29 September 2006

Five Things Feminism Has Taught Me

In case you don't know, there is a "tag" thread going around in response to the Harper government's decision to cut funding for, inter alia, projects such as the Status of Women Canada. The concept behind it is:
"A new tag game about “five things feminism has done for me” is going around the net. The purpose of the game is to raise awareness against federal conserative efforts of eliminating the status of women commission."
I had a feeling this would make its way to me eventually, and I'm glad it has because I was doing some preemptive thinking on the subject.

1. It has allowed me to more fully understand where my girlfriend is coming from on a lot of the topics we have discussed, both within and without our relationship. This has allowed our relationship to grow deeper and stronger than I could have ever imagined. Feminism plays a major role in our lives, covering everything from what we watch (and what we don't watch) on TV, where we go to enjoy ourselves (hint: not the bar), the things we talk about, and the way we tackle things together.

2. It has opened my eyes to the negative effects that certain of my past behaviours have had on myself and the people around me. I've grown up and matured considerably because of feminism. Interesting note: I put on AC/DC's Back In Black album today and actually ended up taking it out in disgust after listening to "Give the Dog a Bone." It's been quite a while since I've given any AC/DC a listen, and it may turn out to be a while until I do it again. Because of feminism and the large amount of feminist literature I've consumed, I am regularly thinking of ways in which I, as a man, can help the feminist cause and improve conditions in our society. That was the impetus behind the paper I wrote and sent to the Minister of Justice. It's why I from time to time talk to other guys and confront them about their misogyny. I've found that quite often people are not truly thinking about their actions and thus not taking into consideration the consequences. An issue such as pornography is one that I've spent considerable time railing against other guys for, either because of their active use in it or their laissez-faire attitude towards something that greatly harms women, not only the actual women in pornography but the women in the day-to-day lives of the men who are consuming it. Tasha & I were discussing last night the twin problems of ignorance and stupidity when it comes to a lot of feminist issues. People largely don't know or don't think about how pornography comes to be, and I've heard the tired line so many times that "oh they choose to do it!" that it really infuriates me, because those who use porn and rely on that defence are displaying either ignorance or a lack of compassion for their fellow people. For these people, their instant gratification is on such a high pedestal that all other considerations simply fade away. Feminism has taught me how to be more other-regarding and led me to try to help others to see the deleterious effects of their selfish actions.

3. Feminism has taught me that there are a very large number of men who will go to great lengths to "put women in their place" and deliberately hold them down from achieving and honestly celebrating their true potential. All one needs to do is look at the way Playboy "celebrates" the achievements of Olympic athletes, businesswomen, and other women by reducing them to naked pieces of flesh to be ogled and then discarded. I have much contempt for Hefner for creating a fantasy world that far too many men buy into without the slightest thought for the consquences.

4. Feminism has taught me that there are a large number of women who, through a combination of their own experiences and those of other women, believe that they are somehow held as less valuable to men unless they conform to the Hefnerized "ideal woman." Feminism has also taught me about how men exert undue pressure on women to conform. The manner in which truly exceptional radical feminists are gathering and "outing" this day-to-day oppression is an amazing sight to behold. Visit sites such as Genderberg, One Angry Girl, Den of the Biting Beaver, and so many others, and you will see that women see through the bullshit societal construct that has been erected and are actively putting out the word pertaining to how to bring it down and make our society a little more equal and just.

