punish our athletes like a boycott would either.

Just one idea...

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Punish the Victim

This story is astonishing - a women has been jailed to ensure she testifies against her (allegedly) abusive boyfriend. Compounding the irony, one of the charges against her boyfriend is forcible confinement!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Picking Sides

I've sort of been quiet around here for the last little while, I'm wondering whether it's time to pick a side. I like this non-partisan thing, I really do - I never have to justify some stupid thing said by a party official or cringe over one or another aspects of a party's platform that I don't really like. But maybe I'm giving up too easily as well. I get to complain but I don't know if I'm good for much else. More on this to come...