Friday, 30 September 2011

The Male Mind

Back in the 80s, I worked at a communications company (they were all the rage) owned and run by four male partners. As a freelancer, I was given free office space in return for 'priortizing' their work. There were two other women working there under the same deal.

The three of us used to go out for lunch a couple times a week and talk inevitably turned to the partners. They didn't like each other. More mystifyingly, they didn't trust each other.

Partners would ask us gals suspiciously about the doings of another partner. We owed nobody any loyalty but it was uncomfortable.

Mainly, it was just plain weird. Every lunch ended with us shaking our heads and wondering how people who didn't trust each other could be in biz together.

Maybe it was then or later that I twigged: Men much more than women can compartmentalize. Hive off the personal from the business. I've seen it in sweetie. He used to employ a raging misogynist racist occasionally because the guy was a genius with an air brush. After much prodding from me, he agreed to shut the asshole up when he got on one of his rants. But he still used him.

(I fully realize I've opened a can of worms here. Men do this, women do that crap. But over my long life, I've seen many many more men than women willing to overlook personal failings, value failings, character failings, if someone is useful to them.)

OK, the reason for this. Today, on Twitter, someone retweeted a message from a male voter saying he'd just voted in an advance poll for Sarah Thomson, the Lib candidate in Trinity Spadina, my riding. I replied asking if the the voter knew that Thomson when running for Toronto mayor endorsed privatizing libraries and killing Transit City. Dude replied that he did know that, but did I know that she is the best choice for TrinSpa.

I replied that anyone who would privatize libraries was not my kinda person. In increasingly patronizing replies @Fizbandu, aka Bradley Hammond, kindly pointed out that these were quite separate jurisdictions.


Here's his second-last tweet. (The last one was just dumb and irrelevant to this.)
@fernhilldammit @ThomsonTO You need to understand that as a MPP there is no direct connection, again municipal council. #VoteON

I need to understand that, do I?

Well, Bradley needs to understand that what a person says in one context is entirely applicable to any other context.

If Sarah Thomson would privatize libraries, what else would she privatize?

Inquiring minds. . .

But to the male mind, entirely separate issues.

The floor is open for excoriating me for essentialism, sexism, anti-maleism, whatever.

Trost: 'Suck it'

I don't know how the boundaries of ridings are decided, but it seems to me that some are deliberately drawn so as to ensure that a fair swath of the populace is disenfranchised.

Take Saskatoon-Humboldt. It's described as half-urban, half rural. From the spring election:
“You have to represent all of your constituents, not just those who agree with you and think the same as you,” Mr. Hill said, adding: “I think anybody looking to highlight [social conservative issues] and put them front and centre is going to end up hurting the campaign.”

The flaw, Mr. Kouri says, lies in the riding’s design. All of Saskatoon is carved up into sections that are combined with rural swaths, rather than having strictly urban ridings. “People in Saskatoon don’t feel they’re represented at all. It’s all social conservatism, and that’s not what they want representing them,” said Ms. Kouri . . .

But representing all his constituents is not how Head Fetus Fetishist Brad Trost sees things (bold mine):
Trost says he's not attacking the government but criticizing one decision. And he says he owes it to his constituents to be honest.

"Ultimately, I have the backing of my constituency association and the Conservatives there. That's who I represent. Because I've been vocal on this issue before, I owe them my democratic voice. I also owe my democratic voice to people who disagree with me so they know honestly whether or not to vote for or against me in the next election. It's the proper thing to do."

Isn't this refrain getting tedious? 'I/we/our party won, so suck it up, buttercup'.

And it's not like Saskatoon-Humboldt is any kind of Contempt Party stronghold.
In 2004, in what was the closest 4-way race in the country, Trost received 417 more votes than second place candidate, the NDP's Nettie Wiebe, 435 votes ahead of the third place candidate, Liberal Patrick Wolfe, and 2368 votes ahead of former Canadian Alliance Member of Parliament Jim Pankiw.

Trost was re-elected, in 2006, 2008, and 2011 earning between 50-53% of the vote defeating the second place NDP, and the third place Liberals in Saskatoon-Humboldt in each election.

The good citizens there have elected members from all parties. (OK, not the Bloc Québécois.)

If I were a resident of Saskatoon-Humboldt, I'd be on a phone, fax, email and letter-writing campaign. And not just in vehement disagreement with Trost's misogynist racist Christianism.

But because, despite Stevie Peevie's 'strong, stable majority', Trost is going to have absolute zero influence in the ruling caucus (bold mine again).
The headline read, "Government apathetic on abortion," according to Saskatoon Humboldt Conservative MP Brad Trost, a social conservative never afraid to poke the delicate issue of abortion.

Trost even demonstrated earlier this spring during the federal election campaign that he was prepared to discomfort his leader, the prime minister, and create considerable political risk in Central Canada that the Conservative party was intolerant on social issues.

Another headline came to mind: "Prime minister not apathetic about disloyal MPs." Trost's already light political capital inside the Tory caucus has moved to featherweight status.

Congratulations, Saskatoon-Humboldt. You've elected a bozo with as much federal clout as a Bloquist.

In related news, Planned Parenthood is fighting back.
Canadian funding for contraception programs will help cut the number of abortions in developing countries, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood said Thursday.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation is hitting back at a Conservative MP who's urging the government to cut the group's funding, pointing to new research that shows cutting contraception programs leads to more abortions.

On Wednesday, Conservative MP Brad Trost said anti-abortion activists should be more aggressive to force the government to pay attention to their campaign. He also reiterated his opposition to any funding for the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which the government has approved for $6 million in funding for contraception and sex education programs in five developing countries.

Trost says the group shouldn't get any Canadian government money because they provide abortions in countries where it's legal.

The Canadian money is for projects that will provide contraception and sex education in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania. None of the money will go to abortions.

A spokesman for Planned Parenthood said research shows how much those programs are needed.

"If Brad Trost’s position were taken up and that funding was removed entirely, and those family planning programs had to be scrapped, then that leaves women very vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy," Paul Bell said.

"All the research shows that, regardless of the situation in a country, a woman, if she finds herself in a position where she needs an abortion, she will have an abortion, whether it’s safe or unsafe."

Bell pointed to a study released Tuesday by a research centre at Stanford University that looked at data from 260,000 women in sub-Saharan Africa between 1994 and 2008.

From 2001 to 2008, the U.S. government eliminated funding for groups like Planned Parenthood that offered abortion, along with contraception and other women's health services, which forced them to close clinics.

The researchers found that the number of abortions rose in those years over the previous seven years, as much as two-and-a-half times in some countries.

Ah yes, the fundie-driven Global Gag Rule. That worked out well, didn't it?

BREAKING: Former King Fetus Fetishist Maurice Vellacott tries to wrestle his crown back with this media release (PDF).

