Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/5/2010 (2635 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
NDP beliefs shaken
The NDP local convention was a very sad night. Harvey Smith lost to a new up-and-comer Keith Bellamy. It wasn't the loss itself that was sad. It was the process used to remove Coun. Smith. He had 18 years invested with the NDP. They were productive, serviceable, active years. Coun. Smith was then seen as an encumbrance to the cause. Because he was seen as someone who lost his youth, he was viewed as no longer young, vibrant or useful. I guess they viewed age as a handicap. He was considered too old for the job. My belief in the basic tenets of the NDP powers that be were shaken. I had always seen this party as one that encouraged inclusion not exclusion. I had thought that the party saw everyone as valuable, not just the young and pretty. Being considered old was Coun. Smith's downfall. Ageism rears its ugly head in many circles, but who would have thought a well-respected, seasoned politician would have been discriminated against by those whom he served so well?
So what is the message that this sends to the party members? You're useful as contributors whether you're young or old, but you can only attain a position within the party as long as you have your youth. As long as you present as a picture-perfect news clip, you're in. Of course, this is my opinion and there are others within the party who would say this is the way of the world. Well, yes it is, but I thought the NDP offered a better world.
Do as I say, not...
Wendy Cukier is a professor of information technology management at Ryerson University in Toronto. Regarding Facebook privacy issues in a recent Canadian Press newswire, Cukier stated "I think what we're seeing (at Facebook) is what happens with virtually all technologies." She went on to observe that "After the period of sort of inflated expectations and hype, people start looking more critically... and start to bring their expectations more in line with the reality."
As the Canadian representative of IANSA, and the head of the Coalition for Gun Control, she is also a leading lobbyist. Parliament is now reviewing the usefulness of the gun registry she helped create. Obviously, Cukier understands that re-evaluation is the customer's prerogative. If police used Facebook 13,000 times a day, would we say that was proof Facebook was an effective use of police resources, or should we take a more critical view?
Say no to petroleum!
After witnessing the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it is clear that every earth-conscious person must seek out more earth-friendly fuel sources.
In June of 2008, I submitted a proposal to the Manitoba Round Table for Sustainable Development based on the work of Harold Bate. It contained detailed instructions on how we could mass-produce a gasoline substitute by using high-speed composters. These composters produce methane from a mixture of straw and livestock manure.
Compared to a combustion rate of about 27 per cent for gasoline, over 97 per cent of methane is consumed by the same engine that has a propane/methane converter. The production cost for this clean-burning, high-powered fuel is less than 10 cents a litre.
Given that our government has declared hog barn moratoriums in various parts of the province, it makes sense to convert organic waste products like livestock manure into fuel for our vehicles. All we need to do is just say NO to petroleum and YES to a cleaner province. Will you do it?
No editorializing, please
Friday's Free Press contains examples of both refreshingly enlightened and disappointingly irresponsible journalism as writers respond to the recent spate of violence in the West End.
In his article, Con out early; girl, 6, violated, Mike McIntyre appears bent on making the point that Judge Ray Wyant's decision to sentence a non-violent property offender to only six months in jail directly led to the sexual assault of a six-year-old girl. McIntyre reminds the reader that Greg Glen Hope "would likely have been in jail at the time of the attack had the Crown got their way," and laments that Hope's early release "allegedly pav(ed) the way for Sunday night's attack on the child." Considering that the charges in question were one break-and-enter and a string of probation breaches, what would McIntyre have had Judge Wyant do? Assume that all property offenders or individuals who breach their probation are potential child predators and err on the side of caution by handing them the maximum sentence possible? This type of editorializing plays well with a scared and angry public, but it adds nothing to a productive discussion about how to make our neighbourhoods safer.
Dan Lett, on the other hand, takes a level-headed approach in his column Deal with crime wave's root causes, pointing out that more police and more helicopters are mock solutions designed to create an illusion of safety and exploit public ignorance about the causes of crime. The solutions we really need are not so simple "or popular" and it takes a brave journalist to call for them at a time when fear and anger are running high.