5. Lastly, feminism has taught me more about compassion. Feminism has been manipulated and abused by both men and women to make it either more demonized or more acceptable to men. A case in point of this would be the show Sex and the City, or the manner in which the word "empowerment" is so horribly misused by women with privelige who are working in "industries" in which the overwhelming majority of their peers do not even come close to that level. The objective of actual feminists, not the pseudo-feminists in the Pussycat Dolls videos or Carrie Bradshaw, is very simple: to be treated as equal human beings. That means, among many other things: being able to go out at night without the fear of being raped; being able to stand in line at the grocery store without some random guy visually undressing them and thinking of all the things he wants to do to them; being paid the same amount for the same job as a man; not being held to any number of double standards; not having to work twice as hard to get the same recognition and credibility; being taken seriously as a person despite having breasts; and, being loved for the person that they are, not what they look like. When you think about it, these are all very common-sense ideas that, let's face it, should not have to be issues in a country such as Canada in the 21st century. For all of our claims of progress over the past two centuries, clearly we still have a long way to go when it comes to the very basic essential manners which we demonstrate towards one another. Feminism has helped me to care about not just the woman (and women) in my life, but about all women. When I hear that 1 in 2 women in Canada will at some point in their lives be the victims of violence at the hands of men (a stat that comes from Status of Women Canada), it makes me truly sad and wonder how we--meaning, men--can be so cruel towards people that we claim to love and respect. It makes me want to make a difference.

And that's my answers.

27 September 2006

Oh, Snap!

Harper came out with a zinger on his predecessor today, reminding us all of the "Mr. Dithers" persona that Martin became known for during his short tenure as PM. Martin made a comment about the Afghanistan mission that Harper took exception to, and Harper said that Martin was unable to stick to his guns and accept responsibility for decisions made on his watch.

"The fact that Mr. Martin is unable to do that, in this and so many other cases, illustrates why he is no longer prime minister of our country."

Ouch, man. Ouch. Why not go to Lasalle-Emard after the trip to Romania and actually rub some salt in Martin's eyes too?

H/T to Jason Bo Green for this one.

Paint It, Black
It's Only Rock and Roll
Oh No Not You Again
Let's Spend The Night Together
Monkey Man
Streets Of Love
Tumblin' Dice
You Got The Silver
Little T&A
Miss You
Rough Justice
Start Me Up
Honky Tonk Woman
Sympathy for the Devil
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Brown Sugar
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction

This is what I was treated to on Saturday night when the Rolling Stones came to Halifax. Tash & I broke down on show day and bought some tickets (thanks are in order to Tash's mom for helping out!) that allowed us to avoid Kanye West (though if you pop over to YouTube you can find a video of me giving my appraisal of his little act...search for Kanye West sucks) and keep out of a good chunk of the rain. It poured pretty much all afternoon and only let up a little bit for the Stones.
They were only on stage for about an hour and forty minutes, blazing through the 18-song setlist that was largely a greatest hits selection. That's entirely appropriate for a city getting its first Stones treatment, and since I was about the only person in my section singing along with the new ones (I absolutely love Streets of Love, and Rough Justice is pure rock & roll), I don't think too many people complained about the lack of songs from deep in the catalogue. I was hoping for Street Fighting Man or Don't Stop, but as the song goes, you can't always get what you want (note: they were scheduled to play that very song, but ended up not doing so...Tash thinks it's because she hates it and somehow gave off the vibe that convinced them to drop it).
In terms of sheer production and visual presentation, this is the biggest show I've ever seen live. The massive video screen and 8.5-storey stage are truly a sight to behold; living across the street from the Commons, I got to see them build it over the course of a week and then tear it down in the period of two days. They used it to full effect as well, throwing in a giant inflatable tongue during Honky Tonk Woman and, in the visual highlight of the show, giving Halifax a glimpse of hell with Sympathy for the Devil. Red flashing lights, smoke, and giants plumes of fire from the top of the stage. We've got video of that, as well as the opener, one of my favourites, Paint It, Black.
The performance itself was limited somewhat by the rain. Mick moved around a fair deal on the carpets laid down at the front of the stage, but didn't venture out of that area too often. He sure does still move though. Keith mucked up a few times, but you could see that the old curmudgeon was having a blast out on the B-stage during Start Me Up.