MORE BREAKING: Leon Benoit joins in to slag Margaret Sanger. *Le sigh.*

Image source. Aw, praying. Isn't that special?

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Sarah?

Patriotic Kool-Aid Cupcake Mom

Sarah Grunfeld, that is. One of her peers tackles that problem, in a zesty manner reminiscent of Molly Ivins' best take-downs of her goofy Texan political foes.
[...]York University senior Sarah Grunfeld [...] made shanda-esque headlines when she put her social science professor’s career in jeopardy over an anti-Semitic remark that turned out to be—well—not. The statement “All Jews should be sterilized,” Professor Cameron Johnston explained in the introductory lecture to his class, was an example of an invalid and dangerous opinion; his point was that in academia especially, opinions must be reasonably qualified. Grunfeld failed to catch that qualifier, though, perhaps because before the prof had a chance to offer it, she had stormed out of class and enlisted the on-campus Israel-advocacy group, Hasbara (Hebrew for “Explanation”), to call for his immediate resignation.

Word of Johnston’s so-called racism exploded virally online by way of what National Post columnist Jonathan Kay has dubbed the “Bubbie-net” (Jewish grandparents frantically emailing their kin with fresh findings of alleged anti-Semitism); at the same time widely-respected Canadian Jewish civil rights association, B’nai Brith (Children of the Covenant), leaped in with equal gusto to champion Grunfeld’s claim. Then came the big reveal: Ms. Grunfeld had made a mistake. Not only was professor Johnston not an anti-Semite, he was a Jew. To borrow a more accessible Yiddish phrase, political correctness at York University had effectively schtupped itself.
Another take on the Sarah Grunfeld problem, here.

Why the pic of Sarah Palin? (which I found at this great blogpost, btw) Well, I couldn't locate a photo of Sarah Grunfeld and Palin looked so ... ah, piquante in pink - well, there it is.

Grand merci to Dr Dawg for the link to Emma Teitel's witty item.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Keep flying your freak flag, Contempt Party!

PM SHithead’s Contempt government is planning to enshrine the legal right to display the Canadian flag. From here:
So it is lining up behind a proposed bill that makes it more difficult to ban, limit or otherwise disrespect the Canadian flag, as part of what appears to be a more concerted, Conservative focus on the symbols of governance around the capital and the country.

Heritage Minister James Moore wasn’t able to say on Wednesday what forms of display would be deemed as “desecration of the flag” under the proposed law, which has been put forward by a Conservative backbencher from the GTA, John Carmichael (Don Valley West.)

In front of a table laden with flags and flag memorabilia in the Commons foyer, Moore hailed the bill as a measure to reward Canadian patriots with legal protections “to ensure that Canadians . . . have clear certainty, that if they wish to show pride in their country — to display the Canadian flag — they are free to do so, without any intimidation by condo boards or other neighbours.”
Really? Will Stevie Spiteful's Cons jail all those *flag bullies* - there must be legions and legions of them, given the gravity and ponderousness of Moore's political theatre - in the new mega-prison complexes the Contempt Party cronies will be building?

"Show pride without intimidation" ... but only if it's the red maple leaf flag on display. If it's your sexual orientation, your lack of Kristian Dominionist beliefs or your misfortune to be a woman dealing with an uplanned and unwanted pregnancy, be afraid - be very afraid for the viability of your civil and legal rights.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, francophones are dissing this vacuous initiative - and flagging it with this hashtag.

40 Days of Treats

This is a great idea! 40 Days of Harassment has begun. Here's a push-back a 'regular person' in the UK started that needs to go international.

Instead of -- or maybe in addition to -- the usual counter-rallies at abortion clinics, pro-choicers are asked to participate in 40 Days of Treats.

Blogger Squeamish Bikini explains.
The 40 Days for Life people are back in the UK. Funnily enough I am not going to link to them. For those who need filling in these people hold vigil for 40 days outside clinics where abortions are performed in the hope of deterring people going in. Pro-Choicers have had a rather marvellous idea. Instead of holding debates or protesting the pro-life vigil, Pro-Choice people have organised their own 40 days.

Apparently coming out of nowhere, a Tumblr has been set up urging people to take treats in a show of support for those working at BPAS and other such charities. Squeamish Bikini thinks this is just bloody lovely and will cheer those who are just trying to do their job.

If you want to take part you can find out where your nearest clinic is at here and go deliver them a treat to brighten their day.

The 40 Days of Treats begins now. Pass it on.

Squeamish Bikini includes a link to a list of UK clinics.

Here's a list (PDF) of clinics in Canada.

Or, just contribute some kind words of appreciation and support on Twitter @40daysoftreats.

As Squeamish says: Pass it on.

Image source: the hilarious Cake Wrecks. Do NOT click unless you have some serious time to waste. :D

ADDED: 40 Days of Treats is happy to share the name.

ADDED: 40 Days of Treats makes it into the Gruniad.

ADDED: Link to PDF of clinics isn't working and I don't know why. Here it is in plain text; copy and paste.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Fetus Lobby® Stamps Its Widdle Feet

Oh dear. During the recent federal election big-mouth Contempt Party back-bencher Brad Trost bragged that because of his hard work, the International Planned Parenthood Federation would ^NOT be funded under Motherhood Steve's Maternal Health Initiative.

Well, it seems IPPF will get funding but only for projects in countries where abortion is illegal.

Not good enough for Brad-Boy. He threatened last week to make a strong statement and now he has (emphasis mine).
Response to Federal Government's Decision to Fund IPPF

Late in the afternoon of Thursday, September 22nd, I received a phone call from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) about a news story on the CBC that had run earlier in the day. The CBC reported that the federal government had approved funding for the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

A PMO staffer explained to me that the story had not been accurate when it ran, but due to the day's events, the CBC story was mostly accurate now. Apparently, six staffers in CIDA Minister Bev Oda's office had been working on a grant to fund IPPF -- and one of them decided to leak the story to the CBC.

Rather than deny the story, a decision was made to rush funding to IPPF to the tune of $6 million over three years. (I was told that the funding letter was sent out at 4 pm that afternoon.)

People have asked how funding IPPF squares with the repeated statement that Canada will not fund abortion internationally. The PMO attempts to square this circle by only permitting IPPF funding to go into countries that ban abortion.

Considering that promoting abortion internationally is central to the identity of IPPF, this sort of political hairsplitting only seems to make sense in the Ottawa bubble. This is a position I totally reject.

Since 2006, Conservative MPs have been asking to have IPPF defunded.

In 2006, our request that federal funding for IPPF be stopped was ignored because we asked politely--and behind closed doors.

In 2009, we became more aggressive and began to take our campaign public.

Many, many Conservative MPs pressed the PMO to stop the funds from flowing. Federal funding did stop for a time. Funds allocated to IPPF were considerably reduced. Furthermore, federal grants for IPPF also had more strings attached.

This only happened because of the pressure applied. This was a real victory.