Tragedies such as those in West End bring the problem of crime and violence in impoverished neighbourhoods into the public eye and mobilize citizens to action. Such action can take one of two forms: We can look closely at the causes of crime in the inner city and come together to lobby for the complex, compassionate and sensible solutions that such crime necessitates; or we can roll out the same tired old harsher sentences, let's-get-tough rhetoric that not only doesn't work in fighting crime, but also creates more pain and more tragedy.
The media is critical in helping to determine which of these paths a community will take.
I am afraid even God Almighty is shedding tears of agony and utter disgust at the massive breakdown of fundamental rules of justice when the perpetrator of inhumane crime committed against an absolutely innocent child of merely six years has been let go from jail to roam around the city to kidnap and brutally rape one of our children.
The price of leniency by the justice system has been paid not just by the victim but by the entire society at large. No amount of excuses will ever repair the monumental scar left on this six-year-old girl. Justice aborted, justice miscarried and justice denied to decent law-abiding citizens is overwhelmingly abhorrent.
Immediate corrective actions are warranted, starting with plugging the loopholes preventing unjustified early releases of predators, amending the flawed rules governing the bail system, education of our children to be vigilant against the pedophiles along with the active participation of the parents and guardians to guarantee the safety of society's most precious commodity -- our young and defenceless.
Best and brightest?
I marvelled at a one-time Shell Oil president, John Hofmeister, recently interviewed on CBC TV about the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana because he wondered why BP doesn't line up the empty oil tankers and suck up the oil pools from the ocean. (We know water and oil don't mix.) I marvelled because that is exactly what I'd been thinking, as I'm sure so have many housewives. Because those were the thoughts of a Shell CEO, I feel emboldened to wonder out loud why BP would turn the oil into tiny globules that will fan out into the everglades and marshes, or be blown along the eastern coast, or inland.
The filled tankers could be transported away to empty silos, and return for more oil from the ocean, or hopefully a controlling pipe.
Why would so-called "experts" drill through tectonic plates without preparing for oil under pressure? Without ample information and knowledge, why would U.S. President Barack Obama approve leases for 26 more drillings in uncharted territory? It seems that the "brightest and the best" brains are out on a Rip Van Winkle holiday, and just as effective.
The "brightest and the best" never learn; they just know everything.
Some oil corporations' propaganda is still gushing that drilling for oil is safe because they want to drill in the Arctic, and they are also eyeing the Antarctic.
Psst! Doesn't the Emperor look kind of, well, naked?
Like almost everyone else in this city, I am unfortunately unable to argue either for or against the city's proposed 30-year sewer-service contract with Veolia. The fact is, I know nothing much about it, one way or the other. Chances are, neither does my city councillor, to whom I have delegated my decision-making voice on council.
Is this a problem? Not according to Mayor Sam Katz (Sewage plant details withheld, Free Press, May 13) who tells us, apparently, that once it's all in place, anything that "has to be public" will be made known. Come now. Can't we see that our city is clothing itself in the highest kick of fashion -- the way all the best people are doing -- when it keeps these things on a purely need-to-know basis? After all, who really needs to know? Not those who are agreeing to it. That's so outdated! And certainly not those of us who are merely paying for it! That's positively gothic! Surely you're discriminating enough to see that this new style is made of truly the most lovely and exquisite fabric(ation) of all! Yes of course, Your Highness. Of course we understand. And by the way, great outfit!
Both hands on wheel
Re: Get cellphones out of cars (May 26). Ed Wushke, you share the views of many people against talking on phones while driving. Although I agree with your view on a hand-held device while driving, I wholeheartedly disagree with your hands-free views. One hand on the wheel while driving is not safe and is strongly discouraged, so anything requiring only one hand on the wheel proves to be more dangerous. Using a cellphone is one of those things.
Using a Bluetooth device, though, puts both of the driver's hands on the wheel. This was the intent in allowing the use of hands-free devices. Although our attention may not be completely focused on the road, how often is it while driving? To completely eliminate phones from a vehicle is a far-fetched idea. If it's talking while driving that Ed is worried about, why don't we ban conversation or the use of radios in a car as they only distract the driver.
Using hands-free devices are the easiest and most practical way to lower the risk of using phones while driving.