Ronnie Wood is a consumnate performer, even throwing on a sou'wester at one point while doing a great job in the rain. Charlie Watts stayed pretty dry and looked to be truly enjoying himself. The Stones haven't been known for being a tight group of performers for quite a while; it's expected that they're going to make some mistakes, and indeed it's part of the charm.
I've always wanted to see the Stones live. I've loved their music for a long time, having grown up listening to them because of the folks. This is the only act that I've seen that my parents have as well, which is pretty cool to think about in terms of longevity and broad appeal. I don't have a life list or anything like that, but if I did, this would be on it. I would recommend to anybody that hasn't yet seen the Rolling Stones to take hold of the chance before it's too late. Yeah it's pricey and they may not be what they used to be, but they're still better than 95% of the bands out there that are a third of their age, and definitely give you a "bigger bang" for your buck. It's only rock & roll, but I LOVE IT!!!!

23 September 2006

Harper at the UN

This has been a rather long and draining week, and with the new job I haven't had a whole lot of time for blogging on the issues of the day, so discussions have been slow in coming the past while. But I would be very remiss if I didn't discuss Harper's address to the UN on Thursday. I didn't see the speech, but I'm on the PM's mailing list so I got the full transcript, and that probably puts me in a pretty decent position to comment on it. Sure I didn't get the gestures or dramatic pauses, but I got the words, and that's ultimately what matters.

This was a very good speech by a world leader to a (rather small) global audience, and it sends a message that Canada intends to play a strong role in the 21st century to defend its principles and seek the expansion of the sphere of universal values such as human rights, the rule of law, and liberal democracy. I would like to highlight some of the key points in this speech that deserve due attention:

Our responsibilities in this organization are as varied as they are
important and I cannot mention them all or do each the justice it deserves. Nor can Canada be effective by diffusing our efforts across all of these matters. We must focus our considerable but limited resources where we can make a real difference.

This led to a discussion of Afghanistan, the single greatest commitment of Canada in the world since the Korean War. Harper framed our participation in the effort to transform Afghanistan into a civil society that is based on laws and rules, human rights (particularly those for women), and free of terrorism, not on the grounds of a Canadian interest but in the context of a global interest. The world, through multilateral organizations such as the UN and NATO, has stated that terrorism is a direct attack on the values cherished by states, and Canada is taking a leading role in a concerted response to terrorism and its sources. Harper astutely pointed out that the military alone will not pacify Afghanistan; rather, it will require the continued efforts of "educators, engineers, elections advisors; direct aid and technical assistance" for a prolonged period of time. People too readily ignore the past quarter-century of Afghanistan's history when they complain about how long and how uneven the progress in Afghanistan has been. Rebuilding shattered societies takes considerable time, far more than tearing them down.

He also said:

We are therefore acutely aware that the United Nations' job in Afghanistan is not done. We have no illusions about the difficulties that still lie before us. Difficulties don't daunt us. But lack of common purpose and will in this body would. After all, if we fail the Afghan people, we will be failing ourselves. For this is the United Nations strongest mission and, therefore, our greatest test. Our collective will and credibility are being judged. We cannot afford to fail. We will succeed.

This determination and resolve is admirable, as is Harper's commitment to the United Nations. For anybody who regularly accuses the Prime Minister of being a neoconservative, this should stick out like a sore thumb as to why you are wrong. Neo-cons/democratic globalists & realists/traditional realists tend to be skeptical of the utility of international organizations, particularly the UN. It's interesting that he uses similar language to that used by Bush in his 2002 UN Address to frame Iraq as the UN's great test. We know how that turned out, and those of us who are actual democratic globalists have thrown up our hands in the air and all but given up on the UN (and some, myself included, have gone to the next step and advocated for the full-scale overhaul of formal multilateralism to meet the challenges of the 21st century); Harper, meanwhile, remains optimistic, if a little wary.