Bureaucrats have fought for years to keep the status quo and continue the funding of the IPPF that was established by the Liberals.

The battle over the IPPF continues.

Pro-Life politicians have been taught a lesson.

The government only responds to Pro-Life issues and concerns when we take an aggressive stance.

We will apply this lesson.

Hmm. Seems Brad and other members of the Fetus Lobby® don't have quite the clout they thought they did.

Awkward, isn't it?

And doesn't it make you proud to be Canadian? Our Fetus Lobby® cannot defund or recriminalize abortion here, so they try to punish a good organization doing good work for desperately poor women and children in war-torn countries, one of them, Afghanistan, war-torn in our name.

Media coverage: CBC and Macleans, with the title 'Brad Trost Goes Rogue'.

This should be fun. Stevie Peevie does ^NOT enjoy backtalk.

Toronto: First Steps Toward Ugly and Mean

For those DJ! readers lucky enough to be watching Toronto's self-immolation from afar, here's a glimpse of what happened yesterday.

Basically, it was Kick Poor People to the (Nicely Plowed) Curb Day:
After two days of debate, Toronto Council approved $27.4 million in cuts from the city's core services review - sparing only a handful of programs and properties, including the Toronto Parking Authority and community Environment Days.

But gone this year is the city's Christmas bureau - a program that provides Christmas gifts to low-income children - and another program that helps destitute seniors with medical expenses.

There's a teensy bit of good news, though. Ford Nation is showing some cracks.
Six months, 19 meetings, more than 200 hours of debate. Total savings so far: $27.7-million.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford tried to put a brave face on the final outcome of his marathon review of city services, claiming “a huge victory for the taxpayers of the city” as council voted to explore selling the Toronto Zoo, cancel its free garbage tag program and outsource the Christmas Bureau, which co-ordinates holiday gifts to underprivileged children.

Matt Elliott has the scorecard and links to 'cheat sheets' provided to Fordsters.
At today’s special City Council meeting on the Core Service Review, the mayor’s team was on the losing end of seven votes. Though it’s not fair to call it a staggering rebuke, it stands as more evidence that Rob Ford is losing his grip on City Council and will continue to have trouble getting controversial policies approved without compromise.

Finally, that surprisingly large subset of City Hall watchers cum Star Wars fans came up with an amusing (to Star Wars fans, one of whom I'm not) hashtag, #StarWarsCouncil.

More at the Star.

Image source. Blogger says it came from the Hamilton Spectator, but I couldn't find an original link.

ADDED: How Toronto balanced its budgets before. Hint: think revenue.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Dr Wangari Maathai, visionary and Nobel Laureate

Nobel Prize ceremony

Though she was cut down by cancer, the legacy planted by Africa's "Tree Lady" will thrive, generation after generation.
Wangari Maathai, who died on September 25 aged 71, won the Nobel Peace Prize for encouraging women in rural Kenya to plant trees; from that simple idea sprouted a powerful movement that challenged what she saw as the incompetent, corrupt and often brutal rule of many male-dominated regimes in post-colonial Africa.

Wangari Muta Maathai was born on April 1 1940 in the village of Ihithe, near Nyeri, in the central highlands of Kenya. Her parents were subsistence farmers from the Kikuyu tribe. She was the eldest of six children, and in most families would not have attended school. But one day her elder brother, Nderitu, wanted to know why he had to go to school when Wangari did not. She was soon being taught by Catholic missionary nuns at Loreto Limiru Girls’ High School, from which she graduated in 1959.

Her teachers recognised her talent, and recommended her for a scholarship to study in America. In 1964 she obtained a degree in Biological Sciences from Mount St Scholastica College at Atchison, Kansas, then, in 1965, a Masters from the University of Pittsburgh. Her work involved new techniques in tissue processing that were largely unknown in Kenya, and on her return to Africa her expertise was in great demand. She became research assistant to the head of the department of Veterinary Medicine at Nairobi University, where she also taught (on lower pay than her male colleagues) and, in 1971, completed her PhD. [...]

Wangari Maathai began to focus on the vicious circle that links poverty, hunger, environmental collapse and women’s status. She saw how in poor families women scavenged for firewood to cook, eventually wandering further and further from home to find it. As more and more trees are felled, soil erosion leads to desertification; fewer cooked meals, meanwhile, results in malnutrition.

She decided to break this chain of impoverishment, developing a simple tree-planting programme. In 1977 the National Council of the Women of Kenya (NCWK) embraced her idea, initiating what was soon called the Green Belt Movement (GBM). On World Environment Day, June 5 1977, GBM began by planting seven trees in a small park in Nairobi.

It then branched out, offering free seedlings to women across the country. For every tree that survived more than three months (about 80 per cent in fertile areas) the women tending them were paid a few pennies. The more trees they planted, the more they made. As they were encouraged to plant more than they would need for firewood, women were soon able to earn extra from selling the surplus. Not only did the scheme reverse deforestation but, for the first time, many women discovered financial autonomy.
From here. And more here (also source for photo).

Meanwhile in Canada and the US, First Nations women and men are leading the charge against an expansion of the toxic Tar Sands development, by opposing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the one that will be threatening the ecological integrity of the land as it snakes its way through Alberta and BC to the coast.

Tar Sands update: Our esteemed sister blogger Alison at Creekside has been covering a number of aspects over the last year. Here's an excellent overview of key players and interconnected issues.

Le Devoir also had a good item about the connections between Cons and the Contempt Party, with regard to Who's who in promoting the Tar Sands. It's in French; Google translate is your friend.

Monday, 26 September 2011

In Which DJ! Wastes 33 Minutes. . .

So you don't have to.

Recently, there's been a shitload of hype around 180, a supposedly award-winning documentary showing young people changing their minds on abortion 'in seconds'. (Note: Not to be confused with 180, a Tamil/Telugu romantic drama.)

The 33-minute long (and I mean loooong) piece of crap film can now be viewed all over the toobz, including the link above and this one, HeartChanger, where you can also buy the '180 course' for the deeply discounted price of $10.99.

If you don't want to give the fetus fetishists any linky love, it's on YouTube too. (But be warned. The makers are hoping it goes 'viral', having heard that this is A Good Thing.)

If you really want to watch it, don't read any further, or you'll miss the surreality of it.

I didn't know anything about it -- beyond the fetus fetishists' whooping about how revolutionary it is -- before hitting play, so the grainy newsreel footage of Nazis threw me a bit. I mean, we know fetus fetishists love them some Nazi-genocide analogies but, like, where was this going?

No clue in the next bit either, as the documentary maker asks a bunch of young people if they know who Adolf Hitler is. (I assume they're Murrican; they sound and look like Murricans.) They're mostly stunningly ignorant. Those who venture a guess try 'a Communist?'

So, we've established the sample group out of which the 180° turners will appear -- a gang of staggeringly ignorant doofusses.

