Shortly after the Liberals picked their new leader, I started receiving e-mail from the Conservative party, bolstering their attack ad campaign with more preposterous propaganda and requesting funds to continue it. I thought I’d write a couple of blog posts fisking the letters (which I still intend to do), but in the mean time, my 71 year-old mother decided to write Mr. Harper, and tell him what she thinks of his style of political bullying:

Don’t send me emails announcing your Vile Conservative septic-tank-stench of attacks that reek of McCarthyism absurdities and innuendos. The Conservative Party has a disgusting absence of honour and principles.

In your zeal to attack Trudeau, Conservatives imply those who are “engaged” with Iran i.e.  the United Nations, Obama, Briton, and every other nation who is  “engaged” with Iran to prevent Iran’s NUCLEAR ASPIRATIONS & “engaged” to prevent the spread of radical terrorism from Iran – ought to be criticized for so doing. Should Canadians conclude that Conservative’s are opposed to being  “engaged” with Iran and opposed to the rest of the world that is “engaged”?

Note: When you sling shit – you end up wearing the shit!!! 

Um…Go Mum!

Tim Hudak (the leader of the “Progressive” Conservatives in Ontario, currently in the running to be the next premier), wants to establish an online sex offender registry. This is for families he says (though apparently had to pull in fake ones for the photo op).

I don’t think such a thing would even be legal here in Canada, thank goodness and the Privacy Commissioner. (Has he even checked it with the Privacy Commissioner? I wonder…)

Records that are accessible by law enforcement is one thing, but an online registry that can be accessed willy-nilly by irrational parents? That’s just asking for trouble. We know that will lead to harassment and vigilantism against people who have completed sentences and probation and no longer pose any threat to society. “Sex offenders” include people who have solicited prostitutes, people who’ve exposed themselves when drunk at parties or outside of bars, kids who sent sext messages/pics to their boy/girlfriends, those boy/girlfriends who then shared the pics with friends. It’s not just serial rapists and child molesters.

We have a “dangerous offender” designation if the government thinks someone poses an ongoing risk to the public. The government should avail themselves of due process to have the perpetrator declared dangerous and not allow them to be released. Not publish the names of ex-convicts so people can harass them or attack them out of anger or irrational fear.

A new blog and lots to say results in saying virtually nothing!

Ah well, there’s plenty of time to get into the habit and there’s always plenty to talk about. Just today I could have written entire blog posts on:

  • Tourism Minister Diane Ablonczy being stripped of administration of a tourism funding programme for (wait for it…) funding tourism while Lisa Raitt continues to hold onto the sexy Chalk River file when she has handled it with nearly unmitigated disaster, risking the health and lives of not only Canadians but people around the world. The distinction? Not helping cancer patients is no big deal, but helping homosexuals is anathema.
  • On a related note, can right wing Yahoos refrain from using “pro-life” to mean anti-abortion-rights and “pro-family” to mean anti-gay-rights?
  • My thoughts relating to an ongoing debate about science journalism. The upshot? Science journalists have a great responsibility in reporting without sensationalism and with discretion. As things stand, it seems like every day a new study is reported saying that X might be beneficial or X might be detrimental. Without discrimination applied, much of science journalism fosters the impression that science is unreliable. It’s no wonder that many people find it difficult to distinguish scientific facts from religious faith.
  • On the post-Canada Day requiem for knowledge of Canada, Canadian history and Canadian institutions: perhaps Heritage Canada should revive those Heritage Minute ads—but with a difference: how about reviewing some basic facts about how our political system works (no, the PM is not the head of state and if we weren’t so ignorant or complacent about it, we would realise that his taking a military salute should be considered an extreme overstepping of his office, only one practical step away from usurpation; no we don’t elect a PM, we collectively elect a government & that government selects someone to recommend as PM; no, a coalition of elected MPs is not a perversion of democracy but a fulfillment of it), our geography (yes, there are 3 territories), and our history.
  • A couple of points raised by commenters on this post by Phil Plait on the Texas Board of Education: First, one that I commented on myself:

    @Rob Lee Says:@Petrolonfire #19 — “BTW. Is that a Godwin’s law record – nazis /Holocaust coming in at the fourth posts already!? :-O

    Haha — Ok, you got me there. In all seriousness, though, the point does stand. I feel that on an academic level, it is a very valid comparison. I try to stray away from the Nazi references, but in this case there really is not a better or more effective comparison.
    [The comparison being discussed is between scientists who deny evolution and historians who deny the Holocaust. Allegedly, more historians fall into the second group than scientists who fall into the first. – Ibis]

    I’ve seen this “statistic” used as a comparison several times, but as an historian I have to question whether its factual. Where did it come from? I don’t know of any legitimate, trained historian that seriously questions the reality of the Holocaust. Professional historians, like professional scientists, rely on evidence to draw their conclusions and the evidence in both cases are so overwhelming no rational person would doubt either. I suspect that this statistical comparison was pulled out of someone’s…um… hat.

    Second, is this annoying assertion by atheists that agnosticism is (a) a cop-out position (b) doesn’t actually exist (c) a position on a spectrum with gnosticism, while atheism is on an entirely separate spectrum with theism (this last one has some merit, but not in the manner it is usually deployed). Maybe some day when I have a bit of time, I’ll set the record straight.

And all of that is just off the top of my head (and ignores the number of other posts I have sitting here as drafts). Well, I guess this blog writing is a habit just waiting to be formed.