Following the Afghanistan discussion, he ticked off the laundry list of other challenges before the UN: Darfur, Haiti, UN reform, the doomed-to-fail Human Rights Council, and an oblique reference to the UN's ongoing failure to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons ("Will we act to halt activities that have no reasonable purpose other than the acquisition of nuclear weapons?"). Given the parameters of a 15-minute address and the importance of the Afghan mission, this can easily be understood. I really would have liked it if he'd picked up the Responsibility to Protect gauntlet and thrown that down with more authority. It's a Canadian notion, partly developed by none other than Michael Ignatieff, and something that we should be incredibly proud of and advocating on a regular basis. I've read it, I even understand it, and I support it. But we need to start promoting it and get it a first test. Darfur should be that test, and we've dawdled on this for far too long.

All told, I found Harper's Inaugural UN Address to be a solid one. It could have been better in some areas and gone into greater detail on some of the non-military aspects of the Afghan mission, because these non-headline grabbers tend to be areas in which the UN shines but also because it's an area where Canada shines. Highlighting our role within the context of a greater global initiative serves both Canada and the UN, giving both some much-needed credibility. Canada still has a long way to go before our Prime Minister can pack the GA like the US or Britain, but Harper's speech on Thursday is a good step in the right direction.

19 September 2006

Get Your Clean Air Act Together!

While waiting for the bus to take me home after my first day of work (a temp data entry job), I noticed something today which I hadn't before: the people of Halifax, by and large, do not carpool. I saw an awful lot of single-occupied vehicles during the afternoon rush hour (and a bit...and don't get me started on the number of people on cellphones). If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that about 75-80% of the vehicles travelling today had only one person in them. That's not good. Lot of big trucks, SUVs, and vans included in there too. Also not good.

If the Canadian Government wants to tackle pollution, I invite them to start right here in Halifax, because it was a pretty nasty sight out there today.

18 September 2006

Politics Nerds Rejoice!

For today is a good day, a day in which Parliament resumes and we get to watch our favourite cast of characters pantomime outrage, despair, and accomplishment. The fate of the softwood bill, Canada's role in Afghanistan, the future of Canada's environmental policy, the Accountability Act languishing in the Senate, the proposal to revamp the Senate, wait-times guarantees, re-opening the SSM debate, and much, much more are all HANGING IN THE BALANCE in what promises to be THE MOST IMPORTANT SESSION OF PARLIAMENT IN CANADA'S HISTORY.

In other news, I get to write some government tests on the morning of my convocation. Fun!

I spilled my coffee all over myself this morning and ever since I've smelled like a double-double. I think it's kind of appealing, and it gives me a marketing idea for Tim Horton's. Hey, if Gustavo Chacin can have his own fragrance, surely a national treasure and icon can have an eau de cafe can it not?

Also, it's a real treat to watch the original versions of Star Wars again. After ten years of Lucas's tinkering, seeing Han shoot first, stop-motion space battles, and Luke telling R2-D2 that he doesn't taste very good has been a real treat. I love the Special Editions and the 2004 DVD Editions, don't get me wrong, but nostalgia holds a special place in my heart.

Lastly, construction on the Stones' stage has begun. Judging the amount of trucks & materials already covering the far end (grrr) of the Commons, this is gonna be one HUUUUUGE show.

16 September 2006

Leave Realism to the Realists

Excellent column by George Jonas in today's National Post explaining America's foreign policy motivations. It echoes something I've extensively argued and written about, discussing why the US went into Iraq in 1990 and 2003. An excerpt:
Nations can pursue two types of policies. One is customarily identified as realpolitik, the cold, calculating, Machiavellian pursuit of what is perceived to be in the national interest. I’ll use the term moralpolitik for a committed pursuit of what a nation perceives to be right, and argue that in the past 16 years America’s policies in the Persian Gulf have been motivated by moralpolitik. The tenets of realpolitik would have called for the U.S. to twiddle its mighty thumbs when Saddam invaded Kuwait and started menacing Saudi

Jonas focuses a good deal on Bush Senior's decision-making in 1990, but he does make the error of ignoring Bush 41's own realism (Bush's admission of a shortcoming in "the vision thing" department highlights this). He had calculated that Saddam would have used Kuwait's oil as a tool of extortion against the West, raising the price drastically to put on the squeeze. So there was indeed some calculation of the national interest involved.