Docu-guy asks if they are pro-choice or anti-choice. Both sorts are represented.

Then he asks them to do a thought-experiment. Tells the kids they are literally under a Nazi gun and being told to drive the bulldozer that will cover a trench filled with Jews, some of whom may not be dead. Would they do it?

Most are horrified and say 'no'. Some think it over and decide that they would do it to save their own lives.

Then he establishes whether the kids believe that a fetus is a 'baby' or a 'child'. We don't get to hear from those who may have answered 'Nope'. All on film answer 'yes'.

Now the arm-twisting begins. He says to the kids who wouldn't drive the bulldozer to complete this sentence: 'It's OK to kill a baby/child in the womb when. . . .'

They're flummoxed. He prompts with 'You wouldn't bury Jews alive, but it's OK to kill a baby in the womb when. . . '

They dither. They back down. 'Well, when you put it like that. . .' several say.

Yeah, when you make a totally false equivalency for a bunch of dolts who don't know who Adolf Hitler is, well, yeah, when you put it like that. . . .

Then, incredibly, it gets weirder. He says Hitler hated the ten commandments and asks them if they've lied, stolen, blasphemed, looked at others with lust, yadayada. Not surprisingly, most have lied, stolen, etc.

(The best bit -- and I hope some techno-wiz excerpts it for YouTube -- is when he asks a young woman if she has ever lusted after a man. A: 'Nope, I'm gay'.)

Having established that they are all sinners facing hell on Judgement Day -- really, I am not making this shit up -- he gets them to reaffirm their brand-spanking-new anti-choice position. Then tells them: 'Please, never ever give your vote to someone who would support the murder of a child in the womb'. (Fetus fetishists really loooove the word 'womb', don't they?)

The documentary-maker is Ray Comfort, a New-Zealand born Christianist. (The wiki page has not been updated to include this new venture, but you'll see what he's about there.)

Creationist, liar, strawman-aficionado -- just the guy to make a piece of dreck like 180.

In the accompanying bullshit promotional stuff, he says that the making of this was an accident. He intended make a DVD accompaniment to some book he's writing about Hitler and the ten commandments.

But serendipity!!!! strikes when he gets the notion to link Nazis and abortion. (Dude, we hate to break it to you, but this little act of mental gymnastics has been done. To death.)

So, as you cruise the toobz and run into members of the #FetusLobby crowing over this 'shocking, powerful, award-winning' piece of flimflammery, now you know what got their shorts jizzed.

More of the usual lying bullcrap.

This, BTW, is the award it won.
Entries are self-nominated with approximately 11,000 submissions per year as of 2010, and the awards are judged by past award winners. There is no set limit to the number of winners each year, but the total numbers in the thousands. The statue prizes are paid for by the winners using engraved information chosen by the recipient.

Well, scamsters are the easiest to scam.

Image source.

ADDED: From noah buddy in the comments, who seems to have the measure of nutters like Ray Comfort. Operation 360's spoiler and a Russian mirror site if you really must see the whole POS, while depriving the fetus fetishists of hits.

Why so few women report sexual assault.

CBC News has obtained a copy of the statement of claim filed by Laurie Massicotte in the Superior Court of Justice on Friday for damages, including pain, suffering and emotional and mental distress stemming from her assault by Williams in September 2009.

Massicotte was Williams's second victim and has accused the Ontario Provincial Police of failing to protect her and give her enough information about a previous sexual assault in the town of Tweed.[...]

In the document, Massicotte describes being beaten, tied up at the wrists and blindfolded by Williams, who then sexually assaulted her and took several photographs and videos of her.

About five hours later, after Williams left her home, she managed to dial 911, only to be told not to move — her hands still bound — while police teams investigated for several more hours. She alleges during this time, she was referred to over the police radio as "being crazy."
From here.

The process of investigating and gathering the evidence that finally brought Williams to justice, was deployed at his trial and would have convinced judges or jurors of his guilt required much resources.

The political theatre currently performed by Stevie's MPty suits in support of their *Hard On Crime* omnibus bill will undermine such process. It appears from the severity of the punishments assigned, that Cons believe pot growers are the most dangerous criminals.

But ^NOT the predators who sexually assault children, youth and women.

More about the omnibus crime bill from Dan Gardner here and here

Basically, this is the rationalization that turns the Cons' crank: The mega-prison complexes will be built and run by private business interests. In order for the Cons' cronies to be able to turn a profit, the prisons have to be filled to the rafters with petty criminals. Resources allocated to the investigation, the trials and the incarceration of pedophiles and sexual predators are expensive.

Consider how the police treated Massicotte. Who wants to be re-victimized by the police, and now, by Contemptuous politicians?

Update: More about the Cons malevolently disregarding facts about crime, here.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Canada Backs Maternal Health Only in Countries Where Abortion Is Illegal

The screwed-up communications on abortion funding as part of Motherhood Steve's maternal health initiative continue.
Canada will fund an organization that provides family planning services around the world — but only in countries where abortion is illegal in most cases, CBC News has learned.
. . .
Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of sexual and reproductive health services, including abortions, abortion counselling and training for providers, is getting the federal funding after Oda let the agency's previous request sit on her desk for a year without a response, and after a Conservative MP told an anti-abortion group that the government wouldn’t be giving the organization any money.

Oda's decision to approve Planned Parenthood's proposal comes more than a year after Canada was embroiled in controversy over whether to fund abortions as part of a G8 commitment to improve maternal health in developing countries.

The proposal gets around the thorny issue of abortion by asking for money for sex education and contraception services, and does not include abortion services.

The funding is worth $6 million over three years for Planned Parenthood to work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania, where abortions are illegal except in cases where the mother's life is at risk.
Ain't that grand? Or would be when Bev Odious gets around to informing IPP.
A spokesman for International Planned Parenthood said Thursday that he was excited to hear about the funding, but that the group hasn't heard "a whisper" about it from the Canadian International Development Agency, Oda's department.

The funding proposal was resubmitted after the 2011 election, Paul Bell said. It had been revised one more time and the organization was waiting for a response.
. . .
In an email Thursday night, Oda's spokesman said CIDA told the group their proposal was approved.

"Today, International Planned Parenthood Federation has been informed that its application for funding has been approved under the Maternal, Newborns and Child Health commitment," Justin Broekema said in a statement.

The CBC link provides a good backgrounder to the whole idiotic story. In short, Canada, where there is NO law on abortion, gets all squishy squeamish about funding abortion in other countries where it is also LEGAL.

Big Daddy Steve and his misogynist minions can try to spin this as standing up for women and children. But Canadian women should be in no doubt. This government does ^NOT see women's issues as any kind of priority. See here for a list of Canadian women's groups gleefully defunded by the patriarchal Contempt Party.

ADDED: Fetus fetishists not happy. Big-mouth Brad Trost to issue statement this week.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Contemptuous Rob Anders


Those who've assumed the invisible MPty suit known as Rob Anders couldn't find his ass with both hands have incorrectly underestimated his ability.