However, as is typical of "the nation with a soul of a church," realism only went so far in America's Iraq policy. Ultimately, when George W. Bush threw down the gauntlet at Saddam, he was doing so on the grounds of democracy promotion and changing America's Middle East policy to support the region's democrats and end the support for those who contribute to the region's worst pathologies. In the end, then, Jonas's awkward "moralpolitik" label for American foreign policy is simply a euphemism for democratic globalism, often erroneously called neoconservatism by those who subscribe to caricatures of international relations instead of actual international relations.

13 September 2006

Why Afghanistan Matters

I mentioned yesterday that I was disappointed with Harper's 9/11 address as it pertained to his "case" for Canadian participation in Afghanistan. With support for the mission doing more ebbing than flowing and many Canadians wondering why we're there, the need to get the message out is more important than it has been in the past. Because the left is so often given a podium to espouse myths of Canada's history and deny our true heritage while calling for the troops to come home, Canadians are confused on Afghanistan and do not truly understand the centrality of this mission to winning the Global War on Terror and establishing Canada as a player in the 21st century global stage. With that in mind, this is why Canada should and must honour its commitments:
  • Canada's legitimacy is at stake
  • The 3D approach is a perfect fit for Afghanistan
  • Multilateralism and the American Goliath
  • The success of democracy in Afghanistan will be a blow to the terrorists and their non-democratic state sponsors

If Canada were to withdraw from Afghanistan, we would squander all credibility in the international community because we would deliver the message that we do not honour our commitments. The Government has pledged the Canadian Forces to Afghanistan until February 2009, a decision supported by the majority will of Parliament. One of our great strengths is that our word counts for something: a bilateral or multilateral treaty with Canada's signature has meaning, unlike a deal with North Korea, which is not worth the paper it's printed on. To precipitiously withdraw would leave our NATO allies in disarray because they have plans in place that are contingent upon a strong Canadian participation. NATO is already facing shortages of boots on the ground, we should not compound that difficulty. Other states would be wary of making deals with us on security-related issues, having to factor into consideration that we may well abrogate a deal if domestic opinion is blowing the wrong way. That is not the message a country with as proud a legacy as Canada should send.

The 2005 IPS document, A Role of Pride and Influence in the World, puts forward a 3D approach--defence, diplomacy, and development--that is so tailor-made for Afghanistan one wonders if it was written with Afghanistan in mind. Defence and security are at the core of this approach; without people in place to ensure security, schools cannot be protected, crowded marketplaces cannot be protected, political leaders in Afghanistan cannot be protected. Education, the economy, and a stable democracy are three pillars of the future structure of Afghanistan. We have a tremendous capability to build bridges (literal and figurative) with other states, and the PRT in Kandahar is doing both with exceptional results. Canada has helped to rout the Taliban and al Qaeda symbiote that contributed to the devastation of Afghanistan's civil society, and we are playing a valuable role in rebuilding it. Children are in schools, women are no longer stoned to death in stadiums built for playing soccer, and democratic institutions are taking shape. Countering terrorism, stabilizing failed states, and bringing democracy are three pillars of the current structure of Canadian foreign policy; Afghanistan is the test of our Weltanschuung.