Au contraire!

Anders has not only found his ass, he's also publicly flaunting it for all to see what a MASSIVE asshole he has is.
Meanwhile, two Conservative MPs, Rob Anders and Ed Holder, are taking it a step further, asking their constituents in surveys whether the government should keep funding the CBC.

Mr. Anders, a Calgary MP who has always been a controversial maverick on the right wing of his party, now features a petition on his website calling on Parliament “to end public funding of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.”

The petition represents an escalation of Mr. Anders’s campaign against CBC funding. He has made appearances on Sun TV to express his views on public funding for the CBC.
From here.

#AlternateUniverseJob for Rob Anders - Rupert Murdoch's Asshole.

Oh. Wait.

Canadian Health Care: Another Story

Dr Dawg writes about his recent experience of the Canadian healthcare system. He says we should add our stories of the really not-bad system we've built.

Here's one. A couple of days ago, my sweetie had a very nasty head cold. And a giant stoopid gig requiring many hands and not many dollars (for him). Cold got worse (so did gig). After a terrible sleepless gasping night, he figured he had pneumonia -- he's had it within the last few years -- and took himself to the emergency department of his fave hospital.

The crew (I was part of it) kept beavering along. With travel time, he was gone a total of five hours. During which he was assessed, tested, diagnosed (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), given a bunch of inhalers, scripts for more drugs, and let loose.

Dr Dawg's experience, while longer, was similarly pretty damn good. Complicated, serious illnesses identified and treated. Snappily. And at no direct cost to the patient. (I picked up sweetie's scripts -- just under $200.)

Yes, there are lots of horror stories.

But, I'd wager, there are many, many more like Dr Dawg's and sweetie's. Effective, humane, universally available.

Just as we envisioned, built, and now need to protect and sustain.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

But Not One Drop of Blood

CBC reports that Canada will renew funding for Planned Parenthood programs, with a Shakespearean pound of flesh caveat.

It includes the ongoing farce that this 'enlightened' protocol comes through Status of Women and Bev Oda is 'in charge' of decisions.

Don't tell me the federal Conservatives are original and sublime in their thinking when they are pulling women-averse 'good girls' fantasy strategy and tactics wholesale from the steaming American Republican extremities.

With Canada being a better environment for women than most of the world, Harper's government has a tougher row to hoe, but they're undermining civility and civil rights out of the 'no really, we LIKE women...and kittens!' limelight, one root at a time, until the entire slippery slope collapses.

Restricting women's rights can't happen here? It did happen here until Canadian women took to the streets and said their lives were as important as men's. It's still happening here if you live outside the narrow margin of economic and cultural 'goodness' net the lawmakers respect.

It's the Contempt Culture - Again!

Pigs at the trough

Defence Minister Peter MacKay used one of only three search-and-rescue helicopters available in Newfoundland to transport him from a vacation spot last year, CTV News has learned.

MacKay was picked up at a private salmon fishing lodge along the Gander River last July by a Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopter. Military sources said the order to collect MacKay came from the defence minister's own office.

"This is not a common practice . . . this is the only time a search-and-rescue asset was used as shuttle service," a source told CTV News.

As we observed here, Harper's Con government is developing quite a prodigious sense of entitlement.

Expect more of this rapacious gluttony at the CPC trough.

Meanwhile Stevie Spiteful and Smilin' Jim have hired consultants to the tune of $90,000. a day to show them how to slash spending - except for their own illicit perks, of course.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Oh, the compassion

You may have missed this story, but the fetus fetishists (see usual suspects) are aalllll over it.

In fact, a mutual hand-wringing session with Brian Lilley and Andrea Mrozek (she of ProWoman ProLife *gag*) on Fox News North, is prefaced with a clip from Bill 'Tiller is a baby-killer' O'Reilly. Some broad tells O'Reilly that the measly five-year penalty for infanticide means that 'in Canada, it is open-season on babies'. (Note, however, the penalty in the in the US is two years.)

Speaking over a banner that reads: 'Baby Killer set free: Lack of outrage is mind-boggling', Mzozek cites the judge's reasoning and adds that infanticide is 'anachronistic', that we no longer believe that women who have just given birth have mental disturbances. (We'll get back to this stupidity.) She also drags out Peter Singer, the radical animal liberationist and utilitarian philosopher who is oft-quoted for his justification for killing newborns.

Let's have a look at what the judge said (CBC link above):
The fact that Canada has no abortion laws reflects that "while many Canadians undoubtedly view abortion as a less than ideal solution to unprotected sex and unwanted pregnancy, they generally understand, accept and sympathize with the onerous demands pregnancy and childbirth exact from mothers, especially mothers without support," she writes.

The judge noted that infanticide laws and sentencing guidelines were not altered when the government made many changes to the Criminal Code in 2005, which she says shows that Canadians view the law as a "fair compromise of all the interests involved."

"Naturally, Canadians are grieved by an infant's death, especially at the hands of the infant's mother, but Canadians also grieve for the mother."

So here's the story as told by Susan Martinuk:
Six years ago, a 19-year-old Wetaskiwin teenager named Katrina Effert secretly gave birth in her parents’ downstairs bathroom, then strangled her newborn son with her thong underwear and tossed his body over the fence into a neighbour’s yard.

You know — just an average evening for a hormonal, out-of-sorts teenager.

Yet what seems like a straightforward case of “girl murders baby” has since turned into anything but, and Effert has been wandering in and out of Alberta courtrooms for the past six years. She was twice found guilty of second-degree murder by jury trials (in 2006 and 2009), but each judgment was subsequently overturned by a provincial appeals court. In May of this year, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned her 2009 murder conviction, ruling that the jury’s verdict was “unreasonable.” It then replaced the murder conviction with the lesser charge of infanticide.

Since 2005, Effert has served the equivalent of almost eight months in legal custody, encompassing time spent in a remand centre, prison and psychiatric hospital. While judges and juries obviously have very different opinions on Effert’s actions and what is an appropriate punishment for baby killing, a conviction for the improper disposal of a body did stick and she was sentenced to serve 90 days for that transgression.

Last Friday, Effert faced Justice Joanne Veit of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in Edmonton for sentencing. Veit called it a “classic infanticide case” and sentenced her to a three-year suspended sentence with probation.

Martinuk cherry-picks polls on public opinion on abortion, including the SHRIEEEEK- worthy fact that a majority of Canadians don't know that there is no legal time limit on abortion.

From there, Martinuk goes here:
In fact, if Effert had gone to a willing doctor just before giving birth, she could have avoided her legal problems altogether. She could have had a late-term abortion under Canada’s non-existent abortion laws.

Which, as regular readers of DJ! know, is complete bullshit.