Multilateralism is a crucial feature of Canadian foreign policy. We like to work with allies to develop solutions and effect positive change to less-fortunate places of the world. We have no better partner, no stronger friend than the United States, with whom our future is inextricably linked. Currently the United States is the dominant power in a unipolar system. Yet rather than using that preponderance to expand empire or thwart the aspirations of potential challengers, America is dedicated to expanding the influence of its ideals and fulfilling the aspirations of people currently deprived of liberty, democracy, and human rights. When Canada adds its voice to that of America, by itself or in conjunction with NATO allies and the broader international community, America is comforted by the strength of its message and reassured by its friends. If we--America's immediate neighbour and thus crucial ally--withdraw our support and diminish the importance of NATO and multilateralism, the United States will be forced to act alone to achieve its strategic objectives. Despite all of its power, America needs allies to do the things that the American military is not meant to do and to help the military meet the challenges that they are meant to do. We share many of the same objectives as the United States, and thus we should be assisting it in achieving those objectives.

Finally, if Afghanistan fails, so too does our paradigm, which includes 3D, the Responsibility to Protect, nation-building, and defeating terrorism and tyranny in the world. The terrorists and the Taliban will once again use enclaves in Afghanistan to plan their assault on liberty and human dignity. Simply put, the success of democracy in other lands affects Canada's security in the world. The West will be humbled, al Qaeda will be emboldened, and Middle Eastern dictators will rest comfortably, having been given a new lease on life to deny their citizens of their aspirations and rule absolutely and indefinitely. We have come a long way in the last five years. The work has been difficult, and more than two dozen brave and honourable Canadians have lost their lives. It is a true symbol of how far we have come that each loss is mourned, a far cry from decades ago when young men were sent to be killed en masse for a few hundred yards of hillside in the killing fields of Europe. Only democracies hold such high regard for humanity and life. The Taliban do not share our compassion; we know this because we have seen what happens to women, children, and men who do not subscribe to their ideology when the Taliban hold power. If the democratic experiment fails in Afghanistan, subsequent to our withdrawal, we will be complicit in its failure because we did not live up to our responsibility to: protect people from humanitarian disaster; deny terrorists and irresponsible state actors; respect basic human rights and build lives of freedom; to build, through CIDA, programs that allow people to develop their own economies; and, the future through encouraging global public goods and sustainable development. The Canada that I know and love would not abrogate these responsibilities and leave the fate of the Afghan people, who have suffered so much already because of our unwillingness to intervene prior to 9/11, filled with uncertainty other than this: it would be nasty, brutish, and short. We must adhere to our commitments, not only because it is in our interests, but more importantly, because it is the right thing to do.

12 September 2006

Every now and again I'll spend a morning agonizing, "Why does this day ring a bell for me?" Yesterday needs no introduction, but 9/12 also has its little niche in history, and it took me a couple hours to remember why. Then it hit me: today, four years ago, GWB threw down the gauntlet at the UN to live up to its declarations on Iraq. The UN, of course, failed to pick it up.

That little tidbit aside, it's hectic times in these parts. I caught a glimpse of Condi Rice from a distance of a couple hundred feet yesterday, managed to avoid any imperial outbursts vis-a-vis the ignorant protesters here in Halifax, had a job interview, and dished out advice to my younger sister who is having a helluva time right now. It's too bad *she* can't be coming out for the visit too, as an escape from BC seems very needed.

What is less hectic is the turnaround time on two book fronts. I've been waiting for more than two weeks after the "expected delivery date" for Ralph Peters' New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy (everybody needs some light reading sometimes), and it turns out that I won't be getting my hard-bound thesis back until late November or even early December. That's a long wait for such an important piece of my personal history. Better late than never, I suppose.

I was disappointed with Harper's speech last night; too short, too vague, and too soft on explaining why we fight. I know that he's better than that, which probably only feeds my disappointment. Also, if anybody watched the Mackay/Rice stuff this morning, did you also get the feel that Mackay's speech was like a student delivering a report to his professor?

11 September 2006

Five Years Later

The words I wrote on this blog two years ago still ring true, and I feel them even more profoundly today. I have very little to add to them, and thus I'll reprint them and add a couple brief comments at the end.