This young woman has been dragged through the court system for six fucking years, served eight months, and now has a conviction for infanticide.
What is infanticide?
This is an offence of lessened capacity that is limited to a female person who, not fully recovered from the disturbing effects on her of a birth of her child or subsequent lactation, by a wilful act or omission, causes the death of her newly-born child. The maximum penalty is five years imprisonment.

Here is a history of infanticide, including explanations, such as economic, sex-selection, customs and taboos, psychological and psychiatric reasons.

The psychiatric reasons are postpartum psychosis and severe postpartum depression.

Let's review: a 19-year-old woman living with parents gives birth in secret. Why in secret? Parents don't know, will throw her out? Strangles newborn, throws body over fence (she thinks she's getting away with this?), then lies. Tells investigators she's a virgin, then switches stories and says she gave newborn to its father.

Sounds like a cold-blooded baby-killer to you?

Sounds like a very distraught young woman to me.

Who finally had some compassion shown to her after six fucking years. The judge is female and while I haven't read the entire judgement, she did open the door to all this nonsense with the reference to abortion. She could have stopped with 'classic case of infanticide', as far as I'm concerned.

Well, water under the bridge now. The fetus fetishists are gleefully spinning this sad story as a symptom of our 'culture of death'.

For the record, here is the Canadian Medical Association's policy on abortion (PDF):
Induced abortion, as interpreted by the CMA, is the active termination of a pregnancy before fetal viability. In this context viability is the ability of the fetus to survive independently of the maternal environment. According to current medical knowledge viability is dependent on fetal weight, degree of development and length of gestation; extrauterine viability may be possible if the fetus weighs over 500 g or is past 20 weeks’ gestation, or both (Gestation begins at conception).

Listen up, Ms Martinuk and other fetus fetishists: A doctor 'willing' to perform an abortion right before birth would face serious sanctions and probably lose his or her licence. For that reason, late-term abortions do NOT occur in Canada unless for the direst of reasons.

Of course, it is too much to hope that the 'pro-lifers' would leave this young woman alone now. No way. They're all 'pro-woman' until there's a hapless woman involved they can demonize to further their cause.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A Bold Move for the Liberals

Bold idea for federal Liberals.

Stand up for the decriminalization of marijuana. Or even better, regulation and taxation. . . . PROFIT!

In the process, knock the crap out of the Contempt Party's despicable Omnibus Crime Bill.

The War on Drugs is an utter failure. The FBI's recent recent report proves it. A brave Canadian judge says so right out loud.

More and more sane people and countries are turning to harm reduction, like Portugal's highly successful program.

Will the Libs do it?

I'd be gobsmacked if they did.

On the other hand, what the hell do they have to lose?

They might even win a little. Maple Matters comments at the Globe link:
this would force me to vote Liberal.
Will they do it?
Not a chance.

Contempt and Cruelty

Paola Ortiz et sa flle

SHithead's Government is at it again.

Eager to demonstrate that His Contempt Party is *Hard On Crime* Stevie Spiteful and Saint Jason Kenney of Perpetual Heterosexual Virginity are cracking down on what they define as immigration fraud.

Paola Ortiz is the latest victim of their political sturm und drang theatre.

Kenney's Ministry for the Deportation of Dusky-Skinned Folks claim that Ortiz's account of the vicious violence afflicted upon her by her ex-husband cannot be true, since Mexico purportedly and officially *recognizes* rights for women.

What about the volumes of documentation about sadistic sexual assaults and femicides that occur daily in Mexico?

Balbulican at Dawg's Blawg has an interesting take on Cons who shrieekkk about violence against women in Moozlim countries - and yet are silent on the situation in Mexico, a country ruled by christo-fascist fundamentalists.

Rob Ford = Tar Baby

Bless the Star. They are trying to make Hudork wear it.
It’s a four-letter F-word that Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak tries not to utter.


. . .

Finally, after six questions about Ford, Hudak reluctantly mentioned the mayor’s name.

“I know that mayor Ford and council are going through recommendations by the city manager, so the question is how can the province be of assistance,” he said.

While Hudak did use one of Ford’s trademark campaign lines — “we’ll end the war on the car” — he is clearly mindful that the Conservative mayor’s political coattails are not what they were when he swept to power last October.

It seems that Harper too is trying to stay away from the clutches of the Ford tar baby*.

Here's the 'hat-trick' video the Cons keep trying to get vanished.

*Note to politically correct: I look forward to your demonstration of how I'm being racist using that term.

Image source

Monday, 19 September 2011

Beauty Pageants: Ptui!

In accordance with the three-day ultimatum from the director of Miss Right to Life Georgia beauty pageant, we have amended the blogpost that pissed her off.

Our reasons are put forth here.

As feminists, we at DJ! find all beauty pageants misogynist, exploitive, and reprehensible.

And there is that other small matter of using children, a practice that verges on pedophilia.

To tie a further misogynist anti-feminist cause -- forced birth -- to pageants is simply despicable.

However, to be fair, there are two points to be made.

1. The director of MRLG asserts in an email that her organization has nothing to do with 'Toddlers and Tiaras'. We have no reason to doubt her.

2. Georgia Right to Life has declined the proposed donation of funds raised by the auction of the 'Pretty Woman' hooker costume.

We at DJ! trust this is the end of this issue. Unless, of course, Miss Right to Life Georgia comes to our attention again.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

The Greed-impaired World of Girls' Beauty Competitions.

What is scathingly wrong with the photo above?
Eden sang to her own kiddie-rap song “Cutie Patootie,’’ whose lyrics include references to “shakin’ her booty’’ and how she is all over the newspapers and the television screen. Whipping off a denim jacket during the performance, she twirled it above her head to reveal a two-piece, rhinestone-studded outfit to go with her cowboy hat, and smacked her backside for emphasis.
First hint: It accompanies a news item about Eden Wood and some of her 6-year old peers.

Second hint: The routines Wood and contestants in girls' beauty pageants chronicled by Toddlers & Tiaras are elaborated by adults, based on adult performances, judged by adults - and appeal to adult consumers' *appetites*.

Third hint: Though adults (parents, organizers, sponsors) involved in such events defend the hyper-sexualization of little girls by claiming the participants love all the attention they get, those who actually benefit financially from such displays are rarely the children.

Fourth hint: Try applying gender reversal to these activities. How would people respond to the hypersexualization of little boys, who arguably are as beautiful, adorable and appetizing as little girls are?

The Good Men Project, a loose network of men who challenge sexism and ideological assumptions that emprison men and women within gender-based caricatural behaviours and roles, has advanced some thoughtful ideas about this phenomenon.
Five-year-olds in princess costumes are cute. But the problem is that the compliments we give as fathers, uncles, and coaches have an impact on the self-esteem of little girls. As they grow up, they realize quickly (certainly by age 8 or 9) that Cinderella costumes won’t cut it anymore. If they want to sustain the same level of attention that they had when they were adorable first-graders, they’re going to need to employ a different strategy: sexiness. And that sexiness gets our attention all over again. [...]

[Girls' play-acting] sexiness has very little to do with sex, and everything to do with the craving for validation and attention. While all children want affirmation, princess culture teaches little girls to get that approval through their looks. Little girls learn quickly what “works” to elicit adoration from mom and dad, as well as from teachers, uncles, aunts, and other adults. Soon—much too soon—they notice that older girls and women get validation for a particular kind of dress, a particular kind of behavior. They watch their fathers’ eyes, they follow their uncles’ gaze. They listen to what these men they love say when they see “hot” young women on television or on the street. And they learn how to be from what they hear and see.
From here.

And if there were a remaining doubt that the increasingly competive environment of the fashion industry contributed to the hypersexualization of girls, this should dispel it. The blog Jezebel also provides valuable insights into this phenomenom.
Fashion images of girls years away from the age of consent who've been made by adult professionals to look "sexy" don't even register, to most people, as inappropriate — even though they obviously are, and even though the chances are that a successful 14-year-old model is working close to full-time hours with relatively little supervision (whereas most child models Thylane's age benefit from both a less all-encompassing work schedule and proper supervision). But then a magazine poses a 10-year-old in a similar kind of way to make a point about that very inappropriateness, and everyone is suddenly very concerned for The Children. The images are disturbing. They're meant to be. The point is that the practice they represent is disturbing, too.

But that Vogue Paris spread is not the photo spread that everyone has been criticizing. Child psychologists, journalists, fashion industry professionals, and bloggers have been drawing attention to the body of Thylane's work, not all of which is exactly age-appropriate. The Vogue Paris shots may be sensationalistic, but they're nowhere near as concerning as the topless shot of Thylane lying on a bed. Or that photo of Thylane posing, this time without any pants, on a (different) bed.
The line separating the hypersexualization of girls from child pornography has been blurred; adults are tampering with girls' sexual identity and expression for their own benefits, advantages and profits.

A Fanfic Too Far

Once upon a time, someone in popular North American culture land decided making junior versions of grownup fantasy characters would be a selling point and others said Hell, YEAH! This begat Muppet Babies and X-Babies. To be fair, they weren't really infants, but juvenile versions running around. (The Teen Titans anime-style cartoon falls into this category as well.)

While it is difficult to ever criticize the Muppets (I admit to bias since I was around for the first showing of The Frog Prince and was a fan forever after) , the case of X-Babies, (the X-men of Marvel) amounted to torturing readers and making them pay for the privilege, because the altverse was done by Marvel itself. (well, there was an earlier generation in storylines where Magneto was regressed into a baby and that wasn't so awful but it was an attempt to reform him, and over at DC, there was an episode of the animated Justice League that was handled well in the way a regressed Batman proved...err..I digress)

One should never think the bottom of that particular glurge barrel has finally been reached however. I offer for your viewing entertainment, Marvel Preborn.

I don't know if that's the official title of the real life sculpture show, but hey ho. At least this is unpaid fan interpretation - so far. I can't decide if this is a French homage to "we were born this way" or a fanboy appeal version of "save the preborn from abortion so they can save us". I'm sure there's an artist's justification out there somewhere, but it's a French gallery show so I haven't been able to dig deeper.

What with the toddlers'n'tiaras costume foofara of late, I have to wonder where this might fit into the psychology of things.

h/t IO9

*edited to fix dyslexic blather

Friday, 16 September 2011

Pissed-Off Beauty Pageant

Oh dear. We've pissed off the Director of Miss Right to Life of Georgia with this post.

In the comments and in an email, she says:
Pageant Director of MRTL said...

This is to advise you that you are using copyrighted and protected material on your website/blog. Your illegal use of photographs and text is originally from my website/blog called "Miss Right to Life of Georgia" at This is original content and I am the author and copyright holder. Use of copyright protected material without permission is illegal under copyright laws.

Please remove the plagiarized material immediately.

I expect a response within 3 days to this issue. Thank you for your immediate action on this matter.

First, I don't think plagiarism means what she thinks it does.
Twentieth-century dictionaries define plagiarism as "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication," of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries. There is no rigorous and precise distinction between imitation, stylistic plagiarism, copy, replica and forgery.

I plagiarized nothing. I used direct quotation with proper attribution.

Then there's that little matter of what you in the US call 'fair use'.
Fair use, a limitation and exception to the exclusive right granted by copyright law to the author of a creative work, is a doctrine in United States copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders. Examples of fair use include commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. It provides for the legal, non-licensed citation or incorporation of copyrighted material in another author's work under a four-factor balancing test. The term fair use originated in the United States. A similar principle, fair dealing, exists in some other common law jurisdictions. Civil law jurisdictions have other limitations and exceptions to copyright.

Or what we in Canada call 'fair dealing'.

Now, IANAL, but it seems to me that DJ!'s use of the quoted material falls squarely under both 'fair use' and 'fair dealing'.

But perhaps Miss Right to Life of Georgia would like to consult their own lawyers on the matter.

The photo, charming though it may be, might be a horse of a different colour. DJ! is consulting our lawyer about that.

And yes, we fully realize that things are done differently in the Excited States, especially in ultra-'prolife' Georgia, where they are set to execute a black man named Troy Davis, against whom the case is shockingly weak, on September 21.

By those lights, what punishment does a little blogger in Canada poking fun at a beauty pageant deserve?

Suggestions welcome.

Image source

ADDED: I wonder if this gang got prior written permission.

It's the Contempt Culture!

Pigs at the trough

Also known as a sense of entitlement, and it's brought to you by Harper's government of Cons.
Since 2008, Canada's top military commander has used government VIP aircraft to fly to sporting events, galas and a Caribbean holiday, racking up a bill of more than $1-million, CTV News is reporting.

Passenger logs requested by the broadcaster through the Access to Information Act provide details of several flights taken by General Walter Natynczyk, the Chief of the Defence Staff. [...]

In total, $732,366.50 went towards flights to attend hockey and football games in various cities across the country.
From here.

That is what SHithead's CONTEMPT government fosters: no accountability and no decency. The line-up at the feeding troughs starts on the right.

No wonder the Cons are slashing Environment Canada's budget. *Interesting* priorities.

Get used to it. With the Cons and their Lying Liars at the helm of this country it's going to get worse.

Hudak the Refusenik

This is too easy. I googled "Hudak refused" and look what I got.

There was (to DAMMIT JANET! at least) that first important one. About defunding abortion.
When the Star repeatedly asked Hudak if he is “pro-life” he refused to answer the question and walked away from the microphone.

The rest of the list is kinda random in time.

The tax-dodger candidate.
At a press conference Friday following a speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Mr. Hudak refused to say whether he would continue to support Mr. Hillier even though he is behind on his taxes.