My morning on September 11, 2001, began much like any other person's day. I woke up, had a shower, and started getting ready for school. At 7:20am, my day, my life, and the world as I knew it changed forever. After my aunt answered the phone and came rushing into my room to tell me to turn on the news, I saw it: the smouldering inferno coming out of the second tower of the World Trade Centre. The announcers on CNN immediately filled me in on what was happening: two planes had hit the towers, and it was not an accident. The first tower had come down approximately 20 minutes earlier. At 7:28am, I watched, live, as it happened, the second tower come down.
It was so difficult to process what I was watching. I was horrified at the images flashing before me, and soon CNN began receiving video recordings of the planes actually hitting the World Trade Centre. There were also reports coming in of the Pentagon being struck, and soon there was a split screen of the tragedies unfolding in New York and Washington. It was all too much. I don't know anybody who lost their lives on that day; over the course of the past three years I have to come know people who knew people that did die though. September 11th has affected me profoundly, something that I had no personal connection to other than the loss of my brothers and sisters in humanity. Seeing thousands of people die in an instant, all because they were Americans or people of other nationalities who did not share the same murderous ideology of Osama bin Laden and his followers, was absolutely heart-breaking. Then came the images of Palestinians dancing and celebrating in the streets. CNN and countless other news channels replayed the images of the planes hitting the two towers, the towers smouldering, and finally collapsing. It was an overwhelmingly negative experience and I didn't know how much more I could bear.
But then came the uplifting stories, the stories of New Yorkers banding together, of selfless heroes of the NYPD and FDNY charging into buildings to save people at the expense of their own lives, of thousands of Canadian people taking people from all those diverted flights into their homes, and of a comment made by one Jacques Chirac: "We are all Americans." The civilized world, the world that will not stand for the tactics of terror, hatred, and oppression, united because of September 11th. And then came President Bush's speech from Ground Zero only days after the tragedy. Surrounded by smoke from fires still burning underground, and by the incredibly courageous heroes of 9/11, Bush promised that the people who knocked down the towers would hear from all of us soon.
In that moment, George W. Bush's entire presidency was defined. He would be the man who would lead the world in the new conflict to stamp out terrorism. In that moment, across the Canadian border and on the other side of the continent, he became *my* president. I stood, from my home, with all the people who had gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to mourn the loss of life and demonstrate the unity of the free world against terrorism and tyranny. I sat and mourned for and with everybody who lost their loved ones. I stood for freedom, for liberty, for democracy, for everything that makes Canada, the United States, and all of the free world, great. I still do, and I am forever empowered by the terrible, tragic memories of that horrible day in September 2001. I will not falter in my strength and conviction to make this world a better place for all men and women. I will not weaken in my support for the countries of this world that have taken a stand against terror and against those countries who would seek to utilize the most devastating weapons created by man to destroy innocent life. I believe in the idealism of America, because Canadians hold so many of those same values near and dear to our hearts. The dream of making the world a better place is an irresistible calling, and anybody who embraces that dream has my full and undying support.
It's a beautiful sunny morning here in Halifax today, one that is eerily reminiscent of this day five years ago. I believe everything I said in 2004 and I still stand by my convictions. I haven't faltered, I haven't wavered. I honour the memory of the almost 3000 people who died on this day, and those who have lost their lives since then in the efforts to liberate and re-structure the Middle East from the grip of tyranny and terrorism. They are true heroes, and deserve full recognition and respect. Never forget what this day means or those who we lost.

09 September 2006

*Slaps Head*

Is this truly shocking? Should we be even remotely surprised or consider it newsworthy that the average woman doesn't find it all that appealing when magazines splash half-naked, air-brushed, surgically-enhanced women in their faces? Where does this register on the following scale: "duh" or "no shit, Sherlock"?

08 September 2006

The Secretary is Coming Here?