Hydro rates.
Asked specifically if he could guarantee the [hydro] rates would not continue to climb if the Tories win on Oct. 6, Hudak refused to answer but was quick to add that the provincial portion of the HST would be cut.

Uploading the costs that Mike Harris Sr. dumped on municipalities.
Hudak refused to commit to honouring the existing 10-year [uploading] deal between Ontario municipalities and the Liberal Government.

Teacher training.
Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak refused to say if he'd match the Liberal promise [to double teachers college terms], choosing instead to call out Premier Dalton McGuinty for his absent election platform.

Nuclear power.
PC Leader Tim Hudak is not saying how he will protect electricity consumers from the inevitable cost overruns on the nuclear power projects his party favours. Mr. Hudak refused to respond to a Clean Air Alliance survey asking what parties would do to protect Ontario consumers and taxpayers from massive nuclear cost overruns.

Today, Tim Hudak was asked repeatedly about his flip-flop on the HST, but he refused to come clean with Ontarians.

Extra billing by doctors.
The promise comes after Hudak refused on Wednesday to state whether or not he’d go after doctors who charge service fees.

And today's entry, on green jobs.
Hudak never mentioned Samsung in his eight-minute address. He didn’t take questions from the media, either. So Star reporter Craig Pearson, standing so close to Hudak that the leader had to step around him, asked him anyway. “Will you guarantee the 200 to 300 Samsung jobs?” Hudak didn’t answer.

Pearson followed him out, holding out his tape recorder, and asked him several more times. Hudak didn’t answer. Finally, Hudak referred him to an aide to arrange an interview.

Sorry, no interview, Pearson was finally told the next day.

Just to be fair, I also googled "McGuinty refused" and "Horwath refused" and got one each.

For the second straight day, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty refused to give into pressure from his rivals to participate in a debate on Northern issues in the sprawling region. The Progressive Conservatives even offered to pick up the tab for his travel costs.

However, Horwath refused to say whether her party would consider a coalition in the event the election produced a minority government.

(P.S. To ONDP and OLP war-rooms: I prefer single malt.)

Image source

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Racist stunts: ignorance is not a defence.

[...] a group of white students was filmed wearing blackface during a frosh activity [... at l'Université de Montréal].

Anthony Morgan, who filmed the incident, told the Montreal Gazette the activity was meant to raise awareness of activities on campus and that the students in blackface were encouraging people to join a track and field club. They can be seen waving Jamaican flags, chanting: "Smoke some weed! Yeah mon! Yeah mon!" in the footage Morgan posted on YouTube.

"It was never something I expected to see in Montreal, much less on a university campus," Morgan told the Gazette. "Being black and of Jamaican descent myself it was just completely jarring. It was humiliating [...]
From here.

Université de Montréal says the incident is being investigated. It took place at l'École des hautes études commerciales; an official says the stunt was unacceptable and added there were *no ill intentions*.

Well, perhaps it was fine with Black students at HEC who didn't have to slather on blackface to participate in this frosh activity?

Oh. Wait. Racist language is not acceptable, but ... what about events that racialize prejudice and stereotypes?

Works for me. . .

From Joe. My. God.:
If you know the name Father Frank Pavone, it's probably from when he infested our television screens every night as the "spiritual adviser" and "Godly spokesman" for the comatose Terry Shiavo. Following that bit of limelight hogging, Pavone recast himself as the nation's most virulent Catholic in the battle against abortion rights, often appearing shoulder-to-shoulder with the murderous loons of Operation Rescue. (Pavone is "credited" by some for the idea of waving placards featuring bloody dismembered fetuses.)

Pavone is now the national director for Priests For Life, an anti-abortion group with a reported annual donation base in excess of ten million dollars. And whoopsie, his bishop just suspended him for (among other things) suspected financial "mismanagement" of those millions.

This story broke a few days ago and I've been amusing myself twitting the twits who are defending him, thus:
What a relief! Anti-choice priest goes down for $$ foolery. #MakesAChangeFromChildRape #prochoice

At LifeShite all the usual suspects are issuing statements of support.

Some groups are going further.
The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform* recently announced that the group will be picketing “Catholic facilities and activities in the Diocese of Amarillo, Texas.” The anti-abortion group wants to force Bishop Patrick Zurek to allow Father Frank Pavone “to resume full-time anti-abortion ministry.” Zurek recently suspended Priests for Life leader Frank Pavone for “concerns about financial improprieties.”

Hee. Nutbars protesting nutbars. Give 'em a taste of their own medicine. And leave women and abortion providers alone. At least for a while.

*the abortion = genocide/holocaust gang

This is why we call them lying liars

In early September, there was a flurry of SHRIIIEEEEKY articles from fetus fetishists about evil sluts who abort their pre-born baybees being eligible for 'full maternity benefits'.

This seemed like pure horseshit to me, so I tracked the stories down and they all referenced one entry from LifeShite.
Canada’s employment insurance guidelines reveal that a woman who aborts her child after 19 weeks gestation is eligible to receive 17 weeks of maternity leave, the same as a mother who gives birth. For an abortion occurring before 19 weeks gestation, the woman can collect sick leave for the same length of time.

“The whole situation is pretty ludicrous,” said Mary Ellen Douglas, national organizer for Campaign Life Coalition. “Why should you pay for somebody killing their child, and then expect to pay for benefits if the child is no longer there?”

Unusually for LifeShite, the piece included a link which takes you here.

Amidst much archaic language like 'confinement' and 'accouchement', there's a bunch of bureaucratese defining various terms and setting out various limits. The words 'abortion' or 'termination' do not appear. Here's the only bit that seems at all relevant to LifeShite's claim.
One must, therefore, define "confinement" (and "accouchement" in the French text). The usual medical meaning of "accouchement" is any termination of the pregnancy during the third trimester, regardless of whether it is a live birth or stillbirth. The term "confinement" is less precise, but generally encompasses the concepts of delivery or childbirth.

So I looked further and found this.

Scroll down to nearly the bottom of page for 'Interrupted Pregnancies/Stillbirth'.
Although rather rare, some clauses in collective agreements deal with the issue of interrupted pregnancies, both voluntary and involuntary. Two types of provisions have been identified: those pertaining to miscarriages (sometimes including abortions) and those regarding stillbirths.

A period of leave may be necessary for an employee, both to recuperate physically and to deal with the emotional stress suffered in these circumstances.

'Some clauses in collective agreements'. So not universally applicable.

And what is the grand recompense for such circumstances?

The women are entitled to 'maternity leave without pay not exceeding three (3) weeks'.

A far, far cry from 'full maternity benefits', eh?

It turns out, for once, the comments at LifeShite were worth checking out. After I'd done that, I discovered that commenter RobnBob got there already, citing the same section.

He prefaces his remarks with:
I must say that I am disappointed in the research skills for this article and in all the individuals that take this “news” story at face value without looking into it.

Indeed. Deliberate lying plus total credulousness = PROFIT!