Anybody have any details on Condi Rice's visit to Halifax on Monday, and more importantly, how can I get there?
Friday Quick Hits
  • WTF. What is wrong with people?
  • Barring any further calamities, I'll be handing in my thesis today.
  • I hope that Tony Blair doesn't get the Chretien treatment on his way out.
  • People with the intelligence and motivation of a bag of hammers should count their blessings that I'm in Halifax when they refer to my sister as "stupid" and make her wish that she doesn't exist.
  • Harper's Senate reform speech is good stuff. I truly hope that he walks the talk and doesn't let it fade away like other PM's do when it comes to reducing Canada's democratic deficit.
  • If I'm trying to fulfill my responsibilities and ask for assistance in meeting them from people at my university, why am I treated as if I'm abdicating my responsibilities?
  • I feel this guy's pain. Time to do something about it.

06 September 2006

Jays Bullpen in Need of Serious Relief

My dislike of Toronto-based sports teams does not extend to the Blue Jays at all. I still remember where I was when they won in 1992 and when Joe Carter hit the World Series winning homer in '93. I don't watch a lot of baseball outside of the playoffs, but I've watched a good number of Jays games this year (when there's nothing else worth watching, which is pretty often) and I do enjoy the team.
On a number of occasions this year I've seen the bullpen cost the team games, collapsing and giving up a lead with the final result being a lopsided loss. Last night, as he so often does, Roy Halladay pitched a gem of a performance, holding the Cleveland Indians to 1 run and 4 hits in 7 innings. The offense even put him in position for his 17th win of the season after taking the lead in the bottom of the 7th. Cue the bullpen. Final result: 7-2 Cleveland.
While there are issues across the spectrum that need to be addressed (i.e. the future of Vernon Wells), I hope that a good portion of the beefed-up payroll for next season is dedicated to getting some middle relief and set-up pitchers. The starting five are decent-to-great, but once they're taken out of the game it's a total crap shoot whether they can make it to the 9th with a lead intact. Offence wins games, but pitching can lose them, and that's happened to the Jays far too many times this season and effectively removed them from the wild card race. The team hasn't even been close to the playoffs (in no small part due to playing in the toughest division in the Majors) since 1993; with only one team left for Canadians to call their own, it's been a long haul for us up here. Get Wells re-signed, but definitely go out and pick up some middle relievers to carry the load after Halladay, Burnett, and Lilly put in their time.

02 September 2006

Post-ed Again!

The following scathing letter appears in today's National Post. Can you tell I'm getting a little fed up with the House of Commons' fourth-party leader getting so much airtime to espouse his wishy-washy rhetoric?

Re: Withdraw From Afghanistan: Layton, Sept. 1.
I wasn’t aware that “Canada’s place in the world” was one of a state that shirks its global multilateral responsibilities and abjures international agreements. Only in the make-believe world of the NDP is negotiation with terrorists, whose sole objective is political violence and undermining nation-building efforts in the Middle East, a good idea that can lead to a comprehensive peace process.
A Canadian foreign policy that reflects Canadian values is one in which we actively participate in multilateral efforts to spread democracy and mitigate the threats posed by terrorists and authoritarian regimes. Afghanistan is the archetypical expression of 21st century efforts to bring peace, security and stability to the world. The NDP fails to comprehend this on nearly every level.
Richard McAdam, Halifax.

01 September 2006

Continuing on a theme from yesterday...

Between Jack Layton wanting Canada to talk to Taliban, and Borys Wrzesnewskyj and Peggy Nash wanting Canada to talk to Hezbollah, are there any other terrorist groups that the Left would like to see included in comprehensive peace talks? Maybe get someone to suggest that we should sit down and have a chat with Osama bin Laden about acquiescing to his demands in order to mollify their grievances.

C'mon people, can we get some serious politicians in office who have at least a basic (I think it really is too much to ask for comprehensive understanding a la Ignatieff, but then look at the stuff that can come out of his mouth) understanding of how terrorists work and why they can't be negotiated with or deterred?